Back in the day, I used to do what thousands of other SEOs would do to find keywords. Go to the Keyword Tool, type some words and get a list of the keywords I would target.
But now, things are different. Now the keyword tool is completely different and long tail keywords are more important than ever. And on top of that, it is harder to know what people are actually searching for.
The rules of keyword research have changed and so has the game.
I won’t deny it. I still use the Keyword Planner. And let’s be honest, we all will. Because that’s Google’s data. And we are doing SEO to rank on Google. So we will take what we get.
But we will add our own techniques to find the best keywords outside of Keyword Planner as well. Just adding a little spice to the game and making sure that we are ahead of the competition here.
Remember, keyword research is one of THE MOST important steps in SEO and in Google Adwords advertising.
If you get this right, you have a very high chance of having a successful campaign.
First, we will cover the ideas and then we will cover some unheard methods of keyword research. So hold on to your chair because this is about to get exciting.
As SEOs, we like to think that the customer already knows how to use the right keywords to get the right results. And we couldn’t be more wrong.
We think in the form of “which keyword has the highest volume.”
The customer just wants to know where that restaurant is.
This is the reason why we end up finding a ton of keywords with a lot of competition.
You would be surprised to know that more than 18% of searches that are being performed on Google have never been performed before.
How’s that for a mind-blowing fact?
This is the reason why you need to start thinking like your customer.
What would you do if you wanted to find that restaurant? What would you search on Google?
Maybe you would search for:
Remember, at this point, we are just coming up with ideas. We are not focusing on the keyword volume right now.
My personal tip would be to completely get into the character of being your customer. Think about how your day might have gone and other commitments, etc. And then think about what you might want to search for to find that restaurant.
By completely putting yourself in their shoes, you will be able to know what they might search for.
It is very easy to lose touch with your customers when you are constantly working in an industry.
So it is always a good idea to have a chat with your customers and get feedback on whatever you are working on.
Having a face-to-face chat might not always be possible. But there are thousands of forums in almost every niche these days. You can just hop into one and start talking. And it’s not just the forums where you can interact with your customers.
You can talk to them in the blog comments sections, through autoresponders, etc.
You would be surprised what you uncover when you just have a simple conversation with a customer.
Recently I found out that the best way to get an SEO client is to give them certainty.
That’s the only thing they are looking for. If they can be certain that you can rank them for the keywords that you promise, they will be happy to give you their money.
And I got all of that from just a 5-minute chat. And now it has completely changed how I look at my marketing.
How easy was that?
User-generated content (UGC) and communities is the place where all of the information/content is generated by the users.
This is the place where people usually turn when they cannot find the answers they were looking for. This usually happens when no one has written any piece of content on that specific topic, but it has been talked about in these UGCs.
Now all you have to do is sift through these sites and just keep gathering a ton of keyword ideas that you can use later on. But that’s not it.
You will also be able to understand the concerns of these people and the questions they are asking.
These are the places where you will find ideas which you cannot find in any keyword tool in the world.
Now I know what you might be thinking, “But Nabil, most of these keywords do not have a high search volume. So they are of no use to us.”
You can answer multiple queries that are similar. And when you add up the search volume for all of those keywords, you will see that it is something that we probably shouldn’t be missing out on.
The world thinks of Wikipedia as some undeniable encyclopedia.
I think of it as another keyword research tool in my arsenal.
If you have never heard of using different types of search parameters in Google, now might be the time to look it up. Because that’s what we will be using in this method.
The process is pretty simple and straightforward. But when you do it in front of other people, you will be an SEO God in their eyes.
Here we go:
Step 1: Go to Google and then type “inurl: Wikipedia your topic”
Obviously, you should remove the quotation marks from the search. Once you do that you will get a completely different type of search result than you are used to.
Step 2: This is where you will be looking for the most relevant terms and possible keywords that you can use.
Step 3: Now open the Wikipedia entry and repeat the same process of identifying the relevant terms and finding possible keywords that you can use. If you want to make this process quicker, just sift through the first couple paragraphs and try to make out the keywords from them.
You can also try to morph the keywords you have found into a couple of long tail keywords. This will only help you further with your campaigns.
Step 4: Also identify other potential keywords from Wikipedia’s table of content list.
Step 5: See if there are links to any other associated subjects. If so, click on them to find even more keywords that you can use.
Wikipedia ranks as the 6th most popular website in the world.
