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Tom Belfort's AMA about SEO/Siloing/PBNs/Link Building 2019+

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by splishsplash, Aug 14, 2019 at 3:28 PM.

  1. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hi everyone,

    As the title states, ask me whatever you like about the above topics.

    My main reason for opening this thread is to give me ideas for future articles/guides. It'll help me to see the kind of things people most would like help with, and of course, I like to directly engage with others rather than just read other people's Q&A's :)



    Rules :-

    + Don't PM me with questions. Ask on the thread.

    + Don't add me to skype with questions. This is rude and you will be blocked.

    + Don't add me to skype with JV requests. I do not do JVs. Ever.

    + Don't disclose your site or ANY other site publicly. Only exception is large, known authority sites.

    + Don't disclose your niche. Broad is fine, like health, tech.

    + No arguing in my thread. Be polite to everyone no matter how silly you perceive their question to be :)
     
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  2. tomcatplayer

    tomcatplayer Junior Member

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    for new people who are you and why are you an expert
     
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  3. outofmind

    outofmind Regular Member

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    Firstly, thanks for the AMA. I read your thread about SILO, what is the best method for SILO in 2019 according to you ? Do you think its better to SILO using pages in WP or change post URL format for new websites. I have a website which is ranking well but for some articles I want to use SILO, I don't think its good to change post URL structure now (your thoughts on this), so I am planning to use pages for SILO for new articles which I want to use SILO structure on same website.
     
  4. EliG_SEO

    EliG_SEO Junior Member

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    Hi Splash, thanks for that thread.

    In the last months, I tried to build a Silo with 3000 words content on each sub pages. The silo doesnt rank at all.

    My questions :

    1. Must I build backlink directly to the silo page to succeed?

    2. Is building internal links is still :
    - from silo to sub pages,
    - sub pages to silo
    - between sub pages
    - from home page to silo and main sub pages

    3. Is it possible to rank a silo for a long tail of my main KW that is used on my homepage (that have lot of backlinks)?

    4. Is it possible to rank a silo, just by adding content?
     
  5. Zatoichi

    Zatoichi Regular Member

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    What is your opinion on building websites using silo method you described in another thread here but with modest linkbuilding? In another words, in your experience, how many articles or word count on a website do you need on average to have a profitable website for a medium difficulty kw?

    I know this is ungratefull question to answer and that there are many factors influencing the success rate, but any experiential guidelanes would be appriciated.

    And thank you for doing this ama.
     
  6. armur

    armur Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for doing this AMA. I have a Woocommerce based merchandise website. I'm having a really hard time trying to get my Tag pages to rank in Google.

    Basically, I have thousands of products on various niches (merchandise with designs for various niches). I have around 20 different products (I use categories to differentiate between the products) and to ensure customers are easily able to find products, I use tags (about 50 in total) on the products. My homepage is basically a collection of attractive looking cards that link to all my 20 products. On the main menu, I list the products, a few top and trending tags, a link to a page that lists all the Tags in my store (Basically all niches) and finally links to the Contact and About pages.

    I have keyword-optimized content of 1000+ words on all the Product Category and Product Tag pages. These appear at the bottom and are hidden by an accordion mechanism. On the product pages, I have a short description (unique for each product) and a 200 word description about the product category (same for all products in the same category).

    Majority of my backlinks point to the homepage (65%) and the rest point to various niche-specific tag pages. For example, link from golf-related site points to the golf Product tag page. I do have a good amount of powerful contextual links pointing to the tag pages, but what I see is that some individual product page ends up ranking in the SERPs for my target keyword. The tag pages simply won't rank at all.

    My questions to you are:
    1) Do you see anything wrong with the way I've set up the site? If so how can I improve the site architecture?
    2) What can I do to ensure that the product tag pages rank instead of some individual product page? (I feel the tag pages should convert better and have less bounce rate)
    3) Since I have a merchandising store, my backlinks come from websites in various niches. Will this confuse Google about what exactly my website is about? What can I do to avoid this scenario?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts @splishsplash

    Cheers! :)
     
  7. metalhead

    metalhead Newbie

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    Might you share the opinion that permanent links are a scam?
     
