All posts by SEO and Link Building Blog

mobile friendly site

Why Your Mobile-Friendly Website May Be Hurting Your SEO

In just the last couple of years, mobile browsing definitely surpassed desktop browsing for the first time. As mobile usage continues to grow, it’s important that you have a mobile-friendly website. However, if you’re not employing the best tactics for displaying information, loading ads, or organizing your pages, you could be losing out.

Here are five reasons why your mobile-responsive site could be getting the way of your success.

1. Not Enough Content

When you prioritize mobile-optimized content on your site, you’re often accounting for a smaller screen size. You need to be ruthless with editing when you’re putting together content for a mobile-ready website. However, when your customers open your site up on their desktops, they might not find there’s enough content to capture their interest.

This is a good reason why you should have a blog on your site. When people open up a blog link, they expect to be reading for a while. No matter how much scrolling they have to do on their phone they’re not unaware that they’re reading on a phone.

Put lots of content on your site, but when you find it will be too much for the average mobile browsing session, direct users to a blog post.

You need to offer lots of content, including images and videos on your site. Just because your visitors are viewing you on a small device doesn’t mean you should send them a small amount of content.

As video will account for more than 80% of all traffic in the next few years, visitors are going to want to see video content. Give them what they want and let them deal with the connection that they do or don’t have.

2. Scrambled Text and Images

When you design solely for mobile, you design for a small, narrow, and tall screen. If you don’t have the right code in place to reshape your site when it gets displayed on a desktop, the elements could show up strangely in a bigger window.

When the text and images on your site are scrambled, you’re going to present something messy to your audience. It’s important for them to be able to read and understand your content and when it displays awkwardly, they’re incentivized to move on.

It’s hard enough to get people to your site. If you present them with something they can’t decipher or is hard to read, they’ll find another site where it’s easier to get what they need.

Also, if you’re telling a narrative with images or videos and your images are out of order, you’re doing a disservice to that narrative. Maintain clarity of data and information on your website by maintaining and pruning both your mobile and desktop sites. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a high bounce rate and a low SEO ranking.

3. Using Headers Wrong

With the latest and most up to date algorithms from search engines, headers and page organization can now be accounted for as part of the ranking. If you’re using headers incorrectly or you aren’t organizing your page well, you’re going to suffer when it comes to SEO.

Using HTML headings makes sense in your source code and using the different types of headings can ensure that your site looks well organized. Search engine indexing tools, or web crawlers, will take into account the types of headers you use and how many times you use them per your word count.

Using more than one H1 tag as the heading for your page can make your site look unnecessarily large.

Stick with more H2 and H3 headings so that you can give your readers a hierarchical view of your information. If your site is on a mobile device, having multiple H1 headings can crowd your page and make it hard to read and difficult to load.

4. Your Site is Too Slow

The speed of your site’s load time is a ranking factor that Google and other search engines take seriously. As they’ve rated it, more than half of users will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. That means if you’ve got a mobile-friendly design that’s jumping through hoops to either load on phones or translate to desktops, you’re going to lose users.

You need your code to be tight and efficient, with rendering times sitting somewhere under one second long.

Whether you’re designing for mobile or for desktops, you need to keep the code and the media on your site nice and clean.

5. Ads Are in The Way

Recently, search engines released reports announcing that their terms for what they considered a page that was easily accessible. When a user is forced to transition between their click on a site to closing an ad window, then back to the site, that’s considered an obstruction. Sites that use these kinds of interstitial ads are considered not easily accessible.

If your mobile site has popups and interstitial ads that cover the screen, you should rethink your design. Even if you’ve got a strong CTA, that could be getting in the way of ranking as high as your site deserves.

There are still some interstitial popups that are considered okay. Ones that are legally required, like for age verification or privacy notices are still kosher. If you have a banner that takes up less than 20% of the screen size at any point, that’s considered okay with search engines as well.

A Mobile-Friendly Website Needs To Be Tested

You should never put out a digital product without going through rigorous testing. That goes for your mobile-friendly website as much as anything else. If you haven’t tested your site on every major device and every popular screen size, you should hold off your next major update.

Once you’ve optimized your design, follow our guide to rolling out a strong PR campaign to attract an audience.

disavow links

How to Disavow Links From Your Backlink Profile

The importance of backlinks to good search engine optimization (SEO) never changes even as search engines update their algorithms. The more links to a specific page on your website, the better that page ranks.

Some professionals estimate that backlinks account for almost 25% of Google’s ranking algorithm.

Be aware. Not all backlinks to your website will boost your rankings. Some may even hurt your SEO.

Read on to learn why you may need to disavow links to your web page and how to do it correctly.

Why Do I Need to Disavow Links?

Search engines penalize websites when they think the page owner tries to drive traffic to their site dishonestly. Google and Bing use penalties to encourage website owners to stay true to their brand and be honest with their marketing attempts.

When spammy or off-topic websites link back to your web page without your knowledge, it still hurts your ranking. Both Bing and Google offer specific tools to get rid of these bad backlinks.

Disavow these low-quality backlinks to improve your inbound link rankings. Disavowing the links blocks them from the search engines’ list when evaluating your web page. This helps regain the search engines’ trust in a similar way to how good backlinks build it.

Sometimes you may even discover instances where competitors or others have referred to your business in a negative light. Disavowing links from these negative articles also increases your overall SEO.

How to Disavow Links from Google

You do not need to be a computer wizard to disavow links from your backlink profile on Google, but it does take some time. Follow these 4 easy steps to delete harmful links back to your web page.

1. Identify All Backlinks to Your Page

The first thing you need to do is identify what backlinks Google connects to your profile. Do this by logging into your Google Webmaster Tools.

