Ivan`s SEO Tips

Here’s a collection of SEO tips covering some frequently-asked questions about Google, buying and building new websites, and building links. You’ll almost certainly find something in this grab bag you didn’t know before that you can use in your next SEO campaign.

Get a Second Listing

If you’re up on Google for a good keyword, you can get a second indented listing for that keyword by creating another page on the same topic. This will essentially double your traffic for a keyword, and bump down one of the competitors.

To get a second indented listing you need to create a page with similar keyword focus. Content on both pages should be 100% different, without the slightest hint of duplicity. This also goes for <title> and <H tags>.

Once you have that page ready, promote it by placing links with targeted anchor text from high PR pages. In some cases internal links aren’t enough (in competitive markets), so you’ll need to build external links. Don’t forget to include a link from the home page.

Slow Results

Search engine optimization can be a waiting game. You create pages, invest time in content, build links, get directory listings, but results are not yet showing up. It’s been a month… what did I do wrong?

Many people will go back, remove links, restructure internal links, work on content, change titles and make all kinds of adjustments. Search engine optimization is a slow process. It takes several months to get results on Google, and those months can be frustrating, especially if you only have one website.

When results don’t show up, do not worry; give it up to three months. Instead of going back and changing everything, invest time in new ideas, content, links or other domains.

Only after learning that what you did does not work should you go back and make adjustments; otherwise, if you did not wait, how do you know it did not work? SEO is a slow process that requires patience. Many SEOs sometimes create a site, throw some content on it, get a couple of directory links, build a few more links  and let that site mature. Then they go back several months later for heavier work.

If you only have one property to take care of, you’re actually at an advantage. You can invest time in quality content development, networking and link building while waiting for results to show up.

Google unrolls major updates once in few months (but makes minor adjustments every day/week). Their culture is to test everything to death, and some results may simply be out of your reach.

Webmasters usually notify each other when they spot major Google activity like SERP updates or page rank updates. You can track it on forums and blogs:

  • http://forums.seochat.com/

  • http://forums.digitalpoint.com/

  • http://www.webmasterworld.com/home.htm

  • http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/

Is there a problem with my site?

You can check to see if your site is cached by Google. Search for “cache:URL.” If the site is in cache, then Google does not have any technical problems with it.

If you don’t want to build a website from the ground up, you can buy an existing website and leverage its link power and age to your search ranking advantage.

Buying Old Domains

Buying old domain names is generally a good SEO strategy, since old domain names are trusted by Google a lot more than the new ones. By buying an old domain name, you cut off several months of “trust building” and can get included quickly for relatively competitive terms.

Buying Old Websites

There are many old websites, with authoritative old links on old domains that are no longer maintained by the site owner, or are under monetized. You can purchase those websites and start out with a good trust level, old links and good page rank. Ranking existing sites is a LOT easier than ranking new ones, especially if the old site is related to your targeted keywords.

Redirecting Link Power from an Old Domain to the New One

If you purchase a new domain, but want to maintain the link power of the old domain, you can redirect the old domain to the new one. Google and Yahoo usually pass link power through redirects if done properly.

Keep your old domain registered and live. If it goes down, so will the redirect, causing your new site to lose all the link power it was passing. It costs several bucks to keep the domain alive, but can cost many hours or several grand to replicate its link power.

Do Not

  • Redirect an expired domain (if caught, search engines can punish you).

  • Redirect off-topic domains

  • Do anything, especially black hat tactics, that can cause you to lose search engine rankings.

Requesting Links from Webmasters

Some links can only be obtained through an incredible amount of time, effort and/or money, while others require a few emails back and forth. Finding out which one has the most value is the tough part. One thing to keep in mind – don’t determine the link’s worth by page rank. The measure is purposefully inflated by Google for its wide use in search engine optimization.

You can determine value of a link by checking the site’s cache/index rate and by checking how well it ranks on search results (use SEO digger). If the site you’re targeting ranks among the top 10 search results, then the value is high. If the site is located somewhere on the second page, there’s still value, but not as much. Sites on the third page have less value.

To determine the terms for which a specific site ranks you can use rank checking tool like SEO Rush.

Once you’ve decided to get a link from a specific website, determine the best way to approach a one-way request. If the site is a directory, you won’t need much (sometimes $10 – $100 for submissions). If the site is a commercial company, you’ll likely need a very good piece of content. If the site is an informational/research hub, than content unavailable elsewhere is the way to go.

Website design, usability and content format also play a big role in getting the links through. Appealing sites “warm” people more than ugly ones.

You can shoot for the link in the first email, but it will not likely produce a good rate of return. Building a relationship with several emails, and then asking for a very relevant link is a better strategy.

The web can seem like a desert, with only text and nicknames on the monitor, but behind them are real people, with real lives, feelings and ambitions. By connecting with them, you increase the chances of getting the link. Sometimes by building a good relationship, links will come by themselves without asking, and sometimes by maintaining the relationship you can meet the person in real life. Aloha.

Phrasing the request for a link wrong can ruin all the effort, so think well. There are several ways to do it, depending on the site you’re targeting.

The first way is ask directly if you can get a link. It works if the target site links to similar sites in your space, or has plenty of outside links. If the answer is NO, you might offer to buy it. Usually the response will be positive and the price will come down to your bargaining skills.

Second, you can ask the site owner to have a look at your content and give feedback. If he does look and still doesn’t give you the link, you might offer to buy it.

How do I find an authority site?

Authority links are a must these days, and you must create some really good content to get links from them. Authority sites work on the principle of Trust rank, where hub pages distribute trust to all the pages they link to, while linked pages continue passing that trust (to a lesser degree) and so on. Authority sites usually rank on top for competitive terms like: “vacation + city,” “lawyer + industry” etc.

How to Get a Link from a .Edu or a .Gov

The only way you’ll get a link from these sites is content. You can’t buy links from them. 

Linkbait

Linkbait requires tons of time, research and effort. No one will link to generic news/recycled content. It usually has to be something remarkable, something that people will talk about. In the book Purple Cow, Seth Godin talks about creating ideas that get people talking automatically spreading the idea for you. He talks of what is partially known as viral marketing, where consumers spread the positive message.

Some linkbait ideas:

  • Niche news (search engine roundtable), with a razor-sharp focus on the market segment (i.e. real estate news for a city/region), and your commentary. It has to be one topic, though.

  • The old 101s – they still work if the content is really great.

  • Attacks – Talk trash about someone and people will link to you. But beware: this hurts more than helps, if done in a clumsy way (i.e. talking about someone who the online community admires).

  • Provide incentives and discounts (collect a bunch of coupons relevant to the industry/community).

Good luck with your search engine optimization efforts.

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