It will help you, however, understand it a lot better. There are so many SEO myths on the Internet these days that many gurus are using SEO as the all-new-money-making miracle. Search Engine Optimization has become complicated after Google’s Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird updates. Before 2012, a teenager with an $30 application could rank a site on page one of Google in a few days; today, even expert marketers find it difficult and time-consuming to do so. Many different kinds of “Gurus” exist, each trying to get our money and offering very little value in return. Some of them market their products to absolute beginners. You may check out this old article, if you want to learn more about their strategies. These gurus take advantage of their victims’ ignorance. One classic scam is the “free money-earning site”. The guru offers a website the victim for free. It’s a special website: one of those that make millions. He does it because God told him that he has to give back to others for what he received in life, or because he has a new project going on and needs people to vouch for him (so he’ll turn you into a millionaire in exchange for a review of his coaching skills), or, again, he does it because he believes in karma, etc. The truth is that the website is worthless, made from a template with no links, 0PR, etc. The guru makes the cash by having you sign up to a web hosting company for which he is an affiliate. He takes advantage of his victims ignorance since they don’t know how websites make money or how affiliate programs work.
The New Gurus?
The SEO guru aims his products at a more knowledgeable victim. His victim knows how websites make money and that links, PR, authority and trust are needed. They don’t know how to get them, however. Thus, the guru chimes in and claims that he has a product that can do just that, but the product is no better than the one sold by the guru who aims his efforts at more gullible folks. The first guru convinces his victims that he can make them rich almost magically; the second one claims that he can teach them how to do SEO in the same way it used to be dome before Penguin and Panda. Guess what? Unless he works for Google and can change their algorithms from the inside, he can’t do that. His claims that he can teach you a secret method to rank your site on page one of Google is no less idiotic than the claim from the other guru, that you can become a millionaire with a website that has no PR, no trust, no authority and no traffic. In this article, I will be showing you exactly why you should take such promises with a pinch of salt!
SEO is Alive and Well/SEO is Dead
Both of these assertions are true. It all depends on how you define SEO. Strictly speaking, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving a web page so that a search engine can read through the contents, understand the information that the page contains and determine the relevance of the page to individual user queries. Breaking it down:
- Enhance the ability of search engines to read the page: code your web page in a way that search engines can read them easily. This is readily accomplished, nowadays, by using content management systems such as WordPress or Joomla. Create a sitemap, use proper html tags, make sure that your code is free from errors, etc.
- Make sure that you word your articles in a way that the search engines understand who you are addressing. For example, if you are writing for people who are interested in earning money online, perform keyword research and use the exact search phrase in the title and body of your article. Use synonyms, derivatives and long tail keywords, but do so naturally — write primarily for the reader, but keep the search engine in mind.
- Get your page out there. Tell the search engine that your site matters, by marketing it to other reputable webmasters, hoping that they will find your site interesting enough that they will want to link back to you.
Those are the three basic pillars of search engine optimization. We’re talking white hat SEO approved by Google here; it was valid ten years ago, it’s well and alive today, and it will likely stay so for a long time to come. However, when people talk SEO, most of the time they mean employing techniques (that may be white, gray or black hat) to have their sites climb up the SERPs artificially. In other words, it’s all about forcing a search engine to think that a web page is the best that’s around for a given set of keywords, irrespectively of whether that is or isn’t the case.
The point is that the first two pillars aren’t difficult to achieve in the post-Penguin/Panda Internet. SEO is once again alive and well there. There’s only one rule to keep in mind here:
As far as on-site SEO is concerned, forget black hat techniques and make sure that your site has unique, relevant, engaging and high-quality content. If a human being can tell it’s crap, assume that search engines will too.
The old tricks: keyword stuffing, hidden content (using the CSS attribute display:none or similar tricks), meta tags and all that rubbish will not work today. If your definition of SEO is finding a completely untapped niche with very little competition and using these schemes to get to page one of Google, your SEO is dead and buried, eaten by savage pandas. There is a mutual consensus about that from everyone in the SEO community.
