Archive for July, 2009
We know that “relevancy”, “consistency” and “diversity” in your link landscape forms a big part of your link building profile. In the Right SEO Strategy Ahead, I have focused the SEO Strategies I use around these variables.
I have come to realize the Right SEO Strategy is a living and breathing document that would constantly evolve, and “progressive link building” is one such strategy that I would like to eagerly include in all my SEO campaigns.
Last week I had added another update to the weekly seo strategy Turbo-charge your SEO with “campaign worthy” content …
Let’s get back to this blog topic …
There are 3 common Link Building Strategies:
1. Consistent Link Building Strategy
2. Campaign Link Building Strategy
3. Progressive Link Building Strategy
In this post we are going to focus on “progressive link building”, and how it can be used to boost your search rankings.
What is “progressive link building”?
Progressive link building is a technique where you start with a small quantity of quality links, and each month you progressively increase the number of quality links back to your site.
Eg. Month 1 we start with 50 links (these should include web directory submissions, social links, PR submissions, industry related links, blog links, comments etc).
Month 2 we build 75 links. Month 3 we build 100 links. Month 4 we build 150 links. Month 5 we build 200 links. Month 6 we build 300 links.
This is a useful strategy especially for new websites that lack the credibility and link reputation, though it can be used to boost a credible site as well.
After 6 months, you can ideally continue with progressive link building, or focus on consistent link building strategy and the campaign link building strategy. In the right combination, these 3 strategies can have a powerful impact on your search rankings.
Monthly SEO strategy (Revised)
Note: These links should be a combination of relevant web directory, social links, PR submissions, industry related links, blog links, comments etc.
• Be consistent in building 50 quality links for Month 1
• Be consistent in building 75 quality links for Month 2
• Be consistent in building 100 quality links for Month 3
• Be consistent in building 150 quality links for Month 4
• Be consistent in building 200 quality links for Month 5
• Be consistent in building 300 quality links for Month 6
• Month 7 Onwards we can continue to build 300 quality links each month
• Focus moves to consistent link building and campaign link building strategies
In my next post I will reveal the “revised version” of the Right SEO Strategy Ahead (V2). This will include the exact strategies I use to rank my website and for my clients across the globe.
We all like playing games, don’t we? Playing games is great when you are young, but even as adults we continue to play games that adversely affect our lives, work and relationships. Like in life, in the SEO world too, we get many chances to stop playing games, and instead create a game plan for success.
In SEO mistakes can be costly, and yet I see people everyday taking such foolish chances that could drastically affect the future of their online business.
In SEO, time is money, and yet I see people everyday wasting time chasing a “high”, a “quick fix” or a “quick payout”, rather than working on developing a long term SEO strategy that creates value, builds a strong link, web and social reputation, creates a buzz, and attracts targeted traffic that can lead to conversions.
We know this, so why do we still continue playing unnecessary games?
The biggest reason we play games is ignorance. Would you hand over your company, product or service in the hands of a computer geek sitting in a far corner of the world? Then why are the same considerations not given to your online business.
SEO experts need an understanding of branding, marketing, content generation and technology, including understanding of search engines, best SEO practices and analyzing user behavior patterns from the past amongst other skills. Many clients have the wrong ideas and perceptions about SEO, and these wrong ideas eventually end up proving costly and a waste of time.
We play games because we expect some ‘payout’ from playing the game. After all it’s about winning, isn’t it? Yes when you are in sports arena, winning is the goal, but wrong expectations from your SEO campaign can lead to frustration and eventual failure.
We play games because we lack the patience to sow and reap at the right time. A farmer knows he has to sow before he can reap. Only with consistent effort can the fruits of labor be enjoyed. If you are looking for short cuts in SEO, then your online business could get cut short.
We play games because we don’t take the time to understand the bigger picture. We find comfort in the present, by chasing mindless goals of the future. If your online goals focus on “tripling traffic” without creating any value and a strategic roadmap to reaching there, it’s time to talk to a SEO expert who can assist you in creating a realistic road map to online success. A good seo strategy makes common sense, and business sense, otherwise it’s just nonsense.
The Games People Play
1. I know better!
The search engines have given us guidelines to follow. We have heard it straight from the horse’s mouth, and yet everyday we see website owners, webmasters and even SEO professionals flouting the basic foundation principles of search engine optimization.
