Monthly Archives: July 2019

What is a Google Penalty and How to Recover from It?

This entry was posted in Penalty Updates, SEO on by .

Discover what a Google penalty is, why it happens to some sites and not others, as well as how to successfully make a full Google penalty recovery

It happens to many webmasters across the globe. You think you have been doing everything SEO right, even by the book. But your website traffic and search engine results performance (SERP) drops rather suddenly. You check around the interwebs and discover the big issue: Google recently released an algorithm change. It is likely that your website just got hit by a Google Penalty. It could be a Google Penguin Penalty or a Panda Penalty. Either way, it’s not a good thing and you’ll want to marshal legit Google Penguin recovery techniques to get your site back on top of SERPs.

Here’s the thing:

Clearly, a drop in rankings is a real threat not only to your rankings, but also your revenue and profitability hence your ability to stay in business.

But how do you pull off a successful Google Penguin recovery when you may not even know what caused it?

Here’s what you need to do next.

1.    Understand what is a Google penalty

 

Since April 2014, Google has occasionally rolled out Search algorithm updates and other actions that seek to root out unethical webmasters trying to game the search engine system to gain top rankings.

The tricky part is you may have followed Google Webmaster Tools Guidelines (Google Search Console) to the letter but still suffer a penalty.

The Google antispam team drops a penalty in either of two ways:

  • Manual action: this is a hands-on penalty the Google antispam team will slap on your site for a specific reason
  • Automated algorithm updates: naturally comes into effect when your website fails to effect renewed ranking factors

And then there are the two popular types of Google penalties:

  1. Panda Penalty: results from having low-quality content on your site
  2. Penguin Penalty: results from suspicious, black hat, and straight-out link building schemes and techniques. If low-ball backlinks or inbound links link to your site, and you remain unaware, you could be penalized and not know why it happened.

 

2.    See why you got hit by a Panda or Google Penguin penalty

 

If you got a manual action against you, you may find an “unnatural links detected” notification in your Google Search Console inbox. The alert usually offers good pointers on what you need to fix.

Other times, you won’t receive a heads-up and have to dig into your site’s fabric to uncover which inbound links could be causing you trouble with Google.

Also check if the top SEOs in the industry are talking about a recent Google algorithm update, which could have automatically demoted your website rankings on PageRank.

Do follow Google’s head of SEO and the antispam team Matt Cutts Twitter page as well as Google Search Console’s YouTube Channel for more insights into new Google updates.

Algoroo and MozCast do keep a running track record of all recognizable algorithm changes so you can check with them to see what’s new and could be affecting your site so you can begin your Panda or Penguin recovery.

3.    Start your Google penalty recovery

 

After identifying what hit you specifically, you’ll have a great head-start to recover from a manual action or algorithm update.

Recovering from a Panda penalty requires you recreate your content to make it more useful and authoritative. For example, Backlinko found the best-ranking content length in 2019 averages out at 1,890 words.

Recovering from a Penguin penalty takes a bit more work, depending on the number and intensity of unnatural backlinks you have pointing to your domain, for example. You have to conduct a manual link profile assessment, meaning assessing whether each inbound link comes from a suspicious source or blacklisted site.

If you have thousands of inbound links, this can be painstakingly slow, keeping you in the penalty sandbox until you can manage to figure which links to slap with a no-follow tag so they don’t hurt your rankings again in future.

If you keep receiving low-quality and black hat links, you can see how long and nerve-wracking a process recovering from a Penguin penalty can be.

In fact, only about 5% of webmasters are actively trying to recover from an algorithm update penalty such as Penguin or Panda because it takes a lot of work.

4.    Get the help you need

 

But you can skip the manual labor and not knowing what to do next by using a credible Google recovery service help out. Be sure to see their portfolio, especially how many past clients and how deep they understand Google penalties.

Also, choose expert Google penalty recovery services that are experts certified by LinkResearchTools (LRT).  Time to get back to your deserved top ranking on SERPs.

On-Site SEO Factors That Matter Most

This entry was posted in Content, Marketing, SEO on by .

How would you like to learn the 5 most important on-page SEO factors to focus on right away? 

Whether you are looking to spruce up your SEO strategy yourself or consult a top Ventura internet marketing company, you may know this already. Ranking at the top of SERPs is not a one-technique route. Successful SEO strategies involve multiple search engine optimization techniques.

The unintended result of the complexity is you may feel overwhelmed by all the 2019 SEO tips and tricks you need to implement to rank on top of Google Search results.

