Guide To Recovering From An Unnatural Link Warning

unnatural link warning

You open up your email one day and receive an ominous email from Google about an unnatural link warning. But what does it mean? How did this happen? In an effort to reduce overall web spam and increase the quality of search results Google has been issuing manual web spam penalties to sites that they believe violate their quality guidelines. It’s very important to address this issue and resolve it, because a spam action can drastically affect the number of visitors who find your site and can negatively affect your business and your bottom line.

1. Review Your Spam Action

manual spam action

First review in webmaster tools the particular kind of manual spam action you’ve received. There are two types of manual actions, site-wide matches and partial matches. Site-wide matches are penalties that are applied to the entire site, where as partial matches are a penalty that only applies to certain inbound links. Site-wide matches are more severe and often times connected to a drastic drop in rankings and organic traffic. Partial matches still often times affect traffic, but not to the degree of a site wide match.

2. Research Your Link Profile

Links To Your Site

Now that you know you have links that are in violation of Google’s quality guidelines it’s time to research your entire link profile and decide which links are good and which ones are bad. Refer to Google’s quality guidelines to help determine whether it’s a quality link or not. You can find a list of links to your site in Google Webmaster Tools, or you can use a third party tool like ahrefs or Open Site Explorer.

3. Remove Low Quality Links & Disavow When Needed

disavow tool

Once you’ve identified the problem links removal is the next step. Contact the webmasters hosting the links and ask them to remove the offending links. Google realizes you may not be able to control all the links pointing to your site, so if you can’t remove a link you can disavow it using their disavow tool. Be careful here, disavowing positive links can hurt your site and you want to make sure you are blocking out only spam links.

4. Reconsideration Request

reconsideration request

After you’ve removed or disavow’d all the spam links it’s time to ask Google to reconsider your site with a reconsideration request. The more thorough the better, explain the actions you’ve taken to correct the measure (feel free to link to Google docs highlighting your work). Also, if you hired an outside SEO company who was responsible for the links include that information in the request as well.

5. Rejoice, Repeat or Reach Out

spam aciton revoked

The next step is to await news from Google. It may take a couple weeks, but Google will let you know if the action has been revoked or if the site still violates the guidelines. From there you can either repeat the steps and re-examine what you may of missed or feel free to contact Emarketed for a free consultation to see how we can help revoke the action and restore your site.

Contact me directly and I’ll be happy to provide you with a free review of your unnatural link warning issue.

Automated Tools Are Not a Replacement For Using Your Brain

Automated tools are great and can make our lives much simpler.  Using automated software and SEO tools isn’t a secret in the world of online marketing as it makes it easier to: organize social media campaigns, find local SEO citations, optimize content and even run online ads. In our busy world, it’s easy to want to let these tools run on auto-pilot without doing the heavy lifting ourselves. But it doesn’t mean you can give up on using the greatest tool of all… your brain!

Some Things to Consider About Automated Tools:
Method – Some things are absolutely necessary when it comes to online marketing. If you need to do some link pruning, backlink analyzers are a must. But all tools aren’t made the same. It’s important to do research to find out how often the site/link is crawled, how far back the timeline goes and how often reports are/can be run etc.

– Most of the problems come from tools that grade pages, links and keywords. First, you have to understand what is being compared to give you the grade. If it’s not clearly explained, you have the right to ask customer support. If their answer doesn’t suffice, it’s time to choose a better tool!
For example with Moz’ on-page report card, it can be frustrating to see that your pages are getting D’s and F’s. A closer look shows that Moz is pulling up keywords about oranges and comparing them to pages about apples. No wonder you’re failing!

– Unfortunately, you can’t let things go on auto pilot. Even when it comes to “simple” things like social media follows and fans. Even growing your list of followers means that you need to sit down and take the time to weed out valuable potential customers from blatant spammers or robots. Although it’s more time consuming, there’s no tool that can do this as well as a person. Set aside some time, even if it’s once a month, to review things.

How to Get a Bigger Picture:
No matter how fancy and reputable a tool or site is, it all comes down to one thing: the tool has been programmed to do it’s job based on certain calculations and rules. These tools don’t offer any human reasoning, alternatives or explanation. Sometimes, you may get a client or boss barking at you about how a tool has indicated there is a problem with SEO/social/writing/design etc. and that you need to fix it asap. Even if you use automated tools on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean that you know exactly how they work.

So that’s the first step, learn how to use the tool and where data is gathered and why the results look like they do. This not only gives you a better understanding of a specific area of online marketing but will also cool your nerves when you can offer a calm and collected answer. If you take the shortcut and rely on automated tools as a quick fix, you could do your website more harm by fixing things based on a diagnosis that might be inaccurate.

Final Thoughts on Automation?:
Tools are good for effectively budgeting your time. The downside occurs when you don’t have the details to answers that pop up. Be wary of what tools tell you and check different ones for cross reference. Many popular tools have free versions which you can keep on the back burner and compare with your main paid tools. Check around on forums if you need help with troubleshooting or assistance with reading the results. And remember, if you get any weird or unexpected results, don’t take them as a sign that it’s the end of the world for your website. But don’t brush it off either! Don’t forget to use that brain. Check us out on Google+ and continue the conversation there!

