Are You Using Blacklisted Backlinks? Check Now
In this episode of Unboxed SEO, I’m going to show you how we fix the search traffic of this solar panel installer. So one of the things I do when looking to fix a search traffic of any site is first take a little look around and to see how the site is because first impressions count. Now in this case, we can see that, oh, well look at that big pop-up that’s just come up. A little bit later in the video, I’m going to be talking about why this is an issue. But as we can see, a scrollable popup, where we have to scroll up and down in order to deal with it, but let’s close it out the way for now. Now right now for me, this page is very cluttered. There’s no clear call to action. The pop-up down in this bottom left corner is not done right. We’re displaying like a who is information on the homepage.
I understand that it’s to prove the authenticity of the age of the business, but it’s pretty obvious to me that this is a tech dude who’s done this rather than a marketer, right. But in general, for me the design is quite cluttered, especially above the fold. There’s no clear call to action. And if we move through the site and take a look at things, oh, you can see, look, this pop-up is on every page. I’m about to show you. But if we come down and just take a look in general content, for me this is very difficult to read because it’s very wide and then the layout it leaves a lot to be desired. Certainly when you’ve got big images like this and the text isn’t wrapping round properly.
And again at the end here, there’s no clear call to action. We’re not using any internal link in here or anything like that. So there’s quite a lot of weakness in the content. Pricing page again, annoying pop-up. For me, the pricing page should just be clear, simple pricing and allow people to convert whether that submit an inquiry or buy a product or whatever that may be. Now on this site, we’re essentially looking for people to submit inquiries, despite the fact that there’s a car, there’s no products to buy. So that’s another kind of misleading area of the site that should be removed, but take a look at this pricing page. And as I scroll down it, it’s very hard for you to really gauge how much does it cost and what do I get for my money?
We’ve got lots of kind of pop-up texts and things. I understand here, we’re talking about different systems and the prices, but the format in here is kind of all over the place. It’s difficult to read. It’s difficult to digest, and this will be hurting conversion. So overall one of the big problems we have is it doesn’t leave a great first impression. It doesn’t communicate clearly the benefits of the business, the cost, there’s no clear call to actions. Now this site suffers from quite a few fundamental SEO errors, but there’s also remanence of some old SEO strategies that just don’t work anymore. So let’s take a look at that. If you take a look at this article, for example, what we used to do way back when was we’d write 500 word articles to about 3% key word density, we’d bold the keywords, and we’d capitalize them and we do all kinds of things.
And then Panda came along and destroyed us. In this article, we can see that doing that right here, this is about a 500 word piece. We’re using the keywords in bold, German solar panels review. We’re capitalizing the star of each word. And I’m pretty sure if we look on the page here, we’ll see that it’s used quite a lot and not used in context. It doesn’t make sense. This is just spam written for search engines, right?
But this is how we used to do it. And if you went and did a Google search of German solar panels review right now, you’re going to see significantly better quality content on the first page. So this is a fundamental era because it’s a strategy that no longer works. SEO has kind of evolved. And the bar to entry has risen in that time. So this is something that needs to be taken care of or removed because it’s not helping the site as it stands. On top of that, as we scroll through a lot of content, we see some quite ambitious usage of colored words and making things stand out. And in my opinion, this detracts from the quality of the page, it makes you seem a little bit spammy. It’s almost like I’m reading a special offer on warrior forum or a sales page or anything. It doesn’t feel like I’m on a site that I’m going to trust to come and install solar panels in my house. Right?
This seems more of an affiliate approach, if that makes sense. So I’d like to clean any uses of the wild color text and things. If you need to make text stand out bold and underline is just fine. On occasions, you can use a red, but very minimal. And really try to keep that to a minimum. As well, here we’re seeing, this is something I see quite a lot when I review sites. This is a category page, but what they’ve done here is they’ve set the category page to only return one result on each page. So if we click through this category page, you’re going to see each time it’s just a single article result. And now that causes quite a big problem because if we jump into Screaming Frog overview site structure here, you can see the crawl depth. Now you want nearly all of your URLs to be accessible from the home page within three weeks clicks. You don’t really want to go any more than that, but you’ll see here that the vast majority of the URLs on this page are 10 clicks away from the homepage.
