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How to Identify and Combat Negative SEO

author image Written by: Content Team           Categories - SEO Tips

SEO In the ever-evolving world of web or digital marketing, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest techniques, tools, and strategies. It’s no wonder people are confused about what can help and hurt their site’s search engine ranking. A good digital marketing agency will base their business on helping people navigate this complicated realm. Negative SEO is just another term complicating the mix. So, should you be concerned about attacks of negative SEO?

What is negative SEO?

Google is constantly updating its algorithm for identifying and penalizing malicious or untrustworthy websites. To do this, Google looks for sites that practice manipulative link building and penalizes them by demoting them from search results. This allows legitimate sites to rise to the top of its search engine result page (SERP), making it easier for people to find the information they are looking for. Pointing poor quality links toward a website or otherwise defaming a website to lower its SEO is known as negative SEO. Google’s algorithm is built to differentiate between natural and unnatural backlinks. It has the ability to recognize a site that has engaged in long-term, low-quality linkbuilding versus a site that has only occasionally dabbled in this practice–indicating it may be subject to negative SEO attacks. Even so, attacks do happen, and they could get you penalized. So how can you identify them?

What does negative SEO look like?

Negative SEO can come in several forms, including hacking, duplicating your website’s content and distributing it online, removing good links or building spammy links to your website, and linking your website with bad apples like online gambling sites, drugs, or porn. Outdated tactics and link-building packages could also be at fault for your downgrade in Google’s ranking system. Cheap and spammy link-building tactics employed by some “SEO” companies could be hurting your site; especially since Google is now penalizing unnatural backlinks with its Penguin algorithm.

How to fight negative SEO

There are a few things you can do to thwart negative SEO if you are certain you have been attacked. The Disavow Tool can be used to ask Google to disregard links that could be harmful to your site. Google warns that this tool is designed specifically for those who have identified a number of harmful links, negatively impacting the SEO of their site. If used incorrectly or unnecessarily the tool can actually be harmful, devaluing good links. The best thing to do to ensure your site is being properly optimized is to engage the services of a trustworthy digital marketing agency. Any digital agency worthy of the title will know how to properly encourage linking to your site using high value content in order to gain natural, high-quality links. A good digital marketing agency will also be able to help you monitor your backlinks to prevent any penalty due to negative SEO.

Content Team

Is Your Digital Marketing Agency Profiting from the New E-A-T Ranking Factors?

08/27/2018

digital marketing agency We all know that in order to be seen in the top search results, we need to carefully follow Google’s latest system of ranking factors. Fail to meet their standards and you can find yourself suddenly relegated to the lonely, deep pages of results where potential customers won’t find you. In order to stay current, digital marketers need to stay up to date on the latest factors. In June 2014, Google’s full Quality Page Ranking Guidelines were released including over 200 factors contributing to their latest algorithm. Is your Digital Marketing Agency making the most of the latest changes?

Be good enough to E-A-T

The latest changes revolve around one key element – E-A-T or Expertise, Authority and Trust. Google wants to send users to the best topic-based content available. Consequently, they have developed a system of evaluating website content based on the level of expertise of the author, authority the website holds based on reputation, and trust the website exhibits based on secure transactions, complete contact information and transparency.

What it takes to be an Expert

Is your content being written by an expert? Don’t panic! An expert in the eyes of Google is not necessarily a card-carrying, PHD holding, award-winning dynamo. Google wants to be sure that your website offers an experienced source of information, but that information can come from first-hand accounts and informed reviews. There is an increased focus on personal experience. This new algorithm considers it to be of equal importance to formal credentials.

A step away from Metrics

While keywords and links continue to play an important role in SEO, they are no longer the key focus of Google’s ranking system. Creating high quality topic-specific content, relevant to your website’s users is the new way to get on the map, and stay on the map. It’s clear that in order to meet these standards digital marketers should downplay use of on-page ads, links to less-than highly credible websites, and content that is poorly written and/or edited.

It’s all about good Content

The bottom line is that in order to be highly ranked in Google’s eye, you need to provide high quality, relevant content that they can direct users to – free from anything suspicious or pushy. You should be steering away from articles that read like promotions and toward information your readers will benefit from and take an interest in. Each new update in Google’s Quality Page Ranking System is put in place to closer align with what Google considers “high quality”.  Creating good content following E-A-T principles will continue to be crucial as the ranking systems evolve. digital marketing agency

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Finding the Right SEO Company

07/04/2018

Top Signs You’re Not Getting the Most Out of Your SEO Marketing Agency

The most common shortcoming among small businesses often involves how they navigate their online presence. Whether it’s the created content or the strategy employed to drive traffic, companies are in a constant state of adjustment trying to keep up in the quest for audience capture, leads, and sales. We get it. Finding competent SEO/marketing companies can be daunting. Auditing the results of a campaign often reveals a lack of effective targeting, or that substandard content drove away new-found traffic immediately. Is the value of your SEO company measured through strong analytics and high-quality marketing materials working in tandem to secure long-term results? Here are some key indicators businesses should look for when they evaluate a digital marketing agency.

