Getting leads from negative SEO practices

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Leads are important for all businesses of any kind, whether you are a small or enterprise business, your customers or clients are the most important for your businesses to succeed and survive, without them, your business is most likely to be closed soon enough if you dont get enough customers or clients to serve. Especially for service provider companies that mainly exist because of the need of their clients.

In Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry, getting leads or clients is definitely a must for SEO agencies or even freelancers that are seeking for companies to work with. They do this by marketing their websites lead generation campaigns, creating epic win strategies via blog post and rank in organic search to increase website traffic and even promoting in social media channels or via paid search to eventually attract potential clients. In most cases, it is generally easier for well established firms or individuals who can get tons of leads via a single blog post.

However, this could be a long term process for startup SEO agencies and freelancers who have not yet established their authority and reputation in the industry so it is more likely that they will have difficulty in getting clients and compete with big SEO agencies. So how can small SEO agencies or freelancers take advantage of this situation and get the clients waiting for them?

In this article, Ill show you how this can bedone without doing much of work but through reverse engineering unethical SEO practices. Yes, it is possible just by tailing the unethical activities of some SEOs that Google do not approve. Unfortunately, even after a lot of announcements, algorithm updates, and SEO trends, there are still practices being implemented with an aim to manipulate search rankings for various keyword terms and this is where you will come in and lead them to the right path.

Find recently published articles

We all know that getting links from article submission sites are no longer powerful as it was and getting links from article sites are associated with risks such as negative signal to Google. Since article submission was widely abused by link builders to generate links on their client's website, this has earned negative connotation to Google as unnatural link building practice and could trigger penalty both manual and algorithm filter which is a serious situation for a website to be in.

On January 29, 2014, Google head of spam team Matt Cutts, posted a video on Webmaster help Youtube channel regarding links from article submission sites. Matt Cutts said, Today's webmaster video: "Should I build links using article directories?"(No)



There are several reasons why links from article sites give no value to a website such as:

  • Links from article websites are unnatural.
  • Links from article sites are keyword rich anchor text.
  • Links from article websites are low quality and manipulative.

While article submission is no longer supported by Google, it is still surprising that there are persistent SEO firms that keep doing risk prone method. But you can make use of if for your advantage. Since its clear that links from article sites are not useful for websites, hunting down recent articles with questionable anchor text to corporate websites is a good way to find potential clients.Heres how you can do it.

Locate your source - You need to look for article websites that often publish articles to discover the potential opportunities you can obtain. In this section, visiting the largest article submission sites you can think of is a good idea. Since big article submission sites often get a lot of active users who are actively submitting articles for the sole of building links. You can take advantage of their behavior to for your benefits.

Unconsciously, while they are performing manipulative SEO tactics on their clients websites, they are somehow giving away opportunities to unethical SEOs to contact their clients directly.

 
Identify publish date To ensure that the potential leads you will find are still connected with SEOs, unaware of their strategies and relying on their help to increase traffic, exposure and authority, check the publish date of each articles you will find just below the title of the article.


Analyze each articleAnother thing that makes it easier for you to help website owners realize they are at the wrong hands, analyzing the whole article could be a better idea to ensure that the content used is within the business goals, objectives and more importantly, industry.

Here are the key elements when analyzing articles you will see in the article submission sites:


  • Topically Related to the Business 
  • Article Length 
  • Words or Key Phrases Used 
  • Keyword Rich Content 
  • Exact Match Keyword Anchor Text 
  • Linking Pages from the Article 


Make Appropriate Actions - Once you identified prospect leads from reverse engineering article sites, you can put them altogether in a spreadsheet to enable you to track your campaign.

You need to provide basic but critical information such as:


  • Live URL of the link from article website
  • Name of the best contact person
  • Email address


Real life example

While doing this experiment, I checked on recently published article I could find and analyzed the article content. I just basically followed what Matt Cutts mentioned on Google Webmaster Help Video about getting links from article directory sites..

And here is what I found..


And this is what I did..

I emailed the website owner and here is the reply..


Imagine if you could send at least 20 emails a day.. At least 1 or 2 will reply and it is up to you how you will convert them to be your clients.

Look for low quality social bookmarking sites

Another method you can use to source for potential leads is by looking at low quality social bookmarking sites orplig sites. Since low quality websites was first targeted by Penguin to identify the low quality websites that have obtain low quality links, finding websites that are continuously getting links from low quality bookmarking sites could be a good place to start and look for potential websites you can contact regarding the off-site activity of their link builders.

Normally, a bookmark looks like is exact matched or keyword focused anchor text so it wont be difficult to identify a sample of manipulative bookmark especially if it was bookmarked on a low quality bookmarking site. For link focused service providers, getting social bookmark links are just one of their tactics in creating links but this could trigger negative signal to search engines and this is where you will come in.


