Google Tips

The Building Link To SEO Link Building Services Guarantee

Building Links In Google And Service Provider Guarantees

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The building link or link building terminology isn't anything new if you're someone that owns or operates a website. However, assuming that you are new to website building, SEO, keywords and such, link building is another area that you'll have to familiarize yourself with.

With that said, one of the nice and more stable realities of link building is that we know it's one of the few things about SEO that isn't likely to go away anytime soon which is great because no one likes to build anything on a base that is always changing. What isn't so great is that there's so much noise out there in the land of link building that if you're not doing it yourself, you're left to wonder.. who do you choose to link build for you, what types of links do you go after, what is going to help your site, what types of link building may hurt your site and a host of other questions that you probably didn't even realize you needed to worry about in the first place. In no time at all, just a few steps into the link building can turn out to be intimidating and overwhelming.

Building links is the cornerstone of website visibility. Without links you may as well just forget trying to rank or be seen online. Most of us would rather get the free traffic from Google that is the holy grail for anyone with a website online. However if you don't care about the free traffic and would rather pay for it, there's always the paid traffic options too. So yes, there's a way around the link building conversation, but if you're like me, I'd rather not have to pay to continue to be seen online and link building is far more stable especially after you've achieved organic listings in the top 3 pages for the keyword that you're targeting.

Nevertheless, in getting back to focusing on link building, the problem is that you know you need links, but how do get them ? It's not like it's hard to find service providers. They're on Fiverr everyday. Just as I've mentioned Fiverr in other posts, in being very candid about it, there's garbage and there are gems just as in any other online marketplace that you'll come across online.

With that said there are considerations that you need to be mindful of as you delve into link building or consider link building services. The consideration that I'm going to focus on for the sake of this post is link building service guarantees (e.g. ranking guarantees). If there's one thing that I can assure you, it's that there are no guarantees in link building. The reason for this is that Google, like any other search engine is not an asset that we control. We follow their rules... they don't follow ours. You are likely to come across link builders that will state they can get you top 10 rankings for a fee. That fee can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

I've Got Questions The Question Mark

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In the span of time that I've been into SEO, I can tell you that the "elephant in the room" question I have is if a company can guarantee top 10 Google listings then why is it that most of the time, these would be companies are struggling to rank for competitive terms themselves ? In order to discover this information for yourselves, all you'd have to do is to get a free account with SEMrush, type in the companies URL and see what terms they are ranking for in order to get some insider information about their business's online visibility. Legitimate SEO companies would never guarantee a top 10 listing in Google. At any given time, a search engine can restructure it's algorithm. This means that the rules can change "anytime" they feel like it. When the rules change in the search engine, then we have to change with it. The worst part about it is that often times you won't know what rules have changed until you've seen a change in your rankings, but typically when things change, there's always a bit more buzz in the SEO community.

Be wary of headlines that read, "I'll rank your website in 14 days or your money back". This kind of headline is about giving you a guarantee without actually saying I guarantee it. The elephant in the room question here is why offer a money back clause if you can rank a website in 14 days ?

Consider this.. any service that guarantees rankings has absolutely no idea what you have done to your website prior to them getting their hands on it and starting any link building for you. Your website may have been penalized. Your website may be riddled with low quality links already. Your website may be part of a PBN. During the course of their link building, maybe your website loses rankings because the websites you were associated with in that PBN was deindexed. Maybe someone decides to attempt to negative SEO your website. There's so much stuff that could happen during their link building services that could negatively affect your website or their work that a guarantee is about as useful as an umbrella outside in high wind weather.

Lets also consider the following. Link building... whether you're doing it or hiring out for someone else to do it, doesn't require any level of credential whatsoever. SEO companies sprout up every week. A great looking website doesn't mean it's a great SEO company. Slapping on endorsement images such as: as seen on Mashable, as seen on msnbc, as seen on fox news, as seen on "whatever" doesn't mean they were actually seen there. Let's face it.. who's actually checking ?

These are tactics used to further credentialize or improve the surface image of a company. Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't stand true 100% of the time, but there are certainly enough instances of this behavior being done online to raise concern and lead one to tread carefully as they consider outsourcing their link building needs to companies that are less reputable than others that have been on the scene for quite some time.

