From The Blog

Link Building FAQs

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5 Top Tips For Acquiring Quality Links

Acquiring quality links is important for SEO but it can be a long and complex process. Here are 5 top tips to make the link building process a little more straight forward while still focusing on quality links!

  1. Diversity is Key. Using a diverse selection of sources and techniques is the best way to “future proof” your SEO. Too many poor quality links could actually harm to your site. On a small budget, you can’t afford quantity, so focus on quality, content driven backlinking. More and more, Google updates have been focused on penalising sites that build low quality links, so aim to get plenty of good stuff in there too!
  2. Slow and Steady. Quality SEO takes time to build, only Black Hat robots build fast! Pace yourself, set a daily goal (5 links a day, including one guest post, is a good goal for beginners) and keep at it – you’ll be amazed at the results.
  3. Enjoy it! Get used to checking your site’s performance in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. This will help keep your motivated.
  4. Don’t Pay for It! Don’t you love a small business service that tells you not to pay for a thing! Paying for links in spammy directories is pointless, they aren’t very powerful unless you buy a lot and they drop out of index quickly, so you have to keep on buying.
  5. Most Importantly – Keep It Real! Providing high quality content, testimonials, reviews and other webs content to friends, network buddies, local charities, associated businesses, Social Media contacts, suppliers, customers and other website owners in the real world are the best ways to acquire quality links and new customers – don’t get so tied up in the SEO world that you forget the real one!

How many links do I need to WIN Google?

There is no way to know exactly how many links you need to reach a certain position on Google. So instead: estimate a ball park number (a number you would like to reach) and then get linking in order to reach your target number. Once your site is found by Open Site Explorer software (it could take a week or several months) you can check out your own SEO and make a plan to improve it!


How do you outrank competitors in search results?

Google Tools FAQs

That’s a very very big question with a very very small answer – SEO (What is SEO?).  SEO is made up of three main areas – web design, on page SEO and off page SEO.  Do the first two right and then treat the last as a piece of string of indefinite length,

How many links do I need to rank number 1 on Google?

SEO weight is incredibly complex so there is no easy answer to this question.  The quality, age, type, domain authority, trust and position of every link and the quality, age and metrics every page, every sub-domain and every domain needs to be taken into account to work it out – and even then, you’d still struggle to put an exact number on it.

Fine, there’s no exact number – how about a ball park?

Doing a competitor audit can give you a rough idea.  It’s something that should be done by a professional SEO or expert in SEO Copywriting and writing for the web.  Our DIY SEO eBook has a guide to DIY SEO audits (available in our Online Marketing Brisbane Section) but basically:

  1. Using SEOMoz Linkscape or a similar tool, compare your site to the top five Google results for your keyword.

  1. Work out a plan to raise your score to be the highest in each category.

  1. Work your way through your competitor’s links and try to acquire links from the same pages or sites.

  1. Hire an SEO backlinker or use our eBook to DIY it.

In theory, is it possible to get to number one for any keyword?

In theory, maybe. If you wanted to beat Coke for the keyword “coke” you’d likely be sued by them for improper use of their name before you got there. If you wanted to beat them for “soda” you could in theory – if you were Pepsi. You’d have to be a global brand for that much organic linking to happen that you’d beat them. If you went at it with only paid SEO, you would probably end up “google slapped”.

The question shouldn’t be is it possible to outrank competitors but instead “is it necessary”.  If your branding nice and strong and your market is big enough, you’ll gain links organically and make the sales you need to build your business.

What is Deep Linking

Deep linking is the SEO term for building links to many different pages on your website. You can do this within your site (internal linking) by interlinking pages using their keywords as the link text (anchor text links) or you can do it by getting links from other websites (backlinking) to internal pages.

Benefits of Deep Linking

Deep linking not only gets more pages of your website showing up in more search results, it builds the overall power of your website – and will have benefits for your “money pages” overall. It helps to keep all the little pages on your website indexed by search engines too – which means lots of extra “long tail keyword” (small search keywords) results. When 75% of the average website’s traffic comes from long tail keywords, it’s totally worth doing. It’s an affordable and essential part of small business SEO.  Perhaps most importantly, it fortifies your website against algorithmic penalties, in particular updates to the Penguin penalty.

