There was a book that I was reading – I don’t remember the name of the book exactly – but I had found it in a popular bookstore in Sydney (Kimonodo bookshop on George Street). The book was an SEO book – and was actually through its fourth or seventh edition. It was a very popular selling book – the name of the book isn’t really important – what’s important is that the person who was writing the book was recognised as an SEO expert – he had worked with Fortune 500 companies and judging by the weight of the book – he had a lot of things to share with me.
So I divulged this book (the digital version of course). And the entire experience was just like any other expert’s book that I read on this topic – it had the same flaw.
You see the book talked about all the standard stuff you would expect to hear from an SEO book – on page optimisation, making your site super fast, having the right tags, uploading sitemaps, competitor and keyword research and all that jazz.
However at the end of the book – I was really at the same step that I was at when I started. Sure – I could optimise my site, make it fast, make sure the title tag and heading tags match the keyword I’m after – and doing all that may get me to page #2 (or page #1 if there are not that many competitors).
However how do you get the coveted top spot where most of the traffic goes?
At the end of the day the big thing which is most often overlooked is – backlinks.
How the hell do I get a bunch of high quality backlinks coming to my site?
If you look at the content by SEO Experts they will talk about ‘outreach’ as a strategy to get backlinks – this is the concept of finding out companies that will link back to you and starting a program of calling them to get backlinks (or emailing them).
The above strategy – of ‘outreach’ is the most popular – and the second most popular is getting backlinks through various social media platforms, web 2.0 properties and all kinds of ‘submission’ services – this second strategy is dissapearing fairly quickly as Google de-authorizes most of these services as a viable way to increase your page authority.
But let’s go back to the first step – ‘outreach’.
If you were to listen to the experts – what kind of ‘outreach’ could you really do? Let’s say you’re a a solopreneur – or you have a small business doing some kind of trade. Who are you going to outreach to? What will you say?
Now – this is not to say that this type of strategy won’t work – but it’s a big amount of work. You have to isolate the companies that you want to outreach to – track your correspondence. It’s a lot of heavy lifting – even if you were to outsource this service it would still cost a lot to have someone manage the entire project – it’s something outside of budget for many solopreneur companies.
What if there was another way?
Now when it comes to ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ – terms you may have heard – white hate refers to getting rankings in an ethical fair way within Google guidelines – while black hat refers to getting rankings by basically ‘gaming’ the system in some way that would make Google really mad with you.
Some black hat tactics may work for a period of time – until Google catches on – at which point if you were running a black hat strategy – your sites would get penalised – potentially placed in a sandbox – and your business would be kaput.
The idea is that white hat takes longer – but you are more assured of the results being longer lasting.
There is also grey hat – the idea of using both white hat strategies and some black hat strategies in combination.
So now let’s come back to this book I had found in the Kimonodo bookshop – this author talked about – of course – all the white hat strategies available and he also recommended these strategies to the person reading the book. Most people who would be reading this book – solopreneurs – would get one side of the story – he would warn people that using “black hat” strategies would only lead to – at some point – the downfall of their websites – and to keep it clean.
The SEO Expert would also of course say that he only uses white hat strategies for his clients to maintain safety.
A closer look
But let’s dig a bit deeper in this.
Let’s assume that SEO Expert Bob used some strategies that were not 100% legit – as part of his toolset. Do you think he would really mention this in his big expert book? And how would that look when he went to SEO conferences – with the Google big boys there?
“Oh, by the way – one strategy that I’ve used that’s been really helpful is this black hat strategy, I hope I don’t get caught by Google – but I use it with all my clients and there’s no way Google can find it because it’s pretty iron clad.”
What will Google do if he were to say something like that?
They could easily audit his sites and those of his clients and de-index him in a jiffy.
Now I’m not saying the SEO Expert Bob uses any black hat/gray hat strategies – all I’ms saying is that even if he did – there is no way he could share them in a public forum as it would impact his business and his potential results.
So here you are in this conondrum – as you look for resources on how to rank well you turn to popular experts – who are in an awkward situation when trying to tell you how to rank for competitive keywords – and so you are getting 50% of the information – in the end SEO Expert Bob has to – for his own interests – hold back the real information on how to rank successfully.
And this is why you can’t look too deep into ‘mainstream’ SEO information when it comes to ranking – while it’s technically effective it involves a lot of work – and while hard work is good – for a small business sometimes using some tricks that Google may not be a fan of is ok – if you don’t do stupid stuff.
So what is everyone not telling you?
What is the big secret that no one can really tell you?
Well I’ll make this quick – it has to do with domain ownership.
Simply put – rather than looking for backlinks from high authority sites – you create the high authority sites yourself and link them back to your own website – unlike the outreach method – this strategy is replicable, predictable and is untraceable by Google – since to Google’s bots the sites you build look like proper high authority domains.
I won’t get too much into this strategy here for the sake of time – however I hope you can take away from this to look at any information regarding SEO that is provided with a critical eye and understand where people stand in relation to Google.