Building links is a natural and necessary aspect of SEO and operating a website, but I emplore you to be careful as you considering link building services as you develop your blogs with the intent to improve your visibility online. As I mentioned before SEMrush (you can use it free guys) is the investigative tool that I use before engaging in any business with other websites so that I know what I'm getting into and I would recommend that you use the tool as well. Additionally, just as a reminder and disclaimer, as you have seen in other posts, I do my best to provide you with recommendations to tools that will benefit you and that I feel you will find useful and this one, without hesitation is one that even on the free level will be an invaluable tool for you to use often.

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So You Want To Buy Expired Domains - Expiring Domains Conversation

At first glance, the notion of buying expired domains doesn't really seem all that appealing. it's not uncommon for a newbie to think, huh ? expiring domains ? who'd want that ? But oh contraire, you'd be surprised that there's quite an audience for such a thing and that audience and interest has grown over the years.

Buying an expired domain is like buying someone else's home. You don't want to just say hey that one looks good, offer some cash and call it your own. Just because a domain looks good doesn't mean that it's "all good" I assure you. However, lets back up a little bit. Let's talk about why you would want one in the first place.

Buy It Now Expired Domains Godaddy Auctions

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Google is the king of search engines.. there's nothing new about that reality. However, if you're going to have a chance at competing in the search results if you're a blogger, buying an expired domain is going to give you an advantage over buying a fresh domain that has never been used or tested before.

Nevertheless, the sad reality is that a new domain lacks many things. New domains lack:

  • Domain authority
  • Backlinks
  • Age
  • Trust
  • Traffic

While the list may seem small, these five items take years to build and while you're building up your street cred, your competition is only getting stronger and stronger every day, every week, every year.

Domain Authority

When we talk about domain authority, an easy way to think about this is to look at it as the muscle in a website. New domains simply have no muscle and that means trying to outrank your competition for more competitive terms will be very difficult. It's not that it can't be done, but the work ahead of you will be steep.

Alternatively, if we're talking about an expired domain, a level of authority is likely to already be there, but that's not guaranteed either. It may seem confusing when I say that, but it depends on the domain that you are you looking at. Many people use a reliable option like godaddy auctions for this purpose.

That authority is going to be linked to the backlinks, age and trust of the website.. all of which make them a force to be reckoned with.

Backlinks

On the matter of backlinks, new blogs don't have any. Building links too fast for a new website can actually hurt the website. Often times we hear that Google wants you to build up your website naturally, but this needs to be done slowly, however you can always pick up the pace as the blog matures over time.

On the flip side, in the case of an expired domain, backlinks are bound to already be there which can significantly lesson the work that you have to do with respect to your own link building efforts and overall backlink portfolio that you will ultimately be maintaining depending on how many links have already been built. This is very appealing, especially if you're someone that doesn't want to go through all the painstaking work of starting from scratch.

Age

On the matter of age, this is is fairly significant because if you weren't aware, Google does place a lot of weight on website age. As a new blog, it's very clear that you're starting on the ground floor. The best way to look at this is that you're the newborn amongst all the other young adults, grown ups and senior blogs out there online in the blogging world.

With that said, the only way to build up your age very quickly when you get started is to acquire an existing domain. When you find expired domains with age, this can propel you ahead of the pack and competition that are vying for the same short tail and long tail keyword phrases that you're after. If I know that some of the more competitive keywords that I'm interested in are being ranked by blogs that are 5 to 10 years older than my blog then I'd look for an expired domain that is within that age range so that it evens the playing field a bit and also decreases the work that I will have to do to rank.

In an expired domain auction, it's not unlikely to find auctions for websites that are 10 years and older. Considering age is such an important ranking factor in the eyes of Google, this is something to give some real consideration to.

Trust Me Expiring Domains In Google

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Trust

Imagine having Google as your best friend. Whoa.. what a concept right ? Well if that were true, then you could literally rank all day and night for anything you could dream of.. Google would be your oyster and all would be great in the world, but such a reality doesn't exist for most of us.

With that being said, if you're a new website, establishing that trust is very hard to do. Why ? Because, every day people are dumping blogs and websites and Google is quite aware of this. This reality that websites are thrown away every year means that you're going to have to prove to Google that you're here to stay for a while. Trust can be built by registering the domain for several years out alongside associating yourself with other websites that Google already trusts. If you're wondering about the websites that Google trusts, think editorially. News websites are good websites to latch on to because they are crawled often and are highly trafficked websites with very good metrics that take several years to establish.