2. Chasing traffic instead of “creating value”
This one is a classic. When you focus on chasing traffic instead of creating real value, whatever you create (even if the rankings and traffic show dramatic increase), like a beautiful dream will fade away when the morning comes. When you focus your energies on creating something of value, that value goes on growing with each passing day.
3. Buy instead of “Earn”
Easy right! You have a wallet full of greens, and money can buy anything. True in many instances it can, but when you choose to buy rather than “earn” as the focus of your SEO strategy, be prepared to see the results drop when the money stops. That is not to say that all paid links are bad, but rather that the focus of the SEO should always be towards earning links by creating value. Search engines can identify which links are paid and which have been earned. Natural links are “earned”, and the search engines definitely prefer natural links over paid links.
4. Compete, instead of plan to Succeed
Competition brings out the best in people, the worst in people. True! I beg to differ. If your SEO strategy is focused on beating the competitors, a lot of time is focused around what your competitors are doing or not-doing. Is not success based on enhancing your brand, products, services and value offering? Don’t get bogged down with search rankings of your competitors, rather focus on what you can do differently, and enhance the value you provide every single day.
How to stop playing Games?
You can stop playing games by creating a SEO game plan. A SEO game plan is founded on principles of creating value with intent of making it visible across relevant web, user and social communities for higher search rankings, traffic and conversions on your website.
The Right SEO Strategy Ahead covers weekly and monthly strategies you need to be implementing for long term success of your online business. So stop wasting time playing games, and start work on your SEO game plan.
Thanks to all the readers who participated by commenting on 5“little known” Keys to Succeed at SEO.
The strategy outlined below works so well that I have decided to include it in my manifesto, The Right SEO Strategy Ahead. For those who are not familiar with the strategies listed in the manifesto, please read it first as it contains the exact strategies I will use to help you succeed in your online business.
Coming back to the topic of this post…
Have you heard the phrase “reference worthy” content? From the SEO perspective, it means creating original, informative and engaging content, and then making that content visible across relevant user, web and social communities with the purpose of attracting traffic and natural links.
The results of this SEO activity if done consistently week after week can dramatically enhance your web, link and social reputation. This in turn influences the search rankings of your select keywords.
In many of my previous posts I have highlighted the importance of creating ‘reference worthy” or “link worthy” content. In this post however, I would like to talk about “turbo charging” your content by making it “campaign worthy”.
So what is “campaign worthy” content?
It is a blog post, an article story, or a video that has the potential for maximum visibility and popularity across social bookmarking and social media sites. By popularity, I mean getting other users to vote, review or thumbs up your content.
Earlier I used to suggest promotion of your content in 10 – 15 social bookmarking sites, and then get 3 to 5 thumbs up from other users for a permanent link. Now this is still a very good SEO strategy you should continue to follow, but how about instead of 3 to 5 thumbs up we try and get 25 to 50 users to vote for your content.
By getting more users to vote for your content, the chances of your story going “hot” in the social communities will increase, and so will the traffic to your website. Search engines rank a page based on the number of quality and relevant links (one of the important metrics) to that page.
If your story goes hot, then more webmasters will link back to your story, increasing the number of natural links to that story page. Also the more hot stories you syndicate, the better will be your social reputation. This in turn will again influence your search rankings.
Ideally you should choose 1 blog post/ article/ video (or create one specifically for this purpose)which you feel has maximum potential to become a “hot story” and then run a campaign across 3 to 4 select social bookmarking sites like Stumble Upon, Digg, YouTube, Mixx for a WEEK.
This week long campaign can have a tripling effect on the traffic numbers on your site for the duration of the campaign.
The number of visitors will dwindle down once the campaign ends, which is why you need to repeat the campaign with new exciting content every month.
The Right SEO Strategy (with Revisions)
Natural Link Building, Social Media & Reputation Management
1. Be consistent in creating unique, compelling and resourceful content in the form of articles/ blog posts – 3 to 4 a WEEK.
2. Be consistent in syndication of the articles to 10 relevant and popular article submissions sites each WEEK.
3. Be consistent in promotion of the same content links across 10 to 15 relevant and popular social bookmarking sites each WEEK.
