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What is an authority site?

Young people have no respect for authority now...

Young people have no respect for authority nowadays (Photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy)

Making an authority website should be the goal of any business that focuses on SEO. While it is possible for an ecommerce website with little content that is able to rank for a wide range of different high profile keywords, the goal needs to be the main information source for individuals looking for information about that particular niche. An authority site is typically an information hub, but it can fill a number of different roles, depending upon the needs of the business and it’s current SEO outlook. Typically, an authority site will contain some of the following characteristics.

Authority site: Definitive Information Provider

One thing that many authority sites have in common is the fact that it is a bonafide information provider for information that is related to the business’ particular industry. Typically, the more information contained on the website the better. Websites that are able to achieve status as an authority website are able to provide a wide range of information about any and all subjects related to their niche.

By looking at what other websites have done successfully, businesses that are interested in becoming an authority site will be able to learn how to go about structuring content and navigation to make the experience seamless for the end user, while also remaining search engine friendly.

Depending upon how broad a particular niche is, a site could be an authority website with just a few pages. Broader niches could require hundreds or thousands of pages to be a true authority. In example, if a particular niche focused on “Stock mufflers in Honda Civics,” that authority site might only need 10 to 15 pages to display all of the relevant information. However, if the website were focused on “Honda Civic Parts,” in general, there would be a lot more content required to provide well-rounded information on the subject as a whole.

Authority websites should strive to cover the entirety of their subject matter as wholly as possible. There can be dozens of websites considered to be an authority in the same niche, but those that are able to go above and beyond in terms of information quality and quantity are much more likely to position themselves as an authority site.

Keep in mind that there are no strict definitions of an authority site. There is no magical number of pages that needs to be reached in order to be considered one. Instead of setting limits and aiming for a certain number of pages, set goals for providing the best coverage of the subject matter within that niche.

Links

While it is not a necessity to be considered an authority site, a large majority of websites will have links from other authority sites within their niche. While links might not play the same prominent role in SEO as they once did, having a high quality inbound link profile still helps the website to rank and is required for most competitive keywords. A website can have the greatest content in the world, but if the website does not contain what the Google algorithm is looking for, it will never be able to rank. The goal of any would-be authority site should be to garner links from other authority sites within the niche. This signals to google that the website provides excellent information that is worth being linked to. The higher quality the website is that the link comes from, the better.

Additionally, would-be authority sites also need to make sure that they link to other high quality websites as well. Understanding link juice, how it flows from one page to another, and how to structure it’s outbound links for maximum effect is an important part of SEO. The business need to make sure that the website is linking to other high quality websites in its niche. An easy way to make sure that a website has appropriate outbound links is to link to sources for the information provided. If a particular website was used during article research, a link to that website would be appropriate and would help to establish professionalism as well.

Links allow websites to pass their Google authority from one page to another, and one site to another. This is commonly referred to as ‘link juice.’ A strong navigation system helps authority sites to pass this Google authority from one page to another on their own site. The outbound links allow the website to pass that authority on to other websites. Essentially, an outbound link is viewed as a vote of confidence for the websites that are linked to. This is applied in reverse for inbound links, meaning that the goal should be to garner as many votes of confidence as possible.

Expanded Content

One thing that can be noted by visiting authority sites is the fact that many of them offer expanded content, greatly helping their ranking authority. Expanded content refers to adding other, usually visual additions to the content so that it is more than just words on a page. Remember, half of the population learns better visually. For this reason, would-be authority websites should add images, videos, and info graphics that help to support the claims that are being made on the page.

By providing better information with expanded content types, the website is able to not only help users to better understand the information that is provided, but this also makes a website much more likely to garner links from other authority sites that find the content useful as well.

The ranking authority of a given website depends on a number of different factors. Not only should the website be the best provider of information in the given niche, but it should also have a solid SEO structure, links from other websites that are within the niche and considered to be authorities, and enough information to cover the entire niche as a whole.

Having an authority website can mean big returns for a business. No matter what style a website is published as, whether it is an e-commerce site, informational site, web magazine, or other type of website, that doesn’t stop them from offering a wealth of high quality information related to their subject matter. There is no set requirement that must be met to be an authority site, but there are certain considerations that need to be taken into account such as what subjects need to be covered. Building an authority site takes time, effort and knowledge, but can pay off big in the long term.

Automated Blog Commenting – Stop it, Stop it Now

Are you a blog owner? Do you comment on blogs of people belonging to your niche? Do you understand the importance of meaningful comments? Do you require backlinks to your blog or website? Do you use automated programs for blog commenting in order to get backlinks?  Shame on you! If yes, then read this article further. This article will enlighten you on the other aspect of automated programs for blog commenting. Read on to find out why one should not use automated programs for blog commenting.