To help you get over the bottleneck and get more organic traffic from Google, here’s one way to begin it all.  Focus on on-page SEO or on-site SEO factors. These are aspects of your websites you can improve right away to start seeing more traffic.

i.               Quality content is still king but…

 

While this has been the case for the longest stretch, search engines are now focusing on more than quality long-form content and header tags (H1, H2, H3…) to award higher SERP rankings.

The focus now also includes the content’s relevance to buyer intent. So you’ll want to define your audience and what they are looking for in your content strategy before creating it.

Do you want to inform your readers? Use a “How to”, “Ultimate Guide to”, “Step by Step Ways to”, and such instructional posts and titles to let searchers know you want to educate them.

In the body, use organized steps, bullet points, and even screenshots to guide the reader through. Be sure to caption the images accordingly with relevant keywords.

Do you want to convince prospects about a topic? Use “5 Reasons Why” and similar buzzwords to indicate you are explaining what the reader wants to know.

ii.              Embed video

 

In 2019, video content continues to attract even more traffic—6.3% of all search results. But only 1.8% came from YouTube, so do prefer to embed a video on your own site instead of linking out to YouTube.

But did you know Google now requires YouTube videos to have captions to cater to people with hearing challenges? That counts in your rankings.

iii.            Using relevant keywords still works the magic

 

If you are a niche brand, focus on using long-tail keywords. If you can find low-competition keywords to use, you could rank higher.

You can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, Ubersuggest, and Moz to determine which keywords the top-ranking content/websites on the topic you intend to cover use. Then use those keywords in your content as they are.

If you need help using the tools or with meticulous keyword research, feel free to consult a top SEO services Ventura, CA company to get over it and move on to the next step of your SEO strategy.

iv.            The Website factor

 

Website speed matters.

Google has reported before that the average searcher will only stick around for five seconds and move on if your website fails to load as quickly.

Google recommends you speed up your site to the point it loads in or under two seconds.

That can help reduce bounce rates, which the Google algorithm reads as a failure on your part to provide what the reader wants—leading to demotion on the SERPs.

Compressing images and text helps speed a website. Also, use relevant keywords for image captions to attract 22.6% of all internet search results.

Also, optimize your website for mobile (if you still haven’t in 2019). Remember 65% of clicks to buy now happen on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.

v.              Engagement markers are a big deal

 

Engagement refers to factors such as social media shares, bookmarks, downloads, click-throughs, and the number of comments and replies on a post.

But recently Google stated social media shares didn’t carry much weight. What does?

The time readers spend on a page. The longer the better.

Google’s algorithm takes that to mean readers are sticking around because they like what they see on that page. The algorithm will then award your page and site ranking points for providing value, hence higher ranking on SERPs.

What can you do to boost on-page sessions?

Proper interlinking and clean site navigation are key.

Help readers navigate your site and get what they want by linking relevant content and pages to each other. You can use “Related reading/post” or “Click here to read” or another prompt to guide your readers around and have them around to boost your ranking points.

Again, when you need help making your on-page SEO strategy work for you, feel free to ask for help by choosing the best SEO services Ventura, CA has to offer.

Google My Business Optimization Tips 2019 to Grow Your Brand and Local Business

This entry was posted in Advertising, Local, SEO on by .

Find out 12 Google local optimization tips you can use right away for your local SEO strategy

To say Google is a player in online search is a creepy understatement. Net MarketShare found 80% of searches are made on Google Search. So, what’s that got to do with Google My Business? The answer is in proper Google local optimization. Or, optimizing your local SEO strategy using your GMB listing to attract local customers to your physical business.

Some 60% of consumers in America use a mobile device to search for local businesses to buy a product from? And, 50% of them end up visiting a local business to buy that product with 24 hours.

Here’s the thing, though:

But, on average, the search only lasts for under a minute. That’s all you have to make an impression before your potential client clicks on to the next, better-prepared online business.

A GMB listing will help you provide the most important information about your business in an organized platform so you can inspire trust and make it easy for prospects to find your physical business in under a minute.

  • A Google map business location (physical address)
  • Directions
  • Phone number
  • Official website

So what Google My Business optimization tips can you use to your improve your online brand awareness, increase foot traffic to your local store, and boost sales?

Here are seven, uncomplicated tips you can use right away to make the most of GMB listings.

