This is a nice guide from BHW. Credit where it is due. I hope this will work as a motivation after the recent Google updates and it will open your eyes. SEO gets expensive. SEO is not accesible for everyone now - back in the days of 2011 you were able to rank with scrapebox or xrumer. Now it's harder and much more costly. SEO and online won't get that accesible for everyone as was in 2010 when you were able to get a site and rank it in a week (note: on a profitable keyword). With all these updates Google only wants to raise the bar everytime. They're looking on how to make more money for themselves, it's obvious. However despite their efforts spam, backlinking, SEO and blackhat will always work. The system just gets a little bit better and you have to find new ways - that's it. I was able to rank #1 with tons of websites in 2010, guess what - I still can do that in 2013. Why? Because by creating case studies and testing a lot of stuff I saw what Google likes and overall how it reacts to different stuff. It's really that is. Some of you look for step by step plans, some of you look for easy methods or some of you look for 1 magic trick or secret to make the million. Stop doing that and you will see repeated on this forum a lot: start taking action. You will learn a lot by that. When I was the very best newbie on internet and IM I was confused and I simply couldn't make the link with everything, didn't know what to read and who to talk with and where to start exactly. Someday I was talking with an old friend, a little more experienced in SEO than me at that time and what did he told me? "Take action and you will know". I was having a long list of questions such as 'How to take action if I don't know what a backlink is thing', 'Why to start if I don't know this and that, it doesn't make sense' but he knew something... 2 days after I took action (taking action is not reading) I had my mind full of stuff, it really made sense and finally I got a hold of it. Once you take action you will find solutions. That's the point in all this thing with taking action. Once you take action you get the stuff, you get the whole image. When you take your steps you will have a lot of stuff to learn and by taking action you start searching on solutions and by finding the solution to the last thing you didn't know, you will be able to make the next step. This next step you make everytime will get you to where you want. Do you know when I learned what a backlink is? When I first tried to create a backlink by myself. I knew what a backlink means, I knew how a backlink worked and I did realized how this everything works. Oh and, I won't ever forget the first day I saw my website jumping on page 1. I tell you - it's not the same feeling you get when you earn your first dollar online. Someone just can Paypal you for a job and that's your first money online but once you rank in Google - oh God - you know you can do that forever at a bigger scale. If it worked once it will work always (or at least with 95% success rate) And that's what I did - I was getting my first farm of sites 3-4 months later. And yes, I was in the elite zone, me, my team and my friends were creating A TON (I won't say any numbers) of MFA style sites ranking at top of Google. Yes... and do you want me to remember you how I started? By trying to create a backlink... then by creating more backlinks... then by seeing my first website ranking high in Google. As time goes it's obvious you need to adjust. Did I get hit by the first Panda and Penguin updates? Yes. Did I was crying and ranting how and why this happend? No. Did I was one of the firsts that were able to rank a website again, at really short time after the updates were completed? Yes. You know what happend? We were getting back into positions. How much we suffered the loss of the sites and the loss of 'the great passive income'? Just a little. Until we found out how to rank a website again. I was doing it again hard, I was having the simple formula to defeat the machine. It took me 1 week to find out how to rank a website AGAIN after the major updates. It took us 2 months of everyday work to create everything again. It's only about feeding the machine with what he likes. Google is a robot. Is a machine. Just give him simple algorithmical reasons that he resonates with; making him to give value to the overall process (ex: ranking a website in Google or increasing pagerank). At first blog comments were hot. Then (or simultaneously) forum profiles. Everyone was doing that - aggresive on page seo and blind backlink creation, it worked but there was a reason why all the forums were full of "Why did happened, I'm lost" when Penguin and Panda appeard. Now the power is in quality backlinks - blog comments, forum profiles, web 2.0 profiles, social bookmarking have low value and low power. What you're looking at should be contextual backlinks from powerful domains. If there is a place to add your piece of unique content and an anchored backlink then do it - you will see the results. Sure this might be targeted on some updates, I too expect that in 2 or 3 years maximum web 2.0 blogs won't have the same power that have now but don't you like to enjoy 2-3 years of top rankings? I doubt it. Content is the king now. What is good for you (you, the one that wants to bank anything from 100$ to 1000$ a day) is that Google doesn't care about what content you have, the machine wants only indexable unique content. I don't know where you will get unique content but just get it, hire someone to write articles for you and use that to build backlinks. Even if articles cost you 1000$, after you created the ton of contextual backlinks won't you be happy