backlink removal service

Why you need to remove toxic backlinks

If you monitor your website’s backlink profile on a regular basis, it usually becomes apparent at some point that you have undesirable links that are pointing to your website.

Before Google’s Penguin algorithm went live in 2012, whoever had the most backlinks won. This spurred the cheap link building offers from companies that are able to build thousands of links in a day. As irony has it, backlink removal services have become extremely popular since 2012 also! That is because buying cheap/bad links often gives your site a short term gains, but will provide long term pains.

Websites attract bad backlinks for various reasons. These include, Google Analytics Ghost SPAM, Cheap link building and SEO services, or negative SEO that’s perpetrated from a competitor, or enemy.

Whether you have been penalized by Google or not, removing low quality backlinks is crucial. You shouldn’t have backlinks in your link profile that are high risk, or those that you would feel uncomfortable explaining to others.

There are three main reasons to invest in backlink removal. These are listed in order of importance:

  1. If you’ve been hit with a Google manual web spam penalty. In this case, Google will inform you of a penalty via the Google Search Console that your site has an “unnatural” link profile. This is a big problem, as your site won’t display in the Google Search Engine, until you resolve the issue. This is obviously the most urgent reason to clean up your backlinks.
  2. Algorithmic penalty. As Google rolls out new algorithms almost daily, over time you may be affected by poor quality links. This is likely to become evident if your ranks drop significantly at a time when there’s a known Google algorithm change. Many tools, such as Moz will map your rankings against known Google Algorithms.
  3. Preventative maintenance. Often, you have sites linking to your website that you are generally uncomfortable about. These links should be investigated further to avoid a future algorithmic or manual penalty.

To start, it’s imperative that you perform a full backlink audit against your website. You simply need to identify the low quality links that are suspected to be hurting your rankings. This includes any irrelevant links that are pointing to your website. Such links may be coming from gambling sites, adult sites, sites in a different language, or different country.

Sometimes bad backlinks are easy to see. This is not usually the case, unfortunately. More often than not, you’ll need to check the source website to see why the link could be construed as bad. If you’ve recently dropped rankings for no apparent reason, then it’s highly likely that it’s time for a link audit.

Categories of poor links:

Links from a website that is only set to provide SEO links– eg, SEO directories or Private Blog Networks. The sole purpose of these sites is to generate outgoing links. There may be hundreds, or thousands of links coming from these domains.

Blog Comment links– Blog comment links are low quality. A few here and there are ok, but they should not make up the bulk of your link landscape.

Links with over optimized anchor texts– If the anchor text is over-optimised, it looks unnatural and you’re likely to receive a google algorithmic penalty.

Things to consider BEFORE removing backlinks:

  1. Detecting bad backlinks is notoriously difficult. Even the most expensive SEO tools have difficulty identifying truly toxic links.
  2. Even those links that come from dubious sources, usually provide some link value. Anyone whose site has been hacked by creating thousands of pages enjoys the increase in domain authority! Be careful to ensure you’re not removing useful links.
  3. Hiring a link removal company doesn’t guarantee any more success. These services are expensive and likely won’t make any better decisions regarding which links to remove than you will. Remove the links yourself, by following this guide.
  4. Although Google suggests contacting the site owner first to ask them to remove the toxic links, many webmasters make this task arduous. Webmasters often ask for a removal fee, or refuse to remove the links.
  5. If you are penalized, removing the offending link rarely removes Googles penalty. You’ll need to also disavow the link.

Step 1- Backlink Analysis

Actually, this is a really important task in general. You should review backlinks at least each month, to know where you are at. There are several tools out there that are useful for this task.

How to identify low quality links

In reality, you can perform this task from Google Search Console. This is ok if you have a handful of suspect links, but in reality, it’s just additional time wasted performing this task manually. For this task, I’ll use SEO Spyglass, but you can use any tool that can analyse your backlinks effectively.

Start a new project:

backlink removal

Enter the URL to analyse. When the analysis is complete, click the backlinks link:

sydney backlink removal

The screen below is then displayed. You can add additional fields by right-clicking on the top banner. I find penalty risk, Inlink and Domain Inlink rank the most useful. As with all SEO tools, you can’t rely on the data 100%. You should verify the links manually to ensure they truly are toxic and need to be removed.

remove toxic backlinks

As you can see, the top row was flagged by SEO Spyglass as a relatively high penalty risk. After further manual analysis, it’s definitely a SEO link network.

Link removal

  1. Identify the backlink you want to remove
  2. Find the contact information on the website to contact the webmaster. If there’s nothing present, use whois to find out who owns the website.
  3. Email the webmaster/owner with clear information about the location of the link you wish to remove. If no response, wait 5 to 10 days and email again.
  4. If no response, or payment is requested to remove the link, Disavow the links in Google Search Console.
  5. Another option is to remove the pages, rather than the links. If you have low quality pages that are linked by toxic links, you can 404 the page to remove it instead.

This link removal process can be time consuming and frustrating! You may have hundreds, or thousands of low quality backlinks which, in reality will be impossible to remove. Some sites request a fee for removal, and others simply refuse, or don’t respond to your requests. It’s best to aim for a 20% success rate in manual link removal.

