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How to Perform SEO Content Audit That Gives a Push to Organic Search Traffic

Posted By SEOValley on : August 9th, 2016

To be frank, content auditing is a painfully time-consuming process. It’s a massive project that you might not have time for if you have other priorities. That said, it is necessary if you are serious about ranking better for your targeted keywords.

How to Perform SEO Content Audit That Gives a Push to Organic Search Traffic-min

You don’t have to undertake the entire audit process alone, as you can always delegate the data gathering functions to someone else in your organization or even outsource the task to an SEO company. You can also choose to audit small sections at a time during your free hours. You might also look into tools that automate some parts of the data gathering process. And of course, you can always count on a SEO agency like SEOValley to do all the hard work for you.

Why do an audit?

Conducting an SEO content audit helps you spot any weaknesses in your website’s optimization strategy. It forces you to catalog word counts, tags, images, and other such elements associated with all of your content assets and compare them to your page rankings. Ultimately, an SEO content audit lets you pinpoint what changes are necessary to improve your website’s organic search performance.

Step 1: List all your content assets in a spreadsheet. 

A crawling tool such as Screaming Frog can help you quickly identify all your URLs. You can also manually enter each URL into a spreadsheet as you go. Be sure to leave enough columns for all the data you will gather in the next step. We suggest gathering the SEO data points listed below, but of course you can add, delete, and modify as necessary depending on your goals:

Potential SEO data points to gather:

  • Page Title
  • Target Keyword
  • Page Headings Used
  • Meta Description
  • Inbound Links
  • Images
  • Image ALT Tags
  • Last-Updated Date
  • Page Entries and Exits
  • Page Visits (measure for at least three months, if possible)
  • Average Time on Page
  • Page Bounce Rate
  • Broken Links

If you are also interested in content marketing apart form SEO, add the following data points to your list:

  • Word Count
  • Content Type (whether article, blog, infographic, landing page, etc.)
  • Condition (evergreen? out-of-date?)
  • General Topic
  • Tags / Categories
  • Content Owner
  • Author
  • Number of Comments and Social Shares
  • Desktop and Mobile Accessibility
  • Conversion Data

Once key data points have been determined, it’s time to input data. Here are some tips:

  • Screaming Frog is a great tool for generating page title tags for the URLs you want to track.
  • Use Google Analytics to see page visits, average time, and bounce rates.
  • A social metrics plugin can show you how many times a page or post has been shared on social media.
  • Use the marketing automation program Act-On to determine conversion data.

Step 2: Give each page content a score.

Once all data gathering tasks are done, go back to your list and assign a score to each page. You can use an “A-to-F” scale, where “A” is given to high-performing pages while “F” is given to those that don’t help your SEO at all. 

Step 3: Analyze your data.

It’s time to establish ‘recommended actions’ now that you have all the data you need. There are no rules or formulas here; the key is to look at your data and identify trends that will help your recommended actions. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do visitors stay longer on blog pages with videos than they do on text-only pages? This might suggest that it’s worth allocating more of your content creation energy to producing or sourcing useful videos.
  • Are conversion rates higher for certain text formats, like lists? Then you might want to create more bulleted or numbered posts in the future.
  • Are your text posts being shared on social media? If not, why do you think that is? Perhaps, you are reaching the working audience, or perhaps you are creating content on topics no one cares about. Rethink your approach.
  • You might also want to look at all the pages with “C” scores and lower. Should you rewrite or remove them altogether?
  • Which of your pages have the highest conversions? Perhaps you should create more content pieces similar to them.

Use the data you gathered in your SEO content audit to formulate at least 5 action plans. Set a deadline for each task to ensure that they get done.

And whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis. Seek the most obvious patterns and work on them first. Keep on regularly tracking your metrics and refreshing your content audit spreadsheet to take note of any shifts and remedy issues before they start to affect your website’s performance.

Think of an SEO content audit as a continuing intelligence gathering tool.  By carefully keeping track of your content and assessing their impact on your rankings, you can make better SEO and online marketing decisions in the future.

 

How to Perform a Detailed Technical Audit to Identify & Fix Technical SEO Problems

Posted By SEOValley on : July 25th, 2016

In order to push organic search rankings to optimum levels, we know from experience that a website’s technical SEO needs to be perfect or at least near-perfect. After all, any technical issues can make it harder for search engines to crawl and index a site—and this can cause lower rankings and less traffic.