4. Be consistent in attracting 3 to 5 user thumbs up/ reviews for content posted each WEEK.
5. Be consistent in submitting one blog post/ article/ video to 3 to 4 selected social bookmarking sites and get 25 to 50 votes, reviews or thumbs up for your content. This should be a “week-long” campaign and ideally done ONCE a MONTH.
6. Be consistent in participating in 3 to 4 relevant blogs, by blog commenting and forum postings each WEEK.
7. Every MONTH be consistent in building a few industry specific links, relevant web directory links, 1 or 2 PR releases, etc.
Read more on the Right SEO Strategy Ahead…
Use the expert SEO strategies outlined above and you will be on your way to creating value, building web, link and social reputation, natural links, higher search rankings and traffic.
If you have not read 5 “little known” Keys to Succeed at SEO, then I suggest you do that first.
For those whose comments resulted in the inspiration to write this post, I wish to thank you for your participation, and for playing along with my request.
In my last post I had mentioned the 5 Keys that will help you succeed at SEO.
The 6th Key to Succeeding at SEO is “Purpose”
To understand “purpose” let me tell you a story about finding purpose and vision, and somewhere in this story you may stumble upon (pardon the intended pun here) your own story, your own purpose, and your own vision.
Before we embark on this journey, keep in mind before you can unlock the potential of the 6th Key you will have to unlock the first 5 Keys first – You will have to work hard to find your passion and creativity, and learn to be patient and consistent.
Incase you are wondering what “purpose” has to do with succeeding as a SEO expert, then read on …
I Lacked Vision and Purpose in Life
I started my career as an entrepreneur. If you think that is lucky, then hear me out for the remainder of this story.
Enticed with the endless possibilities of the dot com world, I ventured bravely into the unknown with my start up Web Development Company. Just out of college, I had a vision that the Internet would fulfill all my bigger than life ambitions, and desires.
And it did for the next 4 years, I grew from a 3 member team to a team of 70, the office had shifted from a room at my residence into a sprawling 4000 sq foot swanky office, my name was hailed across the national press as the youngest entrepreneur to get venture capital funding, there were clients lining up at the door, and it seemed life could not get any better.
… But is it possible that this is not what I wanted from life anymore?
In knowing and understanding these 5 “little known” Keys, could lie the answer to succeed in your online business.
Unlike PPC and SEM where the results are quickly visible, SEO is known to take a long time before you can see any tangible results. We are talking about 4 to 6 months of consistent SEO effort, so “patience” is one of the qualities you must have for long term success of your online business.
I have seen too many SEO strategies fail simply because the SEO client got frustrated with the process, and deciding to do something about it spoke to another SEO expert who guaranteed results quickly. A new SEO expert wants to promote their own strategies, and normally downplays the efforts of the past SEO to buy extra time.
Don’t waste your time starting from scratch, choose the right SEO strategy, and stick with it!
For those in haste to see results or increase sales, please use PPC and other paid forms of advertising. SEO is by no means for the impatient hearted.
While the results of the PPC and SEM campaigns normally dwindles down as quickly as the campaign reaches its end, the results of proper SEO optimization and natural link building can be seen for a long time even after you have stopped the SEO activity.
Of course that does not imply that the PPC campaign or the SEO campaign needs to be stopped, as we know that “consistency” is the next key to higher search rankings.
What is consistency? Consistency simply means to take an activity of value, and repeat it again and again at specified time intervals. The reason consistency is so important for SEO is that both the users and search engines eventually know what to expect from you, and when they can expect it. But keep in mind that once you build expectations, its best you stick with it.
I advise a weekly SEO strategy that forms the heart of the SEO campaign. So each week you can create exciting content, syndicate that content, and then promote that content across relevant web, user and social communities. Compliment this with a relevant link building activity each month and you have a great SEO strategy that focuses on creating valuable content, and making that content visible.
If this seems like hard work, it is. If creating content is not a task that you wish to undertake, or outsource, then I advise not to focus on SEO only, but on other forms of online marketing as well. But if your intention is on creating value, then content is the way to go.
There will be times when you feel like giving up, or postponing it to another day. Don’t, for we know now that “persistence” is the next key to online business success.