Expired domains can help you bite into the trust metric depending on what work has already been done on that domain prior to it going to auction. If you're fortunate, you may end up with an expired domain that already has years of established trust. Especially in the case of recently expired domains, a lot of that trust could still be there. Some of these metrics can fall off depending on how long it's been an expiring domain. You may also be wondering how to check on the history and other metrics of a website as you consider entering the market to buy expired domains. I would highly suggest using SEMrush or Ahrefs for this purpose. It's basically insider intelligence on any domain online. These tools can be very useful to see if there's been any work done on the expiring domain while it was owned by another registrar, reveal to you any backlinking that has been done, what anchors have been used etc.

Blog And Website Traffic And Expired Domain Names In Google

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Traffic

On this topic, traffic is obviously essential and without it, you may as well be on an island all alone. Registering a new blog means that you don't have an audience and what goes hand in hand is the reality that you don't have any traffic either.. meaning.. no one knows your blog even exists. Clearly, we want to change that and the fastest way to do that is to seek out expiring domain names that already have a traffic base. If you seek out these expiring domains they will be more expensive because they already have established traffic and it's plug and play. The greater the traffic, the greater the cost to acquire such expiring domains.

It's fairly straightforward here in the realities that as a new blog or website, the newer it is the less likely you are to have any traffic from the start and opting to acquire an expired domain may make it much easier to establish traffic too.

Nevertheless, in this conversation about expired domain names, keep this in mind. Expiring domains used to be the holy grail for many people looking to get ahead of the game of competing with more established domains. However, with the introduction of PBN's (private blog networks), acquiring expired domains has become much riskier now than it has in the past considering Google is actively sniffing these blog networks out and basically de-indexing entire networks once they've been discovered. So why is this part of this conversation ? Because, in the "unfortunate" event that the expired domain that you are acquiring has been a part of a PBN then you're ultimately acquiring an expired domain with a penalty which is the last thing that you want to do. Just as risky as this can be, there's a "LOT" of expiring domains that are free and clear and are just fine, but make sure to use tools like SEMrush and Ahref's to help you out in this endeavor. While I provide no guarantees, these tools provide an extra layer of protection for you so that you don't walk into a situation that you ultimately end up regretting.

Private blog networks are often times networks established by buying aged and authoritative expired domains to rank other websites at a price and when the networks are discovered, the websites used for the networks go back to auction. Needless to say.. these networks have tainted the expired domains scene but additionally it can be said confidently, that they haven't ruined it. You just have to do a bit more investigative research to know what you're getting hence my SEMrush and Ahrefs recommendations.

With that said, there are goldmines in recently expired domains and those that have been in the auction for a while that have quite literally just remained undiscovered so they are definitely work the look and worth your time. However, if you're like me and want something that is more about you developing a brand and find it hard to locate a good match during an auction for an expired domain, your only option may be to start brand new from the bottom floor and that is okay because success isn't determined by how old or young your website is. In 18 short months, this blog sees thousands of visitors per month so even though expired domains can give you an advantage, understand that achieving success can be done even if you're starting with a brand new domain too.

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Google Keywords Search And Discovery | Long Tail Generator And Suggestions Tool Review 2017 2018

Look Here For The Key To Keyword Research Long Tail Pro

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It goes without saying that if you're going to succeed online, that having the right Google keyword research tool(s) is paramount to your success. The same can be said for understanding the importance of competitive research as well. Dismissing the value of research is akin to walking around in the dark and well.. let's just say, we all know how successful that is.

In my own research, what I've found is this one particular question. How do you make your blog popular ? Consequently, the same answer consistently makes it way to the table.. "Do your keyword research".

There are many keyword suggestion tools, but the one that I'm going to talk about today in particular is Long Tail Pro. As I've stated many times throughout my blog.. I will "ONLY" suggest or review products that I feel add benefit to "you".. my readers and my audience.. the people that trust my word on the topics that I write about. In the way of keyword discovery, Long Tail Pro is currently the definitive and most trusted keyword suggestion tool online. You would be hard pressed to find a tool to search keywords for your niche, blog or website that does a better job to find keywords that are profitable and highly aligned to your project needs.

Years ago, the common practice was to target 2-3 word keyword phrases because naturally that's where all the keyword volume was. It made sense to go after website keywords that offered tens of thousands of searches per month using any number keyword analyzer tools. However the problem was that in doing any basic keyword analysis, it was clear that ranking for those terms was going to be extremely difficult. Over time, the term "low hanging fruit" started showing up in keyword research and keyword discovery conversations. So what does this mean ? It means that people needed to shift their behavior from targeting high volume, high competition keywords to low volume, low competition keywords.. and that's exactly what started to happen. Keyword discovery became more focused on finding long tail keywords and that become the new norm.

