2018-2019 SEO

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Haven't been on the forum for a while and thought I would check in to see what is happening. What a difference a year (or two) makes. Seems like the activity level here has dropped off? Which begs the query, is it because of lack of interest, or is SEO no longer working.

On my side, as I mentioned months ago, I stopped ALL SEO efforts for my MS. I spent years going up and down in serps, losing momentum every time an index update happened and then having to start all over again. I tried every tool to automate things even if I didn't understand what SEO is all about. I was spending lots of money on proxies, software, equipment, broadband, etc etc.  There truly was no sustainable ROI to what I was doing. Then yet another index update and I just had enough. I stopped all automation seo completely and focused on building traffic (real traffic) from platforms like IG, FB, Linkedin, etc etc. Results for last 6 months = no loss of position in serp despite a few more updates. To me, it is pretty clear that I wasted time + money as the seo efforts resulted in a zero net gain. 

I do not mention this to disparage seo. In fact, I personally know someone who has made millions of dollars from one KW over the years. He has a staff of 30 in NYC banging out content articles and linkbuilding. He is locked at the top position for the KW. But he told me he has paid out millions to get there. Who has that budget? Not me. I also have a friend who is a CMO at a major insurance company who shared with me the 'favors' that G's ad sales team does for them based on their ad budget. Organic search is a level playing field? I don't think so.

So, my question is simply, is anyone having success with software tools? I mean real success, say top 3 position on KW with 10M++ serps. I am curious where everyone is with things now. I am top 2 pages with all of my KW with zero seo effort and cost. But if a software tool can be referred that can demonstrate its ability to get me solidly on Page 1 then I think it is something to consider.

SER back in the day was an incredible tool. It still is. I am just not sure what to use it for now. Links do not matter in any way for seo. As I mentioned months ago, linkless seo has replaced link creation. G has the AI down to where just content about a site now counts as a link. So what is the point of having the penalty risk with building links?

What is everyone doing for the 2nd half of 2018, and into 2019? Tactics? Strategy? On my side, I will continue to build engagement and referred traffic to targeted pages. I am also slowly dismantling my PBN.

Good luck to all and thanks for any feedback.
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Comments

  • 0
    shaunshaun http://shaunmarrs.com/ - The Ultimate Resource For Free GSA Tool Tutorials!
    Good post dude, I pretty much agree with you on every point. I haven't been able to get anything top three with SER for any decent amount of time since the Penguin 4 rollout, I don't think I have used SER on any serious projects for about a year now, just been trying to work out some white hat/zero backlinking stuff.

    The project I am focusing on now is taking a bunch of time but looking back most of it has been spent unlearning bad habits like aggressive ad placements and overuse of affiliate links and stuff. The content I put on the domain back in January is so much different to the stuff I am uploading today due to a ton of micro changes over the months.

    The idea is to solve micro problems that are very specific for people with little to no competition and then let stuff like user time on page and other UX signals push it up the SERPs for related keywords and synonyms. I reviewed my latest round of keyword tests about a week ago and have tweaked it again for this next round of content and I am slowly getting there.

    I saw a bunch of people on Reddit saying they were hit by the updates at the start of the month but I managed to avoid them, I did get hit on the 22nd but from what I have been able to see its due to the on page stuff I mentioned like too many affiliate links. I have stripped a bunch out and I am just waiting for Google to cache the page again to see if it works.

    Not sure if many people on here have heard of them but I am trying something very similar to what the guys at income school explain on their YouTube channel. I watched their live stream today and it sounds like I have slowly managed to get close to their methods over the last 8 month or so but I might actually buy their course anyway for my next site.

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  • 0
    @shaun thank you! I certainly have learned a lot from your posts over the years!

    Thank you for the lead on the income school videos. I'll be watching them this weekend.

    Overall though, it looks like G has upped their game as we all knew they would and automation has become a bit of a footprint. 

    I do like good traffic generating software though. Just don't use chrome with it :-)
    G still hasn't caught up with detecting good random traffic being generated. Might be another 6 - 12 months. After that I am not sure what tricks will be left and G wins the end-game...where we all start paying them for traffic.

    Good luck to all..
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  • 0
    shaunshaun http://shaunmarrs.com/ - The Ultimate Resource For Free GSA Tool Tutorials!
    Yea the Google AI is sick now. You cant slip in churn and burn sites between penguin rollouts anymore as after penguin 4 it became real time so link juice is discounted instantly IMO.

    Also rankbrain is meant to be able to do some crazy stuff these days. There was something on backlinko about how it has a 20% higher chance of detecting low-quality pages than the human Google manual review team or something now.

    On top of that, if you look at an unspin of some auto-generated content from a bot and run it through something like Grammarly you can see that it detects a ton of errors, I would imagine Google can pick up much more than that and discount any possible link juice from it.

