Month: February 2016

Why Every eCommerce Website Needs a Blog?

Many people are into blogging these days, and it’s pretty hard to find a fresh topic that has not been covered yet. Still, the vast majority of ecommerce website owners prefer to focus on sales and leads, and think of a blog as of something irrelevant to the business. If you’re among them it’s time to change your attitude and start blogging. Here are a few reasons why blogs are vital to ecommerce websites these days.

Great Content Marketing Tool

Does the term “content marketing” ring any bells for you? Chances are you might have already heard about it as there’s a lot of buzz around this topic. In short, it’s any marketing effort that uses content (articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc) for customer acquisition and retention. A famous quote by Seth Godin goes like this “content marketing is the only marketing left.” He said it back in 2008. Ecommerce has evolved greatly since then, but content still remains one of the most effective marketing tools. Just read any article on the topic of hottest digital marketing trends and you’ll definitely find content marketing among them. Blogging is by far one of the most powerful and efficient content marketing tools, especially considering the medium- and long-term perspective. Why?

Additional Entry Points

Blog posts bring additional pages to your website. The more of them you have, the more points of entry you provide to your visitors. So how many pages is enough? HubSpot’s research can provide some clues. According to it, ecommerce websites that have over 400 pages get 6 times more leads compared to their counterparts with less than 100 pages. Even if your website is small, you shouldn’t think that no one will read your posts. This assumption will just ensure that your business doesn’t grow.

Improving SEO Rankings

As a business owner you naturally want your website to have higher search engines rankings. Blogs really come in handy when it comes to improving SEO. Google’s robots monitor websites on regular basis and what they like to see is new and relevant content. Adding new pages to your store is a sign that your business is still active. Google ranks websites that are updated regularly higher than those which are not. Keywords are another thing. If you sell slim fit t-shirts and write a blog post on how to choose them you’ll naturally use your focus keyword (or a few of them, like buy slim fit t-shirt or price of slim-fit t-shirt). From a search engine’s point of view this will make your website optimized better.

More Links

Another thing that matters to search engines is the quantity and quality of links, both internal and external. When writing a blog you can easily add a link to a related product you’re selling, or to any other related page. This will also be helpful in guiding your visitors to a purchase. Back-links is another significant thing. Getting other websites to share your website’s URLs is one of the main goals for any SEO specialist. Most of them will agree on that quality and quantity of back-links can make or break your SEO rankings. Quality content gets shared and anytime someone shares your stories on Twitter or Facebook you’re likely to attract new customers.

If you still don’t believe that writing blog posts can make a difference here’s a really outstanding success story. Marcus Sheridan wrote just one article on fiberglass pools and added it to his “River Pools and Spas”. The next morning his website had the top rank in search engines for his cost-related key phrase and it brought him $1.7 million in sales. The reason why this blog post was so successful is because it answered his customers’ questions.

Building Trust

People like to see that there’s a real organization behind your website. Let’s face it, no one likes to buy from a “no-name” shop. A blog allows you to create content that will show your expertise. Building trust is especially vital when it comes to customer retention. According to various estimates, retaining existing buyers is 5-10 times cheaper than finding new ones. Moreover, returning customers in the US generated 40% of revenue, according to Adobe’s study.

Getting Noticed

If you have an outstanding story to share – don’t hesitate. Not only potential customers might enjoy it, if it’s really good you can get noticed by the media. People tend to find the information more reliable if they read it in the news.

How to Start Blogging

First of all, you don’t have to be a professional writer or a popular social media commentator to start a blog. Blogging is a thing anyone can engage in. The key is providing information that can be interesting and valuable to your visitors. So what should you write about?

-Address a Particular Problem. With fiberglass pools the problem was that companies didn’t want to disclose the prices of their products on websites because they thought that could distract customers. Marcus Sheridan’s post changed that.

-Your Brand’s History and Updates. If your company has an interesting history behind it, it can make a good post for launching your blog. Everyone loves “behind the scenes” stories.

