This post was written with the help of David Hehenberger, who is in charge of SEO for our fleet of websites. Follow him on twitter if you want to hear about SEO, Asia travel, or meet-ups in South East Asia.
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When I get all pumped up about more “automated” or grey hat approaches to SEO people can get frustrated with me. They say: “just create awesome content and optimize it and you’ll win in the long run!! Jeeeze Dan….”
David and I 100% agree that generating amazing content for your website is the best way to win the long haul in SEO, but creating world-dominating content is expensive, and isn’t a great startegy in the following circumstances:
- When you aren’t sure that SEO is your primary customer acquisition strategy.
- If you or your team is bored by your niche.
- When you don’t believe you’ll see ROI on “amazing content.”
- When you are running an experiment.
- When you have a bunch of websites.
What follows we look at as basic foundational SEO. Simple, cheap, and fast. It’s designed to keep your site’s rankings improving and “poised” for success in case you do ever want to double down on your SEO efforts. In medium competition niches, the following protocol actually works like gangbusters. This is the bare minimum SEO we do for our sites. In our bigger niches, we are doing way more to compete.
As the coordinator of this strategy, David monitors all of our ranks via SerpFox and “turn the knobs” on the spreadsheet depending on what’s working. We update our basic strategy based on data we are getting from our own sites and information we get from people we trust.
Finally, making decisions about SEO is tough because there is so many options. By sticking to a baseline “lazy man’s” process we are at least building a basic rankings for our sites until we figure out something smarter to do.
We are curious to hear how you would tweak this process.
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“SEO the Lazy Way.” Instruct your virtual assistant to complete the following 6 steps on a monthly basis for each site.
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STEP 1 : Build 1 web 2.0 property linking back to your site with at least 500 words of original content.
We rotate in order starting the first month with Squidoo, then we move on to Weebly, WordPress.com. We change these up a lot depending on the flavor of the week. These continue to get less effective, but again, we are being lazy here. Approximate cost of the content from Fiverr, Odesk is 5 bucks. Try to get yourself organized and order in bulk!
STEP 2 : Make one article submission to a popular article directory or press release directory.
STEP 3 : Write 2 handwritten dofollow comments, and 1 nofollow blog comment on niche-related blog.
Do a Google search for “do follow commentluv blogs” or “list of do follow blogs” or similar. “Do follow” means that the link in your comment will send “juice” back to your site. Commentluv enabled blogs also send link juice back to your domains.
Our goal is to have our VA find a few blogs that have content related to our niches and make relevant comments there. Best practice is to make the internet a better place, so if you can find some quality blogs to follow go ahead and do so, request future topics for posts, and so on. Once you make your comments, earmark them to return in a few days and make sure they go approved by the publisher (there’s a date on the spreadsheet for that as well).
STEP 4 : Buy a membership to a high PR blog network or two.
Here’s a list of popular blog networks I stole from “Are Private Link Networks Dead?” (a great read) via Spencer at NichePursuits.com:
- Unique Article Wizard (used before, but stopped)
- MyArticleNetwork (never used)
- BuildMyRank (de-indexed!!!)
- BlogBlueprint (used before)
- LinkVana (never used)
- Article Marketing Automation (never used)
- ArticleRanks (never used)
- SEOLinkMonster (never used it and Spencer says it might have been de-indexed from Google)
- RankJumpers (never used)
The landscape moves fast with these servies. If you want to utilize them, you’ll need to put in a little due diligence to figure out which service you’d like to test out. We’ve found these services to be really helpful for our sites. Places to do research on the best one for your sites are Dynamite Circle, Warrior Forum, Wickedfire, and similar. Prices here range from $50 a month on the low end to over $200 bucks a month for the higher end services.
These services can be very powerful as we’ve found, but Google is also out to identify and de-index them, so they’ll likely not work so well in the future.
The people who run services like this and friends who have referred us to their providers ask that you don’t share their names publicly, and I’m going to honor that. You are only a few hours of reading away on the forums to figure out something you can test out for yourself. You could also just become a client of Travis over at Supremacy SEO. He’s the guy who put a lot of this stuff on my radar.
STEP 4 : Buy social likes for your site.
Turns out that having a few people liking your site isn’t so bad for search engine exposure. Likes, Tweets, +1’s, Stumbles, and Diggs are remarkably easy to purchase on Fiverr. Just search away, it’s a couple bucks and takes only a few minutes. If you are on WordPress, we’ve found the best way to incorporate social indicators on your site is the Sharebar plugin.
- 30 Tweets – Cost ~ $2 + 5 minutes to order
- 30 Google +1’s – Cost ~ $2 + 5 minutes to order
- 30 FB likes – Cost ~ $2 + 5 minutes to order
STEP 5 : Double check your onsite SEO and consider putting extra effort
- Am I creating new and quality landing pages or blog posts for important key terms?
- Keyword in Meta Title?
- Keyword in Meta Description?
- Keyword in H1, H2 & H3 Tags?
- Keyword in Strong or Bold Tag?
- Are there Images on your site?
- Keyword in Image-filename?
- Keyword in Image Alt Tag?
- Keyword in Page URL?
- Keyword Density? – Aim for 0.5-1.5%
- Are there outbound links to authority sites like Wikipedia?
- Is your word count high? We recommend over 2,000.
- Have I added new content to the site this month? (The more important your site is, the more often you should add content. Daily if you are shooting for the big time). In our view it’s better to update your site with mediocre content than let it remain static for months.
- By the way, an easy way to check your onsite SEO is to sign up for the free serpIQ trial
We don’t do any of this checklist ourselves, we have a VA do the whole thing. Here’s a spreadsheet where they record the status of the domains. David basically sits back, monitors our ranks via SerpFox, and turns the dials to taste and based on what’s working and what’s not.
Our back of the napkin math says it costs us about $40 bucks per domain per month to deploy this strategy.
Given all that’s going on in the SEO world right now, how would you guys tweak this process? (keep in mind we are trying to keep cost/time at a minimum… ya know, let’s keep it lazy).
Cheers and thanks for stopping by,