Know your (business) enemy! – Reserch competition backlinks

As promised in our last article on Why it really pays off to monitor your backlinks, we’re coming back to tips and tricks related to your competitors and how their backlinks can become one of the most valuable sources of knowledge!

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When we think about backlinks monitoring, the most obvious way of doing it is to analyse those leading to your website. But there is actually nothing holding you back from doing the same with your competition – just run the analysis for their website instead of yours. And how exactly can you use the results?

Compare the list of positive websites to your own list.

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This will give you a sense of what important websites you’re missing and how you can improve your position and visibility. There is probably plenty of places where you’re not yet featured but are a perfect match for you. Perhaps your competitors are members of trade associations worth joining or are present in brand catalogues and datasets that you’re not yet familiar with. Check your competitors to see how they are acquiring valuable links and use this knowledge to improve your business.

Visit and study the websites that don’t seem to fit your profile directly.

7599677166_9f89ce26ffThis way you can get some insights on how your competitors acquire positive links. Maybe they always sign their projects with their link, so when the client is using the service or the product, the link is there and serves as a high quality reference. Maybe they are sponsoring some events or charity organizations and are listed on those websites. Your backlinks don’t always need to be strictly related to your branch of business as long as they are valuable. So get inspirations from whatever your competitors are doing better than you and never miss a chance to excel.

Get PR ideas.

Reserch competition backlinks ideas

Being present in the media can definitely bring you publicity and great advertising (if you’re written about in a positive way of course) but it’s also another source of backlinks. However, not everyone can be just spontaneously written about – check what your competition is doing in this matter.
Have they prepared a case study or a report that is a part of a bigger series?
Was there an interview with the board member in one of the trade magazines?
Have they accomplished something worth mentioning in your business?
Think how you can convert your knowledge of the field into a publishable material.

Taking a look on how PR is used to get positive links will not only improve your SEO but may do great things for your company. You will be better informed about any events you should take part in, you may get good ideas on how to promote your brand and you are less likely to miss important trade contests fitting your profile.

Treat analysing your competitors’ backlinks as a study of your business sector. Look for solutions you haven’t thought of before. Get knowledge about what new marketing ideas are being implemented and in what directions your competition is developing. Finally, never fear using the doors that someone else has already opened for you, no shame in that because for sure this will lead you to thousands of undiscovered brand new solutions.

 

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photo: Flickr.com

Voytek Blazalek
voytek@webdna.io
twitter.com/blazalek
voyteck

ASO is the new black!

ASO is the new black!
Part 1: the devil is in the detail of app stores

Let’s face it, in this blog we’ve only had eyes for SEO. We believe in it and we’re sure SEO is worth your time. But we’ve been hearing gossips that SEO is so last year and that this year, ASO is the new black.

First of all, SEO has definitely changed and is now much more complex than it was before Panda time. It has evolved more into digital marketing or, how others call it, growth hacking mixed with inbound marketing. It’s no longer only about keywords and inbound links, and Google has made it clear with its policy changes that in the future keywords and links won’t enough to secure your visibility. So SEO specialists have started also dealing much more with paid commercials (SEM), remarketing, analytics, keyword research and contextual research.

In the meantime, ASO was born to lead the mobile market. App Store Optimization describes the rules of the whole mobile ecosystem – you have to take care of your app listings in Apple App Store and Google Play, but you also have to remember about mobile Google results (here comes SEO in a refreshed form). A lot of good practices from SEO apply also to ASO since it’s all about good optimization.

We’ve decided to share some tips and tricks on ASO and here we’ll show you small things that make Apple App Store and Google Play very different fields for optimization.

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What’s the difference?

App store is a tricky term because it’s both a name and the general word, so let’s sort that one out. There are two major app stores on the market – Apple App Store (also referred to as iTunes or just App Store) and Google Play. In general they are pretty similar with small, but significant differences when it comes to optimization. Let’s start with the differences!

  • Length: Google Play believes in KISS principle, Keep It Short and Simple. That’s why you can use 30 characters for the title when in Apple you get 255! In the former one you’ll need to think of a name that’s short and catchy. In the latter you should consider including some keywords because the rumour has it that the keywords from the title rank higher!

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Our advice: Be reasonable and think how your app will look on your users’ screen. There’s probably a reason why Twitter isn’t called “Twitter – an instant messenger for short messages that you can follow and share with your friends” so think about the brand that you’re creating.