Disavowing links you can’t remove

Google has a great explanation on how to use their disavow tool here, so I won’t cover it again. The only thing i’ll say is that the disavow file is cumulative. It needs to include the previous disavow entries also. The disavowing process takes time (weeks), as Google depends on your “crawl budget” to crawl your website. Before you disavow backlinks, it’s important to prove to Google that you’ve done your best to clean up these backlinks yourself.

 

As a final note, traffic will decline when you disavow or remove links. There will likely have been visitors coming to your pages via the bad links. Whether a link is removed, or you instruct Google not to count it (By disavowing it), it appears to trigger a re-calculation in Google’s ranking algorithm and it’s likely you will drop rankings, at least temporarily.

On a final note, don’t be too eager to remove links. Often links aren’t pretty, but still help you to rank. In most cases, it’s not having enough good quality links, rather than having a few poor quality links (which Google usually ignores) that cause you to rank poorly.

Whether you’ve been hit with a Google manual webspam penalty, or are trying to avoid an algorithmic penalty; It’s important to monitor your backlinks on a regular basis. You want to clean up those links that you’re not proud of and links that come from bad sources on a regular basis.

For link removal, or Sydney SEO services, contact Evolocity today.

Posted in SEO
YouTube SEO

How to get started with YouTube SEO

Videos are a great way to promote your business, brand, stimulate engagement as well as disseminate information in a more visual way. People often find it easier and less draining to watch videos, rather than reading long-form content.

Once you’ve created your videos, to have maximum engagement, they need to be found during search. In case you weren’t aware, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world! After Google (who owns YouTube!).

YouTube currently handles over 30 million visitors per day, making it a strategic platform for your business.

From a search engine optimisation perspective, YouTube SEO works very differently to a website. There are no links to build with YouTube, and interaction with your YouTube video is a significant ranking factor.

This blog will show you how to get started with YouTube SEO, and how you can get your videos to rank better.

Keyword research

Keyword research for YouTube is very similar to standard on-page SEO. We’ll use the same approach that I’ve detailed in a previous blog, which can be found here.

Quite simply, what you are looking for, is key words that are high value and low competition. You’re really looking for keywords that have 300+ searches per month. it’s difficult to ascertain exact search numbers, as Google’s Keyword Planner’s figures are notoriously inaccurate, as highlighted here.

 

Google Ad Words Keyword Planner

Although it has its detractors, this tool is still arguably the most useful keyword research tool for SEO.

To get started, sign up for a free Google AdWords account, if you don’t already have one. You can then use the Keyword Planner tool to get a basic indication of search volumes for your keywords and recommended alternate keywords.

By inputting my service in this example: Veterinary and adding a landing page, Google suggests the following keywords (including average searches):

YouTube SEO

In this example, we’re looking to SEO a video on dog vaccinations. There are sufficient searches for this keyword (> 1,000) and the competition is medium. To make life easier, most SEO tools have an in-built formula (often known as Keyword Efficiency Index or KEI) to break down searches divided by competition, to see if the keyword is a good target. You can calculate the KEI manually, or use a tool such as SEO Powersuite to calculate it for you:

Sydney SEO

 

As you can see above, the KEI for “dog vaccinations” is green and is a strong candidate for a keyword to use to optimise our YouTube video on the topic.

 

Google Trends

Google Trends is also a valuable tool for keywords. It’s especially useful (if it weren’t obvious!) to identify topics that are trending currently. If we enter Dog Vaccinations, we can see that it provides a similar number to that estimated by SEO Powersuite, around 1800 searches per month.

Sydney YouTube SEO

YouTube auto complete

Just like the feature that’s included in Google search, YouTube has a predictive text field, to display other related and frequently searched keywords. This can be useful for brainstorming and a good starting point for your keyword research.

Sydney YouTube consultant

 

The video itself

Video length

SEO these days is all about answering the searchers’ question (or “intent”). Google believes the longer the content, the more thoroughly the searcher’s question will be answered. Like textual content, for videos, the longer the video, the better it will rank. Your videos should be at least 5 minutes long.

Video title

The video title should be at least 5 words long. This gives google enough information to accurately categorise the video. You’ll want to include the keyword you want to rank for once in your title. Also, try and make the title attractive and compelling to the searcher, so they click through. In our example, we’ll use: “What you need to know about dog vaccinations

Video description

The description field in YouTube is extremely important. It forms the crux of YouTube SEO. Here are some guidelines for you to populate the description field in YouTube:

  • Include a link to your website at the very top of the description. This assists the click-through rate to your website from YouTube.
  • Include the keyword you want to rank for towards the start of the description. These early words have a particularly high impact on your SEO.
  • The description should be somewhat lengthy. 250+ words (out of the allowable 5,000) should be populated to give Google enough content to decide what your video is about.
  • Repeat your keyword a few times to have a significant keyword density. 3 or 4 times is adequate if you stick to the 250 word guideline.
  • Tags can be used if you feel the need. They aren’t super helpful for SEO, but assist categorisation of videos.

Interaction

Engagement As always with SEO, it’s a “catch 22”. Your videos will need many views to rank well. This is especially true if you are tying to rank in a high competition nice. So you need many views to rank. Makes sense. Not!

Comments are an important SEO metric for YouTube. Encourage comments in the description, and respond to any comments that have been left.

Subscribers, favourites and thumbs up/down, followers. these metrics are also important for YouTube SEO. The more people want to interact with your videos and like/dislike sends signals to Google, which they use to decide rankings.

