Advice from SEO experts needed

19 replies
  • SEO
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Warriors,

Once upon a time I was the proud owner of a site which sat at the top of the search engines organically for 100's of search terms in my niche. It was not in the IM or MMO sector.

I am no SEO expert so please forgive my crude explanation of what happened - I will do my best to make it as technically accurate as possible.

I built 10,000's of spammy backlinks to my site on the advice of an 'SEO Expert', needless to say as I write the site no longer sits in the top 3 positions organically for the various search terms, who'd have thought! (i've been relegated to pages 12+). Having done a fair bit of research, it is my understanding that a panda or penguin update (again forgive my ignorance) resulted in my site site being sent to the outer depths of search engine space. The visitors to my webpage disappeared overnight!!!

All wasn't lost at this point, I was pretty p***ed off but I dusted myself out and thought how could I get the traffic back up to the level I did prior to the algorithm change. I decided to learn more about PPC and started using paid search to drive visitors to the site. This has worked really well for me and I have a pretty successful business as a result.

However, now things have settled it has led me to start thinking about SEO again. I am currently spending 5 figures a month on paid search and I am keen to add SEO to my marketing portfolio.

I want to design a site in the same niche that I currently operate in. The difference is I want to purely use SEO to drive traffic to it. My limitations are that I am not an expert in web design/developing and as I have highlighted SEO isn't a specialism either.

I know I've gone around the houses here, however I felt some context to the situation that I'm in would be useful. My question to you is this, for someone with my experience what medium would you recommend I build the site with, bearing in mind SEO is important here? Is the use of a theme installed on wordpress the best way forward? Or can sitebuilders like instapages and unbounce be equally effective?

Also in your opinion/experience which is the best way of SEOing a new site? Who can you recommend as a mentor to help someone who is green around the gills?

I know it would probably be easier and more effective to hire someone to design and SEO the site for me, however I really want to understand the process so I can develop myself and implement what I have learnt in the future.

Thanks for reading and look forward to your response.

Thanks

A
#advice #experts #needed #seo
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Originally Posted by veritasim View Post

    I built 10,000's of spammy backlinks to my site on the advice of an 'SEO Expert'
    One of those 3rd world fiverr experts, because anyone that knows SEO would never blast spammy links at a money page/domain.
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    • Profile picture of the author veritasim
      That's the one Yukon!! An expensive mistake that has cost me in excess of £150k over the last year in ad spend! I once got all my traffic for free
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by veritasim View Post

        That's the one Yukon!! An expensive mistake that has cost me in excess of £150k over the last year in ad spend! I once got all my traffic for free
        $150,000 could have built a decent long term link network to rank in organic SERPs.

        What niche are you in (insurance, health, etc)?

        Stay away from links on fiverr & WSOs, those are all spam.
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        • Profile picture of the author veritasim
          Hey Yukon,

          I am in the debt advice niche, we currently spend about £15,000, so just shy of $24,000 per month. Over the last year it has cost in excess of $288,000!! Yikes.

          I wish I used the Warrior Forum then, in your opinion what's the best way to tackle this? You clearly know what you're talking about, how would you approach this?

          A
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          • Profile picture of the author yukon
            Banned
            Originally Posted by veritasim View Post

            Hey Yukon,

            I am in the debt advice niche, we currently spend about £15,000, so just shy of $24,000 per month. Over the last year it has cost in excess of $288,000!! Yikes.

            I wish I used the Warrior Forum then, in your opinion what's the best way to tackle this? You clearly know what you're talking about, how would you approach this?

            A
            If your spending $24,000 per month that means traffic is clicking your PPC ads. I guess your ad cost is between $10 - $15 per click for that niche. How much is the product/service cost per unique traffic? Are you turning a profit with PPC, breaking even or losing money (ironic considering the niche)?

            Organic SERPs is most likely going to be brutal for that niche/keywords. Your up against big shot gurus like Suze Orman that have tons of publicity from authority sites like oprah.com (one of a million similar examples).

