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I have been working in the online hemisphere since 2005. So over 13 years now; doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun.

I spent the first few years just playing around with various different HTML/CSS based themes for popular games that I used to play at the time (Call of Duty for PC, I know total geek!) From there I joined a wide variety of different teams and played at a pretty high level specifically for Counter Strike Source and Counter Strike Global offensive – this was up till I was 24 (sad I know, but I loved the games and more importantly I loved the chatting with new folks. Anyway! Enough about me, read more about my story here.

Anyway; you’re here to read about SEO (search engine optimisation) and my involvement in it; so let’s stick with this subject.

SEO back in 2005-2007 was easy; I used to use tools like Xrumer; Sick Submitter etc and things would just rank in a matter of a week or two and stick around for quite some time. Some of these websites are still ranking pretty well to date.

One of the main websites I made ranked until the niche died in 2016. To that date it has made me over $300,000 from on website. Since then I have took some time out; and now got engaged with a casino/gambling organisation, love the niche very challenging, and also rolling out my own affiliates sites and building SOP (standard operating procedures) etc.

We all know the “rules” of SEO have changed year in year out; the whole SEO is dead; PBN’s is dead etc etc.

In a way they are right but I still find the fundamentals are the same. If your looking for quick wins; fast burn and churn type sites; then yes the rules have no doubt changed; but if your looking at creating an authority site within a Niche then if I am honest the rules haven’t changed that much.

Quick List of Principles:

i

Good Content

Readable, Related.

f

OnPage SEO Technical

Defined, Clear cut.

Links

Powerful and Niche.

Please note:

I am not one of these SEO’s that think one section of the equation has more weight then another instead I think very similar to Matt Diggity does; your SEO is only as good as your weakest page; so if one page on your site is weak improve it because it could be that one page dragging you down.

Key principles:

i

1. Write good content?

I know your initial reaction might be, no shit sherlock? We ain’t talking shitty little 500 word articles that you can grab from EzineArticles and just rewrite into your own words; we are talking write content that grabs the persons attention; add images that are relevant or even funny.

I’ve seen some articles as big as 10,000 words on a page; don’t believe me take a look at Bruce Clay’s post on Siloing *https://www.bruceclay.com/seo/silo.htm* It just goes on and on and on.

f

2. Be an on-page SEO Wizard & test everything you do

One of my standard practices when working with any website is to create a change log.

The basic premise of this is I write down what changes I’ve made to the site and then track when it was done to see if I can see correlation in what I am doing and whether it’s working.

It also sets you up with the perfect premise for testing different page titles and seeing what seems to respond better within the search engine results pages (SERPS). Let’s face it; we don’t all get it right first time; even the most experienced of SEO’s will change their page titles and on-page factors pretty frequently to ensure that their website is always performing at the best of its ability.

What I track in a typical changelog:

  • Page titles
  • META Descriptions (although I know these aren’t a ranking factor they are CTR factor which in itself is a ranking factor)
  • Headlines on the page and changes
  • General content additions be it new money page content or blog posts.
  • Content refreshes; so if a page hasn’t been updated in a while I would go in and update a few bits of information.­­
  • Rankings of the page as well so what the variations in the rankings have been since the change I made.

Once you start tracking this type of stuff you can really get an idea of the niche as a whole because you start to understand what works within a given niche.

I like to treat each Niche differently; because there always seems to be a different rule set. What works in one niche doesn’t always work in another (but I still follow these basic principles).

3. Goodlinks

This is another one of those no shit sherlock statements right? But if you’ve noticed all of the recent DR changes that AHREFs (https://ahrefs.com/blog/domain-rating/) has made. It seems like judging the quality of a domain is becoming more and more important and to be honest this has been the trend for the last few years. So what factors in my opinion make up a good domain.

I know this is a bit of a controversial topic: everyone has their own preference. But this is typically what I look for.

The site needs to be trending upwards or at least hovering where it is when I do a search for it in AHREFs.

It needs to have a minimum of 40 referring domains. It needs to rank organically for some keywords; have some social (although this isn’t a factor I would go for by itself) it also needs to have traffic. This is one of the most important things that I see and heres the reason for it.
How many PBNs do you own or how many people do you know that own blog networks but these networks are small little WordPress sites that within 10 seconds of looking at a seasoned SEO would see as being a blog network of some sort? Probably quite a lot right? (jaw dropping image)

9.9/10 the PBNs don’t receive any traffic; Please note* this doesn’t mean they don’t currently work. What I usually suggest for people is to start with blog networks or acquiring some blog network links and then look to do outreach. Find people within your niche with quality sites and see if they will connect with you and share some juice; sometimes you have to go outside your niche for instance; if you are a gardener then you would potentially have to go to a lifestyle or home improvement type niche rather then trying to get links specifically from gardening focused websites (as the amount of these will definitely be fewer, although I would still target this niche as well of course).