Choose “Search Traffic” and then “Links to Your Site.” Download both the latest links and sample links. Combine all your backlinks into a navigable spreadsheet in whatever program you feel most comfortable using.

2. Decide What Links to Disavow

Once you organize your backlinks, go through every one and decide whether or not to keep or disavow the link. Disavow links if:

  • They look as though the user included it for SEO purposes only.
  • There is no chance a client would ever find you through the link.
  • They come from a press release or advertisement where someone paid for the advertising link.

You should disavow any other links that do not seem to naturally connect to your web page, products, or services.

3. Make a Disavow File

When making a disavow file, it is better to list links so the disavow occurs on the domain level and not just the specific backlink. You cannot be sure how many other places the link may occur on the offending website. It is safer to simply disavow the entire domain from linking back to your page.

A disavow file must only include the basic URL link without the beginning “http://www.”. You can remove these within your spreadsheet prior to compiling your disavow file. Simply use the find and replace feature to locate all the URLs with “http://www.” and replace them with “domain:”.

The disavow file must be in .txt file formats 7-bit ASCII or UTF-8. You can copy your “domain:examplelink.com” from your spreadsheet and paste it as plain text in the .txt file. Feel free to use any other way you feel comfortable making a text file so long as it results in one of the correct two formats.

4. Submit the Disavow File

Finally, login to your Google Webmaster Tools again. Use the Google Disavow Links Tool to submit your file disavow file.

Select your website from the drop-down menu. Click the “Disavow Links” button then select “Disavow Links” again. It will then give you an option to choose a file. Upload the .txt file you created with the “domain:examplelink.com” links.

Common Errors You May Encounter

The moment you upload your disavow file, Google will apply the directives to each link you selected. An error message will pop up if you do not complete the disavow file correctly.

The error message should list the parts you need to change, and here are some common mistakes made when uploading to the Google disavow links tool:

  • Do NOT include “http://www.” when listing a domain such as “http://www.error.com”. Only include “error.com”.
  • Do NOT include attached ports with colons on your domain names. If you find a domain on your collected list that looks like “domain:example.com:1010”, simply remove the attached “:1010”.
  • Do NOT upload backlinks from domains with atypical characters like fractions, accented letters, or symbols. The domains never end up resolving.

Other errors may occur, so be sure to thoroughly read the error message.

How to Disavow Links from Bing

Businesses marketing to wealthy Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 should already know that this demographic uses Bing for online searches much more often than Google. In fact, all businesses benefit from keeping Bing happy as well since it generates more than 12 billion search requests every month. Follow the below steps to use Bing’s Disavow Links Tool.

The biggest difference between Bing and Google’s disavow tools is that Bing does not require a .txt file. You just manually enter the domain or the URL for each link.

  1. Access your Bing Webmaster Tool page.
  2. Choose “Configure My Site.”
  3. Pick “Disavow Links.”
  4. Use the drop-down menu to select from disavowing a domain URL, directory, or a page.
  5. Enter the URL of the page and choose “Disavow.”
  6. Check the list underneath the tool that the link added along with the date you disavowed it.
  7. To remove an entry and allow the link, choose the checkbox next to the URL and click “Delete.”

Build Better Backlinks

Removing bad backlinks should immediately improve your SEO. However, you need to do more than just disavow links. You also need to build better backlinks.

Building great backlinks takes time and energy that you may not have. But they still remain a vital part of your business’s online marketing strategy.

Partnering up with a dedicated backlink brokerage firm like us can help!

off page seo checklist

The Ultimate off Page SEO Checklist

SEO can be a challenge.

Especially if you’re not sure where to start.

But, if you want to stand out from the other billion or so websites on the internet, it’s important to get your SEO right.

With your website, there are things you can do both on and off each of your web pages to optimize your search rankings. You might be familiar with many of the on page techniques, but off page SEO is often just as important.

If you’re trying to improve your rankings, keep reading for a look at the ultimate off page SEO checklist.

Why Off Page SEO Matters

When you think about SEO, a few things probably come to mind:

  • Keywords
  • Content
  • Proper formatting and tagging

There’s more to it than that, but those are a few of the things that need attention if you want to improve on page SEO.

But there’s another side to search optimization: off page SEO.

Off page SEO includes all of the little things you do outside your website that affects your rankings. In some cases, off page search optimization is just as important, if not more so, than on page SEO.

Off page SEO is, essentially, how your brand is viewed by others and the degree of visibility you have across the web and other channels. It can include anything from backlinks to your customer service reputation, to social media activity.

Improving your image of the page can improve your brand’s image and awareness, making potential visitors more familiar with your organization.

Links are Still King

One of the most important things you can do for your SEO is to start building a robust catalog of backlinks.

Links to your website from others are a key ranking factor with Google and other search engines. But backlinks have an important effect on off page SEO too.

The great thing about getting backlinks through guest posting or other types of mentions is that they help build awareness of your brand and give you credibility in your space.

If you’re not building links, it’s time to get started.

Build a Network

Another great way to improve off page SEO is by networking with other players in your industry.

Much like link building, creating a network can help you gain recognition and authority in your industry. Building a network and being visible can help set you up as a recognized player in your space.

Tap Into Social Media

Though social media doesn’t have an immediate, direct effect on SEO, it does have some very positive long-term benefits.

The personal nature of social media makes it a prime place to directly connect with your audience, establishing relationships that are tough to build through a website or other means.

Being present on social media also lets people know you’re there and you know what you’re talking about. And, the more familiar people are with your product or service, the more likely they are to look you up when they have a need you can meet.

Be Present on the Web

Think about some of the biggest brands out there … Coca-cola, Nike, McDonald’s … what do they all have in common?

Everyone knows who they are.

