So you finally decided to market online, set up a blog for your business and you start to see some great results, the last thing you want is for one of your competitors to come and drag you back down. You may not realize that they can do this, but it is possible. Unfortunately there are a few different methods that they can use to drag you down, so to help you out, we are going to take a look at some of the more popular ways.
Out Ranking You
The first and most obvious way is to just out rank you. If a competitors outranks you, they are going to bump you down. While you may not like it, that is a part of online marketing. You ended up pushing other people down by ranking higher, so you should expect the same when someone else has out done you.
There are some easy solutions to this problem. Don’t stop marketing to get higher ranks or keep your #1 spot. If you continuously market and use good SEO tactics, then you should be able to keep lower competitors away. If you do see them still outrank you, you may need to bump up your marketing efforts.
A great way to gain authority and increase rank is to build a healthy link profile with other sites that are relevant to your niche. The only problem with this is that what happens when one of those sites has been caught using bad tactics or lowered in quality? They end up losing rank and authority and all of the links that are attached to that site will be dragged down with them.
That is why when you are link building, it is always important to only post on websites that are reliable and trustworthy. No matter what though, you will never have control over all of the websites, so if you do notice some links that are bringing down your rankings, you can always use the disavow tool that Google provides to us. You just let them know which link you do not want to be associated with and they will assist and removing them from your link profile.
Before using the disavow tool, you should always try and contact the website first. A lot of the time they will understand and will have no problem just removing the link. This makes the whole process much more clean and simple.
Black Hat Tactics
If a competitor decides they are determined to lower your rankings, then they can use black hat tactics to try and get your site down. The most popular way is when competitors post your link to completely irrelevant sites and spam it. Unlike the previous example, this is being done intentionally, and can easily be proven. This will not only lower your rankings, but it takes a long time to recover from it. For example, if they decided to link your website to thousands of pornographic sites, then you would need to remove them all and contact Google to have them review your situation. While you may not think your competitors would do that, it can be pretty easy. There are tools that will submit links to all of the websites that allow free back links.
To counteract this, you need to always keep a close eye on your link profile and if you see that this is happening to you, report it right away. Search engines are aware of this type of behavior and have ways of protecting you, so the sooner they know about it, the better it is for you.
Review sites can be such a good place to find traffic, customers, and help your brand… but it can also be a place where your website goes to die. It has been known for competitors to write bad reviews just to make people go over to them, but nowadays it can eventually hurt your rankings. Major review sites are a place where a large chunk of consumers go to get all of the information they need, so if they stop coming to your site due to bad reviews, your rankings will be affected.
Keeping an eye on major review sites will help with this issue because even if they do decide to write something negative, you can defend yourself and also get it removed if it isn’t true.
The year 2013 has seen a real surge in mobile technology in areas like SEO trends. As a matter of fact, mobile technology is overtaking everyone’s expectations, and that is a pattern that is definitely going to continue. As consumers integrate phones and tablets ever more into their internet use, it becomes all the more important to cater to those needs.
A great example of this happened just last night. Sitting at a venue waiting for the beginning of a concert, there were screens advertising other shows happening in the coming months. Someone behind me expressed interest in a concert happening a couple of weeks from now. I could hear them behind me, using their smartphone to access a local ticket seller.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t get the site to work properly. “Why don’t they have an app?” he muttered, as he tried to get through the captcha that was creating a compatibility issue with his device. He would have had a much easier time had he known that another ticket retailer had a mo bile website and mobile app to make it easier to make purchases on the go. I had used it to for the very show I was waiting to begin.
If you are reading this, I have to assume you have a mobile site already. That is great, but it means nothing if people don’t know about its existence or have a positive experience using it. Marketing that mobile site is a crucial element to the whole process. Otherwise, like my fellow live music lover last night, your target audience won’t be bringing in the profits that they should be.
Don’t panic. Marketing a mobile site is similar in most ways to marketing any other. You are just targeting a slightly different user base. Here are seven great ways to market your mobile website.
