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How to Disavow Spammy Links to Your Site

Posted By on : April 5th, 2014

To disavow simply means to deny any responsibility for something. Thus, when you ask Google to disavow a certain link, you’re essentially suggesting that you’re denying any responsibility for those spammy websites that link to you, and so Google shouldn’t penalize your site.

Here are the easy steps for disavowing spammy links to your website

1. Download links to your website

Start by looking at all the pages and sites that link to your site. Go to your Webmaster tools and look for the button known as “download more sample links”. To find this button, log in > select your website > click “search traffic” > click “links to your site” and under “who links the most”, click “more”.

googleVSjournalists_03

Review this file to identify those links you’d like to remove.

2. Create a .txt file

The second step is to create a .txt file with all those links you’d like to disavow. Google doesn’t seem to care how you name the file so you can name it something like disavow.txt or even your website.txt.

Using the file downloaded in step 1, pick out those links you would like to disavow and then add them to the .txt file. Remember to include only one link per line.

If you would like Google to ignore all the links from the entire domain such as example.com, then you can add the line “domain.com” but you should take care not to include your important links!

3. Upload to Google

Lastly, upload the .txt file to Google. After logging into your webmaster tools, you can then visit Google’s page for disavow links tool.

Before you upload the .txt file, you will see warnings in three pages. The warnings are simply a reminder that the disavow tool is an advanced feature that should be used with caution. Additionally, Google reminds you here that incorrect use of the tool could potentially harm your website.

 

Harm You Can Cause To Your Site by Using Google’s Disavow Tool Incorrectly

Posted By on : April 5th, 2014

Other than keyword density, social signals and website speed, link building is among the most crucial factors that influence SEO. Each bank link that leads from a reputable site to yours can give your site a higher page rank.

However, not all websites that link to your site are desirable.  Possibly, you’ve engaged in spammy link-building strategies in the past, and are now attempting to correct this.

Perhaps, some links to your website have strangely appeared on a forum or website you’ve never thought about.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to determine whether a third party site should take your links down. It’s here that the disavow tool comes in handy.

What’s the disavow tool?

The disavow tool is the tool that webmasters can use to ask Google to disregard certain bank links when it comes to determining the page rank of a site.

Tips-Before-Using-The-Google-Disavow-Tool

When to use it

You should use this tool if you realize that a particular website has spammy, artificial links that point to your site.

The Possible harm of using the tool incorrectly

Therefore, do not disavow any links from your website for another reason such as if it’s a low PR. This can potentially harm the ranking of your website in a way you cannot reverse.

Remember Google’s algorithms are so fine-tuned and so, you shouldn’t do anything extreme that might throw them off.

Google’sEric Kuan in a thread onGoogle Webmaster Help puts it clearly that you should use the disavow tool with caution because it can cause potential harm to your website’s performance.

Therefore, if you use the tool to disavow those links that are useful in your ranking, it will affect the performance of your site.

So, do not just blindly, disavow links because you’re afraid. Instead, you should be careful, slow, and patient with those links.

 

Using the Improved Public URL Removal Tool for Better Results

Posted By on : March 22nd, 2014

Information is constantly changing and this requires changes to be made on various websites and searches. Google has a way of ensuring that the content you see is updated so that search results actually bring up valid results.

They have updated the public URL removal tool. It allows you to request changes or updates on third party sites that may not be reflected on the search engine yet. It could be content that was removed from a particular site (if you choose that URL on the search engine you will not find the content you are looking for) or some small changes that were made to the URL.

Requirements

You’ll need to sign into your Google account in order to submit all the removal requests. The page is supposed to have a 403, 410, or 404 result code (this can be confirmed via a good HTTP header checker), a noindexMeta tag if not the robots.txt. Soft 404 errors are also recognized but not preferred.

How to go about it

First enter the exact webpage’s URL that you’d like to remove. The URL removal tool should confirm that the page is indeed gone and then prompt you to complete the submission. That’s it! With regard to parts of a page that have been changed or removed you will need the URL and a word that was there initially but is no longer there.