With the introduction of Long Tail Pro amongst a host of other keyword checker type software programs, it seemed as if it was just simply another tool to add to your keyword generator and keyword analysis arsenal, but in no time at all, it started to separate itself from the pack. So with that said lets talk about what it can do, the extremely useful data and advantage you have using this software and it's feature-set overall. Each listed area will be explained in further detail:

  • Find Keywords
  • Keyword Competitiveness
  • Page Authority
  • Page Links
  • Juice Links
  • Domain Authority
  • Moz Rank
  • Page Rank
  • Site Age
  • Rank Checker

Find Keywords

You can start out with Long Tail Pro by simply using the find keywords tool. You will have to create a project. You can see that I've created a project call "cars". You should set your language (it's set to English by default). You can include "adult" ideas (the ticker is set to the off position by default). In your targeting options you will need to set your country and network. By default, these options are set to United States for the country and Google for the network, however you can make your own selections if you need to make changes there. Once you're done setting your options, click "create project".

Long Tail Pro Create A Project

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Once you've done that, you'll see the "add seed keywords" section. There are many options here, but don't let that overwhelm you. This is all very good for targeting and fine tuning your search. Once you've typed in your seed keyword (I've typed in "cars" for my seed keyword), click on add. It will be added to your seed keyword list. If you click the down arrow to the left of your seed keyword, you'll see two more options called "include" and "exclude". I always type in the seed keyword into the "include" section. This means I want to make sure that any keywords that the software produces "includes" my seed keyword. This is important so make sure that you do this. I find that it makes my searches far more accurate. If you want words "excluded" then make sure that you list those in the "exclude" section. For each word or phrase that needs to be treated individually, use commas as your separator.

Long Tail Pro Find Keywords Add Seed Words

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There's the "add my own keywords" section too and it's pretty self explanatory... just add your own keywords and Long Tail Pro will also produce keyword data for those terms too.

In the "customize data & pre-filter" section, you will find:

  • Suggested bid (for ppc purposes)
  • Local search volume (how many times your targeted keyword has been searched in your country and in your network you've chosen over a 12 month period)
  • Advertiser competition (low, med, high) - what is the advertising activity for your targeted keyword
  • Number of words (specify how many words should be in your keyword phrase that includes your seed keyword)
  • Global search volume (how often your keyword has been searched over a 12 month period globally)
  • Domain availability (gives you information on whether domains are available for purchase for the keyword you're targeting)
  • Google title competition (using the allintitle search operator, it will tell you how many websites are using your targeted keyword in the title of their page)
  • Bing title competition (using the same allintitle search operator in this search engine, it will tell you how many websites are using the targeted keyword in title on their page)

Once you've completed your targeting options, just click "generate keywords & fetch data" to complete the process.

In addition to those features, the software can produce LSI keywords. If you're not familiar with this, LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It's important because Google considers related words to your seed word important in how it views your page so being aware of LSI keywords are important as you develop any page on your website. This is information that when you are searching for your seed keyword, you will also get a list of other related keywords that can be used as you develop your content. This is information that would be very difficult for you to find manually on your own.

Keyword Competitiveness

Nevertheless on Keyword Competitiveness, Long Tail Pro will tell you how hard it is to rank for your keyword. It generates a number from 0 to 100 to help you determine keyword ranking difficulty. To make things much easier without a very complicated discussion, here's a general metric to follow:

  • 0 to 10: You'll rank for keywords at this level with "very" little work.. there's no competition here.
  • 10 to 20: Very low competition. It's easy to rank here too.
  • 20 to 30: Low competition - If you find a keyword in this range with any kind of volume, attempting to rank for it isn't a bad idea.
  • 30 to 40: Moderate competition - Still not bad here either, but it'll take a little work to rank. 
  • 40 to 50: Medium competition - We're starting to enter the big leagues, so expect to put in some work to rank for keywords in this range.
  • 50 to 60: High competition - There's likely to be good volume with keywords at this level, but that also means that there's high dollars to be made here too.
  • 60 to 70: Higher competition - You're going to work long and hard to break into the first page of Google for these keywords, but the payoff is going to be worth it.
  • 70 to 100: Steep competition folks so you better step up your SEO game if you're going to play at this level, because these folks are spending major dollars to stay on the first page of Google for keywords in this arena. Common wisdom is don't even try ranking here, but some of us love a good challenge and ranking here is a lofty goal.