Technical Audit

That is why here at SEOValley, we conduct a thorough technical audit process covering all the important aspects of technical as well as on-site SEO. No stone is left unturned. The goal of this audit is to ensure that every component of these key areas are identified, reviewed, and resolved. This process has been very successful, and we want to share it with readers of our blog. Below is a checklist of items we watch for whenever we conduct a technical SEO audit:

Information Architecture

There are three main areas to inspect: site navigation, labeling and naming conventions, and directory structures. 

Site navigation needs to be intuitive; users must be able to find what they need and find it fast. Grouping similar product categories or content together can improve site navigation. Labeling using targeted keywords is also important. Finally, directory structures must not be more than 3 folders deep.

Crawling and Indexing Issues

A page that can’t be crawled can’t be indexed. It’s important to resolve any 404s on your site and rethink content on Flash, iFrames, or AJAX, as well as links embedded inside JavaScript. Ensure that none of these scripts or technologies are blocking search engine crawlers from indexing your pages.

Server Response Codes
Make sure that if there are any redirects, they are 301s (not 302s). 301s are search friendly and can pass on PageRank.  Use Pingdom Tools and Webconfs to check if there are any redirects on your website. You also need to fix broken links. To find them use Screaming Frog or Xenu Link Sleuth.  Google Webmaster Tools likewise provide detailed lists of broken links and pinpoint the pages from where these broken links originate.

Duplicate Content Issues

It’s a well-known fact that duplicate content can diminish your organic rankings. When Google accesses and indexes multiple versions of a page, it will most likely will filter out everything but one version. It has full control of what gets filtered—not you.

The easiest and most cost effective way to check if you have duplicate content issues is to check your pages on CopyScape. Many e-commerce websites unwittingly use duplicate content because they rely in the manufacturer’s product description, which is also used by other retailers. To avoid this, vary your content. Make the product description unique by adding a few comments.

Dynamic URLs

Do you have an e-commerce site? Your products are probably pulled from your database and/or have some kind of ‘session IDs’ in them, making your URLs unfriendly, with special characters tend to trip and trap the bots. Keep in mind that search engines prefer simpler static URLs to dynamic ones. To prevent any problems, implement a ‘URL rewrite’ solution.

Site Loading Time

When your site loads slowly, your visitor drop-out rates go up, and conversion goes down. Make sure to audit for heavy images, excessive use of scripts, Flash files that increase page weight, and heavy images. Your home page should weigh no more than 130K and all your other pages, no more than 180K.

Google, in particular, has been known to reward faster loading websites, so it is important that this aspect is covered by a technical site audit. Aside from Google Webmaster Central, tools such as Pingdom and Gomez can help you check your loading time.

A technical SEO audit can take many hours to accomplish especially if your website is highly complex. Many experts recommend breaking down the process into two phases. First, create a scorecard that lists all the targets and metrics suggested above. Then, formulate recommendations. Don’t have the time or the technical expertise to handle your own site audit? Let SEOValley help you. Call us at +415 670 9746.

 

Why Google Doesn’t Announce Any Panda Updates and What to Do if You Still Have Not Recovered from It

Posted By SEOValley on : July 18th, 2016

Have you noticed that Google has made fewer algorithm update announcements in the recent years? Since 2012, update announcements have been dropping. The search engine giant seems to be quieting down—and experts say that the reason is this: Google Panda has become part of its core ranking signals. We won’t be hearing about typical Google Panda updates anymore.

Google Panda Updates

Google has also been investing in artificial intelligence not only to create better search results, but also to allow its engineers to roll out constant algorithmic adjustments right under our noses. Updates are no longer the drastic shakeups we are used to seeing; they are now subtler and more intuitive. In fact, most users hardly notice these changes at all.

With the decline in the number of formally announced updates is the rise of unconfirmed updates with no names. SERP trackers, as well as webmasters, are constantly reporting major shifts, but Google never officially confirms any updates.