- Use a Good Platform For The Site. Not all mobile services are created equal, and when you are using a bad platform for your mobile site you are asking for trouble. You want a service that is customizable, upgradable, easy to use and has all of the tools and features that you need. Luckily, there are a lot of good ones out there to choose from. One example is Mobi Manage, which actually breaks things down into specialty categories like auto, retail, associations, real estate and more. They also offer marketing packages, so you can control your campaign and aim it at a mobile audience from your dashboard. For something more basic and cheaper (though less feature heavy) you can try MobiSiteGalore.
- Use SMS. Have you seen those little notices on business sites offering people the chance to get special offers through text messages? This is a fantastic approach, and an affordable way to market directly to the mobile crowd. You can either put it somewhere on your site itself as a subscription service, or offer it as a selection when someone makes a purchase or creates an account. But you have to give people an incentive to accept this marketing form, such as special offers by text only.
- Make An App. Having a mobile website is a great idea. But many smartphone and tablet users would prefer to have an app where they can directly engage with you, your content, and your products. You may find this a better goal for your particular brand, as consumers love making in-app purchases, or being able to quickly navigate a site in such a simple way.
- Launch a Mobile Ad Campaign. Unlike traditional ad campaigns, these are made specifically for mobile users and screens. Often attached to ads or mobile site pages, it is a cost efficient way to improving your visibility on the mobile market. You can buy a cost-per-click program that is similar to others you might use for online advertising. But it is usually better to buy a bundled package of 1,000 clicks.
- Enhance Your Bidding. Mobile users don’t do that much searching. It makes up a tiny sliver of the amount of time they are going to spend on the web through their smartphones. You have to make the most out of every second, which means using enhanced bidding features to narrow down data. One of the best articles I have seen written on this topic was by Jeremy Hull on Clickz.
- Make Your Mobile Site User Friendly. It isn’t enough to have an adaptive or secondary mobile site that offers the same content. Users want something that is easy to navigate, offers them the features they need from a mobile perspective, and is less content heavy. Remember to only include the most crucial elements of a website on the mobile version. Offer plenty of easily accessible links to other related pages. Streamline the process of making purchases as much as possible.
- Use Your Mobile Site. One of the most important parts of marketing is making sure what you market is high quality. Use your mobile site yourself, and often. Be honest about how good it is, what features it has, what can be added and taken away. Use other mobile sites to see how they have handled certain parts of their design.
It is important to have a mobile website these days. Just make sure people know it is there, and that their experience using it is a positive one. If you manage those two things, you will be in good shape.
It’s something you hear time and time again in the web development and SEO community, “search engines love WordPress”. Many who are new to web design or are administering a WordPress site for the first time may automatically assume that WordPress comes SEO-optimized out of the box. Well, it doesn’t. There are several tweaks and plugins you must deal with first in order to make your WordPress installation SEO-friendly. Before you install any plugins, be sure to adjust your permalink settings. To do this go to Settings->Permalinks. Change these settings to anything but default. Because WordPress posts and pages are generated dynamically using a combination of PHP and MySQL the default URL string can be quite messy. I prefer to use “post name” settings, where the title of your post is what appears in the URL. Unless you’re running news site with high levels of traffic I would stay away from using the category structure. It creates canonicalization issues which causes certain content to get indexed multiple times.
After you’ve adjusted your permalink settings then it’s time to add a few essential WordPress plugins for SEO.
1) Yoast SEO
Simply put this is the most comprehensive plugin for technical, on-site SEO. It directly accesses your .htaccess and robots.txt files to perform a number of rewrite and redirect functions. Among its capabilities:
- Titles and Meta – This section allows you to force rewrite titles (individually adjust title and meta descr. at the page level) and allows you to noindex subpages, the meta keywords tag, and keep search engines from using DMOZ and Yahoo directory listings to automatically populate meta information in search results. You can also set defaults for post and page titles, categories, and author archives.
- Social Settings – This section makes it easy to administer the FaceBook open graph on your website. This is a nice feature for adding social interaction to your website. You can also access Google Plus and Twitter analytics. The most valuable thing from this section may be the ability to see FaceBook insights from within your WordPress dashboard.
