Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Negative SEO

Someone loves me.  He loves me so much he is giving me (or rather my Ducktoes site) a bunch of paid links from Pakistan, from bogus computer repair sites.  They have page rank zero.  I'll show you one.

Update: After writing this, the bad link website was taken down.  Yay!!!

He has given me several links like this. So far my site is going up and not down but I have written to the site owners and asked them to remove the links anyway because they are paid links and low ranking ones at that which is always a bad idea.

 These bad links worry me a bit, but not too much, mostly because of Matt Cutts, whom I follow and respect.  He says links from negative seo are mostly just an annoyance.  You can hear what he says here:


I am a local mom and pop store, as Matt Cutt's talks about or at least a local mom store.  I have a bunch of techs working for me. I work hard for not much of a profit margin, at least so far, but the company is growing.. I have no idea why someone is trying to bring me down in the rankings because that won't help his or her site come up. After hearing what Matt says, I'm less worried now.  Plus my ranking just went up.

 This is my plan of action for counter-acting the negative seo:
  1. Do nothing for awhile except beef up my own site with content which I do anyway since we are an such an active business we are constantly publishing events, new services and products, and tutorials  as integral part of our normal work and communication with clients. This is the best SEO you can do, have a dynamic site developed directly out of your own business and clients' nceds. 
  2. Check my rankings and links with backlink tools. I use Majestic SEO and Ahrefs Site Explorer. I pay for them every month. That way I can keep an eye on all the links, good and bad, that my site is getting.  If I am getting too many bad links then I can act to remove them.
  3. Monitor my traffic with Google Analytics and Google Web Master Tools.
  4. Participate in relevant blogs and forums that I am interested in and link back to my site.  This not only gives me quality backlinks, it also keeps me current in what is going on in computer repair, web design, seo, and all the information and trends pertinent to my business.  And it is fun to learn new things, like I did in the above video from Matt Cutts and make new friends in the field.
  5. If my site starts to be adversely affected by the negative seo I can use the Disavow Tool and disavow those suckers, I mean those nice gifts from my nice but misguided competitor.
  6. In case disaster strikes, and my site gets penalized or filtered by Google, don't put all my eggs in one basket. I mean use other marketing tools besides organic search results, for instance, Adwords and email newsletters, because, there is always, always ppc if you get penalized.  And newsletters are another good way of staying in touch with your clients and promoting your business.
If you are tempted to use negative seo you would be much better off working on your own seo and site and working with your own clients.  Really.  Give the gift of good seo practices to yourself.  Build up your own business instead of tearing down someone else's.

Update: since I've first written this blog my site did go down a two places in rank so I contacted the owner of the negative seo sites and asked him to remove the links.  He did remove a few but not all.  I have since contacted him again and disavowed the remaining links until he removes all of them.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How I Started Doing SEO

I started doing SEO by getting my Ducktoes Computer Services site to number one on page one for the search terms "Calgary computer repair" and "Calgary virus removal."  I did it largely by trial and error.  I made changes on my site and if the site went up in page rank, I'd do more of the same.  If it went down, I'd do less or, more likely, none of the same.  I found that posting to my blog made my site go up, as did placing keywords in the text and description.  I started using Open Site Explorer to keep an eye on my backlinks.  It is still is the easiest tool to use and understand for backlinks, even if it doesn't see a lot of links and doesn't update as often as some of the others.

Starting out, I found two resources helpful and I still agree with them:  Chris Azzari got me to use press releases with his post about five ways to improve page authority PRweb and some high-ranking directories.   And Rob Dogg's post about high-ranking do-follow blogs helped me learn about page rank and getting good links.

Now things have changed and I'm more careful about directories and do follow links.  I've found that a few links go a long way if they're decent and if the site has great content.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Making Links

The most important part of SEO is creating a decent site.  Yet I've discovered that sometimes this is not enough on its own.  I found this out because I have a client who had a wonderful site with tons of good content and photos, but it was not on page one for her keywords. It was not even on page 100. It stayed on page 107 for over a year. I built a few links and her site went to page one fairly quickly.  Now she is first on the first page for her main keywords. Here is her site.  Her main keywords are "Calgary catering."  Now I'm working on getting her in first for Calgary Caterers.

The owner blogs a lot, is a good writer, and hires a photographer for great custom photos...this is key to her success.  The site needed a few good links too and she was off to the top.

I build links mostly by commenting on high-ranking, relevant blogs and sometimes submitting to some good, high-ranking directories.  For this client I didn't have to submit to directories because her content was so good that a few no follow links and some slight onsite optimization keep her on the top.  The blogs are mostly no follow but they still seem to boost page rank.  Some of her suppliers link to her too.

Matt Cutts said commenting on relevant, good blogs was fine and recommended in one video submitting to high-ranking directories.  He said these things in 2011 and 2012 and I'm assuming it is still okay today.

I also have written quality, thoughtful articles but this is so time-consuming for the amount of links you get.