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July 2012 Internet Marketing Update

Welcome to my end of July 2012 internet marketing update!

On the 1st of every month I write a blog post – sometimes about changes to the internet marketing landscape, and other times just to share useful information and ideas.

Today I’m going to address a common question I’ve been asked over and over again recently:

“Once you get top rankings in Google, what’s required to maintain them?”

Before I answer that question, take a look at how one of my sites dropped from #3 in Google to #9 in the space of just 10 weeks (the green line in the graph below represents my rankings):

Ranking Drop Text

The drop in rankings was a slow and steady progression. It’s an excellent example of what can happen as a result of NO new link building.

In most cases, a drop in rankings usually means a drop in traffic (and earnings) as well. And normally a drop from #3 to #9 will result in a significant loss of search engine traffic (and therefore earnings).

It’s important to maintain top rankings when you’ve got them, the good news is that it’s not hard to do.

All that’s required is a little link building. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but a little is usually required.

How much link building is required?

It varies from keyword to keyword and on how tough the competition is.

For competitive keywords, you may need to build hundreds of new links every single month just to maintain your ranking…

Thankfully though, in most cases, that’s not required.

Once my websites have top rankings, I typically build just a small handful of links each month.

Here’s a hypothetical link building plan I might follow to maintain the ranking of a moderately competitive keyword (like the keywords targeted on my Authority style websites):

  • 1 article submitted to Ezine Article
  • 1 new high PR link
  • 15 social links (a mixture of Facebook Likes, Tweets, +1’s etc)

This small number of links will normally be enough to maintain my top rankings.

If I see my rankings start to slide, I’ll just raise the amount of link building I do the next month.

That’s the basic formula I’ve used over the last 6 months with my high traffic authority sites. By monitoring my rankings each month I’ve been able to tweak my link building plan accordingly and keep my traffic high (thanks to top rankings).

Here’s a graph that shows how my traffic has been pretty stable on one of my authority sites by using the simple plan above:

Continued Link Building

As shown in the graph above (taken from my StatCounter account), the traffic has stayed pretty steady at over 400 unique visitors per day (my rankings have always stayed between #1 and #4).

When I’ve noticed a drop in rankings (like in mid February and mid June), I’ve just increased the amount of link building and my rankings have always improved (almost immediately).

“What if you outsource your link building?”

If you currently outsource your link building to the likes of LinkingMadeEasy.com, then you can still slow down your link building when you get to the top of Google.

Perhaps instead of using the $150 plan every month, you could use it every second or third month.

The same rules need to apply though, if your ranking drops, it means you need to do more link building.

But what about adding new content?

The next question I frequently get asked is about the importance of adding fresh content over time. How much should be added and how frequently?

What I’m about to say might surprise you a little…

Most of my well established authority sites NEVER get new content added to them yet they maintain their top rankings…

Fresh content helps…but in my experience, it’s not essential like fresh links are.

Don’t get me wrong, if you want to add content, it’s a great idea and something that may result in more traffic, but it hasn’t been a key to maintaining top rankings for me over the past few years.

If you are going to add content regularly, be sure to include a few internal links to different pages on your website. Internal links WILL help your rankings – just don’t over-do them or it’ll being to look unnatural (and you’ll be at risk of getting a Google penalty).

Simple “set and forget” websites…

One of the things I love most about internet marketing is that once you get the system working (a few simple websites is enough to do this), you’ll have a constant and steady stream of passive income that’ll allow you to do whatever you want.

This months blog post is a little shorter than most as I’ve been traveling for the last 2 weeks. I’ve been working my way from Colorado, to Chicago and I’m now going to head to the east coast to spend some time in Boston, Washington DC and New York.

My simple set-and-forget websites give me plenty of freedom and flexibility to do whatever I want.

In my case, I wanted to escape the South American winter (which really isn’t all the bad) and come and enjoy a month of American sunshine.

Exciting things happening soon…

I’m currently working on a unique LIVE program that’ll be offered to a very small group of people in a couple of weeks time.

I won’t get into the details now, but expect an email from me in about 2 weeks time with more information.

A special guest for next months update…

Next months update will be a little different.