  • Keywords: As you’ve already read, Apple ranks higher your keywords from the title. It also lets you do a special list of keywords for your app. In fact that’s almost all that matters because what’s written in a description isn’t as significant as those words (100 characters at your disposal to be precise) that you list and they will be your keys to being found. In Google Play you get 4000 characters for your description and that’s the place where you can show your keywords skills. Make sure your text is not a list of random words as that won’t be accepted – it’s meant to be read by real people! And don’t overdo it because a keyword repeated too many times may get you a ban rather than a higher position.

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Our advice: Do your research! Check what apps you can find for each keyword that comes to your mind. Maybe check synonyms. Maybe go for a different, less popular phrase that will let you be visible. Test singulars and plurals, they may give different results. Check pairs of words. Keep your search for a right word organized and repeat it often as top keywords change. And there’s no point in using a great keyword that gets thousands of results if your app will end up on page 100. Believe us, nobody has ever reached that far when looking for an app.

  • Updates: Every now and again you will want to add some new features to your app or fix some bugs, and that’s the same for any store. However, it’s much harder to change how your store LOOKS on Apple App Store because any changes to icons or screenshots is also treated as an update and needs to pass a review. It’s a big problem for a marketing specialist like you since you cannot freely test your ideas at any time. On Google Play you can change the way your store looks without restrictions.

16638657367_d3c0d5cb46_oOur advice? Try to schedule your marketing changes together with product changes to minimize the number of reviews you need to pass on Apple App Store (in the next point you’ll see why you want to reduce their number). You can either test your marketing ideas on Google Play (if your app is available at both, but mind that they are not identical in terms of rules, algorithms and users!) or have a careful plan of when and how you want to test new graphics, keywords or descriptions. If it’s a must, then of course never fear applying for a review with just app store changes! The benefit is, it usually takes much shorter to get an approval if no product changes were made.

  • Ratings: It’s important to know what the users think of your app and they can share their thoughts by rating and commenting in the app store. The higher their marks, the better your position in the store. So it’s good to have a lot of users who gave your app 5 stars! The problem is that every time you update the app on Apple App Store (and it doesn’t matter if you’re just changing the icon, screenshots or a significant part of your code), the whole rating disappears and you have to start from the scratch… It doesn’t apply to Google Play where your rating lasts forever.

Our advice? Think before you apply for a review at Apple App Store. Maybe you can use this opportunity to also test a new icon? Try to be prepared with some new marketing assets you want to test, because we all know that tests are crucial for marketing but they are much harder with Apple.

 

It may not be much but it’s definitely enough to realize that if you’re going for two app stores at the same time you’ll have twice the amount of work to do. Apple App Store and Google Play are different stores and they need to be researched and optimized separately. Take your time to learn about the differences, embrace them and apply them to make sure you’re doing ASO just the right way!

 

images from flickr.com

Top 5 reasons why it really pays off to monitor your backlinks

You often start to think about the backlinks when it’s a bit too late and they’ve led you into your search engine’s list of banned websites. However, there is much more to backlinks than just an attempt to avoid the negative ones – monitoring your backlinks can have a huge impact on how you run your business, where you save your money from going to waste and what you do to respond to your clients’ (and media) opinions. Here you have top 5 reasons why it pays off to keep an eye on who’s linking to your website (plus a great tool that will become your third eye in this quest).

1. Be your own fortune teller and predict the future!

predict futureAs an old saying goes, an apple a day keeps a doctor away. The same is true for bans from the search engines – a regular checkup of your current backlinks situation will save you a lot of troubles. In many cases, losing the website from the search engines has resulted in a business failure, especially true for e-commerce and emerging small companies.
Monitoring your backlinks will let you in advance see and, more importantly, react to an increasing number of negative links. Maybe the policy of a search engine is changing and different links are viewed as negative now, maybe your competitors are trying to get on your nerves or maybe the positive links you’ve acquired have changed – in any case your quick reaction by disavowing all the negative links will let you predict the future and change its course!

2. Keep an eye on your competitors

competitorsUnless you’re doing something extremely unusual that nobody has ever heard of or pioneering something new, you’ll always have competitors. In general, competition is a great motivator to getting better. But in some cases they may step on an unfair path to undermine your credibility by linking your websites on pages of very low quality. The idea behind that is very simple – you get too many negative backlinks, you lose your website from a search engine. Luckily for you, there is WebDNA backlinks monitoring! Step in before your unfair competitors push you out of the business.
Pssst, soon we will also tell you how you can use backlinks monitoring to not only avoid your competition but actually LEARN something useful from them!

