Hello my little SEO experts, and welcome back to SEO Saturday in which I talk to you about things that you may not know, or may not understand or read and think ‘god, I could have told you that’. I’m starting to get a bit of writer’s block when I’m thinking of posts for this series so your suggestions are greatly received. Catch up on my previous posts by searching SEO or you can read my latest post on social media. I have been seeing a lot of people lately ask about no follow and do follow links, what they are and why we use them. So, I’m going to take it back to basics and explain exactly why we need to be using the correct links.

No Follow and Do Follow Links

In previous posts, I have explained how Google has little spiders that crawl your website. These spiders pick up on links that you have been placing within your blog posts and use them in order the rank the page. Good referral links equal good page ranking in search engines. The ‘link juice’ that is being made apparent to the Google spiders could therefore be manipulated by people using ‘black hat’ techniques to place themselves high up in search engines outcomes. No Follow and Do Follow links are thereby used to show Google bots whether a website link is organic or not which in turn reduces search engine spamming. A business will want to be ranking at the top of Google as it will be quite important for their revenue, but for them to reach the top, they will need lots of links pointing back to them.

A No Follow link is a HTML code that tells Google bots to not follow the link, however the link you have created in your blog is still accessible to any person reading it.

A Do Follow link is the natural link which tells Google that the link juice is organic and the backlink is credible. Any Do Follow links that I leave are usually within an anchor text with the specific keyword ie: Selfridges, SEO Saturday.

As bloggers, we are asked by companies of all rankings to review products, place sponsored posts on our blogs and take money for placing a natural advertorial within our blog posts. In return, the company will usually want x amount of links back to their website, which is fair enough. Any link that has been paid for either with money or by goods/vouchers should be marked as a no follow to help the Google algorithms see that this large business has ‘paid’ for a link, therefore ranking the webpage according. It’s the same principle on how you can improve your DA by getting credible backlinks.

There is no law to say that you can’t accept sponsored posts, money or gifts without putting a no follow link but it is best practice to do so. You may not get fined and sent to prison, but what is worse is if Google picks up on these follow links using its very clever algorithms, you could find that your beautifully created and nurtured baby of blog could be penalised by dropping in ranking, therefore a loss of traffic. Even worse than that, you could find that your entire site is removed from Google. I know I would be absolutely devastated. All is not lost though, you can apply for a re-inclusion by changing those links that Google doesn’t like. Again, I recommend Webmaster Tools so you can keep up to date with any issues.

WordPress has several plugins which make it easy to change your link to a no follow by using a simple check box and I believe that Blogger has updated to reflect this as well. The actual HTML link is simply rel=nofollow after your webpage link. It’s not for me to say that you shouldn’t accept money if the company has asked you to place a do follow link within the text, but it’s really quite unethical to do so as theoretically you are manipulating how Google sees the website.

Before I finish, I also must point out that no follow and do follow links are not the same as disclosure and that leads me onto next weeks post nicely!

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In last weeks post for SEO Saturday, within my top tips I mentioned how social media is now working in your favour for SEO as it is on its way as being classed as link building. I had quite a response to this tip so I wanted to touch on it a little deeper and go further into what the Google algorithms are now picking up.

SEO and Social Media

I’ve been getting quite into SEO and looking at how Google is changing. I started blogging just under two years ago and I was absolutely clueless at anything SEO related. As time has gone on, I’ve found that I’ve been noticing these trends and changes and I really do try and move with the times and what’s new. One thing that I have noticed, especially recently, is that Google seems to be focussing on phrases and search terms as opposed to certain keywords, which in turn is putting a stop to the way people are wrongfully manipulating their seo and how they rank. With the loss of Google Authorship (a way of authorising who you were by linking back to your G+ profile), there is something in the pipeline on how authority of your links will be seen and I believe that social media platforms will be one of those factors in how you rank.

I touched upon how Google is using Twitter and Facebook to find relevant new content and I keep seeing Twitter pages and links shared within Twitter and Facebook consistently crop up in search engine terms. Now, it hasn’t been confirmed if it is definitely a case of these links being credible backlinks however if a post is going viral or has a lot of retweets, from a credible source then the algorithms will be picking up on this. It’s definitely one to bear in mind on how it can affect your page ranking as theoretically a credible source back link is good for your domain authority.

Social media does rank highly within search engine searches. If I Google ‘Anoushka Loves’ the only social media platform that doesn’t show on the first page is my Instagram profile, yet my Twitter and Facebook account are the first two results after my actual website. I think there is something to be said about the strength of pages like Twitter and Facebook, especially because they are the highest ranking websites in the world with huge domain authorities.

At some point Google will have to pick up on a different way to prove our authorship, especially now Google Authorship has been eradicated and social media platforms will be incorporated into how we rank before we know it. As with anything SEO related, great content is always key as that is what people want to see, share and praise.

