Since penguin launch, Negative SEO has increased a lot. Many companies generates tons of spam links for their competitor sites to lower down their ranking and believe it or not, it’s working for many. One of my sites (WphostingDisocunt), was heavily bombarded with Spammers and it got almost thousand of links from Spam sites and forum. I was keeping an eye on all those links and technically Emailing thousands of forum and Blog owners to remove links is not possible. It’s not only time-consuming but also there is no guarantee that all 100% link will be removed. Due to this one of my blog page which was ranking at number one pushed out to no where. The only way to stop such kind of link spam is by controlling which link will pass link juice to our site and which link should not.
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Yesterday, Google launched most awaited Google Disavow link tool, using this tool you can report spam incoming links to your site and Google will devalue all such links. Specially, if you are one of those who got hit by Penguin update, this new feature in Google Webmaster tool will help you to recover from Penguin penalty. In this guide, I will be sharing exact method which I used to find all such links and how I reported it to Google. I’m using Ahrefs service to create a list of backlinks, but you can always use any other online Backlink checker tool to create your list of spam backlinks. Though, Google recommends to use Google Webmaster tool link feature to find all links, but I find ahrefs to be much better and accurate. Before, I share my complete guide to use Google Disavow link tool, here is a quick video, where Matt Cutts talk about this tool.
Do note, this feature should be used with extreme caution. In most of the cases, you might not require to use this tool but if your site is affected with penguin update, this will be your last resort. You can use Penguintool to check if your site is affected by Penguin update or not.
How Google Disavow link tool works?
This link could be used by anyone as long as you have a verified site in Google Webmaster tool. If you have ever used any shady ways to create tons of links to your site or someone ended up creating spam backlinks to your site, Google Disavow link tool will help you to ignore all such links. The process is simple and all you need to do is, create a Text file containing all spam incoming link URL/line and upload it to Google Disavlow link page. If you ever need to update the link, you can download the uploaded file and add new links.
You can refer for official guide and FAQ here and below I will mention the exact steps I have taken to report links using Google Disavow feature.
Reporting Spam links using Disavow link tool by Google:
Go to Ahrefs and create an account. It’s a paid backlink checker tool but free account will let you manage one blog and if you have multiple sites, you can opt for any paid plan. So, here is a quick link report for one of my affected domain.
Click on image to see the full version and notice the anchor text for all links. The good thing is all such spam links are pointing to only one page and this made my work a lot easier. If in your case, you have links pointing to all your pages, you might need to spend more time creating spam link text file. So, I simply added the link which is getting spam backlinks in URL field and Ahrefs showed me all backlinks pointing to this page. You can check all links pointing to this page here.
Click on Export and export the file in Excel format. Now, delete all other column apart from referring page URL and export it in notepad file. I used Google docs import and export feature for this. Now open the exported text file and start analyzing every link. This is going to be time-consuming but it’s worth as you might not like to devalue any quality backlinks pointing to your site. So, here is final version of my text file:
In my case links are coming from multiple domains, but if your site is getting spam links from one domain only. Instead of adding individual links, you can use domain:spamdomain.com in your text file and Google disavow link tool will devalue all incoming links to your site from spam site.
So, now you have a Text file with all the spam links listed in it. Now, go to Google Disavlow link page and select your domain name and click on Disavow links.
On the next page, click on Disavow links button again and it will give you an option to upload the file. Browse and upload your spam link text file which you created at the above stage and click on Submit. It could take 7-10 days to see the effect of reported link and specially if your site is affected with Penguin, this will help to get rid of all such spam backlinks.
Though, I’m repeating again: Use Google Disavow links tool with caution and only if it’s necessary. In most of the cases, Google by default devalue the links coming from spam sites. This tool will be life saver for many Bloggers who are affected with Penguin updates or a victim of Negative SEO. I’m still waiting to see the effect of reporting such spam links, and I will be sharing an update after a Week. For now, if your site is affected with link spam, you can consider using this tool and get rid of all low quality and spam links.
How many of you are using this new feature and do you think by launching this tool, Google indirectly confirmed that Negative SEO exists?