Watch time

How long users watch the video, is an important metric for SEO. If most people stop watching your 5 minute videos after 30 seconds, you won’t rank well. The longer users watch, the better. Consider editing your videos if they contain too much “filler”.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Whether users click the links in the video description to go to your site is a ranking factor for Google. Give users a reason to click the link.

Promoting your video

Social Media & Email

Use social media channels, email newsletters etc to promote the video to your followers. Google+ communities can be useful, as well as the usual social media channels you use that are specific to your demographics.

Web 2.0

Embedding your video in Web 2.0 platforms such as Tumbler and WordPress blogs can assist your SEO greatly. This can drive traffic and send signals to Google to enable you to rank higher. The question and answer site Quora is also a good place to promote your videos.

Forum commenting

Responding to forum comments with a link to your video can be useful for SEO. It promotes your video to expand it’s exposure, and the link from the forum is another signal to Google about the relative importance of your video.

Conclusion

YouTube SEO, is similar to on-page SEO for websites. Keyword research is essential, and you’ll need to spend the time populating title, description, working on interaction and promotion of your videos

Hopefully this introductory guide to YouTube SEO will get you on your way to getting a higher ranking for your videos, more click-through and increased engagement for your YouTube channel.

If you need assistance with SEO on your website, or YouTube channel, contact us today!

guest blogging

6 reasons why guest posting is essential for your business

What is a “guest post”?

It's increasingly difficult to acquire high quality, relevant backlinks in 2017. Sure, if you create great content on your website, it will eventually be indexed by Google and sites will find it organically and link to it.

It does happen; however it usually takes many months, or years for sites to stumble upon your content.

Guest posting is the process of producing content that will be hosted on another site, or Blog.

The destination site is most often a site that is more powerful than yours own, and one that has considerable traffic and readers.

 

Is a guest post risky?

Google has been advising for over four years that guest blogging for SEO purposes is considered "spammy". Google's former head of the web spam team detailed his concerns clearly in this blog.

Google is adamant that it will seek out and penalize sites that use guest posting for purely SEO purposes. The old "spammy" method of guest posts that Matt Cutts is referring to is posting links to unrelated content and guest posts purely for the purposes of SEO and rankings. These kinds of guest posts are (and should be) a thing of the past.

To answer the question, a legitimate guest post for exposure, reach and branding isn’t risky at all. As long as you follow the advice presented below.

Having cleared up the concerns from Google, there are 6 great reasons I believe you should guest post:

  1. Exposure- Guest posting allows you to demonstrate your authority on a subject. It enables you to stand out on a platform you usually don't have access to. For example, when starting a new business (and website), you'll usually have only a small audience. Guest posting helps you gain this exposure.

  2. Reach- Let's be realistic, shall we? For a new site, it will take months or years for your website to gain traffic and rankings to the point where you'll start receiving readers and organic traffic. Why not leverage off an existing website that has readers and traffic already?

  3. Branding- you may wish to promote your brand by appearing on high profile sites that allow guest posts. If your guest post makes it to Forbes or Entrepreneur.com, this will have a tremendous impact on your branding.

  4. Traffic- Most guest posts will allow some links in your article (where relevant), as well as a link in the author bio. If you guest post on a site with many visitors, it's likely some will click the links to read about your products or services and to find out more about you. This traffic essentially brings referral traffic to your website and should result in more leads and sales.

  5. Relationships/community- Guest posts serve as an introduction to people you wouldn't have met otherwise. Often, great things happen as a result of these relationships. Everything from cross-promotion leveraging synergies to joint ventures and beyond!

  6. SEO- Although Google has made it clear that guest posting for SEO is dead, the draw-card of increasing rankings is a major fringe benefit of guest posting. It's been clear for many years that links are one of the most important ranking signals for a website. Quite simply, whoever has the strongest backlinks to their website generally ranks highest.

 Where should you blog?

To avoid any penalties, and to get a significant return on your investment for your effort, you need to find sites (that offer guest blogs), that:

  • Have a good domain authority - The Domain Authority of a website is a metric that compares the overall strength of a website (from 1 to 100). The domain authority of the site you wish to guest post should ideally be higher than your website. I'd also recommend you only guest post on a site with Domain Authority > 30. You can check domain authority of websites here.

  • Are reputable. The website must have a good reputation for publishing high quality, authoritative content. They shouldn't accept payment for guest posts either.

  • Have significant visitors. You'll only want to publish on a site that has more than 100k visitors per month. Check the site's visitors and traffic using similar web.

  • Are related to your website- it's no good guest posting in a different industry or unrelated genre (unless you want a Google penalty!). Pick relevant and related websites that allow guest posts.

  • Have a significant amount of social media followers- Social media is critical for all businesses. When a guest post is published, it should be promoted to the social media followers of the guest post site. For your engagement to be maximised, significant social media followers are essential. I'd say 10k combined followers (across all social media platforms) should be the minimum.

How to find guest post opportunities

Let's say you are a lawyer in Australia that specialises in trademarks, and want to increase your reach and exposure. You could use a combination of the below in Google search to find sites that allow guest posts:

Australian trademark law “guest post”

Australian lawyer “write for us”

Australian lawyer “guest article”

 

You then need to write a convincing email to the site you wish to submit to. Below is a great example from Backlinko:

 

Hey [Name],

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my guest post at [Website].