This tool makes it easier to make changes and is to be used wisely and carefully.

 

Google’s Manual Penalty – Site-wide matches vs. Partial matches

Posted By on : March 22nd, 2014

In the last few years, Google has introduced a number of major algorithm updates such as Caffeine, Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird. All these are efforts by Google to improve the user experience.

In August 18, 2013, Google added another feature called “Manual Actions” under its “Search Traffic” section found at Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).

What is manual action?

Manual action refers to the penalties imposed against a website after real humans from Google web spam, review and find that the website violates the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

If you have a penalty resulting from manual action, Google will reveal whether this penalty affects specific URLs (partial matches) or whether it affects the whole site (site-wide-matches).

How to know your site has been penalized

To find out whether your site has been slapped with this manual penalty, you should look out for the following:

  • Drop in organic traffic
  • A decrease in your site’s performance
  • Your website doesn’t show in the search results

What to do next

Unless Google sends you a notice, the next step should be to head to your Webmaster Tools account and check through the Manual Action page just to confirm the penalty.

If you’ve a penalty, then Google will specify whether it affects certain URLs (partial matches) or whether it affects the entire website (site-wide matches).

How to identify and fix the penalties

If the manual action has been listed, you have an idea of where to check and start fixing your website. Here are common things you can look for:

  • Use Fetch as Google tool from GMT to find out how Google sees your particular web pages.
  • Compare the content fetched by Google and the one that human visitors can see to find out whether the two are different.
  • If the two contents are different, then you should remove the part of your website that serves different content to bots and users. To do this, go to the server and look through the site’s code.
  • Check whether the site has any URLs that direct visitors to a different place than where they expect
  • Find out whether there’re any URLs that redirect users from specific locations or redirect users that come from Google SERPs.
  • If your website has any of the two redirects, remove the site’s portion that uses these links. You may do this by changing the site’s code from your server.

After making these changes, you may send a reconsideration request to Google describing the specific changes you’ve made to solve the issue.

Promise not to repeat the same in future. Google will then confirm that all is good and revoke the penalty.

 

The Definitive Guide to Link Building with Infographics

Posted By on : March 12th, 2014

Check the best blogs in your niche and chances are you will come across one infographics after another, every day. In the recent years, many people seem to be using these pieces of content to deliver a visual punch. According to the latest stats:

  • Between the years 2010 and 2012, infographics increased Google searches by 800 percent
  • 90 percent of information that gets into the brain is visual. We are visual beings!
  • Those using infographics get up to 12 percent more traffic

Therefore, infographics are excellent when it comes to content marketing and link building. They are not only a powerful way to tell a story, but are colorful and able to deliver tons of information fast.

Here’s a guide on using infographics for effective link building:

1. The Data

Infographics stands on solid data. The info part is as important as the graphic part. The data used should be relevant, updated, and useful. You can choose good data from:

  • Authority sources within your niche
  • Research firms such as Gartner, econsultancy, Pew and others that publish in many fields
  • Statistical sites from global bodies, government agencies and NGOs
  • Your own (online) surveys

2.The Graphics

You should convert the research into something appealing to the eye. You can choose various visuals to deliver the information. These may include:

  • Icons and vector form of art
  • Graphs and charts
  • Clean illustrations and photos
  • Animations

These aspects should all work together to bring out your data’s main points. Things to consider are:

  • Choose the first image carefully – It’s the visual headline and will determine whether they’ll at everything else.
  • Let the flow of your images tell a story
  • Keep your design simple yet harmonious – Separate different areas using different backgrounds and use similar format for graphs and charts.
  • Use colors that compliment each other when used together.
  • Use shapes, colors, arrows, and lines to guide the reader through different parts

Seek inspiration from other infographics and you can search Pinterest, for example.