ranking in a profitable that has potential to give you 200-300$ a day? It's about the ROI. I dare you to do this - first bucks you have invest in unique content articles, then once you have the content ready create web 2.0 blogs (each and every blog with 1 unique article) targeting 3-5 keywords and keep an eye on your targeted keywords. Thank me later. If you do it in a right way you will get a hold of this stuff and start ranking huge. If not, then I recommend you learning how to do it right (you will only learn this by taking action.) You won't succeed until you take action. Reading won't help you a lot. Reading and learning helps but it's nothing without action, you simply won't have the whole image and if you don't have the whole image you will be stuck for a great time punching yourself seeing others how easy they bank. Yes, once you learn it you will see how 'easy' it is. Anyway, enough with my story (perhaps maybe I'm gonna create a new thread for it as it's pretty adventureos). I will explain how you can optimize your website and get a huge advantage of the on-page SEO part. Domain name: Do you wonder how EMD still rank even after the big EMD update? Well this is simple, as long as you don't over optimize your website on some other parts then you will be safe with an EMD. Why EMDs got penalized is because most of the websites had a popular set of factors, such as: EMD, high keyword density (the keyword that is in the domain) in the homepage/articles, high number of backlinks on the same exact keyword and a few other optimization factors that strongly showed Google you optimize for that exact keyword. Now you can still rank with EMDs but you just have to be careful on the other aspects (such as exact anchor on the backlink profile). If you want to have an EMD you will need significantly less backlinks than if you had a brand domain (without exact keyword in domain). Where people would go wrong is having an EMD and throwing a big amount of anchors on the exact keyword, well that's obvious it's a great way to get yourself penalized. To explain even more: if you have an EMD you will need to put less effort in optimizing your on-page and/or backlinks. Having an exact match domain, having your website on page optimized, getting backlinks for your website are important factors but when you have an EMD you simply need to have less of the others because in this way you will not show Google you're optimizing hard for that specific keyword hence making your website safe for any algorithm updates. Same as with other type of domains, if you have a new website but is not an exact match keyword then you will be able to go a step further with the other factors such as on-page or backlinks. If you have a brand or unrelated aged domain (< 2005) then you will be able to go very hard on all factors (I'm gonna point a fact here: Google loves aged domains and permits a whole lot more stuff than with the new domains when comes toSEO and linkbuilding - as a side story - I've ranked aged unrelated domains for terms like payday loans or dating niches so maybe this gives you some ideas , thank me later). Once you have your domain then you need to create your website. When you write your content for your website or article, here is what you need to do: Find one keyword for that specific page. For example if you create your website you need to add a 1500 words article on the front page with that exact keyword. Don't optimize for more than 1 keyword, this is a huge mistake by some of you. Checklist for the article: Has the exact keyword in the title. Has the exact keyword in the meta description. Keyword density is of at least 2% The exact keyword is used in the first paragraph (in the first line of the paragraph maybe). Or in the first 200 words of the article. The exact keyword is used in last paragraph (last line of the ending paragraph maybe). Or in the last 200 words of the article. The exact keyword is in H1 The exact keyword is in a medium to large image ALT tag The article contains a SECOND medium to large image named as the keyword (named is different than alt tag, named means this-is-keyword.jpg) and without ALT tag. Trick: when writing the article bold your keyword once in the first paragraph, underline (or just bold again) your keyword once in the 3th paragraph and give italic style to your keyword in the 5th paragraph. Again I want to mention: don't bold or use styling for other keyword rather than the exact keyword you're trying to rank for. Having 1, 2 or 3 different keywords bolded or stylized (underline/italic) it will simply confuse the bot and you won't be able to take advantage of this on page factor. Another thing from the category of "Dont's" is to never link to a much powerful site than you using the exact keyword. This can take great amount of the power from your website and it will simply make you question why you don't rank. With the above recommended on-page optimization blueprint I usually go for 1000, 1500 or 2000 words of content on the homepage. This is because it's the extra mile to be safe for this kind of optimization. You can still do the same on a 500 words article but I stopped adding a 500 word article on the homepage of a site after the first updates. And also keep in mind: the matter you format your article weights a lot. Not that it's good for your visitors but it has importance for Google too. You need to make the article formatted in paragraphs and subtitles. If you just post your articles as a wall of text or if you use 1-2 paragraphs Google will take some solid points from your site. Using LSI in your article: LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. Google is placing a heavy weight