So, since my last post (nearly three months ago, sorry!), there has been even more confusion in the SEO world as the new Google Penguin update has wreaked havoc upon webmasters around the world. Sentiments and general attitudes on SEO message boards are very negative. Some people are even claiming that it is now impossible to rank. Well, until the first 2 pages of Google search results for any given query become either blank or nothing but Google Ads, you had better believe that it is still very possible to rank.
I did not escape this last update completely unscathed. Like many others, I had EMD (exact match domain) sites with little to no anchor text diversity and generic backlinks (social bookmarks, blog comments, etc) that were slapped pretty hard. Fortunately, I don’t rely on those types of web properties to support my business. My sites that actually provide some type of value and regularly get natural backlinks are still doing just fine, many of them better.
I know the goodie-two-shoes people in this industry love talking about “user experience” and “providing value.” Believe me, I am annoyed by this as well. I don’t build quality sites because I like playing by the rules. I build quality sites because they make more money. I save my rebellious nature for linkbuilding.
But, haven’t cheap links been considerably devalued? Possibly even made to harm the rankings of sites? Sure. I’m not going to get into a whole talk about negative SEO. I’m going to talk about muthafuckin off-white hat SEO!
Too many people look at SEO and see only two approaches: A) Play by the book and try to get quality links. B) Break all the rules and XRUMER ALL THE THINGS and get as many links as you possibly can no matter how you get them.
For a long term business plan, A is the better approach of the two, and I think most reasonable people would agree. But that doesn’t mean it’s the BEST approach.
What do I do when it comes to link building? I focus on doing whatever I have to do, however sneakily I need to do it, no matter how many “rules” I have to break in the process, to get those quality links (without breaking the law). No, I’m not going to spell the process out for you. That would be stupid on my part. Even if I did, your mileage is going to vary. What I’m trying to communicate is the simple principles that I have been applying to my business all along: using somewhat devious tactics to get GOOD links that your competitors don’t have the ability to get. THAT is how you rank, sustain your rank, and get natural links as a result of having that rank. And I think attempting any of this without having a quality site in the first place is more or less a waste of time.
Now, good link building doesn’t always have to be sneaky. What it takes to get good links varies A LOT by niche. In some cases, assuming you have a decent site, one of the best ways to build links is to email webmasters and politely ask for them. Imagine that. But a lot of people don’t like putting in that sort of leg work, even though it really can pay off.
As far as specifics, look around this site. I’ve blogged about lots of techniques I use. Not all of them are still effective (maybe not even possible), but it should help you understand the way I approach SEO and maybe you can incorporate those principles into your business.
MOST OF THE SEO INFO OUT THERE IS GARBAGE. You probably already knew that, but I want to reiterate it. I don’t have anything to sell you here. Not that it would be a bad thing if I did, I mean, we’re all here to make money. But that’s not my motivation. My real motivation is having a blog that people read so that other people buy me drinks at conferences and give me access to beta test cool shit and stuff like that. If I was to be another parrot blog just regurgitating the same useless info about keyword density and making useless case studies, people might stop reading.
With a little luck, it will be less than three months before I blog again.