Monthly Archives: December 2015

How to Remove Harmful Links and Avoid Being Penalized by Google?

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Most webmasters do not take them time to evaluate their link profile until it is too late and they’ve been penalized by Google. Unfortunately, this occurrence takes places far too often and instead of avoiding the penalty all together web owners are forced to start from square one as they try to get the penalty removed from their site. My best advice for webmasters is to examine your link profile before you get penalized; you’ll save yourself a lot of time if you take the proper precautions before it’s too late.

Bad link for SEO

First, you need to go through your link profile to see if there are any harmful links included.  Even if you have never used spammy links in your SEO strategies, they can still be there without you knowing. There are multiple softwares available that will help you audit your link profile and remove any bad links that could get you penalized by Google. To help you get started, we’ve provided a short list of things you should look for when examining your link profile.

  • Double-check your links from homepages. Having too many links from homepages may be harmful to your website.
  • A large amount of links from foreign countries can also be a red flag. If your target audience is in the USA then so should the majority of your links. If you perform an audit and notice a lot of links coming from different countries, then some changes will need to be made.
  • Even though Google is no longer updating PageRank, it’s still a good idea to check the page rank of the sites you are receiving links from. The better the page ranking the more likely that the links are high quality ones.

Once you have determined the health of your link profile then you must decide what step you’d like to take next. If you have identified little to no bad links then your work is done! However, if you are concerned about some harmful links associated with your site then you will need to assess the potential damage they could cause. Again, you can use one of the many softwares available such as SEO SpyGlass to help you identify the risk of penalty. Generally speaking, a bad link that could penalize your website will have a 30% or higher penalty risk.

Once you have gone through your list of potentially dangerous backlinks and have selected the ones with high risk values you must then try to unlink them from your website. The two most effective ways to do this is to either contact the site owner directly or disavow the entire domain. Once you have completed this step with all of the bad links you must continue to monitor your link profile to ensure they are removed from your site and that no additional harmful links are added.

2016 Search Engine Optimization Forecast

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Orange-CoWorking.jpg-e1450834818359As the New Year quickly approaches, there has been a lot of speculation concerning the potential SEO changes that might take place in 2016. A local SEO company based out of Indianapolis released a short list of some of the changes they believe will occur in the new year which we’ve included in this article. But before we can discuss these possible changes, we must first reflect on what happened in the world of SEO in 2015.

Here are some highlights of the changes that occurred this year in Search Engine Optimization:

  1. Rankbrain: Added October 2015, this technology was incorporated into Google’s ranking and indexing methods to help them provide users with better search results.
  1. Panda 4.2: This was slowly rolled out during the summer, and to be honest we’re still not exactly sure what changes were made through this update as the impact seemed minimal. However, we do know that this update was important and did alter Google’s algorithm.
  1. Snack Pack Update: This is the nickname given to the change Google made to its Local Pack in August. Basically, this change decreased the local search results that appear at the top of the Google from seven to three. As you can imagine, this update was a major roadblock for many businesses that appeared in the top seven results but not the top three.

SEO in 2016

Now let’s look ahead to 2016 and examine some of the predictions that have been surfacing:

  1. Greater focus on Social Media: Most SEO experts will agree that the necessity of a positive online reputation backed by a strong social media presence continues to increase significantly every year and this year is no exception. Companies need to be involved in an array of social networks to help build a positive image for their brand and gain customer trust.
  1. Increased Respect for Google’s Rules: This is an easy one to predict but is still important to take note of. It is likely that Google will continue to enforce its strict guidelines by severely penalizing those who do not follow the rules they’ve set in place concerning SEO tactics. They will continue to discourage webmasters from using any spammy tactics in an effort to climb the Google rankings.
  1. Video Worth: Videos will play an even greater role in helping your site get to the top of Google. It’s no secret that video is already hugely important, but many experts believe that its impact will increase substantially in the new year.

We hope this information will help you as your plan out your SEO strategies and goals for 2016!

Why Your Website Needs a Dedicated Thank You Page

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Your website needs a dedicated Thank You page. Plain and simple. Sure you can avoid using a Thank You page if you are really against it, but in the long run you are only hurting yourself.

Ever heard of smart pixels? Basically every advertising site (such as Bing and Facebook) are using them. These pixels put codes on every page of your site to help you better structure your digital marketing strategies and SEO. However, if you don’t have a dedicated Thank You page, smart pixels can be annoying to deal with.

