This post is about relevance and Linking Outside the Box as Trust Rank, Phrase Rank and Page Rank are looking for more than just links to assess your content.
As the holiday season is upon us and we wind down this illustrious year of 2007, what better way to conclude and enliven the festivities than by sharing a few inside-track link building strategies that we have used time and time again to exceed all expectations and optimize pages for the long-tail of search.
At the risk of sounding redundant, “links are like votes for your site”, the more you have from websites that pass trust and authority to your pages, the higher ranking by association your pages can receive as result. At least, that is how things have been since search engines arrived on the scene.
Now, however, as all ranking criteria are constantly adjusted (from engineers) to maintain order in the SERPs. Links in and of themselves have become less significant in the grand scheme of things and search engine algorithms have began to downplay the different types of links unless they are accompanied by other supporting circumstances (phrase rank, trust, proximity to other keywords and the like).
This ensures that those who seek to manipulate the search engine algorithm are continually challenged to determine what the ideal key is, that will unlock the highest possible grade each page can receive from that search engine. If it deems your pages to be worthy of being a resource, then you have already graduated beyond 90% of the other pages who neglected to appeal to the formula.
We know now, as a result of research from search engine patents, and trial and error from a variety of optimization methods that relevance is this new form of currency whereby a website by virtue of merit is able to acquire a favorable ranking for a series of related keywords.
This is accomplished through reaching a fulcrum of on-page and off-page SEO factors, which can occur through a natural progression of content creation, relevant links and linking out to authority sites (pulling your pages up in the SERPs by association). Or another method to accelerate authority is through essentially giving the search engines what they want content, relevance and clout.
What are the On-Page SEO Factors that Aid the Process?
The first and most important ingredient is the content. Although there are methods to rank pages where the content sparsely mentions the keyword in question, that is a more advanced SEO technique and relies primarily on anchor text and where the links originate.
The technique we are covering is a derivative of keyword density in a less technical and more relevant fashion. For example, the days of having to structure every sentence using meticulous scrutiny, crafting qualifying phrases, interjecting keywords and adjectives in an calculated attempt to win the favor of the search engine algorithm have come to a close. Now, instead of attempting to reverse engineer the cogs in the wheel, just by writing on topic, finding quality inbound links, using viral marketing or social media, one can have their pages rise in the SERPs like helium balloons.
The importance of theming your website and pages
The last thing you want is for visitors or search engines have to guess what your pages are about. Use a common thread to tie it all together and every word on your pages is a potential keyword for the long tail of search. Theming your site to revolve around specific niche related keywords is topically more important as “Phrase Rank”, “Page Rank” and “Trust Rank” all have their own unique criteria to assess your pages newly assigned relative position. Your content may have to endure the hazing process and fight it out in the SERPs for a while before emerging triumphant as an authority or a favored resource.
Let’s provide an example, if you have a page about playing guitar, like GuitarPlayersCenter.com, then having themed keyword-rich parent categories/folder names such as guitar reviews, tips on how to play guitar or a tribute to guitar players will all provide the appropriate topical relevance to then give each one of the child / posts in those directories the ability to shine in their own light and garner relevance in search engines (which they have).
Now, it’s only a matter of time before a site like this could potentially dominate the category as a result of tactful link building and website authority management.
All it takes is one keyword to anchor an entire page or series of pages for a themed site, to get a relevant search result in search engines. If the site above for example optimized the root phase guitar reviews, then any time that phrase overlapped in another search, guess who will pop up in the long tail during 4 -5 word queries for anything related to the words guitar and reviews.
This is a beautiful strategy, but it must be managed over time and involves varying the titles, anchor text and website/pages that the site receives links from. Search engines like natural links, based on similar sites or industries, so keeping the link profile on topic would accelerate the curve for authority.
It can be applied to any website, in fact the ideology behind this is:
1. Create a themed website based around a specific focus. (if you have a blog, try to keep the categories under 15 so you don’t dilute the content/focus).
2. Build Links to that Site from the Top Sites in the industry or niche (even if they are simple blog/comments as not all search engines acknowledge the no-follow tag). Also mixing in social bookmarks, link bait via quality content & articles, as well as a series of unique class C-IP addresses when building links.
3. Build a combination of exact match links over time to all of the pages, using the most relevant page that has the highest frequency of the keywords in the anchor text of the link.