- Sitemaps – While some debate the importance/overall effect of manually adding site maps yo your website the Yoast plugin makes it easy to administer. Hide/disallow directories at your convenience.
- Internal Links – Here you can adjust breadcrumb settings and taxonomies for different posts and categories.
I used to use Platinum SEO but I’ve found Yoast’s plugin to be more comprehensive. If you plan on utilizing self-hosted video you may want to check out the Yoast Video plugin. It automatically creates video site maps on your website, which (in theory) utilize metadata to produce rich-snippets in search results.
2) W3 Total Cache
Page caching is a popular way to enhance the speed of your website. W3 Total Cache aims to improve user experience by reducing the time it takes to download a web page by storing elements on the users browser so when they go from page to page they don’t have to “re-download” things. Some notable features:
- Page Cache – This increases the scale of your web server by reducing response times.
- Minify – When you’re adding multiple plugins and/or working with a premium theme you run into the problem of their bring too many style sheets. Minify combines the style rules onto fewer sheets.
- DataBase Cache – Since page and post content is stored in MySQL databases it’s smart to optimize the performance of them.
- CDN – Integrates with whatever Content Delivery Network you use. If you have an media-heavy website I highly suggest using a 3rd party to host the files.
Browser caching is by no means a new concept. This plugin makes it easy to administer caching from within the backend of WordPress.
3) Quick Page Post Redirects
Rather than go in and make manual edits to your website’s .htaccess file (which requires FTP access and a certain level of coding knowledge) Quick Page Post Redirects allows you to add redirects from within the WordPress backend. This plugin is very comprehensive and has steadily added features since I’ve been using it. Notable features include:
- Master Override Options – Allows you to set master options for that turn off all redirects, make all redirects “nofollow”, open in new windows and much more.
- Plugin Clean Up – This option will clean up (erase) all of the redirects you’ve perviously set with the plugin.
- Quick Redirects – The performs basic manual redirect options. Sometimes when we have broken links or canonical issues we want to “clean things up a little”. We can manually redirect specific URLs in this section.
- Redirect Summary – Gives an overview of all the URLs you’re redirecting using this plugin.
Performing redirects can be a tricky enterprise. Webmasters sometimes go crazy with redirects and can seriously mess up their indexation with search engines. Use this plugin carefully.
There are literally hundreds of SEO-related plugins that aim to boost your organic traffic and overall visibility in search engines. You can SEO-optimize your website until you’re blue in the face but if the content that you’re pushing out there sucks all of your efforts will be in vain. Making your WordPress site search engine “friendly” doesn’t guarantee you high placements in search results. If you’re looking for a quick fix to bring traffic to your website then you may want to consider PPC/Display advertising. It’s pricey but often times effective in understanding what visitors do when they get to your website. With keyword reports disappearing in Google analytics (thanks to encrypted search) PPC can offer insight into how well your site scores when people have specific, keyword-driven queries. SEO should be considered a long-term strategy. Covering your bases in regards to the technical SEO aspects is only the first step.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is slowly adding video advertisements to its site. YouTube, on the other hand, has tons of video advertisements on its dashboard or features one before you’ll be able to watch the video clip. Because of this trend, it’s safe to say that utilizing videos in every possible application has been the largest push done by social media sites these days.
But how are videos important to those who visit a website? Does it have an impact in terms of SEO rankings?
Surprisingly, adding videos on the website can make a lot of difference if done correctly. As a matter of fact, it helps increase the user’s experience since 17% of Internet users are willing to hang around in a certain site to watch a 3-minute video. And when it comes to value of time, 3 minutes is already considered valuable especially for advertisers.
In order to maximize the use of video and help increase your website’s SEO ranking, here are some tips and tricks to help you get through.
Tip No. 1. Words still matter, a lot. Words are often neglected when making a video, thinking that people are just going to watch anyway. The truth is, it’s still needed. Upload transcripts to the video page since it works as a framework for SEO. Otherwise, you may use the ‘description’ area to post the transcript of your video.
