Do you want to know the best way to clean up your backlink profile for better SEO results? If so, then this blog post is perfect for you. We will discuss how to identify bad links and remove them from your link profile, as well as what tasks need to be done if a site has been penalized by Google. These are all things that every business owner should know when it comes to search engine optimization.

First, Audit the backlinks you have.

This will identify bad links in your backlink profile. For example, if you have a link on your site that leads to an error page or does not lead anywhere at all, then this is considered a negative link and needs to be removed for better SEO performance.

There are many different tools that will help you identify bad links on your site. One of the most popular is Majestic SEO, but there are other options out there if you prefer. When using a tool like this to find negative links in your backlink profile:

-Go through and select every URL that leads to an error page or does not lead anywhere at all

-Select them for deletion so they don’t negatively impact your link profile any more than it already has been

This process should be repeated until all sites with poor backlinks have been identified and removed from the link profile. Remember, these tasks need to be completed as soon as possible because Google’s algorithm can penalize websites if too much spammy content is detected.

Next, if your site has been penalized by Google or is currently being targeted for a spammy link-building campaign, it’s important to remove the backlinks that were built as part of this process.

For example: If you’re just getting out of an algorithmic penalty from Google and only have a few links left on your website, then these are considered “good” links because they haven’t yet been detected by Google algorithms as having malicious intent. This means that keeping them in place will help get your site off of their blacklist and rank again organically without any penalties applied. Keep in mind though–this doesn’t mean you should add more bad links to try and fool the algorithm!

How to remove bad backlinks to benefit your SEO: Contact the site that’s linking to your website.

Reach out and let them know about their link, & ask for it to be removed. Be polite when contacting these sites–if they think you’re a bully then chances are they won’t comply with your request at all!

Occasionally, some of these site owners will demand payment in order to remove the link. You do not need to pay this. If this should happen, you can indicate to Google in your disavow document that an unreasonable payment arrangement was requested. Google does not expect website owners to pay in order to have links removed.

Next, update your disavow document.

This document is a Google-formatted list of all the URLs you want to disavow. These sites should be included in your disavow file if they have been identified as spammy and could potentially hurt future SEO performance.

What’s on this list? The following websites: negative backlinks, low-quality content sites with poor domains/IPs that are linking to your site for no reason at all, links from copyright infringing sources (images or videos), and more! When updating this document make sure to include only those URLs which need to be removed. Do not put any entire domain names into the disavow tool; instead, enter each individual URL one by one–this will help avoid including good pages along with bad ones.

Ongoing, It’s important to periodically update your disavow file when new bad links are added. This can be done by adding them in a document and submitting it through the Google Search Console–make sure you do this every time!

This is because if the site owner decides to remove their link, but forgets about updating their disavow file with all of these changes, then they could easily target other websites for malicious purposes again without being detected. The best way to avoid this from happening? Create an up-to-date document that lists all of the links that should no longer point at your website so there’s always something on hand if any issues arise (which is why it’s important).

Finally, if you’ve actually been issued a penalty by Google, you will need to file a reconsideration request with Google.

This is a form that you will need to fill out, and then submit it for the Google team to review. They will check your site’s on-page SEO performance (quality of content), external links, crawlability/accessibility issues, etc., in order to determine if they would like to reconsider what penalty has been issued–this can be done after any type of algorithmic or manual action has taken place!

If the penalty was applied as part of an algorithm update from Google (such as Penguin) then this works more quickly than if it was through another process; however, make sure that you’ve followed all other guidelines laid out above before requesting a reconsideration because these could have contributed towards getting penalized in the first place.

Regardless if you’ve been issued a manual penalty or not, cleaning up your backlink profile is an important part of every SEO Audit process. Google has definitely changed the rules over the past few years, so it’s important to make sure you keep up with their changes and stay in their good graces.

One of the big complaints I hear from people that are running an online business is that SEO takes too long. They claim that they could just launch an ad and get sales with no complications. While that’s all well and good… wouldn’t it be worthwhile to consider that there are other traffic methods that can drive sales? In this blog post I’m going to share some basic SEO tactics that can all be done together in less that 30 minutes per day. When you do this day in and day out, it will create a compounding effect that will benefit your website for years.

Since we’re short on time… let’s dig in.