            My point is, which one makes best business sense for you, PPC or organic SERPs?
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewHansen
    I've been doing SEO almost 10 years and this is my advice given what you've explained:

    1. Before learning how to build a site, learn how to build a proper keyword list. Even if you know how to setup a site on Wordpress (which btw should be your choice of platform), the first thing you'll do when done is decide what topics to publish content on... and you can't do that until you have a solid keyword list.

    Anyone can knock you up a website but very few people can build you a keyword list in your niche that will allow for both quick and sustainable free search traffic. If you can learn that skill yourself, you solve a big part of the problem.

    2. When you've got a keyword list, the first step to "doing SEO for a new site" is to publish as much solid content as you can. No wordpress plugin or on page optimization thing someone can tell you here will mean anything unless your site has content that Google will actually want to show to it's searchers. If you're putting down 5 figures a month on paid ads, you could easily throw $500-$1000 at some quality content for 30 days. By that time you'll have a site that's suddenly "easy to do SEO" on because it's so damn good.

    3. When you've done 1 and 2, come and ask again, because the answer of what to do from there is a lot easier... and your results from there to success are much quicker.

    Hope this helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author veritasim
      Hey Andrew,

      Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. I have found your help to be just that, helpful! I have a few questions if you don't mind?
      Originally Posted by AndrewHansen View Post


      1. Before learning how to build a site, learn how to build a proper keyword list. Even if you know how to setup a site on Wordpress (which btw should be your choice of platform), the first thing you'll do when done is decide what topics to publish content on... and you can't do that until you have a solid keyword list.

      I have all of the keyword research from the original site that was initially used for content creation, this was produced used market samurai and the Google keyword planner at the time. I have now got the benefit of 12 months data from my Adwords account, this clearly shows which keywords have triggered a conversion, click and call etc. Will this suffice, or can I go even deeper?


      2. When you've got a keyword list, the first step to "doing SEO for a new site" is to publish as much solid content as you can. No wordpress plugin or on page optimization thing someone can tell you here will mean anything unless your site has content that Google will actually want to show to it's searchers. If you're putting down 5 figures a month on paid ads, you could easily throw $500-$1000 at some quality content for 30 days. By that time you'll have a site that's suddenly "easy to do SEO" on because it's so damn good.

      can you clarify what you mean by content? Are we just talking articles here? Or a mix of mediums, like video, infographics, audio etc?

      Also in terms of content creation $500-$1,000 isn't a problem, would there be benefit in spending more? Would this speed up the ranking process? Can you suggest any content creation services that are great in this area?


      3. When you've done 1 and 2, come and ask again, because the answer of what to do from there is a lot easier... and your results from there to success are much quicker.

      Thanks will do!
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    • Originally Posted by AndrewHansen View Post

      I've been doing SEO almost 10 years and this is my advice given what you've explained:

      1. Before learning how to build a site, learn how to build a proper keyword list. Even if you know how to setup a site on Wordpress (which btw should be your choice of platform), the first thing you'll do when done is decide what topics to publish content on... and you can't do that until you have a solid keyword list.

      Anyone can knock you up a website but very few people can build you a keyword list in your niche that will allow for both quick and sustainable free search traffic. If you can learn that skill yourself, you solve a big part of the problem.

      2. When you've got a keyword list, the first step to "doing SEO for a new site" is to publish as much solid content as you can. No wordpress plugin or on page optimization thing someone can tell you here will mean anything unless your site has content that Google will actually want to show to it's searchers. If you're putting down 5 figures a month on paid ads, you could easily throw $500-$1000 at some quality content for 30 days. By that time you'll have a site that's suddenly "easy to do SEO" on because it's so damn good.

      3. When you've done 1 and 2, come and ask again, because the answer of what to do from there is a lot easier... and your results from there to success are much quicker.

      Hope this helps.

      This sums it up really. You can have the best on page seo in the world but if you have poor content it will not matter. Get that keyword list going then build a simple wordpress website. Buy some quality content and then you will be good too go my friend.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewHansen
    That's great if you have some data from Adwords. It does raise other questions though:

    How long ago was it? It may need to be revised to get updated numbers. The terms that got traffic then might not be the same now. But... depends on how long ago this was.

