Wil Reynolds‘ session at Affiliate Summit West, “How to Fix Failing SEO Efforts,” was the third time I’ve listen to him speak. No matter what other sessions are going on, and no matter what the session is named, if you have the chance to hear Wil speak, do it. If not, subscribe to his YouTube channel and listen to past sessions. Wil offers some of the best SEO advice I’ve ever heard, and provides real-world examples and tools you can use to improve your organic search rankings.
Wil says the number one reason people fail at SEO is loss of focus. Do not pay attention to the drama in the industry; focus on what works! This means when you hear rumors, don’t worry about them – work on what’s real.
When looking at a keyphrase, you can judge how competitive the space is by looking at the organic listings on page 1. If you see a lot of homepages (domain roots), it’s highly competitive; on the other hand, if you see a lot of deeplinked pages (blog posts, burried pages) then you have a good chance of ranking well for that particular keyphrase.
With regards to link building, quantity of links does is not always the answer. In an example given by Wil, the number 1 result had 1,200 backlinks, while the number 2 result had 1,250,000. Links from focused sources are more valuable than links from generic, or unrelated, sources.
Furthermore, a link from a major publication may seem good at first, but when these traditional publishers break down their single article into 5 pages, and your link is on page 4, it doesn’t do that good.
If you do manage to get a quality link from a trusted source, you can do some link building to that article in order to get the click-through traffic. This was a huge idea that I could have used a couple of months ago, when an article posted on time.com linked to my website. If I drove traffic to that article, I would have seen an increase in traffic to my site, too.
Wil went into deep discussion on the impact of Google’s Universal Search has on the SERPs. As Google adds in local results, product results, products within AdWords, videos and images, your number 6 organic spot could put you on page 2!
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to impact what Google does, so your only solution is to fight back! Wil shared a MASSIVE tip during his session – one that I haven’t heard ANYONE talk about previously…
Google is now adding buying guides to their product search results. So, if you have an affiliate site about netbooks, add a Netbook Buying Guide and Google may pick up on it and include your buying guide in their product search result. If products are infiltrating organic results, do what you can to infiltrate Google’s product search results! This has only been doing on for the past couple of months, and is a perfect example of the quality tips you can get from attending Affiliate Summit.
You should also work on decimating the long tail. Take your keyphrase, run it through Google’s AdWords tool, see which keywords have low competition, and kill it.
Also, you should know what keywords are becoming more (and less) popular. Google’s Insights will tell you the trend and help you focus on the keywords with rising popularity. However, be sure to adjust the timeframe that you look at. A rising trend over the past 4 years is much different compared to a rising trend over the past 4 months.