Buy A Website or Start One From Scratch?

A couple of years ago Google hit websites really hard that had done a lot of SEO. This caused many websites in almost every industry to drop from the rankings and websites that hadn’t done a lot of SEO to rise to the top of the rankings.

This created an interesting paradox in the SEO world. Should you try to work to recover the rankings you worked so hard to get and now have lost? Or should you give up on a site and start a new one where you can control exactly how much SEO has been done on a site?

I was recently looking at one of the website marketplaces at a site that was ranking #1 for a phrase that was the biggest phrase in this website’s niche. I was impressed at the ranking because the website seemed pretty simple. As I looked at the details of the site I realized the site was only 4 months old.

4 months old? So what Google is telling us is you can start a brand new website and within a few months get to #1 for a top tier key phrase?

Now before you go out and start 10 new websites I have a word of warning. We have no idea what this website owner did to get that site to #1. They may be employing some serious black hat technique that will get them banned. But it may be worth a test to start a new website and see what kind of dent you can make in the rankings in the first few months.

It could be that since so many sites were penalized you just don’t have a lot of competition in the different niches.

I still prefer to buy a website than to build one from scratch but I probably will build one soon to see how it goes.

Exact Match Domain Names For SEO – What You Should Know

If you hadn’t heard Google came out recently with a new update to their algorithm (they seem to be doing this once a week) that affected exact match domain names.

I have always been a strong advocate for exact match domains because up until this last update, Google gave undue advantage to them in the search results.

All you had to do is have a domain name that matched a phrase people would search on google and you would rank for that phrase.

With their most recent update Google decided to remove this advantage. So what does it mean for you?

The reason having an exact match domain was so powerful is because Google was trying to make sure that if a person was searching for a specific company (ie that company’s website would be the first result. So I would go to Google and search “Amazon” and would show up as the top result.

The problem has always been that they have been unable to differentiate between company names and random domain names. So if I owned and someone searched “real estate” Google would assume they were searching for my website and that it must be my company name.

This is how exact match domains came to be so popular. People would buy up the .com, .net, .org, .biz, .co and .info of key phrases that are highly searched and they would be ranked quickly in the search engines.

Now Google has taken away that advantage. They really scrutinize a website just like they do non-exact match domains and don’t automatically have them show in the rankings. They want to see good natural links and good content on the site to be considered to show on page 1.

So it seems that it is much like the way they treat all other domains. The playing field has been leveled…or has it?

Google still gives extra weight to an exact match domain. They still can’t differentiate between the name of a business and a keyphrase rich domain. They want to provide the best results to their users so what they are doing is assuming that if someone is searching for a business, the business website will have plenty of content and good links pointing to their site that include their business name as the anchor text.

So if you own an exact match domain, the way you make it still rank high in the search engines is to point links to it that have your exact match phrase as the anchor. Do a ton of those. Google won’t penalize you if your links are all simply the name of your website, just like they wouldn’t punish for getting a ton of links that have “Nike” as the anchor text.

When you seek out an exact match domain one thing that I always do is I will go and search that key phrase and see if there is already an exact match domain at the top of Google. If there is it will most likely be very difficult for you to get to the top 5 for that phrase. Google has already given authority status to the other exact match domain.

If you don’t see nother domain there that matches then you are good to go. I recently took a brand new exact match domain (it is a .biz) and got it to #1 for its phrase in less than 4 months. Here is the kicker, the site only has 4 or 5 pages with minimal content and I haven’t added any content since the original design. All I have done is get links to the site. It does still work, even with a .biz.

Is Google ruining internet investing?

I have to say I am so sick and tired of the stupid changes Google is making. They are trying so hard to stop people from doing SEO that they have completely lost their way. Their search results are ridiculously bad. I am almost always going to Bing now if I need to search for something.

For the past 10 years I have relied on Google for my main income. I have always been able to achieve high rankings for almost every key phrase I have ever targeted. I have always promoted SEO as such a great strategy because it is free traffic from people who are looking for exactly what you offer.