 

3. Don’t waste money

waste moneyIt may happen that you’ve spent a lot of time and money on getting your links on websites of very good quality. You may even keep paying a fee to feature there. Unfortunately, in the meantime the websites have been neglected, taken by someone else who doesn’t keep the high profile, lost their value and are no longer of any use to you but have turned into a burden. Without monitoring your backlinks you’ll never know something like that took place. And instead of a time-consuming trip through all the linking websites that you remember, you can simply keep it all in one place. On a more positive note, monitoring your website will also show you the valuable websites that voluntarily started linking to you and maybe it’s worth your time to pay them a visit and arrange some cooperation?

4. Never miss the buzz

buzzWe’ve seen a lot of negative scenarios above so now for something different – spotlights and fame coming from the media, bloggers, vlogers and all the important internet people. Monitoring your backlinks will let you see whenever your website and brand is talked about – maybe your website was quoted by someone from the industry giving tips on where to find great specialists, maybe an online newspaper wrote something positive about how your business is contributing to the local community. With this knowledge you can visit the website linking to you, respond, say thank you, answer any questions, shed more light on any doubts or just talk. I think that’s already PR!

5. Know your customers’ mind

customer mindAnd what sort of business would we be if not for our customers. They also frequently voice their opinions on the internet and it may just happen that they are talking about us, giving their feedback, recommending us to someone else, maybe criticising something we’ve done wrong, marking our service, judging our performance. If you want to improve your business and increase the satisfaction with your product or service, there is no better way than listening to your customers and clients. And definitely no better and easier way to do this task than by monitoring with WebDNA where your link is being used.

All the advantages are just a step away from you so sit down, visit WebDNA and start monitoring your backlinks today!

 

voyteck

 

 

 

Voytek Blazalek
@blazalek

Be positive! Check and monitor your backlinks!

WebDNA is a comprehensive tool for managing and controlling links. It allows you to audit the existing historical links and to monitor and assess the quality of the inbound ones.

While creating the app we used machine learning and the newest technologies to ensure that the assessing of suspicious links and catching them are highly effective.

Automatic links assessment in the cloud

One of the undeniable advantages of WebDNA is that it works in the cloud computing so you don’t have to use your own machine for analysing all the websites linking to you. Also, it guarantees that the exploration of even very big sets of data will not be too demanding.

System is fully automatized so it’s easy to conduct analysis and automatically monitor even 200,000-300,000 backlinks without running the programme on your local resources.

You can use one of three modes of analysis:
– automatic: app assesses the newest links found coming from three external providers;

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– files upload: you can upload file with backlinks from the external sources, e.g. Google Webmaster Tools, Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic etc.

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– the form: copy the links from the test file or other source and paste them to the special form.

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When you set the analysis, WebDNA goes through each domain and URL address by using crawler and scores it with our original mechanism for data analysis. After collecting all the parameters needed for scoring, app decides on the quality of a website linking to you.

Effective tool for links assessment

Thanks to Sybilla algorithm, links assessment is highly effective and successful. Right now we’re measuring thirty-something parameters for each URL address. They give the basis for the quality assessment which is then sent to you.

Sybilla divides websites into three categories: negative, suspicious, positive.

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Website gets a negative status if it’s harmful. Link to your page on such a website can cause you troubles and lead to lowering your position in Google. In extreme cases it can even get you a ban. That’s why the link should be reported as unwanted in Google Disavow Tool.

Suspicious sites are exactly what they’re called – suspicious and so they should be manually checked by the user. We suggest to pay extra attention to those websites and analyse them very carefully. If a given URL can harm the profile of your website’s links, you can change the status for “negative”. If you decide that the link isn’t harmful, you can update it for “positive”.

Positive status is given to those websites which have enough features to rank them as trustworthy and of good quality. Positive websites will help you get higher in the rankings.

After analysing the links, WebDNA will recommend one of the three statuses but you can always manually change them, e.g. from suspicious to negative etc.

The simplest tool for backlinks assessment

The app lets you generate disavow file ready to be uploaded in Google. The file is prepared basing on all the URLs marked as negative, and it doesn’t matter if the website got this status automatically (system ranked it at such) or manually (you changed the status yourself). All the links marked as negative are included in the disavow list, which is available when you click “remove toxic links”.

toxic links export

Sybilla is an original complex algorithm which takes into account the following parameters when assessing any HTML document:
– meta tags quality; for example, the length of tag title
– the structure of the HTML document and its quality
– the number and type of links on a given website
– the number of images in the document
– the distribution of links in each part of the website
– HTM2TXT ratio
– the amount of text found on the website
– loading time and the status code of the website
– domain authority
– the analysis of the website for malware and viruses

The system collects and calculates also some additional parameters needed for the correct analysis (a secret know-how of the creators). Those data are assessed and help to:
– evaluate the profile and the quality of links;
– make decisions whether it’s worth to keep the links on a given website;
– evaluate the links of your competition;
– search for the quality websites where your links could be placed.

