In this guide, we’re going to go over SEO ranking practices that will still yield results for today. We’re at a time now where backlink manipulation the old way ie: using PBN networks, ‘buying’ links and link profiles’ using spamming machines like GSA Ranker, simply don’t work.
First, if these do work, they won’t yield long term results because Google is constantly refining their algorithm and looking to take down new networks and pages that are used purely for SEO manipulation.
Second, if you’re looking to sell SEO as a service, no serious business that’s going to pay you a fair fee wants their content subjected to potential penalties. They’d rather work with a ‘slow and steady’ agency that does things the more ‘natural’ way, then one that promises page one rankings overnight.
So what does work? Is SEO as we know it pretty much dead? Not exactly.
In fact, Google WANTS you to do SEO and even gives you specific guidelines on how to optimize your pages and get links here that if done, will get you rewarded.
Check out their latest guide here: https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf
Yes, Google and YouTube have billions invested into their search and ranking algorithms, but they can’t rank everything that gets put out there 100% perfectly.
It’s up to you to TELL Google and YouTube what your content, videos, etc. are about the right way, then, let them know it’s a trusted resource others are finding valuable so they can rank it higher (to give their users a better experience)
That’s what we’ll be focusing on in this guide.
First, we’ll go into how to tell Google and YouTube about your site or video content correctly (or how to improve ‘onsite’ SEO using some new tactics).
Then, we’ll be going into how to get backlinks the whitehat was and 100% safely to your videos or content for lasting rankings.
That being said, let’s dive into part 1… or how to improve your ‘onsite’ optimization.
PART I – Refine and Improve ‘Onsite’ SEO
‘On page SEO’ or ‘Onsite SEO’ is extremely important for your website and any video content you have on it. Each step described below will help you rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.
Go through each step and apply it to your site for better rankings and to ‘tell’ Google about your content more clearly.
Step 1: Delete “Dead-Weight” Pages
Having a big website with a lot of content is not necessarily the best solution, especially if you have a lot of low-quality pages or pages that don’t bring any value to your users. According to Google representative, Gary Illyes, you should narrow down your website as much as possible, because they don’t want to index useless pages. In other words, they see it as a waste of resources and a really bad business decision given that you will be getting low-quality traffic. So you should always focus on quality over quantity if you want your website to rank higher. Here are some of the pages you might have but didn’t know were hurting your website:
- Outdated or low-quality blog posts
- Outdated content that no longer has value (for example, an expired job post)
- WordPress category and tag pages
- Ecommerce product pages with zero sales or product pages you no longer have in stock or you’re not selling anymore
- Archive pages
- Old services pages (services you are no longer providing or have content that has no value)
These are called “Dead Weight” pages and you should do a sweep for them, as they can really hurt your SEO efforts if they are getting indexed by Google. You can either delete the pages or redirect them. An ecommerce product page that is no longer accurate can be redirected to the shop page, or another page that you find relevant and that has quality content.
Step 2: Fix On-Site Issues and Errors
Errors or any other issues you website has are not only hurting your SEO efforts, but also the user experience. And we all know how much Google doesn’t like that. This might be the reason why you have a high bounce rate. Users have certain expectations when browsing your website and if they encounter a broken link or a 404 Page they will close your website in an instance.
So here if what you need to keep an eye out for and fix as soon as possible:
- Duplicate or missing title tags – Your title tags should be unique and contain relevant keywords.
- Duplicate description tags – Just like the title, your meta description should also be unique, as it describes your page. And if you don’t have duplicate pages, then why should you have the same description for different pages. Use relevant keywords, but stay away from keyword stuffing.
- Broken links – This can be an issue for both Google and the user experience.
- Images with missing alt text – This is an opportunity to appear in Google Image searches, so make sure you don’t have any images without an alt text.
- Pages blocked by Robots.txt
- 302 redirects that should be 301 redirects
Step 3: Optimize High-Priority Pages for On-Page SEO
If you do have a big website, with a lot of pages and relevant content, then you might get discouraged at the thought that you need to optimize thousands of pages with unique title tags and meta descriptions. But, the secret is that you only need to optimized high-priority pages. So you can just choose the most important 5-10 pages of your website and put all your effort into optimizing them.
If you’re having trouble deciding, then think about the pages that have the highest conversion power. It can be a very successful blog post that has gotten a lot of user engagement, service pages like the homepage, or some other page you’ve created with the sole purpose of converting leads.
