Manual Spam Action Revoked! A Case Study

road-to-recovery-featured Checklists of how to get out of a Google penalty abound. Five things you should do, five things you shouldn't do, etc. But the number one thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. I want to tell you the story of a two-year long penalty, the steps we took and how something we never thought would work… finally did. No Impact On Organic Traffic The client was a purveyor of a highly competitive retail product -- one of the top in the world, with over 10 million visits per month. Back in July 2012, the client received the first notice that there were "unnatural links pointing to the site." But the c [...]


Creating Content For Your Users That Will Also Get You Links

Sephora existing customers When you're crafting content, you obviously want to create something that your users want to see; but, that's not always as easy as it sounds. How can you tell what they want? How do you know what they need? Perhaps just as important is this question: how can you craft something that appeals specifically to them but also appeals to a broader group (like potential customers)? Find Out What Your Audience Wants Ask Your Customers. If you send out an email newsletter, ask them to contact you and share ideas of what they'd like to see on the site. Ask them on Facebook and Twitter. Ask them in [...]


When To Consider A Backlink Cleanup

backlink cleanup If you've been paying attention to the SEO world over the past year and a half, you know that link removal is all the rage. There are countless tutorials that detail how to go about identifying and getting rid of harmful backlinks. If you have the tools, time, patience and ability to follow step-by-step articles, backlink cleanup is arduous, but doable. What these guides fail to mention, however, is when it's best to cleanup your backlink profile. Is it best to wait until you've received an unnatural link warning from Google? Or should you proactively deal with the spammy, paid link filled ti [...]


How To Analyze A Link: Link Building Basics

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured The importance of link quality in SEO cannot be overstated. Before you begin any link building project within SEO, you must be sure you're pursuing links that will not only have an impact today, but will continue to have a positive impact in the future. That means understanding what makes a quality link, and why. Let's take a look at the elements of link analysis, which are: Relevance Link Type Authority Location Smell Test Relevance Relevance should always be the north star of your link building compass. Without relevance, a link will, at best, be sub-par quality and, at wo [...]


5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors

SEO I've been struggling with a particularly difficult link cleanup project lately. On the occasion of my 100th reconsideration request (4th for this particular client), I thought it might be helpful to share five not-so-common problems that you might run into during your own link cleanup project. [Editor's note: Since this post was originally published, it's received praise from two Googlers: webmaster trends analyst John Mueller and webspam head Matt Cutts! Which just goes to show how important it is that you continue reading!] 1. Don't Block Your Pages With Robots.txt One good solution to [...]


4 Go-Tos To Make Online Reviews Work For Your Business

Yelp profile By now, everyone knows that online reviews can have a tremendous impact on consumers' purchasing decisions. Ultimately, a single review -- positive or negative -- can tip the scale in favor of one company over another. No doubt, the power of reviews on Google+, Yelp, Angie's List and other local search directories continues to mount. Review prominence in search results is also rising, as they often appear for a business just below their company website and make up the majority of the corresponding top 10 search results. Major search and review sites weight online reviews very highly, and [...]


The 7 Types Of People Who Want To Help You Build Links

Full Infographic at SocialBarrel With so much of link building focused on creating actual relationships these days, the idea that you can build high-quality links without people seems preposterous. Yes, I know there are still things like directories and post submissions but, come on…  a real person has to approve those, right? Building relationships can be tough, but trust me when I tell you -- there are actually people out there who want to help you. Even better…you might already know them! You just have to know where to look: 1. The Person Talking About You One of the most basic link building tactics is identifyin [...]


Infographic: What Is The Nofollow Tag; When & How To Use It

rel-nofollow-featured The nofollow tag is a way publishers can tell search engines not to count some of their links to other pages as "votes" in favor of that content. Why would publishers need to block such votes? Doing so can help them avoid problems with search engines believing they are selling influence or are somehow involved in schemes deemed as unacceptable SEO practices. Our Search Engine Land infographic below, made with the help of the good folks over at Killer Infographics, explains more about the nofollow tag, including when and how to use it. Also see additional references and background informatio [...]


Did Hummingbird Eat Link Building?

Did Hummingbird Eat Link Building? [caption id="attachment_173839" align="alignright" width="300"] Did Hummingbird Eat Link Building?[/caption] Panda squashed bad content. Penguin froze low-quality links. And now, did Hummingbird eat link building? Hummingbird wasn't just another algorithm update. It was more a re-tooling, behind-the-scenes adjustment to make Google faster and smarter. And it most likely opens the door for a lot more change to come. Let's take a look at what Hummingbird means for the future of link building. What Is Hummingbird To Online Marketers? It's a new engine, not a new paint job. It was in ef [...]


9 Link Building Lessons We Learned As Kids

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured Do you remember the life lessons we learned as kids? Sayings like, "Treat others the way you want to be treated," and, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch," were taught to us at a young age to guide us, help us make better decisions, and remind us to be nice to one another. I can't speak to whether or not those lessons actually stuck with you or helped you throughout your life. But I can tell you that these lessons can help with your link building... both right now and in the future. Here are a few of those lessons you may have forgotten: 1. If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, [...]