The 1st Point: There is no need to complicate things, you can keep it simple enough by using a custom word press blog. Or, if you wanted to do things the hard way and build the pages from HTML, just make sure you create sub-folders from the root with the names of the categories, so that you can insert the respective pages with the highest relevance so that spiders will know what they are looking at.
The Second Point: Authority trumps links as well as relevance when it comes to search engines. So, a page that has been around long enough for the search engines to trust that the content and links on their pages are spam free, then this is the type of site you want linking to you in your tier one links.
For the second tier you may wish to invoke niche directories (that have page rank or indexed pages on the page you link will appear). If the directory pages are not indexed or use dynamic code in the pages, leave them alone, in reality a handful of links from targeted directories is better than hundreds of spammy ones, if authority is the goal.
Then perhaps for your third tier of links, you seek out blogs or places where you can place content or encourage the webmasters to link to you with specific anchor text to give your pages the final touch in addition to social bookmarking or RSS feeds or directories.
Last but not least, the third point: Use a variety of links to blanket the category over time. The strategy below is an excellent one for the keyword discovery, research and implementation of new content as a result of the popular phrases and serve as an integral component of the ranking equation.
Linking Outside the Box Link Building Exercise
Now for today’s Link Building Exercise using Word Tracker.
Perform a search for a one word root term using the keyword research tool. For those without a word tracker membership, sometimes they provide introductory offers where you can use the tools (in a somewhat minimized capacity) but this should still provide an adequate base to populate the popular phrases.
Look at the most dominant, most searched terms for the keyword and when the results start to taper off (where results fall below the 100 searches mark) , that’s where you cap the phrases you use for “exact match” insertion into your documents.
*Just think of it like this, Word Tracker despite the ability to accurately or inaccurately forecast anticipated search volume is best used in my opinion as a keyword discovery tool. You have to take the keyword blinders off and think about holistic topical relevance and how each of those terms could apply to existing pages or structured custom content for your site.
Using the site from above for the search for guitars the main phrases returned were;
These would be great 3 word introductions for a catchy title.
and since the name of the site is www.Guitarplayerscenter.com, they should play into the strong and tactical relevance that the domain name has and use derivatives of high ranking terms using the root phrase guitar player which (according to word tracker are):
famous guitar players
best guitar players
greatest guitar players
100 greatest guitar players
By using any of the top ranking terms appearing in the searches that have traction in search engines as keywords for titles, succinct descriptions, tags and sporadically scattered through the pages, you will be dialing in your future SEO rankings as a result of exact match relevance when your pages gain some weight.
Although the implication of this tactic may not be apparent for months, the end result is a variety or keywords that already have moderate traffic, used in the right places to trigger the homing beacon for search engines for topical relevance.
Also, as each page ages, if it (a) has a nice fresh source of links to keep the link velocity progressing (adding links steadily and not to fast or losing links to fast) this will develop authority for the page and the entire site as a whole.
Just like a fine wine, links age and get better, typically it takes at least 6 months for a link to reach the point where it passes the screening phase and it can stand on it’s own to truly augment your pages. However no two scenarios are alike and what may take 20 links to one page on one site, may only require 4-5 on another site to hit the top.
This is essentially attributed to the industry or niche, the competition and the supply and demand for those keywords and the respective volume of data floating available on the subject. For example, if you wanted to rank for an obscure term like “pink toenail polish remover”, I doubt you would have to try hard to hit a top 10 on that one. There are no absolutes in SEO, only guideposts, but I hope that these at least have help to shed some light on a few of the methods an SEO company may use in order to rank your website in search engines.
Enjoy the holidays and Feel free to Sphinn, Stumble or Digg away if you find our articles useful. Speaking of finding something useful, check out this list of 100 out of the box linking strategies from Zany Pixel for even more HOW TO know how.
Make sure you subscribe to our feed, social bookmark the page or return for additional posts later in the week when we discuss the concept and strategies for developing “link insurance” for your back links. Much like the saying “a bird in the hand is like two in the bush”, the same applies to links.
As a preview, if you know how and when to “freshen them up”, you can essentially pass more link juice to your existing pages through systematic augmentation. Definitely a must read post to watch for, as the problem of supplemental links getting devalued or shelved in search engines, ultimately affects where you land in the SERPs.