3.The Writing

In addition to the images and data, you need to use the correct words to:

  • Come up with headings and subheadings in the infographics sections
  • Highlight any interesting facts
  • Call out or caption data.

Pay attention to the infographic’s title as that’s what will motivate people to click. Do the same to subheads and captions.

 

Has Hummingbird Changed SEO?

Posted By on : March 12th, 2014

If you come across the concept that SEO is dead whether in your mind or in print, simply dismiss it. The truth is nothing is going to change as far as ranking is concerned. What worked before the release of Hummingbird will continue to work after its release. This includes:

  • Engaging and original content remainsto be king.
  • Legitimate back links earned using the right SEO techniques are still essential
  • The need to use keywords carefully and moderately is still imperative
  • Similar signals that worked before Hummingbird will still generate results

The only change to anticipate is the way this new algorithm interprets your search. Hummingbird has been made in such a way that it improves the likelihood of getting more specific results to search queries.

Hummingbird pleases people, not websites

Almost every article online about Hummingbird doesn’t say anything about Google pleasing websites. Instead, Google’s intention is to ensure that users who type in questions receive specific and relevant answers.

In its history, Google has never promised websites something beyond a fair chance to rank by using proper SEO. So, everything this search engine has done is for the user, not a website with answers.

Therefore Hummingbird has not affected SEO in any way. You still have a chance to improve your search engine ranking by making efforts to use proper SEO and publish original content.

However, you’ll also need to compete with the Google’s Information Cards that could already be having answers to the searcher in them.

 As of now, this applies to Google Chrome only. We don’t know how long it’ll take for the other browsers to follow suit.

The Hummingbird Presents an Opportunity for Growth

If your business has to grow, then the website and its blog should grow as well. What worked before should be able to work with Hummingbird, particularly if content has answers to the latest topics from which people may ask questions.
All of the following aspects still work:

  • Combing the news websites and then generating creative content from the current stories
  • Videos remain to be hot and appealing to those who choose links that have answers to their queries
  • Infographics create curiosity and are an awesome way to answer most search engine queries in an attractive and creative way.

 

Common FAQs about Filing a Reconsideration Request

Posted By on : March 12th, 2014

In 2012, Google rolled out manual spam action to prevent spam in the search results. The penalty may affect your entire site (site-wide matches) or some links on your site (partial matches).

When this happens, it can affect your ranking in search engines and you need to make changes to your site such as removing spammy back links using Google’s disavow link tool.

It’s only after this that you can send a reconsideration request to Google to revoke the penalty. Here are frequently asked questions related to filing the reconsideration request.

When can I file a reconsideration request?

Google may penalize your site for violating the Google Quality Guidelines. The penalty comes in form of a manual spam action.  You can learn about the violation through a notification in the Google Webmaster Tools or an SEO specialist.

To get the penalty revoked, ensure that your site no more violates the quality guidelines. After this, you should then file a reconsideration request.

Can I file the reconsideration request after an algorithm change affects my site?

Reconsideration requests apply to those sites affected by manual spam actions. If an algorithmic change affects your site but there’s no manual spam action to be revoked, there’s no need to submit a reconsideration request.

How do I evaluate the quality of website’s back links?

Start by checking out the Google Webmaster Tools and specifically, the section on links to your site. You’ll find a good number of your website’s inbound links.

You can then look at any patterns that bring out general issues worth resolving. For instance, look out for spammy blog comments, autogenerated text ads or forum posts with links that may pass page rank. This could be unnatural links that would go against Google’s quality guidelines.

How do I remove bad back links?

Start by identifying the poor links and then endeavor to get them nofollowed or removed. You can then deal with the other unnatural back links using the disavow links tool but be careful because incorrect use of this tool could harm your site’s performance.

How much information should I provide?

You should provide detailed documentation that explains the specific changes you made. You should also remember to promise not repeat this in future. If you include a link to any shared document, ensure anyone with that link can access the document.

What is the possible outcome?