Top 5 Best SEO Practices to Dominate Google Search Results In 2019
Who doesn’t want to dominate Google? We all love first page rankings, right?
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But there’s one thing about dominating Google search results: SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is almost a rocket science for most bloggers. The good thing is, you don’t have to be an expert at SEO to be able to generate first page rankings to your site.
Just learn and implement “few” most important SEO techniques and you’ll be way ahead of your competitors in search results. If you’re looking to improve your search traffic, here are a few of the best SEO practices you can implement in 2019.
5 Best SEO Practices for Bloggers To Dominate Google
1. Perform in-depth keyword research
If you don’t understand keyword research, you’re missing out on huge amount of traffic and sales from search engines.
Keyword research is all about finding “low competitive yet profitable keywords” so that you can create highly informative content (by keeping your target keywords in mind) to your audience.
Here’s the key to successful keyword research: “find low competitive keywords”.
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, if you’re going after high competitive keywords, you’re not going to get any traffic from search (especially if you’ve a new website). So the key here is to find long tail keywords which have less monthly searches.
Quick note: Always have access to SEO tools like SEMrush if you want to find highly profitable yet low competitive keywords.
If you’ve a fairly new blog or website, I highly recommend you to go for those keywords which have less than 500 monthly searches. Why?
Low competitive keywords are easier to rank for. You can get first page rankings by creating informative content (you’ll get great results even without building too many backlinks).
That being said, here are a few helpful keyword research tools you can use in 2019.
While doing keyword research, target long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords usually contain 4 or more keywords and they are easier to rank in Google search.
For instance, you can get better rankings for long tail keyword phrases like “best fitness apps for Yoga teachers” instead of targeting short tail keywords like “best fitness apps”.
So that’s how you can perform long tail keyword research to dominate Google search in 2019 and beyond.
2. Content creation and optimization is essential
Content is really the king. No matter what niche you are in, if your content is mediocre, it will not perform well in the search engines. That said, here are few incredible tips to create exceptional content that performs well in search engines.
Understand your target audience: This is the first step to creating great content. The better you understand your audience, the easier it is for you to create “high converting content”. Make sure to find their wants and needs. Make a list of all the questions they might have by browsing through platforms like Quora or taking surveys.
Create in-depth content: If you want to dominate Google search results with your content, make it extremely detailed. According to many researches, it’s proven that in-depth content (which contains over 2000 words) performs really well in search results.
In fact, we’ve been creating long form of articles for more than 4 years now at Bloggers Passion and the results are amazing both in terms of search traffic and sales.
Use platforms like Quora: Q & A platforms like Quora help you find out what your target audience truly wants. You can follow all the topics that you blog about, find all the questions and start creating content around the topics that you’re interested in.
Last but not least, properly optimize your content for search engines which we’re going to discuss now.
When it comes to content optimization, the following factors play a crucial role.
- Page title
- Meta description
- Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, etc.)
- Image optimization
- Internal links
If you’re using WordPress, I recommend you to check out the following 2 plugins (both are great) for content optimization.
WordPress SEO by Yoast: This is the most downloaded SEO plugin in WordPress history with over 20 million downloads worldwide. It helps you easily optimize all your contents (including posts and pages) for your primary keywords. From page titles to meta description to image optimization, you can do everything using this plugin.
SEO By Rank Math: This plugin is getting a lot of positive buzz and it’s considered as the best alternative to SEO by Yoast. In fact, it offers all the premium features of plugins like Yoast where you can optimize your posts for 5 focus keywords per post. Not only that, it also lets you track your keyword positions in Google and offers a wide range of other helpful features to optimize your contents like a pro.
3. Make sure your website ticks all the boxes
Here are few things that your website must have for better performance in search.
- SSL integration
- Mobile-friendly design
- Faster website loading times
Now, let’s talk about the above most important things to make your website great for both search engines and users.
SSL integration: Google considers https as a ranking signal, which means, Google is giving weightage to websites on https version. To get https version, you need SSL integration. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer which makes your site go from http to https and it’s a secured protocol which is used to establish a secure connection between server and client.
