To say that SEO is changing is an understatement! Last year, Google has made 300 adjustments to its algorithms.
What does that mean to us? We have to constantly stay on top of the latest changes and adjust to new methods of optimizing websites.
This article will go over the concept of using buffer sites and multi-tiered linking for small business SEO. While this is not an all-inclusive tutorial on buffer sites, it shows the principle behind buffer sites and the important role they play in website optimization.
A few years ago, Google came out with some drastic algorithm changes which carried the names of cute furry animals (and birds). You may have heard of them… Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird…
Without going into technical details, many strategies that were previously used for SEO not only became ineffective but actually resulted in a penalty to the websites that employed them.
The 2 major practices that were penalized:
This update targeted having a high number of unrelated junk links pointing to the website. A few years ago, you could rank a site for majority of keywords with a $50 subscription to an automated tool that could spit out tens of thousands of links per hour – all pointing to your site.
An “exact match keyword” is the search term that you wanted to rank for. It would be used as the “anchor text” (or “link text” in common terms) for each link built to the site. For example, back in the day, if you wanted to rank for “wedding planner Atlanta,” you could use the above-mentioned software, plug in “wedding planner Atlanta” and blast the links to your site until you were #1.
Why did Google create those penalties? In their words, to create a better search environment and weed out bad results.
While that applies to many generic search terms, in the local business world, that made no sense. If you were a wedding planner in Atlanta, the fact that you had thousands of links coming in with the exact anchor text did not make you any less or any worse of a wedding planner.
What really happened is that Google forced “real” small business owners who rely on search engine traffic to run to Adwords (Google’s paid platform) in droves. They had to do this to stay in business!
Google wins again!
After all, Google is in business to make money (and a lot of it!). All these changes were good for them. BAD for us.
These major updates created a new landscape for SEO where the quality of the websites and each piece of content linking to the main site became very important. It is now critical to use anchor text diversity and the emphasis on brand links (links containing the company name) and naked URLs (actual URL of the company site).
The key to solid SEO rankings is still to have many high quality related links coming into your website. While the optimal solution is to get high authority websites in your industry to write about your company, many times it is simply not possible for an average small business.
This is not to say that such goal should not be worked on.
In your SEO program, you should reach out to local authority websites (chamber of commerce, local news blogs) and industry sites (trade associations, organizations and blogs). Try to offer to send them an exclusive guest blog post or find some other method of securing a high quality content link from them.
However, for many business owners, those types of authority citations are very difficult to get. The next best thing is to own and control local and industry related websites to create high quality links. Obviously, those types of links are not going to be near as powerful as the established authority sites. However, they can act as a big positive factor in website rankings.
This is where a buffer site network comes into play.
It solves the 2 problems outlined above – the number of links coming directly to the site and the anchor text diversity.
It also addresses the need for “authority” site links. How does Google define an authority site? It has a lot of high quality related content which is regularly updated. It also has people talking about it – linking to it, mentioning it on social media, bookmarking it and etc.
Multi-Tiered Linking Structure
Now, we get to the concept of multi-tiered linking structure.
This is what regular link building looked before Panda and Penguin:
The problem with this set up is that the sites pointing to the main website were one-page sites or pages on unrelated websites. They had no links or social media mentions coming in to them.
Multi-tiered linking creates several layers of quality links so that the sites pointing to the main website are now gaining “authority” status in Google’s eyes.
This is what it looks like:
The tier ONE websites protect the main website from too many junk links coming in and from over-optimization of “exact match keyword” anchor text.
Depending on the strength of the competition, a business may use from a handful to dozens of tier one websites. The number of tiers in the structure is usually anywhere from 1 to 5. This has to be determined on a case by case basis after analyzing the current rankings and SEO strength of competitors. The stronger competitors are, the more work it will take to get the site ranked among the top results.
To give you an example of work involved, a milti-tiered linking structure may have 5-30 websites as tier 1, 50-300 tier 2 sites, 250-1000 tier 3 sites and so on. As you can see, there is a lot more to SEO nowadays than just pushing a button and spitting out thousands of junk links.
If you would like to get a custom analysis of your website SEO, contact us today at 615-378-7778 or filling out our contact form here.
All our SEO programs are custom made and priced based on a detailed analysis of the targeted keywords, the website’s current rankings, competitors rankings and competitors current SEO activities.