This Tuesday’s SEO post is a reminder to assess your SEO Activities on a regular basis. What may be a great SEO technique last month may be killing you in Google today. White Hat SEO Techniques are the way to go. Once you go down the slippery road of trying to trick Google, its just a matter of time before you hit a dead end, and sometimes there is no turnaround.
Many webmasters think that SEO has become more difficult after Google’s recent updates. That’s not case if you invest your time in the right things. If you want to be successful with your website, there are five things that you should know.
1. Techniques are continually evolving
- Google and other search engines are continually improving their algorithms. Things that work today might not work tomorrow. There is no ‘set and forget’ in search engine optimization. Either stay educated or use an SEO software tool that is continually updated to work with the latest ranking algorithms.
2. It doesn’t pay to game Google
- Gaming Google’s ranking algorithm requires a lot more work than following best practices and doing it right the first time. Sooner or later, Google will detect all new spam tricks.
- Your website will be penalized then, you will lose a lot of money and you will have to invest a lot of time to get your rankings back. If you play by the rules, you will get much better results that last, even if it takes a little longer to get high rankings.
- Companies that promise you instant results for little money are lying to you. Like most things, a successful SEO campaign requires time, effort and a good strategy.
3. Your website is the only thing that you can control
- You cannot control what your competitors do, you cannot control what Google does and you also cannot control if some startup will release a tool that will change the market in the near future.
- Make sure that your website would offer your website visitors a value even if search engines didn’t exist. Your website is your most important asset. Treat it as such.
4. The content of your website is very important
- Getting traffic is pointless if your website is disappointing to your visitors. Low quality content won’t help your rankings. Tell your website visitors why they should use your products or services. Tell them what’s in it for them.
- Make sure that your web pages look good and that your landing pages have a high conversion rate.
5. Don’t be distracted by the latest marketing trends
- Pinterest? Cool. Microblogs? Nice. Twitter? You bet. Unfortunately, all of these new marketing trends won’t do your website any good if your website basics aren’t right. Half-hearted social media campaigns can also have a negative effect. For your conversion rate, it is often better to do one thing right instead of juggling too many balls at once.
Your website will get top rankings on Google and other search engines if you do the right things. Avoid distractions and keep working on your goal.
Is your SEO campaign delivering the results that you expect? Or are your campaigns underperforming? There are several things that you can do to make sure that search engine optimization works for your website.
There can be several reasons why your SEO campaign isn’t a success yet:
Step 1: set the right goals
- If your website doesn’t have many high rankings yet then you cannot expect that Google will display your site on the first result page for keywords such as “mp3” or other very competitive one-word keywords.
- You have to start with more targeted keyphrases first. Optimize your pages for many different keywords with lower competition. The more high rankings your website has for keywords with lower competition, the more likely it is that your website will also get high rankings for more competitive keywords that belong to the same topic.
- It’s like running a marathon. You have to run smaller distances first before you can run the full 26 miles and 385 yards.
Step 2: be serious about your success
- Search engine optimization isn’t set-and-forget. It takes some time to make things happen. Search engine optimization is an investment into your company and it should be treated like that.
- If all you do to ‘promote’ your website is to submit it to search engines then you won’t be successful. You have to invest time and effort into the optimization of your site. Tools can help you to save a lot of this time and effort but you still have to work with your site.
Step 3: focus on the right elements and get the basics right
- Some webmasters are obsessed with the length of the title tag. Others submit their website every few days to search engines. Other webmasters insist that a particular part of their website links must use the rel=nofollow attribute.
- You don’t have to chase the latest search engine optimization trend. These trend topics usually make the difference between position 8 and position 9. If your website isn’t listed on the first result page at all, you have to get the basics right.
- The most important factors that will get your website on Google’s first result page are optimized web pages with good content and good backlinks.
Step 4: choose the right keywords
- Keywords are very important. If you choose the wrong keywords, you will waste a lot of time and money.
- The best keywords for your website are not the keywords with the biggest search volume. The best keywords also aren’t the keywords that will boost your ego and it’s also not the “obvious” keywords that will work best for SEO.