SEO Plugins for WordPress

Before we take a look at some helpful SEO plugins for WordPress, here are some impressive statistics about the content management system and view the detailed infographic here:

– WordPress is responsible for 14.7 percent of the top million websites worldwide representing small, medium and big business.
– An average day sees about 500,000 new posts and 400,000 new comments on
– 48% of the top 100 blogs, as ranked by Technorati, currently use WordPress as their CMS
– 22 of every 100 new domains created in the US are running WordPress
– WordPress boasts the biggest market share when it comes to content management systems (53.8%)

There are many benefits of using a CMS, and there are a variety of WordPress plugins that you can help optimize your website for maximum exposure. Here are a few:

SEO Rank Reporter
This plugin provides an easy way to track Google rankings of specific keywords based on 3 day intervals. The data is presented in easy-to-read graphs so that you can see your progress and areas that you need to work on.

Need a hand with landing pages? This plugin provides effective templates with different features that makes it easy to customize content for a main landing page or any content page.

WordPress SEO By Yoast
This highly rated plugin is widely used for a good reason. There are many features including: meta data analysis, XML sitemaps, social sharing, analysis of onsite SEO and much more. Try it for yourself!

Author hReview
This is any easy way to integrate star ratings and other useful reviews into your pages that will show up in rich snippet previews of your site. This is extremely useful for increasing your credibility as well as your click through rates.

This plugin makes it easy to directly post your content onto different networking sites for maximum social visibility. You can customize the boxes and buttons of your liking and chose the most relevant ones to your business.

There are so many plugins for different business needs, so you can try a variety to see which ones are most helpful. Don’t forget to utilize plugin ratings to see which ones are most helpful to other people. Let us know which are your favorite plugins and why!

Keyword Research Ideas and Tools

Sometimes, research for keyword advertisting can be totally redundant and uninteresting. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut, here are few ideas that will hopefully revitalize you and hopefully give you that spark that you need:

Related terms and synonyms – Need a better idea of what keywords to use? In your next Google search, use the tilde ~ in front of a term that you’re interested in. For example, “~creative social media campaigns” will give results such as:
– create social media strategy
– best social media campaigns
– design a social media campaign
– creative engagement in online and social media campaigns

After writing awhile on the same topic, you can find that you start to use the same phrases and words. This search option is a good way to find alternative anchor text to link, come up with page titles and use phrases to use in meta descriptions.

Visualize your keywordsKeyword Eye is a keyword visualization tool that can help with your pay per click landing pages as well as give you ideas for your copywriting. This tool has a free option which is easy to use. Below, you can see an example I tried:

keyword eye

For PPC campaigns, the keywords are color coded for search competition and the size represent search volume. There is also a chart and list version to help you with further keyword analysis.

Self-Analysis and Social Media – Think about your most popular products and services as your customers would perceive them. After making a list of keywords you want, you can add a social touch by researching sites like Topsy and Social Mention. You can also find new synonyms here and add them to your list.

Let us know if you have any go-to methods when it comes to keyword research!

Have You Used Google Correlate for Keyword Research?

google correlateGoogle Correlate is a free tool that is great for keyword advertising research. The purpose of this tool is to give you correlations related to certain keywords. In our sample, when “gifts” is typed in, we can see that it is highly correlated with “creative gifts”. The graph below shows the correlation of the two keywords and their peak times. Are you surprised that it occurs around the holiday season of December?

(Note: The closer to 1 you get, the more closely correlated the terms will be. Remember, if the keywords are closely correlated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the input causes the output – but that they have similar search patterns.)

Google Correlate works by scraping raw search data and presenting you with the results. In some cases, you might get weird and unrelated search results – so you can try it out for yourself and play around with the results by state and time series. You can even log in and save certain keywords so that you can track them and see how it changes overtime.

This is a great tool for bloggers and brands who want more information about consumer behavior. It can also help if you need alternate keywords or inspiration. When used with Google Trends, it can give you better insight when it comes to your online marketing campaigns. The best part is that you can search for brands and see state and seasonal demand for certain products. Type in Nike, Sony, and other big brands to see results.

Take a look at Google’s tutorial for a more in-depth look at how Correlate works and how to use it.

SEO During the Website Redesign Process

In many ways, website redesign can be a lot like moving. There’s so much stuff to pack and rearrange that important things can get misplaced, lost or even left behind. And when you arrive at your new place, it can take a while for everything to be put back in it’s right place again.

If your business is ready for a new SEO web design makeover, here are 4 components that you CAN’T forget about:

1) Transferring tags and descriptions over – Sure, it’s time consuming but title/meta tags/descriptions, even alt tags for images, should reflect the content on each individual page. It’s considered bad SEO practice to have the same information reflected over and over on every page of your website.