  8. b2mcd

    b2mcd Junior Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to do this. I have been pretty successful as far as getting search engine traffic from google goes, mainly because of on-page SEO/content as I've never built many links.

    In terms of proper link building - I've read through many guides and most say the same thing. Start with 10 web 2.0s for each page you're trying to rank, and maintain a good ratio of branded/generic anchors to exact match keywords.

    Basically my question is: How do you recommend approaching link building after building said 2.0s? I feel unsafe pointing PBN links with all the garbage out there, so I'm assuming a steady velocity of guest posts? Would love to get your opinion on this and the ratio of links pointing to homepage / posts.

    Cheers
     
  9. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Ok, I'm just in the process of answering the first questions.

    There's going to be a LOT of repetition and I want this thread to be as useful as possible so every time an answer I'm giving can be re-used, ie, isn't too specific I am going to color it and number it as A1, and re-word the question and put as Q1 so I can refer people to previous answers, and every so often copy and paste all the Q&A's and lump them into one "The story so far.." post.

    Only the re-usable answers will be colored. I am going to, for test purposes do 4 colors here then check in the black and the white version of bhw to find one that looks good in both.


    This is a test, please ignore.

    This is a test, please ignore.

    This is a test, please ignore.

    This is a test, please ignore.

    EDIT:-

    Ok I think blue and purple look good on both white and black, so I will do the question re-wording in purple, the re-usable answers in blue. It'll become clear when I do it.
     
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  10. OlafRustle

    OlafRustle Junior Member

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    This is my level of autism, I am looking forward to your answers!
     
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  11. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I've built over 1000 pbns with a combined value of $150k-$200k from the domains alone.

    I have helped dozens of clients achieve extraordinary levels of success and 100+ good success. (I'm not going to lie here and say I've helped every client get crazy results. This isn't possible, but I've helped a lot of clients get anything from small boosts to huge 10x+ increases in traffic)

    I have direct experience helping clients make on-page changes and seeing both positive and negative impacts. Learning from both.

    I have direct experience siloing existing sites for clients.

    I have direct experience analysing client sites, recommending changes for positive growth and pointing out issues that are causing problems. In 70%+ of cases I have been able to help clients get a good result.

    I have built and silo'd both my own affiliate sites, and client projects from scratch. I currently have a 100% success rate and my best affiliate sites have reached 5 figures per month.

    Overall I have a broad range of SEO experience due to my exposure to a LOT of client sites, in a lot of niches. All sorts of sites.

    All my knowledge comes from practical experience. I don't read about SEO. The occasional case study, but generally the SEO blogs are all full of overly complicated and conflicting advice. Hence I am not regurgitating information from other sources.


    Exactly as outlined in my guide on the forum. https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/the-ultimate-guide-to-seo-siloing-dominate-google-in-2018.985967/

    You need to silo an entire website. You can't pick and choose. I may be misunderstanding that part of your question. Ie, you can't just silo "some articles."

    Here's the first re-usable question and answer, so just to further explain from above, I will re-word what you're asking here into a more re-usable question and answer.

    Q1) Do I silo using pages or posts. What's the difference?

    A1) Both. You need pages, post categories, posts and 2 plugins. Here's the procedure. (Note, there's several ways to silo, but this is an easy way to do it)

    I'll use an example to make it more understandable. L1 = level 1 silo. L2 = level 2 silo. L3 = level 3 silo and C = Child post, ie, article. This is my standard terminology from now on.

    L1 = animals
    L2 = animals/dogs, animals/cats
    L3 = animals/dogs/akita, animals/cats/siamese

    a) Install this plugin https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/permalinks-customizer/
    b) Create the following post categories. animals, dogs, cats, akita & siamese. You can organize them with the correct parents, but this isn't needed. It makes it easier to view your silo structure in the category section so I do recommend this.
    c) Create your first child for animals/cats/siamese. Normal wordpress post.
    d) Select categories animals, cats & siamese. It is all 3.
    e) Under 'document' on the right, you'll see the permalink section.