on word relationships. In some of my SEO threads I wrote about LSI and content relevancy. Google weights a lot on this and it's a really simple trick to make Google think you are innocent and you are not optimizing for that specific keyword. This is a great way to make Google think your article is completetly related to the niche/keyword. I won't go in detail here because it's enough talk on it in the linked thread. I don't want to repeat myself but I wanted to remind you about the importance of it, you just can't afford to overlook the relevancy factor (the most important factors - if you don't have relevancy you won't rank for that keyword - what we try to do with on-page optimization is to create relevancy for the keyword right?). Backlinks: 1. Directory submission - Yes, this still works, maybe it's a shock for you but every backlink works if you know how to create it. Submitting now to 5000 free web directories with the same description will hurt your website guaranteed. So don't do it. If you plan to do Web Directory submission for your site (you should, because if done properly it gives great authority) then you need to take into account these tips: Don't use same description on more than 1 web directory. I have even saw people taking their meta description and submitting it to web directories - this is so wrong! If you want to properly do directory submission then choose only the high PRones (the ones that have high PR usually but not always have the best trust, authority, citation and trust flow). If you are even serious about it then you should cosinder paying the fee for getting into a private directory. Google loves paid directories and he knows how to detect it. This makes your website look like a trustable business (Do you remember the trick to pay your domain 5 years in advance? It's the same principle here, it says Google to trust your website more). If you want to do proper web directory submission get yourself a writer and pay him to write niche related descriptions, after that get the top of the web directories and just do this. It will help your website get some solid authority. Best is to link to the root domain (no inner pages and without anchor, even if the directory allows you). 2. Press release - This method of syndicating your press release to specialised trusted websites (such as PRweb.com or sbwire.com) it's again a great way to earn trust. This is what big companies do when they launch something new or they just have an event. This press release thing makes Google look at your website as a established trusted brand. You can write whatever related to your niche, you need to make it look like a press release (annoucing something, giving news on something that happend recently in your industry) and you will hit the goal. However be careful with the press release thing, I won't recommend a lot of pages linking duplicate content to your site, do it once or twice but that's it. Personally I won't create a lot of pages with the same content linking to my site. Send some twitter tweets and likes to your most important press release pages and you will simulate the effect just perfect. Best is to link to the root domain and inner pages, some anchors here and there but personally I don't put keyword anchors in the press releases, only links to inner pages and root domain. 3. Social Bookmarking, Forum Profiles and Blog comments To make it short - social bookmarks, forum profiles and blog comments are low quality type of backlinks. The single power that these backlinks can push are from big sites (like reddit or digg). Otherwise, it's a huge no no. These backlinks are very hard to get indexed in Google and that's because they are so low quality. These backlinks if they are not from powerful domains like reddit or digg will have a hard time to get indexed, and that's because they lack of content. The greater use of these type of backlinks is by using long descriptions/text (where accepted) hence increasing your chances of getting the backlinks indexed. Advice #1: If this is not some real power site like reddit or digg just don't point it to your moneysite. It will harm your rankings! And advice #2: don't use your exact anchor (usually if it's not a contextual backlink don't use exact anchor) because it will harm your rankings again. The single way I use these kind of links is either high PR sites linking with legit/real content to money site or longish descriptions were possible using them as Tier 2 to easily index the other backlinks. Otherwise, blasting 500 low quality bookmarks type (pligg) to your money site won't do got for your ranking. For forum profiles & blog comments I could talk the same. Stick only with the high quality sites and link with a brandable anchor (naked like www.site.com or Site.com or Site - just don't use your anchor on non contextual backlinks). 