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The Modern SEO Blueprint Report
SEO has changed a lot since the days when you could just create a bunch of low quality links to your website and expect to rank at the top of your SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Google is constantly getting smarter and is constantly iterating on its algorithms and if we’re going to keep bringing in traffic, then we need to know how to adapt.
In fact, continuing with outdated SEO strategies is not only unlikely to work – it can actually damage the status of your site and even result in your site being entirely de-indexed. It is entirely crucial then that you stay up-to-date with your SEO strategies then and that you stay one step ahead of Google’s algorithm updates.
This guide will show you exactly how to do that with a step-by-step guide that will provide you with a complete blueprint including everything you need to do to see massive improvements in your SEO.
Why Old SEO Methods NO Longer Work
Perhaps the best way for us to illustrate how SEO needs to be approached today, is to first examine what doesn’t work anymore and how SEO has evolved since its earlier days.
When Google was first introduced, it worked using a couple of simple processes. In order to find new content on the web, Google will use scripts known as ‘robots’ and ‘spiders’. These trawl the net by looking for links and then add the content from each site to a giant index.
When a user searches for a specific term, Google then checks the index against the search term to find the best match.
Inbound links have always been important for SEO then, as they provide Google’s spiders with a means of actually finding your site. At the same time though, Google also views inbound links as
referrals or testimonies. In other words, Google assumes that your website must be good if it has lots of links pointing at it – because that means other content creators must be recommending the site to their fans.
Google can also use links as a way to deduce the topic of the website. If the links come from sites about dogs, then it is probable that your site is about dogs. And especially if the anchor text used in the link says ‘best dog website’.
The other historically important element of SEO is keywords. Keywords, or ‘key phrases’, are the terms that users search for when looking for content. This is what Google would use to try and find a ‘match’ in its index – and without keywords, it wouldn’t be able to pair the right results with the right searches.
Thus, in order to get to the top of the SERPs, all a creator once had to do was:
· Build as many links as possible
· Repeat the keywords frequently within the anchor text and within the copy of the website
But then things changed…
And changed again…
Enter Panda and Penguin
While this system worked on the whole for Google, it was only a matter of time until marketers would begin taking advantage of it. It became common-knowledge that you could game the system by creating lots of links and lots of content and this resulted in some bad practices among site owners.
Link spam became common for instance, with users posting thousands of links on sites all around the net, regardless of whether they were relevant or high quality. Meanwhile, many site owners began writing low-quality content, with keywords ‘stuffed’ into them.
Keyword stuffing essentially means repeating the same keywords over and over again, regardless of whether they fit naturally into the content. For instance, a website about buying hats might have content that reads like:
“Welcome to buy hats online.com where you can buy hats online! If you’re looking to buy hats online, then this is the best buy hats online website!”
As you can see, this doesn’t exactly ‘flow’ naturally.
Some site owners even began using ‘content spinners’, which would recycle old content by swapping words for synonyms. In short, a lot of dross began to rise to the top of the SERPs and Google had to respond.
It responded with two updates to the algorithm called ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Panda was designed to reward high quality content by looking for in-depth articles, external links and more refined use of key phrases. Penguin meanwhile was designed to punish link spam by making the quality of the links as important as the quantity. In other words, strategies were forced to shift from posting thousands of links, to landing links on the biggest and most popular websites in their niche.
While this improved the performance of Google dramatically, it was actually a very bad time for lots of creators who had been advised to use old-fashioned SEO techniques and now were having their sites penalized or de-indexed as a result. Businesses lost thousands of daily views over night and many went on to proclaim that SEO as an industry was ‘dead’.
This has changed our approach to SEO dramatically but even that is not the end of the story. Since then, Google has been continuously iterating on its search and building upon this more solid foundation. More updates like ‘Pigeon’ helped to strengthen things like local search, while Panda and Penguin have been refined greatly.
Also interesting though are the ways that Google itself seems to be evolving and the clear path that it is on. Google is moving from being a simple search engine to become a fully-blown AI. Google no longer aims to ‘match’ keywords but rather tries to understand the actual question being asked. To that end, it has begun to use smarter methods of assessing content – such as using ‘latent semantic indexing’ and even ‘structured data’. Search has become more personal and has integrated with other tools like Google Plus to that end.