I’ve convinced a special guest to let me grill him LIVE on camera…you’ll get to watch that video in the next update on AidanBooth.com on the 1st of September.

Until then,

Aidan

P.S. As always, I welcome comments, thoughts, debate, and questions below!

P.P.S. If you haven’t done so already, go and click the LIKE button on my Facebook Page so you can stay even more up to date: http://www.facebook.com/aidanboothonline

Like what you’ve read?

If so, then click the “GET STARTED” button below. I’ll send you my SEVEN Passive Income Blueprints' and more great content (100% FREE, no strings attached).

56 Comments so far:

  1. Jonathan says:

    Hi Aidan,

    Thanks for this.

    One comment though, the red writing on the blue stat counter graph has made my eyes feel like they have been taking too many illegal substances! Really hurt the eyes, would it be possible to have the colours changed!

    Thanks

    Jon

    • Aidan says:

      Good point Jon! That choice of color was not a good one…I see what you mean. I’ll take note for next time!

  2. Jim Nimmo says:

    Hehe, I like bright colours. Once again some more good info, thanks Aidan

  3. Melissa Contreras says:

    Hi Aidan,

    Really interesting points here.

    I did not expect to learn that creating fresh content is not a major factor in maintaining high rankings. I suppose that new content helps you get top rankings in the first place (as well as income), as you can bring in traffic from different keywords, but then it seems (from what you have told us here) that it does not have any additional value once you are there.

    So it all really boils down to…link building, for getting you to the top, and keeping you there.

    Great post.

    Mel

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Mel, you’ve got it right :)

      Fresh content CAN help in that it’ll allow you to rank for new keywords, however I haven’t seen it help as much as new links or social interaction does.

  4. John says:

    Thanks Aidan. I have always wondered how much link building is required. My rankings have recently dropped for 1 of my sites and it is great to know that if i get back to building links my rankings will return.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi John, yes, your rankings will return, it’s just a case of more links and making sure your link profile looks as it should do. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Romy says:

    That’s a pretty simple plan for maintaining your rankings. This should be done for every page on my websites that I want to maintain the rankings for?

    One question though: Your high PR link comes from your own blog network or some other services such as SEO Blueprint ( I know they have something similar)?

    Thanks.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Romy, I do this kind of plan for every keyword that I need to maintain a top ranking for…it obviously needs to make sense from a strategic point of view. If I don’t make much money or get many subscribers from a top ranking, then I’m not overly concerned with keeping that ranking (therefore tracking results is important as well).

      The high PR links usually come from high PR websites which I buy…they can often cost just $20, and I usually buy 5-10 at a time so I have plenty to use for the next few months (it’s not that I need to buy new high PR websites every month).

      • Martin says:

        Hey Aidan,

        The PR links – where do you normally head for those? I assume you go to domain auctions for the PR sites – how much effort do you need to put in for those to remain with good rankings?! Do you get High PR links, and buy directly, or don’t you find that it is very useful – G can see it too easily?

        I’m seeing that rankings fall away very quickly whilst you’re still trying to get onto the first page, seems almost like they go back to where they were before, which could be indicative of being in highly competitive niches?

        I’m not finding great successes with outsourced SEO at the moment, so might need to look into building up to a managed fully outsourced operation setup and managed by myself. I’d prefer to hand it over to others, but I’m really not seeing the results I would have expected for the money that I’m putting in. Any ideas?

        Great article, thanks for the help,

        Martin.

        • Aidan says:

          Hi Martin,

          For PR links, I buy aged domains that already have a PR. I then add unique content to them and that’s about it. A little link building from time to time to the PR site definitely helps but it’s not essential.

          In general, it’s taking longer to get rankings in most niches these days…in saying that, sites I’ve launched recently have got page 1 rankings and started making decent money in under 4 months…it’s just a case of continuing to do link building (I know it sucks, but it’s still critical).

          When I outsource my SEO to LinkingMadeEasy, I usually see results in 3-4 months…depends entirely on the competition of the keywords though…

  6. Peter says:

    Hi Aiden.

    Good point as I’ve been doing that with all the sites that I have. I ‘ve been building little links here and there and it seems to work. It’s even better now that you’ve validated this method. It’s always been in the back of my head that businesses must be doing this on an ongoing basis in order to stay on top.

