It seems the passive income scene will always find a way.
Today I did a crash course in contemporary SEO best practices. It seems that 2010 was a benchmark year for spam blogs and “cookie stuffing” – Federal courts in America sentenced Shawn Hogan for rigging eBay’s affiliate programs and set the stage for digital change. Yet when it comes to passive income online – where there is a will, there is a way.
In 2011 and 2012 Google began introducing the Panda and Penguin algorithms to clean up their search engines, and thus over the years “link building” has become largely outdated. (i.e. stuffing a niche website with hundreds of key words and web links to other industry sites, all for the purpose of increasing ratings and click throughs.) Instead, Google ratings now aim to reward richer well-managed content by using a larger set of TOP-SECRET criteria to rate sites.
Unfortunately with all these changes came new methods of generating views and clicks – by regurgitating content. Ever notice the growing number of blogs which simply repost/reblog/review other’s content? It’s all for the same ratings and affiliate purposes, it’s a method to making a passive income online.
Although I think this cheapens the web, it is what it is.
So below are some points I’ve learned on SEO along the way:
My Informal Top 10 re SEO Best Practices:
- Keywords inevitably still make a difference. Determine & use popular keywords that apply to your business/brand/product. Use Google AdWords to research and target top words and phrases, and don’t forget to use common english!
- While the above is great, do not ONLY use “money making” keywords or you’ll be flagged by Google’s Panda! (i.e. Keywords with high monetary values and 100,000’s of searches) Include derivative and semantic words, natural english phrases, and anything that may relate to your business to mix it up.
- Logical site structure is crucial to online success, not only for user navigation but also for SEO. Design sites and content with great info structure – using clean code, intuitive categories, and well indexed pages. Learn to wireframe while you’re at it.
- Name headings, anchor text, and page titles using your key words. Although this method was once popular to exaggerate back-linking, it will still help the search engine conclude your information is relevant! (i.e. Turn this: “Our contest to win freebies!” into: “Brand Name’s contest to win product X”.
- When promoting yourself/your brand/your product, help others write about you by providing them with a keyword sample. This is a great trick when you are asking others for a promo/link back – even for personal networking. Send out a mini press-release to help make their lives easier, and thus ensure what you want said is included.
- Writing articles online is a great way to grow your own PR/brand, and many sites need this content to stay updated (a win-win!). Regardless, make sure you start your “about the author” blurb with a continuation sentence. Typically these begin as “Mr. X is a graduate of Y…” – this signals to the reader that the article is over and quickly loses your audience. Instead try to use: “Finally, if you’d like more information about topic Y, visit anchor-Z by Mr. X” – an ending which directly leads to you.
- Actual relevance and great content is the modern PR – and this can’t be faked! Be weary of SEO agencies that promise miracles! Some of their link farms and back-linking networks can do your site ranks more damage. Instead – develop great content, and users will come.
- Responsive design is huge! Some 46% of all affiliate clicks happen on mobile devices, while people are passively browsing the web. Design with this usability in mind from the start, not as an afterthought. Check out Google’s mobile test: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
- Follow Google Trends/News/Buzzfeed to relate your content to whatever is happening online in the present time, as people are searching for it and this will get you clicks! This type of content is now known as #trending. Any news can be related to your own product with some creativity! Go for it. Stay relevant.
- Follow the #1 rule in life: Work on what you’re actually passionate about. Whether it’s your hobby, new business or career path, life’s too short to be miserable and uninterested in what you’re doing. Give whatever you’re working on your all and good things will happen.