The ultimate seo guide beginner to pro, this guide isn’t just for newbies but for everyone.. If you are already familiar with the basics of seo please feel free to skip the introduction and get reading the advance section to start learning about unique and clever ways to enhance your seo campaign!
This is a SEO guide to help boost your website traffic, this guide will cover all the basics to internet marketing focusing on SEO (Search engine optimization right through to social media marketing). Search engines want the best results in their search engine… they want to make sure when some one searches for something they give the searcher… the best possible results to their query whether that is for buying a particular product… meaning a reliable and well known website would be the ideal search result or if the searcher searched for a health related question the search engine would be better providing accurate information from health authorities over a website that has little standing in health.
How the search engines determine what website to trust and recommend to their searchers is based on a few factors. Like I said search engine will try to provide searcher with the most relevant and up to date results with webpages from websites that are connected to the search query the searcher has requested. Search engines have many ways to determine what the best webpages to show to their searchers. Some of the ways the search engine do this include what other websites are linking to them, how relevant the website is to that particular search query for example by analyzing the links and their anchor text to see whether relevant anchor text that is connected to the search query is used, on page factors such as the relevancy of the actual webpage can be used by analyzing the keyword density if that particular page and how up to date the webpage is.
The frustrating thing is that you may very well have a great website, better then any-other website in your particular niche but if your seo isn’t that great or you have a few bad links pointing to your website your website could suffer despite your’s being the best. Hopefully this guide will help you change this!
Keeping track of your website link profile
Keeping track of your link profile is quite easy but can cost quite a bit to able to use the tools to check your link’s. In the good old days when yahoo site explorer was around you where able to easily check any sites backlinks fast and freely. Now however you cannot use yahoo site exploere and you will need to either use a site explorer which will give a you a big picture of your link profile and when the links where created (found) or use something like webmasters tools on google which will tell you a small sample of a very limited amount of links pointing to your website (but is free). Most professional seo’s will use link checking tools ona daily basis. Link checking tools can be pricey to able to access the data they provide. You do however have free trial versions of many of the link checker tools out and about but with very limited results to see.
Links are important… but irrelevant spam link will not help and may get your website penalized
A couple years ago, link building and seo was quite simple all you had to do was automatically build thousands of spam links…. and it was rather like a competition of how many millions of links you could get.. but since then search engines like google have released updates that now check to see whether the links pointing to your website are spam or not. Too many spam links pointing to your website may trigger a automatic penalty by the search engines which can negatively effect your placement on the search engines.
So what determines a spam link?
Its not just auto generated links that search engines deem spam links. Anything that links to your website that has little value to users and has just been simply created for seo purposes and to increase authority or in google pagerank is considered a spam link. Recently google has said how they will take action against website that are deemed spamming and trying to manipulate the search results with no follow links.. so having lots of low quality no follow links can hurt your rankings.
By and selling links on your website is against search engine guidelines, Search engine guidelines for example the Google webmasters guidelines are a set of rules that webmasters must abide by if they want to keep on the right side of the search engine and want there website to be on the search engine. Disobeying these guidelines could mean if caught your website can be penalized or deindexed entirely. Reading thoroughly the webmasters guidelines is one of the best things to do! But keep in mind that the guidelines often change so you will need to keep updated! Right anyway back to paid links, Here is a list of paid links:
Often webmasters will resort to buying high pr backlinks from other websites sometimes webmasters will purchase a site-wide link to be shown on all pages of the website which if there aren’t many out bound links and the website is relevant can mean a huge boost in the search engine results.
Hacked website links and link networks
Another form of paid links are SAPE links or link networks… for a recurring price you are able to purchase links that will be set up on often hacked websites.
Do follow advertorials that pass pagerank or authority are against webmasters guidelines.. Advertorials are allowed but should be no followed according to search engines. However often webmaster simply will forget to no follow these links meaning they if caught will find themselves in trouble.
