Slow Saturday so I decided to start this thread. Over the years I have learned a lot while doing seo for clients sites and my personal sites, so I figured I would share. Most of what I talk about below pertains to when you are going after competitive terms and working on sites where you plan on investing a good amount of money/time. When building backlinks - Diversify Your Links: It's important to be building many different types of links. Nofollow, ********, blog comments, profiles, homepage backlinks, sitewide links, social bookmarks, article directories, news articles, guest blog posts, web 2.0 sites etc. Make sure to get a good mix of everything in. You may get away with building just one type of link to your site in non-competitive niches, but if you're in a competitive niche and building mostly just one type of link then your site is going to eventually get slapped. This rule applies even when building trusted links like homepage links from trusted sites. I had focused solely on homepage backlinks for one site as a test in a competitive niche and I ranked for a short time then got sent into oblivion (more then a google dance). Since then I added in links from different areas and the site settled back down to ranking again. Although, I am sure the homepage backlinks have been devalued a bit and would be a lot stronger if I would have just diversified from the start. This may seem like basic information you have heard before, but don't take it lightly, it's very important for competitive niches. If you're building your own links be sure to vary where you're getting them from, if on the other hand you are paying for seo services, be sure to vary up the types of links you're buying. Buying only blog comments or only profile backlinks for example will not be nearly as powerful as buying multiple different types of links. Make it Look Viral: Whenever I buy a large backlink package or start really being aggressive with my link building in a short amount of time or am starting with a new domain, I make sure to make it look like my site is going viral. You want to give Google a reason as to why all these new links are coming in. To do this I usually do some or all of the following. Go to Fiverr and buy gigs for tweets, facebook likes, stumbleupons and diggs. Find a large bookmark service with 500-1000 bookmarks from unique sites. You should be able to find a provider here on bhw. Get a couple high quality press releases written and submit them to a service that is indexed into Google news. It's important that the article gets indexed into Google news since Google is the one we are trying to convince our site is going viral. You can also have a bunch of bit.ly links made pointing to your site. Often times when something goes viral, many bit.ly links are made of the url, so Google is used to this happening when a site goes viral. There are other things you can do as well, but this is a great start and will be all that's needed for Google to give your site the green light when seeing all the new incoming links. This is really important, because without doing this type of social marketing Google will probably devalue most of the links you're building on an aggressive campaign. When building your site - Link to Authority Sites: Part of Google's rating for your site depends on the sites you are linking to. Google determines this based off the trust value the sites you are linking to have. For this reason it is a good idea to link to a couple authority sites in your niche on your homepage. From my testing, this surprisingly helps out rankings quite a bit. It might go against what you have been taught, but even though you may be giving away a little bit of your homepage PR juice, you are gaining a lot of trust in Google's eyes and this trust gain is more than worth it. As a side note, I wouldn't link to an authority site with a page ranking for the keyword you are targeting. This would make it really hard for you to outrank the site. Pick authority sites not ranking for your target keywords. Try it out and see what happens. I think you will be surprised at the results. Oh and don't make the link nofollow or hide it in an attempt to save PR or keep people from clicking on the link. Leave it as a ******** visible link. Google hates hidden links and it is not going to give your site the added trust value if you make the link nofollow. Bounce Rates and Avg. Time on Site Matters: If you're in a competitive niche, make your site useful. This may sound obvious, but think about it, as marketers a lot of times we just focus on pushing the aff product or adsense or however we are monetizing. It is important to make the site useful and appealing to the visitor. Bounce rate and avg. time on site matters. Google knows these numbers and this is figured into your rankings. If you're in a competitive niche on the front page with high bounce rates and low time on site (relative to niche averages and competitor sites), your site is going to get bumped off. Googles number one job is serving up useful results, so try and add some pages to your site that are truly useful and get people to spend more time on your site. Your sales might go down a touch (this usually just applies to adsense sites as the sites converting the best with adsense are the ones not giving the visitor the info they are looking for), but it will really help with you keeping and improving your rankings over the long haul. If your bounce rates are high, then you need to change