This is episode 6 of 7 of the Authority Hacker New Year Starter Series. If you haven’t been through the previous episodes, we suggest you go and check those out first.
What you will learn
- What SEO is and how it works
- The 3 schools of SEO and which one you should follow
- Why you should NEVER buy links (and what you should buy instead)
- How to do white hat link building the right way
- Why it’s super important to master the basics
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. All it means is optimizing your site for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, so that you show up higher when people search for related topics.
It can be broken into 3 parts:
- Technical: Site setup, speed, structure, etc.
- Content: Content length, keyword targeting, keyword optimisation, etc.
- Links: Hyperlinks from other sites that point back to your site
When you put all those together, and you do them really well, your site will start to rank well in major search engines like Google.
How Does it Work?
If you’re new to the world of SEO, it might seem strange that things like links from other sites would impact your rankings. Essentially, links are just like votes that work alongside other ranking factors.
Google’s algorithm relies on a number of ranking factors to decide if your page should rank and where. Links are just one of those factors, although they do carry the most weight.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also something Google has been heavily investing in. They’re developing their algorithm to read and understand images, as well as look at things from a topical perspective as opposed to keyword-based.
For example, if you wanted to rank for the search term “Barrack Oboma”, not so long ago you would repeat the keyword phrase “Barrack Obama” as many times as possible throughout your content. In many cases, that would be enough to rank.
Nowadays, that’s what we call keyword stuffing and Google has come a long way in making that approach obsolete. The “new” approach to keyword stuffing is to talk about related topics.
In this example, you might mention things like:
- His wife
- When he was elected president
- Where he went to school
- The name of his dog
Google is now smart enough to identify a relationship between certain topics and look at whether or not they’re being covered in your content.
The key thing to take away is that writing naturally and providing value will inherently put your site in good standing with search engines. After all, that’s what they’re looking for.
The Schools of SEO
SEO can be divided into 3 schools.
Each school represents a different set of rules, and how far someone is willing to go in order to rank their site – even if it’s unethical or illegal.
Black hat SEO’s will do almost anything to build links, including breaking the law. Anything from hacking, malicious Wordpress plugins, mass spamming… you name it. This type of SEO can get you results in a short period of time, but it’s often short lived.
Grey hat SEO’s like to bend the rules/cut corners. Tactics include spun article marketing, building web 2.0 properties and private blog networks (PBN’s). Overall, grey hat SEO still very risky since Google will catch up sooner or later. Despite popular belief, it’s also more expensive.
White hat SEO’s stay in line with Google’s terms of service, and is what most people in this space consider real marketing. It’s all about collaboration, networking and content marketing in a way that actually provides value. Links built in a white hat fashion are earned, not forced.
Why You Should Never Buy Links
Buying links is a tactic that falls in the grey/black hat arena and is very, very risky.
Besides the fact that it’s in serious violation of Google’s terms of service, the quality of links you get are often inferior to white hat links. The reason for this is simple, if someone is accepting money from you, they’re accepting money from everyone. That puts you in a bad neighborhood.
Instead of offering webmasters money in exchange for links, it’s far safer and cheaper to put money into content and market that content in a way that generates links for you.
White Hat Link Building Done Right
Effective link building comes down to 4 key elements.
1) A credible looking site
Building a credible and trustworthy site significantly helps with white hat link building. We recommend you check out the dedicated podcast episode covering this topic in detail.
2) Value content
It’s important to have content that doesn’t sell anything so you can be seen as an authority, a hub of helpful information. Not only does that help you build trust with you audience, but this type of content is much easier to build links to. Check out this blog post for more information on the authority site model.
3) A strong persona
A persona, whether it’s you or one you’ve created, helps you connect with your audience and network with influencers in your industry. We also recommend checking our dedicated podcast episode on using fake personas.
White hat link building requires a lot of hard work and an ability to hustle your way through. It’s tough, but it pays off BIG time in the long run.
Focusing on the Basics
The best thing you can do to succeed with white hat link building is pick one method and master it.
The problem with SEO is that new link building tactics/methods/strategies pop up all the time and it’s easy to get distracted by the latest shiny object.
We recommend picking one of the following proven methods:
- Skyscraper method
- Guest posting
- Broken link building
- Resource pages
Any one of those should give you an endless amount of link building opportunities. They all work and they’re all safe.
In fact, Perrin used some of these link building methods to help take his site from a blank WordPress installation to a web property worth over $200,000.
If you’d like to learn more about how he did, Perrin reveals everything in our upcoming webinar. So you really don’t want to miss it!