    The Income School guys and a few others have said that in the next five years they doubt backlinks will be such an important ranking factor anymore as UX is becoming stronger. If the last 18 months are anything to go by then I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

    I'm just trying to be white hat and follow Googles guidelines with my new sites. I do have one project in mind where I want to use traffic leaking and social media though so that should be interesting.
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  • 0
    edited September 1
    First off, you don't need to rank 10M+ searches to make a lot of money in SEO. You just need to select the right market, one that's highly profitable, find a technique that works, and rinse and repeat it. It's not easy, but... and I hate to say this, it not being easy makes people like you quit and leaves more room and us (people still actively ranking) to make more money. No offense, that's just the cold hard truth.

    "I am also slowly dismantling my PBN."

    PBNs still work, but there are many new PBN filters that if you were still in the game and competing, you'd already be aware of. I'm not going to name them here because frankly, I'd prefer Google not know that I know what they are. If you're going to be into SEO in 2018-2019, you either stay on top of the algorithm updates, or go full white hat.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    Far as SER is concerned.  You are correct that you can't blast links like it's 2012 and expect to rank. You have to have the right mix.

    Here's an example, I have a friend who is dominating the SERPs in a certain niche. I scrape SER platforms 24/7 on a few servers. So I told him let's do a test... I took all my link sources (non-guestbooks/images etc), scanned them in Majestic... Took all the relevant-TF domains, and built them to his site as a test.

    Now this was only like... 15-30 links to start, as again, I only took the really really really relevant ones. Also, I used 100% URL/Brand anchors.

    Results? After a few weeks (no other links were built during this time)... +40 on 130k keyword. +8 on 5k smaller keyword (was already top 20).

    On that note, using SER for only link building is also a waste. I use this software for probably, 10+ things that are not "directly" building links. Needless to say, SER is still an invaluable tool, in the same way that Scrapebox is, even though people aren't mass blog comment spamming anymore.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    "Links do not matter in any way for seo."

    This is the most naive thing I've heard all year. Check any competitive SERP in a profitable market and find a site that doesn't have links. You won't. It's absurd (biggest understatement ever) to say "linkess seo has replaced link creation".

    Google's algorithm is still... an algorithm. The "AI" you speak of is just (at it's core) machine-learning. There's no a quantum-level AI God patrolling the SERPs. They said themselves that AI will never fully control the algorithm, as it would render them unable to make changes in the future.
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  • 0
    DeeeeeeeeDeeeeeeee the Americas
    edited September 1
    seoaddict: Incredible comment. +++ wow

    "There's no a quantum-level AI God patrolling the SERPs."

    haha - nicely put. That would be a vast waste of  G resources that could be used in other ways more profitably for ABandC & usefully for society, Im sure, *if/when* it exists. :)

    Still, no doubt the algo is adapting and learning what signals are most relevant, and what is fake or non-correlative, I guess.  I'm sure over time the real signals do change, even, as Internet use changes with society's needs.

    Like social networks. BIG deal for most ppl IRL. Right. Now.

    Social stuff I neglect and it's probly important. (I know it is.) But not spamming socials.

    SER could be used for a very targeted and meaningful approach to this, with some effort. Social is great for branding and even driving traffic, but precisely how much/will it affect SEs view of everything and actually move SERPs?

    The precise way the algorithm learns is something I am verrrrry curious about. :) I can think of a few ways.

    Correlating unknown factors with other (identified) factors, some of which are more reliable indicators...

    and...probly many, many other ways...

    Like u say, "...you can't blast links like it's 2012 and expect to rank."

    We're all smarter at this. It's incredible; we're on the edge of a totally new enterprise and use of technology that's changing as its depth grows. Awesome!

    To do what was 2012 seems primitive.  I am checking over all my sites and T1s and the older sites are primitive in too many ways.  Look at GSA's new site: Much more focused, user-friendly, and time-friendly and to-the-point. Organized. In all ways of SEO, we're growing more proficient and it shows.  ;)

    PS...I always made all those "Matt Cutts...grrrr" comments :p ...but now I do see that those talks and workshops were really an important part of good SEO, and yes, probably more than ever Matt Cutts was really guiding us in the right direction, as far as THOSE aspects of SEO he discusses go.
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    @seoaddict interesting perspective. I can't comment on 5k KW's as I compete in a different world. In my world things seem different than your experience. FYI - linkless attribution with G happened 6-8 months ago. Being in denial about it doesn't mean it isn't happening. Even multiple people at G are quoted on it. It's no secret sauce, it has happened. 

    Yes, links still work. I said they don't matter anymore, and you are right to call me on that. I should have said, "they won't matter as much going forward". They are being 'lessened' in value going forward. What does this mean? It means if you only focus on building links, you will need to be more clever, work harder, and go after lower value KW's, and spend all day on SB looking for a nugget of gold. If you are ok with that, good for you. I am not. Why? because the sand will shift again in a few months, and all of that work will be mitigated. I have, in my niche, seen linkless attribution working well. I am personally excited about it because it removes the risk of penalty from links. The downside is that one must generate a lot of engagement activity, but the work load is about the same as building links so no big deal.

