Frightening New Negative SEO Attack Makes it Almost Impossible to Find the Attacker

 

Yes, negative SEO attacks, where someone who really wants to see you fail and takes active action to ruin your search rankings, happen.

They don’t get publicized a lot. Most competitors also realize it’s more worth their time and effort to increase their own SEO instead of ruining yours.

However, you still have situations where someone with a bad attitude decides to lash out. And in this case, its’ nearly impossible to detect them.

How This New Attack Was Discovered

Bill Hartzer of Hartzer Consulting discovered exactly this attack, which was later reported by Roger Montti at Search Engine Journal.

A client approached Bill concerned with a sudden drop in their search rankings. Bill found links to an odd site, but the client themselves didn’t actually link to that site.

So, Bill investigated that unusual site. And that led him to discovery of the source of the negative SEO attack.

Just How Does This Attack Work?

To destroy your search rankings, unscrupulous attackers copy the entire header of your web page. Then they find a spammy, crummy, horrible, awful website that Google doesn’t like – and they paste your header into that website’s code.

Included in that code is a “rel=canonical” tag. This tag tells Google that this page is the primary version of the website – and that it should ignore the web page it came from when figuring the search rankings.

Google then follows right along and considers the spammy version of your web page to be the primary version. And your rankings get trashed.

How Do You Stop This Attack?

Unfortunately, it’s absurdly difficult. In this case, the SEO consultant was able to identify the source site of the attack because of a tool called Majestic. However, attackers don’t always leave evidence of their actions behind. So sometimes the exact same thing happens – and you have absolutely no clue who did it or why.

Your only recourse in such a situation is to use Google’s Disavow tool. With this, you can tell Google to ignore specific links pointing back to your website. However, it takes time to do, and you don’t always fully recover your rankings.

The other defense is good content. This makes you easy, and desirable, to link to.

For now, that’s the best you can do. Ideally, Google takes action and changes how canonical tags work so this issue doesn’t happen anymore. But, they haven’t said anything about it yet.

So for the time being, make sure you have a SEO company you really trust. Monitor your search rankings closely for any changes, and react fast if they do!

When Optimizing Google Ads for Quality Score Doesn’t Make Sense

Quality Score.

It’s Google’s way of determining the ranking position and cost per click of your PPC ads.

Quality score can be a step in helping you achieve your business goals. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work in your best interests.

Remember, Google makes most of its money from its ads. Last year, they raked in $95.38 billion of their $110.9 billion in total revenue (86%) from their ads.

While Google has done a superb job of perfecting how Quality Score works so it gives searchers the best experience, this hasn’t necessarily led to making it easier for you to drive real business results. For example, you might look at ROI, leads generated, revenue generated, and so on.

So if you set your sights on perfecting your Quality Score, you can actually sometimes also be shooting your business results in the foot. For example, it does happen in campaigns where you increase CTR (click through rate), which also increases your quality score. However, conversions may not increase.

So, you’ve just increased your costs – with no associated increase in your sales.

The Best Uses of Quality Score

One helpful way to look at your Quality Score lies in its relationship to your keywords. Let’s say one of your keywords generates a high number of total conversions. However, it has a lower rate and lower Quality Score. In this case, you’ll more than likely improve your conversion rate by also improving your Quality score.

You might also find your Quality Score so low that you don’t get any real business results from certain keywords. In this case also, it makes sense to focus your time and effort on improving your Quality Score.

Clearly, experience and professional judgment play a role here. If you don’t have much of either, how can you know the relationship between Quality Score and the business metric you’re looking at, and whether you should focus on Quality Score or not?

 

You Don’t Need to Fear Quality Score

Despite Quality Score’s imperfections, it’s not something to be ignored. It simply shouldn’t be the measure of success. It shouldn’t be your goal.

Your business goals should be written down. And Quality Score should be seen as a step on your journey to online advertising success.

As long as you keep that perspective, you’ll do just fine in your PPC campaigns.

3 Disastrous SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2018 That Could Tank Your Rankings

Yeah. SEO’s gotten a lot tougher.

But for the market, that’s been a good thing. Because, even though Google’s imperfect, it’s still awfully darn good at getting the most useful websites at the top of its search rankings.

Just think of your own search experience. Yeah, you find a garbage website from time-to-time. But just a search later, you’ve got reliable information that gives you a precision answer to your question.