    [​IMG]

    Ok, so now we've got animals/cats/siamese/article-name. These aren't categories. They do not exist just now. They're just a permalink structure. They have NOTHING to do with the post categories we created above. We will have a use for those later.

    f) Create a PAGE 'animals'
    g) Create a page 'cats', make its parent page 'animals'. (You do this on the right in the editor, "page attributes"->"parent page")
    h) Create a page 'siamese', make its parent page 'cats'.

    Now, these are your SILOs!

    i) Create 75-200 words of text at the top of them. No more.
    j) Install a plugin that lets you list all posts in post categories. I am not going to tell you the one I use, because I don't want a bunch of copy cat sites looking the same as mine :) There's plenty. Find one.
    k) On the animals page, list all posts in the animals category AND all L2/L3 silos, which each have a post category. Ie, animals, dogs, cats, akita, siamese. This would literally be EVERY SINGLE animal category, L2, L3, L4 etc.
    l) At the bottom, under the posts, link to every silo under animals, in a tree structure. Format it any way you want. The key is to link from animals to dogs, cats, siamese, akita, everything, so juice is flowing down everywhere from the animals silo.
    m) Do the same for dogs and cats, all the way down your silos. So dogs displays all posts in dogs, akita and any dog breed silo.

    Remember, you could have a general animal article, just in the animal silo, a general dog article, just in animals/dogs, or then an akita specific article, in animals, dogs and akita. So an akita article will appear on the homepage, animals, dogs and akita. You do not want to try to rank your silos for too many keywords. That isn't the point. You are not trying to rank for "akita" or "dogs". Of course if you build up a beast of a site, you might very well hit page 1 for dogs with a silo structure. BUT, you know you're on the right track when you're page 6 or 7 for 'dogs' and page 4-5 for akita etc. Your silo title will be like "Animals", "Dog Guides, Breeds & Training". General, generic, broad. You'll rank on page 4+ for "dog guides", "dog breeds", "dog training", "dogs", "breeds of dog" and so on. The goal here is to build topical relevance for dog guides/breeds/training/info. The broad stuff, and pass that juice down to all your articles. You are grouping it all together so google sees your broad dog topic and your sub-topics and understands you have a lot of content about all these topics. You become an authority in animals, when you have 30 level 1 animal silos, each with another 30-40 level 2's, each with another 30-40 level 3's :) You'll become an authority in akita, when you have 5, 10, 20 articles in there. The more the better. Unique and high quality though, not repetitive junk. Then when you become an authority in akita, rotweiller, german shepherd and 10 other breeds, you'll become an authority on the parent silo. You see how it works? So focus in on 1 low level silo at a time. Don't have 1 article per silo. Build them up in groups, focus on 5-10 dog breeds and the dog silo, then 5-10 cat breeds etc.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You don't create a silo with 3000 words of content. That's not a silo, it's a child page. Google will never see you as an expert in dogs, if you have 1 big generic dog article. It wants to see 100's of articles on a broad topic like dogs, covering every topic, breed, training, health etc Imagine from the example above you just have a 3000 word article on dogs. That's just going to rank for some longtails, and even worse, the silo page will compete with inner pages. It'll be a mess.

    Don't over-think it. Link what's natural. If you need to link from cat to dog, do it. You'll more often than not link from dog breeds, to training, and other dog breeds and so on, but cats ARE related to dogs, and it is natural to link, so all you are doing is strengthening your topical authority and helping google understand how all your content connects together. With the above structure, you've got the core covered and google will understand all the topics you write about.

    No, no, no :) You don't rank silos for long tails. Don't try to rank 1 page for something another ranks for.

    You don't want to rank silos. They are for passing link juice. If you eventually rank your broad keyword silos, then cool, but 80-95% of all traffic comes from longtails, and the best converting traffic comes from longtails. Ranking your silo in the top 100 for the broad terms is enough. That tells you google knows what your silo is. If you aren't ranking in the top 100 for your silo for any broads, then you've done something wrong. Note, SOME broad. You probably won't rank for 'dogs', but you should rank for 'dog information' or 'dog info' or something broad. Check ahrefs/semrush and this tells you how google sees your silo. If it doesn't rank at all, or it's ranking for longtails, then you have done something wrong.