Remember, if Wikipedia has a page about a topic, then you can be damn sure that people are searching for it. You can mimic what they do and give the people the information they are searching.
Obviously, it will be pretty hard to outrank Wikipedia. But you can definitely rank for some long tail keywords and pull in your piece of the traffic.
Ever noticed that Google tries to predict what you are going to type by giving you a couple of suggested queries?
This feature has been around for such a long time but I see so many SEOs skipping out on this method. They are just in too much of a hurry to even notice that this is just another opportunity to find out what people are searching for.
These autocomplete suggestions that you get are completely based on real queries that were searched by real people.
Not only that, these suggestions can vary based on your geographic location and language.
This is one of THE most accurate representations of what the people are searching for out there.
If you haven’t been using this to do your keyword research, then you have definitely left a ton of money on the table.
But it is time to start using it. Because nothing can be better than this.
Step 1: Start searching for any keyword you want more ideas for. The autocomplete suggestions will start giving you some of the most popular keywords that people have searched for.
Step 2: You will also get long-tail suggestions which is the main reason why I love this so much.
Step 3: All the suggested keywords are ranked by the freshness of them. Meaning, keywords that are more popular (popular during the time of your search) will appear first, aka, rank higher in the suggestion list.
Step 4: You want to make sure that Google is not autocompleting your queries based on your previous searches. So to avoid that you should open a new “incognito” tab and then search.
Step 5: Type your main keyword or the long tail keyword that first comes to your mind. For instance, “garage door repair.”
Step 6: You will start seeing suggestions appear. You will want to write them down.
Step 7: You want to see more relevant keywords. So you will type “A” after your main keyword and write down the suggestions that you see. For example, you will type “garage door repair A.”
Step 8: Repeat Step 7 until you have enough keywords that you think will suffice.
Or if you are too lazy to type all of that in the Google search, there is a tool that can give you all the suggestions you will need. Basically, this tool will add the alphabets after your main keyword. After that, all you will need to do is copy and paste that keyword in Google and see what it suggests you.
The tool is called Ubersuggest. It is a pretty nifty tool.
If you do choose to use it, do keep in mind that it does not suggest keywords based on popularity. Only Google does that.
We all agree that Google is the almighty G of the world because it is the biggest search engine in the world. So, we need to start taking more cues from its algorithm and use it to our advantage.
Although it might be a little daunting for some of you, the rewards are better than what you think. Because it is highly possible that your competitor might not be using these methods to do keyword research.
More money for you.
So, here’s what you do.
Step 1: Search for any keyword that is relevant to your niche in Google.
Step 2: Scroll down to the very bottom of the page. I want you to ignore everything in between. Just focus on the keywords that are just above the number of pages.
That is where your reward is. All these keywords that are highly relevant to what you are searching. Just sitting there for someone to pick them and start optimizing for them.
These keywords are similar to what you get in the autocomplete suggestions. But these are different because Google is mixing up the keyword you searched for with other keywords.
But make no mistake, those keywords are related to each other in some shape or form.
And believe, throughout my SEO career, I have found some mind-blowing keywords with this method. Not just mind-blowing, but wide open for total domination.
Keyword research is a basic skill that every SEO has. But it depends on how they use that skill to their advantage and are able to deliver it either to their clients or for themselves. That is what sets them apart than others.
Remember, you do not need to have expensive tools to find untapped keywords. You just need to be creative about your methods and very soon you will have hundreds of keywords that you wouldn’t know what to do with.
What are some of your most favorite ways to find amazing keywords?
Imagine you just built an amazing website where you are offering mind-blowing content to people. But the only problem is that nobody is coming to your website. That is when you start an ad campaign using Google Adwords (we will be covering a getting started guide on Facebook Ads as well in the future).
I know that by the looks of it, it seems like a very daunting task to set up an ad campaign on Adwords. But as the saying goes “do not judge a book by its cover.”
That’s true when it comes to Adwords. Most of the things that seem confusing to you are either very simple once you get over the learning curve. Or is only used by the pros who have been using Adwords for years.
And now the next thing you might worry about, is whether or not you will go bankrupt with this. Definitely not.
You see, even if you have a budget of just $1 per day, you will still be able to run campaigns. I would recommend at least having a budget of $5 per day, but if you are comfortable with $1, then so be it.
Right now we are only trying to see if we can efficiently generate traffic to our amazing website.
