Because today I’m going to talk to you about scalable SEO strategies. Believe it or not, but the brutal truth is that 90% of all websites that try and use search engine optimization to achieve their goals fail. They utterly, completely fail even.
Why? Because what they’re doing isn’t scalable and, therefore, will not get them anywhere in the long run. I can almost hear you thinking to yourself right now: “What do you mean their SEO strategies aren’t scalable? They’re getting some rankings/website traffic/sales, aren’t they? So, what are you talking about?”
Let me prove to you why the only effective SEO strategy is one that’s all about scalability… and why all other supposedly best SEO strategies SUCK in comparison.
What is a “Scalable SEO Strategy?”
If you want to grow your business thanks to search engine optimization, then you’re probably going to need to put interesting, optimized content on your site on a regular basis. You’ll need to do link building regularly as well. Same goes for checking server response codes, sitemaps, URL structure, on-page optimization, social, and the list goes on and on.
And, sure, your results will improve over time as long as you keep doing all those things regularly. But is doing any of that stuff scalable? No. That’s because your return on investment will remain the same and, therefore, more effort equals more results. Your website’s SEO success will then be a function of time x (multiplied by) effort.
Why is it a problem to base your entire SEO strategy on time x effort? Think about it: anyone that does MORE than you do over a LONGER period of time will eventually match your results and then exceed your results by outranking you and outselling you. They’ll beat you at your own freaking game!
All it’ll take for competitors to beat you is for them to do more/better on-page optimization, more/better link building, and so on and so forth.
Meanwhile, a scalable SEO strategy is one that will give you an exponentially increasing return on investment (whether you use rankings, website traffic, leads or sales to calculate ROI) as your website grows, while normal SEO strategies will give you the same ROI as your website grows.
In other words: scalable SEO strategies don’t use the time x effort formula. They use the time x effort x website size/growth formula for success. It’s much, much harder for competitors to beat you when you use a scalable strategy, but more on that later…
Because I’d understand if you told me that, right now, this all sounds pretty vague and/or complex. So, what I’ll do in the paragraphs ahead is make an attempt to make scalable strategies as concrete as possible for you so you’ll pretty much HAVE TO understand what I’m talking about.
Scalable SEO Strategies Based on the Internal Environment
Scalable SEO strategies based on the internal environment are all about maximizing the value of the resources that are currently available to you. Better said: it’s about using your website to grow your website in a sustainable way.
Is that possible? YES, as long as you think beyond the category page. You see, a category page is either a page which links to articles of a similar topic on a blog or a page on which you’ll find a specific kind of product (in the case of an e-commerce site).
Whatever’s the case, a category page is an aggregate page with internal links to various lower level pages on your site. Aggregate pages are an important part of the best SEO strategies because they do two things:
- They spread your website’s SEO value. Every time you add a page to your website, it contributes to your site’s total SEO value. You can give some of a page’s value away in the form of external links (links to other sites) or distribute that value in the form of internal links (links to other pages on your site). An aggregate page, therefore, increases a site’s total value and then spreads its own value across a number of other pages so they become more valuable.
- They make search engines find your site’s most valuable pages more easily. If you link to an aggregate page from a menu, sidebar or footer, then both humans and search engines can access the pages the aggregate page links to within 2-3 clicks. That’s important because creating a page does NOT equal Google indexing the page and if a page isn’t indexed, then its value doesn’t add to a site’s total value and won’t be spread to the pages it links to because Google never sees that page. The only reason Google will index a page is if there’s value pointing to it, i.e. internal links on your site, a link from another site, social signals, etc. So, an aggregate page points value to important pages and therefore increases your site’s crawl saturation (% of pages that is recognized and indexed by Google versus the total number of pages on your site) and that means it increases your website’s total SEO value because it allows more pages to be found and indexed.
And now you know why aggregate pages are important for a SEO strategy, here’s the punch line: a category page is only one of MULTIPLE kinds of aggregate pages.
Ready for a list of some of the kinds of aggregate pages? Here we go:
- Niches (example: horror games for Xbox 360, RPG’s for Xbox 360, etc.)