Once you’ve chosen your high-priority pages you need to carefully write optimized title tags, meta descriptions and of course content.
Use relevant keywords wisely and write engaging descriptions, that catch the user’s attention and will make them click on your website in search results. Remember that you need to stick to a certain number of characters because after that your title and meta description will get truncated. Also make sure you use friendly URLs, that contain your keywords because no one is going to click on an obscure URL.
Step 4: Optimize for CTR
As it turns out, the Click Through Rate is very important for Google and is a part of their ranking algorithm, alongside backlinks, on-page SEO and social shares. In one of their research papers, Google said “Click-through data has proven to be a critical resource for improving search ranking quality”. A website that is ranking number 6 in search results is expected to get around 4% of the number of clicks. If for some reason it’s getting more than that, it can quickly climb up, as Google understands that this is something that people want to click on. Unfortunately, it also goes the other way around. So if you’re ranking on number 3, but you’re not getting enough clicks, then Google will bump you down, because it means people don’t want to see your page.
As you can imagine, getting more clicks from search results is strongly connected to your title and meta description, and how unique and engaging they are. If you’re lacking inspiration on how to write something that will improve your CTR you can search for Adwords ads for your target keyword or related keyword, and include the keywords and phrases from those Adwords ads in your title and meta description. This means that you are using content that has already been tested and is known to generate clicks. People investing in Google Adwords are expecting a high number of clicks and you can take advantage of that too.
Step 5: Reduce Bounce Rate and Boost Dwell Time
We’ve also talked about the bounce rate and the user experience in a previous step when we mentioned how you should fix any errors on your website. Well, users are not the only ones interested in the experience your website offers. Google also keeps a close eye on that and uses the bounce rate and the dwell time (how long people spend on your page) to rank your website.
When people click on your page in search results and stick around, it sends a very clear message to Google, that your page makes them happy and they’ve found what they were looking for. But if they leave quickly, it means that your page is not a good fit for that keyword. So if you want to improve the time spent on your page and reduce the bounce rate, then you should use words and phrases that make people keep reading your content.
You can add short, engaging questions and subtitles that open up a little information gap in the reader’s mind and they just can’t help but continue reading. You can say something like “Here’s the deal:” or “What’s the story?” to keep them engaged just when they were getting bored. Use subheadings that actually convey a message and show a benefit like “Optimizing this page will get you a 20% increase in your traffic” instead of “Optimizing pages”. This will not improve the content’s readability, but also grab the user’s attention.
Step 6: Improve Website Speed
Website speed is another ranking factor used by Google in their algorithm, so you can see why it’s extremely important for SEO. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check your website speed score, but also to find out what’s slowing down your page. Google will give you some pointers on what the problems are on both mobile and desktop.
One of the most common issues is images that are not well optimized and are slowing down your website. You should also check if there are any server related issues, that might cause your website to be slow.
Step 7: Create and Publish a Post or Video that Will Attract Backlinks Naturally
A quality and engaging post will not only help with traffic and building backlinks, but it will also encourage Google crawl spiders to visit your website. This way they can see all the improvements you’ve made so far and start ranking your website higher in search results.
Same applies to video in YouTube as well. Think about it, are you worrying too much about the rankings or about the quality of the video and how engaging it will be?
If you put most of your effort into the content and people NATURALLY share it when you post it to groups or on your social accounts, then you stand a far better chance of page 1 rankings for the keyword then having to manipulate tons of backlinks to it.
Just Doing Onsite SEO Really Well Still Isn’t Enough
Just improving on ‘onsite’ elements aren’t enough to rank in Google or YouTube right off the bat. You still need high-quality, relevant links pointing to your content or videos to tell Google YES this is a trusted resource.
So, in the following section we’re going to explore external SEO, or how to get safely get high quality links pointing to your sites or videos to boost their ranking.
PART II – Getting Safe Authority Links
Getting website links isn’t as easy as it once was. You want to get natural forming links shared by other people, but if you don’t have a huge audience to start, who will you even get to share and create 1 link?
In this part, we’re going to explore a few steps to generating high profile and natural links from scratch. Yes it will a bit more work than ording a Fiverr gig or using a mass spam tool, but in my opinion… those simply don’t work longterm and if you do see some results, they will be sure to damage your content or video in the months to come.
First, we’ll start with the easiest thing to do…
Get social signals naturally
Step 1. Share on your Social Profiles
The first step is to email your list to the content making sure you have social share buttons properly optimized on the page or CTAs in the video description to share this on social.