Now that we have addressed the 2 biggest concerns, let’s dive into the getting started part. This guide will help you get started with a live campaign in just a matter of minutes after reading the article.
As with almost anything you do on the internet, you will need to first set up your account. There are 2 options for you here.
And if you like to go the old-school route, you can choose to call the toll-free number and set up your account that way.
Whichever option you choose, just follow the instructions and you will have your own advertising account in no time. The process is very straightforward.
All you need to do is to make sure that you have your credit card handy when creating the account. You will need that.
Now comes the fun part.
Before we dive head-first into it, let’s just get familiar with the taxonomies and the fundamentals of Google Adwords. If you are advertising for the very first time on the internet you might not be very familiar with the terms.
All of your ads are segregated into Campaigns. And each of those campaigns has multiple Ad Groups. Each Ad Group can have multiple keywords and multiple ads.
The best way to keep things simple for yourself is to have a lower amount of Ad Groups. The lower they are, the better.
However, if you are looking to run multiple ads to experiment and see which one performs the best, then you can use multiple Ad Groups.
Now that you are a tad bit familiar with the taxonomy, we can get back to the setting up the campaign thingy.
By clicking on the Campaign tab, and then New Campaign you will be able to select whether you want your ads to show up on Search networks (basically everyone directly searching on Google). Or if you would like to display your ads on Display networks (these are third parties that are using Adsense on their websites). And if you prefer both, you can select that option.
If you are like me, then you would want to select the last option (both) because right now we are trying to get as much exposure to our website as possible.
No doubt the Search networks option will definitely get you visitors that are more targeted, but as I said earlier, right now we just want exposure.
By clicking next, you will be able to name your campaign and also have more settings options.
Here you will be able to select which devices you want your ads to show up on.
And not only that, you can also select the locations and nationalities of people whom you want to target. You can even narrow down your audience to a specific city and ZIP code.
That is pretty nifty if you are a local brick and mortar company trying to advertise online.
Once you are done defining your audience, you will see that at the bottom of the screen where you have an option to add your phone number, your corresponding address and other information that you would like to add.
Do not worry about this because there is no additional charge for that.
This is the part where you protect yourself from bankruptcy.
Just kidding. Your finances are your responsibility. Make sure that you know how much you can spend on your ads on a daily basis. You don’t want to end up with no money at the end of the month.
It is a bit tricky to set the budget for optimum performance of your ads. So I will try to make it as simple as possible.
You see, there are two important components that come into play when you are setting up your budget:
Every keyword that you choose has an auction-based pricing going on behind the scenes. Different advertisers bid on that keyword. And whoever is bidding the most will get their ads placed at the top. The bid is the amount an advertiser is willing to pay every time someone clicks on their ad.
So let’s say that you bid 30 cents for a keyword. This means that you will pay 30 cents every time someone clicks on your ad.
But, this can be dangerous as well.
Let’s say that you do an absolute master of a job writing your ad copy. And your ad gets famous and loads of people start clicking on your ad.
That is where the daily budget comes into play.
This is Google’s way of keeping you safe when things get crazy. Your daily budget is a way of letting Google know that you are not willing to spend anything more than that amount in a single 24 hour period.
Once your ad reaches that daily limit, Google will stop showing your ads until the next day.
Let’s say that you set your daily budget at $1. And if you are bidding 30 cents per click for your keyword, then after 3 clicks Google will stop displaying your ads.
Now you see how important both of those components are?
Not only that, the budget you choose for both of those components will heavily affect the overall performance of your business.
This is where the hardcore business math comes into play.
If you are selling e-cigarettes that average between $50-100 per unit, then you can definitely afford to pay more than a dollar per lead.
But if you are promoting an app that retails at 99 cents, then you might only be able to afford a per click rate of a few cents.
It won’t be wrong if you said that Adwords is more of an auction that a retail store. You are bidding for the keywords that you are targeting. And whoever bids the most, will be seeing their ads at the top. And anyone who is bidding lower, might not even see their ads show up until the top advertisers’ budget has been depleted for that day.
But you do not have to worry too much about that right now. You can always change everything later. That’s the beauty of it.
Now is the time to get your smart cap on and start writing your ad. Copywriting is all science. But then again, science is all about testing and experimenting with different headlines and descriptions.
Here you aren’t working with a lot of space. So you will need to make sure that you are very precise and to the point.
A headline only has up to 35 characters, and then you get two description blocks each of them have a limit of 35 characters each. And then you can add your URL.