  1. Claim your GMB listing right now

Obvious? Not really. Google reported 56% of businesses are yet to claim and verify their GMB account in 2018.

“Near me” or proximity searches, where GMB listings excel most, increased by 200% from 2016 to 2017 and are the top factor local customers are looking for, according to Moz.

Google has also shown 86% of searchers look up the location of a business they want to buy from on Google Maps.

  1. Enter your business name right

Use your primary keyword with your business name in the GMB Title Tag.

For example, if in real estate, add “realty”, “real estate”, “real estate agency” to let prospects know exactly why to choose you over the competition.

  1. Then enter the business category

To continue with the real estate firm example, choose “Real Estate” under the GMB Categories drop-down menu. The difference with the tip above is the Category option describes what your business is, not what it does, sells, or buys.

  1. And full physical business location, too

Enter the locations’ full zip code, city name, and the specific area you service. So instead of “Philly”, go with “Philadelphia”.

You can skip showing the actual address by indicating you deliver goods and services to customers. If you choose a physical address, Google will send you a code in a postcard to that address. Make sure to enter it in the verification tab to fully activate your GMB listing.

  1. Enrich your GMB description with local keywords

Are you a marketing agency in Miami, Florida? Make sure to use phrases such as “marketing agency in Miami, FL”, Miami marketing agency”, and “local SEO packages in Miami” in a natural way throughout your short and sweet description.

Don’t overdo it. Once per keyword is sufficient.

  1. About the phone number

Use a number with local code, so avoid the "1-800” type if you want to attract local calls and business.

  1. Your GMB website

If you are a techie or can get the help, use HTML coding to link your GMB account to your official website so leads can click directly to it.

Otherwise, use GMB’s website builder. Use a local domain name.

  1. Show your working hours clearly

Indicate your operating hours, happy hour, special holiday or weekend hours. Details. Avoid disappointing a customer that shows up at your door only to find you closed. They could take out their frustration on your by posting a negative Google review.

  1. Add real photos of your business

Google has reported businesses that use clear, actual photos of their premises attract 35% more clicks and 42% more request for Google Map direction that businesses that don’t have photos on GMB.

  1. Activate and respond to reviews

Good or bad respond to reviews. More (90% of) consumers now depend on online customer reviews to decide whether to buy from one business or another.

Get this:

Responding to negative reviews will make 46% of customers show up at your business than when you choose to delete or ignore them.

  1. Use Google My Business Insights and Messages

To understand factors such as when customers search for your business most, when they call when they show up, and what they are mostly looking for, use GMB Insights. Then use the Messages feature to chat directly with potential customers.

  1. Talk of chatting…

Amp up the engagement by sharing GMB posts to update current and potential clients of what’s going on in your business. That way, you can keep them engaged and feeling a part of your community to encourage repeat purchases.

With just these 12 simple Google local optimization tips in your local SEO packages or arsenal, you start to attract more clients with GMB almost immediately.

Penguin with speech bubble with the internet

Contextual Link Building: Tipping Your White Hat SEO Strategy

This entry was posted in SEO on by .

Link building has always been a hot button topic in SEO. The big debate is whether it’s good or bad for your web rankings. The data is in and the answer is: it depends.

Depending on how it’s done, link building can hurt or help your online brand presence, traffic and leads, search engine rankings, and domain authority.

There are infinite terms and categories associated with link building, but the two most important and general types are “contextual” and “navigational.”

Contextual link building involves placing links within your content (i.e. web pages and blogs) rather than placing them on a header, footer, or sidebar, which are considered “navigational” links.

Ideally, a strong website has both. While navigational links help a user find what they’re looking for internally, contextual links have two important purposes internally and externally.

Internally, contextual links interlink your webpages together to help spread your web traffic evenly throughout all your pages and aid in search engine categorization. Externally, contextual links can build your website’s authority and search engine rankings. In this blog, we will explore the various contextual link building techniques and evaluate them for effectiveness.

Throw Away “Black Hat” Methods

Many contextual link building techniques that were once touted as the end-all solution to maintaining high SEO rankings have now been blacklisted by Google’s algorithms and can cause hefty penalties.

These techniques are intended to “game the system” of SEO and focus on the quantity of links going back to your site while throwing quality out the window. Not only do these not provide anything of useful substance to your users, they can actually make your site look less credible and clog up the internet with shallow references to your site that might have no relevance at all.

