Google vs. You: The SERP War
Why is it so tough to do SEO these days? Is SEO really dead? Interesting debate every time when there is a new algorithm update or data refresh rolled up by Google. It seemed like Google is aggressively fighting spam and blackhat SEO. After the successful implementation of Panda(on page quality) and Penguin(off page quality), the latest buzz seemed to be the hummingbird update.
I have seen many discussions by experts and panelists on the subject of “how to survive through big G. updates.” And the funny thing is many new software are popping up in the marketplace claiming that they are safer and secure than ever aiming to build to last despite any Google update.
I believe many have complicate the subject matter! SEO practitioners are over analyzing things. Every now and there, I am seeing new tools and software trying to combat with all the algorithm changes. But the truth is your faith is always in the hand of Google, you can’t change it but FOR SURE you can make it better.
For me, I like to keep things simple. Tools are powerful but to gain top position on Google, you don’t need any paid tools at all:)
Penguin and Panda Survival Guidelines
Here are some insights of what I have doing since 2010. Like any other webmasters, I like to experiment with things and tools. Per my experiment, the sites that survive through all the updates are sites that doesn’t involve tools and software..a big surprise isn’t it:) These sites are still ranking high on top of Google through all the updates. Due to confidential purposes, I no longer share sample of my websites just to protect the properties.
Nevertheless, I can confidently say that if you follow my advice below, 99% of the time, you will survive through all the animal updates.
Tipping Point #1: Think Authority
Search engine works like spiders, they like to cast their web widely and hunting for fresh foods. Search engine bot scan your site for new contents added all the time. That being said, your need to establish trust in the eyes of search engine, especially Google.
Trust is something goes beyond just building backlink to get your pages and get them rank high on Google. Trust being said that your website MUST offer the types of quality your users are looking for. So they will be happy to share them on their blogs or social accounts.
Think quality, your website should work like a newspaper and update on a regular basis. I am not saying that thin website won’t rank anymore. But the long term strategies are always building user oriented authority website so you can establish enough domain authority overtime. An authority site will also have lower bounce rate since users are more lightly to engage and stay on your site searching for relevant subjects.
Tipping point #2: Site Architecture
Your website design needs to be designed with user in mind, not SEO. I recommend to build a silo structure website and you can easily do that with WordPress CMS without the need to use any software or tools. If you ever wonder how to construct your website, take a look at Wikipedia. If you are doing affiliate marketing website, take a look at Amazon. Be sure to do follow all the internal link within your posts and put no follow on all external affiliate links.(Just my opinion)
A silo if constructed correctly can give you an instant boost in ranking and natural link force through your site structure.
Tipping Points #3: Fresh Quality Content
A solid website works like a newspaper, it should publish most relevant and up-to-date high quality content everyday. If you are short of time, please ensure you write minimum of one post per week.
If you adhere to feeding fresh content on a weekly basis, you will be surprised to see how much authority you site will gain in a very short period of time.
Once your site start establishing trust in search, all your pages will rank high in search engine naturally without any need of link building provided you establish enough authority in the eyes of Google. (See my video on how to SEO which I explain the fundamental of how to build a long lasting and solid web property.)
Tipping Point #4: Quality Backlink
Quality backlink should be your focus, not quantity. These links can give you ultimate boost to your ranking. Instead of doing mass article marketing or web 2.0 link building distribution. You should be focusing on guess blogging. Blog post on niche related website and have one or two links pointing back to your web pages.
Here are a few tips of locating guess blogger in your niche:
Search on Google with the following comments:
“Keyword” guess blogging
“keyword” article writing
“keyword” write for us
Then approach the webmasters and ask for guess post opportunities. The search engine process is really not that complicated. Google will determine where your page will be ranking based on how many quality vote you receive from relevant and quality website. So, one thing I am very certain is relevancy plus quality will get you rank higher. You might not get a YES all the time to publish an article on similar niche site all the time due to nature of the competition. Thus you need to be creative enough.
A guess post doesn’t necessary has to be “relevant and relevant”, but it can also be “related and relevant.” eg, if you own a furniture site, instead of knocking on all the 3rd party furniture websites asking to guess post, you should try to approach the green niche or home and garden niche for guess post. your chances of success are much higher.
Some may argue that guess post is time consuming. Yes..it is, but the reward is long term ranking. Do you know why many SEO get penalized overtime? The reason is everyone is doing the same thing such as article marketing and mass blog comments. Everyone else is practicing the same SEO strategies that aim to manipulate search ranking results. Mass and spammy low quality links can be easily dictated by Google, thus putting your site at risk.
Ask yourself a question: “What if I choose to do 80% of the things that only 20% of the people are doing, What will be the outcome?” I can guarantee that your SERP will rise to the top overtime.
Tipping Point #5: Quality Article on 3rd Party website
Backlinks are still key in getting high ranking. But what matter is quality not quantity. Do not use any spun content for publishing. You always need to make sure your on page and off page SEO have the absolute best content. eg, if you want to guess post on USAtoday.com, do you think they will accept a crappy spun content?
Tipping Point #6: Build Your Own Secret Sauce:)
Blog network works, but you have to take control and build your own networks. Do not outsource your backlink to 3rd party blog network services as you are putting huge risks on your website that you spend years to build. Building your private homepage link network will require additional time and budget but it is a rewarding journey.
Combining with regular quality content update and the power of a few home page backlink, you can easily rise in SERP even with extremely competitive keywords you are targeting at. This strategy does work, but do handle with care and keep your network private to yourself.
If you are short of budgets, just follow the first 4 tipping points above and your should be sufficient enough to survive all the algorithm update.
Closing Thought: Be Spam Free
One of the primary reasons why people fail to rank is always quality. Regardless it is content related, backlink or even user experience. A quality site will attract quality readers, quality readers will always come back and revisit your site again since you have good content to attract your target audience. Additionally, quality backlink will give you instant boost and also referral traffics.
If you still struggling with SEO, make sure you stop all the churn and burn techniques. Don’t take any shortcut and jeopardize the results. By focusing on the quality game, you will be free from all Penguin and Panda update and prevail in the long run.