You want to make sure that these things contain your best sales pitch ever. And when you are writing your copy, keep your reader/buyer in mind. Take a note of what other top advertisers are writing in their copy.
Usually things like “Buy it now!” or “Buy One Get One Free” tends to work better. But then again, you should test things out and see what works better.
Another thing you should always keep in mind is the Google’s Best Practices. You see, your ad will only go live once Google approves your ads. So don’t try to write anything that is not family friendly, unless you are specifically targeting that market.
Once you are done writing the ad, you will notice an area where you can create your keywords. The generic advice is that you always want to target keywords that your website does.
Keyword research is a huge topic in itself and we have scheduled an article for release at a later date on that topic. So watch out for that. But I will try to cover the basics here just so you don’t get stuck.
The more common the word is, the more competition you will see. Let’s say that your target keyword is “personal injury lawyer” which is a common word for people searching for that lawyer. It will obviously have a lot of competition.
But, if you choose something like “personal injury lawyer st George Utah” you will have a lot less competition. But you will also have lesser traffic compared to the other keyword. But then again, if people are specifically searching for a personal injury lawyer in St George, you will be the one they will be contacting.
One thing you have to remember here is that if the traffic of your chosen keyword is very low, then Google will not display ads at all for that keyword. Even if you are the only bidder for that keyword, there just isn’t that much traffic there.
But if you are worried about not being able to find appropriate keywords for your campaign, you don’t have to. Because you are the Google Keyword Tool at your disposal.
This is a tool that Google lets you use to find out which keywords would be best for your campaign. Not only does it gives you information about how much traffic a keyword gets, you will also get alternative keywords that you can use in your campaign.
And you will be surprised that you never came up with some of these keywords.
Although there is no limit on the number of keywords you can use, but it is always better to keep that number manageable.
Once you are done writing the ad and selecting the keywords, Adwords will ask you again for the bidding of this ad. But here you want to keep it the same as the default bid and then save the ad group.
Once your ad is approved by Google and is live, you will immediately be able to see how it is performing. You will be presented with a sweet graph that gives you all the details about how your ad is performing for each of the keywords that you chose.
And if you want to go into a bit more detail, you can select your campaign from your ad group. But beware that you might not like what you see. And don’t worry about that because the competition is sky-high when it comes to Adwords.
You will be surprised to see the per click rates for some keywords.
Back on the topic, once you are on the page of your ad group, you will see all your ads in different statuses.
You will see some keywords that are marked as “Below first page bid”.
What that means is that you are either not bidding enough for those keywords, or the Quality Score for that particular ad is too low for Google to run it.
The overall idea of the Quality Score is that Google compares your ad with the keywords that you are targeting and with the landing page (aka the page where the visitors will reach when they click on your ad) that you selected. And based on that Google makes conclusions about your ad and gives you a score.
They do this mainly to reduce the number of spammy ads.
So basically if you want your Quality Score to be higher, you want to make sure that all these things are matching as closely as possible.
We will be covering this topic in detail in a future article.
Once you go through all the checks and ensure that everything matches. The last thing you can do is simply increase your bid to get rid of those “Below first page bid” errors.
This is where the actual game begins. Your work is never done when it comes to online advertising.
You might find that one of your ads is just killing it one week and the next week it is inactive and just sitting there in your account. That might be because the quality score of that ad went down, or there might be a new advertiser who is bidding more than you.
That is why you always want to keep checking your ads and see if they are running as they should.
If you find any ads that are not performing well, then stop them.
If all of your ads are not performing well, then it might be time to tweak your ad copy. Remember, there are different variables at play here. So the best thing you can do is tweak one variable at a time and see which one makes things work.
Then stick with that variable for that ad.
If you find a winner ad, then gradually start increasing the daily budget for that one and keep it running for as long as you can.
If you run out of ideas on how you can improve your ads, there’s even an Opportunities tab on the Adwords homepage that you can click. This link will give you more ideas on how you can further improve your ads.
Another thing you want to keep an eye on is your email inbox. Google sends out emails if it thinks that you might be losing out on some Adwords traffic.
This way you can kill the weak ads and focus on the new keywords that Google recommends and see how that performs.
You might be thinking that Facebook and Twitter do not drive enough sales and because of that, you shouldn’t focus on gaining much traffic from them. You are wrong. Why? Google and Bing are now using that data to determine where your website should rank.