Tip No. 2. The keyword phrase should match the title of the video. Choosing the right keywords is crucial since the ‘searchable’ factor of your video depends on it. It helps index your video for people to see. The good news is that search engines are helping you come up with the right keywords according to your content. When you’re able to find the accurate matches for your content, use those words in coming up with a video title. Aside from the title, these keywords can also be included in the ‘description’ section.
Tip No. 3. Quality is still important. Every video created should have both a quality dialogue and video resolution. Even if you are able to come up with the right set of keywords but the work lacks quality and content, viewers will leave or worse, post negative comments. Keep in mind that aside from making something out of those videos, you still want to share something to the people and that is “information.”
Tip No. 4. Sharing is the key. If you are able to provide a quality content that is watchable and acceptable to the viewers, there is a greater possibility of sharing it to various social media sites. The number of likes and comments on the video itself will also matter. And once you’ve seen the positive feedback from the public, you know you’ve successfully done your part.
Tip No. 5. Upload the video on YouTube. It may sound as a cliché but YouTube can definitely help boost your SEO ranking. As the second largest search engine, YouTube has 1 billion visitors every month so the chances of getting your video noticed, especially if it’s a quality one, is really high. Plus, it has various sharing options which viewers can use. So when it comes to video hosting, YouTube should be your first option.
Tip No. 6. Keep your videos crawling. YouTube may have provided various sharing and embedding options. Unfortunately, site owners were being penalized because they have been abusing the system intended only to enhance the user experience. In further increasing your rankings, you may want to utilize the “old-school” embed option – the html tag. This way, you are assured that your video will be indexed without having to worry about paying for penalties.
Tip No. 7. Create a Video Sitemap. A video sitemap is the culmination of all your SEO strategies. When you’re able to make a sitemap exclusively for your videos, search engines will use it as a single stop to index relevant videos which viewers can easily see. There are several ways on how to create a sitemap depending on the video hosting platform you will use. You can check out Phile Nottingham’s step-by-step instructions for more information.
These tips do not guarantee anything. Although it may take some time, these tricks are proven to increase the video’s ranking.
As you’re getting back into the swing of work after the long Memorial Day weekend, here are the posts you don’t want to miss:
- Penguin 4, With Penguin 2.0 Generation Spam-Fighting, Is Now Live Barry Schwartz confirmed on May 22nd that Penguin 4 is now live. As the post discusses, the reason this update is especially significant is it includes new technology for detecting and dealing with spam.
- Use These Secret NSA Google Search Tips to Become Your Own Spy Agency This intriguing article links to a 643 page PDF called “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research.” The reason it’s relevant to anyone with an interest in SEO is it goes over tons of examples of sensitive information that can be found through Google as a result of poor server and website security.
- Social Media Sharing on Steroids – Viral Content Buzz GrowMap.com was kind enough to let me publish a guest post about Viral Content Buzz. Even if you’re already familiar with the features of Ann Smarty and I’s social sharing platform, I’d love for you to jump in the lively discussion and add to the 35 comments that have already been left.
- Penguin 2.0 Losers: Porn Sites, Game Sites, & Big Brands Like Dish.com & The Salvation Army If you’re interested in seeing some concrete data about how the latest Penguin update has affected the rankings of sites across a wide range of categories, this post has some very interesting numbers from SearchMetrics.
- 19 New Filter Fields Available in Google Analytics Penguin isn’t the only new update Google has rolled out. They also updated Analytics with nineteen new ways to filter your data. This post covers the filters and provides some tips for making the most of them.
- Google Talks Back: Conversational Search Available on New Version of Chrome If you’re interested in learning more about Google’s new conversational search feature, Jessica Lee has quite a few details, as well as her own experience with trying it out.
Once you get a chance to go through them, be sure to leave a comment and let me know which link was the most useful to you!
- Viral Content Buzz: Why Social is The New Backlink Find out nine different places where you can promote your website or blog, as well as how you can use Viral Content Buzz to promote your blog’s best posts.