    Further, for the purpose of content creation you might need to look at your keywords differently. You need to consider which keywords belong together as the basis for content pieces.

    In terms of what kinds of content, it depends on your market and what you're selling. The question to ask is: What will convert? You said you had conversions from Adwords in the past. What kind of content was that? If that got conversion then, that's the best place to start for making your new content.

    And yes, I was talking about articles, but that might change depending on your answer to the above.

    If it were me, I would spend the $1000 getting, say 50 great pieces of content out there and starting to build some links and do some promotion. Inevitably you'll notice after a while that certain pieces of content (certain keywords/keyword groups) get traction before others and produce sales before others. When you see what those are you expand your content on those keyword areas, work on your conversions in those areas, and promote harder to increase your rankings there too.

    These are quick answers to really complicated questions but I hope this is helpful.

    Andrew
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    More Affiliate Marketing & SEO Strategy For Free Than Most Courses Will Give You If You Pay... http://andrewhansen.name

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  • Profile picture of the author Djeims
    I am currently spending 5 figures a month on paid search and I am keen to add SEO to my marketing portfolio
    There is plenty of information how to rank on to 10 Google results. If you really struggle about this I will put it simple.

    Semrush for kw research - longtails your competitors are ranking already

    - Quality content on your website.
    Outreach to influential bloggers in your industry asking for guest post or review on their website

    As simple as that
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Your present keyword list is fine. Since you say you are presently spending it now then the answer to Andrew's question is that the keywords are keywords that are working for you now in PPC.

    I am not much for just throwing money at content and assume that it will be great from what you paid for it and although some have seemed to imply that google can determine quality content we are not at the point of artificial intelligence yet . So how much to spend on content is NOT the place to start. the place to start is what attracts people to a site like yours because what attracts viewers are what attracts link which are votes for your site.

    always always always skip advice on forums (except the advice to skip advice on forums ) over what you see on the top five results for your keyword results. Throwing 20 articles at some serps is just not the way to go. Let what is ranking now across these keywords of yours be your guide.

    For all the talk of articles how many people actually links to articles that are not news or unique? $20- $40 will get you a well written article but seldom anything unique.

    However following what I said above. If you look at the top results across your keywords and they are killing it with lots of articles then first step is to imitate...... and then you innovate.
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    • Profile picture of the author veritasim
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      If you look at the top results across your keywords and they are killing it with lots of articles then first step is to imitate...... and then you innovate.
      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the advice buddy, how do I check the top results across the keywords?

      With regards to backlinks which service would you use to check your competition? How quickly would you copy their links?

      Thanks

      A
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewHansen
    I don't understand Mike's post.

    If you looked at your best converting keywords from Adwords, and you went to Google and looked at the pages that were ranking for them and imitated those... then what?

    What if they were hyper competitive, really strong domains? Would publishing content that imitates the content on those sites get you the best results? Certainly not because you'll have a new site, with no age and no backlinks. And if imitating those top ranking pages was all you did, you'd get traffic from nowhere.

    The point of publishing a bunch of content in the beginning is that - assuming you used that keyword list from Adwords - you'd hit the terms that those sites were ranking for AND a whole lot more... and you would learn first hand which terms will bring you traffic and which won't because you'll see them in your analytics. It may be - and often is - that there is some lower competition pocket of keywords just besides the most competitive terms that gets you faster traffic and higher conversions.

    And you can never find those pockets if you only publish content like the best sites in your niche have already published.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      I don't understand Mike's post.
      I don't understand whats so hard to understand

      Originally Posted by AndrewHansen View Post

      If you looked at your best converting keywords from Adwords, and you went to Google and looked at the pages that were ranking for them and imitated those... then what?
      Then you would know what is being successful in your niche. common sense I thought. I wonder how the writers of your 50 $20 articles are going to determine whats good content in that niche?? Hmmmm. Might they....umm...Google it??