-Your Products. Think of a blog as of an extra space for providing more information on your products. Visitors are interested in how they are made and where. If your products have special features don’t forget to share them. But don’t try to write too much promotional stuff, make it more about helping your customers rather than aiming for a hard sell.

-Your Promotions. If you have promotions, give-aways or discount campaigns – dedicate a post to tell more about them. Blogs are good for providing a full list of terms and conditions applicable to any given promo campaign.

-Other Related Information. Your blog doesn’t have to be all about your company. You can write about the latest developments in the industry or just share something interesting you’ve recently discovered.

Experiment with Content

When blogging, you don’t need to stick to the “text only” format. Adding visuals, like infographics or videos, is also a good way of telling a story. And don’t forget to include subscribe boxes so that visitors could leave their emails to receive your latest updates by mail.

Author bio: Oleg Yemchuk is a marketing manager at Maven eCommerce sharing office space with Magento business experts in NYC and software developers worldwide. Oleg is marketing expert by day and geek by night. As a geek culture fan, he spends his free time playing video games and reading comics.

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No App for Your Website Yet? Check MobiLoud

As you probably know, mobile is the largest tech revolution we have seen in the previous decade (if not longer!). Since its inception in 2007 with the first iPhone, the smartphone started to dominate the world.

Heck, there was a research a while ago confirming that most people would rather give up sex than their smartphones!

What does this trend mean for a blog or news site? First of all that you absolutely need to have a responsive website that will display a friendly layout on any mobile device.

Second, you should also have a mobile app on the two important app stores: Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

In order to develop an app from scratch you need to have some technical know-how. Paying for a company to develop a custom app for your site is al alternative, but mobile development costs are very high these days, because demand is exploding.

Is there an alternative?

Yes. A company called MobiLoud launched a cool WordPress plugin that will allow any blog or news site to build a mobile app with a few simple steps.

mobiloud

Installing it is pretty easy:
1. Install and activate the plugin
2. Move to the “MobiLoud” section in the menu
3. Start designing your app

On the control panel of the plugin you will be able to specify all the details about your future mobile app. This includes the categories that should be included, the copyright notice, where the comments should come from and so on.

Here are the main features:
-Automatic content updates
-Full customization of your mobile app’s style
-An app that works on all major mobile devices
-Effortless push notifications
-Mobile advertising and monetisation
-One-tap commenting
-Easy social sharing
-Full Support for Google Analytics

There are some advanced features included as well. For instance, you’ll be able to notify your users when new content is published, and you can also integrate with advertising platforms such as Google’s DoubleClick or AdMob.

If you don’t have a mobile app for your site yet, check it out!

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The Blogger’s 101 Guide to Sponsored Reviews

Are you a blogger? Are you passionate about your blog and the kind of products you write about? Do you have a huge fan following? Are you equally frustrated about not making enough money from your writing? Most bloggers will identify with that one moment in life where they are forced to think to themselves, or lament to their best friends, “Ah, if only I were making money for this!” If you do identify with this crowd, then sponsored reviews are the answer to your every monetization question ever.

The Basics: Where do you Begin?

Many people believe that getting sponsorships are a matter of luck, but that is hardly ever the case. Behind every well sponsored blog, there lies a thorough framework and a great foundation. The building blocks for receiving successful sponsorship are the same as those of a successful website or blog: design, content and promotion. Without the help of a proper follower base, you offer very little incentive to sponsors. On the other hand, without a graphically beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and responsive blog, you are hardly likely to attract readers. Moreover, high quality content is an important factor in the kind of sponsorship deals you can secure and the followers you attract.

Let’s Get on to the Good Stuff

Now here’s the part where things get interesting: you’ve established a good website, you have readers, and you are consistently putting out good content. Next step is to create an advertisement page or media kit which is a short synopsis of your blog and everything it represents. View it as a kind of sales pitch for a potential customer or a CV for your potential employer. Reach out to advertisers and portray the many options for advertising on your blog, including an offer for a sponsored guest review. May be throw in a summary of how blog outreach programs are helping out companies? Anyhow, this is just one of the ways of getting to it.