We wanted to give you something light and easy to use. In our fast-paced world we need tools which do what they’re meant to do and aren’t too complex. That’s why WebDNA is probably the simplest tool for monitoring the links in the whole world (unlike some other available solutions)!

WebDNA limits the amount of data that you need to analyse without adding more difficult parameters.

WebDNA is made to make webmasters’ work easier by automating previously manual work of searching and visiting websites of low quality.

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So if you want to improve your visibility in Google or get your website out of the filter – WebDNA will be the solution just for you.

voyteck

 

Voytek Blazalek
Twitter: @blazalek
LinkedIn: blazalek

How to avoid the risk of being punished by Google algorithm updates?

Watch presentation about how to avoid the risk of being punished by Google algorithm updates using WebDNA.io

Try WebDNA today >>>

Fully functional WebDNA beta. It’s free for now, so try it!

We are proud to announce, we have released a fully functional beta. Sign up, log in, and check as many sites as you want for toxic links.

We hope you’ll like it as much as we do. It’s clean, it’s simple. Here’s how it works.

Once you log in, you can add the website you want to analyze.

 

You will get three options to run your analysis. The first is the easiest, and you can run it on any site, not only the one you control. Choosing “Get sample backlinks from MOZ.com” will provide you with an instant analysis of 50 inbound links.

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However, if you want to check up your own site, we recommend using the second option, and Upload backlinks file. It’s the file you can get logging to Google’s Webmasters Tools. Here’s a short tutorial, if you are not familiar with it.

Once you have the file, just drag it here:

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If you have a list of inbound links, or any URLs you’d like to verify with WebDNA.io, you can just copy and paste them using the third option.

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Now, our analysis takes time. The most important thing for us is to provide the best results, that is identify toxic links, which is not an easy task. That is why sometimes you have to wait several minutes, sometimes longer for the results. We have made it convenient for you, and we will notify you once the results are ready via e-mail.

While the analysis is in progress, you will see a notification in the panel.

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Once your analysis is ready, you get an e-mail with confirmation. Now you can check out the results. It’s very simple. You get:

  • The number of backlinks analyzed (blue)
  • The number of backlinks flagged as positive (green)
  • The number of backlinks flagged as negative (red)

The last one is the essence of our tool. WebDNA is there to help you get rid of toxic links. Our algorithm is still learning, that is why we kindly ask you to run through the results, and if you see any familiar URLs that have been marked red, change the minus icon into plus, please. We need your feedback in order to improve our results. That is one of the reasons why as a beta tester you get our tool for free.

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Once you double checked our automatic analysis, click “Remove toxic links” button. It will enable you to download a “disavow file”. It’s a text file with the URLs flagged as negative. You can upload to Google Webmasters Tools using these instructions.

Once you do it, Google will tell its bots to ignore the listed backlinks while positioning your website. Do not hesitate to do it. It always helps to remove some spam pages pointing to your site. Whenever you change your mind, you can upload a new disavow file.

Register free beta version and get 15% discount WebDNA.io/register

Teach Google to ignore spam: How to upload a disavow file with Webmasters Tools

In order to use WebDNA tool, you need to get familiar with some webmaster’s basics. This tutorial is for beginners. We have already written about how to:

The final effect of our analysis is a “disavow file”. It’s a text file with all the inbound links you would like Google to ignore, because they are harming your search engine visibility. They are either spam or simply pages that no longer work.

Once you download your disavow file, you need to upload it using Google Webmasters Tools.

First go to this the disavow links tool page. And choose the site you want to remove the toxic links from.

how to upload disavow file 1

Google will warn you twice it’s an advanced feature. But since you are using WebDNA, it means you know what you are doing.how to upload disavow file 2

Upload the file you downloaded from WebDNA dashboard. You can also see here the history of disavow files uploaded. As you can see, you can always remove the file, and let Google bots take under considerations all the spammy links we have found for you.

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Give us a try and see if our analysis can help your search engine visibility.

How be more visible in search engines? Try these 7 backlink strategies

Inbound links are the core of your site’s exposition in search engine result pages, especially in the most important ones: Google. Of course in you enrich the internet with quality content, the chances are it will come naturally. However there are some backlink strategies, that are fair and safe, and that your competition is probably using right know. That is why you should take a brief look at the list below, and see if you had considered all of them.

1. Follow the competition

Check out the keywords you are interested in. Find your competition that has higher position on the result pages. Tthen examine their site, looking for their external links. There are several tools to examine it. One of them is Bing Link Explorer , where when you register your site, you will be given a large sample of inbound links to any site (yeah, competition is good, since Google does not provide a similar tool). You will find out the places that you have missed during your research. .