How to do it

Make a list of the pages on your website and the best keywords for each. Often you won’t need to do keyword research for minor pages, a good guess will do. Using directories, social media and other linking opportunities create anchor text links (links where the text on screen is your keyword) and white noise links (for example, where the wording is ” click here” ) to lots of pages on your site. Note that Google Plus and Pinterest are both excellent ways to deep link your site.

Which pages should I deep link?

Pages that are second branch on your tree are good to deep link. Often these are category pages that are two clicks from your home page. Say you’re a designer – one branch of your tree (aka website architecture) may look like this:

Home – Our Services – Web Design – eCommerce websites

Pages that get good sales conversions, that rank for reasonably sized keywords, that are hanging around on page two or three – these can all use a handful of links built up.  For small business, set a goal of 5-10 per page and do 2-3 pages per week to keep your site growing nicely.  Your admin team can do this for you and then increase the number of links as your site grows.

You should deep link your on-brand keywords.  This will help your eCommerce page also be indexed by search engines. Ideally, if you have all the time in the world or an unlimited SEO budget, you’d do all the pages on your site thousands of times.

AB Split Testing to improve Ecommerce Conversions

A/B Testing and Conversion Optimisation for eCommerce Sites

If you have a very visual eCommerce site, then A/B testing is all the more important. A/B Testing (aka Split Testing) is all about trying out different versions of elements on your site to see which gets more clicks and more sales. You can also A/B test your adwords, Facebook post styles, landing pages….just about anything. For now though, it’s all about tweaks you can make to your website to get more sales without going after more customers.

Buttons – experiment with the design, colour, size and placement of your “add to cart” or buy now buttons. Indeed, check if your customers prefer add to cart or buy now! You may increase sales by adding a written call to action to your button (20% off for 12 hours only). Some case studies show conversion increase by up to 55% by changing just the colour and placement of buttons.

Layout – You may see the F zone (best content down the left column and across the page like a capital F) like we all see Times Roman, boring, dull and been done too many times before – but don’t change things yet. The human brain sees things this way. If you start messing with this layout, you may see a dramatic drop in sales. Use “in page analytics” to see where your customers are clicking, or better still, get yourself a heat map!

Pricing – do your customers prefer .99 or even numbered price tags? Do they like the price up front or after the copy and images? Do they respond to % discounts or $ discounts? Do they like free postage or cheaper prices? Work out what they prefer to convert more sales.

Copy – is your copy capturing them and getting your benefits across quickly? Do they like long copy with plenty of info that’s easy to read or do they just like the basics? Are you satisfying all of their needs and ticking all their boxes? Are you using the right keywords? Do they like copy in small blocks intermingled with images or do they prefer a single column?

Images and image layout – obviously quality photographs are a must but do they prefer large images, images that can be examined in detail or thumbnails with click through? Do they like the images three across or four across? Do they scroll down three rows or twelve? Do they like star review with their images or just the pictures? Do they like text tags on the page? Do they like the image to the left, the centre or the right of the text?

Checkout A/B Testing

Optimising your checkout process is REALLY important. I worked with a brand that pushed you to checkout and then just before you paid, it offered free gift wrapping – to get the gift wrapping (which the client thought would increase purchases) you had to click out to another screen and then when you’d made a whole new series of choices, you had to come back to the checkout process. Once this was deleted, her conversions went up over 100%.

Shopping Cart A/B Testing

Are you losing sales at the last minute (you can see this using analytics data) – if so, are you making people open an account just to buy (my pet hate) or surprising them with high postage costs, or offering too many delivery options? Are your payment methods the way they like to pay? Is your checkout system just “too hard”? Do you customers want you to look more credible and trustworthy? Isolate your checkout page and start by creating different layouts – test how much click through each version gets. Keep refining until you find the magic combination.

Sign up to proceed – Making a buyer sign up to your site or log in to your site in order to buy from you is like saying, you can’t give me money unless you take my junk mail too. It’s annoying, just don’t do it.