And this isn’t something new. SEO experts who really test things out have been using this technique for months to rank on page 1.
It was in 2010 when Matt Cutts released a video in which he confirmed that social signals do play a role in influencing your organic rankings.
Fast forward to today, and people still have no clue how they can leverage social signals to rank their website higher.
But the more important question is, “Why suddenly social signals have become so important?”
There are 2 sides to that question.
One is that social signals make things real. Google wants to make sure that it is showing the most relevant and enjoyable websites in its search results. And so it ensures that by checking out the social signals. Because if people are already liking and sharing that website, chances are that the users searching will also like that website.
The other side is that it makes things harder for people to manipulate search engines. It is true that Google wants to show only the best results up there. But it also wants to make sure that it is not easy to just get up there. The harder it is to rank higher, the lesser amount of people will be there trying to manipulate the search results.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to this: if your website is able to be found by people, and you are getting linked by people, then you will see yourself rank higher than your competitors.
Because your website looks much more natural than others. And it is much more healthy because Google has the data that proves that people are loving your website.
Now that you have gained a deeper understanding of why social signals are important, let’s dive into the steps you should be taking to take complete advantage of this opportunity.
Before you start receiving traffic through social media and start ranking higher, you need to first make sure that people are able to find you. And that is the reason why you want to use relevant keywords in your social profiles so that you attract people who are interested in what you are talking about.
That will let them share and engage with you on social media.
How do you do that?
You need to include keywords in your headlines, bios, and summaries on all of your social media profiles.
So the next time someone searches on Twitter, Facebook, etc. they will see your profile up in those results as well.
Yes, that is a thing.
Your followers will obviously be able to see what you post, but you also want your content to be visible to someone who is not your follower.
You do that by including relevant keywords in your posts and captions. Not only that, you can also use these keywords as hashtags. That will make it easier to discover your posts.
Let’s say you post something that is related to SEO. You also want to use SEO has a hashtag in the caption/post as well.
The key here is using relevant keywords as hashtags to further expand your audience.
If you are sharing content on social media, make sure that you are adding a call-to-action in your posts. You want people to click through and visit your website. So tell them to do so. That way they will be creating more social signals and also engaging with your content on your website.
There are people who would click on your links without even having to tell them. But most people need that little nudge to get them to click on your link.
But do make sure that you are not writing an entire sales pitch to get them to click through. Remember, it needs to be short and precise.
In most situations, a single sentence will be more than enough. And then you can just add your call-to-action, like “check out the link” or “click here.”
You are also not just limited to those 2 things. You can also ask them to like, share and comment on your posts.
But make sure that you are not confusing the people about what you want them to do.
Short and simple is the key here, which leads me to my next point.
The attention span of people on social media is very low. So it is best if you stick with either a photo or video instead of text. Even if you just write some text on an image and post it, that image will still get more attention than if you just write a caption or a text-only post.
AdEspresso analyzed more than 37,000 ads on Facebook and found out that the best performing headlines only had 5 words. And ad posts that performed the best had less than 14 words. And if there were link descriptions, they can be slightly longer, but no longer than 18 words for optimal performance.
There are definitely other factors that can influence the performance of an ad. But if there’s one thing that this study proves, is that the lesser amount of words you use, the better your chances are of having a winning ad.
By now you might have already realized that if you are using fewer words, then the words that you choose are important. And your words can have a direct effect on the ad performance as well. In the same study done by AdEspresso, they found that there are certain words that performed better than others.
It doesn’t matter if you are sharing the exact same thing. The way you say it can have a huge impact on whether or not people accept that information or not.
The study found that posts/ads that contained words like “you,” “free,” “because,” “instantly,” etc. performed better than the posts that did not contain those words.
So if you are looking for more social signals, make sure that you are using these words in your headlines, descriptions and captions. Obviously, you do not have to use all of those words in a single post. Just use it naturally whenever you think it will be best.
By now you have a very clear idea of what you should be doing to persuade people to click on your posts on social media and engage with your content. You also realized how important it is to properly optimize your social media profiles to get found for relevant topics.
Last but not least, you should know that it is will take some time and testing to start seeing incremental results. And once you get in the groove, you will know exactly what type of posts you should share, at what time and on what day.
After that, it is all just a matter of consistency and maintaining the quality of your content. And before you know it, you will be seeing your website rank on page 1.
