Free SEO Lesson #1
  • Hey guys,

    It's Stefan here and I'm just getting ready to go back to bed after being awakened by the annoying sound of my phone. A friend of mine wanted to know if I could register a domain for him (It's 02:00 on christmas eve so he expects me to be behind my computer.) and now I can't get back to sleep so I figured I'd either blog about SEO or write a nice little article on Flippingnetwork about SEO.
    I know a lot of people are struggling with finding REAL SEO techniques that stick so on this lovely night I'll just do my first lesson in which I'll explain exactly how I have been running my SEO company. Now, I can't tell you everything because I have to get up in 8 hours to get ready for the other half of my family and I don't want to be too tired but I'll try to explain as much as I can to you guys so you'll learn a lot!

    Let's go!

    The first thing I want to discuss is what I call The Hat Factor (THF) which is a really stupid name for something I find extremely important. What THF does is, it gives you a way to check if you want to use blackhat or whitehat SEO techniques. (If you want me to explain whitehat vs blackhat please send me a pm and I'll post it here too, I'll go in to depth on both subjects later but for the basics I'll rely on your knowledge)
    It's all very simple really, I use a small checklist that determines my exact ranking plan. Since it's christmas I'll simply give you this checklist.

    Checklist
    [list=1]
    [*]Is this a client you are working for?
    If it's a client, HE DECIDES! ALWAYS![/*:m]
    [*]Do you want your site to rank fast or rank for a long time?
    If you do blackhat SEO your site will rank faster but it will not stay up in the serps for too long.[/*:m]
    [*]How new is the site?
    A new site can hardly take blackhat SEO, google will hate on it. An older site (AGE IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!) will not have this problem and you can easily do some blackhat SEO on it without google noticing[/*:m]
    [*]How many links is it getting right now?
    If a site is already getting 10 links a day, going up to 20, or even 25 links a day isn't all that bad. Google will see it as a positive thing and will rank you higher. If your site is getting 1 or 0 links a day and it goes up to 25 links, google will hate on it a lot since it's too spammy.[/*:m][/list:o]

    That's basically my own little checklist. If at the end my answers all point to the site either being too new, too legit or too unpopular I choose whitehat SEO. This doesn't mean I stick with it forever but for starters it's always good to go with. I'll discuss some awesome whitehat SEO techniques later and I'll rape some blackhat SEO techniques while I'm at it. Let's first talk about what you can do for your site before building those links!

    On-Site SEO

    Because SEO isn't that clear of a job to begin with, we'll have to start with the basics. I've heard so many people say so many things about on-site SEO that are just not true. So I really want to take the time and dedicate this lesson to on-site SEO. What to look out for, what to do and what not to do, what could possibly ruin your site and I'll give you a good, real example of a friend of mine.

    Things that matter to google
    [list]
    [*]Your title tag
    This is by far the most important thing on your website. Google wants your main keyword to be on the front of your title. Google reads like a normal person would, the first words of the title are most important, after that they get less important so keep your main keyword at the start. Also, your title shouldn't be the same on every page (even if you add stuff). So let's say you have a wordpress page which has a homepage with a title that goes like this:
    Flipping Sites
    Then your category pages shouldn't look like this:
    Flipping Sites | Flippa
    But they should just look something like this:
    Flippa
    Very simple, very clean and Google will love you for it. Because the Title is basically the name of the website (atleast browsers do name sites like that in your tabs) it really is the most important on-site SEO thing to look at
    [/*:m]
    [*]Your image alt tags
    Not much to say about this, just use them and your pictures will also get indexed (which is what you want, getting as many pages/images indexed as you can)[/*:m]
    [*]Amount of content/pages
    If you have a website with 2 pages Google won't love it. It doesn't have enough content to be of any authority and you will get indexed worse that you should. I have a great example of this exactly which I'll just quickly tell you.
    I have a friend who had a website with 500+ indexed pages. It was a wordpress affiliate shop and he was doing pretty well, he was basically ranking on #1 for 300 of those products. You can imagine the money he was making but it wasn't enough.
    (Greed will lead to poverty)
    So he came on IRC and he told me he was deleting all those 500 pages and turning it into 5 big pages which held every single product on his site, seriously crippling his rankings. If I had the knowledge I have now, back then, I wouldn't have told him that what he was doing would probably make his site look cleaner. It wouldn't have mattered really, he was already almost done anyway. Two weeks later all his rankings were gone and he was suddenly making less than a tenth of what he used to make. Not only because his products weren't findable anymore but because google decided that his site was not worth his rank and they shot him to the 8th rank, basically crippling his sales. So, DO NOT DO THAT!
    [/*:m]
    [*]Your <h1> and <b> tags
    Just put your keywords and important titles and stuff in these tags, google knows they're important and will therefore rank your site better for them. DO NOT put all your keywords in <b> tags, just do it once or twice and you'll be fine.[/*:m]
    [*]Internal Linking Structure
    Google likes to give your readers/users a site that allows them to find exactly what they want easily, without having to click 200 buttons. What this means is that a page that is linked to in your navigation bar (Like the wordpress top bar or the sidebar) is a one-click visit, where a post that is completely hidden in archives (that might take 4-5 clicks to get to) will not be indexed as high as the other, apparently more important, pages[/*:m]
    [*]Meta Description
    This is NOT helpful for SEO but it WILL increase the likelyness of people clicking on your site because Google takes your site's description from this tag. This means that a site without this meta description tag will only be shown as what their homepage shows (So maybe a part of a blog post, or a stupid nav bar). A site that does have it will show up in google with that as it's description.[/*:m][/list:u]