Location location location – adding checkout buttons at the top of the each page on your site is vital, but there should be buttons at the bottom too, and even on each individual product description.

Layout, timeout and optout – Keep it clean, easy to see, not too many boxes to fill in, fast and not too many little boxes to untick. If it feels like they’re walking a spam minefield, they won’t trust you!
Credit card issues – First whiff of credit card problems and your buyer will likely click away. Be sure to offer solutions with the decline notice – check your CVV number, have you entered the right card number etc – this gives you a second chance. Also, don’t add the default card type as it can cause errors which will likely result in a click away.

Credibility issues – If they’re getting pop ups warning them that your site is not secure, or they can’t see your land line number or there is any hint that you’re going to steal their identity, you’ll lose them at the last minute. Don’t give them a mile long list of terms and conditions that make you look like you’re trying to get out of delivering…Add links to your privacy policy, your returns policy and any other “cred building” pages on your site but ideally open them in a window that returns them straight back to the checkout process – having the option to view is better than actually viewing! Invest in credibility, and back it up, don’t be the site that gets hacked and gets their details published on the web! Credit card logos, security seals and secure payment options such as Paypal will help.

Cancellation options – don’t offer to proceed or cancel that’s just inviting them to not buy. That’s just silly. Make every stage quick, simple and geared towards moving them to the next stage.

Money grubbing – don’t hide costs like postage (or try to gouge people with postage costs) and insurance or make higher costs the default setting, don’t try to add on or cross sell products in the checkout process – there is a place for this, it’s in the buying stage or in the “thanks for your purchase, did you see this cool thing too? If you want it we’ll combine postage” confirmation screen.
Out of stock – keep your inventory up to date, this is vital as there’s no killer to word of mouth like ordering an item that’s out of stock and then promising delivery within 12 – 16 weeks….

CRM – bringing them back can mean adding them to your mailing list but if you want better results, you can track where they visited on your site and then offer deals on specific items they viewed – OR – know that people who purchased what they purchased also bought ….. just keep this for the follow up email or the “thanks for your purchase” screen – not while they’re trying to give you money!

Lest they forget – if a customer does “forget” something and start clicking back, stop them, it will mean their data is lost and they’ll need to re-enter. Give them the option to “save and continue shopping” if they attempt to leave the checkout process. Be sure that this button is different in appearance to the checkout button. Similarly, if the purchase needs approval before going ahead (such as by an employer or procurement department) give a quick easy option to save and email their shopping cart contents.

Distractions – Treat the checkout process as sacred. Offer no distractions, no bells and whistles; move them through quickly and simply. Make the process involve as few clicks as possible and give them a visual “ticker” if you need to move them through multiple pages – this will assure them that they’re nearly finished!

You may be surprised what a big difference conversion optimisation makes to your site. Our Social Media Marketing section increased click through by more than 30% when we added a diagram. We’re planning Website 2.0 next year, so watch out for better conversion options on our page too!

Link Baiting – Link Attracting Content Explained

Great Content Marketing Fails - Nothing But Crickets

If you’re a bit of a noob to online marketing, attracting links to your website though great content is called link baiting and is a key element of content marketing. Content Marketing is all about creating content that sparks conversation and sharing. The more creative and original, and the less formulaic, the better the chance of shares and likes – so this list is dripping with irony! SEOMoz published a study of the top ten characteristics of sharable content – a formula if you like! Loving irony, I thought we’d share and provide a bit of explanation!

1. Share content with influencers from your industry

Influencers are bloggers, social media users and other people or brands online who have a large, dedicated following. Social Media is the best way to do this – tagging your influencers, referencing your content in relevant conversations on their blog or even offering guest blogs is a great way to get your influencers interested in your content.

2. Keep it simple, stupid

Know your audience and appeal to their level of understanding. Want to go viral on a funny picture? You need mass appeal, no obscure references – keep it simple! Want to attract links from academics in your industry, an in depth white paper is the way to go, but know that you’ll be ignored by the rest of the industry.

