First off this is BEGINNER’S GUIDE to SEO, so we’ll be covering the bare basics today and we’ll start by giving you the overview of what SEO is before digging in deeper with part I of the series focused on DOMAIN FACTORS
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
SEO refers to getting or capturing organic (free) traffic back to your website from the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.) by optimizing your on-page (on-site) and off-page (off-site) performance for the targeted keywords. Now I’d like to emphasize that, and this varies monthly, weekly and daily, the data used is from comScore Releases May 2014 U.S. Search Engine Rankings, well over 65% of searches are conducted over Google’s SE, so when it comes to optimizing I’ll mostly talk about optimizing for Google’s SE.
Google uses a secret, well protected and very complex algorithm that automatically ranks and sorts the websites. Not only that but the last few years Google also added so called ”manual” reviewers to help rank the websites better. They are Google’s employees who, based on G’s book of recommendations, manually visit and grade the websites.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO RANK WELL?
When stating out SEO can be very confusing, main reason being that since the algo. is complex, most webmasters are not even sure what they should be doing to keep their site in Google’s good graces. Since G is in an all-out war with the spammers, there have been casualties among webmasters that have followed the guidelines and instructions however still got either penalized or dropped their rankings without (purposely) breaking them.
Here is the sad news – nobody can guarantee your site will stay safe since nobody knows Google’s secret formula.
That being said, here are the factors we know play a role when it comes to ranking well
PART I – DOMAIN FACTORS
When building your website you have to get a domain name first. There are several factors that can be used to your advantage if you don’t already own the domain you’d like to do SEO for. Here are some of them, and highlighted below is mostly our experience and knowledge as said, we do not know exact G’s algo.
EMD or EXATC MATch DOMAIN
A few years back, all it took in some niches, was EMD and good on-site SEO in order to rank well. Unfortunately for us, it’s no longer like that. EMD’s won’t get you a head considering that SEO in 2014 requires that we build a strong authority site that’s much bigger than micro-niche one keyword targeting site. IMO EMD’s are not worth the trouble any more, it’s much better to get a more general and descriptive domain name than to try and close down an EMD.
It’s considered safer and easier to rank using an old domain (with good site and link building history) than to star fresh. That being said, if you’re unsure about the domain’s history or you know its change a lot of owners till this point, get a brand new domain name.
KEYWORD MENTION IN THE DOMAIN
This factor used to be very important in 2012 and 2013 but now in 2014, I can’t say it makes much of difference. It’s much better to build an authority site than a micro niche one so while keyword mention probably won’t be harmful, it’s not gonna do much good as well.
DOMAIN REGISTRATION LENGTH
This has always been sort of a trust factor in Google, what it really means is simple, if you register your domain name in, example, 5 years in advance, you most likely won’t spam it and risk getting it blacklisted. To avoid your domain looking like a doorway domain, make sure to book at least a few years in advance. It’s a small factor but it adds up
DOMAIN HISTORY AND PENALIZED WHOIS OWNERS
This part is tricky as, having a good, aged domain can get you a little bit ahead but it’s not worth the risk if you know domain has been spammed, dropped a lot or used as a doorway site in the past. While the domain name will be “cleared” from violations on it and its previous owner, most times the reputation management won’t be worth the hassle.
PRIVATE VS PUBLIC WHO IS
Personally I use public whois because it shows that my team and I stand by our work, however it’s a personal preference. There has been mention by Mat Cutts way back in 2006 that private domains might have something to hide, but I think you won’t risk your trust factors much by using a private one as well.
COUNTRY TLD’s and EXTENSIONS
While having a country specific TLD is ideal for local businesses that want to rank in a specific county, keep in mind it won’t do you any good when it comes to ranking globally. So TLD’s are very valuable for local businesses that are aiming for specific markets but not the websites that want to rank globally.
While .com and .net are considered to be high quality domain extensions, Google claims that all domain extensions will hold the same value so it comes down to personal preference as well. Our tip would be to try to book .com or .net if available but if not feel free to go with (example) .org as well.
This warps up today’s blog post, stay tuned for part no2.