    Thanks Aiden
    Pete

  7. Aidan,

    You always have a good simple message that provides excellent value.

    Thanks

    Russ

  8. Mervanwe says:

    Hi Aidan
    What a great article and it has given me a lot to ponder on.

    My site has dropped from the 40’s to now sadly 300’s.and sadly all 4 of my KW’ have taken a serious nose dive. My one KW dropped from 47 yesterday to 231 today.

    I have outsourced the seo as you have mentioned. But even that hasnt helped.

    Sad but true. You must have the magic touch.

    I look forward to your up coming announcement.

    Ciao

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Mervanwe, sorry to hear about your ranking drop…chances are they’ll bounce back…just make sure you’re getting plenty of anchor text variation and enough links on related sites…

  9. David says:

    This is an interesting post, something I had wondered about. It hasn’t been a concern for me as I have had very few top ranking pages thus far. I look forward to being able to use this advice! Greetings from NZ :-)

  10. Hi Aidan,

    Thank you for update.

    I have a few niche sites and it becomes really complicated to follow them as ranking drop and a bunch of new links have to be created to improve things.

    How do you proceed with the hundred niche sites you have?
    Do you randomly check their rankings and create new links?

    Are there sites that stay on top?

    best,

    Michel

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Michel, I check rankings once a month.

      Normally on the 1st or 2nd of every month I evaluate my entire business. I do a detailed earnings and expenses report and also check rankings on my most important websites (20% or my websites make 80% of the income). It’s a really good habit to get into. I also use SEOMoz Professional (I think it’s $150/month), it’s a little expensive but it automatically checks rankings on some of my websites, for everything else I use Market Samurai.

      Once my websites get to the top, they usually stay there (unless I get really lazy!)

  11. Joe says:

    Hi, nice data.
    My question is r u still using ezinearticle dot com? Also where can I find more about your “…My simple set-and-forget websites…”?
    Thx.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Joe. Yes, I’m still using EzineArticles.com. Regarding my “set and forget websites” – I released a course about how to build them about 6 months ago called Authority Hybrid…the course is now sold out unfortunately. Keep an eye on your email though as I have a new form of training coming out in a couple of weeks time!

  12. mal says:

    Aidan do you do all your own link building as you travel if not who do you use to do it.and how many sites are you talking about maintaining that you have and are they all athority sites or amazon sites etc,

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Mal, I have LinkingMadeEasy.com do a lot of it for me, especially on new websites. I also have a full time assistant to help me out as well as a couple of writers who are pretty much full time as well. I outsource 99% of my link building and only really do it myself when I’m testing new techniques or methods…

  13. Nice work, Aidan. There’s no substitute for test results. Everything else is no more than a ‘gut feeling,’ in my opinion.

    As usual, you’re right on top of things. Thanks again for all you do.

    One question about FB likes, if you don’t mind. I see the need for FB Likes -I try to generate support for my money site by asking people to ‘Like’ the site (or post). I also see the benefit for getting people to ‘Like’ our FB page.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m leaning heavily on friends to ‘Like’ things. Is one more important than the other? My gut feeling is they are equally important. I might have to get more creative in ways to gin up some ‘likes.’

    Thanks again.

    Dave C

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for your feedback and kind words. The LIKES are very important…while I don’t think fresh content is all that important right now, fresh INTERACTION is important…getting LIKES, TWEETS, and other shares are a great way to show Google you have a real site and real people are making use of it. Social Signals are more important from an SEO perspective than ever right now.

  14. Boruch says:

    Hi Aidan,

    That’s a real eye-opener about the need, or the lack of need of fresh content to maintain high rankings. In the end of the day it’s the same work to produce new content, just a question of whether to put it on the site or to put it in Ezine Articles. I never would of thought that to put it on Ezine Articles would actually be more valuable then putting it on the site itself.

    Thanks!

    Boruch

  15. Larry says:

    Aidan,

    You make it sound so easy to keep a site on the top page of Google. I hope one day I will be able to just build a few backlinks each month to keep a site on top. At this time I am still struggling with getting a few authority sites on the first page of Google by building lots of backlinks each month.

