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  1. #1
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    Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Firstly, this is a local website for a particular niche where no keyword had competition over 30 in ahrefs.
    > I had all the pages keyword optimised with 300+ words,
    > Got 20-30 citations to the website,
    > Created various social media accounts,
    > Created GMB account and displaying for branded keyword.

    The website wasn't ranking though and I had committed to get it ranking for 5 keywords within 3 months.

    For this reason, I decided to hire a backlink expert to get a website ranking for the 5 keywords.

    The expert has been creating week on week the following type of links that are all no-follow....
    • Image Sharing
    • Image Bookmarking
    • Classified Ad
    • Classified Bookmark
    • Infographic Submission
    • Infographic Bookmark
    • PPT Submission
    • PPT Bookmark
    • Video Submission
    • Video Bookmark
    • Youmob
    • StumbleUpon

    My questions....
    1. Is there anything wrong with hiring this expert to create these no-follow links?

    2. Will the website be penalised for these backlinks?

    3. What should i have done differently to get the website ranking higher in first place myself?

    Thanks for your help

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  3. #2
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    I always get really scared when I hear 'backlink expert', because more often than not they're self prescribed and I've cleaned up too many messes from them.

    If there isn't any real competition for the terms you're going after you shouldn't have to pay someone to build backlinks for you. Just make content that is useful for the terms you're targeting and let it bake. Come back in a few weeks and fill in the blanks.

    Most of the tactics you're citing here are circa 2008.

  4. #3
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    No-Follow links don't hold much weight. Yes, you still want some of them (nofollow, not the spam ones you mentioned), but legit, relevant follow links are much better.

    The backlink types you mention are all considered "blackhat" though lucky for you they are nofollow. Any time you see "bookmark" and "submissions", those are old school techniques that are huge targets in Google's eye and will eventually get your site in trouble.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Quote Originally Posted by shanedrumm View Post
    My questions....
    1. Is there anything wrong with hiring this expert to create these no-follow links?

    2. Will the website be penalised for these backlinks?

    3. What should i have done differently to get the website ranking higher in first place myself?

    Thanks for your help
    A few things before your questions:

    A) Anyone who says they are a backlink expert and is cheap is not a backlink expert. They're expensive and honestly, I'm not sure they are affordable on a Local SEO budget. All the good ones will naturally trickle over to national link building because the budgets are massive.

    B) You need local backlinks, not these links.

    C) You need followed backlinks.

    D) Now, for some good news, you might not even need a lot of backlinks depending on your competition. Competition analysis is probably your #1 tool for ranking well in Local SEO. If you can share the keyword and the location, that would help us diagnose better.

    ---

    Now, to your questions:

    1) Not necessarily but I imagine the quality of the links is low which is a potential flag to Google. Also, they're nofollow, so they're not going to be helping very much.

    2) Since they're nofollow it's much less likely but if they are spammy (irrelevant, overwhelmingly anchor text optimized, etc.) then it is possible.

    3) We can help with that if you give us the location and keyword. Also the website would be helpful. But in case you can't, I would have started with more citations, niche citations (just to get your bases covered), helped them generate a massive amount of Google reviews, and optimized the website completely. Then, you see where the dust settles and evaluate if you need to be building backlinks at that point. It's probably always a good decision to build backlinks anyway (in case of usurping competition) but doing all of this would help you figure out how much effort you have to put into that.

    Hope that helps!
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  6. #5
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaMackens View Post
    A few things before your questions:

    A) Anyone who says they are a backlink expert and is cheap is not a backlink expert. They're expensive and honestly, I'm not sure they are affordable on a Local SEO budget. All the good ones will naturally trickle over to national link building because the budgets are massive.

    B) You need local backlinks, not these links.

    C) You need to be followed backlinks.

    D) Now, for some good news, you might not even need a lot of backlinks depending on your competition. Competition analysis is probably your #1 tool for ranking well in Local SEO. If you can share the keyword and the location, that would help us diagnose better.

    ---

    Now, to your questions:

    1) Not necessarily but I imagine the quality of the links is low which is a potential flag to Google. Also, they're nofollow, so they're not going to be helping very much.

    2) Since they're nofollow it's much less likely but if they are spammy (irrelevant, overwhelmingly anchor text optimized, etc.) then it is possible.

    3) We can help with that if you give us the location and keyword. Also the website would be helpful. But in case you can't, I would have started with more citations, niche citations (just to get your bases covered), helped them generate a massive amount of Google reviews, and optimized the website completely. Then, you see where the dust settles and evaluate if you need to be building backlinks at that point. It's probably always a good decision to build backlinks anyway (in case of usurping competition) but doing all of this would help you figure out how much effort you have to put into that.

    Hope that helps!
    Firstly thanks for the detailed response. Got rid of the backlinking "expert" and now going to change my strategy to reaching out to local websites instead.

    Does it matter if they are in a different niche cause don't know how I could approach competition?

    Some of the keywords are...
    Double Glazing
    Double Glazing Doors
    Double Glazing Doors UPVc
    Double Glazing Windows
    Double Glazing Windows UPVc

    and the Location is Perth, Australia.

    Already added 20-30 citations. From checking ahrefs the links from the citations and my other sites aren't showing up. They were added 4/5 weeks ago I would of thought they would of been indexed by now. Also, the website is completely optimized. When I didn't see results after 2 months from doing this lead to me panicking and questioning my approach and hiring the "expert".

    What is the best approach for building up Google Reviews?

