Google recently updated how it assesses the quality of search engine results. This has left the operators of “how-to” web sites feeling the effects. Surprisingly, Yahoo! Answers was hit the hardest with a drop of 10.9% or 45 million organic searches. The news, however, wasn’t completely grim for owners of “how-to” sites; many reported that they actually benefitted from the update.
So what was it about the content on these sites that set them apart from the ones that plummeted in ratings following the update? The answer is quality. Many of the sites that benefitted from the “phantom” update provided quality user-generated content and had strict quality control rules in place. For instance, if a user responded to a question with blatant self-promotion, it was rightfully flagged as spam and quickly removed.
If you own a “how-to” site that was affected by the update, here are some steps you can take to recover:
1. Check Your Backlink Profile
This is a great way to find out if there are any links to your site that could be considered spam. However, be aware that many quality links may just be mistakenly categorized as spam. Check the link’s ranking on search engines and whether or not it’s indexed. Most importantly, make sure that the link drives traffic to your site.
2. Gather All the Bad Links in One Basket
Once you’ve gathered a list of all the bad backlinks, place them in an Excel spreadsheet and determine which ones you want to get rid of and which ones you want to keep. You should also know whether or not the traffic they drive is paid or organic.
3. Ask to Have the Links Removed
Once you’ve determined which links are spam, contact the webmaster of each site and politely request to have them removed. This may take some persistence, as it may take some time for your request to be granted or they may require you to pay to have the links removed. Make sure to carefully document your efforts, as well.
4. “Disavow” the Bad Links
If contacting the operators of the spam links has failed or they require payment to have them removed, you can use the “Disavow” tool. Essentially, this tool allows you to ask Google to ignore certain links when assessing your web site. But use this wisely and make sure that everything is entered correctly. Finally, be patient, it will take a few days to see any results.
Regardless of whether you were negatively affected by the “phantom” update, Numero Uno Web Solutions, a leading provider of search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing for business of all sizes and across all industries, can provide you with a quality online marketing strategy that will fit your budget.
Click here to find out how our team of experts can help get your web site ranked higher on the top search engines!