Paid for links
Directory’s: Search engines hate link directory’s as they just fill up the serp’s with useless junk… search engines hate even more the paid kind of directory’s that have the sole aim of boosting seo!
It is very hard for search engine to determine what is a paid link and what isn’t. If a search engine deems a website of selling links it can mean that the whole websites outbound links will be deemed as a paid for link even if they are not. By selling links you are always run the risk of your website loosing authority and rankings in the search results.
Little or no value links built just for seo
Links that offer little or no value to users and have just been made for seo purposes are considered spam.. even if found on a good useful article if the search engines consider this link to be of little use to users then this link could get your website in trouble.
Link exchanges for seo is against search engine guidelines, link exchanges can be easy to find as it is very unnatural that one website links to loads of website which in turn link back to it.
Forum spam and signature links
Forum signature links may seem like a good way to get traffic from forum member’s who see your link but search engines dont like it! Because of the way forum signature links are like advertisements and can pass link juice.
It can be rather hard for search engine algorithms to determine whether a link on a forum is from a signature or not but algorithms can see footprints such as each time a user name posts that link appears and or the link has the exact same anchor each time but looking at small footprints like this isnt very reliable for search engines so it means it is up to the manual reviewers to determine what’s what.
Auto generated user submitted spam
Blog comment spam, guestbook spam, article spam, social network spam…. there are lots of different links seo tools can make… but non of it makes any sense and is of any use to searchers! The whole purpose of this kind of spam is to boost seo efforts. Auto generated spam can easily be spotted via algorithms. For example google’s penguin algo has been created to deal with auto generated spam and other links google considers as spam. By analyzing the link profile (anchor text used, types of links used, ratio of no follow and dofollow links), the kind of links linking, whether the link is on a webpage full up with thousands of other website links to spammy websites are just some of the ways to spot a spam link.
Thousands of these low value links and nothing else says to google that your website cannot gain links of its own naturally and using these blackhat methods means that your website shouldn’t be trusted. You have many pros and cons of seo tools but mostly cons when using software to create links.. (see here for further reading)
Google penguin and panda
The google penguin update is all about links whereas the panda update is all about your website content.
Penguin is algorithm that is constantly being updated and modified to combat link spam. Looking at factors such as linking patterns and the quality of links.
Panda is all about your website… if your website has duplicate, unique content, thin content (meaning not much), or is practising in blackhat methods to game google like keyword stuffing or cloaking then expect a panda penalty!
Basically Panda is for on page and penguin is for off page.
On page and off page seo
On page seo is all about your website.. from the way it is built and structured to keyword density. On page seo is often neglected but it is the most important part of SEO! Good on page seo can not just effect your rankings in the search engine results but will also increase sales and profits as we all know a good website and design helps sells a website… gets people talking about the website and improves your brand in doing so.
Here are a few factors to on page seo that you should practice or in some cases shouldn’t:
Keyword density: Your keyword density must remain natural on all of your pages, many Seo’s will tell you that your keyword density should not exceed 5%… This doesn’t mean that every webpage must have exactly 4.9% keyword density as this is obviously unnatural and will cause alarm bells from the search engines. The best keyword density is not to keep tabs on it at all and just write normally!
Keyword stuffing is a old blackhat method which search engines have picked up on (for quite some time now), keyword stuffing is exactly what it says on the tin… you stuff your webpage with the keyword you are trying to rank for. This is a very old method and no longer works.
Page speed: Page speed is really important both for seo and not to annoy your website users! Search engines after all want the very best and fastest websites to display in their results!
Structure: Having a good website structure that is easy to navigate is quite important! After all this effects user experience which is what on page seo is really all about!
Downtime: Search engines dont want to serve its users with websites that are always down, so make sure your website has good uptime. Also search engine bots will not be able to see your great new content if your website is down all the time.
Webhosting: Bad, cheap shared webhosting will not only be slow but if its cheap you will probably be sharing the server with lots of spam websites. Sometimes search engines may consider ever website from one particular host ip to be spam as this is easier to deal with then idvdually picking out the spam websites even if there is nothing wrong with your website.