By letting the website owners know that their website is being spammed in terms of links, this could give you good impression to those website owners. Since they dont have time to understand SEO trends, dos and donts and Search Engine Guidelines, letting them know what could hurt their websites' online presence is a better way to make you sound smart and look handsome.

Here is how to do it..

Look for social bookmarking sites with adult sections or bookmarks - Since Google does not quality websites to get links from websites with adult content or categories, getting links from websites with adult content is not a good idea for long term purposes.

Identify bookmarks that are not written in English - Another to way identify a manipulative negative SEO is to analyze whether a bookmarking site is mainly written in English or non-English language. If you will find a website tha targets only United States audience but linking to german boomarking site, this is an ideal negative SEO practice and hence, need to be addressed.

Look for bookmarks with exact match anchor texts - In 2011 onwards, it has become non-ideal for websites who want to rank in organic search to practice keyword focused anchor text as it became widely abused to manipulate search rankings which means, websites still practicing keyword focused link building is a sign of manipulation that against Google guidelines.

Once you have a list of websites that are massively linking on low quality bookmarking sites, you can then start reaching out to website owners and let them know the risks associated with getting low quality links with exact matched keyword focused link building.


Look for spam blog comments

Spotting spam blog comments should be undoubtedly easy as identifying blog comments can be done just by looking at the comment itself or even by the name used to leave a comment. If you are running an SEO blog, you probably have encountered comments with questionable name and even linking page/s in the comment that point to SEO agencies or even non-industry related websites such as Legal, Insurance or Dental.

With that being said, that actually gives you opportunities that you can explore and see if you can convert them into clients or leads. Also, since there are automated blog comment tools that can be used to skyrocket blog comment links, having a tons of prospects from blogs or sites can just be overwhelming and therefore, a good place to hunt down potential leads for your business. 
 

To do this, you can just identify blogs or websites that often accept and receive comments from various people by doing a filtered search results.


  • Keyword + Blog Comments
  • Inurl: Write for Us + Keyword
  • Guest post byIndustry


Once you have a list of websites that allow comments, you can then start gathering information from comments section of the blogs or websites you will find. To do this, you need first to analyze each comments, links and names that were used to drop on the comment and just identify those who are manipulative spammy such as:


  • Irrelevant comments
  • Irrelevant blog industry
  • Exact match anchor text as a name
  • Promotional comments


Once you have the information you need ready, start reaching out to the websites that you will collect after you conduct your analysis.

Guest blogging for links - Guest link building

Earlier this year, Matt Cutts, the head of Google Web Spam team recently announced the decay of Guest blogging which made a lot of noise in the SEO industry especially for those who have switched guest blogging for link building purposes.Traditionally in link development space, if a certain strategy has been overly abused by link builders, search engines like Google in particular will eventually take action of their link acquisition method IF they believe it is against their search engine guidelines and the main goal of building links is for link manipulation.

Finding this kind of spam guest blogging for links could be quite difficult especially if the link was placed before the decay of guest blogging, exact match and author bio links. Normally, a guest blogger would place a brand name in the author bio section that supposed to look non-manipulative but not editorially given.However, it has become generally unwise to link from author bio links as it can trigger manipulative approach in search engines.

To get potential leads from guest blogging tactic for links, analyzing the guest contributed content in your target industry can be a good approach to start with. Investigate those contributed content that you will discover to see if you will notice any manipulative approach such as:


  • Duplicate Content
  • Keyword Rich Content
  • Topically Irrelevant Blog


When you identify guest contributed content that you believe to be manipulative based on the analysis you conducted, you can start reaching out to website owners or administrators by directly contacting them and let them know about the method of their SEO to acquire links.

Conclusion

In any business industry, it does not matter how many clients or leads you always get each day, but what matters is how you deliver the service you offer to your clients. It is always important to be honest and true when delivering the outcomes and reports for specific campaigns or projects that you handled  so that your clients will always in the loop and aware of what they get from your services. So if you are doing an SEO for a client, focusing on quality, user experience, conversion rates etc are whats really important than focusing and going crazy about getting inbound links that can just only harm your website. Tsk


Joseph Gojo Cruz is the author of RankingElite, a Philippine-based Online Marketing blog. Joseph has been working in SEO industry for over 3 years from website audit, link and content development, social media and search engine optimization. Connect with Joseph on Google+Twitter, and Facebook. Joseph is also a contributor on SEJ and Ahrefs.
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SEO Tips for site optimization

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a continuously changing and fast phased industry. A tactic that might be working today may notwork tomorrow so it is always a requirement in this industry to keep learning and improving by conducting own studies or reading the studies of other SEO experts from their personal or professional experiences.