Needs a Dedicated Thank You Page

A Thank You page can help customers know when their form/purchase has been accepted. It can be frustrating and confusing for customers when they are directed back to a homepage or other random webpage after completing a purchase with no confirmation. Trust me on this, not having a Thank You page will cause many problems not only for you but also for your customers, and the more frustrations they have with your website the less likely they are to use you again or recommend you to their friends.

thank-you-page

Not only do Thank You pages provide customers with confirmation but they are also a great way for you to promote more of your products or services! Think about it, if someone has made it to your Thank You page that means they have already made a purchase or used your services. That means they are obviously interested in what your website has to offer. You need to make the most of this opportunity by creating options for them to buy more of your product or learn more about your service.

Offer them an option to create an account for your website for a quicker checkout next time they make a purchase. Or have them sign up for emails to receive updates on the services you offer and to receive exclusive deals for your company. A Thank You page really has endless possibilities. It is beneficial for both ecommerce and lead generation accounts as it has the potential to guide clients to information that will hopefully get them even more interested in what your site has to offer.

Honestly, there is almost no downside to having a dedicated Thank You page and there are a ton of advantages to be gained by creating one. Do yourself a favor and make one for your website, I’m sure you’ll be glad you did!

The Future of App Indexing and Google

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO | No Comments

Just a few weeks ago, Google announced its plan to implement app only indexing, which will result in users being able to stream app only content through their search engine, even if the app is not installed on their phone. This means that helpful information from an app can be accessed by users via the internet. For example, if a user searches for “restaurants near Indianapolis”, results from related apps will show up in their Google search engine results.

This changes quite a bit for app owners, as now more than ever good content is crucial for a successful phone app.  We’d recommend making the appropriate changes quickly before this new plan is rolled out. One aspect of SEO that app owners need to focus on is long tail keywords. App owners need to look for important keywords that will direct more traffic to their phone app, just like they would a desktop webpage. This will help them get their app streamed more often on the Google search results.

App Indexing and Google

App owners also need to focus more of their attention on app indexing API, now that they no longer need to be concerned about matching web content and app content, app indexing API can be used to direct more website traffic to their mobile app. Google will also take note that you have completed the app indexing API and will factor that into how well your app does on Google.  You can track how you are doing in comparison to your competitor’s apps by utilizing tools such as SimilarWeb’s app engagement function. This will help you evaluate your own traffic and see how you measure up to other apps.

App Indexing and Google

It is important to note, however, that this app-only content indexing is still being tested and may not be officially rolled out for a while. That being said, app owners who are diligent to prepare for this update now will have a huge advantage over their competitors once the app indexing is rolled out. I would recommend starting these SEO changes as soon as possible so that you are fully prepared for this change when it takes place.

How to Use Your Link Building Team to Attract More Customers?

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The aspect of sales in digital marketing agencies can seem daunting and scary, especially for small to mid sized businesses. However, your link building team does much of the same type of work as a sales representative would, they may just not realize it. In this article, we’ll outline how to turn your link building team into an outbound sales team for your digital marketing business.

The process is pretty straightforward, all you need is a team of hard workers and a specific plan to start this process. First, you need to determine your ideal customer that your business is targeting. There are several criteria to consider when deciding what kind of customer your agency is looking for. This criteria includes: client location, goal of website, the company’s target audience, the company’s client worth, work performance, the type of technology the business is familiar with, and your point of contact. Once you have gone through the above criteria and determined your ideal client base, then you can begin creating a prospect list for SEO. This will allow you to use keywords to weed through the internet and find potential clients that fit your criteria.

Once you have a solid potential client list, you can then have your link builders track down contact info for each business. This can be time consuming and tedious but unfortunately there is no short cut to speed up this process. It may be helpful to research different strategies used to track down contact info to save your link builders time and energy. One useful tip: try utilizing tools such as BBB or LinkedIn (or any social media site) to find the info you are looking for. Oftentimes the bigger the company you are looking through, the easier this process is.

Link Building Team to Attract More Customers

You should aim to have about 1,000 businesses on your contact list. Once you’ve hit this goal you can begin reaching out to people. I wouldn’t recommend trying to offer your digital marketing services by cold-calling them. I have found this to be a huge waste of time as very rarely do you receive a favorable response. Instead try using one of the strategies listed below to spark potential clients’ interest.