I never thought of the fact that [Insert something they said in the comment].

That’s a good point.

Anyway, I actually have another guest post idea that would be perfect for your site.

It’s called: [5 Tips X…]

I could have it sent to you this week.

Either way, thanks again for your insights!

Best,

[Your First Name]

What's next?

  • Spend some time creating your author bio. Make your author bio as professional and descriptive of you and your experience as much as possible. Ensure you tailor your bio for each site. Google hates duplicate content, so don’t re-use the same bio across multiple sites.
  • Link from your own on-site blog to the guest post. Reciprocal links are a nice touch and are appreciated by webmasters.
  • Publish your post on social media several times. You need to promote your brand, and there’s no better method to do this than social media. Re-post your guest post periodically.
  • Thank the webmaster at the guest blog site for allowing your guest post. It’s important to build relationships in life and this is no different.
  • Answer any questions following your post. This creates engagement for readers of your post.

Conclusion

Google has warned that Guest posts for the sole purposes of SEO are finished, and will be penalised. If used correctly, guest posts are a great mechanism to display your authority, promote your brand and build valuable connections amongst your peers. The fringe benefits from guest posts include increased traffic and powerful links which will help your SEO and will be great for your business.

You need to ensure you do the research first and find suitable sites to publish your guest content. Also, be open to allowing reciprocal guest posts if the opportunity arises.

Do you agree with guest posts? Have a better approach? Leave a comment!

To reach some related posts, click here or here

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Critical SEO checklist when redesigning a website

Website redesigns are common. According to this article, they should take place approximately 2-3 years. This seems accurate from my experience.

As a website owner, it means website redesigns, and how to handle them, will become increasingly common over time.

It’s important that you make a plan for SEO website redesign, and have an accurate and up-to-date checklist to follow.

It’s common for web designers to put tens of hours into web design, making a beautiful website but omitting all but the most basic SEO concepts in the new site.

As part of the SEO website redesign process, it’s really an opportune time to address outdated content, broken links, bad navigation & menus as well and other factors that negatively affect SEO as well as conversions.

Backlinks are increasingly hard to acquire in 2017. You must consider your backlinks and do everything you can to retain them, to ensure the inevitable traffic drop after a website re-launch is minimised (and only temporary) as much as possible.

This blog provides an easy to follow checklist to minimise SEO impact when redesigning and relaunching your website.

Website Analysis/Planning

Perform a link audit

It’s important to know all your incoming links. You want to retain the majority of your link juice. If URLs change as part of your site redesign, you’ll want to create 301 redirects, or inform the backlink owner of the URL change. This step is critical, else you’ll lose your website rankings fast!

Keep slugs the same where possible

Avoid renaming pages and slugs. Names should be kept the same to retain your backlinks. Only change the slugs if there’s no alternative.

Ensure the new site is set to no-index.

While you’re setting up the new website, ensure it’s not being indexed by Google/Bing. You don’t want to confuse the search engine and eat up your crawl budget on the site that’s not ready to go live.

Check for any dead links, missing images

As part of the site redesign, the web designer may have overlooked dead links and missing images. It’s an opportune time to perform a website analysis to scan for dead links, missing images etc before go-live.

My tool of choice for these audits is the excellent WebSite Auditor. Here’s my method to perform website analysis:

Create a new project and ensure you have the “Enable expert options” box checked:

seo website redesign

Disable the “Follow robots.txt instruction”. Now the Website Auditor tool can crawl your entire site, even though the home page is set to no index.

seo website redesign

Review the website analysis and check/correct any issues:

seo website redesign

Ensure Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are setup

Setup all the tracking code on the new site and ensure it’s working before go-live. This ensures there is one less task to perform after the site is re-launched.

Check performance

It’s important to check your website performance as part of SEO website redesign, both for user experience and for crawl performance. If your website is slow to load, it won’t be crawled effectively. This will exceed your crawl budget.

You should check the  page load times via Google page speed insights. Ensure you are using a WordPress image compression plugin, such as Smush and install a caching plugin such as WordPress Fastest Cache.

Ensure on-page SEO is checked/addressed

You’ll need to install a SEO plugin, such as Yoast, if not installed already. This will help you manage your on-page SEO factors. Ensure all Meta Keywords, Meta Descriptions H1s are set and optimised.

During launch

Remove the no-index tags

This will enable the site to be indexed by the search engines

Complete the change of address in Google Search Console

This is essential to inform Google of the address change (if applicable)

Ensure Google Analytics is receiving live traffic

Post Launch

Check for any crawl errors

It’s essential to check the Google Search Console for any crawl errors, as well as the crawl stats to ensure Googlebot has no issues indexing your site.

seo website redesign

Ensure the sitemap is submitted and pages are indexed

There are reasons why pages aren’t being indexed. Check out our blog about why pages need to be Indexed and run your pages through the tool.

There is more likely to be an issue for new pages, rather than existing ones. But check them anyway.

Ensure there are no issues with your Robot.txt

This is checked by investigating “Blocked Resources” in Google Search Console

Track site rankings as normal

If you’ve done everything correctly, it should take around 4 weeks for rankings to return to normal. This is however dependent on your crawl rate/crawl budget.