So what does this mean for the SEO community? Now more than ever, there is a need to vigilantly ensure that our websites satisfy all of Panda’s quality guidelines. And if you have yet to recover from Panda penalties, here are some things you can do:

  1. Get rid of duplicate pages.

Log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account and go to HTML Improvements. Check if you have many duplicate pages. This is especially important if you are an e-commerce site and you use a content management system that automatically creates duplicate content. Check if there are duplicate Title tags. If you find any, then its likely that the content on those pages are duplicates, too. Delete them or use NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW commands.

  1. Make your site leaner.

Check how many of your pages are indexed, and then get rid extra pages that are thin, snippet pages, duplicate content pages, or unauthoritative pages because they can really get you into trouble.

To check how many of your pages are indexed, go to Google and type in “site:domain.com” (without quotes). How many pages come up? Having an absurdly high number of pages can be a sign of a problem and should prompt you to identify all pages that are thin or duplicate so you can delete or archive them.

  1. Assess and improve the quality of your content.

    Read your pages and ask yourself—is anyone truly going to find value in it? Panda targets pages that do not provide any value. If you are obviously simply trying to rank for a long-tailed keyword, Panda can tell. You need to either delete or improve those pages, or combine several thin pages into one authoritative resource. 

  1. Strengthening user engagement.

Aim to increase your site’s social interactions via social networking, comments, forums, and consumer reviews. This is a great way to generate good content that is both useful and relevant.

Recovering from Panda is all about improving site quality and user experience. Take time to audit your entire site and get rid of low-quality pages. Always be updated on the current best practices in SEO and learn how to go with the flow. Web optimization is ever changing, so what worked before might no longer work today.

Most importantly don’t quit. There have been many success stories of recovery, and you can be one of them. Many websites that have been hit by Panda recovered just after just a few months because they put all their efforts into improving the quality of their content and the experience of their users. You can do that same.

It’s also a good idea to work with a Panda Recovery expert such as SEOValley. We have helped hundreds of websites get back in the game. Talk to us today about our Panda Recovery solutions.

 

Why Benchmarking is Significant before SEO—And How to do it Right

Posted By SEOValley on : July 6th, 2016

Benchmarking your site’s current performance allows you to track and compare improvements over time. It is fundamental to a successful SEO campaign. This is why SEO experts worth their salt will always benchmark your current performance before they even begin to plan your SEO strategy. Benchmarking allows them to see exactly where your site currently stands and track performance enhancements month-to-month.

Why Benchmarking is Significant Before SEO

 

When it is done right, benchmarking can provide crucial information about which campaigns and strategies are working and which ones are ineffective. For example, it might show you that only 10% of your pages generate the majority of incoming traffic. You can then focus on the SEO elements that make that 10% successful while adjusting or even removing pages that are inefficient or counterproductive. 

Top Key Performance Indicators to Benchmark Before Starting an SEO Campaign

Successfully benchmarking your SEO information starts with knowing which elements and metrics to track. We have listed below some of the most important elements:

  1. Number of Pages Indexed by Google

This is one of the most vital and easiest metrics to benchmark. Simply go to Google Search and enter “site:yourwebsitename.com” into the search bar. The results will show you all the indexed pages on your domain name.

You might be wondering: Why it is important to benchmark the number of indexed pages? Because this information is a fantastic way to see, overall, how your website looks on Google. It may help you identify any coding errors, duplicate pages, and poorly written content that haven’t been indexed. It also sets the stage so that your future SEO efforts can ensure proper indexing.

  1. Organic and Referral Visits

Using Google Analytics, you need to have a record of how many visitors you are currently getting and from what sources. This will allow you to assess if your future SEO campaign is bringing in more organic traffic over time, and if your future strategies can increase the number of referrals.

  1. Social Media Stats

Do you have social media accounts like a Facebook page? Then it’s wise to measure your current social media presence—such as the number of followers or fans you currently have, number of shares and likes, and other such figures. Tools like BrightEdge can help you determine the share rate of your content across Twitter and Facebook. As you roll out your SEO and social media strategies later, you should notice improved numbers.

  1. Number of Keywords

You can use SEMRush.com to determine approximately how many keywords you are currently ranking in the top 10 for, as well as find out how the non-branded branded vs. mix looks. Hopefully. Your SEO campaign will increase this number over time. If this number remains flat—or worse, declines—then you’ll know that your SEO strategy is not working and needs revamping ASAP.