- The best keywords for SEO are the keywords that deliver targeted visitors who will buy. It does not matter if a keyword has thousands of searches. If none of the visitors who find your site through that keyword will buy, then this keyword won’t do you any good.
Step 5: get the right kind of backlinks
- It’s not necessary to have thousands of backlinks if you want to get high rankings on Google. Your website just needs the right backlinks. Automatic links from link building schemes don’t work. Actually, that kind of links can even get you in trouble with Google.
- You must get the right kind of backlinks to succeed.
Search engine optimization can contribute greatly to the success of your website. It’s important that you do the right things in the right order and that you focus on the right elements.
Many webmasters are rattled by Google’s recent updates. Although links are still very important, some people even want to change perfectly fine high quality links. Is this really necessary? How can you save time when improving your backlink profile?
Do not delete good backlinks
In an online forum, a webmaster asked the following question:
“Got an unsolicited citation from a media source but they used anchor text that I have been penalized on. FUD! Should I ask them to change it? By doing that I make a natural link unnatural, and Googlebot will detect that change (obvious tinkering). Nevertheless, I do have an OOP [over optimization penalty] and received the infamous link warnings about 5 months ago.”
Save time and focus on good links, not on bad links
A single backlink from a media source won’t cause problems. Actually, that kind of link is exactly the kind of link that Google wants to see. Other people link to your site because they find it good, newsworthy or interesting.
Although it helps to remove obvious fake backlinks to your website, you shouldn’t invest too much time in trying to delete bad links:
- It’s often not possible to delete a bad link.
- You might accidentally delete a good backlink.
- You still need good backlinks to improve your rankings.
A competitor can quickly build hundreds of bad backlinks to your site with a spamming tool. Getting rid of these links can be very difficult and time-consuming.
If you concentrate on building good backlinks, these good backlinks will have more power than the bad backlinks and your rankings will increase.
How to judge the quality of a backlink
You do not need special metrics to judge the quality of a web page. You can judge the quality of a link with these simple questions:
- Does the linking page look good to the average web surfer?
- Does the page have interesting content?
- Is the content somewhat related to my website?
- Does it make sense if the web page links to your site?
If you can answer all questions with “yes” then you should try to get a backlink from that page.
Backlinks are still the most important signal that influences the position of your web pages in Google’s search results. Optimize your web pages for your keywords to show Google that your website is relevant to a topic. Then get high quality links to make sure that Google gives your web pages high rankings.
Search engine optimization is very similar to wealth building. If you do the wrong things and listen to the wrong people, you might lose everything and you might be left with nothing. This is a lesson that many people learned after Google’s Penguin update.
1. It’s important to know that time is a factor
- If you are young and invest your first dollars then you won’t become a millionaire overnight. It takes some time to build your wealth and if you invest regularly, you will earn more than people who invest only once. If you invest too little, you won’t get the same results as people who are serious about building wealth.
- Search engine optimization works exactly like that. If your website is young, then it will have only a few rankings. You have to optimize the pages and the backlinks of your website and you have to do it regularly. The more time you invest in optimizing your site, the sooner you will get results.
2. Do first things first
- When you start investing, you cannot participate in the big deals that require a lot of money. It’s the same with SEO. If your website doesn’t have many rankings yet, then it doesn’t make sense to target very competitive keywords such as “mp3” or even “credit cards”.
- The big players in your niche have the high rankings for these keywords and they have several advantages (more backlinks, more visitors, more trusted by Google, etc.).
- Start with very targeted keyword phrases that consist of 3-4 words. It is much easier to get high rankings for these keyphrases and you will also get higher conversion rates with very targeted keyphrases.
- The more rankings your website has, the easier it will be to get high rankings for more competitive keywords. Then you can start to compete with the big guys for the more general keywords.
3. You have to be careful (the wrong things are very risky!)
- There are many people who promise to make you rich overnight. Others promise incredible profits. The more aggressively you invest, the more likely it is that you will lose everything.