While some studies don't really seem to have shown and proven results, others have seen a tremendous positive impact that can be very effective for every websites in any industry such as:




However, this does not mean that if their strategy worked for their industry or niche, it would work for your industry as well, right? Before you do any further SEO on a website, you should first look at the backbone of your own property for improvement and follow the studies mentioned above. This list of SEO tips may actually help you lead your way to succeed in ranking in organic search without having to rely on various case studies and everything.

Note: Case studies mentioned above are awesome. I use and follow those ideas for better performance in search industry. :)

The main purpose of this post is to help websites become search engine friendly, increase organic traffic and improve user experience.

This post consists of the SEO tips for on-site optimization that are not about the meta data, image alt, keyword in URL etc as you already know more about them than I do and there have been a lot of articles written about them so I won't attempt to rewrite the history.

Find 404 pages

Giving the best user experience to our visitors is what we always wanted to improve in the long run. We obviously don't want them to be disappointed whenever a new visitor discovers our site by giving our audience pages that are no longer available or live. For small or enterprise businesses out there, Im sure it will be a huge slap to their website when a visitor left their website due to annoying 404 pages and went back to organic results to look for your competitors. So dealing with 404 pages is not just an option, it is an important tip that should be incorporate to a website.


Also, did you know that this can help build your website the following benefits?

  •  Longer engagement rate
  • Increase conversion rate
  •  Increase return visit rate
  • Trust rate

How to discover 404 pages on a website?

Finding 404 pages should not be really time consuming and difficult to perform as there are tools that can help you do the job as quick as possible! In this phase, you will need to acquired ScreamingFrog tool to see the list of 404 pages

The process:
  1. Have your website crawled by the tool
  2. Go to URL list of your website and select the response code status found on your website.
  3. Export the list of 404 pages and start redirecting them to related content on your website.
Another way, you can see 404 pages by checking your site errors in GWT.

Login to your GWT account, go to your website, CRAWL section to and see CRAWL errors.




Eliminate 302 redirects

This is rarely happens on every website but it is still something that should not be kept as far as optimizing a website as a whole is concern. In an SEO perspective, losing high quality inbound links to a website is definitely a serious matter. Especially if those links are from governmental or educational sites so the value of links should be given priority.

For 302 status code, this is quite similar to losing your links to your site as 302 redirect or temporary redirect don't pass any value and authority to a website compare to 301 redirect. So getting rid of 302 redirects is imperative especially for e-commerce website.

How to identify 302 redirects on your pages

  1. Have your website crawled by the tool
  2.  Go to URL list of your website and select the response code status found on your website.
  3.  Export the list of 302 pages and start redirecting them to related pages using 301.


Resolve unresponsive website design

While the uses of desktop computers are high, the uses of smart phones and tablet are on the rise. A study show that engagement on Mobile and Tablet is becoming more popular in for search users as this gives them a convenient way of browsing the internet at their comfort times. So giving your audience an optimal viewing experience is definitely crucial if you want to give positive user experience in various technology platforms to your audience.




Resolve canonical issues

It has always been an issue for websites to avoid duplicate content issues. Although Google has told many times that duplicate content can severely damage a website ranking in organic search, it is still surprising to see websites that practice having duplicate content on their website unconsciously or consciously. One good example of this issue is by having unresolved canonicalization issues; it is very given that when a website is accessible in different URL format, it triggers duplicate content as search engines look at it that way.

Example of accessible website in different URL format:

  •  http://www.domain.com/main.html
  •  http://www.domain.com/index.html
  •  http://domain.com
  • http://domain.com/main.html
  • http://domain.com/index.html

While we all know that those URLs mentioned above points to the same page, Google considers them different as pages with the same content that causes duplicate content issue.

Another way of identifying duplicate issue on a website is by using Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), one of the beneficial features is this can help webmasters spot the potential duplicate issues of title and description within a website, which is not a good practice approach in the field of digital marketing.

How to spot HTML improvement to a website using Google Webmaster tools:

  • Login to your Google mail account and go to Google.com/webmasters
  • Spot duplicate meta title and description within your website as defined in HTML improvement of your website

Optimize your rich snippets

One crucial SEO tip a webmaster needs to be taken into practice and implementation is by optimizing your search preview for your target key phrases that will drive organic traffic to your website. In organic search results, the more information your website is able to show in SERPs, the higher the chances that you will increase your CTRs which is highly important as far as increasing organic traffic is concern.



There are several types of rich snippets that Google supports for several content types; this summarizes a page that helps users to understand what the page is about in our search results. These types are actually the information that Google believes are informative to search users and can give them an idea of whats on the page and why its relevant to their search query.