  • Start a digital marketing newsletter. Invite everyone on your contact list to sign up.
  • Send their office flowers or a small gift basket for any obscure holiday and include your business card informing them of your services should they every need help.
  • Host an SEO and digital marketing event and invite local companies to attend.

These are just three suggestions to help you start brainstorming creative ways to reach out to potential clients. If you can think of any unique ways to make your digital marketing team stand out from the rest while gaining clients’ trust I’d say go for it. My best advice is to be diligent and creative in the ways in which you try to promote your business!

What Does Google Consider a Low Quality Website?

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It is fairly common knowledge that if Google does not consider your page to be of high quality that you are most likely not going to rank well in the search engine. So then, what makes a page low quality? For starters, if you have low quality content chances are your website will be categorized as a low quality site. Low quality content includes anything generated automatically or content taken from other sites.

google-low-quality

If your content lacks expertise or does not provide sufficient information regarding its topic, then it will more than likely be treated as having low quality content. This is also true if your site is lacking in E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness). This is pretty self-explanatory, if your site does not have proper expertise, authority or trustworthiness in relation to its content it is at risk to becoming a low quality site to Google and not ranking in the search results.

Another rather obvious indicator of a low quality page is a negative reputation. We understand that every business will at some point get a negative review, but it is crucial for businesses to make sure that they receive as few negative reviews as possible for the sake of their site’s SEO. A good reputation online not only attracts more customers to your site but will also help your website excel in search engine optimization and climb the Google rankings with ease.

Lastly, a page that is not properly maintained or is confusing to navigate is at risk of being categorized as a low quality webpage. Webmasters should make sure that they are consistently updating and improving their page to make it more user-friendly. Having a confusing or complicated site not only will frustrate potential customers but can also hurt your chances of ranking well in the search results.

Having a high rank in Google is not necessarily difficult to accomplish, but it does require patience and diligence from webmasters. Ensuring that none of your webpages have any of the issues listed above is one of the first steps you should take to improve your rankings.

The Seven Most Common SEO Audit Issues

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Search Engine Optimization audits can be extremely beneficial, as they can help webmasters discover issues that are hindering their sites that they may not have found otherwise. However, sometimes even the best audits can overlook some crucial mistakes that may be significantly hurting your site’s SEO.

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Our company in Indianapolis had a few of its best SEO experts compile a list of the seven most common SEO audit issues for you to look over as you assess your site and look for errors.

  1. Status Codes:

It is very important that you make sure that all of your 404 pages are returning a 404 status. If not, this could be causing problems for your site.

  1. Duplicate Pages:

Make sure your website is free of any duplicate pages or even duplicate content. Look within the webpages of your site to make sure there are no repeating titles or tags.

  1. Check Domain:

Check up on all the domains (i.e. with or without www.) and use the Moz toolbar to see which one works best. There could be domain-related issues that you are not even aware of.

  1. Conversion Pages:

Double check and make sure that no conversion pages show up in Google Search, as this can result in some pretty frustrating SEO problems.

  1. Orphaned Pages:

While you are checking for conversion pages popping up in Google Search, it is a good idea to also look for orphaned pages. Orphaned pages are pages that have not been linked to the site and have most likely been forgotten about.

  1. Make Sure Your Sitemap is Updated:

Sitemaps that are out of date can cause some frustrating problems for your webpage’s SEO. Check your sitemap to ensure that it is up to date and that all approved links are indexed by Google. While you are at it, make sure that you do not allow search results within your site to be indexed. If for whatever reason they are being indexed, this will hurt your SEO.

  1. Block Pages:

It can be difficult to block pages completely from the search results, especially when Google thinks they are relevant enough to pop up in the search pages even after you have taken the appropriate steps to block them. All you can do is try to no, index using the no, index tag or X-Robots tag.

By using your own guidelines coupled with the information provided above we’re confident that you’ll be able to conduct a successful SEO audit and help your site climb the Google rankings!

How Locating New Links Can Help Your Website

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In the world of SEO and digital marketing, few things are as complicated or daunting as tracking down all of the link data related to your website. However, if you are a webmaster looking to boost your site’s online presence, then you must have a plan to capitalize on all of the links related to your website. Below we’ve summarized the process of locating your link data and how to make the most of the information you find.