After sending a reconsideration request, you’ll get an automated confirmation in the GWT. After your request is processed, you’ll receive another message on the outcome of your request.

Usually, the message may say that the penalty has been revoked or your website still violates the quality guidelines.

 

All About rel=”author” Tag

Posted By on : March 12th, 2014

As Google continues to be more personalized, it is worth looking at the Google Authorship mark up. Using the rel=”me” and rel=”author”, it is possible to enhance how SERPs show off your content by putting your face and name to your own work. The photo is obtained from your profile at Google plus.

How to set up the rel=”author” tag

First, you should set up your Google plus profile page. Your author name within search results will be linked to this page. So, ensure you’ve a clear and easy to recognize mugshot because this is what will appear close to your search results.

A couple of methods can be used though the easiest one is submitting your email to Google. The method will work if your email is of a domain similar to your site.

If this is not the case, you should create a link between your content and your Google plus profile. You can achieve this in the following way:

1. Createthe link from your own webpage to Google+ profile

This is the way to do it:  <a href="[Google + profile URL]” rel=”author">Google</a>

For ex:  <a href="https://plus.google.com/104103625779880789542" rel="author">Shabir MS</a>

Remember to add a rel=author tag to your author information found below every blog post.

2. Put a reciprocal link, which should run from your G+ profile to the website you updated

To achieve this, you should head to your Google+ profile page and edit the ‘Contributor To’ section.

Now, click on ‘add custom link’ and enter the site URL.

3. After doing this, you should confirm that this is working by using this tool. You’ll be able to see the information that Google will pick up from your page as well as preview your search listing.

That should suffice, though you’ll realize that the enhanced listings may show up quickly for some people, and take some time for others.

Why do you need the rel=”author” tag?

1. Improves visibility

Google seems to use social media information in search results and this tag will definitely improve your visibility in search results.

2. Your results stand out

When visitors come to your site and find valuable stuff, you’ll become an authority and whenever they search for more information in future, they’ll be looking forward to see your image and click on your link.

Other sites may offer similar information but your mugshot will single you out from the crowd.

3. Easy to set up

The above steps take a couple of minutes and can improve your search results

4. Increases credibility

Displaying your mugshot and connecting it to your Google+ profile page shows that Google’s verification for the author and site. This makes the search results more credible.

5. Trust signalA

In addition to increased CTR through the search listings, this tag can enhance trust for your site because of the human image.

 

All about the New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm

Posted By on : January 18th, 2014

Hummingbird is the new search algorithm used by Google. This new algorithm was introduced with the claim that it will bring out a more humane way, to interact with the users than ever. The search algorithm is fundamentally a technical term used to describe the process, and logic depending on which the search engine glides through billions of web pages and comes up with the information supposed to be the best answers. The Hummingbird algorithm was put into action from 30th August, 2013, but the change was officially announced by Google only on September 26. According to Google, the name “Hummingbird” came from being “precise and fast”.

How the new algorithm works

To sum up, in simpler words, the Hummingbird is an improvement on the last running PageRank algorithm of Google, and the new one still uses more than 200 components from older counterpart. The sections, of the old algorithm that did not need much improvement have been kept unchanged, some has been restructured, and some parts have been added freshness to come up with the latest Hummingbird Algorithm. The new algorithm helps the search engines to approach queries in a brand new and must say more improved way. This new Hummingbird Algorithm concentrates on picking long tailed keywords and tries to decipher the context placed in the query rather than chasing out specific keywords included in the query. The approach is remarkably innovative and can be a lot helpful to improve the search experience of the users.

What is the difference?

According to Google, the new algorithm changes nothing of the previous SEO techniques, and all the guidance remains the same; Hummingbird just allows to process the online content in a new and better way. In fact, nothing about the ranking of the page changes with the new algorithm, except inclusion of the long tailed keywords into the content. Every tip and tricks of SEO practices that worked before still remains unaltered.