While you probably don’t have the budget to run Super Bowl ads and show up just about anywhere your customers might appear, you can be present and visible on the web with relatively little investment.

Forums like Reddit and information hubs like Quora are great places to connect with potential customers and establish yourself as a known player with quality products and services.

Customer Service

You don’t have to look far to see how disastrous poor customer service can be for a company.

Unfortunately, organizations with great customer service don’t seem to make the news quite as often, but their customers sure know who they are. Seven out of ten consumers are actually more likely to spend more money with a company that has good customer service.

Customers that have a good experience also tend to share their experience, getting the word out about your brand and raising awareness of how great your service is.

Tap Into Other Content Types

While words are the backbone of the internet and a vital component to SEO, they’re not the only form of content out there.

Video and images are an increasingly important part of the content on the web. Video of all types has exploded in popularity over the past few years.

Tapping into the popularity of video on popular platforms like YouTube and Facebook is an excellent way to raise awareness of your brand and drive traffic back to your site.

If you’re just getting started, don’t over complicate it, creating video content is easier than you think.

Cultivate a Great Brand Image

Your brand’s image is vital to your success with SEO, both on and off the page.

The more customers who know and trust your brand, the more business you’re likely to attract. The fact is, most consumers are much more likely to do business with companies they know and trust.

The same goes for being found and recognized online. The more familiar potential customers are with your name, the more likely they’ll be to navigate to your site.

Your Off Page SEO Checklist

SEO takes time and effort. Success doesn’t come overnight.

Whether you’re trying to optimize on page elements or off the page factors, it’s important to put in the work and be consistent.

This off page SEO checklist is a good place to start, but there are many more factors that may give your rankings a boost too. Don’t be afraid to get creative, experiment and start your own checklist.

Check out the rest of the blog for more tips and tricks on SEO both on and off the page.

marketing trends

6 Content Marketing Trends You Need to Take Note Of

2018 is seeing the rapid emergence of several striking content marketing trends. Live video is adding an entirely new dimension of immediacy and authenticity to the content marketing landscape.

SEO experts are placing as much focus on customer experience. More emphasis is also being placed on backlinks and keywords this year.

There is a continuing shift toward the high-quality, long-form content that users and search engines prefer. This is bringing in-depth blog posts and articles to more content marketing campaigns.

On the rise in 2018:

1. Live Video

Live video refers to the process of digitally broadcasting a live event without edits. It made a big splash in 2016 and gained momentum in 2017. Live video marketing may make its greatest gains this year.

You can use live video for a key product launch or an influencer Q&A. Live video brings with it the atmosphere of high excitement, authenticity, and immediacy that only a live platform can.

2. Customer Journey Mapping and CRO

Content marketing campaigns in 2018 are continuing to evolve toward greater specificity. There is an accelerating stream of prospective customer data available to site owners and marketers.

This transition is now reaching new heights of precision. Emergence of customer journey mapping and conversion rate optimization is a confirmation of this.

Customer journey mapping involves creating visualizations, often in the form of infographics. The visualizations track the entire path or journey that customers take on their way to a sale.

CRO, which goes hand-in-hand with customer journey mapping, focuses on the onsite leg of the customer journey. CRO employs sophisticated analytics.

CRO can isolate the most common and effective click-paths that customers take as they navigate your site on their way to a sale.

Customer journey mapping and CRO reveals alternative ways to organize a site’s content, links, and pages. They can match customer needs while increasing conversion rates.

3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

No one expects the typical digital ad in 2018 to plunge you into a virtual world of the product or service at hand. However, there is every sign that AR and VR will begin to make real headway this year.

Site owners and marketers can no longer ignore the sheer wealth of possibility that AR and VR present. And no one wants to be playing catchup when these two new modes of marketing take off.

The more technically feasible AR may take the lead with mobile ads that use the idea of surfacing content.

But don’t be surprised if you also see a few bold, experimental VR marketing campaigns this year, one or two of which may become breakout successes.

4. Privacy-Conscious Campaigns

There has been a rapid rise of ad-blockers in recent years. This is due in part to the increasing discomfort that internet users are experiencing as an ever-increasing number of ads. Sites seem to know (or think they know) users’ interests based on their past activity on other sites.

However, many sites are now blocking ad-blockers, leading to a tense stalemate. In an effort to offer both users and site owners a way out, Google is in the process of adding a new feature to Chrome.

The feature gives users the option to pay the site owner a small fee through Google Contributor to browse their site ad-free.

Many site owners and content marketers will make adjustments this year to make their ad campaigns. They will be seeking to reassure users that they don’t need an ad-blocker to address their privacy concerns.

It’s also worth considering the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. It is bound to impact the content marketing landscape by limiting consumer data collection in certain contexts.

5. Customer-Experience Centered SEO

There was a time when SEO was all about keyword-density and backlinks. Site owners struggled to pack as many keywords as they possibly could into their pages while using any means possible to get backlinks that would bump up their PageRank.

Eventually, it became clear to Google the cream was no longer rising to the top under this approach. Google discovered searchers weren’t always finding what they were looking for, great content.

This is not to say that Google has now ceased to hold keywords and backlinks in high regard.

Most SEO experts agree that Google’s algorithms have begun to penalize ‘keyword stuffing.” Google is rewarding sites and pages that provide an excellent customer experience. They are looking for content that includes rich, long-form, naturally flowing content.

Guided by Google’s gradual transition, site owners and digital marketers in 2018 are continuing to adjust their approach to SEO.

6. Data-Driven Content

Data-driven marketers are adopting new solutions to respond to consumer demands.

Despite all the new marketing models, two of the most enduring digital marketing mainstays are holding their ground as they continue to evolve.

Google’s algorithms are placing more focus than ever on customer experience, and SEO experts are following their lead.