Step 1: Pick a keyword category you want better rankings for and Google it. (1 Minute)

This is going to begin the process of what I work with my team on… Competitive Reverse Engineering. This is the process of observing WHO ranks for WHAT keyword and WHY.

Step 2: Visit the website you want to outrank. (3 minutes)

Compare side by side, at a high level what they are doing that you’re not doing. Observe how much content is on the page, how many images, how fast does the page load compared to yours?

All of these are ranking signals that Google uses when they determine who is going to rank in that top spot. You should be able to identify 3-5 differences right off the bat.

Step 3: Take a look at your performance metrics (8 minutes)

More important than “ranking” is making sure that your website is appealing to the people visiting it. Take the time to look through Google Analytics and observe your page load time, bounce rate, and time on site. If it looks like people are leaving quickly, this is something you should work on.

Up next is Step 4 and here we have a few options. If you’re working on your SEO daily, you can alternate between these (Monday do option 1, Tuesday do option 2, etc.)

Option 1: Create more content for your targeted landing pages. (14 minutes)

Google does not know what to rank you for unless you tell them, so write a paragraph to place on the targeted page. Be sure to be descriptive and also include the targeted phrase in that paragraph.

Option 2: Get a backlink (14 minutes)

The good news about modern SEO is that it does not take tons of links to rank anymore. Instead, it takes ones that are quality. This is an opportunity to take a few minutes and find a blogger that could be a good person to reference your website.

Consider doing some good in your community and reach out to local press to have them give you a shout-out.

The possibilities here are endless. Just take a few minutes and think. One link at a time is how you win.

Option 3: Improve website performance (14 minutes)

Using what you learned by looking through Google Analytics, dedicate some time to improving and testing new things… If your bounce rate shows people are leaving your site fast, try implementing some internal links so people can visit different pages.

If your page is slow, take the time to resize some images to help improve your page speed.

Total time: 26 minutes.

Not only are you improving your SEO, you’re also creating a better experience for your customers, which helps your entire business overall!

If you think you could benefit from a free SEO audit, let me know, and we’ll start putting that together for you.

I hope you found this helpful and entertaining. With just a little elbow grease, you could be seeing some benefits from this wonderful process yourself!

It’s frustrating to be a website owner who doesn’t understand the basics of SEO. You’re frustrated because you don’t know what you should do and why. You want your site to rank on Google, but all the tutorials are either too basic or too complicated. It feels like nobody understands your situation! This blog post is for people like you. We will cover the basics of SEO in a way that is easy to understand, so that you can see results from your efforts much faster!

Let’s start at the beginning: What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. A lot of people confuse SEO with search engine marketing, but they are two different things. The basics of seo is increasing your rank in Google by doing the basics right: having quality content and adding keywords to pages so that when someone searches “keyword” on Google, you show up at the top of “the list”, meaning, the websites you can click on from Google.

How does seo work?

The basics of SEO are fairly straightforward. You create quality content, add keywords to the page and then drive traffic to your site by publishing articles on other websites and social media channels like Facebook or Twitter. The more people who read your content and share it with their friends, the better chance you have of ranking in Google.

Getting the process started: The importance of keywords and keyword research.

The basics of SEO start with understanding the importance of keywords and keyword research. When you write content, it is important to include your target audience’s search terms as well as generic words related to your topic so that people searching for similar information will find what they need on your site.

They say that a ship with no destination in mind will surely fail it’s mission. SEO is the same. If you don’t know what keywords you’re targeting, you won’t really rank well for anything at all!

Think about what your target audience might be searching for and try to include these words (as well as common synonyms) into your content. This will make it easier for people looking for information related to a certain topic or niche to find your site more easily.

Then, use a tool like Google Ads Keyword Planner to identify Search Volume and other key metrics.

Next, create quality content.

Remember that the content on your site is what will make or break it.

A big mistake that many website owners make is thinking they need to write for the search engines. That is actually not necessary.

The best SEO practice is writing for your potential customer.

The modern Search Engines (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGO) are all intelligent enough to understand user intent.

Content Length:

This is a tricky topic because there is no 100% right answer…

If your content is too short, it will be overlooked by Google.

If your content is long, it needs to be very high quality.

Many experts say that the sweet spot is between 500-1500 words.