    What NOT to do!
    [list]
    [*]Meta Tags!
    Since spamming became popular, meta tags have become 100% completely useless to anyone trying to rank in google. Although bing and yahoo still use them for god-knows-what, Google has gotten rid of using them completely. Now you might thing 'well, if bing and yahoo sitll like them, I'll use them'. You're wrong. You're basically giving your competitors the chance to steal the keywords you're trying to rank for. All they have to do is check your source, and they'll know what you're ranking for. DON'T DO IT![/*:m]
    [*]Duplicate content
    Honestly guys, duplicate content is the stupidest thing you can use. Google hates it, your site will get ranked LESS and everyone hates you for doing it. Oh and it also decreases the chance of you ever flipping your site, just saying! DON'T DO IT[/*:m]
    [*]Too many keywords
    You don't want to fill your page up with keywords, make sure you have some really good, unique content to go along with it.[/*:m]
    [*]Too little keywords
    On the other hand, you don't want to only mention your keyword once. Throw it around a couple times in your great content and you'll be more than fine![/*:m][/list:u]

    There's about a million things I haven't mentioned yet but I'm tired and I think you guys have enough to do read so far. I'll continue this thread whenever I really want to do so and I'll also post some of my SEO videos when they are done. I wish you all happy holidays (I personally don't celebrate christmas but I like the holidays) and a happy new year for those I won't speak to before that. I hope I taught you guys something today and I hope you will all profit from it.

    This was Stefan for Flippingnetwork.com, I am out!
    Post edited by Unknown User at 2011-01-07 13:44:19
  • Thanks for this information, Stefan. When you say not to use meta tags, does that include the tags on Wordpress blog posts? Is it best to not list any tags for a post? Thanks for sharing your insights.
  • You can use those tags as they actually help your audience find your post (through search). Just don't use the meta tags in your header.
  • Thanks for the clarification, and happy new year!
  • No problem, my video is coming up soon, finally got to talk to my editor again.
  • The duplicate content issue is a myth, Google's come out and stated it:
    http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/ ... ntent-myth

    What actually takes place is that if you have two pages on a site that are the same or extremely similar, Google has to pick just one of them to show in the search results. This isn't as much a penalty as it is a favoring of the more optimized page.

    -Brian
  • Great stuff. Excellent info. Thanks for getting it started Stefan.
  • [quote="entrepreneur7"]
    The duplicate content issue is a myth, Google's come out and stated it:
    http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/ ... ntent-myth

    What actually takes place is that if you have two pages on a site that are the same or extremely similar, Google has to pick just one of them to show in the search results. This isn't as much a penalty as it is a favoring of the more optimized page.

    -Brian


    My understanding on this was that Google tends to give preference to the first site to publish the information. What's your take on that?
  • My take is the one that was recently posted on a private internet marketing forum and I'll share it here, it's quoted from Google so it's right.

    Duplicate content:
    Document with the higher Pagerank preferred over the original document.

    http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/7695/58510702.png

    Quote:
    In response to the detected duplicate documents, the present invention may also function to eliminate duplicate documents (e.g., keeping the one with best PageRank, with best trust of host, that is the most recent) Alternatively, the present invention may function to generate clusters of near- 60 duplicate documents, in which a transitive property is assumed (i.e., if document Ais a near-duplicate of document B, and document B is a near-duplicate of document C, then document A is considered a near-duplicate of document C). Each document may have an identifier for identifying a 65 cluster with which it is associated. In this alternative, in response to a search query, if two candidate result docu
    ments belong to the same cluster and if the two candidate result documents match the query equally well (e.g., have the same title and/or snippet) if both appear in the same group of results (e.g., first page), only the one deemed more likely to be relevant (e.g., by virtue of a high PageRank, being more recent, etc.) is returned.

    This is also why I have been stealing content from other sites so I can post them on my PR2 site ;)
  • Looking at the patent is a great way to get the details "from the horses mouth". I will add here that you should be careful of copyright infringement. If you're going to post duplicate content, make sure it's content such as press releases, articles, that you would have rights to repost. I'm not an attorney.
  • Duplicate content is one of those things that has been beaten to death and can refer to many different situations.

    If the duplicate content Stefan is referring to in his original post is copying from other websites and basically having no unique content, then yes, that is bad.

    If you start talking about duplicate content on your own website though, keep in mind that simply having two pages with the same or EXTREMELY similar (like 99% similar content) isn't going to penalize you, but as Stefan referred to in that Google quote, Google has to rank one of the pages higher than another. This is favoring one page over another, not penalizing one.
  • Lesson #2 coming up, and I'm screenrecording a video right now :)