3. Link baiting should be free and easy

The internet has bred the “free stuff” culture and it’s easy to capitalise on that. From a free chocolate bar, to free knowledge via an ebook, from a free app that helps users find you content to a free distraction from the daily grind, free stuff wins every time. Be careful doing giveaways on Facebook as their rules require you to use a third party app or to run the competition from your website.

4. Top ten anything

Officially the most read content on the web, top ten lists also make for great viral and link baiting content! The way that people consume content online is to skim headlines for points that interest them. This means that top ten lists are just made for engagement and are some of the most shared items on the internet. If you’ve got something to say, say it with a list!

5. Royal babies, dead celebrities and other topical content

The good ole hashtag helps you to spread your content far and wide to those who are interested in discussing it – use Twitter to hash tag links to articles and Pinterest to share infographicsor images. List your content with Stumble Upon, Delicious and Digg to reach a broad audience, pre-wired to share.

6. Make it personal

Speak in first person, share your experiences, give you opinion, don’t be afraid to say something different. It’s the recipe for a little controversy and a lot of engagement. There is nothing more forgettable than a blogger repeating the bland, inoffensive opinions of everyone else. The internet depersonalises human interaction, being a real human goes a long way to connecting with your readers.

7. Become the influencer

Create the go-to resource for your industry or your product. Be the George Takei of funny Facebook images, the SEOMoz of Search Engine Optimisation, the Kim Kardashian of skankiness. Be the epitome of what you’re trying to achieve and create the content to prove it.

8. Smart needs to be pretty too!

Creating visually appealing content on a visually appealing site helps you to get past that eight second barrier. If people don’t like what they see in the first 8 seconds, they may not stick around. Similarly, an gawdy, messy infographic won’t be shared as often as a visually appealing one. There’s nothing like Pinterest to demonstrate the importance of good looking content, it’s at the core of their strategy – the result, unprecedented growth, insane click through rates and huge conversions for users.

9. If it’s long, break it up

A clear, easy to understand hierarchy is at the core of good site navigation and good content navigation. If you’ve got a lot to say in one article or one list, break it up into bite sized, easy to understand pieces. This helps users find the most relevant stuff for them and helps market segments to share the content most relevant to them.
10. It’s the Social Engagement everyone wants tickets to!

10. Click baiting headlines on social media

This wasn’t mentioned on the Moz blog but I would add that a click baiting status on social media and email, and a title that piques curiousity is also essential.  A call to click can make a huge difference:

“How to choose a gift for your wife”


“Why your gift secretly makes her so angry (and the secret she’ll never tell you)”

Yes, it’s sensationalist, yes it can be over done but it works!  It’s the Current Affair of social media and overdoing it will delivery you unlikes so use it wisely!

Social Media is the very best way to get your content moving virally. In fact, Facebook even assigns virality scores as part of its Edgerank algorithm and Insights tracking data. Install social buttons on every page of your site and don’t be afraid to remind readers to “click like”. Sharing in Google Plus helps you to get your content indexed quickly. Including questions in the status (or tweet etc) will help you to get your content discussed and moving.

Find Broken Links in Websites – Big Game Hunting for SEO

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To find broken links in your own website, simply check Webmaster Tools.  Fixing broken links is a vital part of maintaining your site, and search engines expect it to be done regularly!  But, what about finding broken links on other people’s websites?  There is BIG GAME SEO benefit to that too!

When a page links to another site as a “reference or resource” and that other site moves the content or shuts down, the link stays on the original page but is “broken”. It’s bad for the linker as Google doesn’t like to see broken links. It’s good for you because you can now offer them a resource to link to. These tend to be super high authority links and are a great way to quickly build domain authority BUT they’re high risk because it’s easy for the webmaster to turn you down, so you need to put on your big girl pants and reach a whole new level of authority and awesomeness.

Talk to us now about finding broken link opportunities for you! Enquire now!

How to hunt for authority building link opportunities

Choose a few sites that you’d like to get links from. Choose one that has TONS of readers, is trusted and has good web stats and is in your niche. Use an online broken link checker (Google it) to scan the site. It will return any broken links, including those to outside sources or references. It might take a few searches and you may not want to head straight for the BBC and ANU – start smaller.