Be your own person in writing reviews

Often, companies will approach you to do sponsored reviews even without your having to do a thing. Sometimes, they’ll even ask you to do a “positive” review on something that is potentially terrible. Our one advice for this would be: don’t! In the long term, one upsell is not a victory because it ends up hurting your loyal readers who might possibly try something bad just because you asked them to. Reward their loyalty by writing of your own opinion, let them know the pros and cons, and become a voice they can trust.

Select one of the many services online

We saved the best for the last: to get sponsored reviews, there are several options available online which can connect you to a suitable company. Social Spark, ReviewMe, GetReviewed for instance, offer great services by which advertisers and bloggers can connect on the online platform to work together. Bloggers generally make anywhere between $1 and $2000 on sponsored reviews from these sources, even though factors such as ratings and monthly limits do come into play here sometimes.

Mariia Lvovych is a an experienced guest blogging and blogger outreach expert, entrepreneur, owner at GetReviewed.org blog advertising network.

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11 Reasons Students Should Run Blogs

The digital era has changed the way we live. It’s more common to express your thoughts and ideas online than have a face-to-face communication. It has become the main reason people start blogging more often. Sharing their thoughts online, they can learn something new from others, get an insight, and even name out. No matter who you are, you can run a blog. And what is more, there are some benefits why it’s so crucial. Today we’re going to explain why students should run blogs.

Here is a list of 11 reasons to run a blog:

1. Do What You Like

Around 51.7% of Americans are unsatisfied with their jobs. The survey shows that people feel no happiness while doing their work, and this is a sad fact. You might hear a saying “Do what you love. Love what you do”. In fact, this is a key to success, and running a blog you have no limits – it is you who decide what theme to disclose. Thus, having a blog is a way to start doing what you enjoy.

2. Show Your Expertise

If you’ve decided to start blogging in some particular niche, it’s more likely you are fond of it. It also means you might spend much time developing as an expert, so you have the experience to share with your audience and other people. Don’t be afraid of showing your expertise as it is a useful skill that might help you get a job of your dreams in the future.

3. Develop Communication Skills

Running a blog, you need to keep in touch with readers, bloggers, and even clients sometimes. While the number of ‘trolls’ is high on the web, it’s important to learn how to reply to their tricky comments, as most of them are eager to give some negative feedback.

4. Hone Your Writing

If you don’t like writing, running a blog you have to write a lot. Obviously, crafting a blog post is not the same as writing an academic essay, but it is still honing your writing skills. Even if you don’t know when to use the adverbs or where to put a comma, a practice can help you a lot. The more you practice, the better you write. Writing is not so hard and boring. It’s a way to express your thoughts and share ideas, so enjoy this process and hone your skills.

5. Do Research

No matter what your blog is about, you might surf the Internet to find other blogs in your niche, analyze them, get some insights, and learn from them. Being a blogger who wants to develop means doing research. It develops skills that are extremely useful for the educational process.

6. Build Authority Online

Running a blog means showing your expertise in some particular niche, and most bloggers want to become a thought leader as it’s a key to success nowadays. If you’re reliable and credible, it’s more likely you can build authority online. Even if you don’t need to become a guru in some niche, you can make the most out of your authority.

7. Establish Business Contacts

Although some people believe that blog comments are dying, there are people who share their expertise and thoughts in comments. No matter where you cause a buzz, whether at your blog or not, it’s important to listen to other people who succeed in your niche and learn from them. If you’re polite and open, there is a chance to establish business contacts. You never know when they are needed, so it’s better to win friends but not lose.

8. Start a Career

Nowadays blogging is popular, and the number of bloggers is growing rapidly. It’s easy to find good blogs in any niche, and many brands use blogging as a marketing tool, advertising their services or products. If you know how to grab your audience attention and keep them interested, it’s more likely you drive traffic and, therefore, you can get collaboration requests from different people, companies, and brands. All in all, blogging is a way to earn money and start your career.