  7. #6
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    There's a ton of ways to get relevant local backlinks, but none of them are easy. As Joshua said, quality backlink building, especially for local businesses is unlikely to be cheap. Bad backlinks aren't just going to be a waste of money though, they can actively harm your site, so err on the side of quality.

    One of the best starting points for backlink building is Phil's questionnaire. Work through the whole thing, you'll likely find some opportunities in there.

    If you need more ideas, check out this guide. If you already have ahrefs, looking at high ranking competition to see where they're getting their links is a good next step too. Remember to filter out no-follow links to keep from wasting your time.

    For Google reviews, there's basically three best practice rules of thumb. #1: Ask the right people, #2: at the right time, #3: in a way that makes it very easy for them to leave a review.

    A lot could be said about 1 and 2. Generally though, you want to ask happy customers soon after the end of a project. If you tend to have a small number of higher value clients, you can make a list of happy customers from the last year or two, and reach out to them in an email as well.

    As far as making it easy for them, there's a few tools. Grade.us and get five stars are two tools I know of that help with gathering reviews. If you'd just like to get a link to send people to, you can generate that link here. Normally it's challenging to ask people to leave a review on Google, but that link makes it much easier.

    You're going to want to get at least 5 reviews, that's when the review stars start appearing. There's a point of diminishing returns where more reviews don't necessarily help with ranking. That line is a bit different from industry to industry, but once you have ~10 reviews on Google, it might be time to start sending people to other sites to leave reviews as well, depending on which sites are valuable for your city/industry.

  8. #7
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Quote Originally Posted by shanedrumm View Post
    Already added 20-30 citations. From checking ahrefs the links from the citations and my other sites aren't showing up. They were added 4/5 weeks ago I would of thought they would of been indexed by now. Also, the website is completely optimized. When I didn't see results after 2 months from doing this lead to me panicking and questioning my approach and hiring the "expert".

    What is the best approach for building up Google Reviews?
    Don't use ahrefs to check if something is in Google's index. Check Google. Either Google the citation URL or check Google Search Console to see if the citation shows up in your backlink report.

    Also, how old is the website/GMB page? This plays a big role.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaMackens View Post
    Don't use ahrefs to check if something is in Google's index. Check Google. Either Google the citation URL or check Google Search Console to see if the citation shows up in your backlink report.

    Also, how old is the website/GMB page? This plays a big role.
    Forgot all about checking console for backlink report

    Website is about 3 months old and GMB the same?

  10. #9
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Have you verified that the site is INDEXED, since that's what it seems you're concerned with (or are you concerned with ranking?)

    More citations does not equal better performance. In fact the results for most people are probably consistent with what you're seeing - no movement. As long as your business has consistent citations, then you're probably good with the ones you have as long as you've covered the major sites. Move on from citation work.

    In your original post you mentioned, "I had all the pages keyword optimised with 300+ words" when speaking about your content. To me that seems pretty thin without looking at it. What's the HTML/Text Ratio on the page? The more important question - how helpful is it to your potential customers? How different is it from competitors?

    Basically all we've talked about is various backlink-related ranking factors, but haven't really gotten into the true content of the site. Is the site more useful than competitor sites? Is your business present on sites where your potential customers would be? The better the content, the easier it is to get backlinks.

    As far as GMB age, i've seen mixed results which leads me back to weighing other factors more heavily. Don't worry too much about that - it's not something you can control. Focus on getting the business on the right track, and elements of the campaign you can directly influence.

    Can you post the GMB/website or do you not want to make it public? It's just really hard to give real advice without seeing the site.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Struggling to Get New Website Ranked and Worried about my solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rohrback View Post
    Have you verified that the site is INDEXED, since that's what it seems you're concerned with (or are you concerned with ranking?)

    More citations does not equal better performance. In fact the results for most people are probably consistent with what you're seeing - no movement. As long as your business has consistent citations, then you're probably good with the ones you have as long as you've covered the major sites. Move on from citation work.

    In your original post you mentioned, "I had all the pages keyword optimised with 300+ words" when speaking about your content. To me that seems pretty thin without looking at it. What's the HTML/Text Ratio on the page? The more important question - how helpful is it to your potential customers? How different is it from competitors?

    Basically all we've talked about is various backlink-related ranking factors, but haven't really gotten into the true content of the site. Is the site more useful than competitor sites? Is your business present on sites where your potential customers would be? The better the content, the easier it is to get backlinks.

    As far as GMB age, i've seen mixed results which leads me back to weighing other factors more heavily. Don't worry too much about that - it's not something you can control. Focus on getting the business on the right track, and elements of the campaign you can directly influence.

    Can you post the GMB/website or do you not want to make it public? It's just really hard to give real advice without seeing the site.
    Thanks James for the epic answer Main focus is ranking as I originally promised to get site ranking for the 5 above keywords within 3 months for the client. When it wasn't after two I panicked and hired the "backlink expert" which was clearly a mistake.

    The website is Double Glazed UPVC Doors and Windows | Climate Windows

    Got content written up to be optimised for each keyword, so being honest it's probably not the most compelling content. For service website like this though is it not better to just have brief descriptions and then in later posts deep dive into technical detail?

    (Also a reason it is lacking is that got very little information from site owner as he was a new business all he knew was that he wanted to install double glazing windows/doors both domestic and commercial)

    I think you might of hit a solid point here "is it where your customers potential" be. Originally when creating small service sites like this was just going through the motions on what I should do but never thought about it practically. Thinking about it like that gumtree is very popular in Perth so that should be number one, then True Local.

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