Understanding what keywords perform best also gives you a clearer picture of what information your target visitors are looking for. This ultimately helps steer your future content strategy to the right direction.

  1. Backlinks Profile

Link authority remains an important benchmark for SEO. Google has penalized websites with low quality links, but it continues to reward those that attract relevant links from reputable websites. Your backlink profile is still a powerful indicator of SEO success. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to generate a list of all websites that link to yours because of tools like Majestic.  By benchmarking your links, you can also audit link quality and disavow spammy links that can hurt your search rankings. You can then plan your SEO strategy around building legitimate links going forward. Some experts also recommend that you benchmark your competitor’s backlinks. Do they have a better link profile than you? Figure out why—and then do something to outperform them.

Benchmarking these key metrics is absolutely vital for tracking SEO performance down the road.  Need help? Let our experts at SEOValley do all the work so you can focus on other important aspects of your business. We have more than a decade of experience and expertise in SEO, so you can trust our website benchmarking, auditing, and evaluation skills. Call us today.

 

Things to Consider When Creating a Disavow File

Posted By SEOValley on : June 16th, 2016

Bad links or unnatural links could be pointing to your website, hurting its reputation in the eyes of search engines—most notably Google. They can eventually push your rankings down and cause you to lose a lot of online business. How do you deal with these bad links? The solution may be to create a disavow file. We have some tips to help you use this strategy to its full potential.

How Does the Disavow Tool Work?

The traditional way of removing bad links is labor-intensive and time-consuming; you have to contact the webmasters of the sites linking to you and politely ask them to take down the link. They may or may not respond. It might take months for them to even see your request, and they may also refuse to take the link down. In other words, you are completely at their mercy.

 

Image_Links

 

Using Google’s disavow tool gives you some of the power back. ‘Disavowing’ links lets Google know that you do not want those links to pass ranking signals to your website. When you disavow a link, you are basically telling Google to ignore it because it does not conform to quality guidelines and you are unable to remove it manually.

In its simplest terms, the process of disavowing involves creating a disavow file and sending it to Google. It’s a lot more complicated than that, though. To ensure that your disavow request will not be ignored, you need to carefully follow the steps that Google requires. You also need to keep the following tips in mind:

1. Make an audit spreadsheet to check which links are truly ‘bad.’

Use a third party service to get a list of all your incoming links. Some of the best services can organize the links into a format that is easier to read and manage. If your website has over a thousand domains linking to it, consider using Majestic.Com, ahrefs.com, or https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/. You can then combine the links into a single spreadsheet such as Google Docs or MS Excel. From there, you can break the URLs down to subdomain level, eliminate duplicates, and audit.

2. Use the disavow file with caution.

Using Google’s disavow tool incorrectly can potentially harm the entire performance of your site in the search results. Google recommends disavowing backlinks only if you think that there are plenty of artificial, low-quality, and spammy links pointing to your website, and if you think that these links are causing issues.

3. Remember: The disavow file will be processed completely by a machine, not a person.

Google employees will not read your disavow file. It goes through an automated process. Hence, comments are merely for your use—no one else will see them. Insert comments only where they might be useful for you, such as when you edit the disavow file later. Don’t forget to use Textedit (Mac) or Notepad (Windows) to create a text file.

4. Uploading a new disavow file will completely rewrite the old file.

If you want to add new domains to your disavow list, simply update your old file and add the new links, then re-upload that edited file.

5. As soon as you upload the file, Google applies the disavow commands to each link as it crawls the internet.

A nofollow tag will be applied and those links will no longer be given weight in the algorithmic calculations for your website. Take note, however, that if your website has been slapped by Penguin, you are not likely to see the changes immediately. You must wait until Google runs the algorithm and gathers new data about your links.

SEOValley can guide you through the intricacies of creating and uploading a disavow file for Google. Our team of SEO experts possess the perfect blend of strategic thinking, knowledge, and innovative approach to help you improve your website and search ranking. Contact us today and request a free SEO analysis in our website.