Website redesigns are a fact of life and are becoming more common. If you make a plan for SEO website redesign and address backlinks up-front, the impact to traffic and rankings will recover in about a month.

Did I miss anything? Please comment to suggest additions to the checklist.

Contact Evolocity today to find out about our SEO, PPC and Web design.

 

Why you must ensure all your pages are indexed

indexed in Google

When working on SEO for a client’s website for the first time, it often becomes apparent that not all web pages are indexed in Google.

As a refresher, if the page isn’t indexed in Google (or another search engine), then it can’t show up in the search results.

Addressing a lack of indexed pages is one of the most basic and critical tasks of SEO.

On several occasions, I’ve experienced the same issue when taking on new SEO work for a client.

The website below, which is more than 10 months old, was professionally built. It has a valid sitemap and robots.txt yet still was only partially indexed in Google.

There are various reasons why not all pages are indexed in Google. These reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Robots.txt file is inadvertently blocking Googlebot’s access to some of your pages
  • Meta tags such as “nofollow” instructs Google not to follow links to other pages
  • Incomplete sitemap or orphaned pages meaning Googlebot can’t reach all pages
  • Crawl budget insufficient- due to the site’s relatively low page rank
  • No incoming links to the pages, indicating low importance
  • Duplicate content that Google thinks isn’t worthwhile crawling

As a result of one, or a combination of the above factors, Google may just haven’t fully indexed your site. That is the case I’ve experienced with this 10 month old website.

I also have a suspicion (but can’t prove it!) that sites that haven’t had their ownership claimed aren’t fully indexed. Claiming ownership by being added to Google’s webmaster console seems to be a factor in crawling, or lack thereof.

How to investigate the cause of missing pages

To investigate this issue, I first of all check Google Webmaster Tools. I look to ensure there are none of the issues mentioned above stopping Google from indexing the website. This includes any manual actions or crawl errors identified by Google.

In this particular case, there were no crawl errors detected.

The difficulty most SEOs face here, is that Google only supplies a count of those pages submitted and those that are indexed. Trying to find out which of your web pages are indexed in Google, and which aren’t is difficult.

You could run the site:www.example.com command in Google search and get a list of those pages indexed by Google.

From past experience, I find the results aren’t very reliable. It often misses pages that I know are indexed and getting hits, it omits duplicate/similar results also.

I also find that varying the search terms slightly to site:www.example.com products would return different indexed results than without the products kewyword.

I’ve always thought; there has to be a better way!

Then recently everything changed, when I stumbled upon Greenlane Google Indexation Tester! This tool is what i have been searching for!

The tool let’s you enter up to 100 URLs and systematically checks them against Google’s index to see if the pages are indeed stored in Google’s index.

indexed in Google

Using the tool,  which is a Google docs spreadsheet is extremely simple. You just copy the URLs into the spreadsheet and click run. The output is very clear. It provides a simple Yes, or No as to whether the pages are indexed in Google.

The tool can also import/read your xml sitemap file, which makes things even easier.

The URLs that weren’t indexed, I simply copied the pages from the Google Indexation tester and submitted them into Google’s webmaster tools.

This was achieved by clicking the “Crawl” menu and then “Fetch as Google”. Simply enter the URL of the page you want crawled, click Desktop or Smartphone and then “Fetch and Render”

We can see from the Crawl Stats in Google Webmaster Tools that before April, there was very little crawl activity on this website:

What caused the crawl activity to increase after April, is the fact that I manually submitted the pages to Google that weren’t indexed, as just described.

If you’ve done everything properly, you’ll start to see the number of pages indexed gradually increase over the next few days. It does take a few days (or weeks) for Google to index the missing pages that were originally identified.indexed in Google

The speed is dependent on your “crawl budget” and how many pages google needs to crawl. You should check to ensure your robots.txt is correct and set the canonicalisation of your website to reduce google’s crawl effort.

What I’ve realised, is that un-indexed web pages is a surprisingly common occurrence. It should be one of the first things checked when beginning a SEO campaign on a website, as overlooking this check can be disastrous.

Whilst on the topic, there may be a reason your web pages are indexed and then de-indexed again. Ensure your content is meaningful, unique and linked (internally and externally) to ensure your pages remain indexed in Google.

Thanks to Greenlane for creating this tool!  I plan to use it periodically to identify which pages are dropped from an index and when taking on new SEO work. It’s an extremely useful tool and I’m glad i found it!

Do you agree with my approach for identifying any pages not contained in Google’s index? Leave a comment below if you have a better method.

Click the link to read more about the on-page SEO mistakes that are common.

For any assistance with SEO for your website, contact Evolocity.

 

Posted in SEO

Why you should build links with SEO PowerSuite

link building

A simple analogy is that backlinks are similar to votes. The sites that have the highest number of quality backlinks (votes) will rank the highest. All other things being equal.

Latest SEO research says that links make up around 20% of your site’s overall ranking factor. Quite simply, to rank well in 2017, you need quality backlinks.

The primary reason sites will link to you, is your ability to create high quality, useful content.

In this blog, I’ll break down how and why you need to create backlinks and provide an overview of how SEO PowerSuite tools can assist your link building efforts.

What are backlinks?

In the simplest form, backlinks are links from other websites to yours.

Backlinks can come from many different forms, including blog posts, directory listings, forum comments that allow a website URL to be entered and many more categories.

