Mid 2014 Update – The State Of SEO

Whats Happened In SEO

Over the last few months there has been a few new updates, the latest Panda, plus the upgraded Pay Day Loans update, which performs much like Penguin from all the sites I have seen.

Going forward not much has changed. I will write a detailed post on the theory behind these actions at some point. But for the most part, this is what I am doing:

Link building

  • Rule 1 – Build links from relevant sites only. (Most safe).
  • Rule 2 – Never repeat anchor text. (Reduces risk).
  • Break rule 1, only from super high trust sites, and then do not use exact match anchors.
  • Break rule 2, only with brand anchor text (if your site is not an EMD) and with generics (Click here, learn more, visit this site etc).
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Control as many of your links as possible (IE buy them, own them, be able to remove the links at a moments notice).

Social Media

  • Use social lockers to get more shares.
  • Have social share links on all pages (Use a call to action, offer a bonus etc for people who share).
  • Social shares largely validate links.

Brand Building

  • Going forward everyone wants to build brands. They are the most sustainable way to rank.
  • Make sure you have active social profiles. Facebook, twitter, youtube, g+.
  • Cultivate as many brand searches as possible. Be creative.
  • Make sure all of your sites have authorship. Do not abuse it, don’t tag all pages with authorship.

Layout, design and site speed

  • Site speed is as important as ever. Make sure your sites load fast. This means do not use Blue host, host gator or any of the other main hosts for your money site. They are too slow.
  • Use page caching in wordpress in increase site speed.
  • Use a responsive layout.
  • Make sure each page on your site has unique content. This means writing excerpts. Possibly means noindex, following category pages.
  • More content is better. Larger pages rank better. Larger sites rank easier.
  • Design, user experience and how your site performs (user metrics) are incredibly important nowadays.
  • Low amount of ads above the fold (One ad block only).
  • Low amount of boilerplate content (IE don’t have a massive sidebar with hundreds of links on it that appear on every page.)


  • Content length is important. Longer pages rank better.
  • Fresh content is important. Update your pages often.


  • Write titles for CTR. Become a copywriter. Sites that get clicked more in the serps rank higher and are deemed more relevant.
  • Use Google analytics and WMT. Google can get all the data, dont try and hide. You might as well spoon feed them good data than risk them sending bad data.
  • Outlinks to trusted sites definitely help you rank higher.
  • Less links are needed now than ever before. If you can spoon feed a lot of the other signals to Google, you will rank without links.
  • Bounce rate and time on site appear to be less important than I thought before. However, I think click through rate and bounce back to the serp are hugely important at the moment.


Personal Status

Business is going good. Last month I broke the £20k a month barrier ($34k) which is my all time top money earning month. This month things are going a bit slower but I am on pace to do £16k this month.

I have earnt enough money to pay off the mortgage on my house. Big celebrations for this are needed.

I am considering writing a book about competitive SEO and what it takes to rank in the most competitive niches in the world. To make it worth my while, I will probably be selling it for a high price $100+, perhaps as much as $300. But I think the value of such book would be incredibly valuable because it will essentially lay out a step by step blueprint that I have used to make the kind of money I make via affiliate SEO.

If you would be interested in that, please leave a comment, so I can gauge the interest.

11 Responses to “Mid 2014 Update – The State Of SEO”
  1. Jerome

    I am very much interested in reading your book Andy! I run a SEO company and your insights have been great. :)

  2. Boolture

    “Possibly means noindex, following category pages.” I use indexed category pages with a custom excerpt (200 char) and some “useful” data: number of comments, views and shares. Do you think is that ok?

    BTW, let me know about the book. Probably I will learn a good trick or two ;)

    • Andy

      This is okay, unless each post is in a bunch of categories, then you will get duplicated content. Also, this is just a personal OCD thing, but there is a plugin to remove category base. Plus there are other hacks/plugins I use to add my own content on to the category pages. I especially do this if I am trying to rank the category keyword. Hope thats helpful.

  3. Lewis

    Andy, its good I see you posting, I enjoy your non BS approach.

    Congrats on your highest earning month, very impressive and also congrats on paying off the mortgage. That’s huge!

    I would be interested in the book also – sounds like a winner bud.

    – Lewis

  4. Alan

    Hi Andy,

    Of course your insights and experience would be appreciated and I would put my hat in the ring to know more.
    Also would a case study from start to where you think you could go would be great.
    Sell the site (charity donation maybe)
    Just a thought.
    In any case I do read your emails that come through.


  5. Manuel

    Thanks for the update this is really a big help. I will bookmark for sure and be my check list.

    Regarding with your book, I believe in everything you write and it has a great piece of value but can you make the price bit lower (less than $100) or offer a discount to your avid followers?

  6. Jerome

    Speaking of site speed, which host do you use for your sites? Thanks!

    • Andy

      My sites mainly target the UK market. I’ve used CWCS, Fasthosts, Unlimited Hosting for money sites.

      CWCS is the fastest. However, all these hosts are UK based and get good speeds in the UK, which matters for quite a few of my target websites.

      I might do some research/case studies on worldwide/US hosts in the future. Hopefully to make some money ;)

      So sorry i couldn’t answer that definitively. But definitely make sure you set up caching and just have wordpress set up to load fast. A less bogged down/clean theme helps also.

  7. Loz James

    Hi Andy

    Great post – good to see you back :-)

    I check here now and again as your SEO insights are excellent.

    Congratulations on an excellent month and year so far.

    I’d definitely be up for buying a copy of your book – let me know when it comes out.



    • Andy

      Glad to hear from you again Loz.

      I think I might start a new website specifically for teaching SEO and internet marketing and take this part of my business much more seriously. I’ve got to the point now where I can do stuff I enjoy to make money instead of doing things I don’t necessarily enjoy, but make a lot of money.

      You will here something from me in the next month or so :-)

      • Loz James

        Hi Andy

        Any news on your book?



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