However, there are exceptions to this rule (such as long articles about a certain subject).

Keyword Density:

A common misconception among website owners is how often keywords should be used in content. The key here is not using your keyword too much while still showing Google what your website is about. In other words… Google does not know what your website is about until you tell them.

A great strategy for this is to reread what you write and ask yourself if it sounds “spammy”.

By spammy… you can think if it sounds like you are using “keyword stuffing”, which should be fairly obvious.

On Page Optimization

Title Tags (Page Titles) and Meta Descriptions:

It is very important to have a good title tag and meta description.

The Title Tag: This should contain your domain name, keywords related to the content on that page, and sometimes even your company’s slogan.

It’s important to keep your title tag under 65 characters, otherwise, this will be trimmed by Google (and that is a negative signal to Google as well).

Your Meta Description will be what appears as the descriptive line of text under your link when Google shows their results.

The character limit here is 156 characters. Like the page title, if it’s too long, it will be trimmed by Google.

Heading Tags (H1, H2, etc.)

Heading tags are the text at the top of your page that define what content is on each section.

When designing a web page, it’s important to have clear headings so that search engines can identify and categorize sections of your pages.

The most important of these tags is H1, second most important is H2, and etc.

Be sure to organically (naturally) include keywords into these elements.

Also, be sure to only have one single H1 tag because Google will remove all the value from them if there are more.

Image Alt Tags:

Alt tags are the text descriptions that show up when a web page viewer hovers over an image. These images can be found in blog posts, and they’re also used as links for social media sites like Instagram or Pinterest.

In order to maximize your ranking on Google, it’s important not only have keywords included in the alt tag but also be descriptive of the image.

Like many things that you’ll come to learn with SEO, you don’t want to have any signs of “spam” or appearing to try to “game” Google.

Internal Links:

These are defined as links that point to another page on your own website.

Internal links are great for when you want to rank well with Google because they show the search engine spiders how much content is on your site. By having these backlinks, it gives Google guidance as to what each page is about as Google’s robots are crawling your website.

A great example of this in action is Wikipedia.

Basics of Technical SEO:

This is a bit more technical than basics of SEO, but it’s still important for your website to be optimized.

Site Speed Optimization

Your customers today are moving fast and they want answers fast. Having a fast website is part of that process.

Google also rates your site’s speed as a factor in their ranking algorithm.

This is generated by how quickly your website loads. Google has created an online tool that will help you determine the basics of this, so it’s worth checking out.

Mobile Search Optimization

There are more and more people searching on mobile devices each day and having your website load correctly on a mobile device is vital.

The basics of this is to ensure that your website’s code, images and text are optimized for mobile devices.

Be sure to validate that no “side scrolling” is necessary to view your content.

The standard practice of 2021 is to make sure you are using “responsive design” which means your website responds and loads correctly no matter what your screen size is (mobile or desktop).

Canonicalization

This refers to the process of making sure that all of your website’s pages are identified correctly.

Be aware, Google has a system in place where if you have more than one page for the same content then they will show only one and it might not be the most recent or accurate version of the information. By tagging your content with a “rel=canonical” tag, you essentially define to Google what the correct version of the content is.

Redirects and Header Responses

Google’s goal is to have their visitors land on the best user experience possible. If Google sees that you have a bunch of 404 errors and broken pages, you’re less likely to see success.

These can be corrected manually by updating your website or by using 301 redirects to force the visitor to the correct page.

Robots.txt

This file is a list of all the website directories that are (or are not) accessible to Google and other bots. If you have pages with sensitive information or links on your site then it will help protect these areas from being indexed by search engines.

Sitemaps (XML and HTML)

This is a document that outlines your pages to Google.

It’s a way to communicate what you have on your site and how the files are structured. It should be submitted periodically so that Google knows if anything has changed on your website since they last visited it.

It is important to note that not all crawlers will find every page of your website, but this document goes a long way in helping them.

Backlinks

Backlinks are the original SEO tactic that made Google unique. The process of getting backlinks involves having other websites link to you.

This can be done by getting a mention on a popular website, or through an article you wrote and published for them.

What’s important to know is that backlinks come in many formats such as news articles, blog posts, social media shares, forum posts etc. This means there are lots of different ways to get backlinks that would be favorable in the eyes of Google.

