Welcome to my new kind of posts where I talk about interesting topics I read about in the SEO and niche/affiliate marketer blogs and forums I follow. I always try to make…
LivingOffCloud SEO & Affiliate Marketing News Roundup📰: February, 2019
Welcome to my new post about interesting topics in the SEO and niche/affiliate marketer blogs and forums I read about in the past month.
This round-up is about backlinks, backlinks again 😆, an absence of backlinks 🤔, traffic 📈, and a bit of conversion optimization 😻
Let’s start with a topic that comes to SEO masters in nightmares: Backlink spam 😱
Backlink spam in Korean
Firstly, I read about it in Authority Hacker forum. Somebody complained that they started seeing thousands 😱😱😱 of links pointing to their website, all links had search parameters that used the wrong syntax and ended up to the 404 page. The links were in Korean. The original poster tried to translate Korean and it was something about “call for business trip massage”, “travel massages”, “young pretty girls”, “business romance” and other spammy words.
Turns out it was not a single case. Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits is seeing the same thing on his new website and quite a few of the forum members reported the same.
What are these links?
One of the hypotheses is that it might be some kind of cross-site scripting (XSS) hacking attempt. Hackers are trying to inject malicious scripts to your website via the search.
To prevent the attacks, you may want to install Wordfence Security plugin. Keep in mind that Wordfence won’t stop the links coming but it will add a layer of protection from the XSS hack running on your site. If you are using WPX Hosting, you are already protected since the hosting blocks the attack at the server level.
What to do with the links?
If it’s indeed an XSS hack 👨🏻💻, you should not do anything about it (apart from making sure your website has not got indeed hacked).
Should you disavow the links in Webmaster Console? Maybe! However, know that Google is smart and most likely does not take these links into account. Also, before disavowing, read this and decide whether it’s worth it at all.
And if you do disavow, check out my post about how to do it efficiently.
Do you see similar links pointing to your website?
To find out, check your backlinks either in AhRefs or in Google Search console. Investigate any spikes in the number of links. If you do see them, you now know what to do! Or what not to do! 😆
Google’s freshness factor for boosting rankings
This is a helpful post from AuthorityHackers about how to make sure Google notices that you updated your old content and serves the updated date (rather than the published one) in SERP for increased CTR.
As you may know:
Google is biased to give more exposure to fresh content *all other metrics being equal*.
As a result, this leads to content decoy.
That’s why you need to update your old content once in a while. Google will re-index the updated content and will push it higher… but will you get the full ranking your piece deserves?
According to the post, the answer is no if you only update the post and do nothing else. The reason is that Google will still pull and show the published date of your post and not the modified one.
What if there was a way to change it…🤔😉
This is exactly what the article investigates.
The Authority Hacker guys found a way how to show the modified date to both Google and end user (who sees your post in SERP). They used a combination of Last Modified Info plugin and Elementor PRO formatting plugin.
While I did like the article, I could not implement their solution.
The content of my 🐀 website is very outdated (written in 2015 😱) so I am updating it. I saw the post and decided to use the solution to make sure to get the maximum out of the updates. However, I do not Elementor PRO on the website and it seems to be 🗝 to success. Otherwise, the published date stays there and does not get replaced with the modified one 🙁
It’s a bummer 😞 But maybe you guys are using Elementor PRO and will be able to do it.
SEO Case Study: How to 14x search traffic in 8x months
Did I tell you that I love case studies? They always inspire me to do improvements to my websites and give some helpful insights on how to do that.
This case study by Matthew Woodward is not an exception 😊
In this post, Matthew shows how he and his team increased a client’s website traffic by 14 times over just 8 months. It was all about how to spot an opportunity in a seemingly very competitive niche.
In the nutshell, the guys worked on the following aspects:
👉🏻 fixing website structure and internal linking
👉🏻 adding more content
👉🏻 doing link building
The case study proves that when it comes to the success of a website, not everything is about link building. The other pieces – website structure, content – are also important 🤓
My personal nugget I got from it was about to determine what content is good for your website. The answer is well-known: Study your competitors but as usual, the devil is in the details. What’s important is not only who’s ranking and what kind of pages they have but also, their page layout, page purpose, and intent, page layout, use of images/videos.
BTW, for link building, they used PBN links. Who said PBNs are not working? They do if you develop your PBN wisely and keep it indeed private.
Now, speaking of backlinks….
Video: Building backlinks on resource pages
In Authority Hacker forum, I stumbled upon a great video by AhRefs about how to build backlinks from the resource pages. The video explains what are the resource pages and how to find them. I am definitely going to try it! I think the best pages to do this outreach with would be skyscraper ones.
Although, do you really need backlinks to grow a website?.. 😮
Growing niche websites without backlinks?
One of the biggest discussions In Authority Hacker forum this month was about a new niche website course by some Income School that teaches how to grow a website based on content only and without building backlinks.
Sounds improbable, right?
Don’t judge too quickly.
It is possible that a website grows without its owner building backlinks. There are two essential simple 😆 conditions for that: Targeting a low competitive niche and extra low competitive keywords with a laser focus and building a big amount of great elaborated content that is 10x times better than the already existing one.
I myself experienced it with two websites of mine: 🐘 website and 🐎 website.
Got lost in my elephants, horses, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean
Elephant 🐘 Website
🐘 had just a few links when I bought it.
However, the traffic I was getting on it was around 4k and 💲💲 was in $1,000-2,000 range a month with a big chunk of it coming from AdSense. As I mentioned above, the secret was in the niche and the content. The niche was extremely low competitive and at the same time in extremely high demand and the content was super laser focused and lengthy.
However, it did not last long because other niche website builders spotted it as well and build websites with links. My 🐘 tanked like 🚢 that hit 💣😢
Horse 🐎 Website
🐎 website had almost zero links when I bought it. I even got a comment about it from one of my readers: “a website having no backlinks would freak me out” 😒
Well, it did not freak me out and it turned out to be a good investment! 😜
During the 2 years I owned it, I built just a few more weak backlinks on forums and eventually sold it for more than I bought it for. This website had its ups and downs and its income was in the modest range of $100-220 a month but still, it had very few backlinks and was still doing well.
So, it’s possible? Maybe!
It is definitely plausible to grow a website without backlinks!
However, from my point of view 9and the experience), this is a risky and expensive strategy. You would need to invest a lot into the content in order to make sure it’s hard to beat you and then, you should be always ready that someone with strong PNB links jumps in and tank you 💥😭
As of the Income School course, it seems that they are cleverly using the fact that many niche website beginners have a fear of link building.
Gosh, I myself can relate to that: I was soooooo stressed and terrified when I just started doing guest post outreach! Now, after contacting probably a few thousands of bloggers, I feel more at ease but still, I feel upset getting angry emails.
So if you are afraid to do the outreach, my advice is just to start it and it will get easier with time!
But do you know what else you need apart from backlinks and traffic? Good conversions!
Increasing conversions on the website
We all as SEO masters chase bigger traffic that the number of uniques per month boosts our ego and makes us think we are successful. But who cares about the traffic if it does not bring any money?
In the last topic of today’s roundup, we will talk about website conversion.
In this article on HumanProofDesing, you can read an AMA with Kurt Philip from Convertica.org where he discusses Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and answers the most common questions.
What is the best place to start with Conversion Rate Optimization? How to approach it in an efficient way? What are the common CRO problems? What are the tools to help with CRO and are there any free ones? How to run split-testing?
This is a great post that is choke-full of practical advises that you can implement on your website.
I have not tried them myself but this is something on my to-do list.
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