    Larry

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Larry, it’s always a bit of a struggle initially, you will get there though, just keep doing what your doing…some websites can take 6 months or more before they make big in-roads into Google.

  16. Giulio says:

    Hi Aidan,
    it’s always good to hear from you, you give great information. It’s a very interesting post, I found especially interesting the part about not adding new content to the website. I think Google will give more and more importance to the fresh content factor in the future, we’ll see what happens, I expect new surprises any moment from them.

    Looking at your stat counter, I just notice how the traffic is subject to sudden ups and downs. Now that I have been finally able to get a decent amount of traffic to some of my websites I noticed the same to my websites, and strange thing, the bounce rate usually follow the same trend. When the traffic goes up, the bounce rate is low, the day the traffic drops the bounce rate has a peak. I was wondering if the same happens to you.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Guilio, thanks for your comment. I think that fresh content COULD have more importance in the future, but what I think will be more important than fresh content is fresh INTERACTION (people returning to the site, people clicking the LIKE button, etc).

      Good to hear your traffic is increasing :)

      • Giulio says:

        Yes Aidan, I’ve had tough moments, but I realized that affiliate websites are not really my cup of tea. I’ve seen a big change after I moved to the e-commerce business model. It’s really different from affiliate marketing, there are advantages and disadvantages but overall I prefer it and I see much better results, even from a financial point of view! :-)

        • Aidan says:

          Thats great Guilio – while I think Affiliate Marketing and Adsense have a lot to offer, a large part of my business is dedicated to eCom :)

  17. Wayne says:

    Hi Aidan,

    It’s always a gift to receive your well-described insights and strategies.
    Thank you!

    As you know, I’ve been experimenting with my authority site.
    Panda and Penguin actually helped my site – without doing anything!
    This opened my eyes to several things as it relates to what is required for a site to withstand almost anything that is thrown at it!
    Interestingly, it has been almost six months since I’ve done any meaningful backlinking and I haven’t added any new content for even longer than that.
    In fact, it would be accurate to say I have let my site go dormant.
    Only in the last 30 days have I noticed my rankings slip a bit.
    What I get from this – without any targeted testing – is build your authority sites, then monitor and manage them as needed.
    Going forward, I will be reviewing my site regularly with a plan to do backlinking quarterly and adding fresh, quality content monthly.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    Wayne

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Wayne, great to hear from you! I liked the way you put this:

      “is build your authority sites, then monitor and manage them as needed”

      Monitoring and modifying the method over time is hugely important to long term success (as you know from experience)

  18. Brian says:

    Hi Aidan,

    This was a really good topic to write about with a great title. I hope it does well for you.

    Yes, I have to agree with you: I have one particular website that has only 1 WordPress post (that’s all!). It has been ranking at number 1 or 2 in Google for the last 6 months at least for my chosen keywords. I keep it up there with a little social bookmarking and believe-it-or-not just a little high PR link exchange each month.

    /Brian

  19. Chris says:

    Thanks for the post, Aidan. I was away pretty well all of July too, and just started work again on Monday. Good to hear from you, and hope you’re having a great time traveling up here in the Northern Hemisphere!

    • Aidan says:

      I sure am Chris, in Boston right now and have been in Chicago and Colorado over the last two weeks, beautiful country indeed!!

  20. Reed Robbins says:

    Hi Aidan,

    That is a surprising comment on the addition of fresh content – I’ve been making a point of not going any longer than a week without adding new content to my 3 blogs (articles outsourced to NAA).

    Maybe I can slow down on this, since in addition to doing my own SEO, I’m also outsourcing my SEO to LME. Between NAA and LME, I’ve got a lot of money going out every month! It’s a race to make money before I run out of money…

    Thanks,
    Reed

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Reed, don’t get me wrong about the fresh content…it will help in that you’ll have more articles indexed and therefore get more traffic…I just don’t think (in my experience) that it’s as important as it used to be OR that it’s a critical part of getting existing pages ranked.

      Adding new content to your website is still a good idea (your traffic will still increase slowly over time) :)

  21. Russ says:

    All good sound advice but I am becoming increasingly frustrated at the very mention of link building.