 

Google Analytics Setup Mistakes Even Professionals Make

Posted By SEOValley on : June 14th, 2016

Google Analytics is one of the most commonly used tools for tracking and reporting website traffic. It is free and has certainly helped a lot of businesses make better and more intelligent online marketing decisions since it was launched in November 2005. With Google Analytics, you can identify and understand the people who are visiting your website—how often they go to your site, what they click, their navigation paths, and the pages and links that influence their purchase or download decisions. This tool also lets you determine the efficiency of your website in generating conversions, shopping cart abandonment, and click-throughs.

 

Google-Analytics-Setup-Mistakes-Even-Professionals-Make

 

You can easily set up Google Analytics on your own, but you need to be careful when doing so. Any mistake can prove fatal to the success of your online marketing campaign. Here are some of the Google Analytics setup mistakes even professionals make—and how you can avoid them:

1. Not Linking Your AdWords Account with Google Analytics

Linking Google Analytics to AdWords can be helpful if you want to analyze and understand how people who click our ads interact with your website. Doing this also lets you track your pay-per-click traffic more accurately as you can import Google Analytics transactions and goals, import remarketing audiences, and view GA data in AdWords reports.

2. Failing to Set Up ‘Goals’ and ‘Funnels’ for Your E-Store

‘Goals’ refer to the actions you want your visitors to make when they visit your website. For example, your Goal might be to bring potential customers to a destination page—this could be a page displaying a product you are selling or a page for subscribing to your newsletter, for example. When a visitor completes a Goal, it becomes a ‘conversion’ in Google Analytics. Meanwhile, the ‘Funnel’ is the path you expect your visitors to take on their way to a specific Goal. You can define Funnels as a series of URLs to set the sequence of pages you think the visitors are likely to take to arrive at a Goal.

Defining Goals & Funnels for your site is vital if you want to increase sales—and yet even professional SEO practitioners sometimes forget to do this. Goals and Funnels can be very rewarding when used properly and provide exceptional intelligence to make business decisions.

3. Incorrect Code

A lot of errors can happen when you customize the Google Analytics code, causing data mismatch and tracking code problems. Some of the most common issues include:

  • extra characters and whitespace
  • using the incorrect snippet and viewing the wrong account
  • letting other scripts run on the page, and

When customizing the tracking code, remember that the function names are case sensitive. Moreover, take note that the Boolean values must not have any quotes.

4. Having Someone Else Run Your Google Analytics Account

You can outsource the creation of a Google Analytics account to a reputable company, but make sure that you maintain all-access rights to it. You should be able to view the change log to see and monitor activity in the account. Seasoned SEO service companies will create a separate account for you and grant all admin rights to you. If you prefer to create your own account, be sure to provide access only to trustworthy individuals and apply restrictions as necessary.

5. No Campaign Tracking Set Up

Do you get a lot of non-direct traffic from multiple sources, such as email campaigns, PPC ads, affiliate marketing, and display ads? Google will treat them all as ‘referral’ traffic. By default, Google Analytics will only show you the ‘medium’ and ‘source’ information of this referral traffic. So if you want more information about the marketing campaigns that are sending you referrals, then you should add ‘campaign tracking’ variables to the end of the destination URLs of your ads. This process is called ‘tagging’ and can be done through Google URL builder.

These are just 5 of the most common Google Analytics set up mistakes even professionals sometimes make. To avoid these errors, seek help from the highly experienced experts of SEOValley. With more than a decade of expertise and experience in SEO, our team is highly qualified to ensure an optimum Google Analytics setup with your specific needs in mind.

 

3 Third-Party Analysis Tools to Find Those Hidden Opportunities

Posted By SEOValley on : June 13th, 2016

Analytics and data tracking are crucial to the success of any internet marketing campaign. You need to measure how well your website is performing to see if you need to make some changes or improvements. A number of different tools are available for tracking and analyzing data, and if you use them correctly, you can find opportunities to adjust your budget, refine your internet marketing strategies, and explore options that can possibly generate more ROI. Some of these tools are from third party websites and can be adapted into your search engine marketing program. Here are three of them:

