May 22, 2014

Am I mistaken or was it just Christmas and New Years a couple weeks ago? I have been lax at sending these newsletters and my apologies for that. But I wanted to bring you up to date on some new stuff, and until recently, Google really has not sorted out what it wants to be when it grows up. Actually, it still hasn’t but I wanted to share some stuff with you about what the current trend is as far as getting good rankings in the search pages, based on a ton of research and study I’ve been doing in this area, and if you have been doing SEO in the same old way you’ve been doing it over the years, you have probably already noticed Google giving your sites a huge digital YAWN. So as you are relaxing on this holiday weekend, here are some things to be thinking about between the beers and burgers…

If only it were that easy… but lets talk about a few things that you should be thinking about in terms of getting better rankings for your sites and how to keep them there.

Forget PR (Page Rank)

The first thing you need to do is forget about Google’s Page Rank (PR) and stop obsessing over it. PR is no longer is serious measurement of a site’s overall worth, and this is evidenced by the fact that Google’s PR updates are few and far between, just frequent enough to tease us and keep us off our game. There are several other things that can be used to assess a web site, which are headed by DA (Domain Authority), PA (Page Authority), the number of backlinks, what anchor text is used, and how many different IP sets those links come from. Now before you glaze over, let’s break that down a bit.

Page Authority (PA) is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given webpage is likely to rank in Google.com’s search results. It is based off data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank, MozTrust, and dozens of other factors.

Domain Authority (DA) is calculated by combining all of the other link metrics — linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc — into a single score.

If I am looking at a page or domain, I would put much more emphasis on the PA/DA of it rather than the simple single digit PR that it has. That evaluation is in terms of rankability and in terms of the amount of link juice it has. Typically, I look for a page to have PA and DA greater than at least 25.

How do you find out what the PA/DA of a site is? Go to:

Domain Authority & Page Authority Checker

and looking at the resulting metrics from entering my http://business-ethernet.com site into that tool, we see the following:

Not outstanding but not bad. Do not pay attention to the number of backlinks shown here as I have found the number here is way off.

Another assessment is of course backlinks and anchor text. For this I use Majestic SEO at:

https://www.majesticseo.com/

where entering this same site here I can see the summary page showing:

When looking at a page in Majesic SEO, you want to assess multiple things. The Majestic TF (Trust Flow) and CF (Citation Flow) should both be greater than at least 10. Numbers lower than that indicate that the quality is not there and/or the trust factor is lower than it should be. Also look at the total number of backlinks compared to the number of referring IP’s, and the keyword here is NATURAL. Having a billion backlinks from only TWO referring IP’s does not look natural. If you have a paid account with Majestic or want to try it out, it also provides information on the “Topical Trust Flow”, where you already know that a backlink from a RELEVANT site carries much more link juice than does one from an underwater basket-weaving site or other non-relevant topic site.

Majestic (even the free version, with more limited data but a good overview) can provide data about the backlinks going to this site:

verifying from a NATURAL perspective, the follow/nofollow ratio to show that this site is not JUST “follow” links, which would be unnatural, as well as over overview of the anchor text of the backlinks:

So What?

The reason for mentioning this is that one of the biggest things lately in ranking well with Google is PBN’s, or Private Blog Networks. There are a lot of people out there who are creating their own PBN’s via expired domains that they purchase, and then they control the links and anchor text that is put on those expired domains. The beauty and power of getting expired domains (and evaluating them thoroughly with the tools above, plus more) is that many times those domains already have a bit of PR (maybe 1, 2 even affordably 3), but more importantly, they already have backlinks coming in as well as having PA and DA above my personal threshold of 25, and hundreds of existing and valid (non-spammy) backlinks. And looking at various places that offer expired domains, you can often pick up a great domain with established PR, PA, DA, and backlinks for really cheap, frequently under $25.

When evaluating a possible expired domain, also use the backlinks tab and the anchor text tab at Majestic to check out where the backlinks come from and what the anchor text is, to make sure it has not been spammed to death, or used to be used to promote products or services that might be … uh … objectionable, if you get my drift. Typically, RUN do not walk if you see a lot of backlinks from the “.RU” domain (Russia), which is a high sign of probable spam-to-death.

What about the hundreds of backlinks already pointing to that domain which may have been for an entirely different niche, where your intent is to build this domain out and make it telecom-relevant over time? If you setup the new domain with WordPress (recommended and by far the easiest), there is a free plugin called “Link Juice Keeper“, where a link coming in to a page on your domain that no longer exists will be redirected to the site’s home page instead of simply returning a “page not found” error, so in the eyes of the owner of that backlink, the backlink is still good. Cool, eh?

Do not underestimate the power of link juice, which is the authority and popularity of the sites that link directly to you. All links have a certain amount of relative power and sometimes it is obvious, like when comparing a link from mysummervacationinamonastery.com to a link from cnn.com. Duh…

Do NOT link your PBN sites together, but build them up on your own with their own separate resources. And I have found a ton of reliable hosting at:

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4

where surprisingly enough, I have found reliable and solid web hosting plans for as low as 75 cents to $1.50 per month, complete with your own CPANEL! You would want each of your PBN’s on a separate webhost so that it has a different IP (think diversity).

