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Live SEO Support 3/3/21 – Full Episode

by | Live SEO Support, SEO

Welcome to another episode of Live SEO Support!

Live SEO Support is an hour-long Weekly Livestream where our founders, Nicholas Altimore and Chris Tzitzis, take questions from the audience on anything related to SEO.

It’s 100% free, and anyone can join us weekly in our Facebook Group or on Youtube.

But in case you missed us live this week, here’s the full episode:

This Week’s Archived Livestream:

Summary:

[27:30] What are the risks associated with paid links?

The biggest risk associated with paying for links is that you can get penalized by Google and lose your rankings.

The good news is that it’s pretty easy to avoid penalties if you’re following industry best practices. In fact, we haven’t had any of our sites penalized unless it was done on purpose for testing.

It really boils down to obvious user errors, like over-optimization of anchors or link spam, that can increase the risk associated with paid links.

[33:05] Do you think links could hurt traffic just by a large percentage having “write for us” or “advertise with us” pages? Another example is sites directly mentioning sponsored posts.

It’s not really an issue if you’re receiving a handful of these types of links and you have a lot of referring domains going to your asset. Acquiring a few of these every now and then is safe, particularly if you’re already following best practices like link/anchor diversity.

However, you should try to avoid having a large percentage/footprint of these types of links (you definitely don’t want like 80% of your link profile coming from sites with these pages). Chances are a lot of people are scraping for pages like these to exploit, and that’s not natural. Another problem is that eventually a bunch of outbound links on these pages will tend to overlap too.

[39:28] Does publishing an article on a blog like www.lifeyet.com help in ranking keywords? They usually charge a certain amount for publishing an article and getting a backlink. Is this effective?

The first red flag we notice is that there is a “write for us” button at the top of the frontpage. It also advertises “write for us” in many other places. We don’t really like these types of sites and tend to avoid them.

Moreover, we noticed that the site has a very low amount of keywords and traffic relative to its number of referring domains. It’s another big red flag to see this site have 7,000 indexed pages with less than 250 keywords. Google must know there’s something fishy about this site.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean there’s zero benefit from working with this site. The only time we would ever use this site is if the service is cheap and the backlink is for an asset with an excellent backlink profile. You can get away with a lot when your link profiles are strong.

[45:40] When implementing schema, is it mandatory to have the content on the page? For example, if one were to use the aggregateRating schema, is it necessary to have reviews on the page itself? Is it risky to have details in the schema markup that aren’t present on the actual web page?

Unfortunately, we aren’t schema experts. Our intuition is that it’s not a big issue and you don’t need to have the reviews on the page itself. But please do some additional research because we just haven’t spent a lot of time implementing schema markup.

[49:28] What ratio of guest posts to niche edits (or other links) do you prefer?

Lately, we’ve been using guest posts and niche edits in roughly equal amounts. We used to deploy niche edits more because they are cheaper. But niche edits and guest posts are the “bread and butter” and we like to use them both as much as possible.

Our advice to you is that it depends on the strategy. Niche edits are cheaper but guest posts are great for adding relevance and giving you more control over the article topic. So it’s like a balance between cost and targeted relevance.

Also, we will tend to use some barrage niche edits to quickly improve a site with a weak link/anchor profile.

Ultimately, it’s best to use a holistic approach, such as having the majority of links being guest posts/niche edits that are supported by other products, like pillow/diversity links, every now and then.

[57:12] PART 1: I have a locksmith site in the UK targeting 500 locations. Each location has its own location page. What links are best to use to link to each inner page that will also be cost effective for ranking.

We really like to emphasize the power of your homepage and hub pages. An example of a hub page could be a “locations” page that links to all the various location-specific inner pages.

Now, it’s most important to build a bunch of high quality links to your home/hub page. By doing so, you’ll get a better return on the links you build for the individual location inner pages (which don’t have to be as good as the homepage links). You also won’t have to use that many links for each inner page if you improve the authority of your home/hub page.

Our niche edit packs are good tools for hitting a bunch of targets, such as your site having 500 locations. We would also use guest posts, PBN links, and citations for the GMB’s of each location.

