If there’s something that’s been keeping SEO marketers alert over the years, it’s got to be Google with their ever-changing search algorithms. Strategies that have worked 3+ years down the line won’t work the same way as they used to be with the current updates.
However, the fact that receiving organic traffic is still one of the most profitable traffic sources online, is what makes SEO marketers willing to do everything they can to rank their websites and enjoy 100% passive traffic.
For you who are just starting out with SEO, you might’ve been wondering what SEO stands for.
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It’s the procedure of optimizing our site’s content for search engines to “love” it and place it higher in their results, thus receiving free search traffic also known as organic traffic.
Do not confuse organic traffic with the paid ads that google places in their search results. These are often recognized by having a slightly different color compared to the non-paid links. Paid traffic is not organic traffic.
The whole purpose of SEO is to “play” with the algorithm of the search engines and place us higher in the results, without having to pay a single cent for advertisement. Only then we can talk about free, passive, organic traffic.
Truth is we’ll never find a “blue pill” that solves the SEO dilemma once and for all, since algorithms change over the course of time. But we can always adapt to the changes and save ourselves a lot of headaches in the future.
If you’re into the SEO game, you’ve got to watch each and every Google’s update carefully. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the time-tested strategies which you can use to increase your website’s authority to the eyes of our beloved search engine.
ON Page SEO
On page SEO is the technique used to optimize the content on your own site in order for google to favor it among others.
It’s one of the most important aspects of the SEO game. While OFF Page SEO (which we’ll talk about right below this chapter in the next few minutes) carries a really heavy ranking factor, ON Page SEO is just as critical, plus it’s faster to properly set it up.
ON page SEO is, simply put, everything that’s being tweaked to your own page or money site. We add our keyword of choice (the keyword or keyword phrase that we want to rank) in certain parts of the content of our article, along with some other minor tweaks.
Here are some of the most common on-page seo factors:
- Keyword placed in Headlines (h1, h2).
- At the start of the first paragraph.
- Adding external links to a blog similar to what the keyword you’re targeting is talking about.
- Adding images using your targeted keyword as an alt tag.
- For a full list you should check out the yoast wordpress plugin.
One rule of thumb to remember: It’s much easier to rank an article that’s been properly ON page seo optimized with the exact same backlinks, rather than going straight to OFF page seo without taking care of your own article first.
Talking about back-links, I think it’s time to introduce you to OFF page SEO.
OFF Page SEO
OFF page SEO, as the name implies, is everything that’s being done to improve your site’s rankings but without directly affecting your site. In other words, we build backlinks.
But what’s a backlink?
A backlink is a link from a third party website that “talks about” your site. Google’s algorithm knows that this site is talking about “you” since it links to your site via an anchor (clickable text) or image.
Backlinks have their own quality / quantity ratios:
- Quality: When the website that links to you is authoritative, then the backlink is “stronger”. For example, if apple.com links to your site, then this 1 and only backlink has the power of 1.000 mediocre backlinks (figuratively speaking) thus placing your site higher in the search results.
- Quantity: This is as simple as it sounds. More quality backlinks equal to more power. Spammy backlinks equal to no power or even to the danger of getting de-indexed by google.
Staying under google’s radar by a) diversifying b) a lot of (quantity) and c) quality links is the key to stay to the top and outrank your competitors.
Develop A Winning Content-Marketing Strategy
Useful and captivating content is the main ingredient to make Google love you. Writing a lot of content while keeping the user engaged, decreasing the bounce rate in Google Analytics, is one of the key factors to succeed in the SEO game.
Spying on your competitors for content and marketing ideas can also be quite profitable since it saves you a lot of time experimenting. It’s pretty logical if you think about it. If your competitors are already on the first page of google, then they must be feeding the algorithm what it needs.
SEO tools such as Ahrefs & Majectic SEO can show you exactly what the competitors do to get those first page rankings, so you can get ahead of the game faster without too much guesswork.
Private Blog Networks
Private Blog Networks or PBNs work pretty well in 2017. The whole idea of a PBN is to actually own more than 1 website which will receive links by this network. At the same time, you should hide any kind of footprint from Google that all these sites are owned by the same webmaster, you.
Google doesn’t want us to “game” their algorithm and it’s really easy to leave footprints, especially with the google chrome browser which is owned by… Google of course.
Building private blog networks properly needs lots of trial and error. If you feel like you’re not willing to burn some domains & money to find what’s really working, then you can always buy links from some PBN owners that can be found online.
Make Your Site Responsive
In spite of the smart-device revolution, some webmasters love to live in 2010. It’s not rare to come across a website that is slapped up with a basic html template or a WordPress theme that is not responsive.
Owning a responsive website means that one can easily navigate through it with ease, no matter what device he’s using. Since the Google team has always been up to deliver its users with the best possible experience, it’d be wise to stay mobile-friendly.
A Rule of Thumb
Don’t risk your main money-making sites for any kind of SEO experiments. Always experiment on domains that you don’t really care about, so if things go wrong you won’t have to lose a website that’s paying your bills.
Domains & hosting cost less than $20 per month. It wouldn’t be really wise to lose a whole money-making website instead of this small amount of money used for testing purposes.
Maintaining a high quality, authoritative blog and staying under the radar is the key to success in 2017. The techniques outlined above are some of the most critical ones that have stood the test of time.
If you love SEO, as much as we do, these are the criteria that you should be focusing on. The rest is all about experimentation and split-testing until you feed the algorithm what it’s really asking for. Good luck to your endeavors.