But the time has come now that I can no longer preach that same message to people without giving you a warning. Here is the warning message I give you: “If you make SEO your main source of website traffic Google may pull the rug out from underneath you at any time.”

Google doesn’t care about you or your business. As a power hungry monopoly Google has decided to make stupid hasty decisions on how they will calculate search results. They have decided that they don’t want people using SEO to get high rankings and the only way they can stop it is to penalize anyone who has done any advanced SEO at anytime in the past.

You are almost better off doing the opposite of SEO to promote your website. If something seems logical to do to optimize your site, think of the opposite of that thing and try it. You may end up at the top of Google before you know it.

I am speaking in jest of course when I say do the opposite but the point is you just can’t trust any of the changes they are making. In the past 2 years they have had about 12 big algorithm updates and it doesn’t seem like they have any plans of slowing down.

So what does this mean if you are trying to buy websites? You have to be really careful about buying a website that has search traffic as it’s main source of traffic.

What you need to look for:

Google had their biggest updates hit starting in April of 2012. If you are looking to buy a website you need to get traffic proof from before then to see if there has been any major drops in traffic at any point from April of 2012 until now.

Doing this still won’t guarantee that the site is safe from taking a big hit in Google but it will at least show you that up until now they have avoided any Google penalties. Not too many site that know anything about SEO can say that.

If a person that has a site that is older than one year old and they are saying that didn’t put analytics on their site until recently they are lying to you. Don’t buy from them.

If someone promotes that they have done aggressive SEO campaigns on a site (as if that were a good thing anymore) they are probably in line to get hit by a Google update. If you can’t get a smoking deal on the site don’t buy.

The types of sites you should be looking for are sites that have shown steady growth in search traffic over the last 12 months. If you can find a site like that you will most likely be able to avoid Google penalties from surprising you as soon as you take the site over. (I speak from experience)

Is The Old Way Of Doing SEO Dead?

This is a question people keep asking me. Do the old SEO techniques still work with all of the Google changes? I think I get asked the question because I have always preached and still continue to preach that the old tried and true SEO techniques that I learned really well 8-10 years ago still work today.

The Google changes happen because people become so good at gaming the system that they have to make changes to ensure that the results stay as relevant and pleasing to the users as possible.

This does not mean that the old proven techniques of SEO don’t work any more. This simply means the tactics that have been invented over the last few years (ie link networks) to game the system don’t work anymore. The core techniques are still the same. Optimize the pages of your site. Produce high quality content and get high quality links and your site will rank high in the search engines.

If people are telling you that it doesn’t work anymore it is because 1) they don’t really understand SEO 2) they need something new to talk about so they make stuff up or 3) they are trying to sell you something.

See where Prosperly ranks for the phrase internet marketing and tell me the old school methods don’t work anymore. If you do SEO the right way, it will still get you to the top of the search engines.

What Googles New Declaration Means For Internet Marketing

As many of you have surely heard Google has made the declaration that they are changing the way they will report search traffic to website owners.

The bottom line is that if someone is signed into their Google account and then does a google search and ends up at your website, their search query will not show up in your analytics.

So what does this mean for internet marketing?
I personally have always held the belief that it is more important to be proactive than reactive. I don’t necessarily base my internet marketing decisions based on what has already happened, but rather what I want to have happen.

I admit that not knowing how much traffic a certain key phrase is actually bringing will make it harder to determine which phrases to target more aggressively, but the fact that google is doing this plays right into my theory of going after long tail key phrases when I do SEO.

If you put all of your eggs in one key phrase basket then this change might effect you more that it would me. What ultimately matters to me is that I get traffic that converts into sales. In the end I don’t care if they searched donkey socks or internet marketing, as long as they buy my product.

So what should you do?
Do exactly what you have been doing. Create good content, build quality links and test your landing pages to increase conversions. I guess not much has changed has it.