9. Keep Developing Yourself

Life is the process of development, as we meet new things and tasks daily. It’s important to grow as it’s a way not to stop reaching your potential and enjoy the life itself. If you’re a blogger, it’s more likely you’re interested in somethings and you do everything to learn new things. All in all, maintaining a blog, you keep developing yourself and can become a happier person.

10. Create a Career Portfolio

Recent graduates face a problem that employers want to hire experienced people. While it’s hard to study and work, there is a way to earn experience and create a career portfolio. It’s all about blogging. As it is an online business, you do it whenever you want and improve some core skills (communication, research, writing, etc.). Next time you want to impress your future boss, mention you blog as a hobby that helps you grow.

11. Have Fun

Having your blog, you can share what you like. And you can make it fun! For example, today is getting popular to vlog (video blogging), and the process of making videos is interesting and funny. Plus, a good blog has photos, images, and other media content. And it’s you who can make it! Use tools or take a camera, invite your friends and craft what you like.

Not only marketers but students as well start running blogs today. There are many reasons to become a blogger, and everyone can make the most out of it. As a student, blogging is a great way to combine work, development, and fun. Give it a try, and you can obtain knowledge.

About the Author: Andrew Howe is fond of writing and learning languages. He runs Adverbless.com tool as he believes it helps people hone their writing skills. To get in touch with Andrew, write him at andrewhowe306@gmail.com

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How to set up a Proper Backup Strategy for your Small Business

Today’s businesses are so reliant on data that most of them will cease to function without a steady flow of it. The case is especially true for small to medium enterprises, where most of the decision making is left to one or two individuals. Just like retail users, small business owners fail to realize the importance of a solid data backup & recovery system. The truth is that they’re playing a very dangerous game by thinking that new technologies will continue to make their lives more efficient, all on their own. It’s important to remember that in today’s world of data-dependency, a bad backup plan, or complete lack of, can mean the end of a business if that data is lost or stolen.

The real problem is that most small businesses either can’t afford to invest in a good backup strategy, or are simply ignorant of the fact that it could happen to them and end their livelihood. Not to say that small business owners aren’t tech savvy, but the concept of backup and storage strategy has recently caught up with their otherwise modern work ethics. Another problem is that most businesses run by millennials prefer to stick to the early 2000s concept of batch backups, failing to realize the need to have a constantly updated repository of their sensitive business data.

Do Small Businesses Really Need Backups?

The need to have securely backup data has never been more critical to businesses, especially for smaller more vulnerable businesses. While users can always store data for free on a cloud, some argue that you’re better off manually backup your data in an external hard drive. But backup isn’t just hardware, and a business’s backup strategy will depend on the organization’s unique storage needs.

A disaster recovery plan can act as a guiding light in times of IT disasters, and should be your first priority. Here are few of the weaknesses one would find when thinking about what can go wrong:

Locally hosted data might be secure, but if the building burns to the ground?
Backup tapes are permanently on-site.
Computer access in smaller organizations isn’t usually regulated by an administrator, enabling employees to misuse or siphon data.

Backup 101

For business data, always ensure to:

-Make two full copies of the data, maintained on separate physical devices, whether it’s on a hard drive, USB stick, Blu-ray, or even a good old fashioned rewritable disk.
-Keep a third optional virtual copy, stored in a cloud or on a server, preferably in a different location as your office servers.

Having multiple copies of your data can greatly reduce the chances of total data loss, as well as offer a degree of business continuity. Optionally, you can keep this data updated by synchronizing all the devices that the data is stored on.

Best Data Storage Solutions

Rather than create a detailed backup & recovery strategy that would require you to invest in paid data services, a good choice would be to use convenient storage options that are practically suitable for small businesses. Here’s a look at some of the best backup storage options.