Locating New Links Can Help Your Website

First, you need to find link data using one of these sources: a backlink data provider, Google and Bing webmaster tools, Linkody, MOZ’s Fresh Web Explorer, Brand Mentions, Mention, Social Mention, Buzzsumo, and/or Google Alerts. Once you have exhausted all the options listed above, then you can try a more advanced source to help find any additional link data. My favorite is the Google Analytics Referral Report. By using this tool, you’ll be able to look through referral data and find links that may have not been picked up by the other sources mentioned.

After you’ve collected all possible links and entered them into a spreadsheet it is now time to remove all dead links. The best tool I’ve found to do this is called Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog is a great resource that will show you which links are dead so you can remove them from your master list. Now that you have compiled a list of live links, you now need to obtain your link metrics. Some SEO’s use tools such as Linkody to accomplish this while others use URLprofiler. Whichever you choose, once you have all your links and link metrics you’ll be able to capitalize on opportunities these links provide. Go through the list and see if there are any new contacts you may be able to get in touch with to discuss any possible future content creation or collaboration.

While it may seem daunting trying to track down all of your live links, hopefully the above information will give you a plan to help you start the process. Making the most of favorable links will help improve your SEO and ultimately direct more potential customers to your site.

SEO for Beginners: Jumpstart Your SEO With 5 Simple Steps

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Search Engine Optimization doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. In fact, SEO can be quite easy if you have the right steps to follow. Below we’ve provided you with five basic steps to get you started.

SEO Beginners

  1. Pay Attention to Keyword Opportunities

To be successful in SEO, you have to know what keywords people are searching for in order to know what keywords to utilize as well as what type of topics people want to read about. Aim for keywords that are popular in Google but have yet to be completely exhausted online.

  1. Look for Popular Content and Make it Better.

Once you discover what people are looking for, research the content that is out there and think of ways to improve it. Creating interesting and reputable content is not that difficult, all you really need to start is a basic WordPress blog. Find something that interests you, and start writing about it.

  1. Make Your Site Search Engine Friendly.

If people can’t find your website, then all of your hard work put into creating and posting valuable content is for nothing. It is extremely important that the content you post can be properly accessed by search engines. This means keeping your URLs short and your webpage easy to navigate. It is also important to not put your text in an image or the bots won’t be able to detect it. My best advice to webmasters is to keep your website simple and fill it with lots of useful content. This will make it both user and bot friendly.

  1. Focus on getting Links

While followers and likes on social media outlets can be beneficial, getting links is much more valuable. To get links, you must have interesting content that isn’t simply aimed at trying to get users to buy your product. If your posts are too geared towards selling people things, you won’t get links and your website will suffer. Getting linked back is one of the fastest ways to increase traffic to your site.

  1. Build Credibility

Although good content and links are important, you need to build your own credibility to push more people toward your website. The quickest way to do this is by participating in speaking engagements in your area. There are plenty of public speaking opportunities posted online, all you need to do is start applying to them and wait and see who responds. Don’t be nervous if you’ve never done public speaking before, just start with something small and local and work your way up. This will establish your credibility and make you an expert on your topic. And, especially if you refer people to you site, your webpage visits will skyrocket!

Google Removes Local One Box Details From Search Results

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Recently it has been noticed that Google no longer shows the details of the first result of local listings underneath the website address. Prior to this change, whenever a person would search for a local business, the first result always contained the address, phone number and other important details under the link to the website on the left hand side of the search results. Now, when a person searches for a local business, that section does not show up at all.

Google Removes Local One Box Details

For example, if a person is searching for a dry cleaners in the Indianapolis area, the first dry cleaning store that pops up will still have its local information posted on the right side of the Google results page, but will no longer have any additional information posted underneath its weblink on the left side. The impact this will have on local businesses has not yet been determined, but we predict it will not help or hurt any local companies. Additionally, there does not seem to be any other changes that have occurred in conjunction with the removal of the local one box details.

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Although Google has not yet commented on this change, there have been many speculations as to why they would have removed this seemingly small part of the search results. Many people have noted that perhaps Google has removed this section to further consolidate results and to direct people to the Google Maps result found on the right hand side of the search results page.  Whatever the reason, it looks like this change is going to stay in place and is not a bug or error on Google’s part.

However, even if this change is permanent, it is a minor change and should not have a huge affect on overall user experience or on Search Engine Optimization in general.