Blackhat?: If your website is or looks as though it is doing blackhat on page seo can be detrimental! Blakchat on page seo can range from hidden css text (can be as simple as text the same colour as background), cloaking text and links, displaying one thing to users and something else to search engine bots, loads of adverts everywhere, ripped duplicate content (autoblogs).
In the world of seo you have two types of SEO….White hat seo and Black hat seo.
So what are the differences between white hat’s and blackhat’s.. apart from the obvious the color the biggest difference is that blackhat’s try to game the system whereas white-hats dont do anything off page to
Some people may think of themselves as white hat seo’es but search engines may disagree. Thats because white hat seo should be based on only getting real and legitimate links from OTHER people that have been made naturally because they like your website! But there is just one problem to this… how are people meant to know your website even exists if you have no backlinks and are nowhere to be seen on the search engines? Good question. If you want to do completely white hat seo there are a few things to get your website noticed to begin with and hopefully get those starting links that will boost your website in the search engines.
Linking to others
Linking to other websites can send out ping backs letting other webmasters know that you are linking to them, this creates exposure for your website and if the webmaster you linked to like your website you may get backlinks from them too!
No follow advertorials on high traffic websites
Advertorials on high traffic websites (remember to get no follow ones) will really help give you a boost and interest in your website!
If you have plenty of friends on social network website’s then it maybe a good idea to post about your website on their. Remember though nobody likes people who just spam about there website constantly.
Tv adverts, billboards and leaflets…
The search engines may mean you cannot spam the internet but who’s to say you cant spam everywhere but the internet? It may cost but brand awareness can really do a world of good to your website!
Creating great content is the real key!
And I am not talking about just insightful articles that only you think are great but nobody else ever reads!
Drive traffic to your website from high pr blogs! Create something helpful and useful on blogs that already have big amounts of traffic!
Why content is king in seo!
If you are number one on google, but your content is garbage then you wont be getting many conversions or anything really by being number 1 and it will only be a matter of time till a more popular website gets relevant links and out ranks you (as you wont be getting natural backlinks from other website seeing as your website aint very good) or a manual reviewer knock your website from number one.
Creating great content that is both helpful… and visual is a great way to get your website talked about and stand out from all the rest! There are a lot of website that are simply re writes of the next! By creating something different you can make a better brand than all the rest!
Great unique content has a much high chance of being linked too.
Sometimes some niches just are too selfish and impossible to gain natural links from meaning you will always have to make your own.
Link building yourself
Build your own blog network with high pr blogs linking to your website is something many web masters do and if you are clever about how you structure and link your websites you can easily avoid getting penalized.
This is one of the most used methods in seo and is one of the most effective. By creating and establishing a high pr blog network which links to your main website (naturally) is one of the best ways to get good quality backlink which you control. However this method is very time consuming and you will for each website in your network has to establish a fully-fledged website. You can buy expired high pr domains however this can soon empty your wallet and if you dont know what your doing and what domains to buy you will soon find your self out of pocket with no benefits either.
churn and burn blackhat link building
Because it is becoming harder and harder to rank sites in search engines, Webmasters are now turning to the short term strategy of creating churn and burn style websites. These are basically throw away website which are quickly created and quikcly ranked via automated tools to create millions of backlinks to them. They will quickly get to number 1 on google before quickly being pushed off again.. but because it didn’t take much effort to make or rank these sites another one can quickly be made to replace it again.
Other black hat link building
Tired link building… The idea behind this is that you create a first tier of web 2.0s or websites pointing to your website and then blast these with tiered spam links from article posts then in a tier these have pointing to them blog comment and trackback spam. This is meant to some blackhat say protect your “money” site from getting a penalty in google. However I am sure goolge and other search engines are working to find ways to stoop this if they aren’t already doing so.
Even if you work really hard on seo it is still not guaranteed success!
Its not just the search engine bots that can harm your rankings.. Manual reviewers!