      What if they were hyper competitive, really strong domains? Would publishing content that imitates the content on those sites get you the best results? Certainly not because you'll have a new site, with no age and no backlinks. And if imitating those top ranking pages was all you did, you'd get traffic from nowhere.
      You are lost I am afraid Andrew. because you look at the content in a niche does not mean you HAVE to go after the same keywords. You are confusing niche with Keywords. the OP is in the debt management niche so lets use that as example. He can look at the content across his keywords within that niche and see that say infographics work better than articles or perhaps videos. He may find that the sites don't have many articles so he now knows that spending a thousand dollars on articles isn't necessary but he might need to go get some videos done. Yes he might now find some keyword competition is too tough (or he might even find that its easier than he would have thought) but it won't stop him from going after other keywords within the same niche. Besides all that the OP has made it perfectly clear that he wants to reduce his payout to adwords FOR THOSE KEYWORDS so saying don't look at the competition for those keywords to determine what they are doing makes ZERO sense. If you want to rank you ALWAYS look at what the competition is doing to rank. This is hard for you to understand me on?

      The point of publishing a bunch of content in the beginning is that - assuming you used that keyword list from Adwords - you'd hit the terms that those sites were ranking for AND a whole lot more
      why would you hit them more than if you did competition research. because google just loves 50 $20 articles? You cannot be serious

      And you can never find those pockets if you only publish content like the best sites in your niche have already published.
      feel free to disagree with me but not to change my words. I said imitate and then innovate I said nothing about "Only publish content like the best sites". You made that up in your mind.

      Yukon and I agree on little but I have to admit this idea that you throw a bunch articles at every site and niche in the world and you will come out golden is just silly. In this case the OP is running adwords and has been for some time. Why should he skip looking at how the sites ranking for those keywords are ranking and just throw up 50 $20 articles up on a site to see what comes up. He already has a rich amount of data from having run adwords

      If this were a customer you were dealing with I would tell you to listen to your customer and what they need. He's not running adsense trying to get some long tail hits. In this case the OP has specifically stated thta he wishes to lower his payout for the keywords he now targets in adwords. Claiming he should ignore how the competition for those keywords are ranking when determining his content strategy makes ZERO sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO Power
    I recommend WordPress for the site. Purchase a premium theme and a logo and you'll have a nice-looking site with little to no coding.

    To SEO a new site, publish 10 or more articles on it and start building some links. If you want to go completely whitehat, you will need to publish more than ten articles and your articles will have to be link-worthy articles, not those $10 per 500 words articles. Link outreach has to be one of your core strategies as well.

    Need a mentor? Try Andrew Hansen .
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO-Dave
    Originally Posted by veritasim View Post

    I built 10,000's of spammy backlinks to my site on the advice of an 'SEO Expert', needless to say as I write the site no longer sits in the top 3 positions organically for the various search terms, who'd have thought! (i've been relegated to pages 12+). Having done a fair bit of research, it is my understanding that a panda or penguin update (again forgive my ignorance) resulted in my site site being sent to the outer depths of search engine space. The visitors to my webpage disappeared overnight!!!
    You still own your original site right?

    Have you tied recovering it from any penalties?

    I assume you have a penalty notice(s) in Google Webmaster Tools, tackle the issue head on, fix all issues.

    If you followed the bad SEO advice on link building be sure you haven't followed other bad advice, if you have fix it. Any on-site SEO mistakes can be easily fixed and are normally recoverable medium term, it's the off-site SEO (backlinks) that's the problem.

    I made the same mistake with my business site over 10 years ago, lost a lot of sales due to stupidity as well. Back then there wasn't a way to recover from a links penalty beyond contacting all sites and asking them nicely to remove the links you spammed (good luck with that!). Had to start again from scratch.

    Today we have the Google disavow option. Go through your links profile, build a list of the spammy links and disavow them.

    After disavowing all bad links send in a Google reinclusion request admitting what you did wrong (blame the SEO) and cross your fingers.

