It has been several months since the first incarnation of the monstrous, blood-thirsty Google Penguin algorithmic update, yet still everyone is talking about it. I suspect this is because many people are still not ranking and banging their heads against the wall trying to figure out how to bring their sites back to pre-Penguin levels.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of my dos and don’ts, I would like to point out that I believe the main reason I am still alive in the SEO game is not necessarily due to my skill or work ethic. In fact, really my own laziness and lack of ambition is probably what has kept my bestest sites afloat. Why? Because we all know that the overly-optimized have suffered greatly. Fortunately for me, about two years ago when I started making more money than I had ever made before doing this internet nerd stuff, I got distracted traveling and having a good time and spent very little time worrying about optimization anymore. Of course, I did work very hard to create quality sites that users would actually find value in in the first place, but I stopped aggressively link building and doing any sort of optimization like that on most sites after I got them ranking to begin with. The ones I did optimize like hell are the ones that tanked, which probably comes as no surprise to most of you.
Anyway, bla bla bla, TL;DR, inb4 eBook. If you’re trying to re-rank a site that was front kicked into oblivion by the last update, I suggest you stop. I am sure it’s possible, however, I doubt it’s worth the time. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to save an old money maker like you’re emotionally invested in it or something. If you ranked before, you can rank again. If you’ve never ranked before and you’re a total noob (welcome, nice to see you), then I guess your good karma has brought you here.
Make Quality Sites
Come at me PETA, cause I plan on beating this dead horse until there is nothing left of it. Please note that what you think is a “quality site” may not necessarily be a quality site. It’s not unlike how mothers of ugly children fail to see the cosmetic issues of their own children for what they are. The design and functionality of your site should be top notch and on par with with the sites currently dominating whatever niche you are trying to infiltrate. Get a second opinion. You may not think this has a lot to do with SEO, but it has everything to do with SEO. Do you want to be searching for effective blog comment targets for the rest of your life? Then you’re going to want to make a website that people take seriously and are actually willing to link other people to.
Sometimes when I preach about engaging via Facebook, Twitter, etc, I get responses like “well, what am I supposed to post about?” If you can’t figure that out, then, I mean, dang. Listen, the days of automating and spamming the shit out of everything are more or less over. Yes there are still people making some money doing it but they are living on the fringe of the internet marketing community, whereas before it was almost mainstream. In today’s SEO world, you need to freaking innovate. I don’t know what your websites are about, therefore I cannot come up with clever ways to promote them using social media. I will say that Twitter has a very handy search feature. It’s more powerful than many people realize. Use it to your advantage. Giving stuff away is usually pretty effective, too.
Dive into stuff you know and care about
It’s no secret that if you base your business around stuff you actually care about, you will find greater success and probably less grey hairs. In the post-penguin era, freshness is very important. Let me tell you from experience, it is very tedious and soul-sucking to constantly be updating sites about things you have absolutely no interest in but at one time figured you could make some good money off of. When it’s something you care about, you feel compelled to do it and it’s not a chore. Now, that’s not to say you should dedicate your life to building a blog chronicling the sketches you make of your dog…but you get the idea. Just about every interest you could have can be used to create a business, but the level of creativity needed to do so will vary.
Sweet-talk other webmasters
I am a long time fan of this. Anyone that knows me knows that this is bread and butter of my linkbuilding. The problem is, most people that attempt it try to streamline the process by writing some contrived copy+paste email pitch that no one ever pays attention to. Have a little respect for the webmasters you email and actually take the time to get to know the site you’re itching to get a link on and make sure the fact that you’re not just spamming webmasters comes across in your email. There are lots of creative ways to get their attention. Here is one.
Wow, this post is getting really long. Better stop getting cute with graphics.
1. Don’t over-optimize. This should be obvious by now. Use significant keyword diversity when you build links, and forget about the shitty links. Seriously, just forget about them. Get related links from guest blog posts, related blog rolls, related communities, related anything, and mix up the anchor text. Use generic anchors.
2. Don’t copy your competitors. Sure, it’s a good idea to watch what they’re doing and investigate where their backlinks are coming from, but if you try to actually emulate their business, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Focus on finding your own path to success.
3. Stop complaining. Penguin (and Panda, for that matter) didn’t ruin everything, it just changed everything. Last time I checked, the first page of results is still full of websites, so, plenty of people are still cashing in.
4. Don’t depend entirely on Google for your livelihood. Many people learned this hard lesson recently. The bright side is that they also learned that there are virtually limitless other methods of generating traffic, and Google is really just one of them. The fact of the matter is what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow, and traffic diversity is the key to long-term success.
5. Don’t forget to BUY MY PANDA RECOVERY eBOOK!!!!