    It's a good question. I will make it a re-usable

    Q2) Can I rank a silo'd site without backlinks, or with limited backlinks and if so, how much content do I need?

    A2) Yes, no and probably. :) Zero backlinks? Probably, yes. But for that I would estimate you need 1 million+ words of content on the site and 18 months to 2 years.

    Minimum backlinks.. Perhaps a 2-5 guest posts and a couple of good pbns a month, around 300k words of content and 1 year.

    And if you're backlinking more aggressively, 5-20 guest posts a month, and 5-10 pbns per month on an aged domain(I only use aged domains if I'm doing more aggressive backlinking, especially pbns. You don't want more than 10-15% of your links to be from pbns, ideally 5-10% max. It was different a couple of years ago, but things have changed in the pbn world in 2019.)

    I don't do any sort of backlinking other than guest posts and pbns. I don't like niche edits. Had mixed results. web 2's, comments, forum posts, press releases and all that other stuff is just fluff. Even on a completely fresh domain I wouldn't bother. Some web 2's, sure, the rest, no need. Press releases if you're a real business. Just regular guest posts. Paid links. Contextual can be relevance or not relevant. Doesn't matter. An article about dogs on a tech site is relevant. Tech for dogs. A story about an engineer's dog. A robotic dog. For non-contextual, sidebar, footer, paid directories, any sort of list you want RELEVANT. Footer must be relevant. Get a footer from a tech site to your dog site and you're in trouble. pbns, starting with a couple in month 1, maybe 3-4 in month 2, 5-6 in month 3 then 5-10 per month. But I always start with relevant aged domains for money sites. Makes things easier. You've already got a ton of links, so you just start building plenty of guest posts/pbns and rank. So, finally, if you are backlinking like that, 3-6 months on an aged domain, 6-12 months on a fresh domain and about 100k words of content.


    You don't want to rank silos, category pages, tag pages, archive pages or anything like that. Even your homepage you don't really want to rank. Just child pages for your longtails. That's where the money is. Siloing is BIG. You go big or go home. 100k words MINIMUM. Ideally 1 million words if you want to absolutely slaughter your competition, then stand on top of a mountain of corpses, laughing hysterically. :) I'm not joking. Do my silo structure above with 1 million+ words and you will be utterly amazed at what you see on semrush for your site.

    For ecommerce you use your tags for ajax based sorting for your customers. Not for ranking. You don't want to try and rank a 27" super widescreen monitor page with prices between $500 and $1500. You would pick some silos for common searches like monitors/dell, monitors/hp, monitors/by-brand-name, and monitors/curved, monitors/super-wide-screen etc, so you're going to rank for "super widescreen monitors", "dell monitors" etc, then on those pages you have tags to sort by price, size, brand(brand too, regardless of the physical silo).


    Again, you don't want to rank tag pages. noindex them and use them internally with ajax for visitors only. You want to rank your silos for an ECOMMERCE (categories, but don't confuse this with wp post categories). An informational site isn't trying to rank silos, just pass juice, but an ecommerce IS, so they're a bit different.

    The format for an ecommerce silo is:-

    Title

    75-200 words intro content

    List the sub-silos. Usually we do this above products for an ecommerce so people can drill down.
    (To the left you'd have your filters, using tags to filter what's on the page)

    List your products

    Then have a larger article, so if your silo is "monitors", have an article like "Our Monitor Buyers Guide" with 1000+ words of content. No reviews here, just considerations like "you have this option, curved, this kind of technology etc" Since you ARE trying to rank for "monitors" with an ecommerce site, so it helps to have the extra content directly about monitors



    I wouldn't link to tag pages. Won't do any harm. Even if they're noindexed, they will still pass juice. Tag pages aren't suppose to rank, that's why :) Link to the homepage, silos(categories, but not wp category pages) and products(child pages)




    Answered both above.

