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.

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.

Content Is Not King… but Focused Content Is At Least The Queen

The never ending debate of which is more important, good content, or high quality links when you are trying to improve your search engine rankings may never come to an agreeable conclusion.

My personal belief is that high quality relevant links will always beat out good content and that has been my experience in optimizing hundreds of websites over the years.

The good news is we don’t have to choose one or the other. Instead lets get really good links, and write awesome content for our websites and dominate the search engines.

I want to talk a little about writing good content. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when adding content to your site.

Create SEO Focused Content
Writing content for the sake of writing content can be an incredible waste of time. When you are trying to increase your websites rankings, you should be targeting your key phrases in the content you add to your website.

Look for good long tail key phrases that you are not already ranking for. A whole page of content focused around one long tail key phrase can go a long way with the search engines.

For example, let’s say my website is in the internet marketing industry and I am targeting big key phrases like “internet marketing” and “internet business”. A long tail key phrase I could write about would be “internet marketing for lawyers”.

That would be the title of my page and then I would include that entire phrase in the content of the site a couple of times. I would then get 1-3 links for the phrase and sit back and watch as the rankings move up.

From an SEO standpoint this is a much better strategy than just rambling on for 500 words about nothing in particular.

Use Proper Grammar and Spelling
It is true that most people skim, they don’t read. Although I seem to have attracted a lot of readers. Keep your content free of punctuation and spelling errors. Those kinds of mistakes stand out like a soor thum.

Try not to use slang in your content unless it fits in with the style and feel of the website.

If you create good quality content that is focused on key phrases you want to rank for, you will find that your efforts will yield much better results.

Link Building – Can Too Many Links Hurt You?

I have seen over the years that if you build your link popularity naturally you can move up in the search rankings fairly quickly even if your website is new. In fact I have done it enough that when it doesn’t happen I am very surprised.

That is why I have been confused when working with a friend of mine who started a website about 4 and a half months ago. He has implemented full boar every single thing I ever asked him to do. He is very motivated and so often does more than I ask him to do. Based on my past (and current) experience by now his site should be showing on page 1 of Google for hundreds of terms and his site should be generating a lot of income.

For some reason though, his rankings aren’t there. After looking into the issue I noticed that websites ranking on the first page of Google for his competitive key phrases have under 1000 back links. These are websites that have been around for several years.

So I did a backlink check for my friends website that is 4 months old and he is showing 22,000 backlinks. This huge disparity is probably throwing up a big red flag to the search engines that a new site is getting that many links.

Even though he could have naturally acquired these links, the difference in the amount his competitors have from how many links he has makes it so his link building doesn’t appear natural to the search engines. Because of this they have probably put his site into a mini sandbox.

Eventually I expect his rankings to hit and hit hard and he will start making a lot of money but until his site gets more age, and the search engines see that he will keep getting more links, he will just have to wait.

What you should take away from this? – Don’t get too many links too quickly as it can have a negative effect on your rankings. Especially avoid site-wide links in the beginning if you can help it.

Careful Using Google’s Searchwiki

You may have noticed that Google’s search results are a little different. If you have a gmail account, google adwords, google adsense, or google analytics account then most likely you are signed in under your account name when you go to Google’s home page.

If that is the case then Google has added a new feature to their search results. They call it Search Wiki. Google offers you the option of promoting or deleting search results. In other words if you do a search and find certain results to be more helpful than others, then you promote them to the top of your results.

Here is a snapshot of what it looks like:

I first noticed this when I was checking to see where a certain term was ranking for one of my websites.  I saw that I could delete all of my competitors listings and promote mine to the top. What a great idea. Wrong. About a week later I was checking rankings again and low and behold and to my surprise my site was ranking #1 for my main term. I was so excited I gave my brother a high 5 and hugged my wife.

There was one problem, no increase in traffic. If anything, the traffic was lower than normal. So I checked rankings on another computer…there we were at number 6. I checked all of Google’s datacenters and each one showed us at #6. I had completely forgotten that I had “promoted” my site to the top position and now unless I sign out of my google account I can’t see where I actually rank.

So in conclusion, as fun as it might be to promote your own site to the top spot and delete out your competitors, it doesnt serve any purpose to do that and you won’t be able to check your true rankings anymore.