Once you find a broken link to an outside source that is in your niche read the article it’s in and decide what the reader would need to know that you could offer. For example, if the site was linking to an article about how to do basic cross stitch, you could then do a “WOW” article on how to do it. Make sure it’s extremely informative, perfectly written, has diagrams to illustrate, shows a finished result and is definatly high quality and valuable. No matter what happens next, you’ve got yourself some great content.

Next, email the webmaster, explain that you noticed that the link was broken and that as you both know, it will be impacting negatively on their SEO results. Tell them that you’re an expert in this field and have written an article which would make a great resource for them. If necessary, do a bit of detective work and connect on Linked In, Twitter and Google Plus beforehand to show off how clever you are!

Is it worth all this trouble? A single PR 6 backlink could push your website from nowhere to page one if you’re doing things even half right. A PR5 or PR4 will also have a noticeable impact on your results. This is the long game of SEO but it’s also the most rewarding, on so many levels! Just think of how much it can do for your credibility and for you click through traffic – endless possibilities!

From that blog, you can then link to your money pages and pass on that SEO bounty!

get in touchFinding broken links to get high quality SEO benefits is tough. It’s a long view game and it’s higher risk of rejection than most methods of legitimate link building. However, being authentically great results in authentically great links and it’s worth while taking a little risk to go after the big game!  If you need to find broken links for SEO purposes but just don’t have the time, , we can do it all for you!

Google Local SEO – 5 Ways to Get those Testimonials and Rank Locally


Review Talk About Creative Brighton, Brisbane

Testimonials are at the very core of Google Local SEO.  With Pigeon Updates now part of the regular stock of algorithm changes, it’s vital to start focusing more on ranking locally with sustainable, best practice, authentic tactics.  Read on for some quick tips for getting testimonials and climbing the map!

Google Local SEO is all about getting your details right

Link to your Google Plus account, be consistent with your address and follow the verification process to the letter. If you don’t, your page may be flagged as spam and your testimonials simply won’t show up. Don’t try to pull swifties on Google (having fake locations etc) as you’ll pay dearly! If you share a building with another business, add a “B” or some other differentiating character or you’ll be marked as fake. Make your phone number and other contact details exactly match your Yellow Pages (or other directory) ad down to the spacing. Google (and Yelp) has been zealous in trying to eliminate fake listings, yours could be accidentally flagged!


Treat Google Local like any other social media link

Add your Google Local and Yelp Map (if you’re permitted one!) in your email signature, on business cards, on your blog…anywhere you’d link to your social media properties, link to your Plus Local page and encourage reviews.

Request a testimonial when finishing transactions

Ask clients for feedback and suggest they leave positive feedback at your Local link and to hit reply to lodge a complaint. Just asking is often enough to secure yourself a positive testimonial.

Offer incentives in your payment terms for Google Local Reviews

If your business offers a discount for prompt payment, make them also give a testimonial. If you’re going to be giving the discount anyway, you may as well get a review out of it too! Simply ask them to search for your Google Local account on Google Maps and ask that they give you a quick review. You’ll see it come through and then you can apply the discount!

If you’re struggling with delays over at Google, make your incentive to review a follow up one. For example an art store may send customers refills or a loss leader through the post to say thanks.

Newsletter Offers for Local SEO

When sending out newsletters or other EDM to clients and prospects, include a special offer of a free (whatever). All they must do is click through and review the quality of your newsletter and then click through to your website to claim their free gift. This is a great way to get non-clients reviewing you! This is also a great way to get your Facebook community, Twitter followers or Re-pinners to review you without actually selling anything to them. Focus on making your social media and newsletter awesome and the glowing reviews will definitely follow!

Getting authentic reviews on your Google Local (or Yelp) entry is the best way to get pinned nice and high on the Google Map. With more and more focus being redirected towards being found locally, it’s vital to get this started now.  The Pigeon Update was just the start – it’s time to focus more seriously on Google Local SEO.

Kickass Local SEO – 5 Ways To Climb the Google Map!

Google Local Love - Testimonials and Optimisation to get yourself on the map!


