This might come as a surprise to many people, but the best method for SEO is building a decent site.
Adult webmasters often ask me what needs to be done in order to rank their site #1 for the search term they’re targeting. The answer will always be the same: build the best result possible for that keyword. The reason why people use search engines is because they work, and the sooner webmasters understand that, the better.
SEO isn’t a complicated game: it’s just something that requires a lot of hard work. Sure, there are specific elements of search engine optimization that are a little on the technical side, such as canonicalization, sitemaps and non-www. redirects, but the vast bulk of this won’t make a difference to your ranking if your site isn’t providing a good user experience. When someone searches ‘buy train set’ on Google, they want to buy a train set. They don’t want to sell a car, nor do they want to lease a wheelbarrow. Thus, the best result that could possibly be put at the top of Google is one that gives the user what they want: a site or page that gives them the ability to purchase a train set.
Spam sites have pretty much died over the last few years. They rarely give the user what they want, and as such, Google disregards them as a place for people to go. There are a few that slip through the cracks, sure – but you yourself would not use a search engine if you couldn’t find what you wanted with minimal effort.
So as I always tell: focus on building a website that is designed with the target audience in mind. There are several direct SEO benefits of this too. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Time on Site
Google claims to not use your Analytics data as a way of working out how long someone spends on your site, but I guarantee that they look at various other metrics in order to see whether or not they’re giving decent results for a keyword search. Time on site can be used by Google, but they get it through another method. For instance, say someone searches ‘buy train set’ on Google: every single time someone clicks in the first result, Google will take note of the time that they did that. If they get 1,000 people doing this over a month and within the space of 20 seconds, every single one of them returns to their Google search to click the second link, upon which they spend an average of 4 minutes on before returning to Google, chances are the second result is a lot better than the first, and you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll switch those results out. Note that this will be done over a long period of time and a large number of user data points. Google might also look at other indications of someone’s success with a search term, such as looking for an unrelated phrase searched quickly after the first. As an example, if I typed in ‘buy train set’, spent 1 minute on the site before returning to Google and typed in ‘[My Bank] Login Online’, there’s a good chance I’m going to check my bank account to see whether or not I can afford one of the train sets they have. I don’t know if the big G goes as far as the latter example, but the former is certainly being done.
Sharing & Linking
If you build a good site, people are more likely to talk about it. When people talk, they link. The chances may be slim, but if the competition is limited, you can be sure that your site will come out on top if it does get recognized. I recently published a post on Google’s piracy update and why it might be a good thing for the adult entertainment industry. It eventually got circulated on Twitter by a few performers and professionals that offer services: a few retweets here and there produced around 250 hits to my site via Twitter. The time on site was a little on the slim side (because I doubt many people actually cared to go elsewhere) but to Google, the sharing of this link is a good indication that I produce something worth talking about. Can my competition say the same? No. So by building a decent post with useful information, I’ve produced backlinks and ‘social buzz’ (which is rare in the adult SEO industry, believe me!) without having to trade, buy or bargain for them. Simply producing something people took an interest in was enough.
Return Visitor Searches
If I run a decent website and people like it, chances are they’re going to come back. The adult industry is an interesting one, because it’s highly likely someone will delete their search history or run incognito/privacy mode. This means that when they want to come back again, they either have to remember the domain name or search it. When searching for a specific domain name such as “Adults Blogging” in Google, what you’re telling Google is that you want this site in particular. Again, I have little doubt that this is used as a ranking metric by search engines: if they see users caring about this specific website, it weighs slightly in its favor.
It’s Good For Business
A good site that doesn’t look spammy and does a decent job at giving the user an experience they expected is just good in and of itself. A professional looking website with lots of content, a clean design and the ability to show the user what they want is going to result in a higher likelihood of them actually buying something. Now this isn’t directly applicable to a lot of sites, but you know yourself if you go somewhere that looks a little sketchy, you’re not going to feel comfortable handing over cash or clicking on a link. An effective SEO strategy is also going to be an effective business strategy. Put simply, if you ever make a change that disadvantages the user in order to improve your SEO, you’re making a bad decision.
The bottom line here is that in recent years, SEO has become more about building a decent website for users instead of building a decent website for search engines.