Posts Tagged: Link Building
Here are some important talks about your dropped site, written by Dave Davies, hope it will help you take good decision regarding yoour site.
It’s happened to all of us. You wake up one morning feeling like a million bucks, you stretch and if you’re like me, you notice the eye-rolling as once again your significant other catches you with a toothbrush dangling from your mouth and a laptop or iPhone in front of you while you check rankings and emails. And then it happens - you start your browser with a search phrase already set to display and you notice that your site no longer holds it’s previous position and the move is not in the right direction. We’ve all faced it and the longer you’ve been an SEO or website owner the more times you’ve seen it happen. But still … what do you do? To quote the immortal Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic.”
Believe me - I know how hard it is sometimes. It’s easy for me to say this to clients when I see an engine fluctuating or a site has dropped only a position or two and we’re working to react but it’s a completely different thing when it happens to you and (might I add) a good reminder to SEO’s as to what our clients go through. But I still haven’t answered the question have I? What do you do? What … do … you … do?
There are five basic steps one must take when their site drops (I like to keep things simple and a 5 step check-list is a great way to do that). These steps assume that to start with you had a well-optimized website with good SEO practices followed. If you don’t then the reasons you dropped are pretty clear but if you’ve got a well-optimized site and your site has fallen - then this is for you. You should:
1 - Build Links
It’s very difficult for people to not want to do something proactive when they notice their site drop. I know - I’ve been there. One of the easiest things to do to keep yourself busy while working on the other 4 steps below is to build links. Building good, solid links to your site will never hurt and will only help you out so even if one of the later steps might show you other actions you need to take (or not take) you’ll never go wrong with some solid link building and if nothing else - it’ll make you feel like you’re doing something and stop you from doing other things that might do you more harm than good.
I’m not going to go into all the different types of links you could build or what the anatomy of a good link is. Many articles, forums and blog posts have been written in the past and are easily found online. I’m sure if you monitor a few good SEO forums you’ll find more being written every day. If you can - find articles by Eric Enge. While he doesn’t give it all away (who does?) - you won’t go wrong taking his advice and even seasoned SEO’s are likely to learn a thing or two from reading his work.
2 - Relax For A Couple Days
Before you rush to your favorite site editing tool - relax. Slight tweaks in content are unlikely to make much of a difference (if any) to your rankings. If you’ve got solid, well-optimized content and suddenly your site’s fluctuating - cramming in a few more instances of your targeted phrase will likely do more harm than good.
Now - when I say relax I basically mean, don’t touch your site. There are steps (such as link building) that you can work on including the analytical work noted below. Just don’t go editing all your copy to try to chase some tweak in Google’s algorithm. Relax.
3 & 4 - Analyze The Sites That Have Out-Ranked You (Onsite And Offsite)
One of the best things you can do is to take a look at the sites that are out-ranking you to find out what they’ve done. This will tell you two things: One - are there some good tactics that you’re missing, and Two - are these rankings likely to hold or are they flawed? There are two areas you’ll want to look at and those are the onsite optimization and the backlinks.
When you’re looking at the onsite optimization you need to only briefly look at their keyword densities, H1 and title tags, internal linking structure, number of indexed pages and the amount of content on the page. Remember: I’m assuming that (as you were ranking previously) you have a solidly optimized website with some good SEO practices and content guidelines followed. If you look at these and compare the newly ranking sites with your site and with other sites that have held their positions and dropped you’ll get a feel for whether there are trends. If there are common traits among the sites that have moved up then you may be on to something. Remember the common trends among the sites that have climbed and held and also remember what they have that the sites that have dropped do not. Remember: there may be no common trends or nothing you can find out with this small a sample. Once this step is complete it’s time to move on to backlink analysis.
Backlink analysis is a good practice to undertake every few months regardless of updates but definitely necessary now that you’re dropping. What you need to do now is to analyze the backlinks of the sites that are out-ranking you. Depending on the competition level this can be a brutal task in that it’s not just about numbers. You should use Yahoo!’s link:www.domain.com command and visit many of the sites in your comeptitors backlinks. What you’re trying to do is get a full view of what their links look like. You’ll also want to download SEO Link Analysis (A Firefox extension you’ll find at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7505/). When you’re doing a backlink check it automatically displays the PageRank and anchor text of the backlinks though I’d still HIGHLY recommend visiting a good many of the sites to see what kind of links they are.
Once again you’re going to be looking for the architecture of the backlinks of the sites that are moving up. What tactics they’re using, what their links look like on the page, what anchor text distribution they’ve got. Once again you’re going to compare that with other sites on the rise, your site and other stable sites to see what is common between those that are climbing and holding their grown vs those that have fallen.