up the design of your site or check your sites loading time. A slow loading time will have high bounce rates and Google also factors in the loading time for rankings. If you keep ranking your site in the top ten only to see it get bumped off a few days or a week later, try improving the bounce rates and average time on site. Google may be kicking your site off because of other reasons then your seo. Invest in a Good Domain: If you are building a site you plan on spending a good amount of time and or money on, take some time to research a good domain and spend some money on it. If you're not going after a specific keyword then look for a short memorable domain name that will be easy to brand in your niche. If you're looking to go after some competitive keywords then just because the exact match domains are already bought doesn't mean the owner isn't willing to sell. Most of the time the exact match domains are just sitting around collecting dust. You would be surprised at how cheap you can get these for if you just ask. Even if you have to spend a good chunk of money, an exact match domain on your target keyword is like a X3 for your seo. It makes it so much easier to rank. So don't cheap out on a $9 domain name. Don't build your castle in the sand... Spend some money and get a good domain name. It will make all your work from then on so much easier. This is one of the main reasons I am able to jump into a competitive niche and start ranking fast. My Trick to Get Domains Google Treats As Exact Match Domains: This is something you can try when the exact match domain for the keyword you're targeting isn't available and if your domain fits these circumstances. If the keyword you're going for uses an abbreviation, try checking the full term. So for example, if cure ed is taken, try cure erectile dysfunction. In my experience google treats cureed.com the same as cureerectiledysfunction.com. Notice for example when you type into google, "cure ed", the first result is "cure erectile dysfunction" and the whole term is in blue highlight as google usually does for highlighting the terms you searched, which means google is treating "ed" and erectile dysfunction" as the same. Now this seems obvious for this keyword, but for others you would be surprised at how many exact matches for the unabreviated term are available even in competitive high exact search result niches. For example I just bought "satellitetelevisionforpc.com" and am pretty sure it is going to rank just as well as the emd "satellitetvforpc.com", which is a very expensive domain name registered a long time ago in a competitive niche with high exact match searches. Yet I can still grab television which google sees as the same thing as TV(feel free to grab the .net or .org). You could probably even unabreviate "PC" to personal computer and it would work. Other things that work are switching out one of your keywords for a similar word, like phone and telephone, certified and certificate, training and trained etc. (the last two examples I am still testing and am unsure, but the words show up in blue highlight when searching, so it seems google is treating them as exact match). I have used this to get some great exact matches in very competitive niches and the domains rank very well. I know it works from testing it out on my own. Domain Registration: This applies when going after competitive keywords/niches. You want to register your domain name for longer then a year. Five years is a good amount of time, but anything longer then a year will do. Google knows people who have their domains registered for longer then a year are serious about the site and it helps increase site trust when Google sees you have registered the domain for longer then a year. If possible grab up the other extensions for your domain name (.org, .net and .info) and then 301 redirect them to your main domain (works even better if you put some content on these domains, get them indexed and then redirect). Buying up the other Tlds goes along with the registering for longer then a year theory because it is another step you are taking to show you are serious about this website. Don't use a whois guard. Whois guards are used by people that have something to hide. It's not a negative against you if you use a whois guard, but it is a positive for your trust value if you don't. If you really want to stay anonymous then just use made up information when filling out the domain registrar information. Google's Related Searches: Ever notice the Google related searches at the bottom for keywords you search? Use these. Take the main keyword you are targeting, look at the keywords Google suggests and make pages for those keywords on your site. You can even copy the linking structure Google has. For example if you built a page on your site for ?six pack abs?, you could put the following at the bottom. Related Articles: six pack abs workout routine six pack abs workout six pack abs diet six pack abs fast the truth about six pack abs mens health cardio six pack abs ab exercises These are the related searches for ?six pack abs? pulled from Google search. Make a page for each of the keywords on your site and an article targeted to the keyword. Now Google is going to see that structure and your onpage score is going to go through the roof. I would also then link from these subpages back to the original ?six pack abs? page with ?six pack abs? as the anchor text and another link with whatever the google related keyword