1. SEMRush
SEMrush is aimed at digital marketing professionals who are looking for an easier and more scientific way of finding profitable keywords. This tool can help you define optimization goals, improve the visitor and user experience in your website, and create highly targeted content. SEMrush offers online marketing tools that let you acquire indispensable data for developing effective link building, advertising, and SEO strategies. It can make your online marketing activities more efficient and allow you to monitor the performance of your website conveniently.
Image_SEMRush
If your goal is to (1) find highly targeted keywords and use them to optimize your content, (2) audit your website to find technical issues, and (3) determine the most profitable pay-per-click keywords for bidding, then SEMrush is highly recommended. You can likewise use this tool to track your website ranking and monitor if it is going up or down.That’s not all, though. SEMrush can also help you keep up with the results and online strategies of your competitors. The analytics reports provide insights into the strategies of your competitors in link building, organic and paid searches, and display advertising.To get started with SEMrush, consider requesting a demo or try it before committing to a monthly or annual plan. SEMrush offers three plans: Pro, Guru, and Business. Getting an annual plan may help you save up to $1,100.

2. Majestic.com
The popular Majestic.com marketing search engine is a vast link intelligence database that is designed to give you a sense of how websites relate or link to each other.
Image_Majestic
Majestic is recognized for creating the most advanced link intelligence API. SEO professionals can use Majestic to compile pitches, find potential clients, audit websites, manage their portfolio, and report on their progress. Media analysts find Majestic helpful in discovering what is out there and what factors are currently influencing web trends. Entrepreneurs can use Majestic to track their social media marketing campaign or SEO, measure success, and prepare for more business opportunities.Majestic offers plugins and extensions for browsers like Firefox and Chrome to bring data right when and where you need it. There are tools for exploring up to five years’ worth of your competition’s history data, too. Different licensing levels and price points are offered to suit your requirements. There are currently four different plans at reasonable prices. You can go for a monthly or an annual subscription.

3. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
This website crawler lets you crawl websites to obtain crucial onsite elements you can use to analyze from an SEO perspective. You can download Screaming Frog SEO Spider for free if you want to try it and see how it works for your needs, or buy the licensed version to get access to additional features. The free version gives you access to most of the basic features of Screaming Frog, with a crawl limit of 500 URLs.
Image_ScreamingFrog
Screaming Frog’s ‘SEO Spider’ tool is particularly useful for quick crawling and analysis, so you can make more informed decisions as soon as possible. You can use it to find broken links, find permanent and temporary redirects or perform full audit redirects, analyze meta data and page titles, discover duplicate content, extract data, review directives and robots, and generate XML sitemaps. SEO Spider can be integrated with Google Analytics, too. That way, you can fetch user data like bounce rate, conversions, sessions, transactions, and revenue for a landing page.

SEOValley can provide you with a free SEO audit to help you utilize these third party for comprehensive analysis. Our 10 years of extensive SEO knowledge, website review expertise, and experience enable us to build solid strategies and innovative approaches for our clients’ online marketing needs.

 

Google Manual Action Unnatural Links Penalty: Identification & Recovery

Posted By SEOValley on : May 17th, 2016

Google penalties are not only devastating for your business’ reputation and revenue, they are also very difficult to recover from. If you have noticed a considerable decrease in your search engine positions and traffic, then there is a chance that you may have been penalized. While there are two types of Google penalty – Manual & Algorithmic – we are going to talk about manual action penalties and how to recover from them.

Unnatural Links Penalty Identification & Recovery

How to Identify a Manual Penalty

Before you can fix your website, you need to determine the reason why you were penalized in the first place. Manual penalties occur when your site breaks one of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Someone from Google then manually inspects your website and applies a penalty, if it is found to violate their quality standards. This type of penalty is typically accompanied by a message, which you will see in your Google Search Console (Previously, Webmaster Tools) account. Both algorithmic and manual action unnatural links penalties are typically caused by low-quality and manipulative link building techniques.

Note: Manual penalties are not related to algorithmic changes like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.

Understanding What Causes Manual Actions

Unnatural link building practices such as buying/selling links, or participating in link farms to manipulate rankings violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and this triggers a manual review.

If Google realizes that the unnatural links are out of your control, they usually won’t degrade your overall rankings. They will suggest removing the links you can control, but you will not be punished for the uncontrollable links.