1. Direct Attached Storage (DAS)

Direct Attached Storage devices are those that are physically connected to a computer or server, typically via USB 2.0 and above, ports. This ensures that the data is nearby and within reach, with the occasional issue of having to perform batch backups. This won’t be a major issue if your data doesn’t have to be real-time, and if you have the time and patience to perform manual backups.

2. Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Network Attached Storage devices are those that are directly connected to a network. A NAS system will offer support functions that one would expect from a file server, with the added feature of accepting multiple storage drives. NAS devices usually come equipped with redundancies, like RAID capabilities; because NAS supports a range of protocols to allow users to directly access a PC. Some NAS models offer the capability to synchronize specific data with a suitable remote NAS system.

3. Disaster Protected Storage (DAS)

Disaster Protected Storage systems are specialized storage devices that can withstand disasters that typically erase or corrupt unprotected data. DAS systems can exist as DAS or NAS. Most of these devices are made out of durable military grade materials, and offer a range of protection features such as water-proofing, fire-proofing, etc.

4. Online Storage

The internet is a great place, even more so now that we can store data online. And while most people only think of the cloud when it comes to online storage, there are two distinct form of online storage; paid services like Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), and online storage systems, like the cloud. There are a number of such services that have been created specifically for small businesses, like MozyPro. The only downside of online storage is that online data recovery can take a long time, especially in a case of full-recovery, since the data is being recovered from a remote location.

If you prefer not to leave you sensitive data under the protection of 3rd party cloud vendors, you could even opt to build your own private cloud service. And although it might not have been practical for small businesses to invest in their own cloud, new innovations now allow them to get private cloud storage on a budget.

Mauricio is the CEO of Cloudwards.net, a data and user feedback driven comparison engine for cloud apps and services. He enjoys writing and producing educational videos around the cloud to help people find the best cloud service for their needs.

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The Everyman Guide to Blogger Outreach And Its Impacts

In the world of ever changing trends and increasingly different viewpoints, the role of a social influencer is an important factor, especially for businesses and brands trying to keep up with the customers’ changing needs. Not surprisingly, out of every five fashionable businesses, at least two employ blogger outreach programs as part of their marketing strategy.

Let’s Begin with Blogger Outreach Programs

Google Analytics is an amazing algorithm which helps websites gain significant rankings, but the caveat is that it tends to demerit too promotional content and tends to push it down significantly. This might include SEO pages written with a view towards promoting a particular object or brand. On the other hand, when companies creatively use link building features and tie up with bloggers instead, they are guaranteed a 100% personalized content which – without sounding at all like its promoting them – can often give a very favorable result.

Why You Need to Get on Board

With the help of a blogger outreach program, you can do three main things: use bloggers influence, leverage their own content to reach out to real customer bases, and get non-promotional, quality SEO plugins. Take Sally from Sallysbakingaddiction, whose recipe for Pizza dough comes with a glowing recommendation for Red Star Yeast (and at the very end, a disclaimer that this review was sponsored by Red Star, even though she personally had been using it for a long time). Sally has an enormous fan following among the target group of bakers, and her endorsement can make thousands of women and women switch their brand of yeast to match their favorite recipe-blogger’s personal favorite.

How Best to Use Blogger Outreach Programs

Initially, it can be difficult to jump into the foray of blogger outreach programs but with the right strategies, it shouldn’t be unachievable at all. Here’s a simple list of resources and things to consider:

1. The First Step: Before approaching bloggers, you should ensure that you know about them and their work. You may love somebody’s writing style and number of followers, but if they talk of chalk in their blog and you offer cheese, it just won’t work. The followers will immediately whiff something suspicious, so don’t underestimate the customer.

2. Build a relationship: Once you’ve decided on the right bloggers, you need to start thinking of building a relationship with them. For instance, you may offer to do an expert guest blog as an authority on your product, on the blogger’s website.