The text that is used to create the link is known as “anchor text”.  An example is Sydney SEO. The anchor text in this example is “Sydney SEO”. Anchor text information sends important link signals to Google, and it’s important to consider the wording of your anchor text when undertaking link building.

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks are Google’s way of determining the relative authority of your website.

If you have a plethora of quality websites linking to your content, Google determines that your website must be of a high quality. It makes sense. Why else would any reputable sites want to link to you?

I realise I used a vote analogy before, but I have another one that’s fitting also! Job candidates when referred by a colleague or friend tend to be higher quality and more reliable employees.

Your friend or colleague wouldn’t put their reputation on the line for a candidate that’s of a low calibre.

The same applies for links. Reputable websites won’t tarnish their reputation by linking to low quality or questionable websites.

Hence the reason why credible links are important for Google’s algorithm that determines your site ranking.

Why would a website want to link to me? 

That’s an interesting question! The answer is mostly “content”. If you create great content, on a regular basis, the link building process will become relatively painless.

If you blog regularly, create videos, infographics etc. you’ll start to see websites linking to your content organically, without you needing to ask for a link.

Of course, it takes months for websites to find your content after google indexes it and it begins to rank organically.

The steps below which are referred to as “link building” fast track this activity and proactively inform websites of your content, without webmasters needing to find it themselves.

As mentioned previously, there are many link building activities. By far, the highest quality link building activities will come from creating great content. This is the main method you should focus on when link building and trying to increase the domain authority of your website.

How should I start link building?

For link prospecting, I recommend SEO PowerSuite. This comprehensive SEO suite of tools contains two modules that are extremely helpful for link building. Namely, SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant tools.

SEO Spyglass is a very powerful tool for analysing the current link situation on your website. It provides a comprehensive overview of the progress of your backlinking efforts over time and has much more information than that! Much of the detailed information you probably will never use, but it’s nice to know it’s there in case you need it!

The great feature of SEO PowerSuite is that it uses it’s own LinkExplorer database to determine links to your website. In addition, it collates data from Google Analytics and Google’s search console links.

The end result is, you get a more comprehensive and up-to-date link information than using just the Google search console alone.

Below is an easy to read graph of my Backlink progress over time.

The first graph displays total links, whereas the second graph only displays the linking domains. The difference being one domain can provide several links.

Link building

If you click on “linking domains”, you get an easy to read (configurable) dashboard. This dashboard displays the linking domain, estimated risk of penalty, inlink rank of the linking domain etc.

This view gives you an efficient interface to see the number and quality of links to your website. You can drill down further and include anchor text details also.

Link building

In some respects, there’s an overlap between SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant tools. They both provide core information about existing links, but this isn’t Link Assistant’s main purpose.

Link Assistant is designed primarily for link building activities.

To start a search for link building prospects, you can click “Look for prospects” and pick one of the link building categories below.

I’d almost always begin by searching competitor backlinks. It’s usually the fastest way to find relevant and effective backlinks for your website.

After you’ve exhausted this category, you can move on to others categories such as directories, forums, commenting etc.

Link building

There’s always pros and cons to acquiring links and it’s important to look closely at Link Assistant’s results of InLink rank. InLink rank, I’d say is crucial to ensure the proposed links are of an acceptable quality, so they won’t cause your site a Google penalty.

Link building

Once you’ve analysed the suggested links in detail, Link Assistant has a nice feature that let’s you email directly from the tool.

There are several pre-formatted email templates to reach out for link building.

Personally, I don’t recommend using templates for emailing. You’ll have a much higher response rate if you customise each email individually.

Having said that, the templates (and categories of link outreach) are a great starting point to begin your link building activities.

Link building

As mentioned previously, there are several ways to acquire backlinks. I recommend content generation to aim for quality backlinks over quantity.

Therefore, guest posting, product review templates are the most relevant outreach strategies for link building with this approach.

That’s not to say that reciprocal links, forums and directories don’t have a place in link building. They do, they’re just slightly controversial and need thorough analysis to ensure the sources are credible and relevant. Else your site may be penalised by Google.

Link building, like SEO is a long term, time consuming process that’s critical to SEO in 2017.

As always, you don’t need to buy tools such as SEO PowerSuite. You can use a plethora of free tools out there on the Internet. However, I’d recommend you’d buy SEO PowerSuite (that’s what I did!).

Quite simply, time is money, and the time saved having SEO PowerSuite do much of the hard work for you is well worth the cost in my opinion.

The speed and accuracy of SEO PowerSuite to analyse data is priceless. I find it simply makes better decisions, based on it’s InLink quality algorithm. Better than I can do, unless I spent many hours trawling through the raw data myself.

If you’re still not sold, or don’t have the budget, you can use the free version of SEO PowerSuite. It’s also very good. Missing are the ability to save projects and export data, but even the free version is still an immensely powerful suite of SEO tools.

For other  blog articles on keyword research or common mistakes for WordPress SEO, check out my SEO blog.

If you need help with your SEO in Sydney or Australia, including link building services, contact us today for your free consultation.

* Disclaimer

I was provided a free trial of SEO PowerSuite Enterprise for this review. I was so impressed with the product, I purchased an Enterprise licence (at my own expense) within 48 hours. Contact me, if you’d like anymore information as to why.