If you’re using hosts like Bluehost, WPX hosting etc, you’ll get SSL integration at free of cost (all you need to do is to turn on SSL to make your site https). Otherwise, you can free SSL integrations from sites like Cloudflare.
Super fast page loading times: If your site takes more than 3 to 4 seconds to load, your website visitors will most probably abandon your site. Your website speed is so much important not only for your users but also for improving your search rankings.
Did you know that Google takes page loading times into consideration while ranking web pages? Yes, that’s true. Here are few quick tips to have a faster loading website.
- Move to a faster web host (at Bloggers Passion, we’re using WPX hosting and it’s really faster when compared to any other web hosting companies)
- Use less plugins
- Optimize your image size before you even upload them on to your dashboard
- Leverage browser caching
- Enable GZip compression (Gzip is a file format that essentially locates strings of similar code in your text files and then temporarily replaces them to make the files smaller which helps in faster loading times)
- Minimize your redirects
Mobile responsive design: Is your blog mobile-friendly? If not, you’re missing a lot of traffic and sales on the table which can be beneficial to your competitors. So why leave your traffic and sales to them?
If you’re on WordPress, you can simply install a plugin like WP Touch or buy a premium responsive WordPress theme. Problem solved!
4. Research your competitors
If you see your competition as an opportunity, you’ll thrive online but if you see it as a threat, you’ll fail in the long run.
Do you know who your competitors are? Do you know who you are competing against? By knowing and carefully analysing your competition, you can learn so much.
Here are a few things to analyse while researching your competitors.
- Find out their top performing blog posts (which are bringing them the most traffic)
- Find out their top “income generating” pages (so you’ll have a better idea about what type of products to promote)
- Analyse your competitors website traffic (along with their traffic sources)
- Research your competitors backlink sources (so you can find link building opportunities to improve your own site’s backlink profile)
In a nutshell, the fastest way to your website’s success is to make a list of 10 to 15 competitors, find all their top performing pages along with their backlink sources and try to get links from those sites using various link building strategies.
5. Link building is the key
It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if it’s not attracting any links or you’re not building back link to your content, it’s not going to rank in the first page.
The sooner you realise the importance of link building, the faster you’ll start generating better results from SEO. It’s as simple as that. That being said, there are various ways to build quality backlinks to your site but the following strategies work like a charm in every industry.
- Roundup links
- Guest posting
- Build relationships
Let’s briefly talk about each one of them now.
Guest posting: Guest posting is the evergreen strategy to build links from relevant blogs in your industry. You don’t always have to aim for authority sites for guest posting as publishing and high quality, relevant and small blogs can also work like a charm.
Just make sure to write high quality guest posts so you can improve your authority as a blogger apart from getting relevant links to your site.
Roundups links: One of the easiest ways to build quality and highly relevant links to your site is to find and participate in roundup posts. There are a ton of bloggers (especially new bloggers) from all kinds of niches publish roundups on a regular basis.
You just need to be active on social media or use search strings on Google like “expert roundups + [your topic]” to find such sites. Make friends with them by sharing their stuff, commenting on their posts. That’s how you can get into their radar to start participating in their roundup posts.
Link building by building relationships: Networking and building relationships with other bloggers is often the most underrated strategy to build links. Make sure to focus on helping people instead of solely focusing on getting links and that’s the secret to successful networking.
We’re currently building a Facebook group where we share mostly blogging and SEO related stuff. The whole purpose of the group is to help beginners to build a money making blog and to connect with other bloggers in our industry. The best part is that, there are so many bloggers who interviewed me (by linking to my posts) and they mostly came from the Facebook group.
That’s the power of networking. So go and start networking with other bloggers using email, blogs and social media sites.Final thoughts on the best SEO practices to use in 2019
Practicing the best SEO strategies is the key to long term SEO success. Don’t look for shortcuts as increasing your organic traffic takes time.