Think of it this way.. if you're a website that has decent content, you've been around for at least 6 months and you've done a little bit of good whitehat link building, you can "typically" rank in the first 3 pages of Google for many search terms with a keyword competitive score of less than 30. Anything beyond that is going to take some work. I'm not making any guarantees since "every" niche is different and everyone's approach to ranking their website is different too, but it gives you an idea. Nevertheless, this is the tool that will give you the insider information that will help you collect the data that you need to target those low hanging fruit type of keywords.

Page Authority (PA)

On page authority, we're simply talking about how strong the page is that is ranking for that keyword. Long Tail Pro generates the top 10 websites ranking for any keyword that you want to analyze. It will generate a number from 0 to 100 for each page it lists in your report. Here is an example of results with high page authority.

Long Tail Pro High Page Authority

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This number also provides an indication of how easy this page could rank regardless of the content on it's page. Stronger page numbers means it'll be hard to outrank them.

Alternatively, this is an example of what you may see when many of the results produced have low page authority.

Long Tail Pro Low Page Authority

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Page Links

This is simply the number of links that are juice passing or not and all we're talking about here is whether the links are dofollow or nofollow. Dofollow links pass link juice from the originating source to the page where the link has been placed. On the other hand nofollow links do not pass link juice. This is a good measure of how many links you may need to compete for top positions for any website keywords you're trying to rank for. Additionally, this can give you an idea of the strength behind the linking structures of the top 10 pages ranking for your targeted keyword.

Juice Links

This section tells you how many external links are passing juice to this page. These are all dofollow links, so if you're finding a lot of links in this section that means you're going to have to invest time and work into building the same type of links to compete here. Keyword ranking data like this becomes far more insightful when you understand how many links you're going to need to stay in the race with your competitors.

Keyword Research And Domain Authority Long Tail Pro Metric

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Domain Authority (DA)

This is basically the new page rank. Google's old ranking system would give you an idea of how strong or credible a website was and this could be ascertained from understanding it's pagerank (PR). Since Google has ditched that metric and no longer updates it, "domain authority" was introduced and became the new standard for measuring the strength and credibility of a domain. Domain authority is on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the DA, the stronger and more trusted a website is. The lower the DA, the weaker and less trusted a website is. In Long Tail Pro, this metric represents how likely content is going to rank on a page. So with that said, if the DA is very strong then that page is likely to rank with very little effort. If you see pages with weak DA's then that might be a metric to pay attention to, especially if your website has stronger domain authority or is on par with the data that you're seeing in Long Tail Pro. If your domain authority matches other domains in the top 10 for a keyword search that you've performed, then that may be a keyword to try to rank for. You will find very often that websites such as Youtube, Ebay, Amazon etc. have DA's of 100. It doesn't mean that you should stay away from trying to rank for keywords where you see these sites show up in your data report because a lot of times they haven't done anything in the way of keyword optimization which ultimately means there's an opportunity for you to rank for that keyword.

Moz Rank

This is another metric that is similar to measuring how authoritative, strong and trustworthy a website is in looking at the quality and strength of a websites incoming links. This is also on a scale of 0 to 10. Websites improve their scores by getting links from popular to very popular websites. Nevertheless, if your competition has a high Moz Rank, you're going to have to build high quality links to compete. Building authority takes time and is something that Google pays very close attention to. Pages that have high Moz Rank and high DA's have a lot of authority and will easily outrank websites that have lower authority. The bottom line is that they simply have greater ranking power. Keep this in mind while you're engaging in keyword discovery using the Long Tail Pro keyword suggestion tool. You are going to get a lot of data but on the topic of Moz Rank, you're better off targeting keywords with lower Moz Rank especially if your website has low authority.

Page Rank (PR)

Now I know that I discussed this earlier in the domain authority section and stated that Google ditched this, but it is included in Long Tail Pro because they still want you know what the page rank of the website page is. I typically look at this section simply for informational purposes and nothing more because the domain authority is the current standard. So while the PR is among the sections whereby Long Tail Pro provides data, if I were to offer a suggestion, I'd stick to looking at the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) rather than the PR.

