2014 Whats Working…

Hey Folks,

Andy here and just doing a little SEO update, plus a little bit more info on the site.

First of all, apologies for not updating. I made a conscious decision a few months ago that i wanted to make money by “doing” and not teaching people how to “do”.

There’s something immoral about becoming super rich peddling information that you can find for free, or selling affiliate products that are marginally effective at best.

Here is what I am doing… here is what works:

Links

Link building has changed. Screw every single automated tool that exists.. period.

Any platform where you can create an account and post links is long term useless and risky. If you look at all the tools like SEO nuke, the big ‘footprint’ is that anyone can create an account and post content. Self post sites are low value and they are super RISKY.

A few years ago they worked, and since then they have become less and less effective. Now the risk is much greater than the reward.

The same goes for blog networks. Any site that just has blogs, on multiple topics, linking out to lots of posts, is super risky. Yes it will work short term, long term, it will get screwed.

Here is what works:

  • Purchased links: Do so on sites that or niche relevant, or close in topic. So if you have a site on fishing, a link from another fishing website would be ideal, otherwise sites that are outdoors related, camping related etc would be deemed relevant. And this goes for the overall theme of the site.
  • Purchased PR domains: Get them, get ones that are niche relevant, or could be deemed related to the niche. Also sites with generic anchor profiles that haven’t been correctly themed.
  • Newspapers, press releases (HQ), HQ directories like Dmoz/BOTW: You want links on high PR sites and pages.

Other than that, you DON’T need that many links to rank. 30 high page rank links will dominate 10k spammy and crappy links. Plus the spammy and crappy links will get the site penalized eventually.

Content

Good content – on my money site, most of my content ranges from 750-2000 words in length. I spend most of my time writing content and most of my money outsourcing good content written by good writers.

Have your content have lots of subheadings (non keyword spammed), lists, font formatting.

Keep keyword density very low. Have keyword in title, h1 and first paragraph, last paragraph, then keep keyword density low.

Search for the keyword you are writing the page for in the keyword tool. Make sure you include some of the related keywords in the content.

Design

Design IS most definitely a ranking factor. Make your brand look professional. A $50 theme will pay dividends in the long term. Make it beautiful, make it responsive. Pay for a nicely designed logo. Keep it clean and not too busy.

Affiliate Links

Max 1-2 per page. Especially on new sites.

Authorship

Verify with authorship.

Use a COMPELLING picture to increase CTR. I currently have cropped round my headshot and super imposed it on a red background. This gives me a massive unfair advantage and ups my CTR up hugely.

Titles, metas, timestamp.

Should both include your keyword once, preferably at the start. Write titles for CTR, CTR is a ranking factor now. Sites that get clicked rank higher.

Timestamp your pages with the last updated date.

Freshness

Update your important and high ranking pages often (once a month.. I know it’s work).

Plus add at least one piece of content (500 words or greater) every single day to the site. Sites that update daily get a freshness boost.

Social Media and WMT

Link your site with your authorship and to webmaster tools. Hiding from Google is not an option now. You need to work with them and give them what they want instead of against them. Also link with analytics.

Create a page on google+ for your brand. Plug your social media profiles in to your authorship page.

Update your facebook, twitter, google+ with every new piece of content you publish. Write unique blurbs, don’t just post links. Use hootsuite.

Comment on industry stuff on g+ and participate in conversations within your niche. Try to get +1′s, follows from active users within your niche. How much this helps now is quite debatable (I don’t think it helps much) but long term, heading in to the future this will surely become a ranking factor of some kind (Better to be ahead of the curve than behind).

Volume vs aggression

In my niche, I have taken a very non aggressive approach. There is a clear correlation now between aggressive SEO and penalties/downgrades. The sites that are ranking heavily are the ones without as many links actually, but are updated frequently and have the best quality content. Or, put another way, quite a few sites with good content are now not ranking simply because they got aggressive with link metrics. Having good content, user metrics etc does not make you invincible to penguin.

What is working may vary between niches. My niche is gambling related and a notoriously spammed niche. This means they may have toned down links for this niche (although i have no idea because i don’t operate elsewhere). This would make sense to me personally, because there are very few organic links in gambling, they may just decrease link value in niches where organic links don’t exist.

