An Effective SEO Strategy For New Websites
When you’re new and just starting out in the search engines, you better watch your back! If you slip up or do one little thing wrong, you may well be penalized for months or years to come. Ok it’s not that bad, but I see so many people using spammy tactics to build backlinks when they’re just starting out in the search engines. It’s a bad idea! Search engines like Google automatically put up a wall when they come into contact with new sites. It’s like a trust barrier you can only lower over a period of time… And once you’ve successfully lowered the barrier, you can go wild!
Thousands of blog comments, forum spam and low quality backlinks. They will actually help you, but only once you’ve got over Google’s trust barrier. How does this affect you? Well if your site is new… you’re posting some OK content, building some OK/spammy links and seeing results… that’s totally normal. Most people do for around 1 week all the way up to 6 months. Then, all of a sudden Google’s barrier smacks you right in the face pushing your site to the bottom of the serps. I’ve experienced it and you know what? It took a while to recover. Anyway, follow this advice and you’ll know exactly what to do with your new sites to get them past Google’s trust barrier.
First: Focus on accessibility!
Before you mess with anything else, you need to make sure people and the search engines can access your site properly. First join Google Webmasters and Analytics; they’re excellent tools that are essential for SEO. In order for search engines and people to access your site properly, they need to be able to find all of your pages. The first thing you can do is submit your sitemap to Google via Webmaster tools. Then create a menu on your site displaying all of your pages, posts, categories and anything else you want people to find.
After you’ve done that you need to make sure you haven’t made any dumb mistakes. Mistakes like crawl errors can really screw your site up. Errors like 500′s, 404′s and 302′s. If you login to Google Webmaster Tools you’ll find “crawl errors” under diagnostics:
If your site has any crawl errors, webmaster tools will tell you exactly how to fix them. Lastly for the accessibility part, make sure you don’t have any pages with little to no content, and most importantly no duplicate content!
Second: Sort Out Keywords
Once you’ve made sure your site has no problems, you need to sort out the keywords you’re going to target. Most new sites go seriously wrong here. They shoot for the moon and spend all day every day trying to rank for super high competition keywords. Honestly, it’s a huge waste of time and effort going after the big keywords when your site is new. You should rank for keywords according to your site’s authority.
As you gain authority, you can go after more difficult keywords. Even if you’re link a link building wizard, it’s still not worth it. There are better means of getting traffic in the beginning. Better means being long tail keywords. Go after the really easy keywords when your site is new and focus on quantity. I always tell people to post two types of blog content, promotional and value. Posting value content is like going after really tough keywords.
When it’s much more profitable to go after lots of long tail keywords. I would setup a blog and publish 1 new post daily targeting a keyword with 300 or more searches a month. Then after every post, build some backlinks. Posting lots of unique content that targets long tail keywords on a regular basis builds up authority. Building high quality backlinks to those internal pages will build even more authority.
After 50 odd posts published that all have links built to them, your domain will have this automatic ranking power. So when you publish a new post targeting a low-medium competition keyword it’ll rank for it with little to no backlinks. That’s why you need to go after the low competition keywords in the first place, to build up traffic and authority. Meanwhile sort out your high competition keywords for your home page that you can focus on later.
Third: Content, Design And Usability
The third part of this strategy is creating amazing content, having a great site design and usability. When you’re just starting out, you need to produce high quality content on a very regular basis. As I mentioned before, daily is great. If it’s not your core website, then weekly content should be the bare minimum. When creating content you need to keep your visitors in mind. Whatever they want, give it to them.
Even if you have great content, no one’s going to read it if your site design sucks… And if you’d like people to browse around your site… they’re not going to unless its ultra friendly. Creating an attractive design can be tough when you don’t have spare cash laying about the place. However, if you’re using WordPress there are hundreds of stunning themes out there you pickup for under $100. Usability is hard to conquer. You need to be tweaking and testing your site on a regular basis until you find a layout that works best. You can use Analytics to do that.
With the latest algorithm updates, things are become a lot more social. A few months ago no one really cared about having social buttons on their site, now it’s essential. Getting social will do three things for your site:
- Increase User Experience
- Build Backlinks = Boost Your Site In The Serps
- Drive Traffic
Getting social is quite simple. You need a dedicated Twitter account for your site and of course a Facebook fan page. Next you need social sharing buttons. Facebook like buttons, tweet buttons, Google +1 buttons and more. As of now those are the 3 key social buttons you need on your site. Since Google has started using Facebook & Twitter data to influence rankings. Social media has become a vital part of SEO; it’s also great for increasing using experience and driving traffic. People love to click buttons and interact with sites. Social buttons let them do that. You’ll also receive a ton of referral traffic from your content going “semi-viral”.
Five: Link Building
Finally we get round to link building. Link building for a new site can be tricky. A few links from the wrong place can lead to your site being sandboxed. It can happen and although it rarely does, it’s better to be safe. Google and the other search engines are becoming more intelligent daily. They have extremely sophisticated algorithms that can detect bad quality links now.
So mass article directory submissions, mass web2.0 submissions, blog comments and forum profiles. Those links can be deadly when your site is brand new. I’m not one of those SEO guys who scare the shit out of you by saying you can’t artificially build links. As that’s total crap. My content on here rocks and I have everything right, but I still don’t get nearly enough natural backlinks to compete with other marketers. I artificially build links and I do it effectively. So there’s a time and place for lots and lots of artificial links. Just not when your site is brand new.
For the first 3 months you need to concentrate on lowering Google’s trust barrier by building links via:
- Press Releases
- Guest Blogging
- Asking For Links Off Friends & Business Contacts
- Unique Backlinks
- HIGH Quality Spun Content On Authority Sites
- High PR Blog Comments On Relevant Blogs
Really, to remain in the safe zone you should really focus on the top 4. Press releases being first as they build amazing links for new sites. You can use PR’s to announce your site to the world and tell people about new content as you publish it. Guest blogging is just incredible, but very time consuming. Guest blogging is where you write for someone’s blog and in return get a link back to your website. Guest blogging allows you to build super high quality backlinks from trusted sources.
You need to look for blogs in your niche that have lots of traffic and a high Page Rank. A lot of them will be open for guest bloggers and if they’re not, send in a quick request via their contact form. I know it sounds really dumb, but you can ask your friends and business contacts to link to your site. If you play the sympathy card by saying your sites new and it would really help out, they’ll have a hard time saying no. Number 4 is unique backlinks.
Unique backlinks being any kind of contextual backlinks within 100% unique content. Most link building is done by submitting spun content. Since Google is getting better and better at identifying spun content, it’s best to lay off it for the first 3 months. So feel free to write unique content and submit it anywhere you like. Then there’s high quality spun content and high Page Rank blog commenting. But that stuff is way out of the reach of this article. Follow everything and you’ll remain in the safe zone (Google’s index) while building up massive amounts of authority.
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