- It’s the same with SEO. If you use aggressive (and often shady) SEO methods then you put your website at risk. Aggressive tactics often deliver great results for a short period. Unfortunately, all of them also lead to massive problems with Google in the long run.
- After Google’s recent Penguin update, many websites have been banned from Google because they used spammy SEO tactics that promised quick results.
If you see offers like “thousands of backlinks with no work” or “fully automated SEO solution” then you should be very careful. In both finance and SEO, there are many snake-oil salesman. Don’t fall for them.
Established websites have a big advantage over new websites. Websites that were around several years ago had far fewer competitors and it was much easier for them to get high rankings in that environment.
Google trusts websites that have been around for a long time more. In addition, these websites had a lot of time to get good backlinks. If you have a new website, it will be difficult to compete with these established sites.
Fortunately, it is possible to compete with the big players if you have a new website. Here are three tips that will help you to compete with established websites:
Step 1: target the right keywords
If you have a new website, it’s nearly impossible to get high rankings for competitive keywords. Of course, you should include these keywords on your web pages but you should also optimize your web pages for less popular keywords that are not targeted by your competitors.
If your competitors target the keyword “pizza new york” then you might optimize one of your pages for “pizza new york queens”. Even if your version of the keyword gets only a fraction of the original keyword, you will still get more visitors than before.
It is much better to rank #1 for a slightly less popular keyword (you will get some visitors) than to rank #60 for a very popular keyword (you will get no visitors).
Step 2: target as many different keywords as possible
Repeat tip 1 with as many keywords as possible. For example, you might use “best pizza in queens”, “recommended pizza restaurant queens”, etc. Even if each keyword delivers only some visitors, you will get many visitors with all keywords combined.
Another advantage of getting high rankings for many of these long keywords is that your website becomes relevant to a topic. The more high rankings your website has for keywords that are relevant to a topic, the easier it gets to get high rankings for more competitive keywords.
Optimize different pages of your website for different keywords and optimize as many web pages as possible. People who search for long keywords are usually people who really care about the subject. These people are more likely to buy something and they might also link to your site.
Step 3: create web pages to attract more backlinks
Some web pages on your website should generate revenue, others should help you to get backlinks. The more backlinks your website has, the easier it is to get high rankings.
Create web pages that solve the problems of the web searchers. Write “how to” articles about a very special topic. These web pages often get many backlinks. Of course, you should alsoactively build backlinks.
Getting high rankings for a new website is not difficult if you choose the right way. Do not attack the big players directly. Start with many related keywords and then proceed to the more competitive keywords.
Focus on both optimizing your web pages and getting good backlinks. Your website must have good optimized content and good backlinks if you want to get high rankings on Google.
Need Help? Check out our Search Engine Optimization Plans here at MHS.
Google’s recent updates have rattled many webmasters. Are your rankings safe? Do you have to worry about Google’s next updates? There are three things that you can do to stay ahead of future Google updates.
1. Understand that Google wants the same as you
- Google wants to offer web searchers the solution to their problems. Your products and services also solve the problems of your customers. Show Google that your website offers the best solution to a problem.
2. Focus on your visitors and Google will follow
- Some webmasters try to create the perfect backlink profile for Google. That’s not how you should work. A backlink is a good link if it delivers targeted visitors to your website.
- There’s only one question that you have to ask to find high quality backlinks: “Can I get good website visitors through this link?”
- If the answer is yes, you should try to get the link. Do not worry too much about backlink profiles. If you only create links that are useful for real people, Google will like your links.
- Getting visitors through Google is great, but it should not be your only source. Each new channel that drives visitors to your website will make you less dependent from Google:
- Get listed on Bing and other search engines.
- Get links on related websites that deliver visitors to your site.
- Improve the conversion rate of your web pages and optimize the long-term value of each visitor.
- Develop relationships with companies and people who are related to your business.
Google wants to show high quality sites in the search results. If your website offers compelling content that offers the solution to a problem then Google will give your pages high rankings. Don’t try to please Google. Try to please your website visitors.
Offer good content, get backlinks that deliver visitors and offer a valuable website. That will place your business in a secure position.