Go Relevant

Leaving meaningful and relevant comments on a blog is indeed one of the easiest methods for increasing the targeted web traffic on your blog or website as well as in increasing its popularity. Effective search engine optimization is perhaps one the most beneficial aspect of blog commenting. The SEO benefits are for both the commenter as well as the blog owner. When people frequently leave comments on your blog, for you, the blog owner, it builds fresh content for other people visiting our blog. It is this fresh content that tends to grab the attention of the search engines and make them visit you over and over again.

It’s About Quality Not Quantity

Whereas, if you are a blog commenter leaving intelligent and meaningful comments on a blog or website, people visiting that particular blog or website will notice you. If your comments are relevant, they may perceive you as an authority of your forte. Your target audience or people of the same forte will then follow you to your blog or website as well. This will boost the visibility and exposure of your blog/website. It will also offer you the benefit of some relevant back-links.

Some people tend to use automated programs for blog commenting. Automated Programs for blog commenting find out blogs that are relevant to your forte and also submit back-links on its own. As a blog owner, you need to keep an eye out for such comments on your blog or website. People use these programs to leave trash comments, such as “Good Work, friend”, etc. solely for the purpose of getting a backlink. By making such hundreds of backlinks, they aim to enjoy better search engine optimization and gain higher search engine ranks. However, these comments do not add anything valuable, informative or meaningful to the conversation. They are totally worthless. In fact, such repetitive and recycled comments mat get your blog or website punished for duplicate content. Hence, it is widely advised not to use automated programs for blog commenting. Make sure that you delete such comments.

Most of the spam is indeed generated by these automated programs for blog commenting. Both blog owners and blog commenter should understand that they should maintain a win-win situation for each other, if they wish to ensure quality content for people surfing internet for information. Following good ethics will ensure that even you never lose anything. Make sure that you only leave comments that are meaningful and informative. Only then they will be useful.

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This article was written by Garen Arnold who runs Blog Setup Guide, a website that is geared towards showing people how to start a blog from scratch.

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Recovering from SPAMMY links on your website

Google Earth penguin

Google Earth penguin (Photo credit: BoopBoopBoopBoop)

For people in the SEO industry, there was a time when names like panda and penguin only reminded of two harmless animals. The time of innocence is – alas – over and now these names are synonyms of the two algorithm updates, which dramatically changed the answer to the question: how do I rank number one in Google?  I need to be recovering from spammy links.

The Penguin update in particular (rolled out in 2012) hit those sites that presented an “unnatural” linking profile. Paid links, links from 5-post blogs, meaningless directories, blog networks, or from unknown forums or rambling comments on blogs, the vast majority with an exact keyword match anchor text:

Google took all this catalogue of rubbish backlinking techniques and made them useless in one fell swoop.

The result was a drop of ranking for many sites, with the inevitable consequences of huge loss of traffic and therefore income.

If you are one of those webmasters who saw their sites hit by Penguin or one of its updates, then hope is not lost, and in the SEO-sphere there are plenty of success stories of sites that started to climb the SERPS again.

Recovering from SPAMMY links:

  1. Once you have identified the spammy links, the first tool you need is patience: just like you won’t build a legit link profile in a day, recovering from a spammy one will take weeks, maybe months. And even if you manage to clean most of the dirt, you won’t necessarily jump back to the top, but at least you will start with a clean slate.
  2. Start earning white hat links. This is really something you should already be doing and considering that you might never get rid of all the bad links, then the good should outnumber the bad.  How?  Look for similar websites which you can link to and from.  This will build credibility.
  3. Now gather all the bad links in a spreadsheet and send an email to each webmaster, asking to remove them. You will succeed, but you will also be ignored and even asked to pay money to have the link removed, but try and go through the whole list before you move on to the next step.
  4. For all the links that you won’t get removed, then you can use the google disavow tool, which was introduced by Google. With this tool, you are practically asking the search engine to consider that backlink as no-follow. One word of caution though: Google doesn’t like shortcuts and this is no exception. On the page of the tool it says:

    If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site. You should still make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site. Simply disavowing them isn’t enough.

    Pay specific attention to the second and third sentence: you cannot just enter the bad links in the tool and consider it done, Google wants them removed from the internet.

That’s why sending email requests as first thing is so important to start recovering from spammy links and why the disavow tool should be used only when you cannot go any further. If you have a huge list of links you want removed, the email outreach route will be a long, probably mind-numbing task.

Yet, it’s necessary to make sure that the next close encounters you will have with a penguin will only be at the zoo.

 

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Recovering from Spammy and Bad Links

Humbolt Penguin at Whipsnade Zoo.

Humbolt Penguin at Whipsnade Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pandas and penguins used to conjure up memories of nice, interesting animals…but now – for the SEO minded people, those names are now code names for two of Google’s algorithm updates, which dramatically changed the answer to the question: how do I rank number one in Google?

When and How to fix Bad Links?