3. Employ some passion: If your blogger of choice has never heard of you before, which is likely to happen, don’t be disheartened. Make sure that you are quite passionate about your product when you pitch it to them, because writers can better emote with a piece or product through passion.

Blogger outreach programs can be hugely beneficial for not just small and medium sized businesses, but well established ones. In an age where every TV or FB promo ad just makes us more wary, this is the perfect antidote for gaining some attention.

Mariia Lvovych is a an experienced guest blogger and blogger outreach expert, entrepreneur, owner at OlmaWritings.com blogger outreach and business writing service.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Guest Posting Opportunities

Content marketing has become the ultimate SEO buzzword, so it isn’t a surprise that marketers are using guest posts to build links. Guest blogging is the ideal way to get visibility and it allows you to develop relationships and get more web traffic. Google is making its algorithm more complex and tough with each passing day, which means that you have to follow strict standards of originality, quality and creativity when you decide to guest blog. There is no doubt that guest blogging is an excellent marketing method, but you can only reap its benefits when you choose the right guest post service. Choosing a good blog/website for getting your posts published is also important.

If you are making the guest posting efforts yourself, there are some things that you should pay attention to, and some, you should avoid when you are researching through the numerous guest blogging opportunities:

Things to Do

1. Always seek out platforms where you can reach your readers. The blog’s niche doesn’t have to be identical to yours, but the audience should overlap and you should be able to offer something valuable to the readers that makes sense from the perspective of branding.

2. Do some research to ensure that the blog you are considering has the right search engine ranking and appropriate page authority. Publishing guest posts on a low quality blog is going to get you penalized.

3. Make sure the blog is active and gets visitors frequently. This can be judged by the number of activity and comments on the pages. You can also check the subscriber count of the blog to know how many people visit it frequently.

4. Go through the various posts on the blog and see who has contributed to it. It is crucial to ensure that the posts don’t fall under the ‘spammy’ category.

5. The blog shouldn’t accept posts from just about anyone. They should have strict guidelines and requirements for a guest post. If anyone can get his or her post published, the blog is probably not worth it.

Things to Avoid

Pursuing sub-par blogs is only going to waste your time. Most blogger outreach services as well as bloggers now understand that it is completely useless to publish on substandard blogs. When you are navigating through the various guest blogging opportunities, these are the things to avoid:

1. Never publish on blogs that don’t have a clear subject matter or audience. Your goal is to get in touch with your target audience and this will only waste your time and resources.

2. Avoid guest blogging on blogs that have excessive ads. Chances are that they don’t have a lot of visitors and subscriber count because people get annoyed with a lot of ads and they are less likely to visit the blog. Hence, your guest post will not get the exposure you desire.

3. Blogs that have poor infrastructure, confusing design and navigation, a bad interface and offer a bad experience to users is another platform you should avoid.

4. Don’t go for guest blogging on blogs that don’t have any social media presence. Only make an exception if it has a large following. Social media has become integral to today’s marketing strategy and a blog should have presence on the popular networks to make it a good choice.

Mariia Lvovych is a an experienced guest blogging and blogger outreach expert, entrepreneur, owner at HQGuestPosting.com

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Export Google Fit Data

Google Takeout has recently added support for exporting Google Fit data. You’ll be able to download some CSV and TCX files that include your activities and daly aggregations.

* TCX (Training Center XML) is a common file format for fitness activity data that can be imported to many fitness tracking tools such as Garmin Connect and Strava. By default, Fit samples location data with low accuracy and frequency to reduce device battery consumption. These Activities are exported into the Low Accuracy folder. Activities recorded with Fit’s active mode will contain more detailed location paths and more accurate data.

* CSV files are easily read by spreadsheet software or parsed programmatically but may not be easy to import into fitness tracking software.

Gmailify

Gmail’s app for Android is more than a mobile app for Gmail, it’s also a general-purpose mail client. You can add IMAP, POP3 or Exchange accounts and use the Gmail app to read, compose and organize your mail. Now Google added the option to Gmailify your email accounts, which means bringing Gmail features without having to switch to a Gmail account.

