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Best Practices Guide: Chapter 3

Off-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

With On-Page Search Engine Optimization you made your website search engine friendly.  You created unique and compelling content for your webpages that was focused on your chosen keywords.

With Off-Page Search Engine Optimization you will try to convince the search engines that your content is better than other websites with the same keywords.

When someone conducts a search for a keyword or phrase on Google or Bing, the search engines try to present the best available information.  If you have 200 different websites “pointing” to you as a good information source on a specific keyword, and your competitor has only 10 different websites “pointing“ to their webpages for that keyword, you will probably rank higher than your competitor.

 

Of course, SEO is much more complicated than that.

SEO RankingThere are over 8 billion webpages on the internet, so each of the search engines use a complex computer algorithm to determine how each webpage should rank in their searches.   They are constantly tweaking this algorithm to produce better search results, to prevent folks from gaming their system and to ultimately produce better financial results for their company.

Read SEO Basics  for a better understanding of Search Engine Optimization.

 

Successful SEO is all about business risk management

Google changes it’s algorithm over 500 times in a year.  According to Google, these changes typically “only” impact 1 to 3 percent of websites. It sounds safe until you realize that 3% represents 240 million webpages!  Virtually all of them represent small businesses.  The big companies are rarely negatively impacted.

In most cases, websites that receive penalties are only mildly impacted.  However, in the past year an estimated million websites saw their rankings drop dramatically.  Some of them were clearly using techniques frowned upon by Google.  Others were using techniques that were previously considered “safe or acceptable” prior to the latest algorithm change.  Some were simply impacted by how other websites “pointed” to their website.   Many have not yet recovered their rankings, even after making extensive changes to their websites or their SEO practices.  It can take many months to figure out what specifically triggered the penalty and an even longer time to take corrective action and recover.

 

Never allow your business to be overly dependent on just one or two marketing techniques

Your website business could be negatively impacted by the next algorithm change, even if your staff or your SEO agency thought they were doing safe “white hat” SEO.

The businesses that fail rely mostly on SEO.   The businesses that survive rely on multiple techniques to drive traffic to their website, so that the potential loss of just SEO rankings does not cripple their company.

Diversity is critical to your success with SEO.

  • Don’t rely on SEO for 100% of your traffic.  The more traffic sources you use, the less reliant you become on any one source.  If your SEO traffic drops 10%, you can very quickly ramp up the other services to fill the gap.
  • Don’t rely on one webpage or one keyword for 100% of your traffic.  It’s much better to have 100 webpages or keywords, each representing 1% of your traffic.
  • Don’t rely on one type of SEO service or one type of backlink.

The business owner must have a working understanding of SEO to manage risk to their business

If you want business results fast or you want to rank number one in the searches, the only way your staff or SEO agency can achieve your request is take more risks.  More risks means an increased chance of being penalized by the search engines.

If you don’t know what your staff or your SEO agency is doing, you have essentially delegated your business strategy to them!  You must understand what techniques they are using (and not using), the expected results, the time frames for results, and most importantly the risk that these techniques could be penalized by a future algorithm change.

You don’t have to become an SEO Guru!!!

Marketing Outfield Marketplace

There is a huge amount of misinformation about Search Engine Optimization on the internet.  Everyone has an opinion and bias, so it can be really challenging to separate fact from fiction.  Every SEO expert claims that their clients were never negatively impacted by an algorithm.  Others claim they discovered the secret to recovering.

I’ve learned to only believe and follow SEO experts who closely monitor thousands of client websites, are constantly testing the real world impact of an algorithm change against prevailing SEO industry best practices, publish their test methodology and findings to SEO peer groups, and have an earned reputation as an expert within the SEO industry.

However, you don’t have to be an SEO Guru to run your business.  You just have to have sufficient knowledge to understand the risk and ask good questions.  I suggest you read this article on  Mitigating Business Risk.

Current Best Practices

The following is current best practices for DIY SEO and those that want to purchase SEO services a la carte.

  • Have unique and compelling content on your website.
  • Diversify the types of links pointing to your website: guest articles and blog posts, blog comments, wiki websites, forum profiles, etc.
  • Try to get links from authority sites (big, established sites).  Don’t get links just from small, unknown websites.
  • Tiered linking of articles with relevant anchor text can be very effective (e.g. numerous websites pointed to your article on AOL, AOL in turn pointed to your website).
  • While 80% of your links should be “do follow” type (i.e. most websites), approximately 20% should be “no follow” links (e.g. wiki sites).
  • While 80% of your links should be to inner pages of your website, 20% or less should be to your website homepage.
  • Start with a low volume of links for a few months (e.g. “100”) and increase it over time (e.g. “1000”).  It usually takes 3 to 6 months before you see any substantial and sustained impact to rankings.
  • Maintain link building velocity. Do not suddenly decrease or increase the number of links built per month.
  • Approximately 1/3 of all links should be with your desired anchor text and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing)/synonym keyword anchors, 1/3 of all links should be your website url, and 1/3 should be generic terms (e.g. click here, this website, etc).
  • Check out these LSI article services and SEO Link Building Services.
  • Ensure that no keyword anchor text represents more than 10% of all links.  This means that you need over 10 targeted anchor texts per page.  The more anchor text variation the better.
  • Increase social network involvement with your website.  Website mentions in Twitter tweets/retweets and Facebook posts have shown positive impact to website ranking.  Check out  these  social media SEO  services.
  • Free tools for anchor text management include MajesticSEO and Ahrefs.
  • Free tools to measure social engagement include Google Analytics and WooRank.
  • Always monitor the performance of purchased SEO services and your overall SEO progress monthly.  You could purchase a keyword ranking monitoring service to track all your keyword rankings in both Google and Bing.

 

Diversify your marketing campaigns to effectively manage business risk

Chapter 4 will cover other lead generation techniques. To give you time to act on the above information, the link for Chapter 4 will be emailed to subscribers in a few days.