    C+B is still a viable business model, and likely will be for a while more. But to deny where G is going is silly. Everyone knows the end game with G and this is the next phase. 

    Here was a post from 2017 giving advance notice. A good way to educate yourself on the topic: https://searchenginewatch.com/2017/12/21/why-linkless-mentions-are-the-future-of-link-building/

    And, one from early 2018 acknowledging the fact: https://searchengineland.com/use-brand-mentions-seo-linkless-future-link-building-290344


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  • 0
    edited September 6
    "FYI - linkless attribution with G happened 6-8 months ago. Being in denial about it doesn't mean it isn't happening."

    False. While citations may pass some sort of "authority" or "trust" they are nothing when it comes to raw ranking power. Links are still the #1 most important factor in ranking.

    "Yes, links still work. I said they don't matter anymore, and you are right to call me on that. I should have said, "they won't matter as much going forward". They are being 'lessened' in value going forward."
    Google has tested an algorithm without links internally and said themselves the results were miserably bad. You are the same type of guy that was spouting this nonsense in 2015 (and probably every other year).

    "It means if you only focus on building links, you will need to be more clever, work harder, and go after lower value KW's, and spend all day on SB looking for a nugget of gold. If you are ok with that, good for you."
    You're not ranking anything, I'm doing the opposite. I know what works, you don't. So there's that.

    "Why? because the sand will shift again in a few months, and all of that work will be mitigated."

    They've changed their algorithm every month since... forever. What's your point? You can't hang, that's essentially what you're saying.


    "I have, in my niche, seen linkless attribution working well. I am personally excited about it because it removes the risk of penalty from links."

    Nonsense. Show one single example of a site ranking on a competitive keyword without links. If it's an affiliate site, they're hiding their links, this isn't rocket science. If it's an authority site, they have links to the homepage and have an internal linking structure such that the ranking pages receive massive juice / authority from homepage / structural internal links.

    When it comes to ranking subpages, there is no doubt that domain authority and proper internal linking structure are quite powerful. But you will never see a homepage ranking on a competitive term without external links.


    "The downside is that one must generate a lot of engagement activity, but the work load is about the same as building links so no big deal."

    All of this can be easily manipulated by systems that are already available.


    "C+B is still a viable business model, and likely will be for a while more. But to deny where G is going is silly. Everyone knows the end game with G and this is the next phase."

    C+B hasn't been a viable business model since 2013 (this again proves how out of touch you are with the current state of SEO). I know, because I was literally at the top of the game then. No one is doing C+B now, except those who have access to hacked links, etc (think: cheap nfl jerseys)... in which, I don't, and have no interest in using them.


    Here was a post from 2017 giving advance notice. A good way to educate yourself on the topic:

    Did you miss the fact that I'm ranking on many highly competitive keywords in a very competitive market across multiple countries? I don't need some newbie who thinks he's an expert telling me what do read. Did I ever say citations didn't pass any sort of authority? No. I said you will not rank on any competitive keyword without links. That is an indisputable fact.


    "And, one from early 2018 acknowledging the fact:"

    I bet you believe everything you see on TV as well. You seem to be easily propagandized (or simply mislead) by these "SEO gurus". I don't blame you -- it's easy to fall into that trap. Sadly, in my opinion, your inability to test new techniques, to adapt, to think outside the box / think critically, will land you back at that 9-5 job if it hasn't already.

    You keep doing your linkless techniques though, I'm sure you'll be ranking in no time. And also keep telling people this is what works and it's the "future of SEO" and all this, please, do it. Every time you spout this stuff I earn more money. Keep going @viking, keep going!

  • 0
    I literally typed out a long-ish response to this thread and the whole links don't work, SEO is dead and AI is the king, blah blah blah, but then I remembered that it benefits me if you guys carry on telling yourselves and others it can't be done, so carry on...


  • 0
    DeeeeeeeeDeeeeeeee the Americas
    "...but then I remembered that it benefits me if you guys carry on telling yourselves and others it can't be done, so carry on..." -davbel UK

    hysterical...and, it's true. lol Tho I would be curious as to what your response said. This is actually a cool topic, with some interesting facets.

    In fact, I know the topic has been one of great debate here on GSA's boards over time, and has even spilled onto other SEO boards.

    ok:
    (non-adaptive) SEO is dead.
    everyone happy now? :p

    ps I could certainly be more adaptive, for one...! but hasnt this ALWAYS been true??
  • 0
    DeeeeeeeeDeeeeeeee the Americas
    edited September 8
    Oh, some cool nect-gen computing links (for those who found this thread's reference to quantum computing interesting & fun):



    wild stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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