Before investing in any SEO strategy, you should always consider which objectives could offer the most benefits to your site and have the maximum impact on your goals. Dedicate time and effort towards a single objective, and add more layers as your site progresses along its SEO journey. Before deciding on your SEO objectives, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is the site trying to reach specific influencers with a particular message?
- Does the site need branding, sales, traffic, or a combination of all factors?
- Are the products/ services being offered on the site established online?
- Is the site subject to negative material that needs to be removed from search engine results?
Once you have answers to these questions, tackling your SEO objectives should become very simple. Executing the strategy is another matter altogether, but more on that later.
Setting KPI’s for your website
There are all sorts of ways to measure your SEO performance, but some are always known to be more important than the others. This section of the Green Traffic Search Engine Optimization Guide explains the top KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you should consider using.
After all, most websites look at search engine optimization as a means of directing more traffic to their website. Well, traffic is essential, but you need to focus on quality of traffic, not the quantity of traffic. Green Traffic recommends you to keep a track of your traffic volumes regularly. The best way to do this would be to segment the data to analyze where the traffic comes from and also concentrate on statistics such as the revenue generated from each source as well as the interaction enjoyed.
Keyword ranks is the most common KPI used in SEO. It lets you understand how your targeted keyword has improved or become worse throughout the campaign. The biggest problem with using keyword ranks as your main KPI is that you could end up concentrating on keywords that are not the best options for your website. Therefore, instead of simply focusing on keyword ranks, you should think about using a graph for the top 4 keywords, along with their revenue data, traffic and ranks in order to understand how much of an impact your SEO strategies have had.
Return on investment (ROI):
This could end up being one of the most important KPIs of your SEO campaign, as any business is unlikely to succeed without a good return. Before implementing any SEO project, you need to ensure that your business can actually benefit from SEO. There are always going to be cases when SEO is simply not profitable for the business, irrespective of how the SEO campaign is performing.
Branding is another important part of any SEO campaign. It is essential to focus on brand keywords as well as non-brand keywords, because not doing so would simply defeat the entire purpose. Keeping a track of brand exposure as a KPI could help you understand how your brand reputation evolves as your SEO strategies begin to take effect.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Here are some of the key SEO do’s and don’ts that you need to be aware of.
- Never rush on your SEO strategies. It is essential that you take stock of your resources and figure out where you wish to begin.
- Consider external resources. Hiring an external agency can streamline most of your work and add a lot of value to your website.
- Never try to search for “SEO shortcuts”. In most cases, websites end up getting penalized, when webmasters start becoming prey to “shortcuts” such as purchasing links.
- Try to consider resources that are beyond your immediate reach. This could include friends, colleagues or other business contacts. Remember, these are essential entities of any SEO campaign.
- Always keep a track of your goals. The simplest way to fail in your SEO efforts is to stray away from your goals. In most cases, the smaller things that end up getting ignored, often offer the biggest returns.
- Consider refreshing your strategies. Since the world of SEO is extremely dynamic, you might have to make periodic changes to your strategy to stay abreast with the changing world of search engine optimization.
If you experience a sudden decrease in traffic on your website, you need to determine the reasons behind your traffic drop. One of the main reasons is penalties. As explained in an earlier section of this SEO guide, penalties can be imposed on your website by search engines if it breaks certain rules and regulations. This section of the Green Traffic Search Engine Optimization Guide tries to help you understand how to get your links removed from spammy sites.
Collect backlink data
One of the first things that you need to do is to evaluate all the links that point to your website. Many recommend you to focus on the Webmaster Tool links, and we believe that this is a good strategy to use if you’re primarily focusing on Google. However, it always helps to do a thorough job by collecting link data from other sources as well. Green Traffic recommends you to look at Google Webmaster Tools, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs and Majestic SEO. Most of these sites require you to subscribe in order to gather the necessary data.
Document your work
The next step is to document all the work in order to keep a track of how you’re moving ahead with link removal. This will prove to be very useful when you submit a reconsideration request, as it will allow them to see what you’ve done to sort out your issues. Green Traffic recommends you to use Google Spreadsheets if you’re facing an issue with Google. Create tabs for each data source. All you have to do is import data from a CSV to your Google Spreadsheet. Once all the data has been gathered, you need to add the following columns at the end of the sheet: Contact Name, Email Address, Contact Form, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Date of 1st Contact, Dates for other contacts, Link Status and Notes.
Spot low-quality links
This is one of the most important steps of link removal. The best way to identify spam links is to manually review each link. Make a note of all good links and all spam links on your spreadsheet. To figure out what links are spam links, do the following: Check whether the URL is indexed on Google and look out for link directories (they contain words like SEO, links, backlinks in the URL). When dealing with links, follow a simple rule – if the link looks spammy, remove it. Always remove links if the site is not indexed by Google, the site automatically accepts links, the site has every imaginable category, the site has a lot of spam links, the site has keywords like SEO, links and best in its URL. Links that appear on forum profiles and blog comments are also considered as spam. If you feel that a particular forum post or blog post has helped your site, then it is ok. If not, get the link removed. The biggest secret to proper link removal is to use your common sense. You will always be able to understand if a link is worth having or not. If it’s not, get it removed!
Find webmaster contact details
This is the most important part of the link removal process. There are all sorts of ways to find out the owner of a particular site. In most cases, awhois search is enough to find out the owner information. Once you have the necessary information and enter it in your spreadsheet, it is time to contact the webmasters and request your links to be removed.
Reach out to webmasters
Reaching out in the right manner is essential. Your target is to get as many bad links removed as possible. Green Traffic recommends you to keep a few tips in mind while reaching out to webmasters.
- Don’t spam the webmaster’s email id.
- Be polite in your request to get the link removed.
- Don’t send multiple emails for each link that needs to be removed.
- Try to address the webmaster by his/ her name.
- Try to send an email from the domain whose link you wish to get removed.
- Keep things short and simple.
Using the disavow tool
Before we go on to explain this step, you need to realize that using the disavow tool isn’t recommended unless it is absolutely necessary. Google actually offers an in-depth guide on how one should use the disavow tool. Visit their page and get more information on this guide to learn how to disavow certain URLs. You also need to understand that Google wants you to make all possible efforts to clean up unnatural links that point to your site. Simply disavowing them is not enough.
Submit the reconsideration request
If you managed to get things right, you should be on track to get the penalty removed (fingers crossed). You basically tell Google that you’ve understood and rectified your mistakes, have ensured that it won’t happen again and apologize for the inconvenience caused. It is essential to be specific in these reconsideration requests, and that means owning up your mistakes. If you made use of an SEO company that gave you poor links, let google know the name of the company.
A few things to remember while submitting reconsideration requests
Submit the request only when you’re satisfied that you have taken all necessary actions to fix the errors on your website.
Ensure that the Google spreadsheet link that has been attached allows everyone to view it.