So if we come to the forced directory tree diagram, you can see that right here. This big cluster of no indexed category pages, this is a homepage, and this is what you’re seeing here. So that’s something that you absolutely must pay attention to. And in WordPress, it’s actually quite an easy fix. All you have to do is go into the reading settings and just change how many posts get published on an archive page. It’s really easy. But on top of that, there’s also some other fundamental SEO areas. Now I ran the site audit with Ahrefs, it picks up a bunch of errors and puts a health score like this so you can kind of get a KPI on how well you’re performing or underperforming. These audits run automatically every week.
So every week you get a report and if any new errors have been found, you get alerted to that immediately so you can fix them when the error exists and not when you get penalized which is what most people do, right? So in this report here, we can see there’s a number of issues, broken links, meta descriptions empty. We can view all the issues. All of these are what I consider really fundamental SEO issues that you must take care of, pages to broken links, 404s, we’ve got pages with no index, so that’s all of the category pages and the subcategory pages that we looked at and just general issues that all need to be fixed. So we’d like to get all of these general issues taken care of. We want to get all of this kind of old school usage of content and keywords taken care of.
We want to remove all of the kind of spammy colored text. We want to make sure that we’re showing around 10 articles per category page. And of course, take care all of these fundamental SEO issues. Remember SEO breaks down to three parts, technical SEO, content and links. And here we don’t have the fundamental SEO taken care of. Now one of the things this site suffers from is its use of intrusive popups that completely block the navigation experience. Here you can see it pop and not only does the pop-up not fit all on the page, you have to scroll down, arguably what’s being communicated isn’t really that important. And there isn’t a clear call to action. There’s no benefit to the pop-up really, it’s just intrusive and it gets in the way and this pop up no matter how many times you close it and how many pages you visit, always pops up and open.
So we’ll leave these pages to load in the background. But first, why is this important? Well, way back in 2017, Google made an update that essentially penalized you if you had intrusive popups that block the navigation experience especially on mobile. And well, as you can guess, this happens on mobile as well. So here’s an example of a popup that makes content less accessible. And this is an intrusive popup, it pops up, you cannot continue your browsing or navigating experience until you close it. Google absolutely hates these on mobile. On desktop, you get a little bit more leeway, but on mobile, anything that blocks the experience is considered bad and leads to problems. There are you play times when you can use pop-ups on mobile, and that’s when you’re doing cookie requests or age verification. And you can do little banners that only take up a small portion of the page, but you cannot do what is being done here and especially on mobile and you shouldn’t really be doing it on desktop like this.
It should be clear, concise, short to the point, call to action and actually increase conversion. This is taking away from conversion. This is especially important if you go to Google search console and settings, you can see if Google switched you to mobile first indexing, if they did, and you see Google bot smartphone here, that means that Google are crawling your site from a mobile platform. And with that crawl, they’re hitting this pop-up, which they’re telling us they introduced a penalty for. So that pop-up must be reduced. It must be removed on mobile and reduced to actually serve conversion on desktop. Next let’s talk about Google authenticity signals, or some people call them E-A-T signals, but I look at it a little bit of a different way.
I believe that the medic update wasn’t targeting medic at all, what it was actually doing was making websites in search results accountable. That means that Google wants to know when they’re sending traffic to your site, they want to know that you’re an accountable person or business that is responsible for the content you’ve published. They want to know that you’re a real person or a real individual and not some anonymous spammer, right? Now how can we do that? In general, if you’re a business, it’s really easy, you add your business information into the footer, you add your business address, this site is based in Australia, I’m pretty sure you’re legally required to display your ABN, your Australian business number in the footer. So the quick wind Google authenticity signals is to make sure that your company registration info, your address and your phone number are all present in your footer.
