Today I am working on a client site which is aiming to rank in the legal space. This is a competitive theme, so if I want this client’s site to rank I need to send potent signals about this site from the word “go” This is a rank and rent effort my client wants to get off the ground, and we are targeting just a few markets that we know have traffic, but not the largest markets first. We are aiming for tier 2 cities, as they’ll be easier to rank, and then we can use the authority we gain in those markets to parlay into the larger cities.
This is a lead gen model, so we don’t have the benefit of having a real address on the ground, so we’ll be using our cunning to create the appearance of a real business to the Goog.
Ground ZERO: Never skip this step on a new site deployment
First thing: Always, always, always use website silo architecture when setting up your site. I use the SEO Design Framework, and it has a built-in silo builder that makes this a snap.
Did I say “ALWAYS” use silo architecture on a new site? Yea, I did. The reason is this: no other method can signal theme factors as well as your on page SEO. Good silo architecture does a lot of heavy lifting and can reduce the amount of back-links required to compete by many, many times. Don’t believe me, go hit up my friend Matt Da Cruz to find out more about he power of silo architecture.
In this case we are using a geography based silo structure whereby the region is the silo, and the body of law is the category. This type of structure can cause an issue for some, because each area of law needs to be represented in the URL of the page for EVERY region.
NOTE: WordPress won’t allow you to create duplicate slugs… doh! Let me show you how to best over come the duplicate slug issues inside WordPress. Again, I am showing you inside the SEO Design Framework’s silo builder, where I have created a modified slug using another geo-signal… the ZIP code.
This works great as it allows you to create totally unique slugs, AND send additional information to the alogos that this is a regionally-specific page.
—> http://domain.com/city2/divorce -ZIP2
Additional dialing in of on-page factors include schema.org markup, as well as internal contextual links. Both of these things I handled by our industrial strength tools for WordPress, the SEO Ultimate Plugin, and SDF. I’ll cover both of these tools in depth in another bog post.
Moving it Off Page
Now that I got my client’s theme dialed in with on-page SEO, it’s time to look at creating trusted and themed links off-page. Pulling trust and authority is a hot topic, with Jimmy Kelley’s Domain Authority Stacking (DAS) methods getting traction (and taking heat) all over the SEO forums. But from what I’ve learned, nothing creates trust like social and positive on site user metrics, so I’ll be throwing a little bit of paid traffic at this site (I might try crowdsearch.me on this one) and a small stream of social. That will provide a very good initiation into the index as a trusted site.
Next, I’ll use a scaled down version of Jimmy’s DAS to kick off all of my link building on a new site, using FCS Networker to publish content on high DA sites, and pure diverse back links that I develop using an advanced filtering method of keyword data I get from my favorite keyword tool: TheLastKeywordTool (TLKT) from Network Empire. The pure diverse keywords keep my anchors on topic, but far away from potential over-optimization.
First thing I do to get my anchors is drill into the root/broad phrase for the target page using TLKT, and then set a custom filter, making sure I am using only highly relevant keywords that actually have traffic.
There are a lot of keyword tools out there, and this is just the one I am familiar with. It has advanced features that I can’t find in other tools, the least of which is not the natural language processing aspects of this tool. I can sort the results by traffic, PPC, LSI… and the tool allows me to manipulate the entire set of related terms and synonyms in any way I want, depending on what I am trying to achieve.
In this particular case, I am looking for safe yet powerful anchors that will provide relevance and still protect me from future over-optimization penalties should things go awry down the line (which happens when clients or employees get over zealous on-page). Once I have a filtered set of terms for this purpose, I export the filtered words and then hand select just the ones I want in Microsoft Excel.
Here’s where I go the extra mile on my anchors. You may or may not chose to do so, but I like doing this. Ever heard of Google humming bird? I take the pure diverse keywords I have selected, and turn them into statements or questions. Why? I’ll leave that for you to figure out.
Now that I’ve got my anchors sorted, I am going to publish these links on the high Domain Authority web2s, and then apply backlinks to those to add power to my trust and theme! It’s time for me to execute on this campaign so I am going to get to it, and I hope this helped.
Remember, your on page (silo architecture, schema.org markup, and internal contextual links) sends the strongest signals to the search engines about what each page should rank for, so if you set that up right, you can relax on the exact match anchors off page.