- 15 Things You Need To Know About The #NewGooglePlus “Infographics will display in a nearly-useful size, A Hangout is now any form of group communication & You can now send money through Gmail/Google” are just three of the fifteen topics covered in this image and video rich post.
- A Facebook Update In Real Life: If you’re in need of a good laugh, this 2.5 minute will do the trick!
- What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google? Although 7.5 minutes may sound long for a YouTube video, since this one comes directly from Matt Cutts and addresses several important issues, it’s definitely worth watching the entire thing.
- SEO Experts Interview: What’s the Hottest New SEO or Social Media Tool This Year? Ann Smarty, John Rampton, Ashley Moreno, Jon Henshaw, Alexis Grant, Viktar Khamianok, Tyler Shannon, Scott Langdon and myself all share the SEO or social media tool that we’re currently the most excited about using.
- Penguin 2.0 and Future Google Updates Kev Massey covers several topics related to Google’s Penguin 2.0 update, including hacked sites, authority authors and result clusters.
- 5 Clever Ways Your Business Can Use Video to Drive Traffic Steve Young discusses how creating a parody, your own whiteboard animation and three other video strategies can help you drive traffic.
- Klout Integration Pushes Human Powered ‘Expert’ Answers Atop Bing’s Search Results Greg Finn goes over Klout’s official entry into the social answers space, as well as the impact this integration will have on Bing.
- Great Comment on “Repurposing Content: The Definitive Guide” If you missed this guide when it was originally published in January, bookmark and read the entire thing when you have some time. But even if you already checked it out earlier this year, be sure to check out the very thoughtful comment Eugene Farber recently left on the issue of “over-repurposing” content.
- How To Add Google+ Comments To WordPress Easily Find out how to add Google+ comments to your WordPress blog by using code, code for the Thesis theme or one of three plugins. Also get Just Ask Kim’s opinion on how this type of commenting system will impact a blog’s SEO efforts.
Google search penalties have become so frequent, right? The worst part about such penalties is that your site can face the heat even if it has a single page of spam. I’m sure you heard about the manual penalty levied on Mozilla. After Google detected user-generated spam, they sent Chris More (Web Production Manager at Mozilla) a notice about the manual penalty.
There are several cases like these.
It’s not just small business websites or blogs that face manual penalties from time to time. Even big brands around the globe are hit with manual penalties by Google. Though you make every effort (most importantly after Google’s Panda and Penguin release), manual penalties are sometime unavoidable. Many times, you won’t even be able to know why you got into trouble.
Google search penalties can be broadly categorized into –
- Manual Penalties
- Algorithmic Penalties
However, in both the cases you are sure to lose keyword rankings for some or all of your site’s content, which had good rankings earlier.
You may be ready to deal with a manual penalty by Google when you know the reasons (i.e. you get a notice). But what to do when you don’t have the slightest idea as to why your website was penalized?
It happens many times.
This is what you should do when you have no idea what’s gone wrong with your website or blog – go to Google’s Webmaster Central help forum.
If you are not sure what might have gone wrong with your website, the first thing to do is to figure out why you’re in trouble. According to Matt Cutts (the head of web spam team at Google), Google’s webmaster help forum has plenty of experts who will provide you adequate help. You can submit your site there are post your questions or ask for recommendations.
Many times, the answers that you get on the forum will be excellent, golden pieces of advice. However, sometimes these volunteers might not be able to cite the exact reasons as to why a site was penalized.
Though this is an excellent web forum to seek help, you should also keep your eyes and ears open before arriving at a decision.
Filing a reconsideration request is yet another way of collecting more details of the manual penalty imposed by Google. If you are not satisfied with what you are advised on Google’s Webmaster Central help forum, you can file a reconsideration request so Google itself can provide you more details. If you know the problems already, you can fix the issues first and then file a reconsideration request to get your site back into the Google search results.
After the Manual Penalty is Removed …
Since you already faced a manual penalty, you wouldn’t want to get into the same trouble again. Therefore, it’s important to take a microscopic look at your website and take the safer route.