Demystifying Link Disavowals, Penalties & More

disavow-links-featured [caption id="attachment_169618" align="alignright" width="269"] Google Webmaster Hangout[/caption] Findings from a recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air (video) demystify link disavowals, penalties and more. Read on for the official word from John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google and friend to webmasters everywhere. First, Some Background Last month, I introduced Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links like A Techie. The commenters on the post had a lot of good questions, and I wanted to begin this month with a few clarifications. First, the development of that list was meant [...]


7 Real Life Ways to Build Links

relationship building pyramid The majority of the time when we're discussing link building, we focus on things like outreach, content strategy, tools and, in general, ways we can acquire links online. Which makes perfect sense since links are… well, online. But what about the offline, or "in real life" opportunities? According to a recent survey featured on eMarketer, the average American spends a little over three hours per day online. That leaves quite a bit of time not spent on the Internet. That also leaves quite a bit of time to get out and build links through live events, partnerships and the magic, link-buildi [...]


Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links Like A Techie

An Unnatural Link Warning from Google Webmaster Tools You've been in business for many years. You may have done it all on your own, or you may have enlisted the aid of unscrupulous SEO "services" to built links for you. Either way, you may be wondering whether you need to conduct a link clean up. This column contains a five-step process outlining how to determine if you have a problem, how to analyze it, and then how to clean it up. But first: Unnatural Links Warning = Problem If you get this message, you have a problem. Skip to step two. [caption id="attachment_166889" align="aligncenter" width="505"] An Unnatural Link Warning from Googl [...]


Build B2B Brand Awareness, Not Links

content social promotion diagram Given the ample warning and increased transparency Google provided in advance of Penguin 2.0, it surprises me that B2B search marketers still blew up the forums about being penalized for link spam after it hit. There's no reason webmasters should not have cleaned up their act before the rollout (the exception being a recently acquired client that already had a bad link profile). Yet, some B2B marketers continue to build spammy links. Can you honestly picture a manufacturer of pipes or a custom fabrication shop creating enough online dialogue that 100 sites per month would link to them legit [...]


Link Building Campaign Design: How To Scale Outreach Today

Community "Scaling link building" is a buzzword that died a slow but well-deserved death over the course of the last several years. Panda, Penguin and common sense were nails in the coffin for many wild link building schemes advertised as "cheap and scalable." But, if you're shrewd, there are still a few opportunities to scale remaining in today's world of authentic, quality, natural link building. Link builders have to be very careful about what they choose to scale. Scaling the wrong thing, or not scaling properly, leads to a quick disaster. Low-quality, template emails = bad. Beautifully wordsm [...]


How To Get Links By Writing About Other People

People usually love talking about themselves, and most people are naturally interested in the intricacies of others, whether it's business or personal. When you do an interview or put together a crowdsourced piece (and yes, I know many of you hate that term!) you're linking to the people involved. At first, this may seem counter-intuitive to earning links for yourself -- however, linking out to influential people while pumping out great content can be one of the best link building tactics out there, and here's why: Some people find it easier to promote themselves indirectly. By promo [...]


Public Relations For SEO: How To Target Journalists

Public Relations for SEO A few years ago, I launched a website called FindHow, and we gave it a full-court press from a PR standpoint. In this series of articles, I’m running through all the best practices we leveraged. In the first part of Public Relations For SEO: The Complete Guide, we talked about how to convince journalists that your topic is newsworthy by properly “positioning” your product or service, and then delved into the basics of writing a press release. Part 2 continues with strategies for targeting journalists and tips for scheduling your announcement. Pick A Strategy To Target Journalists [...]


Public Relations For SEO: How To Pitch Journalists

Public Relations for SEO A few years ago, I launched a website called FindHow, and we gave it a full-court press from a PR standpoint. In this series of articles, I’m running through all the best practices we leveraged. In Part 1 and Part 2, we talked about how to convince journalists that your topic is newsworthy,  the basics of writing a press release, strategies for targeting journalists and tips for scheduling your announcement. Here, we conclude with tips for pitching journalists and how to work it before, during and after the announcement of your release. Pitching Journalists Before you start, understan [...]


A Data-Centric Approach To Identifying 404 Pages Worth Saving

A critical part of doing a site or link audit is checking to see how many 404 (page not found) pages there are in a site. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an audit that lists the total number of 404 pages and advises developers to find appropriate pages to redirect these 404 pages to. That’s no big deal if we’re talking about just 20 to 30 pages. But, when a site has 404 pages in the thousands, and you tell the developers to fix these pages, you’re going to look more than a little ridiculous. So, how can you find out which of those 404 pages are actually important? Two [...]


How To Create A Sustainable Link Plan

it's not sustainable I've recently spoken with three business owners who have approached me in a fairly atypical way: instead of asking me for a proposal, they've given me theirs. It's been a fascinating glimpse into the dangers of thinking that just because you read a lot about link building (and by and large, most people who tell me what they "know" will work say that they read every link building article that comes out), you're equipped to run a successful campaign. Here's the most common thing that these guys have in common:   They have a link plan that is absolutely and completely unsustainable [...]


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