Site Age

This section tells you how long ago the domain was created. It is no secret that Google ranks older sites better than younger ones. With that said, this is my favorite metric to look at because no matter how much linking a website has done, no matter how many page links or juice links it has, this metric is going to tell you very quickly how easy or difficult outranking them is going to be. If you're a website that has been around for 2 years, the likeliness of you outranking a website that has been around for 15 years is slim. Nevertheless, there's always exceptions and if a website ranks well for a term and hasn't done anything in terms of keyword optimization, there's your loophole and a way to get your keyword ranking on the first page right next to one of those aged domains.

Rank Checker

Long Tail Pro has a built in rank checker. Within the keyword checker, you simply input your domain, the keyword that you want to check on, set the delay between Google requests (it's 2 by default), set your country (it's United States by default) and language (it's English by default) and click "check ranks".  The keyword ranking tool will show you your domain, search term, Google keyword ranking, Bing keyword ranking and Yahoo ranking in the table. If it's more than 500 results in, it will display (500+), but anything less than that will be reported in the table.

Long Tail Pro Keyword Ranking Checker

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With that said, Long Tail Pro is packed with useful data for your keyword research. You would be hard pressed to find another keywords tool that is as accurate and useful. Even in regards to finding a premier local keyword tool, you can perform the same research and search keywords for local terms with this software too.

Nevertheless, there are certainly alternatives to Long Tail Pro, however if this recommendation and overview of it's features still leave you speculating about whether this is right for you, the software does allow you to test drive it for free before making any purchasing commitment as well. As I've mentioned before and I'll say it again, I'm recommending this software because I know this is something you are going to use and it is going to make your data research time much more efficient. This is going to be a go to tool for you until something better comes along, but for now Long Tail Pro is the top keyword research and keyword suggestion tool that's going to make you wonder how you did keyword research before without it.

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been used in this post. Additional clarification can be found in our privacy policy.

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Google Penalty - No Catchy Headlines Here

Google Penalty Google Panda Google Penguin Google Hummingbird Google Pets

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Google Penalty Animal Kingdom

If Google introduces another animal into SEO it's gonna start to look like... well something, I haven't quite got that figured out yet. Animals and Google penalties.. hmmm... I'm not sure I understand why Google chose to connect the two yet, but there's one thing that is certain. Google has managed to gradually condition all of us in marketing and SEO to fear it's pets. Next thing you know it'll be the Giraffe update and we'll fear that one too.. It's just sad.

I Love My Website

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Either way, what we have learned is that if you have a website you care about, if you have a website that you own and love, you better treat it like the tiniest drop of water could mess it all up for you and lead to it's ultimate demise and destruction. So if it's something you wouldn't do in the light, you probably better not do it behind Google's back or it will eventually catch up to you. Now that's not to say that if you get a penalty that there aren't exceptions, because honestly who can truly control ALL of the links that are associated with their websites. There's definitely room to be fair and rightfully so, because receiving a Google penalty doesn't always mean that YOU did something wrong.

Google Penalty Core

At the core of the Google penalty, it truly is about making the user experience more relevant and useful when an individual is in search of information online. Another valuable lesson we've learned is either play by Google's rules or GTHO (get the "heck" out). Figured I would clarify that little acronym for ya.

What you don't want to do is engage in bad link building practices. You may be wondering, well what do you mean by that ???

Google Penalty Just Don't Do It

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Well let me shed some light on that for you..

  • spun content.. such a bad idea
  • link farms.. another really bad idea
  • posting the same article (over-posting) - EVERYWHERE.. need I say more ?
  • duplicating content (this is pretty similar to what I just mentioned in the last point)
  • using the same anchor text for all the links your post or leave on other websites and even on your own
  • volume auto link building (too much, too fast means lots of bad things are coming your way)
  • guest posting.. it's not what it used to be folks and Google isn't crazy about it either.. it's been spammed to death so just move on to something else because it doesn't have the punch it used to anymore and the bottom line is you'll have to work VERY HARD to get Google to put trust in a guest post now anyway
  • footer links on Wordpress themes (lets face facts.. people crank these out and spam them all over the place just to get links).. it's another bad idea.. Google doesn't like footer links anyway.. If a link really matters that much, who is going to place it in the footer ??

Google Penalty & Bad Practices

Bad linking practices are what lead to Google penalties and of course that lends itself to the discussion of how to get yourself out of trouble once you get that ugly manual action notice, but we'll get into that one in another post.