My typical resources for links:

  • Diggity Links from Matt Diggity
  • Loveto.link from Charles Floate
  • Freedom links from Charles Floate
  • My own outreach using cold emailing and Ninja Outreach.

Googles Ranking Factors, Rank Brain & More…

There was a post that Brian Dean did over at backlinko, read the full post here; So what I am going to do is just take what I believe to be some of the more major ranking factors and things that with a little bit of tender loving care could see a substantial increase in your websites rankings & traffic.

Most important (unordered) ranking factors:

1. Title tag starting with the keyword.

I have ran countless amounts of tests on this theory and so far it rains true; in a general sense the closer to the start of the title the keyword is the higher I tend to rank for that keyword. I have tried tweaking and altering the format of information so for instance: Brand – Title of Page or Title of Page – Brand.

2. Please note by Title of page I am referring to the SEO title and not the h1 that you have on the page.

H1 Tags = Now I think this are pretty relevant often I add in words that I also want to rank for and couldn’t fit into the page title (so they are relevant but not the same order of keywords that you would find in the title). I always try to get the main keyword I am focusing in there too.

3. Content Length

Now this is one of the most overlooked factors, gone are the days of just writing 500 word articles. Google seems to be favouring sites with a vast amount of information available on them. Don’t get me wrong you can have a site with a 500 word article ranking but on average the first few results within a SERP tend to have over 2000 words of content.

  1. I usually base this off the niche; as a lot of ecommerce niches that I also work in the trend tends to be minimal content with supporting blog pages linking through to those sites.

4. Keyword Density

  1. I usually determine this based on the niche I enter. I check the top 10 websites in the niche and match their keyword density percentage.

5. Page Speed

The speed of your website is important. Especially nowadays; would you wait over 5 seconds for a website to load? No? Neither would your customer and Google knows this.

6. Freshness of Content

How often are you updating your content? Actually, editing the pages on your site and keeping the information current, Google rewards this type of action because it’s keeping the data up-to-date. These updates can be as simple as.

7. Outbound links

I had one website that wasn’t linking out and we were sat in 3rd Position for a 4000 searches per month keyword. On just adding an external link to an authority site within the niche boom I shot up within 2 weeks of making this change.

8. Google sandbox

I always like to take notice of the Google Sandbox. The Sandbox is a term that was made up by SEOs which sums up the action of Google not wanting to rank your site for your keywords. Often it doesn’t matter how much SEO work you do; the site just won’t rank.

Typically; my suggestions for this is to setup multiple sites within a niche you go into and then monitor them all for their top level/longer tail terms and see which one Google seems to be taken a liking too, I have one website within the garcinia niche that is currently ranking 30th for side effects of garcinia cambogia (with only 3 links, I will be pushing a case study live on this at a later date).

9. URL

Having the keyword in the URL can increase power but be wary if you have a partial match domain (PMD) or a exact match domain (EMD) as you don’t want to be over optimising for a specific keyword.

10. Last but not least; META Descriptions

I know META Descriptions directly don’t influence SERPs however; they add relevancy and also can increase your click through rate (CTR) and since CTR is

Rank Brain, what the hell is it?

Rank brain is Google’s own Artificial Inteligence (AI) although I highly doubt it is a full blown artificial intelligence; but it is a machine that learns and can connect words to each other; meaning it can understand phrases that your searching for. It is what they have been developing for the past few years; it is supposed to understand Latent Semantic Indexing so it can mix and match words that belong together when searching for it.

I personally believe it is still in its infancy stage so setting yourself up to future protect yourself by adding in synonyms etc into your text will only benefit you.

You can read more about it here: Search Engine Land Link.

One of the major issues with SEO:

It is a forever changing landscape and if your not testing everything you do then how do you know that your getting the maximum results you can?

Time is Money

One of the most important life lessons I have learnt to date which if I could pass on is “time is money”. In fact, many of us undervalue and under appreciate the time we spend working on these sites and in turn don’t look at it as a monetary number.

Managing it more effectively:

Out source tedious tasks. Most of you know where to outsource to you can use sites like onlinejobs.ph and find a virtual assistant based in the Phillipines. Or you can do it on a task by task basis on something like UpWork.

I have tried both of these routes. Upwork tended to be more sustainable long term. However; I now use a chap over in the Phillipines called Mads Singers. His VA service is exceptional and I am very happy with the standard of staff I know have. Everything is managed using a nice and simple Trello board.

My resources for SEO at present:

  • Diggity Links from Matt Diggity
  • Loveto.link from Charles Floate
  • Freedom links from Charles Floate
  • Ninja outreach
  • Mailshake
  • SEO Butler by Jonathan (Social links and press releases)
  • Fiverr (for the odd image submitting gig)
  • James Dooley (Bit of motivation) FatRank

Interest in a case study?

I am toying with running a case study on a new bingo site we will be launching. I won’t hand you the domain name as I know there are individuals who would potentially attack the site.