A Cautionary Tale of
Aggressive SEO
How to Avoid Penalties and Fix
Things When They Go Wrong

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 an...
A Cautionary Tale of Aggressive SEO
!

•

Techniques and tools that will
help your website gain rankings in
the search eng...
Hello, My Name is Scott
• • Not a Web Developer any more
• • An Internet Marketer
• • Google Analytics & Adwords Certified...
First... A Little About Search Engines
•

Most%People%Use%Google%
Most Searchers Use Google

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and...
Being on Page One of Google is Important

Some might look at the 2nd
or 3rd page of search results
Most searchers stay
on ...
Top Ranking Factors
!

• Keyword Use Anywhere in <title> Tag
• Keyword Use in Page Content
• Keyword-Focused Anchor Text f...
Top Ranking Factors
!
!

• External Link Popularity & Diversity of Source

(quantity and quality of external links)
!

• T...
One thing to Keep in Mind
!

Search Engines Constantly Evolve



Algorithm changes leave many
webmasters wondering what th...
My Black Friday Story

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
My Black Friday Story
!

• Seeing an interesting niche and
recognizing an opportunity to make a lot
of money…
• I created ...
My Black Friday Story
!

• The site gives visitors early intel on the
Door-busters and early-bird sales and get
a sneak pe...
My Black Friday Story
• I wanted to be #1 in the search engines.
• After my first successful season, I knew I
could do bet...
My Black Friday Story

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
Google Analytics (November 2011)

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
5.9 million pages to 413,458 visitors
Between November 1st-30th, 2011. Served up
to 590 concurrent users 900 pages per min...
Adsense Earnings (November 2011)

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
Unnatural Inbound Links Detected
!

ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds.com

received a penalty

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @off...
How to Troubleshoot

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
How to Troubleshoot
• Confirm the date you got hit
• Was it really a penalty or was it
just an algorithm update?
• Review ...
How to Troubleshoot
!

• Confirm if it is site-wide or a
page-specific problem
• Review Google Analytics data

Tweet with ...
There’s a Difference Between An
Algorithm Update and a Penalty

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate ...
Google ‘Penguin’ Updates
!

• Over-optimization of anchor text is bad
• Low-quality off-topic links are bad
• Keyword stuf...
Google ‘Panda’ Updates
!

Many content farms, article
directories, sites with high adto-content ratios were hit and
are no...
Who Gets Hit By Penalties?

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
Who Gets Hit By Penalties?
!

• Websites found to be in violation of
a search engines Terms of Service
!

• Websites with ...
Who Gets Hit By Penalties?
!

• Websites with backlinks from lowquality sites or sites containing overoptimized, exact-mat...
My Black Friday Story,
Continued…

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
My Black Friday Story, Continued…
!

• Started in 2009 on a shared Godaddy
server, it couldn’t handle the load, so the
web...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…
• In 2010, I created forum signatures, performed
profile creation and distributed press ...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…
!
!

Organic traffic was down 95%
over last year due to the penalty
received by Google.
...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…

• Apologized for being spammy
• Requested webmasters to
remove bad links
• Uploaded a d...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…

• Removed more spammy
links that I had control over
• Resubmitted the site for
reconsid...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…
!

Google wouldn’t budge

and wouldn’t tell me how

to fix the problem.

Tweet with hash...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…
!

I needed to figure out what to do.
!

• Transfer the content to a new domain name
and...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…
!

So, I changed the domain name…



From:




ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds.com


To:




...
My Black Friday Story, Continued…

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
Tools for Diagnosing SEO Issues

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
Tools for Diagnosing SEO Issues
•
•
•

Google Webmaster Tools
Moz.com
OpenSiteExplorer.org

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and ...
Other Tools For Competitor Research
• Google Analytics
– Keyword Performance
– Bounce Rates & Pageviews
– Visitor Segmenta...
How to Avoid or Recover

From a Penalty

Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
Avoiding or Recovering From a Penalty
!