2. Get free press, interviews, reports, PR news

Inspire journalists and bloggers to write about your product and site. You can use any reason. New products in your store, new functionalities, a weekly or monthly report on the market. Use the resources you have, the knowledge about the market to inspire bloggers and professional writers.

On the other hand, create ready to publish content. Editors working for internet portals, site’s that have huge traffic and earn their living on pageviews will be delighted to publish any valuable free content, and we’ll usually leave external links in text body.

Bloggers would rather have you, or your crew guest posting. It’s the most organic of backlink sources.

3. Use social media

But do in wisely and profoundly. Don’t spam it. Publish tutorials on your products, services. Use the knowledge of your team to answer question on quality forms as Quora or helpareporter.com

4. Donations and social responsibility activities

Charity shouldn’t be self-interest motivated, but in business it usually is. Find a cause that is somehow linked to your activity and have pages with list of donors with active links. Try theaters, schools, universities, galleries. Being a donor to a good cause is a great think to do, especially if you can build your brand on it.

5. Search for unlinked content

Not just text and data. Use image search to find your graphic without annotation. When you find any unauthorized usage, just reach out to the site owners and kindly ask them to link to your site.

6. Broken link building.

It’s an advanced but very effective strategy. The key is to find not functioning or abandoned content, such as links on other sites that don’t work, and replace them with new ones directing to your site. Here’s a useful tutorial for anyone of you wanting to try it out.

7. Feel free to improvise

Just make sure the pages you are targeting are of high quality. Avoid cheap catalogues that may be made by a positioning agency and can be a threat to your site’s reputation.

Avoid posting your links in forum comments, unless it comes naturally. Google algorithms are taught to find such activities and treat them as spam.

Article directories and blog comments should be out of your list. They are supposed to be made spontaneously by real people, not brands pretending to be ordinary internet users. There is no long-term efficient strategy involving such activities.

Good luck, if you have any other ideas or experience, feel free to put them in comments!

image: CC BY-SA 2.5, Art by Felipe Micaroni Lalli

How to write an efficient title tag

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Times they are a changing in SEO. Recently Google have introduced a search result page layout change. Seemingly it’s just cosmetic adjustment, but since it’s such an important page, every detail can affect many businesses.

Until recently title tags optimal length was between 65 to 70 characters, but now it has been reduced to 48 – 62 characters. It makes editors and copywriters job a little bit more difficult.

Here are some useful tips:

  1. Create different pages dedicated to each user group

    The best way to do it is to analyze the keywords people are using visiting your site, and then try to divide them into different categories based on: action, location, user profile. You should remember though not to create too many different pages, since Google’s Panda algorithm can punish you for deteriorating user experience for solely SEO purposes.

  2. Each title tag should be unique, don’t use it on more then one page

    According to “Search Engine Watch” it’s one of the most common mistakes by webmasters. Meanwhile, when you do it, search engine will most likely qualify your page as duplicated content. Get creative, hire a copywriter and do your best to avoid it.

  3. Keep the recommended length

    As I’ve noticed in the introduction, at the moment the most efficient number of characters seems to be between 48 and 62.

  4. Make it practical for the user

    That should be the key to the success notwithstanding any possible changes in search engine’s algorithm. The title tag should bring up the content description first – what’s the information on the site, then you can add some more general keywords, finally answer the question – who is it run by – that is, the name of the company, organization or department.

If you have any questions of comments on title tag writing, feel free to post them below.

A case study proves frequent SEO audits are needed for a large website not to be penalized

Search Engine Watch has posted an interesting case study recently. It is an in-depth analysis of a large website being punished by Google’s Panda algorithm update. The site lost about 30 percent of Google organic traffic, which can be shown here:

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SEW’s post is a great read, so we strongly recommend you to read it. From WebDNA’s point of view the most important are the blog’s recommendations on how to avoid similar situations in the future. The main hint is to “continually audit the website”. We fully agree with this conclusion:

Initial audits can be extremely powerful, but once they are completed, they can’t help you analyze future releases. To combat this situation, I recommend scheduling audits throughout the year. That includes a mixture of crawl audits, manual analysis, and auditing webmaster tools reporting.

Continually auditing the site can help nip problems in the bud versus uncovering them after the damage has been done.

We couldn’t  have agreed more. Having similar experience myself, that is why I have decided to create a tool that is able to run a quick audit, that points to potential ban and penalty threats. The goal for WebDNA.io is to learn to understand the search engine’s algorithms and provide you with specific advice.

Feel free to join our beta testers here. Organizations that participate in it gain an opportunity to win a special feature of our app dedicated to their needs.