The advice in this article will be different for a few affiliates depending on which market you’re in. The fact is that certain markets will continue to get away with a lot more than English language markets where things are considerably more competitive. But, that time is coming to an end we’ve seen a lot of markets tighten up on links and any affiliates still using the old tactics will really want to move to a cleaner strategy to protect their sites.
The Scary Bits
Protecting Against Negative SEO
We’ve seen this become more and more prolific in the last few years and unfortunately in the gambling industry Google’s re-inclusion team don’t tend to believe the “it wasn’t me” defence to readily. Thanks to this it’s highly recommended that you check your links at least once a month to make sure nothing strange is popping up.
We’ve seen sites given penalties for a relatively inexpensive amount of negative SEO and we can only imagine there’s going to be more. Whilst it’s going to be difficult to actively remove and bad links flying your way if you stay on top of it and regularly disavow it’s going to make life easier asking for a re-inclusion should this activity result in you getting a penalty.
Time to Really Look At Your Profile
A lot of affiliates haven’t gone through their backlinks properly in a long time, and a lot will still have low level legacy links Replica Handbags, you really need to be looking at these and removing and disavowing. The fact is the noose tightens year on year with this and you need to stay ahead of the curve. Of course you should also look to rebalance anchors if necessary, whilst most people in the English markets will have already needed to do this, it’s worth keeping an eye on all the same.
What Should You Be Building Then?
If you read my last piece in GPWA you’ll have read about a few good ideas for “link justification content” and how to stretch your budget so you can give off the impression of a large brand. (You can read it here http://www.gpwatimes.org/issue33/#10). The idea of link justification content is that you’ve created something that people would want to link to, at least if you weren’t a gambling site, that way even in paying for links it becomes incredibly hard for Google to say that it’s outright paid linking. This isn’t too hard to do as an affiliate, even a simple infographic will give you an excuse. And you don’t have to worry about it being completely on niche and only going out to on niche sites, as long as there’s a legitimate tie in.
A good example would be a slots affiliate creating a piece on game of thrones and mentioning the slot game at some point on the graphic. That graphic then links back to the game demo or the original post on your site which in turn has internal links to whichever pages you are trying to rank.
You can also get away with linking to the homepage with things like this, but only if it is brand anchor text and is clearly referencing you as credit for the piece.
Stop Using DA and TF
This is one of those industry perpetuated myths which unfortunately sometimes causes a blurry line for people as they get told so many different things from a variety of “experts”. (I’m also going to upset a few people by saying this). DA and TF are used time and time again in an unbelievably misguided manner. And the second you actually stop to think about what they are and how they work, you’ll understand why they’re essentially worthless outside of agencies.
The problem is that their best use is for junior staff members, it’s a good way extra metric to give them to look at whilst they’re still learning the ins and outs of what a good site is. It means that it’s less likely that senior staff have to check as it will cut out the bottom level sites. It’s also something that the industry uses as a sales tool to make it look like we’re checking more things and that we’re more technical. Think of it as “security theatre for SEO”. Does a high score really help assess a good site, no, does it help make the client feel safe http://www.inhandbag.com, yes.
Essentially these metrics are 3rd party and arbitrary they are Moz and Majestics best guess at what Google thinks is a good site. And guesswork isn’t good work. They’re valued only on what they track and by cumulative scores based on sites linking to the one you’re checking. But, in no way does that take into account if the links to the site are networked, if the site has a penalty, or even if it ranks for something.
Which Replica Handbags, brings us to the alternative. SEMrush or Searchmetrics. If you do want a score which actually shows that Google values a website ask this one simple question. Does it rank for what it’s trying to rank for? A site about mobile games that ranks for 1000s of relevant terms and has a high search traffic estimate is better than one that has a great DA Replica Handbags, is about gambling, but ranks for nothing. Why? Because that site is clearly an authority. You should still of course check to make sure that most of their content isn’t clearly linking out to people placing links everywhere and the other standard checks. But, if you need a number metric SEMrush or Searchmetrics are the way to go.
It’s shocking that this still needs to be mentioned coming into 2016, but optimising for mobile is no longer really an option. Far too much web usage comes from mobile and tablet and this is really not something that can be avoided anymore. The growth of mobile is only going to continue over the next year and if you’ve not already put effort into a proper mobile layout with your affiliate links placed well you will fall by the wayside.
The 500 Word Myth
Again this is one of those industry standards which for some reason keeps perpetuating itself. The 500 words minimum is gibberish. If you actually run the numbers, most uplifts shows to be at about the 2000 word mark, and even then it’s debatable. The 500 word minimum has hung around since the 1st Panda update and too many people have been ridged with it ever since. The fact is Google is smarter than that now, it’s more interested in the user metrics. If your content suffers from a case of “TLDR” (To Long Didn’t Read) then odds are you’re wasting your time paying to have it written.
Now that will be different for certain terms, I’d recommend site reviews and any guides being longer than 500 words, but that’s because it makes sense for them to be. If you’ve got a small news piece or update that really should only be 250 words long then stretching it to an arbitrary length is not helping you rank, or your readers. If the piece is quality and informative that will do. If all of your posts are just over 500 words, or some other arbitrary mark, that’s more likely to flag against you in the future.
Meta’s are more important than ever as CTR (click through rates) and other user metrics are taking even more precedence in search, at least as far as we can tell Fake Designer Bags, they’re pretty hard to measure accurately. You need to keep in mind that the recommended lengths have changed over the last year due to mobile search artificially truncating Meta’s as well as Google allowing some significantly longer ones into the organic search listings.
A recent study done by Moz found several reaching more than 350 characters. Only about 1% broke the rules of cutting off after 141 characters (that’s the new safe point to get the whole description to show). But, it’s enough that it is potentially worth trying to get more real estate by increasing Meta Description Lengths. Google is likely to keep making tweaks to this in the new year and it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Hopefully a few of these points will help you action a stronger 2016 as well as safeguarding against a few malicious industry practices.
(Originally published in the GPWA times)