A man in a white shirt sits outdoors, holding his head in his hand in stress or frustration.
Stressed out searching for reliable SEO agencies? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Signs You Need a DMA

Let’s be honest, driving traffic isn’t just difficult, it’s often a complete mystery to most entrepreneurs. Business owners want to see results, but knowing how to interpret those results is just as important as their performance. Maybe your traffic is high but you don’t retain any of the potential customers you capture. Worse still, you may not be getting any meaningful traffic at all. Your company’s brand is important, and support for that brand ultimately determines your company’s success. Without the right digital marketing agency, your obstacles become clear, and finding a DMA that suits your needs has never been more urgent, especially in the digital marketplace. Watch for these red flags when evaluating  any DMA:

Overemphasizing Keywords and Rankings

When examining the value of your brand, sometimes an agency will inflate the importance of using the right keywords and high search rankings. While those two points can be important, the real indicator is how they translate into leads and new business. Placing greater emphasis on results often separates the run-of-the-mill SEO specialists from the professionals who complement rankings with actual results.

Substandard Written Content

The adage is true: content is king. Compelling storytelling and information is the backbone of any decent SEO campaign, helping to retain site visitors through quality writing that respects the audience. ‘Filler content’, or content created without consideration for long-term customer retention, is a waste of time and money. Your agency should have the depth to not just get potential customers to your site, but to keep them there as well.

Poor Client Relations

If content is king, then communication is the foundation of the monarchy. Digital marketing can be very complex for the average client, creating a tangible need for regular updates. Not being on the same page is a prerequisite for the unprofessional. This serves as a litmus test for finding a company unwilling or unable to evolve strategically.

Slow Turnaround

Missed deadlines are not the end of the world. Sometimes it means an SEO agency is making adjustments and improving the services they represent. But sometimes an agency has run out of ideas and lack the organizational prowess to communicate shortfalls. Your confidence in a digital marketing agency relates directly to how quickly and effectively they can boost your brand. That confidence breaks when timelines stretch or become incompatible with your overall digital strategy.

Empty Promises

Sometimes it becomes crystal clear that instead of dealing with a digital marketing agency, you’ve just stumbled upon a company with silver-tongued salespeople. They may have wowed you at the beginning, promising an overhaul of your digital needs that will translate into tangible results, but often what you’re left with is a company without the needed follow-through to achieve those milestones. A good rule of thumb is to create intervals during a campaign to assess and evaluate progress. When you determine your needs aren’t being met, it’s time to change agencies. A bad agency can set back a company for months, sometimes years through incompetence and a lack of vision.

What Does an Effective SEO Company Look Like?

A good agency, one that shows a genuine interest in the success of your brand, is tantamount when striving for digital success. Below are some of the key ingredients an agency should have before selecting them to represent your company.

Impressive Portfolio

One of the easiest ways to determine the effectiveness of a digital marketing agency is through their past successes. Companies who clearly demonstrate a proficiency for audience capture and retention bode well. Don’t forget to look under the hood, either. For example, take the time to read the content they’ve created before deciding on a company.

A blackboard with various social media markings on it is covered with stick notes with dates and times.
Attention to detail, including deadlines and schedules, is a must.

Solid Customer Service

A good agency can be measured by how well they communicate with their clients. This compulsory characteristic means your agency will be just as likely to communicate when things are booming as they would when times are slow. Robust communication means transparency, and maintaining a high-level of professional interaction will boost confidence and assist present day and future successes.

Realistic Goals

We all want miracles when traversing the landscape of company growth, but we also want to partner with an agency who can give us the goods realistically. Reputable agencies, rather than promising success overnight, will incrementally forecast positive results for each stage of your digital campaign. This approach should boost your overall confidence in your SEO company. It demonstrates they are more interested in a long-term relationship.

Customized Service Packages

If there ever was a counter-argument for a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it is digital marketing. A competent agency will have the ability to customize packages for individual clients, focusing on the unique characteristics and approaching all facets of a campaign through the lens of that customization.

Speed and Efficiency

While you expect your SEO firm to be smart in how it approaches your company’s unique set of goals and expectations, you also need to stake claim to a market share that will keep you in business while keeping your competitors nervous. A smart strategy often relies on quick implementation, allowing your company to put competitors on notice. You’re a threat to their market share! The last thing any company wants is a strategy that ends up harming their brand. Finding the right SEO company is like finding the right part for your car – you won’t go anywhere using parts that don’t fit, but you are likely to soar when you find something compatible.

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