Dmfb revoked 20140508

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Steps to a successful link audit and Google Penalty removal case study.

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Dmfb revoked 20140508

  1. 1. Revoked! A Case Study of Successful Penalty Removal
  2. 2. @jennyhalasz Who Am I?
  3. 3. @jennyhalasz Experienced.  14 years in search  Columnist for Search Engine Land  Instructor for ASPE  Speaker – SMX, SES, Internet Summit…  Agency, in-house, consultant  Have removed over 100Google penalties
  4. 4. @jennyhalasz Ethical.
  5. 5. @jennyhalasz Elemental.
  6. 6. @jennyhalasz If Google were a dragon…
  7. 7. @jennyhalasz Case Study: So you’ll listen to what’s next This was our message:
  8. 8. @jennyhalasz So Where’s the Penalty? Deeper inspection showed:  Brand term traffic improved  Non-brand term traffic dropped  Non-brand positioning dropped
  9. 9. @jennyhalasz What Next?  Review links  Remove directory submissions  Remove article submissions  Remove paid links  Beg for nofollows  Beg for removals  Send a gazillion emails with no response  Submit disavow files  Submit reconsideration requests  Get rejected  Repeat  Repeat  Repeat  Repeat  Repeat
  10. 10. @jennyhalasz Clearly, this wasn’t working!  1,000 to 2,000 new links a month  Traffic unaffected, but brand losing share  Competitors taking over top spots  Industry growing significantly
  11. 11. @jennyhalasz Plan of Attack  Review links for patterns:  Many pointing to /index2  Very unrelated sites:  Postpartum stress  Landmine victims  Non local fire stations  Most of these were nofollow
  12. 12. @jennyhalasz Affiliates Out of Control  We learned 3 key things:  302 redirects don’t stop PageRank  When calculating penalties, sometimes nofollows count  Black hat is a dirty business
  13. 13. @jennyhalasz Cleaning House  Updated affiliate program to:  Require nofollows  Not allow the brand name to be used as a paid link  Allow the client to kick affiliates out for black hat behavior  Contacted top affiliates  Had heart to heart  Got many links removed  Set all links to /index2
  14. 14. @jennyhalasz The Custom 404  Set /index2 as a copy of the home page  Had it return a 404 response  301’d all other links to it
  15. 15. @jennyhalasz Reconsideration and REVOKED 31.8% increase in traffic post penalty
  16. 16. @jennyhalasz Other Great Results  2,000 extra daily visits  50%+ new visitors  Rankings for key terms up 20+ positions  Approximately $10K more in daily revenue (avg conversion rate of 8%, avg order value $65) bitly.com/bundles/jennyhalasz/1
  17. 17. @jennyhalasz So – will you listen?
  18. 18. @jennyhalasz Step 1: Download all Links As many as you can!  Google Webmaster Tools  Bing Webmaster Tools  Majestic SEO  aHrefs  Open Site Explorer (Moz)
  19. 19. @jennyhalasz Step 2: Gather Data Look for Patterns:  Anchor text  Follow/nofollow ratio  Site wide links Find out what’s been done:  Reports from other SEOs  Paid links (check credit card/paypal statements)
  20. 20. @jennyhalasz Step 3: Consolidate, Deduplicate Dump it all in Excel  Download the free template: bitly.com/bundles/jennyhalasz/1  Make your first two columns:  Domain  URL  Copy (don’t cut) the URL into the first column, find/replace for:  http://  https://  www. (don’t forget the dot)  /* (this will remove everything after the only remaining slash
  21. 21. @jennyhalasz Step 4: Eliminate  Use Screaming Frog, put this in the custom configuration as “includes”: <a.{0,100}href=.{0,100}?site.com(.{0,100}?)(nofollo w) <a.{0,100}(nofollow).{0,100}href=.{0,100}?site.com (.{0,100}?)  Collect info on server response, eliminate:  5xx  4xx (except 403)
  22. 22. @jennyhalasz Step 5: Review  Sorry, there’s no trick to this. You have to do it. Manually.
  23. 23. @jennyhalasz Step 6: Contact  Find email addresses:  On Site  On whois.net or other registrar website  Use contact forms  Don’t use an email you want to keep  Be nice  “Google penalized us”  “No reflection on your website”  “Appreciate your time”
  24. 24. @jennyhalasz Step 7: Recontact and Record  Sorry again.  Allow at least 1 week between contacts  Record it all – every email you send, every response you receive. Google’s watching you.  Contact 3 times unless email bounces or reply is negative.  DO NOT PAY ANYONE ANYTHING!
  25. 25. @jennyhalasz Step 8: Update Spreadsheet  Use a Google Drive spreadsheet  Categorize everything  Make sure it all pastes in (warning)  Share it: “anyone who has the link can view”
  26. 26. @jennyhalasz Step 9: Update Disavow File  Text document  Full domains, not individual pages  De-duplicate it  Format as “domain:site.com” – no spaces, no www.  Upload and make sure there are no errors  Re-upload until it’s right (no penalty for wrong tries)
  27. 27. @jennyhalasz Step 10: Reconsideration Request  BE HONEST: What did you do wrong?  History of the situation:  When did you receive your manual action?  What was it for?  What are you doing to address it?  Link to your Google spreadsheet  How can we be sure you won’t do it again?  Tell Google you know you broke the rules  You won’t do it again  Specific measures you’ve put in place  Ask to be reconsidered. Thank the reviewer.
  28. 28. @jennyhalasz The Outcome  You may be rejected.  Try, try again.  Eventually, you will succeed. But be honest. If you’re not really trying, Google knows.
  29. 29. @jennyhalasz May You Live to Rule Another Day!
  30. 30. That link was: bitly.com/bundles/jennyhalasz/1

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