- Categories and subcategories (example: Games category, Xbox 360 subcategory)
- Themes (example: home entertainment > Games > Xbox 360)
- Meta themes (example: entertainment > home entertainment > games > Xbox 360)
- Superlatives (anything you can put –est behind or most in front of, i.e. the cheapest games, most popular games, funniest games, etc.)
- Superlatives with time restrictions (i.e. best games of 2012, cheapest games of the month, etc.)
- Difficulty levels (example: dummy’s guide to Call of Duty multiplayer, advanced tactics Call of Duty multiplayer, expert level tips Call of Duty multiplayer)
So, how do you create scalable SEO strategies thanks to aggregate pages? Two tips:
1) Improving the on-page optimization of and/or the number of high quality links (external OR internal links!) and/or the number of social signals pointing to an aggregate page equals increasing the value distributed to the pages it links to. That means getting better rankings and/or more website traffic and/or more leads or sales for multiple pages thanks to ONE page. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of the scalable SEO strategy in my book. Simply put, boosting the value of (or value pointing to) an aggregate page increases the value of all the pages the aggregate links to.
2) Whenever you add a page to your site you want to rank well with, put it on all the aggregate pages it should be on. This makes Google quickly see and index the page because there’s value pointing to it and this makes the page a lot more valuable. In fact, if your aggregate pages are optimized and you have enough of them then linking from them to the ranking page is often enough to start ranking on page one of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
So, let’s stick to the games example I shared with you while defining the kinds of aggregate pages there are. What if you can offer Halo 5 at a lower price than usual? Then of course you’ll add it to the Xbox 360 page, the Xbox 360 shooters page, the cheapest games of the month page, and probably on the games page as well. Then you’ll already have 4 links pointing to the Halo 5 page and you’re only getting started…
What’s great about SEO strategies like these is that they work better and better the bigger your site gets!
Think about it: if you have 30 relevant aggregate pages you can link from to a new page, then of course it’ll rank faster and much higher than if you have 3 aggregate pages. This’ll be true as long as you make sure every instance of the link has a unique description and that you vary the link text (so not all instances have an exact match anchor text).
I’ve managed to get pages ranking in the top 3 with this effective SEO strategy in a matter of hours… and I’m not talking about pages optimized for keywords with only a dozen searches a month. Nope. I’m talking about keywords with thousands and tens of thousands of searches a month and more.
And if that isn’t enough proof for you, then let me say one more thing: Wikipedia. They use this as well. Heck, they practically INVENTED this strategy.
The Scalable and Effective SEO Strategy Based on the External Environment
Scalable SEO strategies based on the external environment are all about harnessing as many external forces as much as possible. An example of one of those external forces is your user base. The people that visit/use your website.
And, in terms of scalable SEO strategies and your user base, you need to start thinking about using UGC (User Generated Content) to boost your site’s value. Here’s how to do that:
1) Find people who want to regularly write about your industry, whether it’s news, their personal opinion or a story. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s on-topic. You can invite industry leaders, your competition, and other people in your industry. As long as you give them an incentive to write for you, it’ll be all good. I’ll explain why in point 4. Back to that incentive: you should allow them to link back to their site from the article itself or from their author bio and promise them to promote their content via your social profiles as much as you would do with “normal” content.
2) Create a content schedule which includes who’s up next when it comes to writing content for the site and alert those who are next a couple weeks in advance so they have lots of time to write their article.
3) Step 3 of using UGC as part of your SEO strategies is all about curating content: making sure that what’s written is of a high enough quality for your site. There are two ways to do this: A) only allow guest bloggers to save their articles as a draft so you can see it before it’s put on your site and B) give your guest blog writers specific instructions about what kind of articles are welcome. You could tell them, for example, that you only want articles with actionable tips because they’ll match your brand image (which is all about practicality).
4) Once guest blogs have been approved by you (after being rewritten by guest blog authors if that was necessary) you do one more thing before putting them on your live site: find any articles about the same or a closely related topic on your site and internally link to those articles from the guest blogs. Try to have more internal links than the number of links pointing to a guest blog writer’s site in there.