However, if Google believes that you were involved in manipulative or deceptive linking practices and in link schemes, they may give you a manual penalty—and this can cause your overall rankings to plummet. Such a penalty can be extremely challenging to rectify. You must prove to Google that you are making a lot of effort to get rid of as many unnatural links to your site as you can and explain why you may not be able to remove some of the links.

Google does not only penalize websites with unnatural incoming links. A manual action can also be imposed on websites with unnatural outbound links. This can happen if Google thinks that your website is directly selling links to other websites or if it sees that you are offering ‘dofollow’ links for paid and sponsored reviews.

If you get this type of manual action, you need to remove exchange links, paid links, and all the other links you have ever given, that violate Google’s quality guidelines. Alternatively, you can use ‘nofollow’ tag on all such links – though this can be a tedious task if you have a lot of sponsored or paid links. You also need to sweep out the ‘dofollow’ links in the comments section of your forum or blog. Look for links that are irrelevant and unrelated to your website, as Google may have identified them as unnatural.

Recovering From a Manual Action Unnatural Links Penalty

Receiving a Google manual action penalty for having unnatural links—whether they are deliberate or not—is not the end of the world. The road to repairing your website and recovering your rankings and traffic may be long and challenging, but as long as you are honest and are willing to invest enough resources to correct the things that went wrong, then you should be able to survive.

There are certain tools you can use to easily collect backlinks data and identify toxic links. Google Search Console is one of them.

You can also make manual action penalty recovery much easier by seeking the help of a skilled SEO services company. At SEOValley, we offer a reliable and effective backlinks analysis and audit service that can verify the quality of your links and help you recover easily from Google’s manual action unnatural links penalty.

 

Site Navigation Optimization Best Practices to Maximize SEO Value

Posted By SEOValley on : May 16th, 2016

Search engines look at several factors when determining how your website should be ranked. Site navigation is one of the major elements that can influence your search engine ranking. By applying the best practices and optimizing your site’s navigation, you can give your visitors an easier way to get around your website so that they can find the things and information they need—and this can ultimately boost your SEO campaign. Here are the best practices you can do to improve your navigation and maximize SEO value.

Site Navigation Optimization Best Practices to Maximize SEO Value

 

Think about strategic placement.

Where you place your navigation area on a page is crucial. Experts recommend that you use (1) a top navigation under the header, (2) a left navigation as a vertical column, or (3) a combination of both, where the top area is for primary navigation and the left side is for secondary navigation. If you have several sub-categories, it may be smarter to position your major navigation on the left. Most e-commerce websites follow the left-hand placement to allow their customers to browse sub-categories more efficiently and to avoid a cluttered look. A good example of this is Amazon, which gradually migrated its navigation to the left due to its constantly expanding categories.

Be mindful of the number of elements that are present in your navigation.

Visitors may be overwhelmed when there are too many possible categories and choices on your website. To ensure an effective navigation scheme, present only the crucial categories that are likely to appeal to most of your visitors. Menus like ‘Help’ and ‘Contact Us’ are best placed on the top right-hand corner of a page instead of under the main navigation menus.

If you can, limit the number of items on the main navigation and sub menus to seven items, which is the average number of elements humans can remember and process at the same time, according to studies. Go beyond that and you could be at risk of overwhelming your visitors.

Use drop-down menus.

Most website visitors tend to be finicky and would rather explore websites that do not require them to click on a lot of items. Provide drop-down menus that can help them navigate the categories and their respective sub-categories with ease.

Use easy words.

Avoid technical speak, jargons, and other words that are not intuitive. You want your average visitor to understand you right away. Consider dumbing down the words or replacing them with common synonyms whenever possible. Test alternatives to determine which version of the word can get more attention and clicks.

Use expanding sub-menus for left navigation.

Consider an expanding tree-like left side navigation menu to appear less cluttered and to avoid overwhelming visitors with numerous choices. It may help visitors understand how services and products are organized, too.

Have a “You are here” function.

You can do this by using a different color for a tab or menu to highlight where a visitor currently is in the navigation. This could help visitors when they have reached the deepest areas of your site or if they found your page through a search engine.

Make your logo the door to your homepage.

Every page should have a logo that can be clicked and lead the visitor to your homepage.

Create a site map.

The site map must be well-organized and accessible through a link on your website’s footer. It must break down every section and list the pages that are under each one. Alternatively, you may show the sub-sections if you have an ecommerce site or a very deep website structure.