Anyway, I am not taking the focus of building 1 main site, spending 90% of my energy on that. Plus creating a handful of mini sites for niche terms, that link to my money site. And building a small network of related PR domains.

Right now a lot of content I am building is ranking page 1-3 without any links for competitive terms. I then just build a handful of high PR relevant links and boom, I’m on page 1. I keep the rankings by creating the best content on the topic and updating the page very often. Couple that with getting a high CTR from Google SERPS, it’s easy to see why they think my site is the most relevant to a query.

I’ve also found a few content strategies to rank for keywords that a lot of other affiliates are not going for. The traffic to these terms seems a lot more general and is converting less, but getting it in volume is proving easy, plus it’s allowing me to build up a targeted email list pretty quickly.

Hopefully this was helpful, i update this soon if i think of any new tips and tricks.

17 Responses to “2014 Whats Working…”
  1. Hazli Khalim

    Hy Andy,

    You said you no longer use automated software. Do you still do tiered linking strategy?

    Other than buying links or setting up PBN, do you actually promote those with links?

    Thanks man! Great to hear your thoughts heading to 2014.

  2. Andy

    Nope, very little linking now.

    Last month I got a 10 year old PR4 expired name within my niche, listed in Dmoz for about $100.

    I can build a site on 10 of these type of links, and can guarantee it will rank pretty well with little volatility and risk factor.

    The amount of churn in the last 12 months has been insane. Creating epic content is now my main business strategy. I have a word document outlining over 1000 pieces of content I need written in the next few months. Id rather win the long game than risk losing these sites.

    Typically i want to be getting links from either:

    1) Niche related site i know is a ‘good link’. By good link i mean in terms of risk, not authority. So i mean a real site within my niche. Not a blog, not a self post site or web 2.0 etc.

    2) I want to own the property, so i can change or remove links as and when i want, so i can undo a penalty very easily if and when it happens.

    I know this sounds all up in the air, and without any hard detail. But i really feel like “user satisfaction” is now a big ranking factor. The precise factors i don’t know. However i know i am now being rewarded (like never before) for building epic sites. I’ve invested so much in content and design and user experience. I have really thought things through and put my all in to one or two sites. Now it’s starting to pay dividends.

    My 2 cents anyway. No more tiered linking :-)

  3. Jen

    Thanks for this post update. It was Greatly appreciated.

    • Andy

      You’re welcome Jen, thanks for the comment!

      • Mark

        Hey,

        I wanted to tell you that I have bought a few expired domains for my pbn and it has moved some targeted keywords in the serps for me but I am still struggling to crack the top ten. Is there any place that you can recommend to purchase high pr links from niche sites? Someone mentioned textlinkbrokers but I have never used them. Also, Have you ever had an aged expired domain content (post) rank better than the actual website/post you are pointing it to? I made a relevant post on a expired domain that I bought and pointed it towards another post on a website. A couple of weeks later that post was ranking and not the intended domain. This is strange since I do have good on-site optimization for the other site.

        Thanks.

  4. Vito

    I’ve been trying to pick up some quality PR domains and find it pretty tough going. On Godaddy Auctions, a legitimate pr5, decent PA/DA, backlinks that probably won’t disappear, and that doesn’t sound like gibberish seem to go for $1000-ish, with most of the bidding in the last 30 minutes.

    How picky are you in the domains that you pick up? Do you find there is a sweetspot in DA/PA/moztrust metrics where you get the juice, but don’t pay big bucks for the domain?

    • Andy

      I really want to reveal my exact tactic i use, but feel like it will not be beneficial to me, simply because people who operate in the same niche as me probably read this blog.

      I can tell you this, its not so much about the pa/da and pr. It’s more about the topic of the domain and quality/relevancy of the links. From that you can probably extrapolate some stuff.

      Try to look at things over the long term and not just an immediate ranking boost. I often add content to these domains, build links to them and a host of other things that brings them up in value.

      Needless to say, i’m not going for the same domains as everyone else. I still use PR powershot and Expireddomains.net to search.