Focus on learning and implementing just 2 to 3 evergreen SEO best practices and you’ll be way ahead of your competitors. Just be consistent and regularly create content that adds value to your target audience.
Let me know if you’ve any questions in the comments.
4 Strategies for Golden Long-Tail Keywords For Your Blog
Countless guides advise new bloggers about the benefits of SEO. However, far too few of them focus on the importance of proper keyword research. Many bloggers make the mistake of focusing all of their time and resources on short tail or high-volume keywords, such as “make money online”, “woodworking blog” or “pharmacy coupons.”
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Ranking for these broad keep words is going to take a lot of time. Many bloggers get very frustrated after not seeing any results and eventually give up.
You will see results a lot faster if you start your blog focusing on low hanging fruit. There is a massive number of longtail keywords in any given niche that you can rank for a relatively easily. Conversion rates also tend to be higher with long-tail keywords. The average conversion rate for long-tail keywords is 36%, which is 3.5 times as high as broad keywords. The trick is knowing how to find them.
Since there are so many longtail keywords, looking for them can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Don’t despair – there are a lot of great ways to find high converting longtail keywords. Here are some of the best approaches.
Use SEMRush to see what keywords other blogs are ranking for
SEMRush is an SEO analytics tool that monitors keyword rankings for various websites. Many bloggers use it to monitor rankings for their own websites. They also use it to gauge their rankings against major competitors. If they see that they are ranking for more keywords than a competing blog, then they know that their SEO strategy is on the right track.
Fewer bloggers and SEO professionals recognize the value of using SEMRush for keyword research. You can try using it to see what keywords other blogs are ranking for. If a competing blog is ranking for around 7,000 keywords, then you can dig through that list and see which ones you want to target yourself. It is best to use this tool with blogs that clearly have strong rankings. You aren’t going to build a very large list of keywords to target if you use it with a new blog that is only ranking for a handful of search queries.
You might want to find well ranking blogs by searching for relatively competitive keyboards in your niche. The websites that show up on the front page of Google for a competitive term are probably also going to be ranking for lots of less competitive, longtail keywords as well. Take the route URL and plug it into SEMRush.
You can see a list of the top 10 keywords for a blog for free. You will need to pay for a premium membership with SEMRush to see the rest of the list, but it can be worth it considering the value of finding so many great keywords to target.
Keyword Shitter is possibly the easiest to use keyword research tool available. To make things even better, it is totally free.
All you have to do is take a relatively broad keyboard and put it in the search box. Then you will need to click the button at the bottom of the form. The tool will start aggregating keywords that people search for.
If you use a relatively broad keyword, then you should be able to make a list of thousands of longtail keywords in as little as 1 to 4 hours. Although this is one of the easiest ways to perform keyword research, there are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of:
- You might get tunnel vision if you only start with a couple of base keywords for your lists. There might be a number of great converting longtail keywords that you would never think to add, because they don’t have common root words in them. For example, names of books, authors or products in your niche might be great keywords to focus on. They often don’t have common keywords in them, so they might not show up with this tool.
- A lot of the keywords are going to be loosely related to your niche. You will need to sort through the list carefully and remove any that don’t fit.
This is definitely a great keyword research tool to use, but you will need to take some time to get the hang of it.
Look at suggested keywords from Google
Google has become a lot better at recommending keywords for its users. Their suggested keywords are not just great for people trying to get better search results. They are also good for bloggers trying to find new keywords to target.
Keep in mind that Google recommends keywords based on your previous search queries, especially if you have not enabled privacy features in your Google account. You might want to try beginning searches in Google chrome incognito to find less biased suggestions for your search queries.
Look at product lists on Amazon and other sites
Most people use Google tools to conduct their keyword research. While they can be very helpful, it might be a good idea to branch out a bit and look for keyword ideas on other sites. If you are using your blog to promote products on Amazon, why not look at Amazon products? You can build keywords around them. For example, if you are writing blog posts on business cards, you might want to try searching for business cards on Amazon and see what products and books appear in your queries.
The benefits of this are two-fold:
- Most other bloggers are going to be focusing on broad keywords in their niche. They won’t be as likely to consider keywords centered around specific products. This means that there won’t be as much competition for a lot of these terms.