The content marketing space is continuing to shift its focus toward long-form blog posts and articles. There is more focus on a wide spectrum of naturally occurring keywords. This is inspiring content that speaks to the richness and complexity of in-depth treatments of important topics.

Content Marketing Trends to Look for This Year

As highlighted above, several striking digital marketing trends are taking hold this year. There is increased demand for the immediacy, authenticity and sheer excitement of live video. The demand is driving greater demand for live marketing events.

Customer journey mapping and CRO are helping streamline sites and apps. They are helping businesses to match their customers’ precise needs and purchase-paths. The future promise of content marketing is inspiring bold.

seo trends

Major SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2019

SEO continues to be the single most important marketing factor to be aware of in order to build a brand online.

And why not?

Google is fielding almost 5 billion searches a day on its engine. Beyond that, search engines direct nearly 70% of all traffic any given website will get.

That means that making sure your content is up to snuff with what platforms like Google, Bing, and others want to see is paramount to your success.

The tricky part is that SEO is a moving target. Every month it seems like Google is making adjustments to its algorithm and by year’s end, we find vastly different things websites should be optimizing around in comparison to the year before.

To help give you stable SEO footing in the new year, below, our team has compiled a list of SEO trends for 2019, you should pay close attention to.

1. Being Integrated with Google’s Products Will Win You More Favor

There’s no bigger name in the search engine game than Google. Because of that, it’s important to play nice with the search behemoth if you’re hoping to rank well in 2019 and beyond.

Low hanging fruit that could win you some favor with Google, particularly in the coming year, is getting integrated with its product suite.

Is your brick-and-motor store registered with Google My Business? Do you have a Google Plus Page? What about a YouTube Channel?

Really taking the time to get your brand in nice and cozy with Google’s umbrella of products will score you more brownie points as Google continues to push the importance of its tools.

2. Video

Video has been a 2018 SEO smash! And guess what? It ain’t slowing down in 2019.

If your company doesn’t have video built into its content marketing plan yet, start building! People are watching billions of hours of video a day on YouTube, millions on Facebook, and countless more across Instagram and Twitter.

Not only does that mean tremendous opportunity for your brand to engage organically with customers, but it also means that Google is going to be keeping a closer eye on your brand’s video presence and rewarding those that are delivering content in the mediums that internet users prefer.

Not sure where to get started with your videos? Keep things simple and just repurpose your existing blog content into short video content that communicates the same information. You can then build your video plan from there.

3. Voice Search

Voice search started getting its legs this year but will probably be among the biggest SEO trends to contend with in 2019. Not only are more people using devices like Alexa and Google Home to search the web but the way they phrase things with their voice is vastly different from the way they type them out.

What does that mean for you?

It means that if you’ve been optimizing all of your website’s content around keyword metrics that are built on how users type, when they switch to voice search, the value of those keywords you’ve built around will go down and new, similar keywords will go up.

That could mean needing to revamp your whole SEO strategy.

4. Social Media Will Start Get More Love

Google has been publically wishy-washy in how they look at social media to help determine the relevance of your brand.

While we still don’t have concrete direction on how Google weighs your social presence into its algorithm, we do have a strong suspicion that as mobile use goes and social media adoption continue to explode, Google will need to weigh social presence more heavily.

To get ahead of that trend, start investing some time in building your brand’s presence on social media channels relevant to your audience. Then, share interesting content that provides value consistently.

You’ll find that if you do that and interact with your followers, your social media traction will start building fast.

5. Paid Search Will Start Gaining on Organic Search

Web users are smart and to that end, have gotten very good at ignoring paid placement Google throws at the top of its search engine.

That’s bad news for Google because their bread and butter is serving ads. That’s bad news for you too because if you’ve relied on organic traffic, you should expect that Google is going to look to fix its paid advertising problem at your expense.

Watch for Google in 2019 to get more aggressive with its paid placement. It could end up dominating more of search engine page’s real estate and could even start blending in better with organic results.

6. Trying to Find Value From Position 0

The most coveted spot you can have on a search engine results page is position 1. After all, position 1 gets about 33% of all traffic around a particular keyword. Almost double what position 2 gets.

But among 2019’s SEO trends will be Google putting more weight on position 0. Position 0 is essentially a widget that pops up above position 1 that aims to answer a searcher’s query by pulling information from your website without actually making a searcher click through to your page.

You see position 0 pop up a lot today but we anticipate seeing it pop up a whole lot more in 2019.

So how can you get value out of a keyword that’s showcasing a position 0 result, even if you’re ranked high? That’s a question marketers will need to answer to survive going forward with SEO.

7. Quality Content Will Still Reign Supreme

Rounding out our SEO trends for 2019 is a fact that’s held true for a long time now and will continue to gain momentum in the new year. That fact is that tricking Google into thinking your page is relevant to users will become even less effective and having awesome content that provides value to readers will continue to go up in stock.

So keep plugging away and making incredible, hyper-targeted content. Keep looking to get high-quality backlinks to that content.

Do that, and you’ll find success.

Wrapping Up Major SEO Trends for 2019

There you have it! 7 SEO trends we think will help define 2019’s search engine game.

Do our predictions make you worry? If they do, you’re not alone.

Fortunately, our team can help. At BackLinks.com we help businesses like yours buy and sell high-quality links that will help keep your content relevant online for years to come.

Learn more about the links we provide to our customers.

what are external links

What Are External Links and How Do They Help SEO?

Did you know that your SEO campaign depends on more than just keywords?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gives all businesses an opportunity to take advantage of the massive amounts of Google search queries that occur every day.

The right SEO campaign can boost your website’s visibility in a powerful way. It can also send conversion rates soaring.

A lot of new SEO marketers spend most of their time honing their keywords. While keywords are extremely important, external links can also play a role in your SEO performance.

