Thursday, July 11, 2013

Backlinks and Directories SEO Challenge

Clients not only pay you money, but can also provoke you to expand your expertise and become more adept and more valuable as a professional person.

You should never be troubled when a client challenges you to improve yourself or to learn about an area that you consider outside your area of focus.

You should never be troubled when a client challenges you to improve yourself or to learn about an area that you consider outside your area of focus.

Accept the challenge in a happy frame of mind. Your client is doing you a great service.

If you don't keep growing in skills and knowledge, your competitors will destroy you. Some day somebody will come along with a few more skills, a deeper knowledge, a friendlier demeanor, a more youthful energy, a stronger focus, a wider expertise -- and you'll be out of a job.

Your business will suddenly be irrelevant, old fashioned, not needed anymore.

Don't think: "That aspect is the concern of a specialty that I'm not interested in."

If it relates to your field of work, start right now becoming an expert in it. Learn more about it and you'll increase your enthusiasm for it.

Expand what you're good at, don't just relax, thinking you've "arrived" at some pinnacle of permanent expertise.

Things are changing all the time. You must change with the times. Even if that means drastically increasing what you do for clients or moving into a whole new area of services.

Instead of saying, "I don't handle that area" ... 

... say "Okay. I'll do my best. Even though this is outside my core expertise, it is related to it, so I'll do some research and discover the best practices and smartest ideas out there, and thereby expand my own expertise and capabilities. Please bear with me as I get up to speed in this area, and thanks for trusting me to quickly become adept at this new aspect of what I do."

I recently had a client ask me to create a comprehensive guide, a step-by-step procedural document, in a realm that is related to my core expertise, but is typically not included in my line of work, as it is often considered to be a separate and highly specialized field of discipline.

Backlink acquisition and directories. Or "off site SEO".

My specialty lies in "on site SEO" -- SEO audits of websites, tweaking HTML documents for SEO enhancement, improving web usability factors, and implementing SEO keyword strategies for web content (including writing new keyword-savvy content for websites).

"Off site SEO" means things you do to drive traffic to a website, but are not done to the website itself, but are done in relations with other websites, trying to get them to link to your website.

This related field of backlink acquisition and directories is considered the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of SEO and is generally handled by experts who do nothing but this. Getting other websites to link back to your website -- and selecting relevant, high quality directories on which to list your website.

Backlink building and directories have a lot of dubious practitioners. It's a completely different set of disciplines and is actually more in the realm of PR (public relations) than in SEO or marketing. But there is some overlap when it comes to developing web content that is link-worthy.

What makes this area more problematic is Google's Penguin search algorithm updates have greatly disrupted most of the old ways of getting backlinks and using web directories. 

If you don't know what has changed, how to comply with Google's new requirements, you could cause a lot of trouble and have a mess on your hands that will be hard and time-consuming to remedy. You could even be punished by Google, so that your website no longer appears in search results.

Many directories have been ruined by spammers and bad practices. Many of the techniques for getting links to your website no longer work, or can even get you into trouble with Google. 

For example, many blogs and forums now use rel=nofollow on links to your website that you embed in your signature or in your comments, so you can't link back to your website in a blog comment or forum post.

That's just one example of how the whole landscape of link building and directories has changed.

My client needed me to create a comprehensive tutorial style document on this area of SEO and I plunged into it. After doing a lot of research and pondering, I was able to create the document to satisfy the need of my client.

I got an email today thanking me for a job well done. It was even stated that the document was ready for immediate implementation, which would require several months to do. That's how much material I pulled together for them, as I dodged the bad practices, explained the difference between acceptable and non-acceptable procedures, and even gave links and screenshots of examples.

It was nice that I made my client happy, they gave me immediate feedback on their opinion about what I submitted to them, and stated that they now have a powerful tool for their success as a company.

Lesson learned: let clients push you into new areas of expertise.

Listen to the star of Hardcore Pawn....

"You've got to be willing to change what you're doing. You can't be bound by the way things have always been. If the economy changes, if trends change, if your customer starts requesting something different, you've got to change your business response, even if it means launching a completely new product or service.

....I never want to hear an employee say, 'That's not my job description' or 'I've never done that before'. You can't let yourself be limited by what you've always done. You have to be willing to experiment and try new things. Forget the past and focus on what you need to be doing today to make tomorrow successful.

Especially when you start out, you need to do what's going to make your business different from the competition."

-- Les Gold
For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker

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