Unfortunately for small and local businesses, SEO gets tougher. So, make sure you avoid either doing your own SEO, or hiring a cheap SEO company foolish enough to make these mistakes:

  1. Not Setting Goals…or Metrics to Measure Them

Have your SEO efforts succeeded? When done right, SEO is the most cost-effective marketing method for small businesses.

If your SEO strategy and tactics have succeeded, how do you know?

You can choose from many metrics to measure success. Ultimately, you’ll want sales. And to that, you could add rankings, traffic, and links.

You might set some of these as leading indicators of success. And then a couple could serve as your actual goals.

The point is you have a system of measurement to understand how your SEO strategy is doing.

  1. Accidentally Creating Duplicate Content

Duplicate content happens. It doesn’t mean that your SEO plagiarized someone else’s work (although it can happen that way).

If you have a WordPress-based website that you’ve run for some years, it’s entirely possible to create duplicate content without even knowing it.

Your SEO should never do this by accident. It’s a simple mistake every pro knows to avoid.

But if you yourself have made it, don’t worry. It’s an easy fix.

  1. Not Thinking Like a Human/Minimizing User Experience

In the end, Google really ranks your website based on how much value you offer relative to other websites that provide the same service or cover the same topic.

Yes, Google naturally supports democracy in its search rankings. What searchers like the best climbs to the top.

As you create your website, add content, and do various technical changes, it’s easy to shift your focus too much on pleasing Google.

While Google is the god of the internet, ultimately you want to please your visitors first. They’ll stay on your site longer and share your website with their friends and family. And those actions get measured in your metrics, which Google also measures and uses to rank your website.

Your website should be easy to use on a laptop, desktop, table PC, and smartphone. Your content should be clear and feel natural to read. It shouldn’t even be noticeable to the average person that you optimized a certain page for various keywords.

You can get into all sorts of minutia with this. But you get the point.

It’s easy to slip into some of these because they’re concepts. Some of this is subjective. Google doesn’t have clear, hard, and fast rules.

So that’s why it makes sense to ensure you have a proven and experience SEO company watching your six.

5 Tips for Creating High-Converting PPC Ads

“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”

…You remember how the cliché newspaper boy from the 1920s would shout that to get attention.

And then he’d hand out a newspaper with an exciting title in big, bold, black letters you couldn’t possibly miss.

You shouldn’t necessarily capitalize like that with your PPC ads. But the general point remains the same: the titles on your PPC ads need to capture attention. They need to be so fascinating they can’t possibly be ignored.

How do you do that?

Here’s some ideas:

  1. Differentiate

You know your niche. You can also easily research their PPC ad headlines.

Simply differentiate to stand out.

Remember, searchers see the same headlines over and over. So, they get used to them and stop noticing what they say.

Find a way to be different…and you’ll end up with more clicks and sales.

  1. Tell Searches What They Get When They Click

Do you offer a free consultation? Even better, can you change the wording of that to more accurately reflect what your customers get from your consultation?

For example, if you’re an HVAC company, you could say,”Get your free home comfort analysis today!”

Comfort? That’s what people ultimately want from their HVAC systems isn’t it?

Consider how you can use the same thinking to create an attractive offer in your own niche.

  1. Use Numbers And Symbols

When people see search listings, they typically see lots of letters. Numbers and symbols, because they look different, naturally get noticed more.

So instead of “Save Big!” say “Save Up to 50% Now!” or “Save $$$” or “Save $25 Now!”

You can expect more sales as a result.

  1. Compare Your Offer to Competing Ones

You don’t have to call your competitors out by name. But you can certainly observe their PPC ads, and the offers they propose.

Then, if it makes sense for your business, simply top their offer. You don’t have to do it by a lot.

And if you don’t like offering discounts, toss something else in for free when customers order.

  1. Pre-Qualify Customers

Do you have a pricier service you offer to an exclusive market segment?

Then make your ad qualify searchers in an obvious way.

With your pricier service, you may want to mention the price: “Starting at $950.”

That way, you don’t have people clicking on your ads who will never purchase. In addition, your niche understands you created your offer just for them. That’s a powerful trigger for driving buying behavior.

Armed with these techniques, creating cost-efficient PPC ads that drive high-revenue, loyal customers will be no problem for you!

Where to Focus Your SEO Efforts in 2018

If you do any regular reading on SEO, you notice the barrage of posts predicting what changes will come.