  5. Michal

    Hey Andy, epic insights!!! Was wondering if you know when the last panda update happened??? Thx…

    • Andy

      Not 100% sure. I think Panda is now integrated in to the main algorithm? I don’t follow every single refresh.

  6. Giorgio

    Hi Andy,

    I’m also in the gambling niche and was, just like you penalized with both the Panda and Penguin updates.

    My main site dropped from 1000 uniques a day to 250 to 50. While some rankings are back in the top 50, the site never fully recovered – despite new design, rewriting the content etc etc.

    Since other sites take up most of my time, I’m not actively working on this specific site anymore, though your post is inspiring me and I might have another look at it again some time soon.

    I think we both agree that life’s a bitch when you lose lots of income over night, but just like you I have also managed to survive.

    When talking about getting a hand full of high PR links (I assume PR3, PR4 and maybe PR5,) do you usually buy these or do only buy expired domains, refurbish them, and link out from them? I personally noticed that there are not many others willing to sell links from high PR sites, hence I am asking.

    Cheers,

    Giorgio

    • Andy

      Honestly, the site where that happened to me, where i dropped from 500 a day to 100 ish a day (mostly bing/yahoo traffic). I am now in the process of doing this. I might post an update about this:

      1) Deindex the old site to google, but allow yahoo and bing to rank it still.
      2) Upload the content on new site. Do everything possible to make the site look better, in terms of design, responsiveness, site speed etc, add more headings, images etc.
      3) ban bing and yahoo from the new one.
      4) Start building links again from scratch.

      The fact penguin re-runs twice a year at the moment, means i can just start a new site faster. Plus i kind of feel like once your site has been “tainted” it will always have a higher degree of skepticism over it. Honestly thats just my opinion, could very well be wrong about that.

  7. jack rice

    Have been thinking the other way round, weather this will work as well, this has to do with posting comments on high page rank blogs with very few out bound links but high PR and within the niche of my site .

    Your strategy is capital intensive, this is exactly what “Alex and Becker” are doing, now for some of us that has lots of blogs and hundreds of inner pages, buying high PR blogs for each one of my money site will surly gulp lots of money off my pocket, before doing same to the inner pages .

    I still feel posting comments to blogs that are relevant to your niche also that has high PR, with very few out bound like is the way to go for me, Knowing that one PR4 blog is far better than 1000s of PR0 blogs, therefore this as well can be achieved by blog commenting .

    Andy, what are your thoughts on this?

    • Andy

      I have read that comment links from Names are not counted at all. I cant remember my source. I think it was from a Google webmaster central chat, where one of the guys said they ignore all comment links.

      Take that how you want. I don’t think they are every high quality links. Okay in moderation from related pages/domains, but as a strategy to rely on exclusively, i don’t think its the best.

  8. Suresh Bist

    Hi Andy, regarding your comment “Link your site with your authorship and to webmaster tools. Hiding from Google is not an option now.”…

    What if you have multiple websites across niches? Would it look credible if you are seen as the author of sites that fall under varied niches? How can you be an authority in multiple niches (music, health, business)?

    Is there a better way to handle this? Or is it time to dump other websites and just focus on one or two?

    Regards,
    Suresh

    • Andy

      Thats a very tough question to answer, and honestly, i really don’t know.

      At the moment im just operating in one niche.

      Theres nothing stopping you creating other pen names or authorship profiles. So far Google, hasn’t said you can’t do this. However, they can most definitely track all your profiles that log in from the same IP etc. So you are never really hidden unless you go through lots of effort to hide yourself.

      If you find out the answer, feel free to tell me the answer :-)

      • Suresh Bist

        I read a few comments regarding this on forums which said “the readers won’t remember or really don’t care about it”, but I think nobody is sure about this. But one niche & one/two websites seems to be a good approach to follow now.

        When you say building an ‘epic website’, you mean 2k to 5k posts or more than 5k posts?

    • Benjamin Tong

      Brilliant question Suresh, and nice reply thanks Andy. I’ve just started up a fresh site in a different niche and this question is at the top of my list. Anyone else have any ideas?

      Cheers,
      Benjamin

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