Google Home and Google Pixel perfectly demonstrate this vision that Google has for its search – allowing users to simply ask questions and being presented with an answer.
Moving forward, this is likely to increasingly become Google’s MO. And then we have other factors to consider such as real time updates to Google Penguin.
Only the creators that are smart enough to keep their SEO up-to-date and future proofed against upcoming changes will be able to survive and thrive as Google continues to evolve. And that’s what you’re going to learn right here…
Step 1: Fixing Your SEO
The first thing to do is to fix any bad SEO strategies that you may have used in the past. This particularly means removing any low quality links and any links that aren’t directly relevant to the content of your page.
If you have used a cheap SEO service in the past, then there is a good chance that it will have used the old techniques that are now considered ‘black-hat SEO’ and that can potential get your site removed from Google. This might have included spamming the web with low quality in-bound links to your site – and the solution is for you to remove those links before Google adapts. This is going to be of particular importance going forward, as Google threatens to make Penguin work in real-time, adapting on the fly to the addition of new links and the removal of old ones.
Luckily, Google has provided a tool for removing low-quality links called the ‘Links Disavow Tool’. Using this site, it is possible to tell Google not to count specific links when calculating your ranking in the SERPs. This is a way for creators to tell Google that they did not ‘ask’ for the links and to prevent them having a negative effect as a result.
Another tip is to remove any old articles on your site that aren’t high quality. That means getting rid of any spun content, any content with ‘keyword stuffing’ and any content that in any other way fails to offer real value to the end user.
Likewise, remove any other examples of spam or poor quality on your site. Remove articles that are incredibly short, remove articles that have repeated or stolen content etc.
The difference between low quality and high quality SEO is that low quality SEO is about gaming the system and trying to ‘trick Google’. It’s about manipulating the factors used in Google search and using these to get to a higher spot in the SERPs.
SEO is not dead but this type of SEO is dead. At the end of the day, Google is going to keep getting smarter and keep getting better. If you have in any way tried to ‘trick’ Google, then eventually, Google will get smart enough to work it out and your site is going to be penalized.
Instead, the goal is to create a website and a brand that offers real value to the end user and that people really want to read. When you do this, you will essentially be aligning your goals with Google’s and any future changes are going to benefit your site.
Google wants to provide its users with relevant and high value content.
If you create relevant and high value content, then Google will want to share your pages with its users. It’s that simple!
Step 2: Adding Value to Your Site
The next thing you need to do then, is to focus on adding quality and value to your website and building a brand that you can be proud of and that people can get behind.
This is important, because it gives your site accountability and inspires trust. Think about the biggest sites on Google – the ones that will come up first in all the SERPs. In the vast majority of cases, the sites at the top of the results will be ones that have a strong, recognizable brand. It may be Google, it may be Microsoft, it may be Facebook.
This goes against the old keyword-stuffing technique of choosing a domain name that is the keyword. ‘Buy Hats Online.com’ might be a useful domain for quickly getting indexed by Google but ultimately, it isn’t going to have the credibility to compete with something like Amazon.com.
Building a brand will also help you to inspire trust and authority so that your visitors are more likely to trust your site, more likely to seek you out for useful information and more likely to buy from you!
The same also applies to your content and this is where you need to start really delivering some high quality value through your page.
Remember: Google works by adding content to its index.
And content is what 9/10 users searching Google are looking for.
If you don’t have high quality content on your site in some form or another, then you will probably have very little to offer in general.
Creating High Quality Content?
So, what makes high quality content?
The answer is that you need to create content that you would read and you need to create content people want to share.
This starts by writing long-form content. Most search optimization experts now agree that content around 800-1,500 words is the optimum length for Google. This suggests that you are going in-depth enough to offer something of genuine value.
Linking out to high quality posts is also something that Google likes to see now, especially if those posts are well trusted (journal articles for example). If you’re writing on a science-related topic, then use Google Scholar to find research papers that back up your statements and your claims and this will help to give your site more credibility with users and with Google.
Another tip is to make sure that your content is unique. This is something that isn’t covered nearly enough but if you’re going to stand out, then you need to offer something that the competition doesn’t.