• Vary the anchor text of links
that point to your site.

Tweet with hashtag #jwc...
Diversify Your Backlink Profile
• Naked URLs
– “www.scottofford.com”
– “http://www.orionweb.net”

•
• Branded Anchor Text
...
Diversify Your Backlink Profile
• Brand / Keyword Hybrid Anchor Text
– “SEO Blog at Search Engine Journal”
– “Search Engin...
Diversify Your Backlink Profile
!

•

•
•
•

If you are a roofing company in Boston,

instead of using “Boston roofing com...
Any questions?
Tweet to @offordscott and use
hashtag #jwc13 to say hello.
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A Cautionary Tale of Aggressive SEO @ Boston Joomla World Conference 2013

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A Cautionary Tale of Aggressive SEO: How to Avoid Penalties & Fix Things When They Go Wrong.

Boston Joomla World Conference 2013

#jwc13

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A Cautionary Tale of Aggressive SEO @ Boston Joomla World Conference 2013

  1. 1. A Cautionary Tale of Aggressive SEO How to Avoid Penalties and Fix Things When They Go Wrong Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  2. 2. A Cautionary Tale of Aggressive SEO ! • Techniques and tools that will help your website gain rankings in the search engines, how to avoid crushing penalties from overoptimization, and how to recover when things go wrong. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  3. 3. Hello, My Name is Scott • • Not a Web Developer any more • • An Internet Marketer • • Google Analytics & Adwords Certified • • Partner at Orion Group • • President of Meetupery • • Husband to Stephanie • • Owned by “Squiggles”, a Great Dane Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  4. 4. First... A Little About Search Engines • Most%People%Use%Google% Most Searchers Use Google Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  5. 5. Being on Page One of Google is Important Some might look at the 2nd or 3rd page of search results Most searchers stay on the first page Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  6. 6. Top Ranking Factors ! • Keyword Use Anywhere in <title> Tag • Keyword Use in Page Content • Keyword-Focused Anchor Text from External Links Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  7. 7. Top Ranking Factors ! ! • External Link Popularity & Diversity of Source
 (quantity and quality of external links) ! • Trustworthiness of Domain
 (based on distance from trusted domains) Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  8. 8. One thing to Keep in Mind ! Search Engines Constantly Evolve 
 Algorithm changes leave many webmasters wondering what they can do to ensure their websites remain visible in the search engines. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  9. 9. My Black Friday Story Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  10. 10. My Black Friday Story ! • Seeing an interesting niche and recognizing an opportunity to make a lot of money… • I created ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds.com Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  11. 11. My Black Friday Story ! • The site gives visitors early intel on the Door-busters and early-bird sales and get a sneak peek at the Black Friday ads before they are printed in the Thanksgiving Day newspaper Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  12. 12. My Black Friday Story • I wanted to be #1 in the search engines. • After my first successful season, I knew I could do better and so... • I set off on a quest to gain backlinks for my most important keywords Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  13. 13. My Black Friday Story Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  14. 14. Google Analytics (November 2011) Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  15. 15. 5.9 million pages to 413,458 visitors Between November 1st-30th, 2011. Served up to 590 concurrent users 900 pages per minute. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  16. 16. Adsense Earnings (November 2011) Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  17. 17. Unnatural Inbound Links Detected ! ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds.com received a penalty Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  18. 18. How to Troubleshoot Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  19. 19. How to Troubleshoot • Confirm the date you got hit • Was it really a penalty or was it just an algorithm update? • Review Google Webmaster Tool data • Was a ‘Manual Action’ taken? Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  20. 20. How to Troubleshoot ! • Confirm if it is site-wide or a page-specific problem • Review Google Analytics data Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  21. 21. There’s a Difference Between An Algorithm Update and a Penalty Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  22. 22. Google ‘Penguin’ Updates ! • Over-optimization of anchor text is bad • Low-quality off-topic links are bad • Keyword stuffing is bad Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  23. 23. Google ‘Panda’ Updates ! Many content farms, article directories, sites with high adto-content ratios were hit and are no longer as highly-visible in the search engines. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  24. 24. Who Gets Hit By Penalties? Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  25. 25. Who Gets Hit By Penalties? ! • Websites found to be in violation of a search engines Terms of Service ! • Websites with an unbalanced backlink profile Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  26. 26. Who Gets Hit By Penalties? ! • Websites with backlinks from lowquality sites or sites containing overoptimized, exact-match anchor text
 • But… was it really a penalty or was it just an update to Google’s algorithm? Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  27. 27. My Black Friday Story, Continued… Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  28. 28. My Black Friday Story, Continued… ! • Started in 2009 on a shared Godaddy server, it couldn’t handle the load, so the website went offline on Thursday evening, the night before black Friday. ! • Started link-building through article marketing, and leaving relevant comments on various blogs. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  29. 29. My Black Friday Story, Continued… • In 2010, I created forum signatures, performed profile creation and distributed press releases • In 2011, article marketing, spam comments, forum signatures, profile creation, paid link placement in “blogrolls” (sidebars) of sites that had high PageRank • In July 2012, received an “Unnatural inbound links” warning via Google Webmaster Tools Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  30. 30. My Black Friday Story, Continued… ! ! Organic traffic was down 95% over last year due to the penalty received by Google. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  31. 31. My Black Friday Story, Continued… • Apologized for being spammy • Requested webmasters to remove bad links • Uploaded a disavow list to Google Webmaster Tools Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  32. 32. My Black Friday Story, Continued… • Removed more spammy links that I had control over • Resubmitted the site for reconsideration to Google Webmaster Tools Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  33. 33. My Black Friday Story, Continued… ! Google wouldn’t budge
 and wouldn’t tell me how
 to fix the problem. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  34. 34. My Black Friday Story, Continued… ! I needed to figure out what to do. ! • Transfer the content to a new domain name and start building rankings again? • Continue removing more bad links to the existing site? • Give up altogether? Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  35. 35. My Black Friday Story, Continued… ! So, I changed the domain name… 
 From:
 
 ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds.com 
 To:
 
 ThanksgivingBlackFriday.com Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  36. 36. My Black Friday Story, Continued… Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  37. 37. Tools for Diagnosing SEO Issues Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  38. 38. Tools for Diagnosing SEO Issues • • • Google Webmaster Tools Moz.com OpenSiteExplorer.org Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  39. 39. Other Tools For Competitor Research • Google Analytics – Keyword Performance – Bounce Rates & Pageviews – Visitor Segmentation
 • Moz.org – Link Analysis – Ranking Reports – Keyword Research • Open Site Explorer – Anchor Text – External Links – Domain Authority
 • Google Trends – Industry Insights – Top Related Searches – Geographic Hotspots ! Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  40. 40. How to Avoid or Recover
 From a Penalty Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott to participate on Twitter.
  41. 41. Avoiding or Recovering From a Penalty ! • Vary the anchor text of links that point to your site. Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  42. 42. Diversify Your Backlink Profile • Naked URLs – “www.scottofford.com” – “http://www.orionweb.net” • • Branded Anchor Text – “Orion Group, LLC” – “Joomla World Conference” Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  43. 43. Diversify Your Backlink Profile • Brand / Keyword Hybrid Anchor Text – “SEO Blog at Search Engine Journal” – “Search Engine Journal, a blog about search” • • Universal Anchor Text – “click here” – “visit this website” Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  44. 44. Diversify Your Backlink Profile ! • • • • If you are a roofing company in Boston,
 instead of using “Boston roofing company”
 as your backlink’s anchor text, try using: “a roofing company in the Boston area” or something like: “Apex, LLC ~ Roofing Contractor in Boston” Tweet with hashtag #jwc13 and @offordscott via Twitter.
  45. 45. Any questions? Tweet to @offordscott and use hashtag #jwc13 to say hello.
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