Another good approach is to focus on ranking the smaller, less competitive metro areas which will help improve the ranking of the larger metro targets over time

[1:03:53] PART 2:  I have a lot of keywords on page 2, but I’m struggling to get them onto page 1. Most location pages have internal links from the homepage, but no external links.

The good news is that Google is ranking your location pages and the site appears healthy. Now you can focus on trying to rank specific locations pages (without spreading your budget too much) by building external links with good anchor profile diversity (e.g. generic, branded).

Don’t stop building your homepage links either. That will be the most effective way to improve the ranking of all your inner pages.

[1:06:34] How would I do citations without physical addresses?

First of all, you need an address in order to build citations (i.e. name, address, phone number). And you can only get a Google Map Pack with citations if your business is associated with a physical address (either a place your customers can visit, or places you would visit customers at).

However, even though you can still rank in the organic search results without an address or Google My Business account (below the GMB profiles), we advise that you create an address so that you can benefit from citations.

One technique for creating an address is using a tool like Fake Name Generator to create a fake address that you can use to find similar addresses or nearby locations in Google Maps for your target location, if there isn’t a business already associated with the address. Or you can just randomly choose a map location in your metro area that isn’t associated with a business.

Keep in mind that Google obviously doesn’t like people doing this (even though it’s done all the time), so try it at your own risk.

[1:14:33] When mapping keywords, is there a certain number of keywords you should map per page?

No, there isn’t a certain number. But it’s really easy in Ahrefs to look at the number of organic keywords any page is ranking for to give you an idea. You can also use Surfer SEO for keyword research. It will show you what percentage of a SERP is ranking for the main keyword as well as related keywords.

Basically, you want to look for what number of keywords is good enough to resonate in the SERPs (i.e. what’s working for your competition). This means looking at all pages that are ranking for your target keyword as well as the other related keywords they’re ranking for.

[1:20:37] Can misspelled anchors hurt my rankings?

Unless your anchor profile is littered with user errors, misspellings, or grammatical mistakes, having one or two misspelled anchors will not harm your rankings. Search algorithms know that misspellings are a natural and accidental occurrence every now and then, so they aren’t looking to punish websites every time they find an error.

Oddly enough, you may even get some positive traction from misspelled anchors since users misspell terms in search engines all the time and Google is very good at giving suggestions or guessing what users meant to type.

[1:23:35] I changed my title tag and my rankings dropped 25 places. Should I wait or change it back immediately?

Unless you purposely de-optimized for the keyword, it’s probably not a good sign that it dropped 25 spots. More information is needed. There’s usually going to be some ranking uncertainty when you make changes like modifying a title tag. And the time it takes for changes to happen depends on the size of the website and how often bots will re-crawl it (let’s say at least 2 weeks).

It seems like you drastically changed your title tag to target something entirely different. Usually when we modify title tags, but are still trying to optimize for a keyword, we only make small tweaks and definitely don’t see huge drops in ranking like 25 places.

Just be patient and wait a few days to see what happens. You should only start worrying about whether you made a serious mistake if it doesn’t normalize after 1 or 2 weeks. You could just change it back and it may bounce back to its original position. But we don’t want to offer a definitive suggestion without knowing exactly what was changed.

[1:28:40] Does changing a WordPress theme negatively affect a ranked site?

It can negatively affect your ranking if some on-page settings were changed/removed as a result of updating the theme. Popular themes tend to have a seamless transition between each other whereby on-page settings are accurately preserved.

[1:31:46] What do you believe is the #1 ranking factor?

Probably the “on-page foundation” or “fundamental SEO” (followed closely by backlinks). This includes at least some kind of on-page optimization, keyword research, and updated content.

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2 Comments

  1. Sanjeev P

    Interesting article and some unique views here. While having links from sites that have ‘write for us’ or ‘advertise with us’ pages could have a negative SEO effect for the target page, how would these sites (the source of the ‘write for us’ or ‘advertise with us’ pages) themselves be affected? Should we refrain from having such pages on our sites?

    Reply
    • Chris Tzitzis

      Hey Sanjeev – I wouldn’t worry about having pages like that on your site and it affecting your rankings. What’s more important is that you don’t have a backlink profile with links from a lot of sites like this – it’s a very easy-to-spot footprint.

      Reply

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