SEO and Regaining Organic Traction

Short for search engine optimisation, SEO aims to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine, such as Google. The higher a website ranks in search results, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user.

Google ranks sites based on what it believes are authoritative and relevant sources. Relevance is measured through the analysis of page content and authority is measured mostly by the number and quality of other pages, linking to the pages they display. Search Engine Optimisation is a long-term, online marketing process that can have extremely beneficial results if utilized correctly.

Following a recent Google update, we thought it might be useful to provide a guide that you can work from to ensure that you are adhering to the latest guidelines. Applying the following steps to your SEO friendly website should help you to improve your rank organically.

Clean up your link profile by link pruning: Identify poor incoming links to your website and take steps to remove them.

Identify: You need to gather a comprehensive backlink profile for the site in question. There are several tools available that can help achieve this, including Google Webmaster Tools Backlinks Report, Majestic SEO Site Explorer and SEOmoz Open Site Explorer.

Investigate: Look through the list of current backlinks to find the poor quality ones. It’s a time intensive step that requires you to navigate each link to evaluate its quality. After a while, you will begin to get a sense of what doesn’t work just from the URL of the linking page alone. If you opt for using Majestic SEO, you have the benefit of their proprietary ACRank, a quality score that you can use to judge link value.

Send Requests: Create a template email requesting link removal to send to the webmasters in charge of the links that you have identified as being of low quality. The template should candidly explain that you are an SEO or site owner trying to recover from a Google penalty and request that he or she please remove the following links. List the URLs where the links can be found, the URL on your site they point to and the anchor text ─ basically, all the information needed to easily find the link you’re requesting removed. To send the request, you should look for contact information on their respective sites, you may need to do a whois search, or alternatively, some sleuthing to get hold of names and email addresses.

Follow Up and Repeat: Expect to receive four types of responses to your requests:

● Remove link and tell you.
● Remove link and not tell you.
● Not reply or do anything.
● Will remove the link if you pay them.

In the case of the first, verify by going to the page where the link was and if the link was removed, check it off the list. If you haven’t received a response back from a contact in 2 weeks, check to see if the link has been removed anyway. If it has been removed, cross it off the list. If it hasn’t been removed, send a follow-up request. The process of link pruning requires multiple cycles. Each successive cycle will see more links removed. If you run across a webmaster requesting payment for link removal, contact Google with details of the site. They may request the email trail so please keep all emails filed.

Communicate with Google: Throughout this process you must keep detailed records of your actions. A spreadsheet with columns for the linking URL, the contact name, the contact email, the date a request was sent and responses or actions taken by the linking site. In the end, it’s likely that you will not be able to extract all dubious links from the site, but you will be able to show that you’ve done everything in your power to extract manipulative links from your backlink profile.

If you have any queries or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact your Partner Manager to discuss this further.

Kaleigh Scott, Partner Manager @

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