Posted in SEO

5 reasons why Limousine SEO is critical

Limousine SEO

The Limousine industry in Australia is sizable, with revenue estimated at over 6 billion dollars annually. That revenue is fragmented, being shared by over 12,000 limousine companies.

Limousine providers are increasingly facing competition from ride sharing companies such as Uber with their “Black” or “Lux” services. It goes without saying that there’s pressure on the limousine industry in Australia as a whole.

Annual year on year growth in the Australian limousine industry is just shy of 2%. That’s real growth and it shows there’s money to be made in the limo industry. This is despite the competition limousine operators are facing.

In Australia, there are relatively low barriers to entry in the limousine industry. As a result, there are many providers in each city. This competition often makes it difficult to generate consistent and increasing revenue.

To survive, your business needs to constantly attract new clients and it’s crucial to ensure you have repeat business.

 The answer to the growth you’re searching for is Limousine SEO

 What is SEO?

Limousine SEO involves tuning your website’s “on-page” factors which comprises content, including page copy, blogs, headings etc to organically boost your search engine rankings.

Off page factors such as link building and social media strategies are also required. These factors help your website to rank well in a search engine and draw more customers to your website.

 Why Limousine SEO?

1.  Most web searches end in organic results

Google processes around 3.5 billion searches per day. Visibility in a search engine results page depends almost entirely on SEO. Research has demonstrated that over 70% of searches end in the organic search results of page 1 of google.

Quite simply, if your business isn’t listed on the first page of Google, most customers will be unable to find your website.

2.  SEO is cost effective

In competitive markets, with paid advertising many business can only afford to run an Ad campaign for a few weeks. After this time, they usually blow their advertising budget for the year due to high Cost Per Click rates.

Unless you are a business with large advertising budget, or in a relatively un-competitive market (low Pay Per Click costs), Pay Per Click advertising often isn’t sustainable for small businesses long-term.

SEO costs on the other hand are predictable and sustainable. Realistically, SEO is the only way small limousine companies can afford to compete with the big players on a (relatively) level playing field.

 3. SEO is organic

There’s something fulfilling about organically ranking for keywords, without relying on paid advertising to ensure your website is displayed in the search engine.

If you rank organically, it means Google values your website and it’s judged a credible and authoritative resource on it’s own merits. No tricks or advertising are required.

Local SEO (via Google maps) which is based on searches by location is also becoming increasingly important to gain local clients. This fast growing Google search mechanism displays your business by proximity to the search location and is a great way to rank in Google, even if you don’t have a website.

4. SEO improves user experience

SEO in 2017 isn’t about manipulating search engines via tricks. SEO is about creating a great user experience through meaningful content and great design. This will increase the “click through” rate of website users.

SEO, content generation, social media and website design go hand in hand to improve the user experience holistically.

 5. Your competitors are investing in Limousine SEO

SEO is a constantly evolving “battle” between your competitors, the search engine and your website. Website rankings float up and down each month based on your competitors’ SEO efforts, new websites being launched as well as Google’s algorithm updates.

If your competitors invest in SEO (most do!) and you don’t, you’ll be left behind in the search engine results space and slide down the rankings.

In summary, the Limousine industry in Australia is extremely competitive, with new players entering the market relatively easily. Add high class ride sharing platforms and it’s even more challenging. There’s still significant year on year growth of the industry. SEO is becoming critical for limousine business to stand out from the competition to generate consistent and increasing revenues.

Enjoy this blog? Read some others such as Why you need to invest in SEO or SEO content pitfalls.

Contact us to find out more about our SEO and Online Marketing services

 

Posted in SEO

Why you need to invest in Shopify SEO

Many website owners might be familiar with WordPress SEO, but feel overwhelmed when attempting to SEO their Shopify site for the first time. As a result, I’ve written this blog for those new to the Shopify platform.

Why do i need Shopify SEO?

Shopify SEO

Search engines are used more in online purchases than any other source of traffic such as social networks, apps, or deal websites.

Shopify SEO is becoming increasingly important to boost e-commerce sales.

If your Shopify site isn’t listed on the first page of Google, you’re losing sales to your competitors. Simple as that.

If you are new to the Shopify platform, or setting up your Shopify store for the first time, this guide will get you on your way to SEO success! In the interests of brevity, this blog only covers on-site SEO. Off-site SEO, https, minification etc are not covered.

WordPress SEO vs Shopify SEO

Shopify, in many ways is very similar to WordPress from a SEO perspective.

Replace the term “Plugin” with “App” and there’s only minor differences in SEO between the WordPress and Shopify platform. Sure, the SEO plugins are different, but the concepts and approach to SEO is very similar.

Personally, it’s also somewhat refreshing working on the Shopify platform again. In many ways Shopify is simpler and more intuitive than WordPress.

As always, there’s downsides, as it’s not as easy to configure the platform as WordPress. There’s also fewer free apps than the vast array of free plugins in WordPress.

I liken the comparison to iOS with it’s intuitive interface and ease of use vs Android which offers more customisation and flexibility.…

How to setup your Shopify SEO

The first step is to Install a SEO app in your Shopify site. Many apps in the Shopify app store (including SEO apps) need to be bought via a paid subscription on a monthly basis.

After significant testing, I recommend Plug in SEO,  as it’s free and simple to setup and use.