Google Places is at the very core of Local SEO. Getting your business pinned in that A position on the Google Map is all about optimisation and client testimonials.  Check out our Google Plus Stuff for best practice for Google Plus Local optimisation and read on for some quick tips for getting testimonials and climbing the map!

 Get Your Google Places Details Right

 Link to you Google Plus account, be consistent with your address and follow the verification process to the letter.  If you don’t, your page may be flagged as spam and your testimonials simply won’t show up.  Don’t try to pull swifties on Google (having fake locations etc) as you’ll pay dearly!  If you share a building with another business, add a “B” or some other differentiating character or you’ll be marked as fake.

 Treat Google Places like any other social media link

 Add your Google Places and Yelp Map (if you’re permitted one!) in your email signature, on business cards, on your blog…anywhere you’d link to your social media properties, link to your Plus Local page and encourage reviews.

 Achieving Kickass Local SEO

Local Business SEO is the current in and hip thing – and by that, we mean it’s absolutely essential to your business.  Why you ask?  Because 73% of online purchases are done via Local Business Search and 82% of bricks and mortar traffic has been searched locally first.  So, what are the secrets to kickass Local SEO?

1.      Local keywording

Local keywords tend to have low search and low competition so it’s easier to rank for them.  While you’ll never get a million visitors to your site, the ones that do come will be more likely to buy.  Go for specific local keywords, beyond just “Cake Decorator Brisbane” (although that is TOTALLY your main keyword!) be sure to add “Cake Decorator Sandgate”, “Cake Decorator North Brisbane”, “Cake Decorator near Redcliffe” and any other geographical terms that may be searched.  Mention local “population hubs” such as Chermside, St Kilda, Parramatta, Glenelg, Rockingham etc where people may search – even if you’re not in that area, if you can service it, you should mention it!  A good way to do this is to optimise your contact page for your brand name and these locations.

Google is getting far better at sorting this out by keeping an eye on where users are logged in.  If you’re in a regional hub, you can also use Adwords Keyword Planner to specify searches in your area when researching keywords.

2.      SEO Copywriting

You need to be a kickass SEO Copywriter.  Good SEO Copywritingnot only sells the product but it also tells search engines what you do.  For local business, it’s VITAL to include as many adjectives, related terms and synonyms as you can.  This is called LSI keywording and it not only tells search engines that your site is full of “meaty” content, it also helps you get listed for all those variations.  Make a list!

Copywriting case study

3.     Citations, Citations, Citations!

Citations are the backlinks of Local SEO.  Citation links are listings of your business name, address and phone number on credible directories and sites.   Yellow Pages just happens to be a credible directory….  There are plenty that won’t cost you a squillion dollars for zero leads though J  The stock standards are DMOZ, True Local, Hot Frog etc  The trick is to make sure that ALL your contact details are EXACTLY the same, same phone number in same format (spaces or no spaces etc), same address, same details exactly.  That’s the first step. Google (and Yelp) has been zealous in trying to eliminate fake listings, yours could be accidentally flagged!

4.      Backlinking

Anchor text backlinking (what is anchor text?) helps you to get ahead of all your competitors.  The beauty of local business SEO is that you won’t need a squillion backlinks to rank.  Chances are you’ll get to page one without TOO much trouble and even a handful of backlinks puts you ahead of all those competitors WITHOUT a handful of backlinks.  Not sure how to backlink?  Talk About Creative’s eBook DIY SEO has step by step guides and links to great places to get them without paying!  Check out our Online Marketing Brisbane section now.

Small Business SEO, Local SEO, Regional SEO and Niche Market SEO are all areas where you can go a long, long way without paying a lot of money.  It pays to learn a little!

Did you find this article helpful?  Give us a like, give us a share or better still, give us a Google Place review.  We’d buy you an ice-cream if you did!

 5. Offer incentives for Place reviews

Get local SEO testimonials when finishing transactions in store or online.  Ask clients for feedback and suggest they leave positive feedback at your Places link and to hit reply to lodge a complaint.  Just asking is often enough to secure yourself a positive testimonial.  Your website’s performance relies heavily on verifiable local SEO testimonials, make them a priority!