SEO is like rope walking, you must have complete control of your body and be patient enough to keep yourself from falling. Not only that, you also need to balance both of those things. Overdo one thing and you’ll see yourself on the ground.
In SEO, if you overdo one thing, you will see yourself get penalized by Google. And you never want that to happen to you.
There are entire website dedicated to just this topic, but I believe that I can sum up the whole thing in just one post. That is because it is not that hard to avoid a penalty. You just need to make sure that you are not doing anything drastic, and also following these 18 rules of avoiding a Google penalty. And you’ll be good.
So, let’s dive into it, shall we?
Once you walk into the stores of online link purchasing, you will find thousands of people willing to sell links from their so-called “safe” private blog network (PBN). If you are not familiar with this concept, we will be covering in our next post.
I’m neither for nor against PBN links.
Well that’s because most people selling those PBN links have no idea how to safely set up their PBNs. And that’s what leads to them getting slapped by Google.
They leave an entire trail for Google to follow and get caught. And the worst part about that is that you are paying for those links.
The best alternative to that is to either set up your own PBN in the safest way possible. This way, not only will you control the links on your website, you will also be able to take the website down if it gets penalized.
Remember, you need to have balance, and getting rid of a penalized PBN will help restore that balance.
This was the oldest trick in the book to let Google know what keywords you want to rank for. Not anymore.
In fact, do this and there’s no doubt that your website will get penalized.
These days SEO wizards have created a new buzzword: keyword density. But that’s just the same thing.
How many times should the keyword be repeated in the content to let Google know what your article is about?
There’s no right answer to that. The best way to stay safe is to only use the keyword if it looks naturally appearing in the content. If you have to force it, then it’s probably not a good idea.
Once you start getting into the world of SEO, you will notice that you are getting a lot of links from spammy websites. Well, that’s because your competitors do not want you to rank above them.
So, it’s always a good habit to check your backlinks every now and then and just disavow the bad links that might be hurting your website.
The best and the easiest way to do this is through the Google Search Console.
It’s great that you have an app for your brand. And I totally understand that you need to promote it to get as many people to download it as possible.
But here’s the problem with that. If you are promoting the app too hard on your mobile-optimized site, then you will start losing your SERP rankings.
Let’s think about it from Google’s perspective.
Google is sending traffic to your website that it thinks is mobile-optimized and that it might provide a better user experience than your competitors. Suddenly they see a pop up on your website telling visitors to download your mobile app.
What you’re saying from those annoying pop-ups is that your mobile app is much better optimized than your mobile-optimized website.
So, it is better to avoid that and just include a link to your app in the sidebar, the header or the footer area of your website.
People will still easily find it, but it won’t be seen as a mark down when it comes to SERP.
What I mean by that is there are people who misuse the redirects thing but only for mobile users.
Let’s say that you are visiting a website from your mobile device. As soon as you click on the link, you are redirected to a website that is completely unrelated to the topic that you were searching for.
That’s called unwanted mobile redirects.
But, if you visit the same website through your desktop, you are not redirected anywhere.
That’s the reason why Google hates these kinds of websites. So, the better option is to not go the unwanted mobile redirects route and just let the visitors read/see what they were searching for.
You have much more important things to worry about.
Oh, this is so cringe-worthy.
I hate it when people install an amazing looking theme, design an innovative logo for their website and then fill up the whole website with spun content.
I get where you’re coming from. Maybe you are a very busy person and you just do not have enough time to rewrite content in your own words. And you also don’t want to repost the same content from another website because you know that Google will penalize your website.
But you read on that website that this new article spinner AI creates amazingly spun articles that have human readability.
You will be laughing at your own website if you just read the spun content that you post.
If you’re a busy person, the best thing you can do, is hire someone to manually rewrite the content for you. This will safeguard your website from getting a duplicate penalty.
Because even if the spun article looks fresh and new, there is a chance that it might still be detected as duplicate by Google.
We have seen the rise and fall of the link exchange strategy. This is where people exchange links on each other’s websites as a form of goodwill and help each other climb SERPs.
While that might be an amazing thought, Google does not like that.
And rest assured that Google will penalize your website if it finds you engaging in such practices.
We talked about buying links, but what about selling links? Seems like a viable money making option doesn’t it?
You have spent all this time and resources to rank your website on page 1. And now you start receiving all these attractive emails about people willing spend so much money to get links from your website.
Again, think about this from Google’s perspective.
Up until this point, the Big G thought that your website was credible enough to rank on page 1. And now suddenly it sees a new page on your website where you are asking people to fill out a form if they want to get a link from your website.
Heck, even if you don’t put up a form if you just deal through emails and suddenly start putting up a lot of articles with outbound links to a ton of low authority websites, you are still in trouble.
That’s because now your website looks like a link farm. And all the hard work you put into your website will go down the drain. Be smart my friend.
Maybe you’re a savvy developer. And you’re doing the work of your dreams. And now you are creating widgets that automatically link back to your website whenever someone installs them on their website.
Google doesn’t like that because that is not a natural way of receiving backlinks. Unless they are strictly nofollow links.
This is not the cloaking thing like you saw in the Harry Potter movies (I miss them so much).
In this context, cloaking refers to a practice in which you are showing your content to the visitor in a certain way, while the search engines are seeing a completely different version of the content.
If you thought Google wouldn’t find that out, you are wrong.
Instead, try to have amazing content on your website and let the users tell Google that you should be ranking on page 1.
Oh, the piracy thing.
Now you might say that there are still thousands of websites that offer pirated content on the internet and they still haven’t been penalized.
True. But you always see them disappearing from the search results on a daily basis.
Do you want to spend all that time and money and risk it all?
Do you really want to always be in fear that your website might not be ranking in the search results the next day you wake up?
Probably not because that’s definitely not going to bring you happiness.
That’s the best way I could put it.
But yes. You want to avoid topics that your family would never talk about at the dinner table.
What are these topics?
Well here’s a short list: online gambling, male enhancements products, etc.
That’s not the entire list, but you get the gist of what I’m talking about here.
You want to avoid those topics unless that’s the exact market you’re trying to get into.
If you are, then good luck to you my friend.
What is characterized as “Top Heavy” content?
Let’s say that you visit a website and you see a plethora of ads instead of the content that you were searching. Now you have to scroll down to reach the content. That’s what is called as top-heavy content.
And it’s not just about ads, it can be anything that wouldn’t let the visitor get straight to the content without scrolling.
Google wants its users to get the answers to their queries straight away. And if you can do that, you will see your website on page 1 and not get penalized.
Google is now valuing its mobile visitors much more these days. That’s mainly because there are more people searching things from their mobile devices than people who use desktops to search things on Google.
It makes sense for Google to prefer websites that are mobile responsive instead of websites that just load a desktop version of the website for a mobile visitor.
It is a good habit of getting your website on certain directories. It’s like getting on the internet’s YellowPages. Not only that, you will also be getting some good quality links back to your website.
But you want to avoid overdoing it because there might be certain directories that get penalized down the line. And you do not want your website to be in one of those directories.
Again, remember the balance thing I mentioned at the start of this article. You want to use this technique, but only in moderation.
If you’re a developer and you know how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), then you might have gotten the idea that maybe if you change the color of the text to match it as the background, Google won’t notice it.
And the visitor will see the amazing content that you are presenting them.
Google can see that text and also see the color codes that you used and compare that with the background color code. And that will most certainly get you the penalty hammer.
Comment spam is a strategy used by black hat SEOs. They use a certain software to place comments on blogs and use tiered linking that links to different web properties and end with a link back to the money website.
They say that this is a filtration system to avoid penalties but I have seen thousands of websites get slapped by Google just because of using this strategy.
So avoid this.
Blog comments are a great way to get backlinks but only use this strategy if you are adding value to the original content.
We talked about spun content, but this is different. In the spun content example, at least you were trying to have some form of unique content on your website.
But with people who use duplicate content on their website, all the ethics and morals are thrown out the window.
Not only that, you will also be violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). And on top of that you might hurt your rankings as well.
So, let’s recap this point:
You might get sued for using duplicate content on your website.
You throw away all your moral and ethics by doing this.
And you might also hurt your rankings.
This is an all-around bad idea if you are thinking about doing this.
At the end of the day, it is all about not stealing and not manipulating the search engines. If you are adding value to the lives of people that visit your website, you will most definitely see increments in your SERPs.
So, make sure that you are following these 18 rules to the T and you will be safe from any Google penalties.
We know that our previous guide about SEO gave you a sneak peek into how one should be doing SEO and not get distracted by thousands of blog posts misleading you. And now you are hungry for more. Most importantly, you want to know what type of links you should be building to get your website on the first page.
We all agree on one thing, all links were never created equal. And that’s what confuses everyone because they do not know what type of links they should be building to rank higher. For instance, a dofollow link might prove better than a nofollow link in some cases. But you do not know that. And in another case, a redirected link might hold little to no value for your website.
My philosophy is that you should always have a mixture of all types of links. But obviously, you need to focus more on the right type of links and less on the complementary links.
So, here I will be detailing the types of links I have been building for my clients and have gotten sweet results. Based on what you learn here today, you can decide which types of links you want to focus more on.
These links are only built to get your website ranking higher for a particular set of keywords. Usually, these links are dofollow links from pages that are relevant to the topic of your website.
If you are building these, you want to make sure that you are using your target keyword as the anchor text. This will help the search engines know that your website is relevant to that topic and they should rank your higher for that keyword.
Again, you want to make sure that you are creating these links in moderation. If you go overboard, you run a chance of being penalized and we want to avoid that at all costs.
These types of links usually do not help you with your SERP (Search Engine Rankings Page) results in any shape or form. By what they do is give your website the exposure on pages that receive a lot of traffic. The expectation from doing this is that if that page is getting a lot of traffic, by linking from it to your website, you might receive some traffic as well.
There are several different forms of traffic generating links that can vary from banner ads, forum posts, blog comments, popular directories, and text links of course.
If you want to find out how much traffic does a website get and the demographics, you can use 2 free tools: Compete and Google AdPlanner.
This data will only help you decide whether it will be fruitful for you to place a link on that website or not.
One thing you should keep in mind is that traffic generating links can either be free or paid. They can also be dofollow or nofollow links. So if you are planning to create these types of links, you want to make sure that you are okay with the type of link that you will be receiving.
But the overall goal here is very clear: you want to get a link from a website that is receiving a lot of visitors that are interested in what you have to offer.
People still debate whether PageRank is important for a website or not and whether or not Google is still updating it. Even though Google has clearly stopped updating it since 2013, I still see SEO’s care about this metric. And it is for a good reason.
The obvious sign is that the websites that used to have higher PageRank (PR), still rank high to this day. While there might be other factors at play here, but it is hard to ignore that fact.
So maybe it is a good thing to build links in order to increase your PR. Because while Google might not consider it as one of their factors, you might end up influencing a couple of different factors and end up ranking higher.
So how do you build links that increase your PageRank?
It’s simple. You create dofollow links from pages that are relevant to your website. You also have to make sure that you are creating links from websites that already have a high PageRank.
How do you find websites with high PageRank?
It’s simple, you can try out SEO Quake for Firefox. This little AddOn can easily help you sort your search results based on PageRank.
Once you find the websites on which you want to create links from, you can then refer back to point #1 and build links via link requests, directory submissions, blog comments, etc.
Again, it is best not to go overboard with this thing. Staying in moderation and using a bunch of keywords is the key here.
The primary goal behind these type of links is to build a good reputation for your company or brand.
Ever heard of SEO based Reputation Management?
These are the links that are used by people who provide that service.
These links have your name or your company name as the anchor text. And these links are not just built for your main website, they are already created for your blogs, social profiles and everything that might be affiliated with you or your brand.
How is this helpful?
Well, think about it.
When you search for a celebrity’s name, you only find the good results about them on the first 3-4 pages of Google.
Do you think that’s a coincidence?
I beg to differ. That is intentionally done to make sure that their reputation stays intact on the internet. And this is how they do it.
Reputation management is one of the hardest things to deliver in the SEO marketplace. That’s mainly because it goes way beyond just creating social profiles for your brand. You need to build links to these social profiles so that they rank higher.
Not only that, you might also need to use them in your forum signatures, add them to relevant directories, etc.
These are the types of links that give your website solid power to rank higher in SERPs. When you create backlinks to your social profiles, to the pages that are linking to your website, etc. you are only creating your own links much more powerful.
One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to bookmark your pages once you create or get a link from them. This will not only empower them, but it will also help you keep track of all the links that you have created.
The bookmarking will also notify the search engine crawlers about a new page being added. And they will be checking out your link as well.
To end this I will say that it must look natural to Google. It doesn’t matter which type of link you choose to create. You absolutely need to make sure that it looks completely natural. If it doesn’t, then you risk getting penalized.
What’s the best way to do that?
Mix everything. Your anchor texts, types of links that you build, your methods, etc. Everything.
That is the only way you can ensure that your website never gets penalized.