They should also be on your about page and on your contact page. Let’s just open contact one minute here. Now, in this case, you can see we’ve got a phone number. It’s not clickable or anything like that, but there’s no address or anything like that. On top of that, one of the easy ways to add authenticity to your business or your affiliate site or wherever it is, is with your about page. Now Daniel’s about page, it’s kind of confusing this too. First of all, we have, if we click on why KLD solar and lighting, this leads us to this page, which is then about Brisbane solar reviews, and installation, and then it starts talking about the company. But it’s also trying to talk about reviews and best solar products. And there’s kind of a bit of a disconnect here.
This should be an about page. It should be here. It should be at/about, and it should be all about the company, the owner, the factory, the premises, photos of in-stores, photos of the team, photos of the vans if you’ve got the branded vans on the side, something that makes you real and accountable, right? If you’re in affiliate and it’s easy to do, some shots of you out and about doing your thing, but you got to be a real accountable person or business. And there’s a disconnect here because we have this kind of about page that’s a mismatch, but then if we come here and go about the author, then we reached this about the author page, which is kind of an about the business page, but there’s a disconnect, right? And in my opinion, you can be presenting a much more professional image than you are doing right now.
So these two pages, the about the author and the why QLD solar pages need consolidating into a single about page and this pop-up is driving me nuts, let me tell you that. You need to consolidate those into a single about page that puts your best foot forward, that let Google know and lets any visitors know that you’re a real company and or individual. I feel like right now Daniel’s probably underselling himself and the business with these two pages. And it’s amazing how many companies and especially affiliate sites suffer from the same problem. So Google authenticity signals, company name, address, phone number, business registration information in the footer, on the about page, on the contact page, then make sure you’ve got an outstanding about page that puts your best foot forward.
If you’re an affiliate, well look, if you’re not putting an address or anything like that, you are in an anonymous spammer as far as Google is concerned. So you need to put an address. If you need a phone number, you can use a service like CallRail, have it direct to voicemail. It transcribes the voicemail, sends it to your email. There’s lots of solutions to do it, but Google want to see accountable websites in their results. So you’ve got to give them what they want. Now let me show you how we go about doing structured data reviews. We always do a structured data review for the home page and the contact page. And then for any other page types that the site has. For example, if it’s a blog, we’ll do an article page. If it’s a blog that publishes reviews like this, we’ll take a look at the review page. If it’s an e-commerce site that sells products, we’ll take a look at the product page and we use the Google structured data testing tool to do that.
Now this is a business. So what I’m expecting to see is organization structured data with the business name, address, and phone number. So let’s take a look. We can use a structured data testing tool to do that. And within here, we’ll see that they’ve set it as a web page and actually within the web page is the organization code that we’d like to see. But as we scroll down here, let me move me out the way, you’ll see that there is no organization information like phone number or address or anything like that. So that’s a weakness of the home page structured data. We move into the contact page here. Again, we’re expecting to see organization structured data with phone number and address, moving down and scrolling down, you won’t see that here. They have got the phone number in the description, but that’s not where Google wants to see it. There’s a dedicated field as part of the organization. In fact, the organization markup, yeah, it’s here. It’s a dedicated field, phone number, address.
And if you are a business, you need that information. If you’re an affiliate website, you also need that information. Otherwise, you’re just an anonymous spammer and you’re fighting an uphill battle. Looking at the review page, we would also expect to see review structured data in the markup here which we just don’t have. Sometimes it’s buried within the article in type, but we’ve got type website organization, search action person webpage. We’ve got no review in there. And that’s what allows those little Google stars to show up in the search results. So there’s quite a few structured data issues here. Locally structured data problems are really easy to fix for the most part. And it really depends on what type of site you’ve got. If you’ve got an e-commerce site with product pages, run the test, see if you’ve got any errors. Don’t worry about if you have warnings, warnings are fine, but if you’ve got an error, you got to fix it.
