All About Search: Advanced SEO for Dating and Cam Sites
There are many similarities between adult dating and cam websites. Unlike tubes, paysites, VODs and blogs, both dating and cam sites have unique challenges. They have minimal keyword rich content, their markets are saturated with white labels and some of the biggest brands have lost SEO traction in recent years. For newer adult dating brands, this shift in competitors has opened up real opportunity.
At Adult SEO Partners, we have worked closely with many dating and cam sites over the years and would like to share a few of the more advanced methods we use to effectively rank dating and cam sites in Google, alongside the biggest names in the industry.
Effective Keyword Research
Researching target keywords can either be simple or complex depending on your method. The simple way is to just optimize for the most obvious keywords or for the keywords other big dating and cam sites target. The problem with this method is that it’s the same method used by the vast majority of all webmasters and the keywords used will be the most competitive because of it.
The more advanced and effective method of keyword research is to first dissect all of the keywords competing sites already rank for. Start by finding the top ranking sites for the biggest dating and cam keywords. Next use a tool like SEMRush to retrieve all of the keywords each of those sites rank for. This will give you an extensive list of keywords that Google considers relevant for dating and cam sites and that you can directly target yourself. However, this raw list will likely be too long to target each one so the final step will be to prioritize all of these keywords by available traffic.
To find the available search traffic for each keyword you will want to use another keyword research tool like Market Samurai which can pull estimated traffic data for each keyword directly from Google’s database. Then it’s just a matter of sorting the full list by traffic volume and selecting the keywords that are most viable for your website. The most viable keywords will be those with the most traffic for the level of competition that you have the resources to go after.
Safe Keyword Optimization
When it comes to keyword usage, these days less is more. Keyword density percentages used to be fundamental for ranking well but can now work against you. Google’s algorithm now works in a way that values natural language and readability over keyword repetition. It also values synonyms of keywords over the keywords themselves in many cases.
Also, Google can choose to create its own page title for your listing it shows to searchers. You may have one thing in your meta title but another in an H1 tag. And if it finds your H1 title more relevant to a particular query it can disregard your meta title entirely in favor of the H1 if it thinks it can improve user experience. This essentially means that it’s more important to be descriptive with your titles and text than it is to focus solely on keyword usage.
The more you optimize for any particular keyword the more scrutiny you’ll be under for ranking for that keyword. Because of this, it’s best to weave your target keywords and synonyms of those keywords into your titles and pages as naturally as possible.
The Importance of Strong Link Building
Building strong quality links from established adult sites relative to your own is vital for competing for top search rankings. Building links has been painted as taboo by Google for years now, but for reasons that aren’t directly relative to the adult industry.
Building strong links works because we’re emulating the most common method of sharing adult content. Our content is media heavy, cams and profiles are all our users really want to see and they share this content by linking to sites that offer it. And media-heavy sites only link to other sites in list form, which is why building links in these lists work.
If you were promoting a beauty product website and got primarily list links it wouldn’t work because that’s not the common way of sharing content in that industry. For beauty content you would want to do content marketing, run social campaigns, send out press releases and ask blogs to review your products. If you tried to do the same for adult it wouldn’t work because it would look unnatural. Most top ranking adult sites have simple links in list form on other top ranking adult sites.
The reason Google creates so much fear around building links is because mainstreamers (the majority of online marketers) are generally lazy with their SEO, probably because easy link building methods worked so well for so long. When they build links they go to a big Internet marketing forum, or hire someone who goes to a big forum, and they buy a ton of links all on the same blog network. None of the blogs have real SEO value and are easy for Google to find. Google penalizes the network and everyone who ever bought links from them get penalized too. Same with guest posting, most mainstreamers look for networks to make their job easy. The guest posting network gets hit and they all get hit.
Few people put in the work to build links the right way which is manually finding quality relevant sites with trust and authority from Google and contacting each one to negotiate a unique link deal. When you do this you might end up with only a handful of links, but they will all be on quality, relevant, unassociated sites with varied anchors and surrounding text. Weave them in with other links from legitimately natural sources and they camouflage in long term.
The key is to only get high value links that rank well for their own keywords, which minimize the number of external sites they link out to and that maintain a balance in the anchor text they allow to be used. This vital criteria effectively wipes out all of the cheap links you see advertised on boards and in email blasts. Good links will cost more and will be harder to find, which is exactly why they work.
Competitor Link Research
One of the best ways to find strong links is to find the strongest links top ranking competitors have. You can then contact these sites to try and negotiate link deals for your own website. This method can be tedious but it removes the guesswork from finding links that truly have the SEO value necessary to contribute to your ranking growth.
The best way to find your competitors top links is to use a tool like Ahrefs, it will show you the links of any site sorted by its own proprietary value metric.
Three Common Pitfalls that Ruin SEO Campaigns
1. Building, buying or trading cheap low value links. A good rule of thumb to follow is the easier a link is to get the less it’s likely to work. Buying links across a network of sites for a couple hundred bucks is easy and doesn’t work. Trading links with other sites who are eager to trade links is easy and doesn’t work. Hammering social media with links to all of your updates is easy and doesn’t work (for rankings). However, getting a link near the top of another big quality site that ranks well for keywords similar to those you’re targeting is not easy, yet will pack more SEO punch than anything else you can do.
2. Overusing the keywords you’re trying to rank for. It may be tempting to cram your page titles, your content descriptions and your link anchor text with the keywords you want to rank for, but you should avoid the urge. Google specifically looks for this and penalizes sites for it. Targeting pages for keywords should be done minimally and in a way that is natural and readable. And as for anchor text, Google values branding over keyword targeting so whenever possible just use your site name.
3. Targeting the biggest keywords. Unless you have the financial resources, avoid going head on with the biggest sites for the biggest keywords. If you’re just starting out or have a limited marketing budget the worst thing you can do is go after the highest traffic keywords because you’re likely to get no traffic at all. Before you can tap into a keywords traffic you have to replace a top-ranking site that already worked to earn a top ranking. This is easier and costs less to do with lesser competitive keywords.
Both dating and cam sites are unique in the approach you have to take when planning SEO campaigns, but there is so much opportunity given the growing markets that the challenges become negligible. This is especially true if you can remove common obstacles, the most important of which are avoiding cheap and easy link building methods and avoiding over-optimization of viable target keywords, in particular when planning your anchor text strategy. However, one obstacle you can’t get around is time.
It takes time to break into the top 10 of any high-traffic, high-competition keyword, regardless of resources or ability.
Adrian “Yo Adrian” DeGus is a 13-year adult industry veteran and founder of AdultSEOPartners.com, a professional adult SEO agency catering to large established adult sites. DeGus, who has provided advanced consulting services to many leading sites in the adult industry, also operates Adult SEO Training, a popular service that helps webmasters, program operators and affiliate managers to learn in-house SEO.