The following is part of an ongoing series, The One Hour Authority Site Project. If you’d like to read more about it then click here!
The best SEO is organic and costs nothing to do (tweet this)
Since I started with my authority site back in September 2012, my aim has been for it to be a case study in producing a successful website without having to resort to blatant “black hat” techniques. That aim remains the same as I advance into the SEO stage of my project.
My approach to date has been carefully considered and measured, and I intend for that to also be the case with what is one of the most pivotal strategies in attracting traffic. SEO can be a minefield — I have certainly been burned before — which is why I have decided to take what I consider to be a completely “organic” approach.
For the complete lowdown on everything I plan to do to get my site ranked in Google, read on!
There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing extra. I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and tested extensively. Thank you!
What is Organic Search Engine Optimization?
The word “organic” has multiple meanings in the English language, but in the context of SEO we are interested in just two of them:
- Denoting or characterized by a harmonious relationship between the elements of a whole.
- Characterized by gradual or natural development: the organic growth of community projects.
This is how I define organic search engine optimization:
A gradual development of links that point to a contextually relevant site in a natural manner.
Ultimately, I intend to stick to one key concept — building links that align with what Google wants, rather than how its algorithm currently works. The idea is for effective, future-proofed and risk-free SEO.
The Source of My SEO Inspiration
At various times in the last six months or so I have added SEO ideas to a folder in my Evernote. My list gradually grew without the pressure of “needing” to devise a strategy overnight, and by December I was pretty happy with my collection of ideas.
However, my eyes were well and truly opened when I got my hands on a copy of Point Blank SEO — an SEO course devised by a chap called Jon Cooper. The course was initially introduced to me by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits.
I devoured the course within a few hours and was able to develop my ideas list even further. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re looking for an exhaustive guide on search engine optimization, Point Blank SEO is it — I was seriously impressed.
With the brainstorming period over, it was then just a case of putting my ideas in some sort of coherent order and presenting them to you!
My Organic SEO Strategy
Phase one of my strategy (i.e. what I am covering in this post) represents all of the link building ideas I have that can be done to a site that is not yet ready for “mainstream” exposure. By this I mean that I don’t want to represent this site as a fully-formed blog to other bloggers in my niche — it needs some design work and social media accounts to get to that stage.
This is very much a link building (as opposed to “curating”) stage. Whilst I may engage in the likes of email outreach and guest posting in the future, my approach for the time being will be relatively limited.
Another thing to bear in mind is that my SEO strategy costs nothing to implement. I am relying upon no special software or link building automation services. It’s just me and my keyboard.
So let’s take a closer look at each link building method I will be engaging in.
This is an easy way to build some low-value links to your site. There are a huge number of directory sites out there and Point Blank SEO seemingly has a list of all of them, sortable by PageRank. Some examples include:
The key is in building relevant links to relatively high-quality sites. I’m not going to submit my site to 100 directories — more like a handful that have particularly appropriate categories for my site.
Blog commenting is a popular pastime of black hat SEO spammers, but my method will be far apart from theirs.
I have built up and fed into my RSS reader a long list of blogs that are directly related to my niche. I will check through new posts regularly and comment whenever I feel that I have something valuable to add. The anchor text will be my name rather than the domain’s name, in order to keep it natural.
Some (or many) of the comments will be nofollow, but that doesn’t concern me — a few nofollow posts will add variety to my backlinks portfolio. This method will also serve as a subtle way of introducing myself to my niche’s blogging audience.
Web 2.0 Sites
As with blog commenting, building web 2.0 sites is a mainstay of black hat SEOs. However, I plan to take a totally value added approach to my web 2.0 sites and establish them as worthwhile resources of their own.
I currently have an assortment of ideas for different Web 2.0 sites:
- A WordPress.com site that curates blog posts related to my niche (include the occasional one of mine).
- A Tumblr site that curates various images, quotes and statistics relating to my niche.
- A Posterous site that curates the responses I post on forums (I got this idea from here).
- A Blogger site featuring manually re-written articles from my site.
- A Squidoo Lens that provides a general overview of my niche.
As you can see, each site is unique and offers something of value to people who are interested in my niche.
This is an area in which I intend to do a lot of work, and I will do it all myself to begin with. I might outsource it in the future if I could so whilst maintaining the quality of the content, but that’s not something I’m thinking about currently. I’m not going to make the same mistakes that I did with my mass niche site project.
Forums and Q&A Sites
I intend to take the same “quality responses only” approach to forums and Q&A sites as with blog commenting. I will browse relevant forums and Q&A sites and offer my advice when it seems pertinent to do so. Popular Q&A sites include:
I will try to target forums that allow you to include a website within your profile (and preferably within your signature) and Q&A sites that allow you to list a source (which would of course be my site).
This is yet another celebrated black hat SEO strategy, but as with the others, I will be taking a far more measured and value-added approach.
I will add unique articles to what I consider the top article directories:
These will be rewritten versions of the best posts on my site.
A Bunch More Random Links
The Point Blank SEO course includes a huge list of assorted link opportunities, so I’ll no doubt be tapping that for relatively high-quality links that I can point towards my site.
Principles to Abide By
There are a few things that I will bear in mind as I build these links:
- Slow and steady wins the race — I will build links at a relatively slow and consistent pace.
- Unique only — all of the content I produce for link building purposes must be totally unique and valuable.
- No interlinking — I will not create connections between links, or link from one web 2.0 site to another.
- Content is still king — throughout my link-building efforts I will continue to produce content at a rate of 1–2 articles per week.
Finally, I must remember that patience is a virtue when it comes to SEO — this is a long play and it may take time for results to develop. As such, I am committing to this course of action for no less than two months. If I think of additional interesting link building ideas in that time I will of course consider integrating them into the strategy, but I won’t formally take stock of the results until two months have passed.
Above is the sum total of my phase 1 plan for search engine optimization. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear certain internet marketers scoff at it, but given that the articles I have written on my site target extremely low-quality keywords, I am confident that I will see positive results.
It remains to be seen whether or not this approach to link building will be sufficient for my ambitions. I suspect that it won’t be, but only time will tell. One step at a time. One thing is of course for sure — if I am successful in my efforts, I will be sure to give you a comprehensive guide as to what exactly I did.
Now I’d like to pass the discussion over to you — I’d love to know what you think of my ideas. Please fire away in the comments section!
Creative Commons image courtesy of Darwin Bell