Now page speed is a ranking factor for Google, but it’s also a ranking factor for humans. If your site is slow, it will rank lower. And when you do get traffic, it will convert less. So having a slow site is like having a weight around your neck and you’re facing uphill battles unnecessarily. It’s so easy to fix, and I’m going to show you how. In terms of this site, let’s look at the Google mobile page speed scores. This is in my opinion, the most important page speed KPI right now, the mobile page speed score. And we want to see scores of 60 and above. On this site however, we’re getting like two, five, nine, 10, 11. There’s a lot of work to do. Now we’re using batchspeed.com. This will go out and do bulk Google page speed testing across your site and bring back this really handy table of information.
On top of that in May, 2021, Google are going to make Core Web Vitals. That’s if you go into Google search console, you can see this Core Web Vitals report, but they’re going to make this part of the ranking algorithm. They’ve given us a heads-up on that. Now since this site dropped in traffic, it hasn’t really posted any Core Web Vitals at all, but before it got nuked, we can see that it was all core URL. So we’ve got some work to do, but I’m going to show you how nearly anyone running WordPress can take care of this in about 10 minutes. First, you’re going to install the WP Rocket plugin. Alongside that, we’re going to use the [inaudible] image compression tool. Now once you’ve installed WP Rocket, it’s super easy. It takes like five minutes to configure. I’m going to click through it with you now.
And we missed one part here which is image compression. And let me go back. Image compression is done with the [inaudible] plugin. And that just goes through. It takes all of the images in your WordPress site and compresses them based on your settings. And as you can see, the backend of this website is very slow and takes a little while to load. So no doubt that’s affecting the front end load time as well. So once we’ve deployed WP rocket, we deployed the CDN, it took around five or 10 minutes to do as you can see just clicking through those settings if you follow me. Now, when we run the batch speed score, instead of seeing scores of like two, eight, 10, 12, we’re now pushing into the 30s and the 50s in some cases. So in just a few minutes, you can make significant improvements to your site speed. Now the minimum KPI you want for mobile Google page speed is 60. And you can see we’re still a little way off there. Why? Well, as you saw them clicking around the backend of WordPress is kind of slow.
And if we use webpage test, we can take a look here and the page is less than a megabyte. There’s not many requests, we’re posting some pretty good web vitals, but despite that we’re seeing a fully loaded time of over five seconds. And if we come to the after Google page speed insights results, we can see, yeah, all right, we’re posting a better score now, but if we scroll down, the main issue is reduced initial server response time. So that to me suggests that despite doing the optimization with the plugin, which everyone needs to do, the hosting is letting this site down. Now the only way to fix that is to move hosts. I have a dedicated video, the fastest WordPress hosting case study. We put 12 WordPress hosts to the test, compared them all to see which is really the fastest host.
And this site could certainly benefit with moving hosting. So let’s talk about how to find and remove bad backlinks. Now my blog gets several backlink based attacks a year. So I’m well seasoned when it comes to this. But for most people, if you look into Ahrefs and you see a huge increase in referring domains like this or huge increases in referring pages like this, you might have a backlink based problem. The easiest way to find out if you do or not is with linked research tools. There isn’t a better tool on the planet to audit backlink profiles. There isn’t even a close second, third, fourth, or even fifth. It’s just the tool to use. Now the main KPI this gives you is the detox risk score. You can see, we have a risk score of 3,500 nearly and LinkResearchTools goes through your entire link profile and it makes recommendations and reviews.
