By Russ Jones
I have a confession to make. I love infomercials. In fact, I would probably call myself an infomercial elitist / hipster. I liked infomercials before they were cool; before the Billy Mays and Slap Chop Guy made their way into internet memes. I pledge my allegiance to the godfather of infomercials, Ron Popeil, while guys likeAnthony Sullivan weep at his alter, asking forgiveness for their sub-par jobs as pitchmen. OK, maybe I take it a little too seriously – I do happen to have a DVR full of Gator Grip, Ginsu Knives, and Flowbees – but I believe there is something extremely motivating about this type of advertising. And Ron Popeil hit it on the head over and over again: Set It and Forget It.
This was the tag line for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie, an amazing success for infomercials. You see, there is an innate desire for us to find solutions to common, everyday problems that do not require our attention. These nagging, annoying problems like making dinner, cleaning up, and in our industry – SEO tedium – tend to suck up our time and attention while bringing only marginal improvements.
Unfortunately, there is this perception, almost bias, against automation in our space: a misbelief that there is nothing that we can set and forget in SEO. Well, I am here today to free you from the reigns of some of your daily miseries of SEO, all for the incredible price of free.
Strategy 1: Real Time Referrer Indexing
We often joke that “Google knows everything.” While we can lament the loss of privacy and liberty, there is one thing that I do want Google to know about – my links. I want them to know about as many links pointing to my site as possible. Unfortunately, Google misses out on a good portion of the web. Well, what if you could find links that Google hasn’t necessarily found, and then make sure that Google does index them and count them? Introducing Real Time Referrer Indexing:
If you were go into your Google Analytics right now and export all of the pages that have sent visitors to your site since your website’s inception, what percentage of them do you think will have been indexed by Google? 90%, 95%, 99%? Sure, it will probably vary from site to site, especially given how many different sites out there have sent traffic to you, but there are likely to be a handful that Google never got around to crawling. Our goal with this first set-it and forget-it tactic is to find the pages that refer traffic to your site on-the-fly and make sure if they have a link, that Google knows about it.
Ideally, our automated solution would work like this…
- The script would record every referrer from other sites.
- The script would spider that site to see if it actually has a real, followed link.
- The script would check to see if Google had cached that referring page with the followed link.
- The script would coax Google to reindex that page if it had not yet found the link.
- The script would continue to check to see if Google had cached the referring page.
This is actually quite easy to accomplish programmatically. The first three steps are done every day by tools regularly used by SEOs.The only difficult part is finding a way to encourage Google to visit the referring pages it has not yet indexed. We can solve this by simply having a widget on the page that displays those referrers, essentially an “As Seen On” bulleted list of pages that had linked to your site, but had not yet been indexed.
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