The Penguin update in particular (rolled out in 2012) hit those sites that presented an “unnatural” linking profile. Paid links, links from low-post blogs, meaningless directories, blog networks, or from unknown forums or rambling comments on blogs – with a vast majority with sharing an exact keyword match anchor text: Google took all this catalog of low quality backlinking techniques and made them useless in one fell swoop.

The result was a drop of ranking for many sites, with the inevitable consequences of huge loss of traffic and in turn a huge loss of  income.

What to do?

If you are one of those webmasters who saw their sites hit by Penguin or one of its updates, the first thing not to do it panic.  First make sure all your other tings are up to par – take our free SEO check, if you have questions about on page SEO to make sure.

Once you have identified the spammy links, the first tool you need to use is patience.  It will take time to get this “back to normal”.  Just like it took you a long time to get back into the upper ranks, you will not build a solid link profile in a day – recovering from spammy links will take weeks or months.

Even if you manage to clean most of the low quality links – it will be hard to climb back to the top, but at least you will start with a clean slate.

Phase 2:  Link Building

I know – right, that’s what got you into this mess.  Kind of…we’re talking real linking building – white hat links. This is something you should do anyway, and considering you might never get rid of all the bad links, then the good must outnumber the bad.

Link Undoing

Gather all the bad links and put them in a spreadsheet.  You want to try and ask for these links to be removed…send an email to each webmaster, asking to remove them. You will succeed, but you will also be ignored and even asked to pay money to have the link removed, but try and go through the whole list before you move on to the next step.  Even if it is a simple form letter – it will be better than nothing.

I hereby Disavow You

For all the links that you can’t get removed, we need to disavow, using the tool which was recently introduced by Google. With this tool, you are practically asking the search engine to consider that backlink as no-follow, a word of caution though – Google doesn’t like shortcuts and this is no exception.

Google has a strong warning – and this is very important to note when disavowing links:

This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you only disavow backlinks if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

On the page of the tool it says:

If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site. You should still make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site. Simply disavowing them isn’t enough.

This is why – back up in “Link Undoing” we ask you to do every effort you can to get them removed manually…it is just not always possible.  The words are chosen carefully and notice Google’s statement “you cannot just enter the bad links in the tool and consider it done, Google wants them removed from the internet” – they will be aggressively following up on the sites you identify, so be careful.

Conclusion

If you have a huge list of links you want removed, the email outreach route will be a long, probably mind-numbing task. Yet, it’s necessary to make sure that the next close encounters you will have with a penguin will only be at the zoo.  Good luck and let us know how it goes – what works and what doesn’t.

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5 Problems On Your Site That Could Be Affecting Your Search Results

Once you build your website you start writing articles hoping to increase your search engine rankings. Everyone goes through the same thing when they start and it’s usually building as much backlinks as possible. When you have enough quality backlinks you will definitely be rewarded with great rankings, but what if they could be better than what you end up with?

You might be building quality backlinks, but it could all be for nothing because whatever you’re doing on your site is damaging your results. We’re going to take a look at some of the things you need to watch out for, because you could be hurting your chances of success without even realizing it. Pay close attention to all of these problems and correct them straight away if you’re guilty of any of them.

The speed of your site

The speed of your site is something Google takes into consideration when ranking you in the search engines. A lot of people don’t realize this and they don’t care that their site can take up to 10 seconds to load. Not only will it affect your rankings, but when someone lands on your site and they have to wait it will take them a few seconds before they get impatient and click away.

The bounce rate

You need to make sure people land on your site and stay there. Once they start reading your content and want to find out more they will click on a link to read something else. If they just land on your site then disappear do you know what the search engines will be thinking? They will think your content is worthless and they won’t want you anywhere near the first-page.

Switching comments on

Some people have decided that they would rather not let people comment on their blog. There are a lot of things wrong with this that will eventually hurt them. When someone leaves a comment they are essentially increasing the amount of words on the page and you have a much better chance of ranking for more long-tail keywords. More engagement also increases your social shares.

Longer articles

Do you remember when you could write a few sentences and call it an article? 200 words and suddenly you were on the first-page of the search engines. I don’t know what your readers must have thought when they landed on your site, but you can’t say it didn’t work. It doesn’t these days and if you write longer articles you have a better chance of improving your rankings.

Too much affiliate links

This could be quite damaging if you are an affiliate because you need to make money. How can you make money if you can’t link to the products you’re recommending? You can still have affiliate links on your site, but just don’t have too much of them on one page. You should be using a plugin to mask your links, but you still can’t go crazy with them as people have found out.

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Today’s guest post is authored by Ben Kirsten, a specialist in providing backlink removal service. According to him, too many people make the mistake of trying for “Great” backlinks and end up affecting their chnaces of getting noticed. A passionate blogger, he gives advice on many more issues on his blog.

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