In past years, companies and marketers alike have utilized every trick known to man in an attempt to “game” Google in order to increase search rankings. For the most part, it was incredibly successful.
Basically, the more money companies pumped into purchasing backlinks, reciprocal links, automated posting, article submissions to directories such as Ezine, and publishing press releases without pertinent information, the easier it became for them to increase rankings.
That seems rather unfair, doesn’t it? Well Google agrees. Their latest algorithm changes that come in the form of Panda and Penguin updates have put the kibosh on these methods, creating a more level playing field for those with great products and services and not just those with the deepest pockets.
However, there are still marketers out there that are looking for the newest “tricks” to pull the wool over the eyes of Google without having to put in the work. Those tricks are destined to backfire…
What some fail to realize is that Google will continue to update their algorithm. What may be seen as a neat new way to pull a fast one on these search engines, will eventually become obsolete. For those IMers that rely on their business as a viable stream of income, there is no telling when it may come to a deliberate end at the hands of a new update. In order to build a profitable business that provides consistent results no matter what Google chooses to do, there are certain methods of SEO and traffic building that trump the rest.
- Forget the long tailed keyword domain names. These no longer work for search rankings. Instead, find a domain that is short, easily memorable, and can be spelled with ease. This will ensure that visitors who enjoyed your site the first time will be able to return.
- Content, Content, Content. Fresh new content that is easy for viewers to read and pertains to your site. Yes, keywords still work, but should only be added into an article at a 1-3% density maximum.
Keyword density should not inhibit the reader’s ability to comprehend the article in any way. It must sound and flow naturally. Also, adding the keyword to your title will give an added boost.
- Simplicity is key. Google users “spiders” that crawl sites to index/rank the pages within. If the linking structure is confusing or the site itself is cluttered with animated pictures etc., these spiders will have a difficult time reaching all of your pages. This may even decrease your rankings. Also, the more simple a site is to navigate, the more likely your viewers will be to peruse the various pages.
- Increased site speed. Google prefers pages that load fast. Why? Because viewers prefer it as well. Research has shown that pages that take at least 4 seconds to load will lose 25% of the viewers due to abandonment. Sites that use a lot of flash, may be feeling the results. In an age where people want information at the speed of light, the speed at which your site loads could affect your bottom line.
- Mobile-friendly sites. As mobile commerce increases as an astronomical rate (13% every year), it becomes pertinent to conform so that you can take advantage of the growing trend.
- Word count. Google prefers pages with at least 400 words.
- Use Alt tags for your images that coincide with your keywords
- Follow Google’s guidelines found HERE
Off Site SEO
- More content! Since we established that search engines LOVE fresh content, it should come as no surprise that it works for off site seo as well. Here’s a quick tip: make a list of all the leaders within your niche. Contact them all individually. Do not copy and paste emails. Make it personalized. Tell them about yourself and what you’re looking to accomplish. Perhaps if they have the same views, they will allow you to guest post on their site. After all, it is a win-win situation for both parties. They will give their viewers something of value with minimal work, and you will receive extra exposure and links back to your site. This has been shown to generate some serious traffic and can also increase rankings as well.
- You’ve gotta get social! Search engines monitor trends within social media. This is an easy way for them to get an idea of what people are interested in. By creating a following via social media, you can not only improve rankings, but brand awareness, and generate an influx of new viewers as your dedicated followers will literally market your services for FREE by reposting them on their accounts for all of their friends to see. You can’t beat that!
- Internet forums. Not for backlinks. Forum backlinks don’t have the same power they once did. However, if you are seen as an authority on a forum within your niche, you can easily promote your site in order to receive more traffic. This doesn’t mean that you should spam forums in hopes that people will follow. Quite the contrary, contribute as much as possible. Help others by providing information and insight. Those that want to learn more will most definitely check out your site.
- Youtube and other video sites. Youtube alone receives over 1 billion unique visitors per month scouring through over 6 billion hours of videos. Prestigious marketer Mike Chang’s entire multimillion dollar fitness enterprise revolves around his Youtube marketing. To date, his videos have received a total of 257,705,982 views with over 2 million subscribers!
Remember, there are a ton of video hosting sites out there. Obviously, Youtube is the king, but that shouldn’t stop you from posting videos on the others. If you haven’t noticed, the four off site SEO techniques I listed are for generating brand awareness more than anything. The more people encounter your brand, the more likely they will be to visit your site, make purchases, and refer others. All of these methods mentioned are at the top of the off site list because if done correctly, your target audience will take them and do all of the promotion for you.
How many times have you gone onto Facebook and seen friends and family posting about a company? How many emails have you received from others about awesome youtube videos that they’ve seen? If you win over the top pecking order of a popular forum, they WILL refer you to other posters. What does this all equate to? More exposure = more traffic = higher rankings = money in the bank…
Obviously, there are countless options for SEO. We could probably create page after page of reliable information that could benefit your site. However, these are the most important. If you master these methods, then the other techniques will be as simple as a few adjustments here and there. Plus, none of these methods are seen as blackhat by Google in any way. This will ensure that your business continues to flourish no matter how the ranking algorithms change.