    I guest post on blogs, have Pinterest boards, set up a FB page linked to my site etc. etc. but hardly anyone links to me. (Ok sob sob)

    Seriously though short of offering monetary incentives (which I cannot afford) I cannot see how I get these valuable links in place, especially high PR ones.

    Just needed a moan Aidan, many thanks for the article.

    Regards

    Russ

    • Aidan says:

      I understand Russ, and I know exactly where you’re coming from. Link building isn’t enjoyable, but it’s still a critical part of getting top rankings unfortunately so it needs to be done…maybe some time in the future I’ll write a post about getting high PR links :)

  22. Lise says:

    Hello Aidan, It’s been a long time,
    Thank you for your blog posting although YOU know I think SEO is one of internet marketing’s most silly, web-space wasting, not useful to anyone except Google and people providing very expensive related services, activity! This struck home especially when I started noticing sites created uniquely
    to provide MY website backlinking services by an expensive provider; those sites had NO unique
    content whatsoever and added no value to anyone or anything – they were just put there to support
    my website and give me ranking in Google!! And then Google itself preaches about original content, usefullness, providing information to customers, appearance of Internet, etc. etc.

    Since there are people extremely smart working at search engines, it’s a wonder this silly game has not already been replaced by a worthwhile, valuable system based on MERIT not on how well you happen to be able to tweak SEO.

    I hope you will accept my comment on your blog. I will see you in the forum very soon.

    Happy travelling, Lise

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Lise, thanks for your comment – it’s an interesting perspective for sure!

      I think SEO has a huge place and is a well worthwhile thing to be a part of. It’s just another form of marketing and something that people with very little experience can quickly see success with.

      Now, the quality of SEO services will obviously vary – I’ve been lucky over the years and am now pretty happy with the results I see from the SEO companies I use…

      See you on the forum soon :)

  23. Kelly says:

    Great advice…thank you for sharing.

    I am interested to see who this mystery special guest you will be grilling live on camera.

  24. Graham in UK says:

    Hi Aidan
    The colour is fine for me – the point being it’s the message that counts and the information given!
    Presentation is secondary to the content freely given to help us.
    If you were given a map to find the buried treasure, would you worry what coloured paper it was?
    Looking forward to your special guest video next month.
    regards from the UK and thanks.

    German Shepherd Dogs-Don’t You Just Love Them!

  25. kevin says:

    Great stuff Aidan, I like the set and forget websites section good inspiration to keep plugging along. I’m curious what types of monetization methods do you use(ie.adsense,clickbank etc) on your sites and which ones are working best for you?

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Kevin, thanks for the comment. I use a mixture of monetization methods, although usually just one at a time. Adsense, Clickbank affiliate links, Commission Junction etc. Adsense works well, although something like Clickbank typically will be more lucrative when the keywords you target have a product that matches them well.

  26. David says:

    Hello Aidan,

    I have several adsense sites that were hit hard by penguin.
    Some of them have over 100 pages of content so I would hate to just close shop on them and move on…

    They were doing great in the rankings by doing article directory blasts using spun articles and targeting just the primary keyword.

    That strategy got obliterated with penguin and all the sites tanked.

    What’s your advice when it comes to recovering these types of sites?

    Would you still recommend LinkingMadeEasy.com’s methods for sites like this?

    Thanks!

    -David

    • Aidan says:

      Hi David (sorry about the delayed reply – I’ve only just seen this),

      Penguin was all about having an imbalance in the anchor text you use…most likely, you’ve used the same anchor text way too often. To get your rankings back, you need to build more links that use much more varied anchor texts. Using the URL as the anchor text is a great idea.

      I elaborate on what Penguin is all about and how to move forward here: http://aidanbooth.com/may-2012-internet-marketing-update/

      If your sites offer value, then I recommend working to get them back rankings again. If they’re low quality, then it’d probably make sense to start over unfortunately.

      I’m still using LinkingMadeEasy.com a lot for my personal link building. They get lots of different types of links AND also use plenty of variation – so yes, they’re still a safe bet.

      Hope this helps!

  27. Aidan, priceless info here, thanks for taking the time out of your busy travel schedule to post it!

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