The Debate is All About the Links
The whole deal about SEO doesn’t lie in on-site SEO, but rather in link building. If you are new to the business, let me explain this as clear as it can be:
1. You cannot get links by spamming. The Google Penguin algorithm will penalize you.
2. You cannot get high PR links with guest blogging. The ”good” sites will not accept contributions from people who don’t already have a name. Most webmasters will just look at the Alexa rank of your site, the SEMrush value of your traffic and your PR. If they are all zero, or close to it, they will ignore your message without even reading your actual article. The content of the article itself, therefore, doesn’t matter that much.
3. You cannot get links by using broken-link methods. All your emails will be ignored. If you think that there are hundreds of webmasters out there waiting for you to recreate their long-lost content so that they can once more link to it, you’re wrong. They don’t care. Google Webmaster Tools has already informed that there’s a broken link on their site. If it’s still there, it means that it will stay there, even after you enthusiastically email them about it.
4. You cannot get links by sharing valuable content. If you are a no one, nobody is going to share your stuff. If you are someone, maybe you have a 0.1% chance that they will. The basic assumption in link building is that authority sites link to each other and crappy sites do the same. There is so much paranoia going on about link quality that no one is going to link to a PR0, 0 trust, 0 authority site even if your writing matches William Shakespeare’s! It’s not about your content; it’s about who you are. By penalizing good sites for linking to what they deem bad ones, Google has killed natural link building.
5. You cannot request links. Most people will tell you right on their contact form that they will not even read your message. Don’t even bother with this!
6. You cannot use services such as the Hoot. Their links will not help you. I am not saying that they are a bad service, but those aren’t the kind of links you need to get on page one of Google. You need links from sites with a high MOZ domain authority, a high Majestic trust and a high PR. Those will make your site rock. A new WordPress blog with hundreds of spammy links pointing to it will not. Speaking of which…
7. You cannot use tiered-link building. It takes like a whole month to build ONE site that may have any positive effect on your SERPS. Links from a new blog with zero trust will get you nowhere. Also, there is a myth going on saying that crappy backlinks such as Spy Monkey links or forum profile links are “OK” for tiered link building. Guess what? If they won’t help you with your money site, they will not help with your link sources either. A link source is a web site like any other in the eyes of Google. If you point crappy links to it, it will get penalized, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER SITE, and, at best, it will become useless. At worst, it will transfer the penalty to your money site.
Getting links has become increasingly difficult for two main reasons. First, there are many more people than ever before looking for legitimate links. Before 2012, they had the opportunity to gain links by spamming. Now, they can’t, so the competition is much more fierce. Secondly, everyone has become extremely paranoid about giving away any links. So what to do?
At the End of the Day
You need links to get to the top of Google and getting them isn’t easy. Just like there are no magic programs that can make you rich overnight, there is no magic method that will give you links easily. SEO is much harder than it has ever been before. Expert SEOs still manage to rank their websites. They can do so because they have the three key elements that make getting links easy: contacts, resources and money.
SEOs with years of experience have contacts who will give them links on their sites. They have their trust and know that the sites which they help promoting are in safe hands and will be more inclined to give a link or two. They have resources in the form of powerful domains they own from where they can link to their clients’ websites resulting in a massive flow of trust and authority to the clients’ sites. And finally they have money that they can use to buy links.
Despite what they claim the truth is that all SEOs do it. Some pay with money, others pay with favors or butt-licking, but they all pay in some way or another. As with any links that are artificially acquired, the trick is to make it look as real and as organic as possible. The whole deal with link building is to never leave any footprints. If you buy a link on a site that has a huge “Contributors are listed on this page. Send us your $20 donation to get your link listed below.” Ouch! You are asking for trouble. But if you contact the webmaster in private (on Fiverr or a forum) and have the link inserted in a blog post in a natural way, no one, human, robot or penguin, will be able to tell how the link was gained.
Once you get in the loop and have enough contacts, resources and money, you’re good to go to become the next SEO god. For all of us common mortals, it’s not easy at all, and it takes more than reading a twenty-paged eBook, so the next time you come across someone wanting to reveal to you the secret to doing SEO in 2014, be smart and rather than giving them that money, invest it in building new relationships and assets that can really help with your business. If you don’t agree with anything I said here, feel free to let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your opinions on this. Updates about my new white hat SEO strategies will follow shortly, so stay tuned!