Grey Hat SEO
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My methods for ranking high: A combination of grey hat and white hat tactics
First baby step, make your site look like a brand. Make sure to always create…
- About page
- contact page
- terms of service
- A twitter and/or facebook page connected
- Phone numbers are a plus
The Beginning: Deciding upon your keywords.
- General rule of thumb. Avoid the mainstream. I have always believed that “everything popular is wrong” in SEO, even in grey hat seo (some call it “gray hat seo”). If you see a busy niche or keyword, avoid it. There are so many easy wins still in the SEO world that it’s not worth your effort to try and get some of the big nasty hard keywords unless you really have your skills down.
Your Keyword List
- Utilize “Buying keywords”
- Put together a list of keywords that people in your niche would actually type in, that are ready to purchase, credit card in hand. Start here.
- Next, start with the “longtail keywords”. You can start with one if you like, but I would personally pick about 10 very similar longtails. Make sure to include the often forgotten both singular and plural versions
- Again, unless you’re very experienced there is no reason to make it hard on yourself. You will get way more traffic ranking #1 for a keyword that supposedly gets 200 searches a month then #13 for a 5000/month keyword.
- When focusing on the longtail you will rank quicker, and start getting your traffic and money quicker.
- Less investment in linkbuilding, as bigger keywords will generally take more money and/or time to rank for.
Ok, now that you have your list, go and check out the competition. The easiest way that I know to check this out is simply to use SerpIQ. It will give you a nice little “competition score” to let you know more or less how easy the competition is.
It evaluates all kinds of rankings factors like
- social factors
- on-page optimization
Now it’s time to create the content.
- All of my recommendations here are strictly for seo purposes. You will frequently have to compromise sometimes and focus on conversions of your goals. Use your best judgement.
- You are going to create LONG content. The harder the keyword, then longer the content that you should be using. For my toughest keywords I just had a 5000 word document on the subject written for me. 2000 words should be the standard, only drop below if the sales method requires it.
- In almost all niches the top ranking sites have the most content.
- Now go through the front page serps and you are going to put together a huge list of related terms, industry terms, brands and any other terms that keep popping up.
- When creating the content simply use these words throughout. This will help you naturally rank for all kinds of longtail keywords, but it will also help tell google that you are the “most relevant source” on the information. You might even rank without links if done right.
- I don’t worry about keyword density or any of that stuff. Just make it sound natural and don’t stuff keywords.
Once that is created, work on your on-page seo set up.
You can find this stuff in a million different places, I wrote a detailed version on my blog, but here are the basics.
- Use keyword in title
- Use the other plural/singular version in meta description along with related keywords
- Don’t even bother with meta-keywords. If you do just put a small few without keyword stuffing.
- Put your keyword in an h1 tag. This will frequently have other keywords with it as well.
- Put related terms/versions in h2 tags.
- Put lots of related industry terms in h3 tags
- Put lots of related industry terms in lists (love lists).
- Name your pictures similar keywords and put some of them in image-alt tags.
- Make the URL slug have your targeted keyword(s).
- Use tons of media such as images and videos
- Link out to other authority sites in your niche. Make sure they will not be competition for your keyword.
- None of this is anything too revolutionary. Just the basic stuff.
Once it’s all done you can again use SERPiq to check your progress. Also using something like woorank will give your entire site a much more in depth look at any other factors that will optimize it. It will check your site for some more in depth errors that you might have made.
Link Building: Important Grey Hat Tips
THE Most Important Tip For Linkbuilding: do not make all of your links “money term” links. This is what is causing the somewhat simple penguin penalty. Make 50% or more of your links non money-term links and you will most likely survive penguin updates. I personally make half of my keywords simple things like the website url variations.
And then include a bunch of non-keyword related terms such as “click here for more information”.
- Focus on branding first.
- Contact page
- Brand name
- Owners name if desired
- About page
- This will typically make google respect your website much more, but it will also cover your basics with what you’re actually trying to accomplish…. which is letting customers find you and your relevant information.
- Focus on quality FIRST
- Quality links just rank better
- Get those REAL links from built relationships and industry links… then build tier 2 links to those to really strengthen them. Make sure not to screw over someone’s site with low quality links though if they are nice enough to link out to you.
- Now after you exhaust your easy access quality links, analyze your site, rankings, analytics and visitor responses. See what’s working now.
- If it’s working really well, then I would be VERY hesitant about starting to do a little more sketchy link building. If you are getting close to your goal then just have patience. ALWAYS use the least amount of links to accomplish your goals. This will help you avoid possible penalties.
- If it’s not working like you hoped then you can start thinking about more grey-hat style backlinks.
Manufactured Link Building
Whenever possible don’t focus linkbuilding on homepage for ranking purposes. Use homepage for branding.
- If you get hit by a penalty, you can do a redirect to another page. This will frequently let you ditch the penalty if you do the redirect properly.
- If your homepage gets hit… you can’t redirect it.
- If you get a BAD penalty, your homepage will stop ranking for your brand which is a BIG problem. People will frequently search for your brand and if they can’t find you, or find a competitor you’re screwed.
Tips For Building Links
- Diversify Link sources
- blog posts (and separate platforms, not all wordpress)
- web 2.0
- quality wikis
- top 20 social bookmarks
- The top social sites (twitter, facebook, stumbleupon…)
- Industry specific quality blog comments. I personally will only names for these types of links. Looks natural.
- Homepage PR links are still killer
- Video links
- Doc share (scribd)
- High quality forum profiles with unique descriptions, pictures, etc (moderation)
- Lots of tier 2 links. Make your tier 1 links strong.
Possible Random Topics/tips:
- Interlink posts
- “trickle down” pr theory (blogrolls)(category pages)
- Discussion of my mass scale site creation and rankings
- Think outside the box with SEO. Why only have one in the top 10 when you can have the top 10.