“Gmailify links your existing account to Gmail so that you get all the bells and whistles — spam protection, inbox organization and even Google Now cards based on your mail — without having to leave your current address behind. All you need to do is open the Gmail app, sign in to your email account(s), and enable Gmailify,” informs Google.

Which features are available? Spam protection, automatic categorization, labels, better search with support for advanced search operators, travel and hotel reservations appearing automatically in Google Now, better mobile notifications and all the other Gmail features.

How does it work? You can link your non-Gmail address (Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com, AOL Mail, etc.) to an existing Gmail account or to a new Gmail account. “When you sign in to the linked Gmail address, you’ll see your messages from the other email provider in your mailbox. You’ll be able to read, reply, and organize them just like you do in Gmail.” The Gmail app keeps everything in sync, so a read email will be marked as read in the original account, archived messages will be added to a new Archive folder, while Gmail labels will be treated like folders.

5 Steps to Remove a Google Manual Penalty

When digital marketing was in its infancy, there was no such thing as a bad link. But in recent years, Google’s focus on relevancy and user experience has caused SEO specialists to reconsider their approach. Webmasters who receive “questionable” links to their site are commonly finding themselves penalized by the very search engine that they’re trying to impress. Receiving a manual penalty can be a time-consuming, difficult process at times, so you may want to hire a reputable firm like Coalition Technologies, a leading Los Angeles SEO company.

1. Site Assessment

The first step is going to be to gather a list of all of the websites that link to you. There are many different tools to accomplish this, including Google’s Webmaster Tools. Once you can clearly view exactly where your backlinks are coming from, you should be able to accurately determine which are toxic and which are legitimate. Depending on how many backlinks you have, you may want to organize the list on a clearly labelled spreadsheet. Organization is critical during this step.

2. Link Determination

The next step is to manually classify each link as natural, unnatural, or suspicious. While there are link classification tools that can grade your links, you are better off going through each link manually so you can ensure a thorough job. Some common unnatural links include those that come from spammy directories and from content farms. Suspicious links often stem from blog rolls, footers, or seemingly useless link archive pages. You may want to also consider flagging links from sites that are irrelevant to your niche.

3. Contact Webmasters

Once you have decided which links are natural, unnatural, or suspicious, it is time to take action. You will need to contact the webmasters of any unnatural or suspicious links. You will need to request that all unnatural links are removed, and suspicious links should be — at the very least — tagged as “no follow.” Some website that are loaded with spam may require several contact attempts, so make sure you keep diligent track of who you have contacted and when, as you may need to follow up regularly. Once a webmaster tells you that the link has been removed or changed, make sure to manually verify the removal before you cross them off of the list.

4. Submit Disavow Requests

It is highly likely that you will not hear back from some webmasters, or you may have backlinks appearing on sites that are no longer active. When this occurs, you will need to use Google’s disavow tool to mark links that should be ignored during Google’s assessment. Create a .txt file that contains all of the links in question, and then simply upload it to your Webmaster Tools. If a website is known for using black-hat SEO techniques, or if it is suspicious for any reason, you may want to request that the entire domain is disavowed, instead of just the one page linking to your website.

5. Ask for Reconsideration

Finally, you should send a message to Google via your Webmaster Tools, outlining what actions you have taken to rectify the problem, as well as changes that you have made to your SEO strategies. It may take a month or longer before you hear back, and you may need to submit more than one reconsideration request. The webspam team may need to manually review your website, which may take some time, but don’t give up. Persistence is the key to getting manual penalties removed.

Atinder Pal Singh, an SEO specialist at Coalition Technologies, has been actively involved in SEO and Online Marketing industry for over 3 years from website audit, link building, social media and search engine optimization. He is passionate for his work and finds innovative ways of providing excellent results for his clients. When he is not in front of his computer, he enjoys canoeing, writing, and collecting classic, first-edition novels.

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