If your business offers a discount for prompt payment, make them also give a testimonial.  If you’re going to be giving the discount anyway, you may as well get a review out of it too!  Simply add the link to your Google Places account and ask that they give you a quick review.  You’ll see it come through and then you can apply the discount!

If you’re struggling with delays over at Google, make your incentive to review a follow up one.  For example an art store may send customers refills or a loss leader through the post to say thanks.

 When sending out newsletters or other EDM to clients and prospects, include a special offer of a free (whatever).  All they must do is click through and review the quality of your newsletter and then click through to your website to claim their free gift.   This is a great way to get non-clients reviewing you!  This is also a great way to get your Facebook community, Twitter followers or Re-pinners to review you without actually selling anything to them.  Focus on making your social media and newsletter awesome and the glowing reviews will definitely follow!

 Getting authentic reviews on your Google Places (or Yelp) entry is the best way to get pinned nice and high on the Google Map.  With more and more focus being redirected towards being found locally, it’s vital to get this started now.

Did you find this article useful?  Please give us a testimonial: or click like and share above!

Moz Search Ranking Factors 2015

Moz has released their 2015 Ranking Factors report.  The report is the result of surveying the top SEO providers on the planet. The results?  Nothing TOO surprising!

Moz Search Ranking Factors 2015

What does it mean for you?

We’re happy to answer any questions about the results for our readers and clients.  Just pop your question below or contact us!

How to Recover From a Panda Algorithm Update

How to recover from a Panda algorithm update

Google’s Panda update can pack a punch for unsuspecting small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Think you might have taken a hit? Find out how to recover from a Panda algorithm update with these easy steps.

Prepare for a penalty diagnosis

If you think Panda has affected your site, don’t panic. You firstly need to confirm if you have been affected and to what extent. Here’s how:

Check tracking sites

Search SERP tracking sites and forums for signs of an algorithm update.
We recommend Algoroo for sites and Mozcast for .com sites. Be sure to check in on Warrior Forum for discussions of any changes and issues.

Track your keywords

Purchase SemRush’s keyword tracking for one month to monitor your progress. Make sure you create an annotation in Google Analytics before you start tracking to allow you to accurately measure your results. (To add an annotation in Google Analytics, click on the down arrow under the graph in Audience Overview, and click on create new annotation).

Monitor falls in traffic

Review your traffic and make note of the dates where your traffic has dropped. Compare these dates against algorithm changes to see if your fall in traffic could be linked to an update. Go to Acquisition Overview in Google Analytics to investigate where your traffic is falling and if it is across your entire site or key pages only.

Know your algorithm update

Google updates its algorithms daily. Many of the updates are minor and will have no effect on your site. Some updates target other languages, and others might see you move slightly.
The major algorithm updates that could impact SMEs are Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, Pigeon and Fred. Penguin, Panda and Pigeon are simple black and white changes, while Hummingbird is a vibrant, complex change with many layers.
If that wasn’t enough, Google is developing Rank Brain, an artificial intelligence algorithm used to understand content rather than simply pick out key patterns in language. Rank Brain is likely to take over from standard SEO in coming years.

Panda updates

When the first Panda update hit in 2011, it destroyed some of the world’s leading brands. Panda targets low quality content, duplicate content, content farms, thin or short content, content that has no unique value, and content that is irrelevant to your site. Panda can affect your whole site or just one area, for example a blog. Panda was once the most relevant update for SME, but now it affects older style SEO.

How to diagnose Panda penalties

Use Google Analytics to identify content that has fallen in search results. Use Copyscape or another reputable duplicate content checker to see if the affected pages/sections include duplicate content.
Google the keywords you’ve lost ranking for to see if the newly ranking content is ‘better’ than yours. If so, it could indicate a Panda update.

How to fix Panda penalties

You know you’ve been hit. What do you do now? Panda penalties are notoriously difficult to overcome with some SMEs deleting all links, only to find themselves no better off.

Rewrite content

Rewrite individual pieces of content that have dropped dramatically to make them more useful to the user. Make them longer, deeper and cite credible sources to improve their authority.

