Google’s Latest & Greatest (?) … The Disavow Tool

By: iCopywriter Blogger & Senior Techie-Researcher, Kimberly Crossland

Search engine optimization continues to advance as Google announces yet another update to their algorithm. This time, however, Google is giving power back to website owners to help them fight back against backlinks that may be considered ‘spammy’ and harmful to their rankings online.

Earlier this year, Google released their Penguin update to their search engine algorithm. One of the most controversial changes in the Penguin update was the punishment on websites that appear to Google as having purchased backlinks to try to boost their website in the search engine results. The concern with this was not against the companies who were doing this, but that competitors to websites could potentially do this to try to hurt their competition in the search engine rankings, and a legitimate business could be severely impacted with no way to retaliate or recover.

Now, the Google disavow tool has taken this concern and given website owners a way to disavow the links that they feel are hurting their site. According our friends at Elevated Search, this is:

“…for all of the people who were affected by the Penguin update that had over-optimized anchor text. A lot of people had gone out to try to request the web masters to remove these links and a lot of situations happened. One, they were successful in getting the links removed. That’s not a high percentage. And two, these webmasters are now actually charging you to remove the links… Now you can actually tell Google, here’s a list of the links, I have tried to remove these links, please disavow them.”

Through the new Disavow tool, found here, website owners can enter websites that they feel are hurting their search engine results because of their poor backlinks. Here’s how you can disavow any links you feel may be hurting your site:

  • List harmful URL’s in a text file
  • Access the Disavow tool by Google (Bing has one too)
  • Select your website, follow instructions and submit

Once you have finished submitting your links, Google warns that it could take a few weeks for Google to accept your submission. And in some cases, Google may revoke your request. Google warns that you should take caution when using this tool. An accidental submission could take even longer to resubmit or reavow a link. The team at Elevated Search agrees with Google:

“This tool is dangerous for your…amateur SEO. It could hurt you if you are not careful.”

If you were impacted by the Google Penguin update, as many English websites were, this tool may be your lifeline to help you recover from their algorithm changes. But, as we mentioned, it is a tool that should be used with caution. If you are concerned that you may need to disavow links, here is the full blog post from Google with more information.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo Credit: ivanpw

SEO 101 – The Beginner’s Guide to Ranking High in Search Engine Results

Did you know that market studies have shown that over 90% of transactions begin with a search? Even more surprising is that of those searchers, the same market studies showed that 75% of users rarely go past the first page of results.

We’re sure you know the importance of being listed in the top 10 results, but with constant search engine updates, such as the recent Penguin update, it is not uncommon to feel lost in the world of search engine optimization.

For many small businesses, there is a mindset of build it and they will come when it comes to an online presence. But with millions of websites on the internet, search engines can rarely find websites that operate in this way. Instead, it takes time and effort to prove to search engines that your content, product or service is what your customer, the searcher, is looking for.

Here are a few tips to help you understand what your website needs to help get optimized for search engine results.

  1. Understand your keywordsKeywords are the text that prospective customers type into the search box to try to find you. Search engines can find these keywords in the copy on your website – this is the main way that they determine if your site is relevant for the person making the request. Some small businesses try to simply stuff their pages with keywords. Why is this bad? The advanced algorithms search engines use will quickly deem your site as “spammy.” Keyword use must be natural appropriate. Unsure of what your keywords should be? Google has a tool to help here.
  2. Keep your site updatedGoogle also wants to see if your site is current. This requires constant updates, such as through regular blog posts and web page content revisions. According to a marketing Sherpa study, companies with blogs received 2000% more traffic, which resulted in 40% more revenue. High quality content drives people to your website and stirs the interest in your company to make them ultimately think of you when they are ready to purchase. Using content from professional copywriting firms can ease the burden on you to craft quality content, and can help you ensure that what you are putting out online will not hurt your search results.
  3. Build backlinksNot only do you have to worry about the content on your own page, but to show search engines that your page has something of value, other pages must link to it as well. This is best done by writing guest blog posts on other websites and linking the keywords you found in step one, back to your website and content. Sound simple, right? But getting guest posts accepted by the right sites can be tricky. Reputable SEO firms can help you here. Building backlinks through guest posting and other content marketing strategies should be a regular part of your SEO regime, as the more current your backlinks, the better your SEO will be.

Search engines have a job to do: delivering the most current and valuable websites to their searchers is their priority. To do this, they use complicated algorithms that are constantly changing. To stay ahead with your SEO efforts, put your content marketing strategy to work for you by keeping your page regularly updated with valuable information for your readers and by building backlinks on other sites.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo credit: SEOPlanter

Is Your Blog A Link Bait Bomb?

How to Avoid Being a Link Bait Blog – And Why You Want To…

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

Getting backlinks to and from your blog is one of the top priorities of any company blog, right? Wrong.

Here’s why it shouldn’t be.

Link baiting is used by some blogs and companies to get links from other pages back to their website. I mean, it’s what you learned to should do for better search engine optimization, right? But link baiting can actually hurt companies in the end.

When a post is written with the sole purpose of having other pages link back to their site, they run the risk of obtaining links from sources that are not high quality, and drive their qualified readers away by creating a blog that is more of a burden to read than a help.

How can you be sure your blog helps your SEO without link baiting? Here are a few tips.

  • Write to your reader – When a blog post is written, you should always be sure the end reader is kept in mind. Instead of writing to search engines or for the sole purpose of being linked to, only use blog posts that will actually provide something of value to your reader.
  • Only post when you have quality information – Posting content, just for the sake of getting links back to your site, does nothing for your brand or website. In fact, posting content that is not informative or compelling will actually drive the people you want reading your blog, away.
  • Do not stuff your blog posts with keywords – Recently we wrote about how Google is cracking down with a new update to their algorithm on websites who stuff their pages with keywords. When you use keyword stuffing, not only does your page not sound natural, and typically it does not read well, but it also alerts search engines that you may be a web spammer instead of a legitimate site.
  • Keep your posts short and to the point – Most people skim through blog posts. When they see a blog post that is over approximately 750 words, they may get scared. Unless your blog post has a very specific and relevant topic with details that will intrigue the end user, such as this one from SEOMoz, posting long articles on basic information will only detour people away from your blog.

Link baiting has been used by many online marketers as an effort to garnish more backlinks with the hope that it will improve their SEO. However, if your company uses a copywriting service that instead follows these tips, your blog will go viral more naturally, and you will receive backlinks from more legitimate sources that send higher qualified traffic.

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately?