Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The impact of spammy backlinks on your Google rankings

Can low quality links or links from spammy websites have a negative effect on the rankings of your websites on Google? If spammy websites point to your site, should you act?

Three things that you can do when you discover spammy backlinks
Most websites have links from low quality websites and it is very difficult to do something against these links. You cannot influence which websites link to your site.
For example, a competitor could add your website to a link farm network or the competitor could spam search engines and directories with your URL.
If you find that low quality websites link to your site, you can do several things:
  1. Relax and let them link
    Linking is a significant factor in Google's ranking algorithm but it is just one of many factors. Other factors are the content of your web pages, the site structure and the appearance of a keyword in the different web page elements.
  2. Ask the webmaster to remove the links
    If you have a high quality website and get links from spammy websites, try to contact the website owners and ask them to remove their links. Google will not help you with that. If the webmasters of the spammy website are not cooperative, don't worry and focus on the links that are under your control.
  3. Optimize your links and your web page content
    Optimize all of the factors that influence indexing and ranking on Google.  It analyzes dozens of factors that influence the position of your website in Google's search results and it shows you what exactly you have to change so that Google will list your website on the first result page.
Focus on things that can be influenced by you
Google knows that you cannot influence all of the links that point to your site. Low-quality links come from websites with low Google rankings and they cannot pass much ranking power to other websites. Chances are that Google simply ignore these links for the ranking algorithm.
For that reason, you shouldn't worry too much about links to your website that you cannot control. Focus on web page optimization and high quality link building.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Google's new sitelinks

With Google's new sitelinks, the meta description tag becomes more important
Last month, Google announced new and extended sitelinks. The maximum number of sitelinks increased from eight to 12.

If Google decides to display sitelinks for your website, your site will get a much more prominent display than before.
How to make your sitelinks more attractive
Google uses the first 30-35 characters of the meta description tag of a web page for the snippets.
To increase the number of clicks on the snippets, you should optimize your meta description tags:
  • The first 35 characters in the meta description tag should contain a clear description of the page and/or a call-to-action.
  • Each page of your website should have its own meta description.
Note that Google updates the sitelinks of a website periodically. It may take some time before the new descriptions of your web pages appear in the sitelinks.
How to get sitelinks
In general, Google shows sitelinks if it is sure that a website is the exact match for a search query (usually product name or company name searches). Google generates the sitelinks for your website based on your website navigation and based on the links that point to your website.
If Google does not show sitelinks for your website then you should work on your website navigation:
  • Avoid JavaScript and Flash navigation and try to use regular <a href> links as often as possible.

  • If you use images for your website navigation, make sure that the images contain alternative texts that allow Google to categorize your links.
Do not use too many navigation links and make it easy for web surfers and search engines to find out which pages of your website are the most important pages. The better a web page is linked, the more likely it is that it will appear in the sitelinks on Google.
Sitelinks are a nice addition for brand name searches but they usually don't appear for searches that consist of two to four words. These words are the most important keywords for website promotion and search engine optimization.
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