For example, they might utilize spam-like tactics such as posting comments on other websites that will link to your website, making edits to Wikipedia to link back to your pages, or creating “link farms,” which are websites created solely for the purpose of hosting links to other websites.

Google’s ranking algorithm used to count pages with more links as automatically more valuable. However, Google has since developed extensive updates, such as Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird to not only reverse this but to actually offset it.

If your website used these techniques in the past or paid someone else to increase SEO who may have, you may be penalized by Google. These link building strategies are referred to in SEO as “black hat” methods because they are not legitimate and can actually be quite harmful in the long run.

Tip Your “White Hat” Instead

The favorable link building strategies, known as “white hat” in SEO, take more time and expertise to enact properly but they are worth it in the long-term.

While you can still link to your own content through a social media presence, you’ll want to avoid excessively and aggressively doing so—ensure that your self-references are meaningful. For example, if you’ve created a piece of content that’s evergreen, backlinking to this page can be an excellent strategy for your social media.

But rather than creating your own references to your site from low authority offshoots, you’ll want to develop strategies to persuade other high-quality, authoritative sites to reference you voluntarily. There’s a number of reputable strategies to accomplish this and while none of them are quick or easy, they are all doable and will make your business better for having done them.

Content Is King

This becomes more and more true with every Google algorithm update. Creating content that is consistent, evergreen, unique and useful, and SEO optimized is your best bet for obtaining genuine, authentic backlinks.

  1. Consistent

Make a plan to post once a day, week, or month and stick to your schedule. It’s better to post less frequently than be too aspirational and miss postings. This way, you can build a loyal group of followers that will become accustomed to checking your site for updates and build trust with your content.

  1. Evergreen

Evergreen content is incredibly valuable not only because it will always be relevant to anyone reading it but because it will gain traction in search engine rankings that build continuously over time. While it may never go viral, it can continue to build traffic and backlinks indefinitely.

  1. Unique & Useful

Aside from evergreen content, you can also make your content valuable by expressing newsworthy, exceptionally useful, or niche information.

Newsworthy content will likely spike in popularity and may never see the light of day again. However, you can always create internal backlinks to it if it’s relevant to do so.

Exceptionally useful content will take time and effort but just like evergreen content, it can gain popularity and receive backlinks that will build over time. Visuals such as images, videos, and infographics are great for this because it’s usually easier for someone to cite you than to create something as informative.

  1. SEO Optimized

Keywords are still crucial to helping search engines categorize your content and ensure relevance. While the content should come first and not be built around keywords, be aware of what your potential clients might be searching for and how you can help them get to it. Your anchor text (the content you decide to create contextual links from), should be relevant, descriptive, and simple.

Find Your Niche

While you’ll have competitors in any industry, you might consider what niche you can appeal to or needs that you can fill that your competitors simply can’t. In certain cases, geography might play a role as well. This can and should involve extensive research.

For example, if you have a treatment center operating in Santa Barbara, you’re not realistically competing with other treatment centers outside of California or even those in Los Angeles. Your topics of interest will overlap considerably, and you may even consider linking to their content to establish credibility.

Build Relationships, Networks, and Alliances

Creating relationships with businesses that are not in direct competition with yours but that overlap enough to create a relevant link can be beneficial for everyone involved. For example, you might find that your treatment center is not directly in competition with another because while your center is geared towards alcoholism while the other specializes in treating narcotic addictions.

You may be able to create a meaningful alliance with this treatment center and be able to link to one another’s content, share trending ideas that might be of value to both of your client bases, and vouch for one another to inquiring clients. Additionally, contextual links of this sort will reflect well on you. It’ll be clear you value getting the best information to your potential clients rather than trying to appear to know everything.

If you have concerns about correcting “black hat” link building or are interested in “white hat” organic link building services, get in touch with us today. No matter the changes that Google makes to its broad core algorithm, we’re confident we have a solution to keep your business relevant on the web. Contact us today and boost your company’s web exposure.

A Look at the June 2019 Core Algorithm Update

This entry was posted in SEO, Web Design Posts on by .