Then, post a catchy headline and description of the content to all your active social platforms. If you have 0 followers and are brand new, go ahead and do it anyway as just posting and sharing it will result in some social signals.
Encourage your followers to comment on it or share or ‘tag’ friends to help a conversation form around your content and video.
Step 2. Share on Free FB groups and other Communities
For more social signals and links, share your post in RELEVANT free FB groups or Google+ groups.
Just log into Facebook, do a search for FB groups using any relevant keywords and join those groups.
Once approved, share the content in a way that starts a conversation instead of asking for shares and appearing to spam. No group likes people asking for favors or trying to sell to others. However if you have quality content and present it in a way to help others, you may get some additional natural shares.
If you’re a part of other groups or communities like forums, Pinterst boards, etc. and the content makes sense for that group. Go ahead and share it there as well.
That will get you some social signals and if the content is great, potentially lots of backlinks. But, chances are you don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers and don’t have a BuzzFeed style viral piece of content.
That’s why you should next, make use of ‘Broken Backlinking’ or a 100% safe way to get high PR links from other sites.
Not only should you use this method, but we’re taking it up a notch to help you land more links on other peoples relevant sites.
Broken Backlinking Done Right
What’s broken backlinking?
It’s a tactic that will never run out of style and is considered ‘whitehat’ to do.
If you find a broken link on a website, you can contact the owner. Since you did him/her a small favor of pointing out a broken link, they might do you the favor of including a link to your website. You can even offer a replacement link when appropriate
And you can incorporate tools to make this process go much faster and scale it for lots of relevant, safe links.
Step 1: Find the sites that are already linking to other blogs
The first thing you need to do is find the websites that are interested in sharing links to other websites.
You can search for blogs doing ‘link roundups’ first.
To find the websites that do the so-called “link round ups” you can use Google’s Search Tools and filters. For example, search for content featured in the last month using your keyword. You can search for a specific keyword and go through the results or use something like “best articles this week” or “weekend link round up”. Top results in Google will usually have the highest number of links pointing at them, so it’s your best chance to find something useful.
You can also search for websites that have broken links and send them an email, without spamming.
You can also search for specific domains that have ‘best of’ or ‘resource’ pages to find broken ones, and substitute in yours.
Use google search operators like
“Keyword” + resource page
“Keyword”+ best of
site:.edu keyword + “recommended sites” – will only show websites “.edu”
keyword + intitle:blogroll – will show sites that have the word “blogroll” in their title
One tool that can help minimize your workload is Scrapebox that allows you to scrape thousands of URLs using search result strings. However, it is a paid tool.
Step 2. Check their site for broken links.
There are a number of tools that can help you identify broken links. Check my Links is a Google Chrome extension that will scan all links on a page when you click it. Broken links will be shown in red, with the error right beside the text.
Domain Hunter Plus is another extension similar to Check My Links, but it will also show how many other links are pointing to that domain or if the broken link domain is available for purchase.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a more complex tool that allows you to scan through hundreds of pages for broken links. You can either scan a single page URL or multiple pages at once and the results depend on your settings.
You can use either one of these tools to find what you’re looking for.
So start searching for broken links on a particular domain, you’ve been dying to get a link from, or find websites in your niche.
Step 3: Create a ‘better’ video or post than the broken link for them to link to
So far, we’ve been hunting down pages that relate to our content in hopes of contacting the owner to replace their link with one of ours or to simply add a link to our site somewhere on their blog in exchange for doing a favor.
The problem with the first method is that no matter how good your content is, it won’t be a perfect replacement, just something similar… which may require the blog owner to have to rewrite their content for your link to make sense as a replacement even.
Instead, you can search for a broken link and see how many sites link to the same broken URL using a free tool like MOZ site explorer.
If the page no longer exists, you can use archive.org to see what it used to look like and read its content.
Then, you can then recreate the page or make a new video, all while making it better, thus creating the perfect replacement. So not only are you contacting them with a link to replace the dead one that MAKES SENSE… you’re contacting them with something that adds even more value and was even better than the dead link.
Obviously, this will take more time, but the conversion rate will be far higher, making it worth your while.
Plus, use this new resource for other similar dead links you find and can replace or in this case ‘upgrade’.