That’s nice.

…But it doesn’t actually help you decide what to do. That’s because it focuses on what might happen. So that means those things might also not happen.

Instead of getting caught up in the what-ifs, focus on what’s almost guaranteed to happen. Trends that Google hammers over and over, making it obvious that if you focus your SEO efforts on those, you’ll continue to rank well in search for the foreseeable future.

Bearing that in mind, you can safely focus your time and money on these aspects of SEO and expect a fair return:

  1. Optimizing Your Site for Mobile Devices

Remember, Google changes its algorithm to meet the demands of the market. It has to. Otherwise, it loses billions of dollars.

Right now, the market increasingly searches using mobile devices.

“Optimization” here means not only using keywords and content, but it also means designing your site for mobile users. Images need to have their file size reduced so they load faster. Buttons need to be bigger so people can click them with their fingers.

Dozens of nuances exist that give mobile users an amazing online experience.

And your site needs to cater to them to keep its high rankings.

  1. Research Your Competitor’s Strategies

The nice thing about SEO is that you can fairly easily discover nearly exactly how your competitors do their SEO.

You research their site. You use one of many tools to discover their keywords and links. You look at their social profiles.

Of course, you must have a trained eye to know what to look for.

But, you can quite easily discover what your competitors are thinking and how you can top their strategies.

  1. Create a Small Content Team

Look, you know staying high in search has a lot to do with the content you produce.

Creating a content team has its challenges. And especially so for small businesses.

Maybe you can’t create your own small department like big businesses do.

But, you might have one of your employees do an interview with a writer from a SEO company.

Or, that writer might create a questionnaire to find and craft a story.

You could have one of your employees contribute a short post.

And maybe you the owner record a video from time-to-time.

You don’t need full-time content team members.

But, having multiple people contribute results in unique content angles. And uniqueness wins attention online. Because, as you know, you can always find 50 of every post you search for.

Regardless the size of your business, you can compete and win in SEO when you focus on these steps. And they’ll certainly serve you well here in 2018 and likely for decades beyond.

Why Your SEO Strategy Isn’t Working

It’s your worst nightmare as a small business owner.

You finish a long and arduous search for a SEO company you trust.

You shell out thousands of dollars per month for 6-12 months.

…And nothing.

In fact, you don’t even hear the sound of crickets. You’d love to because that at least means something happens.

But after all that time and money spent, you end up with no noticeable change in your business.

Now, many factors can cause this.

But for now, simply consider ones that affect your website:

  1. Choosing the Wrong Keywords

This happens. And it ruins your strategy from the start.

You choose keywords with the wrong searcher intent. Or you go after keywords with too high of competition.

To find the right keywords, you must first research them, analyze the competition, and then re-analyze your keywords.

You can’t expect a specific ranking for a certain search term after a specified period of time.

Not even the best SEOs can promise that.

But you should notice improved rankings, more traffic, and increased business after 12 months.

And this should come from at least some of your keywords.

  1. Not Enough Time and Attention Focused on Your Web Page’s Title and Meta Description

Yes, your title should include your keyword. But first, it should be written to grab attention.

It works just like the headline of your local newspaper used to work.

Remember?

They had highly persuasive headlines featuring provocative stories. That gave people a reason to get the newspaper.

Well, searchers need a reason to click your search listing too. They don’t just want to see “HVAC Services Dallas, TX.”

They want to see what they’ll get from you. For example:

“HVAC Services in Dallas that Keep You Cool + Comfortable.”

People want to be cool and comfortable.

The same process should then follow for your META description, which is the 3-4 lines of text just below your search listing’s title.

Explain other benefits you offer, like a free quote, affordable repairs, long warranties, and then maybe a sentence explaining how you can do this to improve credibility.

Your title and META description should work as lethal marketing weapons, and not just some random text you need to rank.

  1. Irrelevant Internal Linking

Links from one of your web pages to another should absolutely be used. But, they shouldn’t be used with the intent of boosting your SEO.

Instead, adopt a mindset of making your website easier and more convenient to use by linking internally where it makes sense.

Think of what your users may want to have a link to on each page as you create it.

A couple links or so makes sense.

But, don’t go all-out and make each page on your website look like a Wikipedia page. Your website visitors will notice, realize you’re just doing this to boost your rankings, and then they’ll get annoyed and leave.

Focus on the user experience first with your internal links, and your rankings will follow.