    Nope. It won't.



    They're not a scam.

    You won't find a 10 OBL pbn with permanent links. One on a cheap domain with 50 OBL, yes you'll get permanent links. A scam? No. Powerful? No. Not even close.




    Q3) What's your link building approach?

    A3) See A2 for some more detail on this, but here's what I do.

    Aged domain. Relevant, brandable. Good links. Higher the RD the better, but links are the most important.

    Guest posts, paid links and pbns. Nothing else. I don't like niche edits.

    This all depends on budget, but here's some ranges.

    guest posts: 2 to 15 per month. Quality is more important. I could write a whole guide on how to choose guest posts and what 'quality means', but I won't go into that here to keep q&a 3 concise. Ideally about 7-10 quality guest posts per month. Doesn't have to be relevant. 'Quality' is more important than relevance. You will have relevance because it is your own article, so the SITE doesn't need to be relevant. It just needs to fit your article/topic and make sense. Legal site can link to a drone site with an article about drone laws.

    paid links: 2-5 - Directories, lists, footers, images, text. Any sort of link you pay for that's non-contextual. Must be relevant. Highly relevant for global links like footer.


    pbns: 2 to 10 per month. Ideally 3 to 7. Strong. The stronger the better. Low obl. Expensive. Relevant. Awesome. Why? Massing pbn links doesn't work these days. You'll rank fast, but it's high risk and your site can get penalized any time, so you only want 3 to 7 pbns links per month, so you do not want crap, you want good strong ones to maximize that potential. You can only bring 7 people with you to help you push a truck, do you bring 7 weak people, or 7 strong-men?

    You can hit a site hard and go more aggressive, but it's getting easier to be penalized these days, so you are far better off just taking it easy.

    Affiliate site you want to grow? Medium risk tolerance? 15 guest posts per month, 10 pbns, 5 paid links. As much content as you can weekly and push it like this for 18 months on an aged domain.

    Affiliate authority site you want to last longer? lower risk tolerance but still want great results? 8-10 guest posts, 5-7 pbns, 2-3 paid links. Plenty of content.

    Business site or something more important you want to grow. You're willing to take a little risk as you do want to grow. 5-8 guest posts, 3-5 pbns, 1-2 paid links.

    You are russian mafia and you want NO RISK IN THE PORTFOLIO! :)

    Well, no risk doesn't exist, but this is the low risk version if you still want growth.

    3-5 guest posts, 1-2 pbns and no paid links. Paid links(When I say this I'm referring to non-contextual, I don't like niche edits), are more risky, but can be really powerful.

    You might think no pbns in the low risk, but do you really think 1-2 relevant, very high quality pbns are going to cause a problem? And when you're only getting 3-5 guest posts and 1-2 pbns you get the shit hot ones. You could spend $800 on an amazing guest post(sourced yourself, not some huff post contributor post), or get a link on a $700 super low obl authority aged domain with 1200 RDs and some killer links. QUALITY over quantity in 2019 and beyond.


    Q4) What's anchors do you recommend for link building?

    Mostly brand/naked.

    In general, you want a good chunk of brand/naked to your homepage. 50% to 70% at the start, and as you grow, more and more to inner pages.

    Ratios. Simple. Forget all the "calculate the perfect ratio from the averages of the top 10" stuff. 70% brand, 20% naked, 5% misc, 5% title/lsi.

    0% exact
    0% partial

    "lsi" just means something long'ish and natural.

    exact = best toaster
    partial = these best toasters

    lsi's = "the latest reviews of toasters over here"
    "get help choosing your next toaster"
    "the top toasters of 2019"

    something you'd find in a contextual.

    Next, of that 70% brand, about 20 to 30% of those should be special brand which is generic brand and brand lsi. Ie, if your brand is coolease and you sell shaving cream.