What are external links and why do they matter? In this post, we’ll answer this question and give you tips to improve your outgoing link strategy.

What Are External Links?

Nearly every website on the internet is filled with links. These links may direct visitors to other pages on that same website.

Others send visitors to outside sites. These are called external links.

In most cases, these links are designed to be helpful. External links may support evidence or facts, give visitors additional information, or advertise a specific product.

They act much like a conduit for relevant information, giving visitors the option to have a better user experience.

When you visit a website, you may not pay too much attention to these links. Or you may pay a lot of attention, depending on the types of links a website incorporates.

Whatever the case, external links can impact how your site visitors engage with your content. They particularly influence your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.

External Links and SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing technique designed to boost your visibility on search engine platforms like Bing or Google. When you implement SEO, you give your content a greater chance of earning a high Google ranking.

Higher rankings automatically boost your odds of getting more organic traffic, as searchers are more likely to click on listings that appear at the top of search results.

Many first-time SEO marketers overlook the value of links when they are crafting their SEO campaigns. But external links make all the difference when it comes to optimizing your online content.

Domain Authority

When Google assigns rankings to sites, it looks at a lot of factors. One of these factors is domain authority, a ranking signal crafted originally by Moz.

Domain authority is a number on a scale of 0-100 that rates how authoritative your domain is. Naturally, sites with higher domain authorities will rank more highly.

You can build DA by acquiring external links to your site. The more third-party sites link to your site, the greater your credibility–at least, in Google’s eyes!

In this sense, external links to your site function like votes or bids of popularity. Sites often get external links because their content is authoritative and relevant, such as a news platform or a social media giant.

Google does not look only at domain authority when ranking pages. It also assesses the value of your content and your Search Engine Optimization efforts. Nonetheless, a high DA can be your secret to earning more organic traffic.

Outbound Links

External links to your site, also known as backlinks, aren’t the only links that are valuable when it comes to SEO. The outgoing links you have on your own site play a role in optimization.

In general, it’s wise to include at least two or three external links per 500-750 words of content on your site. This is particularly important if you maintain a blog.

If you use WordPress for your website, you may have already installed the popular SEO plugin called Yoast. This plugin will urge you to include external links on specific pages (in addition to internal links).

Outbound links may not automatically boost your SEO rankings. But they can actually help you acquire backlinks, much like tagging someone on Instagram may earn you a follower.

They also support the world of SEO in general. Outbound links can associate your site with other sites. They can also expand and connect the internet itself, making Google’s job easier.

(Yoast’s motto, after all, is “SEO for Everyone”).

For this reason, it’s important to incorporate relevant, frequent outbound links into your content.

Do-Follow vs. No-Follow Links

When it comes to those outbound links on your own site, you have the option to label these as “do-follow” or “no-follow.”

In general, whenever you insert a general outbound link on your site, it is automatically a “do-follow” link. This means that Google can see it and catalog it as a backlink for that specific site.

When you embed a do-follow external link in your site, you’re essentially giving “link juice” to that site. You are, in essence, contributing to their domain authority.

Some site owners, however, will label external links as “no-follow.” This means that the links will appear, but they will not be trackable by Google. No-follow links do nothing for another site’s SEO or visibility.

In general, sites may implement no-follow links when they don’t want to give other sites “link juice.”

For example, let’s say that a site may want to reference a specific product. However, they may not have a policy for actively linking to promotional items. They would then implement a no-follow external link.

For the purposes of your own SEO, we recommend including do-follow external links only.

Final Thoughts: External Links and SEO

So what are external links?

External links are any links that send visitors to an outside site. The right external links will support the information presented on your website and send visitors to reliable outside sources.

In this sense, the external links you have on your website can boost your odds of acquiring backlinks, the type of external link that can contribute to your domain authority. In general, a higher DA can elevate your odds of earning a higher Google ranking for specific searches.

Your external link strategy should, therefore, include the outbound links on your own site as well as the backlinks directing to yours.

At Backlinks.com, we love helping all of our clients achieve the domain authority they deserve. Click here to learn more about getting more high-quality backlinks!

google core algorithm

Is It Possible to Recover From the Google Core Algorithm Update?

Google handles 40,000 search requests every second or 1.2 trillion searches every year. People want their search results accurate, so Google tweaks its search algorithm. Most of the time, you won’t even know anything has happened to the Google core algorithm. Every now and then, an update sends shock waves through the Internet world. Rankings fall and rise.

Websites affected by the update scramble to understand what happened. They’re not digital marketers with their pulse on the industry. By the time they realize what happened, they’re rankings and traffic tanked, and they don’t know what to do. If you’re affected by a core update, you can recover, but only if you follow the right steps.

How Does a Google Core Algorithm Update Differ From Other Updates?

You have heard of other updates like Panda and Hummingbird. Each of these had major impacts on digital ecommerce and websites. They were not core algorithm updates. The algorithm considers more than 200 search queues to decide what sites rank for keywords.

Google designed updates like Panda and Hummingbird to help a specific part of the algorithm. For example, Penguin helped control link spam. It changed a small part of the algorithm. It still had a huge impact on searches.

A core algorithm update influences the entire algorithm. It changes the weight and value of each segment. The change could be minor or major.

How Often Do Core Algorithms Happen?

When a segment update happens such as Penguin, it’s obvious. There is a huge shakeup on the web. It’s rare that Google tells anyone when these happen until afterwards or not at all. A segment update might happen a few times a year.

Google is more secretive of core updates. They’ll do these several times a year and you don’t realize. The impact on rankings is minimal. The company won’t say anything unless asked.

