educational

Q&A: All About Search Engine Optimization

Adrian Degus

At Adult SEO Partners we work with many clients who run sites ranging from tubes to paysites to mobile dating apps. This results in a lot of questions regarding everything from keyword strategy to projected organic traffic valuation methods.

In this month’s XBIZ World column I’m going to answer some questions, most commonly, asked by clients as well as our members of Adult SEO Training.

Basically, to recover from a Google penalty you need to first diagnose the penalty, determine what triggered it, fix whatever triggered it and then build new value into your site to regain the trust of Google.

Should I be worried about Google Hummingbird?

Hummingbird isn’t going to have a any real effect on adult sites. It’s not a quality control algorithmic filter like Penguin, Panda or others that can directly affect how a site ranks. Rather it’s a core update that improves how Google handles natural language search. Think of Hummingbird as Google’s Siri. It’s designed to improve semantic search, which essentially means pulling concepts and ideas out of phrases and questions. So when somebody searches for something like “where is the closest gas station” Google will know what they mean and will return intended results rather than websites that display the specific keywords. So because of this, Hummingbird isn’t going to affect the rankings of adult sites simply because it doesn’t affect keyword-based searches. And if my years of extensive keyword research proves anything it’s that people search for porn using very specific keywords.

Why do some shitty sites rank better than mine?

This is a bigger question than it seems because there’s a thousand reasons why a particular site can outrank another. It could be because they have better links, because they lack the bad links you might have or simply because they landed on the good side of a Google update. The only way to accurately determine the true reason is to thoroughly analyze the other site. You’ll want to look at their link profile, their metadata, their target keywords, how many other keywords they also rank for, their on-page optimization, their internal linking methods and their overall performance history. If none of this reveals an obvious reason you’ll need to research the ranking history for the particular keyword as well as the sites that have ranked well for it.

Overall, however, the most common reason is because quality sites are run by motivated and attentive people who have made efforts to rank better in the past. And unfortunately, Many methods that used to work well are now banned by Google and tend to hurt sites because of it. If this happens to be your case, the best thing to do is to clean up your bad links and get more good ones.

Why do tubes rank for all the best keywords?

Tubes rank the best because they give searchers exactly what they want, for free. Googles bread ‘n butter is delivering the most relevant, high quality and usable search results to people. Link lists used to rank well, paysites used to rank well, review sites used to rank well and blogs used to rank well. The reason they don’t rank as well anymore is because they all fall short of what searchers really want. Link lists send people off to other sites to get the content searchers want, paysites charge money for the content and review sites and blogs only talk about the content before sending people off to where they’ll eventually have to pay for it. Tubes, however, give searchers exactly what they really want. Unless you own a tube (or something similar like an MGP) this can be a tough realization. But don’t let it discourage you, other sites can still rank well, you just have to approach your SEO a little differently.

What is the No. 1 most important thing to do for SEO?

Buy high-quality links from established sites relative to your own. And yes, I know, Google says buying links is evil. Don’t believe them, they just don’t like the embarrassment of knowing their precious algorithm can still be gamed. Also, in adult it’s absolutely necessary. We don’t have the link building resources that mainstream sites have. To get the best links we have to buy them, simple as that. The trick is to do it in a way that looks totally natural so you can fly under the radar.

What are the best keywords for me to go after?

The best keywords to go after are those with the most traffic that you can compete for. If you run a big established site you can go after the biggest keywords. But if your site is new, or only currently ranks for a handful of keywords, it’s better to go after keywords you actually have a shot of ranking for. To find out which keywords you can realistically compete for you need to analyze the sites that currently rank in the top ten for those keywords. If your own search metrics match or exceed those in the top ten (or if you think you can catch up in a reasonable period of time) than those are the ones to go after.

Can I run A/B conversion tests on my SEO landing pages?

Absolutely (and you should). Testing the performance of one page against another is the only way to really know whether or not you’re making the most of your organic search traffic. There are some A/B testing tools like Visual Website Optimizer that can run split tests on your traffic based on referrers (such as google.com or an affiliate program cookie). This gives you the opportunity to send a percentage of your traffic to a variation of your landing page so that you can determine in real-time which page converts the best. You can test one page against another, one page against several or you can test multiple elements on a single page (called multivariate testing).

How to calculate projected SEO traffic value?

The short answer is to find the monthly search volume of a keyword and then take 44 percent of that number and divide it against your average conversion rate. 44 percent is the estimated share of total traffic the No. 1 ranked site of a keyword receives.

Of course, it might not be realistic to assume a No. 1 rank so what I like to do is determine the most likely rank a site can achieve (based on competition analysis) and use the corresponding share of traffic for that rank.

So if a site can realistically expect to rank No. 4 for a keyword and we know that the No. 4 ranked site receives 5 percent of the total search traffic than we can take 5 percent of the total monthly traffic and divide that against the average conversion rate for organic traffic. This combined with your revenue per conversion will show you the value of a No. 4 rank for that keyword.

How to recover from a Google penalty?

Basically, to recover from a Google penalty you need to first diagnose the penalty, determine what triggered it, fix whatever triggered it and then build new value into your site to regain the trust of Google. This last step, building new value, is what the vast majority of people do not do and is the primary reason why sites never fully recover.

If your site was penalized for trading too many links than you need to remove the traded links and also build new higher quality links. If your site was penalized for using scraped content than you need to remove the scraped content and replace it with unique content. Fixing the source of the problem is rarely enough, you need to build additional value as well.

Should I use sub domains or sub directories?

If you’re planning on adding a blog to your domain, or maybe you’re planning on launching a translated version of your site, the question of where to place this content is one of the bigger decisions you’ll need to make. Should you setup blog.domain.com or domain.com/blog/? The answer is easy, always go with a sub directory whenever possible.

Search engines consider blog.domain.com to be its own unique website, just as username1.tumblr.com is a different website from username2.tumblr.com. This is important because it means your new blog won’t benefit from the full value of your already established main site.

Tumblr.com is a very strong site, but newuser.tumblr.com is not. But if you install your blog, or translated site, on domain.com/blog/ it will be considered part of your main website and will receive full value from it. Your main website will also directly benefit from the added content and traffic the blog will have. So if you have the choice, always go with a sub directory.

Have a question you want to ask?

If you have an SEO question that wasn’t answered here feel free to contact me directly and I’ll be happy to help.

Adrian “Yo Adrian” DeGus is a 12-year adult industry veteran and founder of Adult SEO Partners, 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.

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