  • Reviews
  • People
  • Products
  • Businesses and organizations
  • Recipes
  • Events
  • Music
  • Videos

How to get started with rich snippets and structured data?

  •  Learn what micro data is
  • Start marking up your content
  • Test your rich snippet


To see full example of implementation of rich-snippets, visit this blog post by HobSpot.

Implement breadcrumbs

For large websites like news sites or e-commerce sites, it is important that they help their audience track back their locations on a particular page of a website. This set of links can help a user understand and navigate your site's hierarchy that can give them a better user experience while on a website.

In digital marketing industry, implementing breadcrumbs navigation is not just a requirement; it is a mandatory for every website which aims to help their audience have a wonderful experience.

Importance and best practices of breadcrumbs for a website:

  •  SEO Benefit
  • This helps your audience navigate your site
  • Always start from your home page down to category page  individual page
  • Utilize relatively keywords as displayed anchor text in your trail
  • Breadcrumbs should always reflect to your website hierarchy

A good example of breadcrumb is listed below:

Dresses Real Dresses Real Green Dresses
Webmaster Tools Help articles My site and Google Creating Google-friendly sites

Doing your website and your audience a small favor will give you huge success in terms of user experience, longer visitor engagement and most importantly, this helps your website for being search engine friendly which is absolutely important for larger websites.

Appearing in In-depth articles

Optimizing your appearance in organic search is really crucial as this helps provide more information to your audience on what information they should expect to see on your website. In related to that section, Google has given another feature that websites and webmaster would enjoy hopefully in the long run. Google will reward websites that provide high quality content to appear in in-depth article section that can increase your organic traffic from Google.
  
What are the requirements for this markup on a website?

Normally, this will require schema article markup highlighted the following features:

  • headline
  • alternativeHeadline
  • image (note: the image must be crawlable and indexable)
  • description
  • datePublished
  • articleBody




To see the benefits of this awesome mark-up on Google, visit this blog post on QuickSprout.

Allow comment board section

Having a conversation with your audience about specific topic posted on your blog section can help you get to know them. Perhaps, this is also a good section to hear their opinion and thoughts about a specific topic.  Of course, anticipating that spammers will come around to spam your comment section, you need to set some rules that even if a spammer drops a comment, that won't have negative result to your website at all.

Have some rules:

  • Use real name
  • Require email
  • Don't ask for a URL
  • Review comments

Implement social buttons


Essentially, giving your audience a way to connect with you in different ways is a great approach in digital marketing. I know it is very common for every digital marketer out there to place social buttons on their clients' website or their own but surprisingly, a lot of them failed to do this. The opportunity they actually missed here is not actually a lot - sarcasm saying! They are just losing potential social followers that could be a big help to them!



Moving forward, placing your favorite social platforms on the very prominent place of your website is good enough to catch your audience attention. If you want help with installing social buttons on your site, you can use the Addthis plugin. There are free and paid plugin with different design that you can choose from so do an experiment to see which design will work best!




Give Subscribe button!

Looking to expand your email subscribers list is actually one of the high priorities to establish in digital marketing space. You need to have a sky is the limit list but you also want to ensure that those subscribers are the right people to target.



And this is where subscribe button comes in. By adding subscribe button on the very prominent section of your website, you can actually increase the list of people who are happy to get updates from you.

Actually, there is a plugin that I'm using on this blog called ManyContacts - a free subscribe to me plugin that can help you build your sky is the limit list! If you want to know how this plugin works, checkout this review by KaiserTheSage.

If you are marketing your business online, getting all the potential help that can help you improve your traffic, links, user experience and more importantly sales or conversion in a legitimate way, this one is right for you.

Shazam! It ends here..

Doing your website and your visitors a huge favor in terms of user satisfaction experience is actually a big win to achieve for business owners. If you don't think it is not very rewarding, it is not probably your goal to improve your user experience.

Remember that Google monitors a website in so many ways with (GA code installed) particularly based on visitors behavior on a site. If they leave right away and went back to SERPs, this would mean that you didn't meet the expectations of your visitors and could cause negative impact to your website. So dealing with issues and looking for improvement is a good combination that an SEO must always use to a website.

If I missed SEO tips for webmasters, let me know in comment section and I'll be happy to update the list. If you like this post, you can socialize with me! 



Joseph Gojo Cruz is the author of RankingElite, a Philippine-based Online Marketing blog. Joseph has been working in SEO industry for over 3 years from website audit, link and content development, social media and search engine optimization. Connect with Joseph on Google+Twitter, and Facebook. Joseph is also a contributor on SEJ and Ahrefs.

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