When a Google broad core algorithm update causes a major stir, then digital marketers take notice and start asking questions. Google is often cagey with the information. It’s up to the SEO gurus to figure out what happened and who it affected.

Your Traffic and Revenue Drops, Now What?

It happens over a few days, but you first notice a drop-in revenue or traffic from your website. You check your keyword rankings and there has been a massive drop. What happened? Your first thought is a Google update, but don’t jump to conclusions.

If you’re making changes to your website or went live with new plug-ins or web design, it’s possible Google dropped you. It’s not uncommon for significant website changes to impact rankings. Don’t always assume Google is behind the loss. If you haven’t done anything to your site over the last couple of weeks and the traffic loss is sudden, then Google could be the culprit.

Check the Internet News

When Google does a major update that hits a specific industry or large number of websites, the digital marketing world notices. Check some of the popular marketing websites. Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land have stories about recent updates.

Since Google isn’t forthcoming with news, the stories will be light on information other than something happened. It takes a few days for them to put the pieces together and figure out what changed and why.

It’s important to understand what the update hit and why. A recent core update harmed many medical sites, but also other industries. They designed the update to improve authority and rankings of websites with well-created information.

For example, an article about diabetes from a doctor that is well-written and provides information improved in rank. A website that sells supplements with an article that was a sales pitch and not informative decreased in rank. If that site wanted to improve in rank, then it needs to provide information informative to searchers.

Recovering from A Core Update

The first step in recovering from Google core algorithm update is understanding why it affected your site. Once you do that, you can make changes to your website. The problem that most websites face is how long to recover.

Low rankings mean low traffic and revenues for a digital business. You can’t go weeks or months without revenue but recovering from a core update takes time. It will be a few days or longer before you understand what the update was about.

You must develop a plan of action to address the update and put in place the changes. How long that takes depends on what the update was about. Something like updating a plug-in or a small programming issue can be quick. If you need to completely reorganize your content and build new content, it can take several months.

Google must notice the changes and change the rankings. This can also take several weeks. When Google changes rankings, it may not be where you were at before the update. You’ll likely have to continue SEO efforts and update your site.

Improving Rank Overall

Recovering from an update doesn’t only entail the update issues. It also means improvement of your site as a whole. With hard work, you may find yourself in a better position than before. Google loves well developed and informative content. Even if the update doesn’t impact that area, consider providing better blog articles and on-page content.

Run an SEO audit on your site to determine common SEO problems that may be dragging down your site. Items such as slow page load times, no alt tags on pictures and duplicate or thin content could hold down your site down.

Google puts considerable weight on backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Google understands if high-quality sites trust your information enough to link to it, then your site must have authority and improves ranking.

Think Outside SEO

Since it can take weeks or months to recover from a core update, consider other marketing options such as pay per click, social media advertising, content marketing and email marketing. Many of these methods cost money, but can boost traffic and revenues while you improve rankings.

It Will Get Better

A Google core algorithm update can devastate a website. If you work on improving your site for searchers, then you’ll recover. If you want more information about algorithm updates and digital marketing, then visit our website.

linking

The Ultimate Guide to Internal Linking

Curious about internal linking?

You’re not alone. Only a handful of people know exactly how Google determines the value of your internal links. Those same people know how your links factor into Google’s algorithms to determine your page rank.

Google is, of course, the uncontested search-engine leader. If you want to increase your page ranking, you need to follow their SEO recommendations.

Unfortunately, they’re notoriously tight-lipped about the exact nature of their algorithms.

They only paint the broad strokes for us. They leave the rest for us to determine for ourselves. Unfortunately, that leaves many people like you in the dark.

So what can you do about it?

You come to people like us. In the following article, you’ll find recommendations from the smartest people in the business.

Follow their strategies and you’ll improve your page rank overnight. Read on to learn more.

What is Internal Linking?

Let’s begin with a little background to ensure we’re on the same page. An internal link connects one page of your website to another page of your same website. In other words, the source domain and target domain are the same.

Your visitors use these links to navigate to other useful pages on your site. If you use them intelligently, you’re guaranteed a longer overall dwell time from each user. Search engines factor dwell times into their algorithms. They use them to determine your search engine page ranking (SERP).

The links also help search engines define the architecture and hierarchy of your site. Google says the number of internal links pointing to a particular page signals the relative importance of that page. On the same note, these links distribute page authority and page ranking power in your site.

How does all this happen, exactly? Well, the jury is still out on that one. Much like other SEO matters, major search engines hint to internal links being a factor in their algorithms.

Unfortunately, they’re unwilling to share exactly how links factor in. It’s left to us to figure out the rest through trial and error. The following sections are based on the results of thousands of tests from dozens of digital gurus.

Build Tons of Content

Search engines mark you down if you have too many internal links on any single page. They similarly mark you down when you have too many internal links on any given domain. What is an appropriate amount, you ask?

We’ll get into that in a little bit. For now, all that’s important is that you know not to overstuff your pages with internal links. You should also know that the more appropriate internal links your site have, the higher your SERPs.

It follows that the only way to have a ton of internal links is to build a ton of content. You don’t need spreadsheets or pie charts to figure out the optimal number. You need just need a roadmap for your content production.

How do you come up with new ideas for hundreds of pieces of relevant, engaging content for your audience? Simple. You cheat.

Check out sites like SemRush that let you spy on your competition. Figure out what content is working for them, and create similar, better content.

Approach the topics from new angles. Give new insight into old ideas. Fill in gaps your competitors might have missed.

Then create a content calendar for yourself, so you’ll never run out of ideas.

Link Using Anchor Text

Avoid images as your primary source of links. Does that mean that you can’t use image links? No. As long as they are correctly alt-tagged and not the primary source of links, we recommend using image links.

Instead of image links, use textual links. Write your content naturally. Then choose a fragment of your organic sentence as the anchor text.

The fragment should be no more than five words, numbers, or a combination thereof. Don’t overthink it. Highlight it. Link to it. And have done with it.

Pages to Avoid

When it comes to internal links, all pages are not built equally. Some pages, top-level pages should be avoided. These include pages like your homepage, about us page, contact us page, etc.

These pages naturally acquire all kinds of links from navigation bars. When you link to internal pages, tie your new content to pages deep within your site. Think cornerstone content and popular pages.

Cornerstone content focuses on fundamental topics. These topics relate to most of the other topics on your site. For instance, if you have a health and fitness site, a cornerstone topic may be “How Your Metabolism Really Works.”

Popular pages are just that. They’re the pages most viewed by your audience. Use metrics to determine which of your pages make the cut.

Boost Page Authority

Search engines place weight on links coming from sites with a high domain authority (DA).

In other words, backlinks from leaders in your industry will increase your page ranking. Backlinks from common Joe’s, on the other hand, won’t affect your page ranking.

Well, the same can be said of internal links. All pages aren’t created equal. Some pages on your site have more DA than others.

The pages most lauded by your viewers have a higher DA than your other pages. If you want to boost the page rank of new content, link to it from your pages with high DA.

Note: Be aware that page rank and DA are two distinctly different things. If you need more clarity between the differences, check out our article on Page Rank vs. Domain Authority

Some thought leaders suggest links at the top of your page hold more weight than links further down. Consider placing your new internal links toward the top of your pages.

Also, Moz suggests that no page on your site should ever be more than three clicks away. Build your pages in an interconnected web, easily accessible from any direction.

What’s Next?

Well, have you had enough of link building? Internal linking doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a byzantine strategy to be successful.

Start by creating a content building roadmap. Mark your onramps, exits, and main thoroughfares. Then connect the dots.

If you enjoyed this article, take five minutes to check out our other great link-building articles. Do it now while it’s still fresh in your mind.

So long and good luck!

website building tips

11 Website Building Tips to Use in 2018

Websites define who and what a company is now more than ever. From social media campaigns, email newsletters, and blogs, consumers connect with their favorite brands through online interaction.

Meeting consumers online, then, is the best way to gain a solid following and increase sales. So, if you’re not online or don’t have a solid website, you could be in trouble. You’ll need a few solid website building tips to get you on your feet.

If you’re looking for tips and tricks for building a great website in 2018, you’re in luck! In this brief article, we’ll go over 11 tips for website building that will be sure to improve your online reputation and status this year.

Website Building Tips for Long-Term Success

1. Settle on a Platform

When you set out to build a website, you need to determine who will be in control of the design and who will be in charge of updates. This person (or people) will make a choice about which platform your website is built on.

The platform (such as WordPress or Wix) has its own set of rules for updating files and making changes. Some platforms come with themes or options with upgraded elements for personalized design.

First, you have to choose a platform. Do a quick Google search on top platforms or discuss your options with partners or other professionals.

2. Choose a User-Friendly Design

If a visitor to your website is unable to locate what they’re looking for within seconds, they’re likely to move on. You have moments to grab visitors’ attention and guide them towards sales.

The navigational bar is a huge help. Here, the visitor can find links to pages discussing services and products and others for contacting or purchasing.

Set your website up in a way that puts the user’s ease as the priority. Keep pages organized and move leads towards the hot spots they came for.

3. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly Through Responsive Design

Mobile users make up an overwhelming percentage of eCommerce shoppers. Regardless if your product is an online item or not, people are using the internet for information first and foremost.

This means that it’s imperative to develop a mobile-friendly website to reach customers. Many platforms and themes come with an automatic responsive design built in that will adapt from desktop to mobile viewing.

With more and more people catching onto the mobile browsing/shopping trend, businesses stand to lose countless potential customers.

4. Write Resourceful Content

One of the ways Google indexes content is based on how useful the information is to visitors. The crawlers don’t want to pick up on dead links, duplicate pages, and run-on copy with nothing to reveal.

This means to show up higher on search results, your content should serve a distinct purpose. Pages should explain products and services more thoroughly or direct them to an action button.

Blog articles should be relevant to your market and as informative as you can make them.

5. Optimize Copy with SEO Tactics

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tactic to improve your pages to rank higher on search results. Apart from useful content, web designers can implement keywords and phrases to rank higher.

By including words and phrases that people are searching for, you can appear more often in Google results. There’s more to SEO than that, so make sure to perform your own search on optimizing tactics.

6. Publish Regular Content on Your Blog

The blog is a place to host your own articles and guest articles, which visitors can follow links back to off article shares on social media. It’s a great way to grab people’s attention and direct them back to your website for a sale.

Posting regular content shows Google that you offer resources often. A blog is an essential piece of any professional website today and an excellent way to stay relevant in your market.

7. Use Backlinks to Gain Authority and Increase Ranking

Another great way to rank higher and improve your reputation is through backlinks. When a different website hosts a link back to your website, it has a positive effect (as long as the site is credible) on ranking.

Just make sure their website is relevant to your market.

Consider your professional network; are there any companies willing to host a backlink? Hint: backlinks in content (versus sidebar links) work best.

8. Build Professional Relationships

If you don’t have any professional establishments that could link back to your site, it’s time to build relationships. Professional outings or meetups are great ways to get face-to-face with other like-minded individuals.

Use LinkedIn and other social media to reach out to businesses and make connections from afar. From there, you can work on mutual shares and links to improve ranking and credibility for both sites.

Alternatively, you could consider purchasing backlinks to improve your ranking.

9. Pay Attention to the Competition

Many business owners shy away from the competition’s tactics and work tirelessly to be original and creative. However, you can learn a lot from paying attention to the competition.