Use the breadcrumb tactic.

This function can be offered in your main content area’s top left portion. The breadcrumb function depicts the parent sections of the page where someone is currently on, so the visitor can understand where they. This can be beneficial when somebody accesses your page from a search engine.

Check for broken links.

These links could hurt your site and affect your link credibility. Google doesn’t like broken links as it makes for poor user experience, so be sure to remove them as necessary or fix them for your users.
SEOValley applies all the best practices to improve your site navigation and optimize your website for maximum SEO value. Get in touch with us for a free SEO analysis, which will be conducted by our seasoned and innovative optimization experts.

 

 

 

Guide to Content Optimization for Ecommerce Sites

Posted By SEOValley on : May 12th, 2016

Successful ecommerce businesses share one characteristic: their sites rank higher than their competitors in Google’s organic search results. Higher rankings is especially crucial for an online business that needs to attract, convert, retain, and please its customers. However, boosting your rank can be extremely challenging unless you have a good strategy that addresses the unique needs and demands of an ecommerce business.

Guide to Content Optimization for Ecommerce Sites

 

Preparing Your Ecommerce Website for Optimization

Content optimization for ecommerce sites involves a lot of preparation: analyzing the data, researching the competitors and keywords, and making changes according to your findings. Be sure to focus on the following tasks before doing any actual optimization: 

  • SEO audit – You can identify problems with your current SEO through a comprehensive audit of your ecommerce site. Pay attention to product pages because (1) mistakes are more likely to occur in them, and (2) they are the most crucial pages impacting the overall performance of your website. There are tools you can use to crawl through images, links, script, apps, and CSS, so you can find errors, redirects, duplicate content, missing tags, and other issues that may be affecting the SEO of your website.
  • Look up your competitors – Perform a thorough competitor analysis. Who are the other ecommerce websites outranking you right now? Review their websites to get a list of keywords they are likely to be using. From there, look up the keywords and determine the ones you can compete against. Determine the sources of your competitor’s inbound links and try getting in touch with those sites, too. Consider reviewing the structure of their ecommerce sites and pay attention to their product pages. This way will give you ideas on organizing your own navigation.
  • Research keywords – Keyword research is essential because it lets you find the right words and phrases to use strategically on each product page in order to attract highly targeted customers and increase conversion. When researching keywords, always measure their relevance, ranking difficulty, and search volume. Consider long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to what you offer.

Tips for Improving Your Product Pages

After doing everything mentioned above, you can start implementing SEO strategies to optimize your product pages and help your site rank higher in Google. For this, consider the following: 

  • Product descriptions must be unique – Avoid using the product descriptions of manufacturers because search engines may treat them as duplicate content—and this can cause your website to be penalized. Write your own unique and compelling descriptions to appease Google and entice customers.
  • Give importance to customer reviews – Did you know that adding customer reviews to product pages can help you convert up to 58% more visitors and boost your revenue by up to 62%? Reviews help establish credibility while offering social proof to buyers who may be interested in the product. Remember that Google recognizes pages that are constantly updated with unique and fresh content—and that is what reviews can do for your product pages.
  • Add social media on each product page – The quality and amount of social media signals on a product page can influence your Google ranking. This is because those signals indicate the page’s relevance and authority. Consider adding share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. That way, customers will have an easier way to share your products and information with their friends and followers.
  • Improve your navigation – Make it intuitive by organizing product pages into categories that are easy to follow, search, and understand.
  • Do not remove pages of products that are out-of-stock – Keep them live but mark them as ‘currently unavailable.’ Their pages may have already garnered good rankings over time, so don’t waste them. Keep them on your website and use them as marketing tools. Consider promoting a similar product alongside them, or informing visitors when they will be available again. You can even put a backorder button.
  • Make your ecommerce site available for mobile devices – More customers are using their smartphones and tablets to shop online, so make sure your ecommerce site is optimized for mobile browsing, too. 

Optimizing an ecommerce site will be easier when you have professionals handling the job. Turn to the experts of SEOValley for search engine optimization, conversion optimization, and ecommerce website development needs. Our team is composed of experienced individuals, innovative thinkers, and SEO strategists who can help boost your online presence.