A word of warning: getting backlinks is a game of quality, not quantity. Getting MORE low-quality links does more damage than having only a few high-quality links.

Basic SEO Tools

Google Analytics

This is a free tool that will tell you everything about your website, including traffic sources. You can use this information to generate more content and also use the data as queues for changes to be made. We will likely have a whole other blog post about Google Analytics in the future because that’s a whole world in and of itself.

Google Search Console (webmaster tools)

This is another free tool that will help you understand how Google sees your website. In addition to telling you about crawl errors, it can also tell you about specific problems with the way search results are being displayed on your site. This is a great place to start if you’re noticing low traffic or rankings for certain keywords but don’t know why.

Paid Tools:

There are MANY tools that can be paid for and will get you some great information.

Here are a couple that I’ve used over the years and can vouch for:

SEMrush: great for insights into keywords that are driving traffic to your site and valuable in helping you understand the competition. It also has a basic SEO audit, but I do like Screaming Frog better so use this as supplemental data only.

Moz Pro: Another paid tool from one of my favorite brands, Moz (formerly SEO MOZ). Great community behind this tool and it’s always evolving.

AHREFS: Similar to SEMrush, this is a paid SEO tool that has been my secret weapon for many years. You can get more insights on your competitors and even see what they are doing wrong! It’s also great at telling you which keywords people are using to find you (even if it doesn’t mean much).

Screaming Frog: This does have a free version if you’re in a pinch, but the paid version is really insightful.

It crawls your entire website and gives you insights on crawl errors, duplicate content, missing title tags etc.

SEO may be more complicated than you think. It’s not just about picking a few keywords and posting content on your website, it really is an art form that requires getting your hands dirty to learn the tricks of the trade. Sure, tools make things easier but there never is a “magic win.” If you have questions or would like to sign up for a free audit, get in touch!

Google has made it crystal clear that they are committed to delivering the best results possible for people that are searching.

In the past, SEO could be considered an act of manipulation.

Do “X”, rank for “Y”.

It was a basic math equation.

However, the one thing that has evolved the most in the world of SEO is not Google…

It’s the SEARCHER.

Google has simply evolved with their customer.

Think of it this way…

Years ago, it was easy to do SEO for an ecommerce business because predicting what people are searching for was really straightforward.

From there, you could guess how much traffic you got and how many people would buy.

Now, however, we’re living in a world of Voice Search.

The way people search conversationally is a lot different than the way people search transactionally.

That means us SEO folk need to adapt the way we handle conversations within search.

Keyword Density has been replaced with Latent Semantic Indexing.

Code to Text Ratio has been replaced with Structured Data.

If your SEO approach is still “keyword relevance” and not “customer relevance”, I’d suggest re-evaluating.

The Surprisingly Simple SEO trick Wikipedia uses to rank for damn near anything on Google.

If you’ve ever searched for anything on Google, you’ve probably seen something from Wikipedia among all of the other results. It’s easy to create excuses why they rank so well (and I’ve heard them all)…

“Oh… they have a kajillion backlinks”

“Oh… Google likes them”

…Actually… That second one is true. It’s not because Wikipedia is using their money to pay off Google to make them like them that way though.

It’s because Wikipedia gives Google what Google wants.

At the end of the day, Google wants to be able to display information it finds by crawling the web. The purpose of this post is to understand HOW Google functions then apply that knowledge to your website. And yes… we’ll be looking at Wikipedia a lot because they do so much of this so well.

Google’s First Function: Crawling the web.

Years back, the visualization that the SEO community used to describe how Google works is a spider. A spider that crawls from thing to thing (page to page) on the web, looking to gather as much data as possible (more on that in a second).

The cool thing about Google’s crawlers is that they essentially function just like you and I do… by links.

One feature of Wikipedia that stands out is a vast web of deep links that connect all of the pages together. This is a crawler goldmine. For an online business, you can enhance ecommerce SEO (see what I did there) by using keywords that target other pages within the content of your website and linking back to your primary landing page.

For example… let’s say that we were researching Vaudville using Wikipedia. As we were reading that information, we’d see links to other Wikipedia articles about the 1930’s, the Three Stooges, Stage Performances, other specific acts, and so on.