4. Web 2.0 blogs and Contextual backlinks - Web 2.0 blogs are authority and trusted domains that lets you create a blog or page on them. These are considered contextual backlinks and are the most valueable backlinks. This is simply the kind of backlink that is the most valueable at the moment. Google is crazy about content, about new and unique content. Contextual backlinks will sky rocket your website in ranking. You know why blog networks posts worked so good back in the day (they still work good anyway but the network needs to be really private)? It's because the backlink type was contextual. Usually the domains were powerful (good PR, good authority & trust) and you added an article of 400-500 words on it with an anchor and that's what it was. That's why private network blog posts were and are so effective - they are based on unique content. If there is a place on a powerful domain to add your article with an anchor then go for it. Articles may be expensive but in the end you will have huge ROI, who cares about the investment if you get your money back x10 times. You need to focus on creating rich text web 2.0 blogs (such as wordpress, squidoo, weebly and so on). If web 2.0 blogs such as wordpress or weebly give the kind of rankings that give now then just imagine what a contextual backlink with your exact anchor on an .EDU or .GOV domain would mean. You can't get an .edu or .gov contextual backlink that easy but be happy that you are able to create a free page & add your article on domains such as wordpress. These are golden, if you have a team of writers or you just have unique content then just use it for this. Google puts the biggest weight on content. For this kind of backlinks the best is to link with your anchor. This is the kind of backlink (contextual backlinks) that gives most of the power. From a PR 5 blog post and a PR 5 footer link the one that will give more ranking power will be the blog post. The benefit that you get from a contextual backlink you won't get from any other kind of backlink. A nice little method for low to medium competition keywords is something like: if you have 10 articles, use that 10 articles to create blogs on top web 2.0 blogs like wordpress, weebly, squidoo and do the optimization on them as you were to do it on your own site. Make them optimized for that specific keyword (use the checklist for article creation) and have a link to your website with an exact anchor from each optimized top blog. In some niches 10 won't be enough, just do some more like 20-30 optimized blogs if you see you're competition is a little bit harder. You will be shocked by the results. Once I took a newly registered domain (I usually do crazy tests), I put 2000 words of unique content about general stuff meaning the article wasn't optimized for any specific keyword. In fact the article was some book fantasy story. I just wanted to see how much the content matters on the backlinks that are pointed to the site. I gaved Google time to index it. Meanwhile I was tracking 5 keywords that were selected previously. Each keyword of these 5 were from different niches, no niche was identical or similar and each keyword had somewhere to 200-300 exact searched (intentionally selected low searched and low competition for testing sake). At this point we are two days after domain was registered, we have the website indexed and I'm preparing to start the link building test. After I selected the keywords I immediately tracked them. And obviously ranking of the keywords was no where. That being said, with all things setup I just started the link building. For each keyword I have created top 15 web 2.0 blogs on-page optimized for each specific keyword and linked to site with the exact keyword. The anchor link was from a H1 Title (have you tried that? ha ha). Two days later 60 out of 75 (we have 5 keywords remember right?) web 2.0 blogs were indexed. Results: 2 keywords were in top 5, other 3 keywords were in top 10. If I were to have the keywords on my website I was guaranteed to rank #1 for some of the keywords. Remember: the trick here was to link from H1 and to have the web 2.0 blogs optimized - otherwise I'm sure the results weren't going to be the same. Yes, so... what you need to learn from this - is that the contextual backlink and how good optimized on that keyword is, MATTERS big day for your ranking. Linking from an H1 tag anchor plays a greater role in making Google decide what is the relevancy/optimization for that article and how much power he needs to give for your website. Stick with contextual backlinks, this is the way for long term rankings. 5. Doc sharing sites This is another amazing way to get contextual backlink from powerful domains. Submit one unique article on each site linking with your exact anchor and you will have your own piece of high quality contextual backlink. You can do the same here, optimize your PDF/Doc and submit it only to top sites. Make sure you don't submit to sites that encode your doc in a flash or something not easily indexable by Google. These kind sites usually get crawled regulary and your unique content PDF will get indexed really fast. Document sharing sites have huge power and authority, high PR and Alexa. Having a contextual backlink on each one of those will matter for your rankings. Since this is a contextual type of backlink I usually link with an exact anchor because doc sharing sites does have benefits for website's ranking. 6. Guest posts If you ever wondered I want to assure you these still work. There hasn't been any update targeting guest posts or advertorials. Guest posts are the best kind of backlinks. These are contextual, relevant and from powerful domains from your niche. If I were to make a classification: First most powerful backlinks are contextual from hugely relevant blogs/domains from your niche. The second best are contextual backlinks (but you play with the relevancy of it and optimize that article and it easily becomes relevant.) To sum this up, what you need to look is for contextual backlinks. Use contextual backlinks like web 2.0 blogs, guest posts and doc sharing sites to link with your exact anchor and use backlinks like web directories or social bookmarks to link with brand anchors (like site.com). This is the right way to do SEO. Don't get yourself amazed by this world, it's a hard place and as you can see more and more just quit after these updates but real IMers will always have or find ways to beat a machine like Google. If you want high rankings for long term use this.