Monitor your updated content

If there’s been an improvement in the performance of your updated content, take this as a sign to upgrade other content on your site. Explore new ways to engage your readers to increase their time on site and reduce your bounce rate. This is also important for SEO performance under the Hummingbird algorithm.

Submit content for reindexing

Use the Google submit tool or post your content to Google Plus to have it reindexed. Waiting for Google to crawl your site could take weeks.
H2>Having trouble working out how to recover from a Panda algorithm update? Contact Talk About Creative today to discuss the impact of algorithm updates on your website.

Eight Simple Etiquette Rules for Using Guest Blogs

Guest Blogging

Oh dear, another Rant.

Not long ago I wrote about 8 simple rules for guest blogging, well it’s time to set the blog owners straight too.

Yesterday I submitted a guest blog to a blogger who advertised on Blogger Link Up (a free service that connects guest blogger with blog owners). As a good guest blogger, who knows the etiquette, I was careful to be sure I answered all the requirements in the ad. I wrote an original guest blog, on something related to the topic (I wrote about making money on social media when the requested topic “how small businesses can enhance their online marketing campaigns”), I made sure it was the right length, insightful and something not seen everywhere on the web. I didn’t try to slip extra links in, I stuck to all the requirements outlined in the ad and I sent it in a timely manner.

This was the response:

Sorry Dana not quite my niche nor do i accept posts from authors only submitting articles for link farming company’s

What an arsehat.

Grammar aside, this was just plain rude. As it turned out, the ad posted in Blogger Link Up was not the ad s/he’d intended to post, and s/he’d wanted someone to regularly write his blog (I don’t know if it’s a woman or man, its name is Jesse).

Subsequent emails simply got ruder and ruder until I sent a copy of his own ad back to him, highlighting exactly how my article met his requirements. And that’s where he went silent….the silence of WRONG.

As Talk About Creative is anything BUT a link farming company I figured this Jesse hadn’t bothered to read the blog I wrote, hadn’t bothered to check my site and hadn’t bothered to use his best manners in his reply.

So, how do you be a good, gracious blog owner?

Realise it’s a symbiotic relationship. We need each other, I want the exposure for my blog, you want high quality content. Nobody is more powerful, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, don’t act like a superior butthead.

Don’t assume spam until proven otherwise. Yep there’s a lot of spam out there, and guest blogging has gone from a happy little love in to a giant spammy industry. You are asking for guest blogs though, so you should be courteous enough to read them before making assumptions.

Be courteous. If the content is obviously just spun rubbish then the blogger isn’t even expecting a reply, he’s simply throwing them at the wall and hoping something sticks. But if it’s clearly an attempt at a quality blog, even if it’s not what you hoped for, then be courteous when rejecting it.

Don’t queue too far in advance. If you queue an article months in advance, it’s hard for guest bloggers to know if you’ll authentically post it or if the blog is available to submit elsewhere. It will protect you too because they could submit it elsewhere in the meantime and you’ll end up with duplicate content on your blog.

Don’t make it too hard. So you’ve got a brand new PR 0 blog with no inbound links and you want strangers to populate it for you. Making demands like part time management of your blog, minimum PR requirements of the destination page, 1000 word + articles etc will result in nobody wanting to blog for you. Get your blog up to PR6 and we’ll talk!

Don’t expect them to do your whole job. Giving a list of keywords and insisting on professional content optimisation and upload with formatting is pushing your luck. That’s really your job….

Give the links you promised. Sure we want our content on your blog, especially if you’re a great blogger who may send us referral traffic! Yes we want to get our names out there in the industry. Yes we want to network with other bloggers – but we also want the promised link(s). It’s our payment for dedicating a couple of hours of our lives to making your blog better. Don’t muck us around on the link.

Anchor text is blogging 101. If you’re asking for guest blogs, you should at least know enough about blogging to be able to create an anchor text link. If you can’t, spend more time working on your blog and less time trying to outsource your job.

Like everything online the first rule is going to be “don’t be an arsehat”. If you’re going to be an arsehat, at least don’t call for guest bloggers because you’re going to damage your reputation and annoy people. Let me recap for Jesse, you my Canadian friend, are a total arsehat, just stop it.