SEO is dead… that’s what you might have heard many people say after the latest major Google changes.
Fact is, search engine optimisation was never more alive! High rankings in Google’s search results are becoming more and more valuable for any business – no matter if big or small!
Staying ahead of the SEO game is therefore a MUST if you don’t want your competitors to overtake you.
This is the reason why I decided to take a couple of days off, fly to the beautiful Philippines and attend David Jenyns latest SEO workshop called “TheSEOMethod3”.
And although I’ve been doing SEO for quite a few years now… the things I learned from the workshop were not only eye opening but also very actionable!
In this post I’m going to share with you my biggest takeaways and what you should be doing in 2013 to stay ahead of your competitors and generate traffic to you website by boosting your website up in Google & Co.
So let’s dive right into it and see what Dave and his team had to say…
Focus on the user because Search Engines don’t have credit cards
Wouldn’t it be great to get some #1 rankings in Google for your chosen keywords with little effort and in the shortest possible time?
This is exactly what all those get rich quick schemes are all about. And although some of them used to work pretty well… those days are over since Google’s latest Panda and Penguin updates (and Google’s zoo keeps growing!).
As Dave puts it: SEO is all about “what’s best for the user”. Make the dreams come true for your customer by building a real business!
One of my favourites quotes from Steve Ovens on this topic was this: “Search Engines can’t open their wallets and give you their credit card numbers… real people can!”
SEO – The technical part!
Next up was a session from Steve Ovens on how to do a technical SEO Audit, making sure you have done everything you can within your own (digital) four walls.
With a background in programming and software development he is the go-to person when it comes to the technical part of SEO. He is also an expert in marketing and SEO which gives him a unique combination of skills that you don’t find very often!
Steve pointed out that on page SEO is not just about putting your keywords in the right places. Here are a couple of things you should take care of when optimising your site for the search engines:
- Make sure your website is accessible either with “www” or without… BUT NOT BOTH! You can use <link rel=”canonical”> to tell Google how you want your website to be indexed. Having both options available might cause duplicate content issues and result in lower rankings.
- Ensure your website is loading as fast as possible. No one wants to wait more than a few seconds for your site to load. “Loading time” is also one of Google’s many ranking factors. So if your site is slow… fixing the issue might give you that bit of extra-juice you need!
- Avoid duplicate content! Not just in the content you create on your pages and blog posts but also in your Meta Tags (title, description & keywords). Best place to check for this: Google Webmaster Tools. Log into your account and go to Optimisation >> HTML Improvements. Google will show you any duplicate description or title tags!
I actually have an eCommerce client with exactly that problem. So Steve’s session on how to do a technical SEO audit came in pretty handy for me… Thanks Steve!
This rather technical part of SEO gets oftentimes overlooked but can have a significant impact on your search engine traffic.
In case you don’t understand any of the above issues. Don’t worry (I don’t like doing those things either). Just make sure you get someone who does know how to fix it!
If that sounds like you… give Steve a call and I’m sure he will be able to sort that out for you!
Link building the “natural way”
Google’s Penguin update is targeting low quality websites that are trying to fool Google by using artificial link building methods.
One of the most pressing questions in a post Penguin time is: How to build back links without triggering one of Google’s filters?
The answer is pretty simple and Dave has already said it back in 2010: Replicate what happens in nature!
Dave and Steve pulled out a case study and link analysis on ShoesOfPray.com. A website founded by an ex-Google employee. You can find the case study over at Dejan SEO’s blog. (If you’ve been following me on Twitter you might have already seen it.)
Here my takeaways from this session:
- don’t over optimise your website (no keyword stuffing!)
- choose your anchor text wisely, particular for internal links
- creat internal links that make sense to the user
- if you have any links (i.e. footer links) that are only for Google & Co – remove them!
- vary the anchor text (this is THE most important thing to avoid the Penguin)
- use mainly your websites URL and/or your brand name as anchor text
- get links from a variety of sources (blogs, articles, forums, comments, directories etc.)
- share your best content freely and the links will come “automagically” , even better: forget about SEO and just focus on building a quality website that people love (and want to link to!)
Dave also runs a professional SEO company. So in case your business needs help with online marketing contact Dave and his team over at Melbourne SEO Services.
Blog Networks – Moving to the dark side of Google!
When it comes to blog or link networks, there is only one person you really need to talk to… Dori Friend! She’s been building blog networks for almost 10 years.
Yes.. she does wear a very “black hat” when it comes to SEO and you want to be very careful if you are planning to get involved with building your own blog network.
In case you decide to go that path, here is what Dori suggests:
- Don’t share your network with anyone else! That’s what killed other networks (such as BMR). You want to have full control!
- Build quality sites that would be able to pass a manual review. If Google ever suspects you to have your own network they will first do a manual review. If your sites can pass that review you will almost always be save!
- Don’t spam your money site with exact match anchor text links coming from your own network. Apply the same rules that apply for “white hat” SEO outlined by Dave and link back with your URL and/or your brand name as the link text!
- My tip: See your network as an opportunity for guest posting where the only difference is that you own all the sites! You would not submit low quality articles to other peoples blogs, would you? So why do it with your own network!! Try to stay as “white” as possible, even if you are doing “black” things
If you are new to SEO and creating blog networks I would highly recommend you don’t do this yourself. Get in touch with Dori and she’ll be able to build the network for you.
That way you can be sure that you don’t make any mistakes that could not only cost you a lot of time and money (that might be wasted) but also get you penalised by the search engines.
How I got lucky!
At the end of the workshop Dave, Steve and Dori where also giving away prices for the best feedback and takeaways from the day.
As it turns out my feedback was apparently pretty useful and I ended up winning – AWESOME!
Here is what I won: An SEO Audit for one of my websites by Steve, 5 buffer sites from Dori and a one-on-one coaching session with Dave… THANKS GUYS! I really appreciate this.
Some last words…
SEO has changed…that’s for sure. To be able to rank well in search engines it’s important to stay up to date with all the latest changes.
One good way of doing this is by attending SEO seminars and workshops. Make sure you learn from people that actually “walk the talk” and not just teach what they have heard!
That was exactly the reason I decided to attend Dave’s workshop in the Philippines.
So in case you did not get a chance to take a few days off in oder to fly to the Philippines and attend Dave’s workshop… there is good news!
The entire workshop will be available as a video download and instead of spending thousands of dollars for flights and accommodation you can just purchase the video version and get the exact same information without leaving your home.
Just get in touch with Dave and I am sure he will be happy to notify you as soon as the digital version is available.
Note: I’ve seen all of his SEO workshops and also his Outsourcing workshop and I can assure you: Dave really knows his stuff. He is not only teaching it… he is LIVING IT! And on top of that he’s a nice guy too
Any questions? What’s your experience with the latest Google changes? Been hit by Panda or Penguin? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Remember: I’m here to help!