So we can see we’ve got links from 2,200 domains with an unavailable status. One of the negative SEO attacks that’s used is they increase the amount of referring domains to you and then drop it like that. And this is one way of doing that. We’ve got 3,500 links with a very high detox risk. We’ve got 2000 links coming from a PBN. So let’s take a look. If we review these links that it says are a very high risk, LinkResearchTools will actually tell us here why it thinks it’s a higher risk, so we can click on these rules and it tells us, okay, this is suspicious because it’s a link from a page which doesn’t have any external links on a weak domain. It’s a link coming from probably a new or very weak domain. And they’ve calculated a high detox risk score and the algorithms classified it as unnatural.
And we can see here the anchor texts that are being used are about wallpapers. And we don’t have any wallpapers on the site. So LinkResearchTools is doing its job here. So all you need to do is work through this and click fix. The link is down to a very high [inaudible] fix disavow domains. And you work through this list and it adds the domains to a disavow file which you just download. And then you just come to the disavow tool and submit it here. So as you can see, there’s been something went on here and something went on here and we were able to confirm that with the detox risk score. So we just need to work through this, generate the disavow file, and then we can recalculate our risk. And that’s it. That is precisely how to find and remove bad backlinks step-by-step.
So let me show you how to build a simple link-building strategy. Now looking at this site, I see that it’s low authority, DR6, and when you’re dealing with a lower authority site like this, it’s very important that your link-building strategy builds half of the links to the homepage and half of the links to the inner page. Why? Because the higher authority your site, the easier it is to rank the internal pages. So if you’re dealing with a new site or a lower authority site like this, it’s important that you build half the links to the homepage which increases your authority of the site and increases the rankings of all inner pages. You raise the authority, it raises all ships, right? That’s why it’s important that you do it 50/50 homepage/inner pages.
So how do you select which inner pages to build links to? Well, I use Google search console. And in this site, if you remember it got penalized, so I’m just comparing the before and after here. And here, we can see previously one of the most trafficked pages was solar [inaudible] review, 1600 clicks before. Now, it’s only getting 25 in a three-month period. And I use this report and this example to pick out which pages we’re going to optimize before, because we know Google loved this page before. So it’s going to love it again. Okay. If you haven’t had a penalty and you haven’t had a drop, then you can just select which page is first of all, aligned to your business’s commercial intent. And then those that are in average positions of kind of five, six, seven, eight, they usually benefit from just a little bit of link-building.
So now we know which pages and keywords we want to target. Now we need to figure out how many links to build. To do that, if you look at Ahrefs here, we can see the solar panels of Brisbane keyword difficulty 22, one of the most important keywords, but Solis inverter review, which was the most trafficked keyword before, keyword difficulty three. So how do we figure out how many it links to build? Well, if we look at the solar panels Brisbane keyword here, we can scroll down and look at the current search results and we can find our target site down here positioned 13, DR6, backlinks from four domains. Now what I do is use a power of observation here. Let’s look through the top 10 and find which site is closest towards in terms of DR.
And here you can see there’s a DR 12 here, position six at 19 domains. So if we click into that and we filter it for do follow domains only we can see that they have backlinks from 18 different domains. And actually some of these are irrelevant. And I know that that’s a guest post and some are web two, so not a terribly strong link profile, but it gives us an idea of where we need to be. Right. Right now we can see that we only have four linking domains. And out of those only two are do follow. So there’s about a 15 domain gap between where we are and where the competition is. And that’s how you get a very kind of top down look at how many links do I need to build to close that gap. Now remember half of the link-building strategy is going to the homepage because we’re only a DR6 right now, and we’re seeing that it’s a minimum DR12 to compete here, and then we can compete on the backlink level metrics afterwards. It’s not a problem.
So let’s take a look at one or the other keyword Solis inverter review, before this was bringing like 1600 people. And now it’s bringing like 20. So let’s take a look at what we’re up against here and here this is our result. In position number five, DR6, one backlink. But we can see above it, some higher strength pages, DR64, DR40, seven domains, four domains. And these guys are ranking out of the authority of their site rather than the strength of the page. So if we look at this one with four links, they’re all no follow. So it’s actually ranking there with zero links. If we look at the one above it, which I believe had seven links, and how many of those are do follow, only three of them are.
