So, you own a website. It’s well-optimised. The content is relevant. You’ve used website audit tools to deck it up. You are ready for a thorough Google indexing. You have nothing to fear. Right?
Not so soon!
Have you ever used backlinks? Ever used a third party SEO service? Did you entirely avoid looking at your backlink portfolio?
If you just nodded yes to any of the above mentioned three questions, snap to attention! Your website can be penalized anytime now. You need a backlink audit.
Wait! Backlinks and Penalty? How Does That Work?
A link to your website on any web page is a backlink. And it’s significant for SEO.
Some time ago, Google was focussed on the number of backlinks- the higher, the better. Cheap SEO service providers began creating a fake blog/page to link to all their clients. The resultant Private Blog Network increased backlink number for websites and Google, in its sheer innocence, believed said sites to be reliable sources of info.
Because if so many sites are linking back to your website regarding ‘Food for diabetes,’ you must be a diabetes diet expert, right?
Well, the quantity-only approach began producing spammy search results. So Google decided to refine its filters.
Now, If a genuine, reputed website links to you, your authenticity improves. If many powerful, relevant web posts link back to you, your Search Engine Results Pages rank (SERP) takes a hike.
Do you see what I’m working towards? Excellent quality and quantity of backlinks- better SERP- improved reputation- Google considers you credible.
Poor backlinking- your website sinks like the Titanic and Google slaps a fine on you.
Okay! What Happens If Google Fines/Blocks/De-Ranks You?
The backlink popularity of your website makes up for about 22% of your Google Rank.
It means any shady, irrelevant, pointless websites that link back to you will be considered by Google. And that’ll affect your index rank.
If Google finds you guilty and puts a Manual Action Penalty on you, it can demote your website, remove a few pages, or the entire site temporarily. You may suffer organic traffic, sales, leads, and conversion losses.
If, however, you get hit by the algorithmic penalty, there’ll be no warning. Your traffic will deteriorate over time without any seeming explanation. You’ll need special tools to uncover the reason. By the time you know what hit you, you’d have lost too many leads and traffic.
So Think Hard- Have You Ever Practised Spammy Backlinking?
Have you ever rigged blogs’ and websites’ comment sections with your website’s URL wrapped within a crappy, almost aimless message to build backlinks?
Is it possible that the cheap SEO company you hired duped you and built a shady backlink portfolio using bad SEO techniques?
You need to analyze your backlink portfolio. Look closer. If you ever used guest blogging, news articles, genuine comments, profile shares, press releases, or social media for backlinking, you’ll probably recognize the sources.
Point out the ones you don’t. Do some research, confirm the domain metrics of suspicious entities, and separate the credible backlinks from the spammy ones. Or, just use a free backlink audit tool and get your ducks in a row.
You can also do a competitor backlink analysis. Compare a few websites on the SEO audit tool and look at how damaging their results are in contrast to yours.