Nevertheless, if you're not familiar with spun content here's the skinny on that. Taking a piece of content that someone else has written and changing it to some degree to pass it off as your own work. If there's one thing that can be said about writing is this.. Writing takes time and doing it well takes even more time and if there's one thing that we all wish we had more of.. is time itself. Needless to say there's plenty of software out there that will spin content for you and even if it's not that readable it's still content that you can add to a webpage. However, Google is cracking down on these posers and rightfully so because it degrades the quality of information that exists online. So the bottom line on this topic and like the rest is just don't do it.

Google Update Google Penalty

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Link farms is exactly what it sounds like.. take a group of websites and exchange links to build up link profiles for the sake of increasing the number of links each website has respectively. Everyone gets more links and this is a tactic that used to work for quite some time and now that the algorithms have greatly improved, this kind of tactic is easily detected, doesn't last long and provides no ranking benefit to those that try to employ this method anyway.

Posting the same article everywhere just leads to red flags. You may think that it works from the perspective that you want to share it as many places as you can, but that kind of thinking will backfire and truly work against you. You may even think syndication and while that may not lead to bad things, the only real effective way to get the "same" content shared everywhere is when it's done organically. I say organically only to refer to when others share your content without any incentive or influence.. people sharing content because they want to. This is perceived much differently from Google's standpoint than you as the creator of the content sharing it all over the place and the benefits of others sharing your content are far greater than you doing it yourself. Where the trouble begins is behavior that lends itself to spamming by over posting the "exact same content" to several locations across the web.

Duplicating content is just a bad practice in general. If you aren't trying to generate fresh content then you can expect that there aren't going to be rewards for your efforts. Duplication of content has long been recognized as a terrible practice to engage in and most SEO's worth their salt steer clear of this as well and these days with penalties running rampant, duplicate content raises red flags that can lead to de-indexing a website from the search results entirely depending on the severity and extent of this tactic.

Using the same anchor text is just your way of saying hey Google, look at me.. this is what I'm trying to rank for. Using one anchor text across multiple pages just looks bad. There was a time when this was completely acceptable and it worked. It worked really well because this was a well known method to help boost rankings and was primarily used by SEO's. However, you're much better off using anchor text sparingly these days and allowing others that link to you to choose the anchor text. Overuse of anchor text again leads to penalties that can severely diminish, your ability to earn revenue and truly hurt your website overall.

Without going into the last few bullet points I've made, the reality is that in order to avoid Google penalties, stick to the mindset that creating content for your visitors may not lead to instantaneous boosts, but it will lead to better results down the road with consistent effort. Tactics of the past do not work any longer and the algorithms are constantly evolving and they are going to win no matter what you do so play by their rules. You may as well just cave in to that reality and quite honestly keeping your website focused on improving the user experience and providing information that will benefit the user is a long term winning strategy and who could argue with that.

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Spam Messages - The Comment Spam Stop Spam Post

Blog Comment Spam

Stop Spammers

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So in my last post, I had to get something off my chest about spam messages and spam itself. I wrote a short blurb about how spamming damages the integrity of the internet and that it's a practice that needs to stop. Someone that had viewed the blog post had remarked that spammers should go for it and SPAM, SPAM, SPAM away because it means less websites and less competition in the larger scheme of things. It means less websites to try to outrank since spammers are basically eliminating themselves from the competition. That comment led me to want to write a blog post about spam and Google since that topic alone is always worth the conversation. So with that said, I want to thank Bill for the comment that has sparked this post.

Spam Messages Comment Spam

Comment Spam Messages

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The most common type of spam is... as most of you may have guessed, blog comment spam or otherwise known as comment spam. If you've ever visited a blog that has allowed comments and I'm sure that if you're reading this and have done any surfing or browsing online, at one point or another you have come across a post that had a very thin comment (e.g. Hey, I love your website... great site... wish I would have thought of that... hey, I wrote about the same thing on my blog etc.. and the list goes on and on.. yuck !) with a very general phrase with a website link attached to it. It kind of reminds me of this joke I heard once..

OMG More Blog Comment Spam

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If someone would have served me this at dinner, I woulda sent it back !

As a blog owner, when you get these thin comments that are blatantly self serving and solely focused on getting a "backlink", that's how you feel.. it's one of those:

What the "_____".. well you can fill in the blank kind of moments.