As always, original and engaging content is still the first requisite to drive traffic; legitimate back links earned by using proper SEO techniques are still immensely relevant and the keywords still need to be used carefully and moderately. The new algorithm from Google only changes the way Google interprets the search. It breaks the old “short keyword” based search habit and makes the whole process more logical and humanitarian promising an improved experience to the users. This algorithm was launched by Google, to celebrate their 15th official birthday, which was on September 27, 2013.

 

Ongoing Value Addition by Client to Enhance SEO Performance

Posted By on : October 3rd, 2013

Content

  • Onsite Content Addition: It is recommended to add a minimum of 200-300 words of unique content on every service/solution/product page of the site. This improves the perceived value of the content and the quality of the website as a whole.
  • Onsite Blog Creation & Promotion: Blogs have come a long way in the past decade. Businesses now use blogs as one of their top communication tools to reach out and market their presence to the world. On the other hand search engines love fresh content and regularly updated blogs allow search engine robots to crawl your website more frequently helping readers to find relevant content. Keeping the above benefits in mind it is highly recommended to add unique blog posts 2-3 times every week.
  • Resource Pages: Resource pages on a site help in answering most popular customer queries related to the product/service. Example of such pages are:

    • FAQs Page
    • Privacy Policy Page
    • Return Policy Page
    • Career Section
    • Contact Information

  • Trust Building: Trust is an integral factor in providing a good service; users will be looking for elements of trust on a site when considering whether to use a product or service. Therefore it is recommended to add separate section for the following

    • Testimonials
    • White Papers
    • Case Studies
    • Company Representative’s Profile
    • Help/Support Information
    • Company History
    • Press Mentions

Social

Social Media is fast evolving as one of the most reliable ways to connect and stay informed about the most recent developments in a particular industry. It offers a platform for discussions and information sharing, helping users build their online identity and reputation. In order to complement the SEO efforts it is suggested to perform the following social activities atleast 2-3 times per week at your end.

  • Twitter

    • Present Your Brand: It is important that your Twitter presence have the same look and feel as your other online tools. This helps people identify your business and builds trust. Choose an account name and images consistent with your other online presences and your brand.
    • Build a Strong Foundation: It’s important that you complete your Twitter account profile completely. Each feature gives more details about your business that contribute to your business story.
    • Start Following People: When you follow another Twitter user, you subscribe to read what they share. So be selective about whom you follow, especially at first. In general, start following people in these categories:

      • Your customers
      • Your business partners, suppliers, contractors and vendors
      • Your competitors or peers
      • Trade organizations or professional organizations for your industry
      • Businesses in your neighborhood
      • Businesses run by people you know (your professional network)

    • Start Talking to your followers: Reply to every tweet
    • Talk Smarter: Focus on how your products and services benefit your customers.  Give people useful information and answer their questions, and they will consider you a valuable member of their community.
    • Drive Traffic to Your Website and Blog: Twitter is a great tool for driving traffic to your website and blog. To do this, you create a tweet around a link, writing a message that compels people to click to learn more.
    • Connect Your Online Presence:
    • Add your Twitter account information to the social media account information on your website and blog.
    • Add a timeline of your Twitter messages to your website and blog.
    • Make it easy for people to share your website and blog content on Twitter.

    • Share Photographs in Your Tweets: People love to look at pictures, so include photographs in your tweets whenever possible.
    • Add Video to Your Twitter Timeline: You can add videos to your Twitter timeline, but you cannot add them directly from Twitter. You must first upload them to another service like YouTube, and then link to them in your tweet.

  • LinkedIn

    • Banner Images: Add a banner image to the top of your LinkedIn Company Page. The size of the LinkedIn Company Page banner image should be 646 x 220 pixels.
    • Post Status Updates Often: Schedule posts throughout the day to increase post visibility and engagement
    • Add Pictures, Files, Questions, Links and Contests in Status Updates
    • Promote Your LinkedIn Company Page Badge and Product Recommendations on Your Website: One simple way to increase engagement on your LinkedIn company profile (and attract new followers) is simply by promoting a link to your LinkedIn Company Page on your website and email signature line. This will inform fans and potential clients about your LinkedIn profile, which can help you establish credibility and more followers.