was for that page. I would build this type of link structure for each of the main keywords in the niche you really want to rank for. This will really help your on page seo. Plus you should start ranking for some of these google suggest keywords and pull in some traffic from keywords you may not have thought of targeting. Other - Make a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter Page for Your Site: A lot of weight is being given to social sites right now on search engines. You definitely want t have a fan page and a twitter page for your site. spend some money on fiver or here on BHW and fill your pages with some followers/fans to give them a bit of authority. Then make a tweet/post every once in awhile linking to your site and authority sites in your niche. Lately this has been really powerful for ranking. Sandbox Trick: If your sites rankings have dropped and it is nowhere to be found, try this trick (your site could just be dancing, so this is for sites that have dropped for a week or longer, after a week you can figure it is probably more then the usual google dance). First, take your homepage title (H1 header) and change it completely with a new keyword in a completely different niche. Then you will want to have a bunch of new bit.ly links made pointing to your homepage. If you don't know how to change your IP for making each new bit.ly link, then I would recommend using http://microworkers.com and setting up a job for people to create a bit.ly link to your site. I would get 25-50 of these made. Or you can ask on Fiverr in the suggestions box for someone who can do this task for you. Now wait 24 hours to give Google time to visit and re-evaluate your site. After the wait go ahead and change everything back. I would make the title a bit different then your old one but still have your target keyword. This works because the bit.ly links send a ton of spiders to your site. These spiders then see the off topic title and think the content of your site has had a big change. This causes Google to re-evaluate your site. If after a couple days your site is still dropped, then your site has some larger issues. I would make some major changes to the content and layout (also if you arn't linking to some authority sites like I mentioned before, add them in, this will help increase the trust factor of your site), then just keep backlinking until your site comes back. News Traffic: Press release sites that get indexed as news in search engines are a really good source of traffic that I don't see many people taking advantage of. There are sites that allow unlimited submissions which is what I like to use so I can submit all my articles and not be paying for each one. Recently Google has cracked down on many of the unlimited submission news sites indexed into their news system as they were getting heavily spammed, but there still are some left. I don't want to point out specific sites to use as that would likely just result in the sites getting spammed, so find them on your own. It's a paid service, but these sites are way more powerful then your typical article directory and you can take all of your articles and start submitting them through. There are a lot of free press release sites as well. Some of them still get indexed into yahoo and bing news. One of the best ones is http://prlog.org. Getting traffic from submitting to news sites can be really powerful, I recommend trying it out for your sites. Flip Your Sites: This is my opinion, but I think the best business model is to flip your sites once they are ranking and have a good 1-2 months profit to show. I think this is especially true for adsense and affiliate sites as they are very easy to flip and I know a lot of people who have woke up to find their adsense income gone because of Google making some arbitrary review. Same goes for waking up to find your rankings gone. I personally just think there is too much risk in holding onto the sites, plus flipping the sites is going to give you a bunch of upfront cash which gives you money to re-invest into making more sites. On the forum I see a lot of people whining about how they are only making $1-5 a day on the adsense site they made and I can't help but think, that's great, now just flip it for 350-1200 and use that money to make a bunch more sites. Personally I just see this as the best way to go for a lot of reasons, but I would say you should at least be flipping some of your sites. This is especially true for people just starting out with not much cash to work with, I would flip anything that made money because the upfront cash will allow you to re-invest and start building a real business. Useful Site For Ideas and Finding Exact Match Domains: A cool site I will use sometimes to find exact match domains available in a niche is http://www.name.com/domain-suggestions/. Click the checkbox for "include google keyword suggestions" type in some keywords in your niche and hit search. It will search out what domains are still available and even show the average exact monthly searches to the right of the domain. Well that's plenty for now, I know there are a lot of knowledgeable guys doing SEO here, please add in some of the tips you have learned over the years and lets make this a good useful thread full of seo tips and tricks. Instead of filling up this thread with "thanks man!" useless posts, just use the thanks and rep buttons for posters who share their tips/tricks. It will make this thread much easier to read.