Install Plug in SEO

The app installation in Shopify is extremely simple.

Shopify SEO

Start configuring your on-page SEO

Once the Plug in SEO app is installed, go to each page or blog in the Shopify store and click “Edit website SEO”

Shopify SEO

You’ll then see the screen below that lets you configure your page title/URL and meta description:

Shopify SEO

You’ll see a live preview of your SERP snippet at the top also.

Page headings

Unlike WordPress and the fabulous Yoast plugin, there’s no focus keyword as such in the plug in SEO app (or live SEO analysis in the free version). The reason is the focus keyword is embedded in the page title (which kind of makes sense).

So, for Shopify, you need to include your SEO keywords in the names of your products, pages, or blog posts. The names are often used as a web page’s H1 heading tag also.

For example, if you are selling recovery compression devices, you’d set Compression Therapy for Athletes – Company Name. This will make your page more likely to show up in Google when people use any combination of those search phrases.

The other difference is that the closer to the start the keyword is, the higher the term will rank in search engines. The first word in the title tag ultimately becomes the most important.

Meta descriptions

As with WordPress, ensure the meta descriptions encourage searchers to click your links in the search engine results page to graduate from an impression to a click. Ensure you keep the meta descriptions clear and don’t stick with the default text truncation that many websites use.

Image ALT Text

Ensure you set this field on your images, so they are indexed accurately by Google. These tags are becoming increasingly important. For visually impaired users and those running popup blockers. Without ALT Text, the computer doesn’t know what the image is.

Once you’re finished setting your SEO properties, use the Apps drop down to “Check for SEO problems”. This provides an overview of any serious SEO issues and recommendations on how to correct them.

Unfortunately the “Check for Keywords” option isn’t available in the free edition of Plug in SEO, so you’ll need to use another tool to check your on-page focus keywords. For this, I’d suggest using the awesome Website Auditor from SEO power suite.

Create a new project by entering the URL you wish to analyse.

 Shopify SEO

After Analysis has completed, click content audit -> Page audit

Shopify SEO

You then have the ability to tune your SEO until you get a great on-page ranking (similar to Yoast’s traffic lights).

Other

Plug In SEO is also missing flesch reading score which I find useful. You can check your ease of reading copy here, or keep in the back of your mind to write your text at the reading level applicable for an eighth grade student. Short sentences and simple wording. You get the idea.

Summary

In this blog, I’ve touched on the differences between WordPress SEO and Shopify SEO, for those that are new to the Shopify platform.

In summary, Shopify is easy to use, fast to setup and a robust platform. The downside is the lack of customisation/flexibility and the reduced quality of free SEO apps available in the Shopify store.

Both platforms have their pros and cons and I enjoy working on both! Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.

You can read more of my blogs: content pitfalls for SEO, keyword research for SEO and the common WordPress mistakes for SEO.

Feel free to click the links to find out more information about our Shopify SEO or WordPress SEO services, or contact us to find more.

Posted in SEO

Why you need to invest in SEO in 2017

Invest in SEO

I have to admit that I’ve never really felt comfortable with the term Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is often associated with shady practices of manipulating search engines to rank your website better. It just sounds dodgy to a lot of people.

I see SEO another way. It’s correcting issues (technical, on-site and off-site) that stop your website competing effectively against your competitors. SEO fixes website issues so that your website is fully visible to search engines. SEO also helps a website to reach it’s full potential in organic rankings.

Continue Reading

Posted in SEO

“Fred” and the dangers of Black Hat SEO

 

Dangers of Black Hat SEO

Did they, or didn’t they?

In case you haven’t read, in the last couple of weeks, it’s assumed that Google released another major search engine algorithm update unimaginably named “Fred’. There are some geek jokes around the name Fred, but supposedly Fred’s aim was to down rank those websites that bought links, or are linked to by dubious sites.

Whether Fred is real, or not the message is clear- Fred highlights the dangers of Black Hat SEO. Sooner or later you will be penalized for having questionable backlinks.

What does this mean?

One of the major off-site SEO activities to improve a website’s credibility is increasing back links. The more credible back links you have (say from Wikipedia or legitimate news sites), the greater you’ll rank; all other things being equal.

Many budget/unscrupulous SEO Agencies try to take shortcuts to increase your ranking by adding thousands of farmed links from web directories in India, Pakistan, Russia and other countries. These directories often advertise vice goods/services and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they’re not genuine backlinks related to your business.

What to do if I’ve got dodgy back links to my site?

Contact the webmaster
In the first instance, contact the directory and ask nicely for them to remove the link. Some webmasters might not reply or ask for a fee to remove the links. Don’t pay a fee, but follow-up after a week or two for removal.

Remove your affected pages
Remove the bad linked/low ranked pages with a 404 link to disavow the target pages. This is not ideal, and is a somewhat extreme measure, only to be actioned if there’s an obvious down ranking of those pages.

Lesson learned?

There are no shortcuts to ranking well. SEO is a slow process, and there are real dangers of Black Hat SEO. Shortcuts hurt too much in the long term and don’t offset the benefits in the short term.

Produce good content and you’ll organically grow your back links. Link building is also useful, just make sure the backlinks make sense and are genuine.

At Evolocity, we only use and recommend “White Hat” techniques to SEO. Contact us to find out more about our services.

 

 

Posted in SEO