    "click for coolease"
    "visit coolease"
    "check out coolease"
    "get your shaving cream over at coolease"
    "i like the creams from coolease"
    "coolease has the best shaving creams" <-- These ones, use VERY sparingly where you go more aggressive, ie if you link to a 'best shaving cream' page, only have at most 1 of these special brand anchors with that phrase.


    Not an exact science. Go a bit more aggressive if you like. 10-20% lsi. 30-40% special brand. Here's the rules I'd recommend.

    NO exacts, ever.
    NO partials, ever.

    Stay under 20% lsi. At an absolute push you can try 30% lsi.
    Brand should be the most dominant, with url being the 2nd.
     
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  12. metalhead

    metalhead Newbie

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    Hey, thanks, I would beg to differ that permanent links are a scam, because the business model is not sustainable.

    By definition, a seller has one of two options:

    Continue to sell links on them or lose money and let the domain expire. Why would you continue to pay for a domain that isn't making you money? You wouldn't. So you either keep selling links on them or you let the domain expire. If it expires, every purchaser loses their power, and they got scammed. If they continue to sell links, the site becomes a linkfarm and every purchaser gets scammed. You keep selling "permanent" links on them, the links keep growing, you probably get some shitty links next to yours, it gets devalued or linkfarmed, boom, purchasers scammed. Otherwise, do you think someone is going to sell 30-100 (or whatever) links on a site, and then keep paying for the hosting forever just to keep his purchasers having a good deal? Of course not.

    PBNs must be actively maintained, not one time permanent links that are going to last forever. In 30 years do you think your permanent links will still be online?
     
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  13. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Fair point, but, they have their place. Some people are doing tiered link building and want to blast tier 1-2 with cheap permanent links. If they last a year, decent, if they last 2-3 years, great.

    They won't maintain forever, but the better sellers will maintain them for a couple of years. As long as they're selling the odd 1-2 links a month on them, they'll maintain them.

    But, you're generally best with monthly links or building your own pbns. It's the only way to maintain quality.



     
  14. Daddykins

    Daddykins Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    What would your strategy be if you're ranking a parasite? For local comp or general kw.
     
  15. Byzance

    Byzance Registered Member

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    Wow dude awesome AMA thread right here.
    i have a couple question about local SEO.

    So let's say that i live in UK but i want my site rank in Malaysia.
    I already set GSC and BING to target Malaysia geo. But somehow my site ended up ranking a lot keyword mostly in UK. Also i build my site with malay language.

    Is there any spesial way to rank in google.com.my (malaysia google), since im not competing with all the competitor in google.com (global).

    Note: im really sorry if my question got really confusing since english is not my native language.

    Thanks ^_^
     
  16. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Same as above, but more aggressive.


    That's weird. If it's in malay language then it can't be ranking for uk keywords. Malay keywords on google.co.uk?

    Your country of residence is irrelevant. Are you hosting in malaysia or the uk?
     
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  17. Byzance

    Byzance Registered Member

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    - Nope, its not uk keyword that rank
    its malay keyword that rank on google.co.uk but the keyword didnt rank at google.com.my
    - im currently hosting on UK
    - any advise for targetting spesific country? like my case?

    thanks for the response
     
  18. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Location:
    UK

    you need to host in malaysia, not the uk. That's why you are ranking in the uk too.

    hosting in malaysia, content in malaysian, backlinks in malaysian, from malaysian sites etc.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  19. SoufianeBTH

    SoufianeBTH Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    I don't know
    Location:
    North Africa
    Home Page:
    1.I have a good keyword, but Im ranking in position 11 without building links I tried web2.0 (tumbler) but Im waiting to be indexed , how can I be in top 5?
    2.Im building links to my homepage, can my competitors report me to google for that ?
     
  20. Byzance

    Byzance Registered Member

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    ahh i see, hosting and backlink play a big role in local SEO too.

    can i ask several question ?
    my money site did pretty well on indexing their page but my web2.0 got hard time for indexing.
    any advice for indexing web 2.0?
    i heard some ppl say to submit these web2.0 to GSC. Does we need to a different GSC account for each web2.0? or it's okay to list alot web2.0 to 1 GSC account?