We have been patient, and consistent in our efforts, yet sometimes the results we seek just evade us. Keep in mind search ranking is not a cause and effect, but rather a correlation of many parameters, so predicting search ranking behavior becomes rather impossible, even for the search engines themselves.
This brings us to our next key “persistence”. Don’t give up! If you have been creating value consistently, then the results you seek are not far off. Even though search ranking behavior cannot be predicted, by creating value and being persistent, you will achieve your online goals.
If you are still not getting the results you seek, then perhaps you need to look (re-evaluate) at your content for “creativity”.
We are all part of a larger creative force. Perhaps that’s why we feel inspired by anything creative. While creating content for mortgage broking is more boring than creating content for an entertainment website, all the same, the principle of creativity applies.
Who says an article about mortgage broking needs to be boring? Don’t think like a dinosaur, we all know what happened to them?
Look around on Twitter, Social sites, YouTube, YahooBuzz etc. The stories that make headlines (voted by users) are the stories that are unique, have an interesting twist, or just presented in a creative way, and not necessarily the biggest story or best writing.
So what makes creativity tick? It’s “passion” that’s the next key to everlasting online success.
While its creativity that drives your online business and search rankings, its “passion” that will fuel your efforts to leave behind a lasting legacy. No matter what business you are in, if you don’t find the passion in doing it every single day, you will eventually fail.
They say that “hell” is our own making. Knowing and understanding the 5 “little known” keys will pave the way to online success.
If you can’t find the “passion” in your existing business, then maybe you need to look within for your reasons to pursue this business. If you have found your passion, then finding a SEO expert who is as passionate about SEO will act as the catalyst to success for your online business.
6. The Last Key
I know the title says “5 Keys”, but I could not resist telling you about the final key for your success. The final key will open the doors which you had not imagined possible. This key is by far the most important, and yet this key lies within all of us.
But I will not give this key out so easily. You will have to work hard to find your passion and creativity, and learn to be patient and consistent. You will have to learn to act now.
If 10 people leave a comment on this page asking for the last key, I will share the last key, but that’s up to you guys and gals out there.
If you read the above title carefully, the answer to building natural links has already been given. In case you still did not get it yet, then you will want to read further.
First, what are natural links and why have they become so important?
Search engines want to give the users the best possible experience and the most relevant results. In the early SEO days, link building (number of links to your website) was critical to achieving high search rankings. In the future, link building will be just as important, but the way the links are being valued by search engines has evolved.
The new metric for “link value” is based on certain qualitative measures that are becoming more and more critical to long term online business success.
Link Value = [Relevancy + Credibility + Participation + Diversity + Popularity]
Is the site linking to your website?
Relevant – Getting a link from a football ecommerce site for a Pets site is not relevant? Getting a link from the website of a Vet doctor is!
Credible – Getting a link back from a new domain, or a website which offers little or no value, or a website/webpage that just has outbound links or from link farms is of NO value, even if they have decent page rank. Getting links from industry related sites, blogs, local associations or in the communities you participate in (article sites, social sites etc) is considered credible.
Valuing you – Good websites reward users who participate in their community. The more you participate, the better reputation you have and better the link juice passed. Participating in select 10 to 15 article submission sites, and 10 to 15 social bookmarking/ social media sites, and 2 relevant blogs/forums is good. More is not always better.
Diverse – Getting 1000 web directory links is NOT as good as getting diverse 200 links from relevant web directories, article sites, social sites, video submissions sites, blogs, industry related sites, forums, PR sites etc.
Popular – Getting a link from a website that is popular with good traffic is better. This is just common sense. A relevant and popular site = targeted traffic for your site. I am not sure if there is any “link value” worth mention here.
So the number of credible links from relevant and diverse web, user and social communities is one of the important parameters search engines are evaluating while ranking a website/ webpage.
For a moment let’s get back to the title of this blog post “How to Earn Natural Links?”
The operative word in the title is “Earn”. In the new link playground of the future you will have to ‘Earn” the links, and not buy, exchange, barter or trade for them.
While buying, exchanging, bartering for links worked in the past, and your website is not getting penalized for it, sooner or later these links will become obsolete like the dinosaurs. The top search rankings will eventually be dominated by websites that are getting linked-too based on the merit of their content or value they provide.