Once the penalty has been removed, it’s high time to get the basic issues with your SEO fixed as quickly as possible. For example, your website’s internal architecture should be in order. The source code must also be clean. Duplicate or low quality content should be removed, even if it’s in the least quantity.
At the same time, you should quickly launch a link building campaign in order to generate top quality backlinks for your site.
Even if you were able to recover from a Google manual penalty first time, it may not be the same with a second penalty. Worse still, you may not be able to get rid of a second Google manual penalty at all!
Here is a short video where Matt Cutts talks about manual penalties vs algo updates.
Please feel free to share your opinions.
With SEO so important to Google rankings, many sites are doing anything they can to boost their traffic and their rankings. However, unethical SEO practice, or black hat techniques, can actually hurt your online reputation and make your rankings fall quickly and even get your site penalized. It’s best to stay away from any kind of unethical SEO practice and keep a solid, clean reputation.
What Are Some Unethical SEO Practices to Stay Away From?
*Spun Content – This is taking a previously published article and rewording/rewriting it to say that it is original. However, it’s different than using an article as a source of information and writing your own from it; that’s okay with proper referencing and citing.
Article spinning, on the other hand, takes a well-written, informative article and substitutes words and rearranges sentences, often making the new article garbled and unreadable. If this shows up on your website, it looks a bunch of mish-mash and, though it may contain SEO keywords, will lower your ranking, as it’s basically garbage. Stay away from this!
*Duplicate Content – This one is pretty self-explanatory; it’s taking well-written material that someone else wrote, copying it, and calling it your own. Sure it has those valuable keywords, but guess what – it’s plagiarism. This can severely lower your rankings and your online reputation.
*Poor Quality Content/Over-Optimization (Nonsense Words) – Believe it or not, some website owners will fill their content with nonsense just to get their keywords in. This may have worked long ago and given them a somewhat high ranking because of the use of keywords, but not anymore. Now it will simply lower your ranking because no one wants to read a bunch of nonsense with keywords randomly stuck in. Google ranking techniques, formulas, and algorithms have become more advanced to detect this, and instead of raising your rankings, this one will put any site that does this at the bottom of the barrel.
*Invisible Text – This may be the strangest, most unethical one of all. When a site uses nonsense, keyword-stuffed material placed on their site in invisible text (using a color that blends with the rest of the site), it’s unethical. This one is a red flag to lowering ranking and penalization.
The above practices all fall under the Black Hat category, but there are other things that will hurt your reputation as well. These are some things that simply make you look bad.
*Bashing other sites – Just like your mom taught you not to talk about other people, don’t bash other sites. It just makes you look bad. It may not hurt your Google ranking per se, but it can hurt your online reputation. People may not want to do business with you or visit your site if you have a habit of talking smack about other sites – how do they know they’re not next?
*Giving False Information – Don’t say something just to draw customers in. This doesn’t help anyone, and when customers stop coming to your site, it will hurt. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or accusations that are unfounded. Keep your information up-to-date, honest and ethical, and your rankings will go up, instead of the other way around.
*Linking to Unethical Sites – Here’s another playground lesson – don’t hang out with the bad crowd. Sometimes you are judged on the crowd you keep, so if someone unethical links to you, don’t link back. Your customers should be able to trust the links you offer them, and if you take them bad places, they certainly won’t come back. Google can also detect this and lower your ranking. Your site is a reflection of you – keep it clean.
It’s tough out there in the world of ranking. Though it may be tempting sometimes to try something new, and perhaps not completely honest, don’t do it. The risk isn’t worth it, and you want your site to be something you can be proud of. You don’t want your customers to come to you for the wrong reasons; they won’t come back.
Google has become much more advanced in the way they rank and how it’s figured out, so what may have once worked will now only get your rankings lowered and your site possible penalized or even dis-banned.
Here’s one more playground lesson to go by – and this should cover it all – play nice. If you continually use original, creative, honest text and material and stay away from the unethical practices, your site will do just fine.
