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.

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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

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.

Tips on backlink analysis that will help your site’s positioning

In-depth backlinks analysis can not only help you optimize search engine traffic. It can tell you much more interesting information about your site.

John Ball from “Search Engine Journal” points at four main uses of backlink analysis:

1. Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis can provide you with wide range of useful information. You will learn what keywords are most useful, which pages of competitor’s site are most linked, which content proves to be most effective, which sites are linking to it.

2. Link prospecting

It’s a very important element of link building process. First you should start with queries most important for your clients. Then you’ll need to additionally filter the results, deciding, which of them are most useful, and of the highest quality. Once you’ve done it start building the relation with the website owners (bloggers, publishers) by contacting them. Here are some useful tips on link prospecting.

3. Backlink Audit

This is a very important part of link building. Toxic links can be as harmful to your search engine visibility and business to overshadow all backlink building process. Google may decide to penalize your site or even ban it because of toxic links. Sites that used to be considered high quality at a time, may be treated as spammers by new search engine algorithms.

Some of the linking pages may not respond. Some of the links may point at redesigned or removed parts of your site.

It’s also not recommended to over optimize the backlinks net. While auditing your backlinks, go through all the points we’ve mentioned here.

4. Link Reclamation

The final result of the analysis is link reclamation. You may contact the linking site’s owner to change a wrong URL or inform him about his page not responding. In case you decide it’s not possible or simply not worth it, you can disavow a link, using Google’s dedicated tool.

Remember, according to new search engine standards, it’s often better if some sites aren’t linking to yours.

image by mterraza via sxc.hu

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How to get your site’s inbound links file from Google

Incoming links to your site are one of the most common reasons for a site to be penalized or even banned by Google. In such case the first thing you should do is to download a list of links to your site from Google Webmasters Tools. Once you do it, you can prepare a list of toxic links you can disavow in order to bring you search engine traffic back to previous levels.

We’ll walk you through this step by step.

1. Log in Google Webmasters Tools and chose the site you need the file for. You should verify both www and non www addresses (www.webdna.io and webdna.io), since they are different things for Google.

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2. Under “Search Traffic” go to “Links to Your Site”.

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3. Click “More” under “Who links the most” list.

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4. Download “Click “Download more sample links” and chose CSV Format.

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Now, when you have the file with links, you can use it to create a “disavow file” – a list of backlinks you want Google to ignore. You can edit the file you have just downloaded, removing some links, that according to you are toxic, and then upload it using Google’s disavow links tool.

How to create a Google Webmaster Tools account and verify you site

Google Webmaster Tools is a free of charge service for people managing a website. It’s an online app in which we are helping the search engine expose our content better: upload sitemaps, remove any obstacles for Google bots to crawl your site.  Yes, it means doing part of Google’s job for Google. But since the search engine is so dominating,  everyone will gladly help it include his or her site in search results.

Recently one of important features of Google Webmaster Tools is downloading inbound links file, which can be used to disavow unwanted external links, that may cause Google penalty or even ban.

Here’s how to set up Google Webmaster Tools account.

  1. Sign in to your Google account on Google Webmaster Tools page.
  2. Enter your site’s address:
  3. Now you will need to verify the ownership of the site. Download a HTML file, and upload it to your site. Then click “Verify”. You’ll get an instant reply.
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  4. If you cannot upload the file, you can use one of four alternative methods:
    1. Add a meta tag to site’s home page:
    2. Sign in to your domain provider
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    3. Verify it via Google Analytics, inserting the asynchronous tracking code.google-analytics
    4. Using Google Tag Manager
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One of these methods should work. If you still have any problems, just comment below.

Why has my website been banned or penalized by Google? 20 steps to recover

If your site has been banned by Google, here are some possible reasons. Make sure you double check if any of these activities are stopped immediately.

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source: sch.hu / mzacha

  1. If you were buying outside links. Google wants you to buy AdWords to get more traffic, not third party services that distort organic search results. It’s not official, but it’s likely, that the search giant is
  2. Participate in any link exchange programs. Although incoming links have always been the core of Google search, and are supposed to certify your site’s quality, nowadays they are often a burden, since it’s you, who are responsible for their quality.
  3. Have too many bilateral links exchanges. Which may be considered as a result manipulation.
  4. Common 404 Errors. If a large part of your pages don’t respond, not only your site is clearly confusing for the users, but you may also raise on Google’s potential spammers list.
  5. Overusing keywords on your pages is a spammy thing to do.
  6. Still haven’t removed good old fashioned outgoing links from the footer of your pages.
  7. Malfunctioning or outdated XML sitemap on Google Webmasters Tools.
  8. Are cloaking some links. Even by mistake.
  9. Link from your site to pages that don’t respond.
  10. You have build your incoming link base too quickly. Of course they may be all good quality organic links that are the result of natural buzz about your site, but remember: Google’s algorithms may be wrong. And when they are, it’s your thought.
  11. Have too many neatly anchored key phrases in your outgoing and incoming links.
  12. Duplicating content, even if it’s useful, i.e. when having different language versions of your site. Each copy, should be marked with Google’s “alternate hreflang“.
  13. Some of the pages of your site are not responding or loading very slowly.
  14. Your content is of very low quality or generated automatically. This is likely, if you’re buying texts in bulk at low price. If algorithms can prepare content, Google ones can identify such content.
  15. Check the comments on your site. There may be some spam with links attached.
  16. You have prepared too many dedicated landing pages filled with keywords. Once again, what used to be a perfect solution for top seeds in search results is now treated as spam.
  17. There are too many ads on your website. Google decides that it’s no longer useful. Which may be true.
  18. Toxic incoming links sent by competition. It may happen that somebody will point to your site from a page containing malware. By Google standards – you are responsible.
  19. Your site is lacking external incoming links. Too much is bad, but too little is no better. Since it’s impossible that all the information on your site is original, not pointing to the source is considered not fair, and banned.
  20. Bad site’s history. If your address had been used before, it may cause additional trouble.

These aren’t the only possible reasons. Google is a huge corporation now, and its algorithms have long history of fighting spam and interacting among each other. Recently even Google’s Matt Cutts stated that:

whether you call something a penalty, or ranking change…any of those things can be really hard to draw a fine distinction between those different points.

We hope one of these 20 steps will help you recover from a Google ban or penalty.