5) Result: fresh new content is added to your site on a regular basis and, because there are more internal links in that content than external links, all that content will end up helping you more than it’ll help your guest blog writers. This is how many, many popular blogs and blog networks make a living: find people to write, internally link to other parts of the site, a site’s value will increase every time there’s a new guest blog, and you can afford to write an article a day or more because you’re not paying your guest blog writers a darn thing.
Important to know about this strategy: it works best when you’ve written a bunch of content yourself. That’s because, although you can internally link from one guest blog to another, you have to keep in mind that some of the value you’re spreading will be given to the sites of your guest blog writers. Early on in your website’s existence it might thus be better to have content without any external links in there and to then link to that content from the guest blogs.
This strategy belongs in my top 5 of best SEO strategies because the more writers you’ll have and the more content they’ll write a month, the faster your website will gain SEO value.
Suicidal “Scalable” SEO Strategies (a.k.a. the Don’ts)
Before I wrap up this epic book report about what is and what is NOT an effective SEO strategy, I feel like I have some badmouthing to do.
You see, tons of website owners and internet marketers out there have a short sighted “match and exceed” mindset and it blows. Why? Their version of scaling SEO results is about doing what their competitors are doing (matching) and then doing it more or better (exceeding). Sure, that might help them outrank and outsell their current competitors but there are a couple of HUGE flaws in this methodology that just don’t make it scalable:
1) Any flaws your competitor has, you will inherit. Put bluntly, if your competitor is doing black hat SEO that will get its *ss banned from Google or penalized by Google, then you’re next once Google’s done with them. So, mindlessly copycatting is stupid.
2) It’s impossible to know who all of your competitors are because each keyword has different sites competing for the top slots on page one of the search results. Result: it’s likely that there will come a time when a competitor looks for things you AREN’T doing and, therefore, your competitor isn’t doing because you’re a copycat. Such a “search and destroy” mindset (which is all about finding weaknesses and exploiting them) can easily conquer the match and exceed mindset over time.
3) The biggest risk, though, is one not even the search and destroy mindset can handle. You see, match and exceed builds on what your competitors are already doing and search and destroy builds on what they aren’t doing. Both aren’t the best SEO strategies, though, because they’re limited. The most effective SEO strategy is one that has no limits. It’s the all-inclusive strategy: it pays attention to as many technical SEO, keywords, on-page optimization, link building, and social ranking factors and details as possible. It is, therefore, a combination of both mindsets and beats them because of it. It pays more attention to what competitors are already doing and more attention to what competitors aren’t doing and uses both to its advantage.
And that’s why, ladies and gentlemen, having a “match and exceed” mindset or a “search and destroy” mindset in ANY niche is a disaster waiting to happen: it invites one to ONLY look at the present competition and ignores the possibility of new and more sophisticated websites competing with you in the future.
Simply said, if you have this mindset and are doing well in your specific niche because of it, then you’ll regret the day a perfectionist like me who pays attention to all the details you are AND aren’t paying attention to enters your market… because that SEO perfectionist will beat you. He or she will OWN you. Guaranteed.
Stop Playing Around and Start Scaling Around
We here at Motriz Marketing specialize in creating scalable SEO strategies because, as you can probably tell by now, they get better results faster AND because the bigger your website is, the more those effects will be multiplied.
And doesn’t “normal” guest blog swapping appear to be a not so effective SEO strategy in comparison? Doesn’t a “normal” internal link architecture seem shallow in comparison? Heck, doesn’t having a “match and exceed” mindset and/or a “search and destroy” mindset seem stupid now that you’ve read all this?
I know, right?! And that’s why we focus on scalability. The super long term strategy.
So, tell me: what are YOU doing to make your SEO strategies more scalable? How are you trying to ramp up your results? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
To More Traffic, More Conversions, And More Business,
- Dennis MiedemaCEO of Motriz MarketingDennis Miedema is the founder, owner, and CEO of Motriz Marketing. He's crazy passionate about SEO and copywriting, hell, about online marketing in general. And sometimes he's just crazy. Whenever he's not ranting about IM, Dennis loves to watch movies or The Dog Whisperer or to play games on his Xbox 360 like a total geek.