Because of the fact that each of these links takes the visitor to other relevant information, Google rewards Wikipedia.

It’s worth noting that more links within your website does not mean better SEO rankings. Using a conservative amount (1-3 per page) is going to be enough if you don’t have 1 million + pages like Wikipedia. Google takes the amount of internal links you are using into consideration and if they believe you’re trying to “game” their system, they’ll punish you.

It should also be mentioned here that this also makes the case for external backlinks as well. If a quality website links to you, that’s a vote of confidence in the eyes of Google. Of course… the rule of common sense still applies here and quantity does not equal quality.

Google’s Second Function: Indexing the web’s information.

It may come as a surprise that the information that you see on Google is not 100% live time. In order for Google to display the information to their customers, they have to organize it first.

That organization is then used to give Google’s users what they’re looking for in an instant (more on that in section three).

So, in order for Google to accurately index your website’s information, it’s important to structure it in a way that Google can easily manage it. Google’s goal with indexing is efficiency.

Some high level indexing recommendations (in no particular order):

  • Implement descriptive Page Titles and Meta Descriptions. The Page Title is Google’s first piece of content that they look at when they crawl your website. So, it’s critical to make sure this element is optimized to Google’s quality standards.The Meta Description is often ignored by site owners for various reasons. This means Google has to do extra work when they display your website in the Search Results. Take out the guess work and implement it. This allows you to keep better control over what Google displays for you.
  • Use Content to your advantage. Content is a hot topic in SEO for various reasons. To me, the reason it’s so exciting is that we’re seeing a revolution in how people are searching. The days of a static keyword search are going away and the practice of asking Google questions is taking its place. This means that the practice of optimizing for specific keywords is also becoming less prevalent.Instead, website owners should address their content from a “solving a problem” point of view and work to tell a holistic story. This gives Google more of a background on what you do and it can make more informed decisions using their AI setup.
  • Two Words: Structured Data. On the surface, this would make absolutely no sense to you and I. However, using a structured data markup like Schema.org makes all the difference in the world to Google. Structured Data can be thought of as “Robot Friendly Language.” This takes out all of the guesswork Google has to go through when they read your content.

When Google understands what your site is about better, it can index your site better. Period.

Google’s Third Function: Displaying the Search Results

At one point in time, Google’s mission statement was to Organize the World’s information. They’ve in a great way, done just that. As long as your content is optimized and easy for Google to find, you should be in pretty good shape for this part.

So, this is your opportunity to make sure that your user experience is as buttoned up as possible so that Google will keep sending people your way. Google takes the way people interact with your website into consideration when they determine who ranks where.

Consider elements like easy function and fast load times. Think about Wikipedia again… It loads fast and it’s easy to stay on. The user experience is phenomenal. Hence why… Google keeps displaying it.

The best-kept SEO secret.

The best-kept secret in SEO is that there really are no secrets. Every website that ranks on Google is visible on Google, so the reasons for why that website ranks are also all visible.

At the end of the day, SEO is all about math.

The website with the best equation in place wins.

I hope everyone found this helpful!

We all know the excitement that comes with a new website.

We get to fix all of the usability issues we’ve known about, we get to make it faster, we create an overall better experience for our customers.

And maybe… Just Maybe… We’ll improve the conversion rate!

That’s always the intention any way.

But, to the horror of a lot of folks that have been through this process, the relaunch of a website usually means the damage to years of SEO work.

That’s years of links, content, and effort down the drain.

Full disclosure, I do several audits a year of websites that are about to relaunch. The purpose of this post is to share the top three things to make sure you do so that you don’t totally throw away years of effort.

And, apologies for the strong language in the title.

I am not happy to report that for every website that executes my recommendations perfectly, there’s another that ignores these recommendations, and it’s frustrating.

So, if you want to successfully relaunch your website without throwing away years of SEO… follow these three steps.

First, do NOT use this opportunity to change your content

This often comes as a shock to folks launching a new website. Many website owners use the opportunity of a website facelift to change the content too.

Big mistake.

It is critical to keep your on site content, meta tags, and image alt tags AS IS for the relaunch.

See, one of the things that Google really likes is consistency. They want to see incrimental improvements over time.

So if you’re throwing a totally new website at the crawlers, they have to re-acquaint themselves with your website pages. If the content they are familiar with is different too, it’s a lot for Google to process.