    Webmasters have had mixed results with this approach, with an important site it's worth the time to try to recover it. Because you've been hit with a penalty if you recover you'll have to go whiter than white SEO in the future. IME when hit with a penalty there's a tipping point for full recovery that takes time (it's not overnight). If your partner cheated on you, trust would be lost, you aren't going to trust them for sometime, Google feels hurt, you'll need to be nice to Google for her to fully trust you again :-)

    Getting the penalty lifted (if it works) could be significantly faster to ranking again than building a new site, you are looking at over a year for a new domain to build authority through backlinks. It's not a simple case of building a great site with awesome content and it ranks, you need quality backlinks (no shortcuts with spammy links) that are stable and age and that takes a long time.

    See Mike Anthony's earlier response that touches on link builidng, what in your niche do webmasters link to? If you have the budget go for linkbait building, not building articles for the sake of it. There's no magic formula for this, each site/niche is different, you aren't going to gain natural links adding cute pictures of cats on an insurance website for example.

    David
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewHansen
    Veritas,

    In case the advice has become unclear, my strategy would be to:

    1. Revise the old keyword list from your adwords account to make sure the numbers haven't changed too much from when this was working for you in the past.

    2. Create new content for this new site according to the keywords that were converting for you in the past. Given that you had some old pieces of content converting, you can model that with your new content and you can also look at what's currently ranking in the search engines for those keywords, like Mike said, to get ideas from them about what kind of content is doing well.

    But you shouldn't rely on this content because you don't know if you'll be able to rank organicaly for these keywords. They're likely to be be competitive ones, given the nature of the market you're in. That's why you would...

    3. Because you have a high budget, expand your content from just what you had up in the past. This is where you would do new keyword research, and create more content on some new keyword groups. You could publish however many articles you can afford ($20 is of course only a guideline. For high quality pieces you might only get 30 or 40 for $1000) based on new keyword groups you will have found that appear to have strong volume, low competition and strong commercial intent (all topics that you would learn more about when studying keyword research).

    The value of this is that you will uncover new opportunities for ranking and free search traffic as you start to see which of these new pages get traction in the search engines.

    Further, you'll end up with an extremely high quality site, with tonnes of solid, unique, valuable content and you'll have the platform on which to build a very strong SEO campaign.

    All the best with it,
    Andrew
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Heres an example to illustrate what I was talking about Veritas.

      I googled "debt management"

      the top ranking site in my area is

      greenpath.com.

      the sites does NOT use a bunch of articles thrown up on a site approach and yet it ranks number one. Its in fact entirely about closing the sales on their offers. they also utilize calculator scripts as number three does

      the second is daveramsey.com

      has articles but the major drive of the site is the video content and classes

      third is Bankrate's page for calculators

      So what would you learn from that about your niche and ranking...that financial calculators and video as content are very effective at attracting links and you also see that the article approach isn't utilized at all in the #1 result. Instead there the message is on what is offered by way of services.

      You'll also note that not only is the throw up lots of articles approach not in play in the top three but that they are not running Wordpress either so that also is NOT a necessity or what you SHOULD be using. Number one is I believe using Drupal

      The other issue that I have not mentioned yet is that if you go the Wordpress article path you can be pretty much assured that your conversion rate will be DRASTICALLY different (most likely lower). If you have been utilizing Adwords appropriately then those pages are probably well optimized for conversion where as a general wordpress theme with articles added to it will not be optimized for that much at all.

      The wordpress put up a bunch of articles to snake out long tail strategy works somewhat well for adsense and affiliate sites that most people at WF are used to but not so much for businesses.

      Proof is in the pudding and the pudding in SEO is what is actually ranking NOT what people advise you to do on a forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author netanel23
    Personally I wouldn't advise building another branded site, let the Adwords campaign drive your SEO campaign. You've got the valuable data of what works and what isn't for your business by the PPC route, use that data to drive the SEO on the same domain.

    So you built spammy links, why not fix the problem and get them removed or as many of them as possible. You had rankings before which is a good indicator that you could have them again on the domain. You got greedy and spammed your site. It happens. It doesn't mean it's the end of the world though.

    A thorough link removal campaign and you could be back to where you were before. Add in your Adwords and I'm sure you are getting natural links. You'd be surprised how naturally having Adwords leads to new links. I've had stuff written about our business that directly tied back to our adwrods campaign.

    Instead of building two brands, build one.
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