Self-taught SEO and apparently failing at it
Title says it all. I started focusing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my website (
www.theouterhaven.net) about 3-4 years ago. Since then, I've changed up a bunch of things;
• Added Yoast to the site
• Stated watching issues with Links
• Using multiple key words, both short and long
• Creating decent content
• Spreading content via social media
• Recently adding a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to the site so Google doesn't hate us.
And yet, the traffic comes and goes. On a good day, we can see 4-5K uniques. Where on a bad day, we struggle to get 2K. I understand that this is mainy because we do video game/anime/manga news and reviews, so this field is hopelessly saturated. Even yet, I'd love to get us into a position where we aren't on page 20 at times on Google and Bing.
I will admit that our backlinks are bad. COmparing it to a competitor, we are no where near their backlinks. And that's goes to the nature of what we do. No one wants to share a link and if they do, they don't want to give you credit. We've had several major sites like IGN, Polygon and a few others share our links and put it on no-follow.
I'm literally at the point where i start to pull out what little hair I have left, because I'm not understanding this at all. I feel like I've done what I should and yet, I feel like everything is regressing and that I'm going to have to pay an insane amount on a monthly basis to get some traction… if that even works.
Why does this seem like rocket science? I followed the guides, fixed what was broken and yet, here I am. Going backwards instead of forward?
Perhaps, you're failing to give unique information. Google often inspects the quality of info you're sharing, including the extent to which you're supplying relevant data. Unless you're giving info that's pretty much covered by all, chances are your website will continue to generate less number of traffic.
Keep posting contents on a regular basis with consistent service quality.
But that's the thing, we provide content on a daily basis. We do reviews on games, anime, ,manga, TV and more. Not to mention daily news, podcasts, editorials, impression pieces. All of which are unique, with the exception of the news bits And even when we manage to break news first, if someone comes along and makes a post based off it it, we go down while they go up.
It's not like we don't provide anything unique, that's the entire point of the site. And we always thrive to provide quality content, otherwise we don't post it and we don't let others do it either.
By far the hardest part for most (who aren't spending $ for it) is getting links because the outreach work is boring as crap, or you feel like a beggar with your hand out, a spammer, etc.
It looks like you're missing out on some content opportunities as well. At a cursory glance, I don't see any content like "best Mac strategy games" (change details as desired – windows, RPG) or any content like "12 awesome Games for $10" and so on. So no real evergreen SEO landing pages and no clickbaity stuff that is easier to content market.
If I were managing the site I would completely stop with a lot of the news related stuff. Burt Reynolds passed, yes. But you'll never compete with that in any SEO. You're re-hashing news which is so unbelievably saturated already. What value is that adding to the internet? None. Who is going to link to your version of it? Nobody.
By contrast, something like "In Remembrance of Burt Reynolds, here are his 12 most interesting quotes and what they mean" or some other way to share a bit of the news but do it in some way that you're adding unique spin to it that adds curiosity over just reading the headline.
That is, if you do any kind of news like that at all.
The other part IMO is that you're going a bit broad with the content plan. It might be better to just focus on a core audience. Are the majority of your readers actually interested in all your topics across the spectrum? Like I would be out because I'm not into anime. Some of the other stuff is fine, but I wouldn't be paying attention because you're publishing stuff I'm not interested in. Same goes for bloggers that might be reading your site. (Link targets) They will dismiss you based on irrelevancy.
Also by doing this you're spreading your content resources thinner. You haven't dominated a niche yet and you're shooting at too many. So it's harder for you to get the traffic levels up and become an authority because you're trying to be an authority in a bunch of things vs just 1. Own 1, then expand.
Just My .0000000000000000002 BTC
OP, this is priority #1.
This. You don't have any content that is worth ranking long term. There are already thousands of sources for gaming news that are more established and do it better. What are you bringing to the table that's different that would make Google rank you higher than other news sites?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not just about data and structure, but its also marketing. If you have a "me too" product, then expect the results that come with it.
Our core audience actually does like the fact that we do cover multiple topics. They tend to let us know about that alot. If you take notice, even the larger sites are now starting to do this. When gaming news and updates is low, anime or manga is still booming and vice versa. Since it all falls under geek culture, we're still within the niche and still staying afloat. When we did it, no one was doing what we do and now we're underfire, literally.
