I've seen a lot of people make it in this business. I have also seen a lot of people fail. Almost all of the original friends I made when I started Court's Internet Marketing School have gone the way of the dodo. The ones that are still around are doing really well, mostly.
I'm guessing that a lot of you will dismiss this post immediately when you start to read it. It's hard to look at yourself and realize that you might not be prepared mentally for what has to be done. Others might take this to heart and move forward. I guess we'll just have to see. Please don't take offense to anything I've written here. It won't apply to everyone but will be extremely helpful for some people.
The fundamentals of search engine optimization aren't that complicated. The problem is that the implementation is extremely challenging mentally. Most people fail at the implementation and I'm going to explain why. You can do what you want with this - I'm going to tell it how I see it.
Fundamentally, link building is pretty straightforward. There are two main aspects that you really need to consider:
- The most link juice wins (I should say anchored link juice).
- The most link momentum wins.
Link juice and link momentum go hand in hand. Each one can gain you a lot of benefit and each can override the other (kind of).
If you have a ton of link juice you'll be really hard to beat. This is the case for us with CourtneyTuttle.com. We haven't tried to add a link for like 8 months for that site and we still rank in the top 10 for 'internet marketing'. That's because the site has tons of sites linking to it – it has a lot of link juice. It doesn't have good link momentum right now because it doesn't have that many new links. The content on that site is still generating some links but most of them don't point to the homepage. They still help but the link momentum isn't anything like it once was.
The link juice in this case is enough to override the fact that the momentum isn't there. With more link juice or link momentum, the site would climb higher in the SERPs (rankings).
Link momentum can also override link juice somewhat. The Keyword Academy is starting to rank for some really good terms even though the link juice isn't really that high right now. That's because the site has a lot of new links – the momentum is really high right now. If we stopped getting new links the rankings would tank fast because the overall link juice isn't there to sustain the rankings.
If you have both you can be virtually unbeatable, but most people don't get either.
People always take offense when I write posts like this but honestly I find them necessary. If you're already making money by all means stop reading this post. There may be some beginners that truly need more information before moving forward. However, if you've been around for a while and aren't reaching your income goals, I bet you have a mental barrier that's getting in the way. That barrier will have to be broken down before you get anywhere. Here are the two biggest culprits:
You get a few links and think that your ranking should change immediately. You start watching the rankings on Google and find that your ranking doesn't improve or that it gets worse. This causes you to think that everything that you're doing is wrong so you stop trying to get links and that stops your progress. You feel that what you know must be wrong or that you're getting the wrong type of links.
The solution to this issue is focusing on the fundamentals and forgetting about rankings for a while. Links influence rankings, period. If you have convinced yourself that a link didn't help you're watching rankings too closely. There are about 8,000 things that can make you move down in the rankings and watching them everyday isn't going to help you (unless you are REALLY experienced). It could take weeks o
r months for Google to f
ind the new links.
You need to make yourself a spreadsheet that you can start to use for keeping track of the links you get. When you get a link from another site, add it to your spreadsheet. Find the satisfaction in blowing up your spreadsheet, not by looking at rankings. If you add enough links to your spreadsheet (and site), the rankings will come.
I've had quite a few conversations with people whose rankings are fluctuating. Recently I talked to a friend whose site is fluctuating between #1 and #8 in Google for his main keyword. He keeps telling me stuff like, “Court, I'm never going to understand Google. I just can't figure out why I keep moving up and down in the rankings.” I keep telling him, “Brian (name changed), you're never going to get enough links to stabilize because you only think about the rankings.”
My friend for some reason thinks his situation is different than every other situation and he thinks that there's a variable that he doesn't understand. There isn't. His rankings are fluctuating because of the daily fluctuations of link momentum and link juice. Maybe yesterday Google found a new link and that gave him a boost. For two weeks before that Google didn't find any new links so he started to slide. Maybe last month Google found some new links for a competitor. His real problem is that he's relying on link momentum because he still doesn't have enough link juice. Link juice is what brings stability.
My friend's keyword isn't really that hard. If he would figure out how to get two links per day for about two weeks he would be taken care of for a long time. He doesn't do it because he chooses not to. He would rather try to 'figure out what's going on'.
The fun for you is in running around learning about the marketing and you're too lazy to do the implementation. You find yourself arguing about theory with people that are much more successful than you. You may not realize this about yourself. The only way to know if you have this issue is if you feel like you know what you're doing but aren't reaching your income goals.
If you have this issue, link building will be extremely difficult for you because you're seeking the high of reading a great piece of information – in other words your focus isn't on making money.
To solve this issue you might have to go on a media-fast for a while. You may have to rediscover yourself. If you can't find satisfaction in making yourself successful, I would honestly walk away or I would at least try to admit to yourself that this business isn't for you. I find it fascinating that people like the information more than making money. I have actually been criticized for focusing too much on 'making money' on my sites that teach people how to make money.
Step one, in my opinion, is realizing that you aren't working when you're reading. You're working when you're working. You need to at least set a percentage-based limit for how much you're going to let yourself read. The rest should be spent working and the majority of your work time should be based around getting links.
My friend with the fluctuation problem also has ForuBlog-Rotunditis. Since he doesn't understand his fluctuation he tries to figure it out by visiting forums, blogs, and by calling me (very ironic that he won't listen to me). I'm pretty sure that the next time I talk to him I'm going to tell him that I'll solidify his ranking for $1000. It would probably take about an hour to get enough links to do that. Instead of getting the links he chooses to waste dozens of hours reading about his problem.
The Big Picture
He who gets the most/best links, wins. No matter what picture your mind is showing you, if you aren't ranked #1 for your keyword, you're getting beaten with links.
Yes, this is day 7 of my 30 Days To Better SEO series.