I learned how to dominate eCommerce SEO entirely on accident.
Too many theoretical, abstract discussions happening around SEO at the moment:
“Great content is king!”
“Diversify your anchor text!”
“Make sure you have a good backlink profile!”
Ultimately, there’s way too many problems with these broad claims. They’re simply not true all of the time. I have seen websites with 25% anchor text ratio, complete garbage backlinks (directories, obvious PBNs, obvious GSA links), and no content rank #1 on Google for YEARS in competitive niches.
I have seen websites that have done everything “by the book” rank like garbage.
I can tell you from my personal experience that most SEO advice is garbage, particularly as it applies to eCommerce.
There’s clearly way more at work here that is just being ignored by most “SEO gurus”.
I am no “SEO God”, but I can tell you what has worked wonders for my company, and has ranked my company Page 1 for some of the most competitive keywords in my niche, and in all honesty has probably made me more money than most “SEO Professionals” can say their efforts have paid.
And that lesson is: “momentum begets momentum”.
Things that are already popular, and already have momentum behind them, will continue to rank higher in Google.
Simple as that.
So your goal shouldn’t be “how to get more links”, “how to diversify your anchor text ratio”…..it should be “how to get momentum”.
Ideally and specifically, how to get real life momentum from real life, highly relevant people who actually care about your company.
The key is: “momentum begets momentum”.
Looking at it specifically in an SEO spotlight, there are more and more people who talk about how use metrics are increasing their influence with Google. (Link to various articles about this). In fact, there are even programs designed to manipulate these.
However, these topics of discussion seem to still lag far behind the usual “break out Scrapebox and get to work!” mentality.
Again, the question is: how do you get real people, in the real word, who are in your niche, to actually care about you and your product?
Case Study: Ranking Page 1 for The Season’s Hottest Item
At time, site was relatively unknown.
#1 – Build a Relationship with a Popular Authority In Your Niche
Why do we care about this?
Because people that are popular authorities in your niche already have momentum. You need to find a way to “borrow” some of theirs.
In my case, that came in the form of the owner of one of the largest affiliate sites in the ecig niche.
NOTE THAT the value DID NOT come from backlinks. All backlinks from this website were strictly nofollow. Remember this for yourself when you are seeking an authority- don’t be blinded by myopic vanity metrics like getting nofollow vs dofollow links. In this case, the only thing that mattered was building a relationship with someone who could shoot traffic over to my site.
How did I do this? I took a long term approach. I simply befriended the person. I added value by going out and finding ways to come up with deals that he might want to add to his site. I talked with him about business and our shared passion for the industry. Essentially, I befriended him.
#2 – Ask the Authority for Something That HUGELY Benefits Their Audience
The place where most people fail is they think about this in terms of themselves….”I will work hard to write an article! They’ll see all of the hard work I did!”. Rather, think about it from the perspective of the other person…how can you add UNPRECEDENTED VALUE to THEM?
The authorities don’t give a damn about you. They are humans like the rest of us…they care about themselves, and their audience. What can you do to provide exceptional value to the authority you want to promote your site? The “me”-centered view is to think “I will work really hard to create content”, but they don’t care about how hard you worked, they care about the result for themselves. When you think about it from a “you”-focused viewpoint, you realize that there are a million awesome ways to add value, and oftentimes the answer is very simple.
The other side of this is even more profound: the more it benefits their audience, the more the audience will care about coming to your site. This is the most important key towards getting momentum.
For me, what worked was providing an affiliate deal a product that is hot and in high demand. I was literally the first one to approach this affiliate about the product, and because it was one of the season’s hottest products, he readily accepted. Notice this wasn’t something complicated (it took about 10 seconds for him to post the link). But it was exactly what his audience CRAVED…a GREAT DEAL on the season’s HOTTEST PRODUCT.
With this, my traffic tripled overnight.
Create useful content. What could be an example of that? Most people have a myopic view of “great content” because they think about it only from an output perspective. “Super long articles must be better content!”. “Great photos are the best!” “You HAVE to do videos!”. Instead, think about it ONLY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF YOUR CUSTOMER. OI once had a piece of “great content” be 2 paragraphs I wrote about a test I did on one of our products (the manufacturer claimed that their product excelled at a certain feature, and we did a test of that. It’s wan’t a video, it wasn’t a dissertation…it was literally just 2 paragraphs saying “this is the test we did, here was the result, here is our conclusion”). We receieved numerous backlinks to this and lots of forum traction because so many members of the community were out there wondering if this product performed the function the manufacturer said it did, and we were the first to test it.
After about 3 weeks, we started to rank 1st page ourselves for this item.
Even as more of the “big boys” started to move in, we still maintained our overall rank for this KW, despite overall having poor SEO standing.
That’s because we found a way to manufacture momentum, and then that momentum begot actual momentum, which in turn raised our rankings.
I have seen this in another property I am currently developing in a high competition field with about 100,000 monthly searches, where our ranking has thus far gone from nonexistent to #30 in about 6 weeks for the niche’s most competitive KW using no PBN links / GSA links / Scrapebok / whatever (we have surpassed players who have been in the market for 2 years or more). This website is literally brand new (registered domain in March 2015). 90% of our SEO has been reaching out to and working with influencers, and creating links in foums that are directly related to our niche’s subject matter.
Is your SEO strategy one of providing actual value to actual people, or is it of endlessly looking for the newest “trick”?
The difference in perspective from website building vs business building. (I think this could be a pretty good article in of itself).