As for the Burt piece and evergreen stuff, I agree. That's something we've suffered with because it always seemed clickbaity, which was considered back. Yet, we're seeing more and more sites do this so it seems to be commonly accepted now. I can't stressed enough that if you're putting out something that other places are doing that YOU NEED to put your own unique spin to them. I've stated the over and over to the team.
How do they let you know that that is what they want? Comments?
Are you running an email marketing campaign to get data on open rates, Click Through Rate (CTR)s, etc?
You want to use all of the data from all of your channels to correctly create a content roadmap – not just SEO
Mostly via comments, emails and messages on Twitter.
Think of it like a mediocre meal at a restaurant. Most aren't going to say anything negative but they're not coming back. It's not that they hate it – it is just not to their taste or out of all their menu choices there is only a couple things they like.
Also by pushing all these topics on subscribers (and link targets) you're really narrowing your niche. You want gamers who like anime who like x, y, z vs going after just gamers or just anime and focusing your efforts.
This guy gets it… Ignore every other stock "get more backlinks" bollox comments.
This is good advice. Put simply, figure out what your #1 competitor is doing and do it better.
When I go to your website, Chrome says that the connection isn't secure (however, I can see the https – but maybe it ain't working)
Besides that, maybe check performance on your site. It scores low in Google Chromes testing tool (Lighthouse).
Also, try make a keyword analysis and create better title-tags and meta-descriptions – maybe something that makes people on Google think "That's sounds interesting – let me click that". Right now, your title-tags don't make me want to click.
Your frontpage: The Outerhaven – Video Game, Anime, Manga, Technology news and reviews
Try something like: Best site for Games, Anime, Manga news and reviews | The Outerhaven
Yep, I forgot to enable the Content Delivery Network (CDN) and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on the CDN. Now that's fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.
Structurally – you're doing things right. (Best audit score I've seen for a while…)
• You have no H1 on the home page
• Could likely use some anchor-text in your internal links (<a name="quot;>)
• Domain expires in less than a year
• Not fully SSL (you've got insecure content so you're not showing fully secured via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL))
• Site speed is low (ok, slow.)
• 2004 narrow page format on desktop
If I was to make ANY recommendations:
• Tweak the structural stuff above
• Implement AMP for articles
• Site speed. May require a move away from the theme / template / WordPress.
• Keep up the grind!
Thanks for that. I had disabled the Content Delivery Network (CDN) when I was adding the SSL, but I didn't re-enable it with the SSL. That's fixed now. That also addresses the slow speed, since the CDN wasn't active.
Not OP, but can you share what tool you used to audit the site? I want to do the same for mine. Thanks!
There are many, gtmetrix Google page insights pingdom tools etc i also use builtwith to get the info on competitors.
Hint to OP: you need high domain authority linking… and there are several tools, paid and free, that show you a competitors back link juice. This by far is a key to ranking well on competitive terms. Sometimes you'd be surprised to see your competitors backlink profile, but ohhh the goodiness you can reap from that information!!
I use a couple of tools for 'quick' audits – including woorank. They aren't as detailed as I would like but are on-the-ball with respect to elements that impact search rank. Over the last 18 months, there has been a marked change in the way they score based on mobile performance and 'trust' related metrics – which seems to support the Google mindset. Additionally, pingdom and webpagetest for performance and lighthouse for some 'Google endorsed' nitty gritty.
Also, thanks for everyone chiming in. I appreciate the feedback.
Have you applied to have your site included on Google News?
Yes, we are in Google News, Apple News and Bing News Well not 100% in Bing, since we made a change 4 weeks ago and it still hasn't processed.
You identified your problem and the solution, building links. Sounds like many of your competitors have a significant head start. My advice would be to look at your current cost/benefit from this business, project out how long you can keep doing what you're doing based on your current capital burn rate, and decide whether to keep creating content and building links or move into a different business. Good luck!
Well I would like to tell you that.. Yes Backlinks play an important Role and in your case backlinks is what you require. Do get Some do follow backlinks if you cannot get them than buy them. There are lot of sellers that can provide you quality links!
If you've been around that long and your content hasn't netted a lot of backlinks it's time to put in a content strategy. Aim to do 1-2 articles per month you use to game for links and social shares and spread via Reddit and Facebook.
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