2) 301 redirects – It may take awhile for Google to re-crawl your new site. In the meantime, your old URLS will show up in search engine page results. The most efficient way to make sure that this information is not lost is to create a 301 redirect from your old URL to new URL. This is simple for your webmaster to implement and will help preserve your search engine rankings.

3) Forgetting to link keywords – Transferring content from an old site to a new one often involves copy and pasting text. During the transfer, make sure that you don’t drop and URLS and make sure that they’re linking to the right working page.

4) Testing – Lastly, don’t forget the importance of testing before going live. This means checking links and overall usability before you go through with the complete site transfer.

Finally, even when your new website is completed it’s crucial to constantly review your SEO. The excitement of a brand new site may be overwhelming but remember that without the right SEO strategies, no one will be visiting!

Keyword Trends on Yahoo! Search Clues

Yahoo! always seems be overshadowed by the giant that is Google, so it’s good to see something new from them.

Yahoo! Search Clues allows users to search keyword trends over time. You can also see demographics such as: age, gender, income and location. Pretty neat right? And it can definitely come in handy on your PPC or SEO campaigns.

I think the visual comparison between PPC and SEO is cool and probably accurate. Don’t you think? SEO is more of a consistent and long term tactic while paid search can fluctuate depending on different factors.

What will you use it for?

Tips from a Site Reviews Webinar

If you have an SEOmoz Pro account, you can submit your site for review and they just might include it in one of their upcoming webinars. There were about 100 people on the call and it was nice to see something different – analyzing user submitted websites. It’s a change of pace from other webinars who use Zappos and other big companies that make it hard for small businesses to relate to.

Definitely learned a lot from today’s webinar. Very useful info and I’ve bookmarked some tools for future research. These are definitely some things that you want to consider looking into:

  • Use Open Site Explorer to check the link popularity for your site
  • Learn how changing your meta tags strategy can be beneficial
  • Consider promoting embedded graphs or graphics as a way to get some link love (like Mint)
  • How to use hashtags to connect to more than one anchor link

The favorite part of these webinars is the Q + A section. I found it helpful that Rand Fishkin provided links and resources during the call. The chat box also allows attendees to directly communicate with each other. An hour and a half is a bit long for a webinar but I’m definitely looking forward to more helpful resources.

One Keyword Versus Multiple Keywords

How many organic search keywords should be targeted per page?

This frequently asked question seems like an easy one to answer—search pages are expensive to create so we should invest in as many keywords as possible per page, right? Wrong. Search engine experts are now telling us that having just one primary focus per page is advisable. It is impossible not to have other words on the page besides the keyword you are trying to optimize, however it is possible to have your page target one specific concept.

What about when you have two words that essentially mean the exact same thing? Landing pages can be shared between two words that have the same basic meaning. Acronyms and initialisms, which are formed using the initial components in a phrase or a name, can share the same page as the full phrase or name that the acronym is abbreviated for.  However, for whatever reason, some people want to target different messages to the people who are searching for the acronym and to the people who are typing the full phrase or name, in which case you could have two different pages.

The reason to target only one search keyword is because you want to get the number one result in Google. Even if you have a number of words or phrases that are related, you will not get the best result with that many targets. The most advisable approach is to think of highly targeted pages with just one goal. Optimize just one concept per page so as not to confuse the search engine and thus lower the page ranking. In doing so, you can include other concepts as long as they fit in with the primary concept.

In order for this to work you must create a number of landing pages. It is a lot of work but simply begin with the best matches for your site and gradually create more.

Web Advertising and the Small Business: Do I Need a Middleman?

Web advertising is becoming an increasingly self-serve business, allowing SMBs to run their own web campaigns. Now that anyone can purchase keywords on search engines and pay per click advertising, do SMBs really need a company to help them advertise?

Although the new age of advertising does offer unparalleled flexibility and affordablilty, wading through the sheer amount of options and technical lingo can be overwhelming, and many SMBs still find it worthwhile to have someone to guide them through the process, sift through the options, and find the most effective and economical strategy for their advertising dollar. Techniques such as search engine optimization, and organic SEO though simple in concept, can be tricky to implement.

For the unsure, online ads can be as simple and old-fashioned as the online yellow pages ad. Any business owner familiar with yellow page advertising can wrap their head around this one, but the technique is still the same as print advertising, visibility is determined by the size and placement of the ad. Local search sites like city search add such features as customer reviews, but not much else.

Search engines, considered by many the most effective form of online marketing, also bring a wide spectrum of options and increased complexity along with them. The goal here is the highest rankings, but truly effective search engine optimization is far more than popping up first under a particular search. For example a search for “plumbing” versus “plumbers” or “plumber” can yield far different results. This complexity has created a niche for companies like Emarketed to help SMBs plan SEO campaigns more effectively.

The irony is that as web advertising becomes more accessible to the small business owner, the complexity of effectively running these campaigns increases as well, meaning that at least for the present, SMBs will find themselves best served by consulting these middlemen for their online advertising campaigns.