Once we’ve collected this data it’s time to act. Collect all the common traits that the climbing and holding sites have and …
5 - Take Action
You’re done waiting around preforming the tedious task of link building. You’ve got your data and you’re ready to launch into action and get some stuff done. But wait (oh no - did he say wait again?) is action really the best thing?
When you’ve pooled your data you need to decide what it means. Let’s take for example a situation where the newly ranking sites have very low word counts and tons of footer links (looks paid to me). Do you REALLY want to follow their lead? The question you need to ask yourself in this case is do the factors that are apparently working RIGHT NOW overall going to provide better or worse results? Is less content more or less likely to results in a satisfied visitor? Do paid footer links help Google deliver quality results over the whole of the Internet? In these cases the answer is easily “no” but your findings might be more subtle such as an extremely disproportionate use of targeted anchor text among the ranking sites or sp@mmy copy with keyword densities at 8 or 10%.
What you’re in a position to do now is figure out a moving-forward strategy. If the common trends among the top and improving sites are bad or sp@mmy then you know the algorithm will correct itself eventually and you shouldn’t chase it. If you need to do something – build some additional links and look for new phrases to rank for on other pages to help stabilize your traffic when individual phrases decline.
If you find that the factors that have created the new results are legitimate and will lead to better results overall you know you need to make some changes to what you’re doing and fortunately – with the research you’ve just done you’ve got a great starting spot in that you can probably get some great resources and tactics from the lists of backlinks and onsite optimization you’ve just collected.
It may take hours or even days to properly perform this research but then – you needed something to do while your rankings are down. It might as well be productive.
Over the years there has been lots of discussion in the SEO community regarding building links to a web site. The debate is particularly heated at the moment, as Google rolls out its “Jagger” upgrade.
Let’s start with what we mean by inbound links, also called backlinks. These are links from other sites to your URL, which direct the surfer directly to your site when the link is clicked. The basic premise is that if you have high ranking sites linking to you, then you must yourself be important and have valuable content, and hence you should rank highly. The way in which Google ranks sites is called Pagerank and can be seen as a green line on the Google Toolbar representing ranks 0 to 10. As Google states:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”
Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.
So, back to the question “Does having inbound links to your site help your site’s credibility”, and hence visibility when searched. The broad answer to this question is “yes”, but with a number of very important caveats which we will cover in the other sections.
OK, so backlinks are basically good, especially from high ranking sites, so how do we get them? The first way, and best way, is by having such great content on your site that all these high-powered sites want to link to you. Downside to this method is that it is slow and takes lots of time and effort on your part. But don’t worry, when anyone tries to build a level playing field there are always people out there that will provide work-arounds.
The first one was reciprocal links, whereby you say that you will link to a site if they also link to you. That’s stretching the original idea, but it’s not too bad because how many of these sort of links are you going to set up? Well, actually, some people have created thousands of such links between sites, maybe not what Google initially intended!
But then, due to the emphasis Google placed on link popularity, the concept of link farms was born. These are sites that link to other sites purely to increase the links to the site. Pay a few dollars and get thousands of links to your site. Too good to be true - you bet. Google hates link farms and sees these links as spam and will actively penalise sites that use such links. So, the first rule of linking is do not use link farms. The second rule is do not use lots of reciprocal links, Google can easily check this and the “Jagger” update that is currently rolling out seems to be particularly focused on penalising sites with lots of reciprocal links. The jury is still out on whether “themed” links will be treated in the same way. “Themed” links are links to sites that are very closely aligned to the same primary topic as your own site. If you think about this, it makes a lot of sense and is much more likely to be based on real content-based linking.
We believe another area Google is focusing on is how quickly your site gains backlinks. If your site is one month old, it is hardly believable for it to gain 100 real backlinks in that time. So, the third rule of linking is to ensure your links build in a realistic way. In all of these ways, Google is trying to ensure fairness and that’s why new sites are often held back in the results pages.
Finally, we should mention the sites that will improve your ranking - the Directories. There are many of these, but the most important is DMOZ, also known as the ODP. DMOZ is the Open Directory Project and is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors. It gets the name DMOZ from the acronym for Directory Mozilla, as it is administered by Netscape Communication Corporation. It’s Pagerank is 9 and hence a link from DMOZ will help your site. We recommend that everyone visits http://dmoz.org and attempts to get listed, it’s free. The Yahoo directory is also important and free for non-commercial sites, but $299 a year for business.
So, in summary, by far the best way of getting links is by having a quality site that other people want to link to. So again, we are back to content. If you provide quality information, over time, more and more sites will link to you, and if they are in the same business sector as you, so much the better.
Originally written by John Fowler, Source: www.a1-optimization.com