Monitoring how well their tactics work to gain attention and rank well will help you figure out how to improve your own. You can mirror their efforts or learn to avoid their pitfalls. Don’t be afraid to observe, especially if it can enhance your business.

10. Audit Your Website on Occasion

A quick Google search will bring up a range of free website auditing tools. From verifying your loading speeds to examining SEO tactics, these tools provide an outside perspective on your website.

Through this, and through A/B testing on landing pages, you can easily determine what is or isn’t working.

11. Implement Video Without Compromising Loading Speeds

Video is a major force right now in online marketing. Connecting with new audiences means getting in on the trend as soon as possible. However, you have to be careful not to slow down your loading speed in the process.

If it takes more than a few seconds to load a single web page, you’re likely to lose the majority of your visitors. Invest in a couple of high-quality videos for your homepage, but don’t overstuff video throughout the website.

More Insider Advice from Backlinks

There are more website building tips out there, but these provide a solid enough foundation for your company to thrive online. Implement many (or all) of these tips to attract and retain loyal customers for long-term success!

Looking for more tips and tricks from the professionals?

Head on over to the Backlinks blog now to learn more about improving your ranking and increasing your returns online!

digital public relations

A Lazy SEO Company’s Guide to Digital Public Relations

Is your SEO company using digital public relations in your overall strategy? If not, you’re missing out on a valuable SEO tool for you and your clients.

Public relations isn’t just pitching and traditional media relations anymore and that mindset is outdated. The truth is, the internet has changed just about every industry an that includes public relations.

80 percent of the U.S. is online nearly every day, and in 1995 only one percent of the world had access to the internet. Things have changed in the world, and in public relations, so it’s time your SEO agency do the same.

Why Do I Need Digital Public Relations?

Back in the twentieth century, public relations and marketing had very little, if any, crossover. Public relations professionals focused almost solely on media relations and earned media, while marketers had different goals.

This has all changed since the rise of the internet, online media and social media. Now it’s crucial that marketing and communications efforts be fully integrated. If you’re an SEO agency, this means using public relations as a way to boost a client’s website and drive more traffic. After all, the goal of public relations is to generate positive attention around a brand, so why shouldn’t this be used to gain website traffic?

Here are three benefits of including digital public relations strategies in your SEO business:

1. Press Releases

Digital press releases are a gold mine of backlinks that will send people right to your website. Have your client’s PR professionals work with an SEO team to link to appropriate pages throughout the press release. This contributes to your network of links on the web, boosts SEO and sends more people directly to the client’s website, even if the press release is posted on an external site.

2. Pitch Key Words

Pitching isn’t just reserved for traditional media anymore and it still has a valuable place in a digital PR strategy.

Again, this only works if your SEO, marketing and PR teams are working together. Have this new team craft media pitches together. The PR professional will know how to get the reporters attention, and the SEO team can help insert keywords into the pitch that you want the reporter to use in the article. These keywords will ideally end up in your article later on and help drive more traffic.

3. Dive Into Influencers

Bloggers and influencers now have a major impact on public relations, even more so than some of the most famous news outlets.

Use your PR professional’s pitching skills to reach all kinds of new media on the internet, including bloggers, social media influencers and more. When a blogger mentions your site online, it’s helping to create the valuable web of links to your site that can give your client’s SEO a boost. Again, some bloggers generate more traffic than the nations biggest news sites, so pitching to them help you build brand recognition much faster.

4. Use Key Personnel

Using key personnel in a company as experts is a great PR strategy, and it’s one that’s easy to combine with an SEO strategy. There are tons of reputable outlines online (such as Forbes) that accept contributor posts from experts in nearly every field.

Use these opportunities to have C-level executives write (or ghostwrite for them) helpful pieces that can be pitched and shared with top media. These articles are a great opportunity to include backlinks and keywords that will help SEO strategy, while making your company and staff look like experts.

Hopefully by now you’ve realized the benefits of digital public relations. While there are tons of benefits, business people know it’s not always easy to shake up the way things are done at businesses and agencies.

Here’s How to Integrate

Integrating your PR, marketing and SEO strategies doesn’t have to be a long and painful process. Here are three steps to take to integrate digital public relations into your SEO and marketing team:

1. Blur the Department Lines

If your client has extreme department lines, encourage them to try and blend their marketing and communications team into one. This is easier said than done, but removing specific “marketing” and “communications” titles can help employees understand that they need to work together.

2. Switch up Seating

This one might seem obvious, but it’s hard for marketing and PR teams to work together if they’re not sitting close by. Switch up seating to help encourage more collaboration and communication. These are both key when you’re trying to integrate departments.

It’ll be difficult to integrate different digital strategies if the employees feel they can’t bring up ideas or issues to other departments.

3. Encourage Team Bonding

When you’re switching things up on employees, morale can sometimes drop. It’s crucial to keep employees happy by encouraging team bonding.

Host events outside of work to help employees get to know one another outside of the work setting. These settings are more casual and less pressured, so they can develop good communication skills that will transfer to the office.

4. Do Cross-Disciplinary Training

PR, Marketing, and SEO are similar in the sense that they’re all industries that are constantly training. Because of that, the professionals in each field might not be up-to-date on the latest trends in each, and may not fully understand how they can work together.

Encourage your clients to host occasional training events or lunch-and-learns educate everyone on how the industries can work together to boost the bottom line. As an agency, you can even do this for them by hosting webinars or other virtual educational tools.

Want More Information?

Digital PR and SEO both bring in great benefits for companies, but they work better together. As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of great PR strategies like press releases and pitching that can bring businesses an even bigger ROI when SEO and marketing pros have a voice.

But there are tons of ways to improve website ranking with quality links. Learn more about buying links here.