My recommendation in this case is to go through the relaunch process, then after Google re-indexes your website, update your content at that point. This gives Google one thing to tackle at a time.

Second, write your 301 redirects BEFORE you relaunch

Quick recap… 301 redirects are used when your URL structure changes. If you change your URL, a 301 redirect acts as a way of “mapping” the old location to the new one. A 301 redirect also acts as a permanent redirect, which tells Google that this location is where this content will now live for the foreseeable future. If you accidentally use a 302 redirect, it’ll be a signal to Google that the OLD location is coming back. No Bueno…

Ok, all that out of the way… I’ll start this section by stating what’s on everyone’s mind.

301 redirects are a pain in the ass.

I get it…

But… writing 301 redirects is not nearly as painful as losing 10-30% of your revenue overnight because you didn’t write 301 redirects.

Typically, many website owners will want to just wait and see what a website error log brings back in 404 errors and correct them from there.

At this point it’s too late. Especially if the traffic is coming from Google.

If Google serves up your website in the Search Results, their visitor clicks, and that visitor gets a 404 error, that makes Google look bad. And in turn… They will remove you from those rankings.

So take the time and write the 301 redirects. Typically, you can run some form of automation to do this for you and all you have to do is spot check it.

Finally, don’t forget to update your XML sitemap.

This one’s easy to miss because the XML sitemap sits in the background.

Fortunately, it is an easy fix! All you have to do is re-run the XML sitemap with the new URLs then re-submit to Google.

Super simple to do, but also super simple to forget.

Are you relaunching your website?

If you are relaunching your website and think a second set of eyes would be helpful, feel free to reach out.

Or… If you’d like, we have our BRAND NEW, UPDATED Relaunch Checklist that you can download now!

There are few industries as exciting to see take off than the CBD industry. Who knew one essential oil could spark a revolution?

With various health claims and benefits, CBD is helping people lead better and more peaceful lives.

Beyond that and looking at the business opportunity, CBD is projected to be a $20 billion industry by 2024 with 49% year over year growth. (According to Forbes)

That’s huge.

The amazing part is that this is primarily done from a Guerilla Marketing method of “getting the word out.”

This is because of restrictions for paid advertising.

In fact (as of 2019 when I am writing this article), Facebook, Google, and Amazon all have restrictions on advertising CBD.

This means that all methods of marketing for CBD must be Organic.

Today, for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be talking about how to rank your website for CBD related terms on Google.

How to do SEO for CBD Websites

Step 1: Do the keyword research. 

A quick way of losing in any industry with SEO is not having the proper research in place. In the case of CBD, it could be easy to simply target the phrase “CBD”.

But, let’s take a step back…

“CBD” as a search phrase has 1.5 million searches per month. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

But what is the intent behind those searches?

Is someone researching for more information? Did someone hear about it on the View and they wanted to find the Wikipedia article about it?

Instead, think of how your product actually helps your specific audience. Instead of trying to optimize for “CBD”, optimize instead for “CBD Treatments for Pets”/etc.

These are going to be easier to win for starters, but will also drive more relevant traffic to your website.

Step 2: Create a Funnel using internal links

Taking a 30,000-foot view, it’s assumable that many folks are doing a significant amount of research for CBD before they start using it.

Using the first step can be a great starting point with getting the right people to your website while they are in that research phase.

Now, you can use strategically placed links to help someone move towards a purchase decision. Feel free to see this in action on this website, where you’ll see my targeted pages and then references to other topics that will move someone towards the decision that’s right for them.

In addition to assisting in decision making, you will also improve the internal linking ranking signals in your website and improve your performance overall in Google.

I call this the “Wikipedia Effect.” Ever notice how many links Wikipedia has? Ever notice how well Wikipedia ranks on Google?

Step 3: Multimedia Optimization

An underutilized tactic in SEO is to optimize for the more visual components.

Always optimize your images. People are likely to click over to Google Image Search if those options are available. This could be another opening for your brand with new potential customers.

Also, use video. We live in a world where video is dominating. Even though many people “know” this, they don’t do it. So, use your phone, record a video that answers the questions your audience is asking, and use the transcript as content.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have questions, feel free to get in touch and I will get right back to you.