Step 4: Engaging with your targets and find their best contact info
Engaging with your target’s content by sharing, liking and commenting is a great way to both spike up their traffic if you have a decent number of followers, but it also gets their attention.
That way when you send an email, they recognize you’ve helped them already and are more likely to respond.
If you don’t want to share their content on your social profiles, share it on Reddit, then in your email let them know you’ve shared it there and created a thread. Or you can comment on a new post on that blog if you have time as well.
The more ‘rapport’ you build with them, the more willing they will be to link to you and at least acknowledge your email link request.
If you prefer to go straight to the point and email them, then you need to make sure you find the correct email address, not just some random support email, or a contact form. Those will have the lowest conversion rates and you might be marked as Spam. One way to get the right contact information is to sign up for their newsletter. This way you’ll get an email from an email address that is actively monitored, increasing your chances of reaching someone interested in what you have to say.
Step 5: Reaching out and mention the dead link
If you use Google’s tools wisely you should be able to find a few good websites that are interested in sharing links to other websites. Search for their Social Profiles and connect. Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, write a short message when connecting. This will more likely prompt a response from them, opening a direct communication channel.
If you decide to email the website owners, you can’t write every individual email from beginning to end, as it will be extremely time consuming. So you need to create an email template that sends your message clearly and has proven to be successful.
For that, you can use Gmail’s built-in feature called “Canned Response” that allows you to fill in blank emails with an email template with just a few clicks.
Now that you have everything you need it’s time to reach out and present your URLs. Remember to maintain a friendly, but professional approach and don’t oversell your links because an aggressive attitude won’t get you anywhere.
The golden rules when it comes to sending emails or messages are:
- Personalization: even if you’re using a template, you still need to make it feel unique. Try using their name if you can find it, or use Hi/Hello. Using “Dear Sir” will definitely get your email marked as Spam so stay away from that.
- Keep it Short: Convey your message in a clear and concise manner. No one has time to read a story about how you found their link or how bad that is. Just keep it short, simple and informative.
- Be professional: Being professional is extremely important so don’t be a beggar. Write with proper grammar and don’t follow up more than twice, or else you’ll be considered a spammer.
- Be polite: Last, but not least, remember that you’re asking for a favor so make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re demanding something.
Point out the dead link, link to your newer, better versions, and then follow up if you don’t hear anything.
You can use this template if you like:
Subject: Quick feedback – dead resource on your site
I was recently researching (topic) for an article I was writing and came across this page on your site: (URL).
It looks great, but (URL) link on page (URL) is broken.
However, I have great resource that you could put in its place that could add a lot of value:
(YOUR NEW RESOURCE OR VIDEO)
I think it would help anyone in the future looking for more information about (topic).
If you do update the page and want to include my link, just let me know!
Thank you for your time,
This may seem like a lot of work but remember, it only takes 1-2 quality links to outrank one that has thousands of low quality spammy ones.
Step 6: Track your results
Tracking your results is extremely important. It will not only help you save time, not emailing the same people, but it can also help you calculate your Return on Investment and improve your success rate every time you do this.
Sometimes you will get an email back saying that your link has been added, but most of the times you will have to do the work manually.
To do that in the most effective way, keep an Excel Spreadsheet record of all the pages you’ve requested a link from, visit the page and click “View Source” (available if you right-click on the page). This will show you the HTML version of the page, and you can do a search for your domain name, and see if it’s there. Alternatively, you can also use a link database tool like Ahrefs or Majestic and type in your domain name. Then hover over “Inbound Links” and choose “New” to see the newest links.
You might not be spending a lot of money on building broken backlinks, but you’re still spending time, which has value. So if you want to calculate your ROI, follow this simple formula, which will give you a result in links per dollar spent. If you flip it you will get a cost per link. As a general rule, any high-quality link under $100 is good and under $50 is awesome.
ROI = (# of links) / (time spent * hourly rate)
Conclusion – Where to Go From Here
Now you have a few solid strategies that are 100% safe to not only let Google know what your site is about (onsite SEO) but get a few high-quality links to tell them that this is a trusted authority site or video that delivers value.
Yes, you won’t get as many links as fast as ordering a Fiverr gig that will give you a 10k link profile, but like I said, do you really think that type of fake link structure is going to be stable a few months down the road?
Wouldn’t it be better to have quality links that will STAY there for the long run?
Plus, once you establish some relationships and start building up an audience, the process will become much faster and you can even hire a freelancer for an hour or two per week to automate some of the broken backlinking tasks done.