Post Penguin Link Building
In the web landscape, it is no secret that Google is a giant, rolling out updates every other day to its algorithm to establish absolute relevancy of results and an improved user experience. This is acutely focused at making the search engine respond to queries in the desired manner, rendering results with information a user is specifically looking for.
Despite the fact that a Penguin is an adorable creature, when Google Penguin came, it proved to be the worst nightmare for SEO experts and website owners since rankings of countless websites fell like soldiers losing in a battlefield.
The release of Google Penguin was announced on 24th April, 2012 and to the great disappointment of many, caught them by surprise. Sources cited that the underlying reason for releasing this update was the identification of websites who were violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by incorporating black hat SEO techniques like cloaking, link schemes, keyword stuffing, duplicate content and others.
Mercilessly retaliating against the spammy websites, link building is one aspect that attracted a lot of limelight in the post Penguin era. For website owners who have been working for years on link-building, the algorithm update came as a shock as they saw all their efforts going down the drain. The update implied that link building has gotten more technical than ever before and only the more skilled ones will now be able to survive.
A fallacious believe around which the Search Engine Optimization strategies were structured till now was that links are just a viable means to bring more traffic to the website but do not have the potential to actually hurt your website rankings. Nothing can be farther from the truth as the secret is out. The way links are incorporated in a website can now have an influential role to play in the post Penguin age.
The update has been exceptionally successful in knocking down spam sites, but if you are one of those who have made use of black hat SEO techniques to land among the top search engine results, Google is going to hit you hard. To avoid it, it is time to whiten the hat and rebuild your SEO strategy. After all, it is never too late to repent.
While a lot has been said and done when it comes to post Penguin link building, some fool-proof tips to not only secure improvements in your rankings, but also to survive the Penguin update successfully are outlined below.
1. Get Social to Spell Success
We are living in the social media age and if you are wondering how social media and link building are associated, read on.
Whenever you post fresh content on your blog or website, make sure you share it on all of your social media pages. This should be done like a reflex. A lot of websites failed badly despite regular posts on their blogs. Why? Because they were not sharing them over Facebook, Google + or Twitter. What is the point of boasting about so-so number of fans and followers if you are not showing them your content?
This helps you create a win-win situation where all you have to do is to make social media spread your content virally, well beyond the premises of your fan base and voila! you get likes, +1’s and retweets. What is there to lose? Zilch!
2. Inner-Page Linking
A mistake a lot of SEO experts and website owners make is that they always link to their homepage. While it cannot be denied that homepage is the most important page of any website, Google is going to raise an eyebrow if it finds all of the backlinks pointing to your homepage. Internal linking is very important because that is where the real content is believed to be. It does not make any sense to Googlebot that none of the links are pointing to the content on the inner pages of the website where blog posts, videos and guides are available.
Take time to improve your website’s internal structure and make sure that the right keywords are directing the users to the right web pages. The following is an example of a website SEOMOZ that uses different mediums to provide links to its internal web pages.
3. Diversify Your Anchor Texts
It is time you get a break from the traditional SEO practices because another element Google Penguin plans to address is on-site and off-site over-optimization. Just imagine how annoying Google can get when it feels that you are forcing it to rank you for a specific keyword such as ‘cheap cars for sale.’ Google will find it highly suspicious that all of your link partners are using the exact key phrase to link to you, which not only happens to be pasted over your title bar but homepage as well.
If people choose to link to you naturally, they are most likely to be using different anchor texts to do so. This way you will achieve linking organically, which will eventually get the wheels going in the right direction. Don’t forget, diversity is the key.
4. Quality over Quantity
Google is going to penalize you if it finds that you have a large number of backlinks from sites that are untrustworthy. It is imperative to understand that one quality link from a blog is better than 30 from unreliable sources. Go for quality because even if it is going to be a small number, it is going to work for you. Of course, you do not want to go to sleep every night wondering if you are next on Penguin’s hit list.