To earn links you have to create “reference worthy links” by creating content of value that the users will find informative, unique and resourceful. Creating 2 to 3 new blog posts a week, and syndicating and promoting that content across relevant social, web and user communities is a good SEO strategy to build natural links based on merit.
The biggest bonus with creating great content (and making that content visible) is that webmasters around the world like linking to relevant and informative content as it benefits their users.
A lot has been written about what to expect from your SEO expert:
- Identify winning Keywords
- Optimize your Website around the chosen Keywords
- Higher Search Rankings for your Keywords
- Increase in Targeted Traffic from Search Engines
- Increase in Traffic from other Sources (Stumble Upon, Twitter, Ezinearticles, Reddit, Digg)
- Increase in Link Reputation, Social Reputation and Website Reputation
- Higher number of Quality and Relevant Natural Links (By virtue of Merit of Content)
- Advise on Creation of Content/ Articles/ Blog
- Syndication and Promotion of the Content across Article sites and Social sites
- Weekly & Monthly SEO strategy (Quality, Consistency, Participation and Relevancy)
- Analyzing (Traffic, Users etc) and Reporting (Links Built)
- Create a Value-based SEO Strategy that benefits Users/Customers
- Create a long term and sustainable SEO strategy for the success of your online business
But this post is not about that!
I decided to write something for the clients, so they can understand – “What NOT to expect from their SEO expert”.
This is not an act of rebellion against my clients, or potential clients (as if I will scorn my livelihood :-), but rather an upfront observation based on client interactions over the years.
Most of these were relatively harmless questions from innocent clients, but some came from clients with strong expectations of what they thought were the roles and responsibilities of their SEO expert.
# Don’t expect the SEO expert will increase your sales
While SEO will increase the targeted traffic to your website, it cannot ensure that the user will convert to a sale. The sale depends on your product, services, rates, credibility in business, the demand and supply, and also the way they are promoted online.
But you can build metrics for calculating conversions (ROI – Return of Investment) like on a user submission of an enquiry form, or a user registration, or signing up for a newsletter etc.
# Don’t expect a new site be ranked in 2 to 3 months
I won’t beat around the bush. A new site will generally take 5 to 6 months before the selected keywords start ranking on page #1 of search results. Yes it helps if you are creating valuable content, syndicating and promoting that content, working on a blog, participate in relevant social communities and building relevant links, but that does not mean that you don’t have to cross the “time threshold”.
If you have a domain 3 years or older, it will generally be easier to start seeing results in less than 3 months. If you have already been doing quality link building and following SEO principles, and looking for enhancing your visibility and rank, then the “time threshold” can be greatly reduced.
# Don’t expect search rankings to change each week
SEO is not cause and effect. What this means is that if your SEO expert does a, b and c, then the results would be x,y and z. So don’t expect your search ranking to move up 5 places because you have done web directory submissions and social bookmarking last month. It just does not work in this way.
What you can expect is that after a period of concentrated effort (generally 3 – 4 months) you will see a quantum jump in your search rankings (sometimes even a few pages), of course depending on the competition for those keywords.
# Don’t expect search position #1, #2, #3, #4 …
Many clients ask for #1, #2, #3 rankings in search listings with a guarantee. Yes, it’s possible after a year of effort, but even then I will not give the client any guarantee. Page #1 is the ideal target I suggest. There may be times you may have to even settle for page #2 for very competitive keywords.
# Don’t expect a Guarantee
This highlights my point above. There is no guarantee possible. And if you find a company or person ready to give you a guarantee, do check as there may be a catch.
Focus on creating valuable content, syndicate that content, and promote it across relevant social, web and user communities. If you can do this consistently, you don’t need any guarantees.
# Don’t expect the SEO expert to work on Results based Remuneration
This expectation is so common that it pains me. Are there any SEO experts out there ready to sell their time, effort and network for a free ride? If so, then I have to ask them why? And maybe so should you …
# Don’t expect your SEO to design, write, program, be a webmaster …
While a SEO expert can be designer, a programmer, a marketing professional, or a webmaster, it’s not necessary for a SEO expert to have all these skills. There are skilled professionals for design and coding needs, and its best to have your SEO expert focus on SEO.
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