The future of Search Engine Optimization
This past year I have been fortunate to rank a number of blogs on top of Google’s search listings and the result has been a steady stream of income from Google Adsense, selling Advertising space and Lead Generation. This is passive income that is generated daily regardless of how much I post and is not dependent on social media or social marketing. My interest online is to make money with the least amount of effort required. My methods are widely used by Internet Marketers and almost completely unknown to Bloggers. In fact, the prevalence of social blogging has obfuscated what was once widely known – that search traffic is steady, it converts into sales or clicks and it can be grown almost exponentially by simply targeting more and more keywords.
The advent of social marketing has produced bloggers by the millions, each one chasing a dream of large readerships in hopes of generating buckets of income. Each one almost completely ignorant of search traffic or the benefits of high placement in the serp’s. The irony is that social traffic is much harder to get on a consistent basis, consists mostly of other bloggers, doesn’t convert into buyers and requires a huge time commitment. Worst of all it generates no income until you are able to achieve “authority” status in your niche and are pulling in thousands of visitors a day. Even then your revenue consists almost entirely of advertising fees generated by selling space to other bloggers trying to monetize your traffic. They find out soon enough that your traffic doesn’t convert either – how many of you buy or click on the ads pasted on the A-List sites? The A-List is fortunate that there is no shortage of new advertisers willing to fork over large sums in order to replace former advertisers who learned that social traffic doesn’t convert. In most cases the A-List is paid to promote sign-up programs – more social media networks for the most part. An endless circle…
The fact that there can only be a limited number of A-List sites or authorities in any one niche is lost to the masses who believe they have what it takes to reach the top. Everyone, it seems, believes they have the right stuff. I have seen a lot of bloggers rise quickly – develop a decent readership, some good PR and just as quickly lose interest in their blog in spite of thousands of RSS subscribers. Why? They don’t make enough money to cover the time commitment required to keep the blog fresh in the readers mind.
The alternative to social blogging is of course SEO or Search Engine Optimization. In truth this can and should be applied even if you choose to chase social traffic. I don’t chase social traffic at all but because of my high serp rankings I find that social bloggers find me anyway. I mention this simply to point out that those of you hoping to gain fame and recognition for your work can achieve it by dominating the top rankings in the serp’s and save yourself the countless hours of work needed to make a name for yourself in the social arenas.
As 2008 draws to a close I have given a lot of thought to how Google will tweak its algorithm over the coming year. Without getting long winded it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to assess Google’s predicament; the search engine has to have a means by which to rank sites based on keyword relevancy – the easy part and it has to have a means for deciding which relevant site should rank at the top of the serp’s – the hard part.
How would you do it?
Would you rank sites based on their RSS subscribers?
Would you rank sites based on their Page Rank?
Would you rank sites based on their social links and traffic?
Would you rank sites based on their Alexa Rank? Their Compete rank?
Would you rank sites based on the fame of the site?
If you would entertain any of these ideas then your ranking system would lead to a useless search engine. All these methods are easily gamed or have no relevancy for the vast majority of niches. How would sites related to “Oil Filters” be ranked if Google used RSS subscribers as a basis for ranking?
Google’s predicament is that it has to have a system that works for all keywords and not just those that apply to social niches. Many a social A-Lister has preached that Google will use social media in its rankings – a belief that I find laughable. Google has been eliminating metrics that can be easily gamed – not adding them to the mix.
Ultimately the only system that works well but is not perfectly fair is to rank sites based on incoming links. Yes this can be gamed as well but for the vast majority of niches this is still the best measure of a site’s authority.
Rather than find a new system Google has methodically tweaked its system to degrade or dismiss links of poor quality and give greater weight to links that are deemed high quality.
Almost all social links – Do-follow comments, Bookmarks, Digg, Stumbleupon etc are considered low quality and while they may be registered by G they will not gain you top ranking in a competitive niche. They will work fine in an un-competitive niche but even then a single link from a quality source will outrank all your low quality links.
Google’s algorithm will reward you well if you follow my recommendations outlined below.
4 Steps to Google Dominance
Forget Quality Content (No such thing to a machine) – use Relevant Content.
On Page Keyword Optimization
Develop 1 way Inbound Links to your site.
Target the most popular keywords in your niche, add relevant content, use your main keyword in your URL, Blog Title, Page and Post titles and then spend the rest of your time developing quality inbound links.
I have said this many times – quality inbound links are the single most important aspect for ranking well in Google.
The 5 Measurements of Inbound Links
The Quantity of inbound links.
– This is least important but effective for low competition keywords.
The Title keywords on the page linking to you.
The Anchor Text used in the link pointing to you.
– You will only rank for the terms others use in their links pointing at your site. This is crucial for gaining top ranking.
The Relevance of the content on the page linking to you.
– The site with the most keyword anchored links coming from relevant content posts/pages will outrank all others.
The Quality of the inbound link.
– The best link you can possibly get is a PR10 link using your main keyword in the anchor coming from within a post relevant to your keyword. The further from this optimum the less quality the link. A few of these quality links will easily have you outranking sites with 1000’s of lesser quality links.
I have not talked about Domain Age or the popular SEO blathering regarding keyword density, blog platforms, site design, posting frequency or any of the other “tips” spouted at length by all the so-called experts online. The reason is simple – it is all window dressing in the greater scheme of things and ultimately unimportant when it comes to serp domination.
The simple truth is that I can rank any site on top of the serp’s with the right backlinks and provided the site has legit content (but only because it may get a human review – I could do it with spam if I only had to dupe the machine). How much content or how well it is written is insignificant for ranki
If you just have to chase social media then do yourself a favor – as you get yourself known ask your friends and readers to use your keywords when they link to you. Do you know how many times I have heard a social blogger tell me that social media is great because it gets them PR and backlinks. When I check they have hundreds of links using their name in the anchor. Yup – they rank really well for a term no one searches for. What a waste and yet the links could be so beneficial. As for PR – just remember this – your own PR has no bearing on your ranking. It’s the PR of the sites linking to you that effects your ranking and only if they use your keywords.
Making Money Online is not complicated. Rank on top of the serp’s for as many keywords as you can. Add Adsense. Collect money. Rinse and repeat.
It really does work and I hope many of you will achieve the same success as I have over the coming year.
Have a very happy and prosperous 2009
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