- The conversion rates are going to be a lot higher if you are trying to get visitors with these terms and refer them to Amazon.
You can search through thousands of possible ideas in your niche. Make sure that you find ones that are most relevant and do your research accordingly.
What is Thin Content and How to Fix It
I don’t want to name any names, but I saw an awful website this morning. Granted, I was looking for examples of thin content because of this post and I figured I might be able to just wander around until I found something that could count towards the description. I didn’t expect to find something this relevant, much less to such a degree that I would leave the site cringing.
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Because of tactics they had used and length of time the site had been around, they maintain a decent Google ranking in spite of having some of the thinnest content I have ever seen. But the lack of engagement on the articles, the amount of spam littered among the occasional real comment, the lack of social media shares… it all showed that in spite of being prolific in their posting habits, their content was doing nothing to help them.
Someone should let them know about the benefits of high quality content versus thin content. Though given the sheer number of ads on their domain, quality probably isn’t their first priority.
Thin Content Risks
Why is this such a bad thing if the traffic is high enough to bring them within the first page of Google results? It is the same reason that keyword stuffing is a bad idea. Sure, it will bring people to your site for a time. But eventually Google’s algorithm is going to catch on and while they claim they don’t penalize, we all know that isn’t true. If you try and skirt around the system you are going to get flagged.
Not only that, but it is damaging to a brand.
What is the use of being on Google’s first page if people realize the moment they click onto your site that you have nothing worth viewing? They will be gone within seconds and over time your rank will go down along with the lack of interest or brand trust.
The Legend of Fred
Now there is a more direct threat to your business. But then Google came out with updates, all named under one collective term “Fred” which focused on battling thin content:
Basically, if you publish high quality content that is highly cited on the Internet – and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that.
Fred caused quite a ruckus when it was first released in 2017. It came from the Black Hat sector, aimed specifically at spam links and suspected spam links.
Of course, we know from past statements and experiences that Google is also targeting backlinks and trying to discourage the practice which may be why so many sites that were well established and not at all spam saw a 90% decrease in traffic seemingly out of nowhere. It sparked panic across the web as site owners and brands scrambled to figure out what was happening and came back with rumors of “Fred”.
The good news is while a percentage of sites hit were valid ones that might not have deserved it, most did appear to be low rent content hosters using shady practices to boost traffic and so ad revenue. But that was little relief for those bigger sites who were impacted by the release of Fred.
Since then Google has got even smarter at identifying and fighting thin content, so in case you have some older lower-quality content on your blog, fixing it may cause your overall rankings increase.
How to Fix Thin Content on Your Blog
Step 1: Identify and Enhance Articles That Bring Traffic
- Go to Google Analytics Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages
- Enable it to show 5000 rows (this is the maximum)
- Export the whole report and check if any of those articles can be called “thin”, generally:
- Number of words is fewer than 500
- There are no structure (subheadings, images, etc.)
- There’s no “substance”, i.e. some unique tip, facts, etc. that a reader can take home.
TextOptimizer is a great tool for that: It will run your target query in Google, extract search snippets and then apply semantic analysis to identify related concepts and entities to implement in your content to expand it.
TextOptimizer will also generate popular questions on your topic for you to answer in your content and make it better:
While editing your old content, think if there are any content re-purposing opportunities, like creating a whitepaper or a blog series. Use the checklist to ensure higher quality for each of your content projects.
Step 2: Identify and Get Rid of Articles That Bring 0 Clicks
Now, go ahead and check all the articles that didn’t get into your above list. You may double-check again to make sure any of them are not really driving any clicks. Once you are sure, go ahead and:
- Use 301 redirect to redirect any of those articles to their updated or closely related versions
- If there’s no related content to redirect to, simply delete old thin articles
- Here are great plugins that will help you with both the steps above
For more information on this tactic, check out this case study on how this process increased one blog’s traffic by ~1000%
Have you been thinking about fixing low-quality thin content? Please share your tips!
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