5. Charm with Link-Worthy Content
Last but not the least; you have to stay focused at producing content that others find link-worthy. Stuff that fails to engage readers is not going to get you anywhere. This is because bad user experience is synonymous to low Google rankings. Give your readers something that encourages them to stay with you or even come back again. Content is, and will always be, king.
With the tips above, we hope that you will be able to take your website’s link building in the post Penguin period a step ahead. With the rules of the game changed, link building is no rocket science, but when done appropriately, it can and will work wonders for you.
An article was prepared by SEM Company Promodo.
Distilled recently discussed the possibility of buying awareness to build links, a possibility that I’ve toyed around with in the past with some success. Carson Ward’s test certainly demonstrated it was possible to build links this way, but is it a worthwhile use of time and money?
I hate giving vague answers, but the truth is that it’s going to depend on your content, audience, and industry. However, I can offer some advice on how to figure it out for yourself, and possible other uses of advertising traffic you may not have considered.
Which Channels Are Best?
Carson’s results are in line with my own on this. AdWords impressions cost more than the keyword tool says they’re going to, and the value probably isn’t there, because even low competition informational keywords end up going for about half a dollar per click. AdWords appears to be for selling, plain and simple.
Reddit and StumbleUpon ads are cheapest, but also have some of the lowest time on site. Of course, high bounce rates can make time on site appear lower than it actually is. The most promising ads seem to be on Facebook or targeted display ads, with the display ads doing best in terms of links and price. Obviously, Facebook ads can lead to social subscribers and word of mouth that are beneficial even in the absence of links.
That said, I wouldn’t write off Reddit or StumbleUpon as possibilities, simply because they send such a large amount of traffic at such a low cost. If you gain enough traction with StumbleUpon, it’s algorithm will continue to send traffic for quite a while. In both cases, if you can get the conversion rates high enough, the huge traffic potential makes these promising channels for those who know how to use them.
As I said, success is going to depend on your company, which is why you’ll need to find ways to…
How you measure success is going to depend on what your goals are, and links aren’t necessarily the only thing you should be taking into consideration. However, assuming it’s all about search engine authority, you’ll need to be thinking about:
- Time invested in the ad campaigns
- Time that would have been invested in outreach for the same results
- The financial value of the time invested in either
- The possibility that ads and outreach can work together as multipliers
- The link diversity, the quality of the site sites that link, the domain and page authority of the links, the relevance of the link pages and anchor text, the number of referrals from the links, and the quality of the referral traffic
- The actual impact on rankings
Clearly, metrics are never as clean in this industry as we’d like them to be, but here are a few ways to make things cleaner (I’m considering outreach a “channel” as well):
- Track which channels are used on which posts, and the number of hours invested in each channel toward that post
- Vary which channels are being used to what extent, and randomly choose one channel to avoid using at all for each post
- Over time, look for correlations between the number of hours invested in each tactic, and the results
- Examine whether a mixture of strategies results in a different impact than either of the strategies acting alone
- When possible, compare metrics between posts that went live at the same time
This is not nearly as clean as straightforward A/B testing, but it can be hard to justify using only one channel for each post. Even when you can, you still have to recognize that the content of each post is different, and this is going to have an impact on your results. You can only compensate for this by testing the results on a large number of posts.
Another Use for Paid Traffic
What many online marketers don’t realize is that paid traffic can also be used to test content. All too often, a piece of content goes live and falls flat on its face. If you’ve invested in particularly large amount of time in a piece of content, it may be worth the effort to test its effectiveness using paid traffic. In this way, you can test the content before it is released the general public.
Is it worth it to buy awareness as a method of building links? My experience tells me that it probably will be useful for most businesses to divert some of their funds in this direction. The most important aspect of this is making sure the ads are only displayed and written for influencers, the kind of people who will link to and share content. Other advertising dollars will probably be better spent on direct conversions.
However, it’s equally important to recognize that advertising channels become increasingly saturated over time, and ad blindness is a growing concern. Investing in relationships is a skill that can’t be outright replaced with ad money.
Do you think it’s worth it to buy traffic as a link building method?
Image credit: joiseyshowaa