The fitness niche is a good niche for demonstrating this point. Fitness is a topic that is highly competitive and if you look at other sites in that industry, you’ll find they often cover the precise same topic like ‘how to get abs’, ‘how to lose weight’, ‘build big arms’.
How many times have you read content just like that?
The same goes for SEO and digital marketing: articles like ‘Top 10 SEO Mistakes’ just don’t cut it anymore because they’re old news and they’re boring.
Instead, you need to offer something that is genuinely fascinating and unique. How about looking at the underlying psychological factors that influence someone to get in shape or fail to achieve their goals? How about looking at cutting edge scientific approaches to building more muscle? What
about conducting an experiment to see what the quickest time is that you can get your site to start making a liveable income?
These articles stand out and offer something unique and that means they’re more likely to do well.
a) People will spend longer on your page, which sends an important signal to Google.
b) People will want to share your content with their friends and on forums. This is called ‘link baiting’ and it’s a highly effective way to get more links that will look natural and organic and thus not get you penalized.
Again, you focus on making your visitors happy and it’s Google’s job to recognize that’s what you’re doing and to respond in kind.
Step 3: Fix Your Keyword Use
Another tip is to avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. At most, you should be looking at a keyword ‘density’ of 1-3%. That means that if you have written 100 words, then you can mention one keyword three times (assuming it is a one-word long keyword). But try to keep it natural – don’t chase after a specific density, just let it happen as you write.
More important is to use synonyms and relevant terms as you write. This is what is known as ‘latent semantic indexing’ and it is very useful for Google’s conversational search, as well as for broader SEO strategies.
LSI is useful because it helps Google to understand homonyms. That means that if a word has two meanings (‘gear’ can mean equipment, or it can refer to a car gear), then Google can look at the other language in the content to work out which meaning is relevant to your page.
Likewise though, it also helps Google to speak more naturally and it shows that you aren’t just keyword ‘stuffing’ but are instead more likely to be writing naturally on the topic and seeing the keyword arise as a result of that.
Particularly useful is to find a keyphrase you like and then use different permutations of that same phase. So, if your keyword was ‘build strong arms’, then you could also try to rank for ‘build big arms’, ‘get big biceps’ and ‘build big biceps’.
When you use Google search you’ll often find that Google treats synonyms as though they were the actual search phrase you looked for and will highlight words other than your search terms in the results! This will help you to rank more naturally, to make your content more interesting and help you to rank for more natural search terms.
Step 4: Building Quality Links
The next thing you need to do is to build high quality links. You’ve disavowed link spam, so now it’s time to build links that will get Google to sit up and take notice.
This generally means going after the biggest brands in your niche. Look for the sites that are doing well and then try to get a link from those, so that Google sees that your site has parity with them.
If you get this right, then that link will also get you a lot of direct traffic from readers of the other blog or site – and it will boost the reputation of your brand because those visitors will see your site as being approved by one they already know and trust! And if it works for the users, it will work for Google…
The easiest way to get these kinds of links is to write ‘guest posts’. Guest posts are articles or blog posts that you will write for another site and then offer for free. In exchange, you get a link back to your site, usually along with an author biography, or linked within the body of the text. This is perfect because it means that you can ensure that the content surrounding your link is highly relevant to the niche of your website.
Of course, the hard part is getting the owners of these big sites to actually respond to your requests. One tip to get around this issue, is to ‘work your way up’. Don’t aim for the very biggest fish right away but instead look for blogs that are just a little ahead of yours and offer them a guest post. Then do the same thing again with a slightly bigger blog, once that first blog has given you a boost.
The best strategy of all though? Network in person. Networking in person is one of the very best ways to make an impression on a blogger and to make your case and this is why SEO can also means going to network events and speaking to people…
Hopefully this quick guide has given you some good ideas and insight regarding the best link building strategies. You should now recognize what good SEO is all about and how and why strategies need to keep evolving as Google grows and improves.
We’ve only scratched the surface here though and if you want much more detailed information on all these points and more, then be sure to check out the full eBook. You’ll learn how to find the very best links for your site using Google News, you’ll learn about using Google Analytics to hone and improve your campaign and you’ll see how to use structured data to make your site AI-friendly.
Either way, start focussing more on quality and less on ‘tricking Google’ and you’ll find that the visitors start pouring in!
Rooting For You!