  • Google+

    • Make a Direct Connection Between Your Business Website and Your Google+ Page: The Google+ badge allows you to link your Google+ page to your website. Using the badge will help you increase your Google+ audience from your website and from within search results.
    • Express Yourself With Bigger, Better Cover Photos: Take advantage of this great visual branding opportunity and upload an impressive design that is 2120 pixels wide by 1192 pixels high.
    • Join and Create Communities: Google+ has a large variety of communities to choose from, similar to the selection you might find on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you can’t find the right community for your business, you can create it using your personal profile or your page.
    • Include Keywords and Relevant Links on Your About Page: The About page is a fantastic opportunity to give a quick overview of your business.  You can also link back to specific pages and services from this page, directing potential customers to the most important pages on your website.
    • Post Often and Optimize for Best Search Results: Google’s Social Search results are more relevant when they take into account your social connections. That makes it important to include keywords within your posts so that they will show up in your followers’ search results.
    • Set Up Google Authorship for SEO Benefits: Google Authorship is the easiest way to take advantage of the SEO benefits of Google+. Doing so will allow the author’s picture to show up next to his or her blog posts in Google search results, causing higher rankings and click-through rates.
    • Find Relevant Users and Conversations to Engage With: Engage in the relevant conversations that are taking place and add value when doing so. The success of your business within Google+ will be a direct result of how you engage from both your personal and business pages.

Link Building

Link Building looks at one of the most fundamental and yet challenging aspects of search marketing: Building and nurturing those all-important inbound links to your website. A link from an authoritative website like the Wall Street Journal will make a greater impact on search rankings than a link from a newly built website, but high quality links are hard to come by. To help with our link building and overall SEO efforts, following are the additional assistance we expect you to provide:

  • Material & Documents:
    • PPTs & PDFs: Sharing Power PowerPoint, OpenOffice presentations, Keynote and PDF is a powerful way of providing relevant and useful information to users and building high quality backlinks to the website. Provide 2-3 PDF & PPT documents per month and we will use if for building high authority links from document sharing sites such as Slideshare.net, Authorstream.com, etc.
    • Videos: As you would know, video is one of the most popular and interesting way of building backlinks for a site. Provide 1-2 videos per month which are relevant and informative, we can share them on high authority video sites such as Metacafe.com, YouTube.com, etc. which will help us in building links & citations for our website.
    • Images & Infographics: For small and medium sized online businesses, images and infographics have consistently helped acquire links from authority websites in the related industry. Provide 2-3 attractive and informative images/infographics per month so that we can use share them on popular image/infographic sharing websites which will help us in building quality backlinks for our site.
  • Outreach:

While it’s common to be ignored or declined, successful outreach does happen when you remember you’re writing to add value to another website or company, and not (just) your own. Often times, we come up with a high authority site from which we can achieve link by contacting the site owner/webmaster. So, we would require you to outreach to such sites/site owners, defining our site’s/site page’s value and request a backlink.

  • Information Exchange:

Every now and then, every business has a latest happening such as a new partnership, new office location, new employee joining the team, owner attending a conference, award, milestone completion, etc. If you can provide such information to us on a timely manner, we can use it for performing link building activities such as Press Release publication, event creation, seminar listings, etc.

Paid Activities:

To help businesses acquire additional link value and exposure, some of the popular sites provide paid inclusion process which requires a certain fee to publish our link/content. Popular paid link/content listing activities are:

    • Paid Directory Submissions
    • Paid Press Release Promotion
    • Paid Article Writing & Promotion

If you can agree on the budget that is needed to list our content/link on such sites, we can explore this opportunity as well.