And in my opinion, they’re not very strong links at all. So looking at the results of this, you can conclude that we’ve only two or three good links will be enough to break the top three, if not bring you into the number one position where there’s a DR14 ranking with zero links. We’re a DR6, if we put two, maybe three decent links on it, that will be enough to bring it up into the top of the search result. So we need about 10 links to the other page, two or three here, and then we’d want to build some for the homepage as well. What’s the easiest way to build those links? Well, you’ve got a couple of options. The easiest way though, is to use links that rank which is my link-building service.
You just choose how many links you want here based on what kind of DRs you need from your analysis and you hit checkout. Now we pay a lot of attention to quality control. We’re checking for various signals throughout. We’re making sure that there’s no right for his pages. The links are on real sites with organic traffic from Google, because if Google is trusting a site with traffic, then we can trust it to link to us. We’re also checking the link placements aren’t offered. There’s no offer buyers, no mention of sponsored post or write for us or guest posts or anything like that.
And I can’t stress enough how strict we are on quality control top to bottom. So that’s the easiest way to build a simple link-building strategy. You need to see where you are right now. If you’ve got a low authority sort of domain, you need half the links to the homepage, half the links to inner pages, you can use the power of observation to see where you are now in comparison to your competitors, and then figure out exactly how many links you need to close that gap.
Now this site suffered from a number of fundamental SEO errors like page nation and broken links. On top of that, it features this really annoying pop-up every opportunity that must be fixed immediately. It’s lacking Google authenticity signals throughout. They didn’t take full advantage of structured data opportunities. There are weaknesses with site speed that need improving. We need to find and remove bad backlinks. It looks like they had some problem there and then put together a simple link-building strategy to give those specific inner pages a little tickle and bring them back to life while building the overall or authority of the domain. So to say thank you to Daniel and the Queensland Solar and Lighting team, I’m going to make sure they have access to their own Ahrefs account, which will allow them to track search rankings, get all of the competitive SEO data they need and perform site audits.
They’re also going to get WP Rocket which will seriously speed this site up. They’re going to get Screaming Frog to really delve down into any technical issues. They’re going to get [inaudible] to compress all of their images and make it super fast. They’re going to get LinkResearchTools to help find and remove bad back links. And they’re going to get a copy of Surfer SEO, which will make sure they’re only publishing super optimized content. On top of that, my team are going to support them. We have link-building, we’re going to start an outreach campaign for them this afternoon, and I’m going to give them a copy of my step-by-step SEO strategy, a course that teaches you how to increase a search traffic of any site step by step no matter where you’re starting from. Now if you like SEO, and you want to learn more, feel free to check out my free resources, matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo.
The SEO portal here has everything you need from what is SEO through to keyword research, link-building strategies and awesome case studies you can’t find anywhere else. Other than that please like, and subscribe and leave a comment under the video. If you’ve got any questions whatsoever, I will answer them personally. If you’re suffering from any of the issues that we’ve discussed in this video, let me know below, and I’ll be happy to help you. Please subscribe to the channel. And if you want to be featured in the next episode of Unboxed SEO, just to fill out the application form below.
Has your website suffered a huge drop in search traffic?
I am going to show you precisely what you should do to fix it in this episode of Unboxed SEO.
We are going to cover-
- Search traffic killing popups
- Easy structured data optimization
- How to increase website speed in 5 minutes
- How to find & remove bad backlinks
- How to create a simple link building strategy
So please follow along with the video and comment below if you have any of these problems or have any questions.
Resources In The Video
Here is a complete list of everything that was featured in the video, in order of appearance-
- Screaming Frog (SEO Spider)
- WP Rocket
- Google Structured Data Testing Tool
- Batch Speed
- My SEO portal
- My SEO course
- My link building service
- My SEO agency
- Personal Consultation