I'm sure most bloggers feel, myself included.. that if you're going to leave a comment, at least "try" to put some effort into it. Knowing that blogs are a heavily targeted arena for backlink spamming, spammers invest time and energy into trying to infiltrate blogs for the sake of getting backlinks and the last thing they are thinking about is leaving a comment that adds value to the content that you've created on your blog.

Our only defense against this is to "moderate".

Moderation sucks for lack of a better word and it doesn't exactly excite anyone either, but it is what it is. The alternative.. that being that you would keep an "unmoderated" blog just leaves you highly vulnerable to a host of issues that you likely wouldn't run into if you're tending to the blog and filtering what is getting in. It's work, but when you invest passion, time, love and hard work into a product that means something to you, moderation doesn't seem so tedious because the benefit of such effort certainly outweighs the time that you have to invest into doing it to protect what you're building.

Comment Spam And Google

See Ya Later Blog Comment Spam

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Additionally, lets face facts.. You have a love/hate relationship with Google like the rest of us, but you'd rather have Google love you than feel any other way about you right ? None of us want any association with comment spam, because it's like being in a bad neighborhood. The fact that Google considers these links, bottom of the barrel type links means we don't want to touch these links with a 10 foot pole and as soon as we see them in our comment queues, we're quick to kill them and mark them as spam and let Google do the dirty work of hopefully and eventually de-indexing the domains from which they came for their attempts at such meaningless information degradation.

Comment Spam And Backlinks

Now I don't want to give the impression that all comments are bad either. Yes comment spam is rampant, it's all over the place and if you have a blog, popular or not, you are going to run into comment spam, but for those that are reading this and wondering how do I avoid being labeled a spammer if commenting is something that you are interested in doing regularly I would review this video question answered by Matt Cutts of the Google Webspam Team: 

The overall point that Matt is making is that if it's organic, you probably don't have anything to worry about. When it's not organic, there's probably going to be some rise for concern. We've seen this over the years, that yes, the commenting spam tactic of leaving comments on several websites through comment automation tools proved to be very effective for spammers but the golden era of comment spam, the way it has been done in the past is certainly over thanks to a more intentional focus on ridding the internet of these thin spam messages and this type of spam as well.

Spam Messages And Wordpress

WP Wordpress Stop Blog Comment Spam

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In this conversation, I didn't feel it would make any sense to not mention Wordpress since it's used so widely by a large number of bloggers. With that said, for Wordpress users, at least there is some automated relief for you. The popular Akismet spam filter can catch a lot of useless comments that frees the administrator from ever having to see it or address it with features that give you control over whether you want to automatically publish (terrible idea) or manually review comments. Manual review is always best so that you as the owner knows what is getting through and being published on your website that other visitors and fans of your content may see. However, one of the more interesting features is the ability to establish rules for comment moderation and for the blacklisting section too. Needless to say, other platforms are waiting for or should develop comment spam filtration and embed them into their respective programs as there are countless bloggers that are not hosted on Wordpress that would like to benefit from something similar too.

Spam Messages And Red Flags

Red Flag Stop Blog Comment Spam

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So in light of that, I would like to close in saying that here are some things that you should watch out for with respect to spam messages and comment spam. There is typically one theme in mind with blog spammers. That theme is typically, I'm here to get a backlink. You are not typically going to see comment spam without a link. So a good rule of thumb is to pay attention to those comments that you are getting with links.

Links that are left from places that aren't .com's. The .info website links are enough to raise suspicion for me and while there may be many of these websites that are indeed credible, I would still advise that you check them out a bit more closely to ensure their validity. Be sure to look into those posts that are "over the top" about being nice to you and then just dropping their link but haven't added anything of value to your post.

No one reads a post just to be nice and says all kinds of warm and fuzzy things and then ultimately says "nothing" about your post and then leaves a link. That screams spam to me and it should to you too. Lastly, if the comment just doesn't make any sense, chances are it was automated and that's a huge red flag too.

There are times when it's very easy to spot spam and there are times where you've got to do a little digging. This process is tedious, very effective when done manually and totally worthwhile for the healthy life of your blog and your content and certainly a headache too.

While these bad neighborhoods, comments and spammers do get penalized eventually, in the meantime, for the integrity of the web and in defense of the good credible and worthwhile information that many of us work tediously to produce, be diligent and invest the time to continue to stop spam messages and comment spam in hopes that individual efforts will lead to a better internet and web free of spam someday.

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