Google and other search engine have teams of manual reviewers who search through the internet looking for what they determine as spam or rubbish content. These manual reviewers have the power to penalize or even total remove a website from the search engines. Manual reviewer will look at the content of the website and the link profile of the website too.
It is a lot harder to recover from a manual action penalty than a algorithm penalty as with a manual action penalty you must correct what they determined was wrong with your website and then send out a reconsideration request where then a some one will review your website again and see whether or not the penalty should stay which can take a long time.
What can go wrong and isn’t eve your fault!
Copyright and scrapers
Sometimes though creating great content can mean that your website can suffer from scrapers stealing and reposting your content as their own on competing websites… This shouldn’t impact your search rankings but sometimes search engines can get it wrong and rank there website above yours even if you are the original poster.
Something that you can do to stop this is to use copyscape to identify websites infringing your copyright and sending Dmca removal requests to search engines to remove those pages from the search engine index.
Copyright does have to be just for text.. images, videos, music… although it is text duplicate content that can be problematic in seo.. people ripping your media albeit a image or a video can still effect you as your unique content is no longer unique to your website, and people could be linking to them instead of you who created it.
If a particular website has lots old successful DMCA removal requests against it this can effect its overall authority in search engines that are aware of the dmca’s.
All your effort and hard work can be totally destroyed by one of your competitors through negative seo! It is sickening how this can happen.. even if you follow all of the search engine guidelines you can still find your website disappear form the search engines from negative seo!
The sites that are the worst effected by this kind of sabotage are newer sites or ones without that many links! There are means to help save your site from a negative seo attack but seeing as search engines cant trust whether you or someone else built these links or not these ways maybe a little ineffective in the grand scheme of things.
Disavowing the links is the way I mean.. This is possible say for example in google webmasters tools where you say to google “Hey.. I have nothing to do with that link!”… and google then doesn’t use that link to rank your website so to speak.. But many seo’s are cautious about the real intent of the tool. As some argue that real whitehat sites wont be link building at all so wouldn’t be checking there link profiles and in effect wouldn’t know about spammy links point to then this tool could be admission of guilt of doing seo.
Negative seo is exactly why you shouldn’t rely on seo as your main source of traffic. The aim shouldn’t be to get to number one but the aim should be to get people to come straight to your website just like amazon or ebay. Direct traffic and not reliant on google, bing or any other search engine will mean nobody can destroy your business.. Seo and getting to the top of google should be thought of as just a way of letting people know about your website only.
Getting other people to do seo for you
Running a business can take up a lot of time… and so does seo! That why getting others to do you seo for you maybe a good idea allowing you to focus more on your own business online and offline! But there are a few things that you must be aware of before you buy into the very first seo company you find on the internet.
Do they know what they are doing? There are a lot of freelance amateur search engine optimizers out there who will give you a bargain price… but rubbish seo. If the seo company you are thinking of getting is offering you seo for a really low price like £100 a month then chances are your going to be spammed to the top.. and then soon be penalized! Good seo takes time and a lot of money.
Local seo is better than international seo. For example if i was a local business in Sheffield wouldn’t I want to be able to talk with in person with the seo company? Rather than hiring a seo company in say india.. with which i can not properly communicate or know what they intend to do? Local seo companys are far better than international ones! International ones can be just based upon a lie where as local seo company’s have to respected locally and will often only focus on local businesses and what they know.
In conclusion it is evident that SEO is a wild goose chase where you are constantly trying to stay on the right side of the search engines and even if you follow all of the search engine guidelines… someone else can break them for you and destroy your websites standing in the search engines by doing negative seo to your website. My advice for you would be not to focus on seo get other professionals to to do it for you whilst you focus on creating your own great business… I know that you have probably read this entire article wanting to learn more about seo but the real truth is that seo isn’t a business strategy at all… Its more like the lottery, a random game of luck. Unless you already have powerful website that google already trusts.
The best way is to focus on creating your brand and letting people know you exist anyway you can! Trying and wasting your time making a search engine bot rank your website isnt very time effective.