One of the other things that is possible and I have done is to have web 2.0 sites created. Since these sites already have Domain Authority (ie, yourkeyword.tumblr.com), the building up of these types of sites becomes a bit easier. On the downside though, you do not have CONTROL over the site, and if some overzealous webmaster at the web 2.0 owner gets miffed, then that site might be taken down. But the web 2.0’s are free, except for the effort you expend to create relevant content.

My suggestion would be to do BOTH things — your own expired domain PBN’s as well as web 2.0’s used for PBN and providing link juice to your main sites. The additional benefit of going both ways here is to provide an additional level of link diversity in the eyes of Google.

Anchor Text

Google is getting more and more insistent on NATURAL and is paying more and more attention to the anchor text used when you link to another site. Historically the common wisdom has been to make the anchor text related in some way to a keyword or some LSI variation of that keyword but even doing that has triggered Penguin penalties for many folks, where a Penguin penalty is essentially “over optimization”.

Many of the tools in place today have the ability to rotate anchor text when creating a backlink to artifically provide a look of NATURAL or how Google views things would happen in the real world if real people were creating real backlinks. As such, many of the SEO experts are recommending today about reducing the keyword-related anchor text WAY down, like some are even saying in the “less than 30%” area, where the other “70%” of anchor text used would be things that would actually happen in the real world, such as “click here”, “more info here”, “check this out here”, “visit my site now”, etc.

What Google is trying to say is that it is much smarter than it ever used to be, and it can figure out what a site is about without you having to “push it in the right direction” via the anchor text of a link, which leads into the next section:

What Is Different Today?

Google today is more and more into TOPIC-THEMED sites, rather than a keyword or two per page. In the “old days”, if you had 10 primary keywords that you wanted to rank for, you really needed to create 10 different pages, where each page would try to establish dominance for each particular keyword and its LSI variations.

Today, Google is saying it’s smart enough to figure out what a site is about based on the content, based on the meta data, based on the page title tags, with help from the H1 and H2 tags on a page. As an example, I have found sites that rank very highly for “banjo playing online tutorial” but that exact phrase is not found at all at that site, nowhere! But based on all the other phrases and content on the site, Google has figured out that this keyword variation is also applicable and therefore ranks the site highly for that phrase.

The advice I am trying to pass on here is that if you are trying to rank for a gazillion keywords, that no longer means you need to create a gazillion pages, with one page for each keyword phrase. The idea now is to THEME them together on a single page, create a title tag for the THEME of that page, put the broad variation of the main themed keywords as H1 and/or H2 tags on that page, and keeping things as NATURAL as possible. That, combined with backing off on keyword anchor text as explained above, plus quality backlinks from a wide diversity of sources, is the key today.

A Slightly Different Marketing Approach

Here is something to be thinking about as you market and especially for those of you who cultivate relationships with relevant people in various forums and/or the area where you live. This situation virtually fell into my lap. Think of a relatively small company, an industrial distributor, who has at least one office in almost every state. Their corporate IT department is overwhelmed with insufficient time or resources to keep track of the carriers at every branch office (which today is a mix of almost 10 different carriers), when the contracts are coming due, and if there are more cost effective solutions available. So based on a lack of time and resources to find out differently, they have almost always just renewed the existing contract, even though that was FAR from the best solution.

Enter Jon, who is now their “telecom go-to guy” for corporate IT. At least every month, I get an email from corporate IT at the headquarters location saying that the branch manager from the office in city-state called and their contract is coming up for renewal, asking ME to provide more cost effective options for that office in city-state. So far I have provided new circuits at 3 of their offices, with a 4th one to be coming up next month!

The corporate IT department loves it. I am responsive, he has quotes in his inbox within 24 hours of requesting it, with a full and complete understanding of what his viable options are. I have not yet encountered a branch office where I could not save them a ton of money. Corporate IT is not spending hours on the phone trying to find out who could even provide service there, allowing them to spend time on the things they should be doing and are being paid to do. And having me as their “telecom go-to- guy” is not costing them a cent. It’s always a 3 year contract, integrated circuit with 5-8 phone lines, a somewhat modest sale but multipled by the potential of having that many offices in my book of business, it is really attractive to both them and to me.

The reason for laying this out is to have you think outside the box. What if YOU found something similiar, where every sale that came in was tagged to YOUR agent ID, would that be of interest to you? It is truly a win-win-win situation — the customer wins because it takes a ton of drudge work off his plate, the branch office wins because they are saving money over the previous ill-researched solution they implemented, and you win because you get commissions off every branch office they bring to me, which I will tag with your agent ID so you get credit for it.

If you find someone that may be interested in that, I am more than happy to talk with them and explain the wide range of benefits to them, as well as ensure that you are tagged to the accounts they bring in.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238
Email: jon@jacommgroup.com