As many businesses are likely aware, Google released a broad core algorithm update last month that has had incremental effects on Google rankings and web traffic.
The update was announced on Google’s SearchLiason Twitter account on June 2, only giving users a 24-hour notice. The update took about 5 days to roll out. However, these updates have historically taken a week or even longer to fully balance out, so you may see quite a bit of variability in your rankings.
Google has performed updates like this before, usually every few months. However, this is the first update that has ever been announced prior to an official launch, and by Google’s Search Liaison Danny Sullivan himself via Twitter.
While Google claims the update is no more drastic than previous ones, it offered notice with the understanding that these updates can cause spikes and downfalls in web traffic that can affect the livelihood of businesses.
Although there’s not much anyone can do to avoid a potential hit from a Google update, knowing about the update in advance can prepare you for a dip in traffic and explain why your ratings could suddenly change so drastically. This can be especially important information for social media, digital marketing, and SEO companies like us, because our clients depend on us to deliver reliable web traffic that increases steadily and is somewhat predictable.
While we can’t explain specifically why your rankings and web traffic may have sizably spiked up or down, we can offer you the following information in regard to the update:

What is a Broad Core Algorithm Update?

Google is continually striving to make quality content as easily accessible as possible and does this by making continual tweaks to its algorithm to prioritize this content.
These tweaks quite likely revolve around the concepts of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), an acronym that is often prescribed as the path to recovering from a Google update (Search Engine Journal).
However, sometimes Google’s algorithm updates are about improving the relevance of user’s search results, which may indirectly affect your business rankings. Google also aims to give previously under-ranked pages a chance to hold web traffic, which inevitably pushes other content to the lower end of the results page.

How Can My Website Recover?

If you did experience a sizable downswing in web traffic or rankings since June 4, it’s likely due to the Google algorithm update. While this doesn’t offer you a prescription for how to recover your previous rankings, it will at least justify that there’s not necessarily anything wrong with your website that caused the sudden downswing.
Keep an eye on your web analytics and search console over the next few weeks to see if your website naturally recovers. While there’s nothing tangible and specific you can do to improve your rankings, Google, as always, vaguely recommends that you just make your site “better.” However, in reference to this update in particular, their advice is not to do anything about it at all.
These updates are called “broad” algorithm updates for a reason—it’s a continual process of Google becoming smart at picking out items like weak links and duplicate or spammy “click-bait” content. But this doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything in particular to result in any changes post-update. It may be that your site is no longer considered “relevant” to Google. But rather than trying to figure out why your site isn’t relevant; you might investigate why other sites are.

Don’t Blame Yourself

It may sound cheesy, but it’s not your fault and you may not have done anything wrong at all. While you’re learning to improve your website, Google is simultaneously earning to improve its algorithm, and still makes occasional mistakes. You may have been high-ranking before and justifiably so but for whatever reason, Google’s new algorithm is reading something incorrectly or has changed the rules of the game altogether.
Influential websites like Daily Mail (a leading UK news website) and CNN.com (a news website) have been affected by the algorithm change, which should tell you something about how confusing and widespread algorithm updates can be. Google rankings are never set in stone—which is a double-edged sword.
Rather than waste your time and energy trying to pin down why Google’s new algorithm is punishing you, just focus on improving what you can going forward. While the update may be done rolling out, only time will tell how it will adjust over time – after all, Google is busy operating numerous data centers and servers around the world. While the update only took about five days to launch, it’ll probably take far longer for its effects to really become clear.
Google maintains that part of their goal with algorithm tweaks is to benefit webpages that have been previous under-rewarded. While this may not be intended to hurt higher-performing pages, it may do so temporarily. As lower-ranked pages move up a few placed on a page, your previously high-ranked page may move down a few notches.

Keep Vigilant

In the meantime, keep an eye on your web analytics and search consoles, continue making edits to your online pages for user-friendliness and accessibility, and as always aim to create original and informative content.
Google’s updates are not always about removing spam. Sometimes they are just aiming to increase the relevance of user’s search results. Although this may affect your rankings, it’s ultimately better for the world of SEO and content because it will make it easier for you to reach your target audience and for them to find you. Additionally, pages that have previously been ranked lower but had great content may now have the opportunity to shine.
This won’t be Google’s last update, so regardless of how it may have affected your web traffic, you can expect to see more changes. The goal is not to have to play a game to get your website to score well organically. And as Google moves closer to that reality, our strategies for SEO and web design will have to adapt.
If you have concerns about being penalized by this past month’s Google broad core algorithm update, get in touch with us today. SeoTuners is well-versed in white hat and organic SEO services and strategies, authentic custom link building, and web design that can help boost page rankings, build the authority and visibility of your website, and drive traffic organically. No matter what changes Google makes to its broad core algorithm, we’re confident we have a solution to keep your business relevant on the web. Contact us today and boost your company’s web exposure.