Shimon Sandler

SEO Methodology

I get frequent enquiries about my SEO Consultant services. Today, some guy contacted me, showed me his site, which looked like a 6th grader built. I tried to help him by briefly discussing my SEO Methodology, and he told me, “You probably say that speech to everyone”. I actually don’t! I wasn’t pitching him. But, I must admit it sounded very good. One of those times I wish I was recorded. I was spot on. It’s like in sports. You know when you’re playing good. So, here’s a recap of my SEO methodology:

1. Keyword Analysis and Competitive Analysis: Involves researching the actual amount of searches for thousands of relevant keywords. The goal is to identify the keywords we want to champion. When I say “champion”, I’m talking about getting a #1 ranking position.

We also analyze the keyword competitiveness of each of those terms. Because, it might not be realistic to try to rank for a term that is too competitive…especially with heavyweight websites already ranking in the top 10 Google results. Also, we don’t want to waste money on keywords that are not competitive enough. So, we find keywords to champion that can provide a good ROI for both the short-term and long-term.

2. Technical Site-Analysis: This is the stage where we make sure the website is Search Engine friendly. We look at information architecture, tags, html coding, javascript, etc. We want to make sure there aren’t any spider traps on the site either.

3. Content Analysis: We analyze the crawlable content. Content can mean many things. Eg: video, images, etc. But we look at the crawlable content and how well the structure is internally linked together. We create Content Silos of themed content, and make sure there is enough of it in each silo. If there is not, then we create additional webpages that are full of keyword-rich content optimized for Search.

4. Continuous Link Building: This component of the SEO Methodology is to increase Link Popularity and Link Relevancy. Link Building should be a continuous process for any serious web business. Specifically, we go through a discovery process of related websites, and contact the site owners, and negotiate a price for a link or banner ad. There are many factors we analyze for each linking website such as:
– Age of Site.
– Inbound link profile.
– Link placement on page.
– Relevant text around link.
– Relevant content on overall website.
– Co-citation (related topical neighborhood).
– Authority of the outbound links on page.
– PageRank.
– Alexa rating.
– Homepage vs Subpage (which is more relevant/powerful?).
– Avoidance of Link traps like nofollows, redirects, etc.

Let me ask you a question….Why does Google rank one website at position #1 on the first page of the SERP’s, and another on page 5? I’ll tell you. It’s because Google considers them an authority. Or, better yet…Google considers them the subject matter expert…not just the subject matter expert, but the subject matter expert in their own topical neighborhood.

And, that’s the goal of our optimization initiative. To make a website the subject matter expert in their topical neighborhood.

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  1. It`s surprising just how many people come to me who don`t have a clue about links. I tell my clients, each link acts like a vote, the more votes and the stronger the votes are (authority sites), the more Google will see you as an authority. If you have a great website on, let`s say, shoes, and a million other websites also talk about shoes… what makes Google want to rank you higher then the other million competing sites? Votes (links)! Shimon, thanks for adding links to the list… an often overlooked, but necessary component!

  2. Not really a comment on the article, but a comment on the comment by Jenny above. I find it surprising since in the circles I play around with… some of the people I know just do a bunch of links all the time and their on-page is weak and is often overlooked.

  3. Search engine optimization is the name given to the process of ensuring that a website is compatible with the requirements of search engines. It involves ensuring web site code is search-engine-friendly, writing keyword-rich text content, and deciphering how links affect the flow of information.

  4. I always look at SEO as 50% best practices first. Your keywords are really goals and technical site analysis and content analysis are all best practices. Relevance is the thread that holds them all together. There has to be a match or partial match between the keyword, meta tags, header text, content text, and inbound link text. The most labor intensive and creative part is the inbound link part. Your SEO-Methodology is exactly correct… pretty much. Thanks – Cheers

  5. it is sooo much easier to rank in the long tail, especially in competitive markets…

    if one maintains a blog, and writes regularly, it is inevitable that after a time, many posts will rank highly, without any effort on inbound links. These may come naturally, if the blog has inherently good information.

    Very lucrative, competitive keywords are very hard to rank for, as there are so many completitors, who are paying for links, and paying seo firms to rank them.

    Unless you have a big budget, I would doing the blog yourself, and using ppc for quantifiable results, and track your blog analytics to hone in on your audience and what they are reading in the “long tail”.

  6. Nice Explanation. But It would have been much better, if you have elaborated the seo methodology with more points such as website structure improvement, navigational analysis, sitemap creation, various submission cycle etc

  7. I find it strange how so many people see Alexa as a viable source for determining inbound links? One of my sites has hundreds of in-bounds, but Alexa does not include images that link to a site in their tally. This hurts when people still look to them for advice before spending advertising money.

    The other thing I wanted to say, is you have had since June 2004 and your home page is only a PR4 ? I am not trying to be rude here, but if you are charging $200.00 per hour, I know I would expect to see at least a PR6 or 7 that carried across internal links. Your site loses PR while clicking internal “top nav” links. Why do you think that is?

    Additionally, you updated your domain in September of 2006 and it appears to be valid through 2016. Do you think Google looks at the term of a domain and factors it into PR?

    Thanks, Ian

  8. Hi Ian,
    1) The hourly fee has nothing to do with the PageRank on my blog.
    2) To your point about PR4, my domain got a manual wrist slap several months ago as a signal from Google. Mine wasn’t the only website singled out. Many in the SEO community got the wrist slap.
    3) Google has visibility into domain registery info, and can use it in their algo, pagerank, or however else they choose to. A serious website isn’t going to be registered for only 1 year.

    Hope that helps.

  9. google now is an ICANN registrar , they don’t provide domain registration though ,but they WHOIS information to get update of newly registered domains. my site was visited by google bot few days after registration despite it was not having any back link to it

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