As I have been researching this topic, I have been seeing a whole lot of conflicting advice and articles on what and what isn’t happening. At some point Google’s algorithms will be changing again and as social media is such a huge part of how we run our blogs and join in with the community, it’s worth just making sure that your social media accounts are tidy and up to date. I would be making sure that you get those blog names on each platform, regardless if you use it or not. All my social media accounts are Anoushka Loves, even YouTube which I do not partake in. I keep my personal Facebook profile separate to my blog’s Facebook page. I only have the one Twitter account under my blog name but I wouldn’t be worried about potential companies reading something that they didn’t wish to read. Build your following naturally, don’t be tempted in buying followers to try and make you look better as it’s a fruitless task – you’ll be conveying your hard work to fake profiles.

What do you think about social media influencing your page ranking in search engines?

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Welcome back to SEO Saturday. Sorry I’ve been MIA this last few weeks but I am back with some more SEO tips that will help in growing your blog and ultimately bringing in the traffic. Now, as I say each week, I am no expert however these tips are what I do on a regular basis and I have noticed results since doing so. So, lets get into it! If you do have any further questions, please do drop me an email and I will do my best to help out where I can!

Top Tips to Helping Your Blog Grow

Top Tip One: Make your blog mobile responsive

Google will be once again changing its algorithms around the 20th April and one of the main changes will be for websites to have mobile responsive themes. Most people these days use mobile devices to search the internet rather than laptops and PCs so to move with the times, Google will be rewarding those with mobile sites over those without. So, to stop being pushed down the list of where your site ranks, it is important to update your site.

Top Tip Two: Sign up with Google Webmaster Tools

Create a Gmail account for your blog or if you already have one for your G+ account, use that. By signing up, you’ll be able to verify your blog and in return, Webmaster Tools will be able to send information back to you on what they have collected. It will show any known issues, click impressions and sitemap issues. Any issues with broken links, slow responsive pages and errors all show up in here so I can take steps to fix or change any problems. A well run website will keep traffic coming back to it, than one that continuously has broken links or slow loading pages.

Top Tip Three: Submit an XML sitemap to Webmaster Tools

I put this off for such a long time as I just wasn’t sure what I was doing however I wish I had done it sooner. AN XML sitemap is a file that web crawlers can use to see the list of webpages that belong to your website, and in turn lets search engines understand how your site is organised when it is crawled. Sitemaps point Google to more of your content, so it helps in showing up in search engines.

Top Tip Four: Link back to yourself

With the majority of blog posts that I write, I always try and leave a link within the content to a post that I have previously written. It’s a really easy way of keeping people on your site and improving bounce rate, and by linking to an older post you are bringing traffic to posts that may not have been read. I do however try to make these links relevant as there is no point in talking about a new mascara and leaving a link to an old post on making a cake.

Top Tip Five: Relevant Anchor Text

This is a massive bug bear of mine and I hate it when I read a blog that says ‘MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo – link here’ with the ‘link here’ as the anchor text. Not only does it add unnecessary text into your post but you are actually penalising yourself when it comes to being search engine friendly. Say that you wrote a really good post and several other bloggers wanted to link to it in their blog post and they all used ‘Click here’ or ‘link here’. Google may think that this simple anchor text is suspicious as many people have linked to it by using the same words and that link may not have been obtained naturally, therefore ruining your search engine relevance. It’s always better to have keyword related anchor text.

Top Tip Six: Search Friendly URLs

My URLs for each blog post are always related to the blog post, as are my title headings. Although it may seem like a fun idea for a quirky heading and URL for that post, ask yourself just how many people will be searching for that specific phrase. Make it relevant! Notice how my heading for the post is the same as my URL, so if anyone does a search engine search of ‘Top Tips to Help Your Blog Grow’ then my blog post will show up in one of the search pages due to its relevance.

Top Tip Seven: Social Media Promotion

I think I’m going to do a longer separate post on this in the future as there is so much that I want to say but the main points are that Google uses Twitter to find new content and social sharing is the new link building. Tweets,RT’s, +1s on G+ and sharing on Facebook is seen as a non manipulated way of getting links. Great news!

Top Tip Eight: Image Optimisation

This is something that I have been doing since I started my blog, and although it started off as a pain, it has quickly become a day to day exercise that has had a huge impact on how my images show up in search engines, therefore leading to more traffic to my blog. Always name your pictures. No one is going to search for ‘image236-364-723’. Don’t overstuff with keywords and always use the ALT Text to describe your image. You have a picture of the YSL Touché Eclat Blur Perfector. Name it the ‘YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector’. Upload it to your blog and in the ALT Text put ‘YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector’. My image of said product appears as the third image on the first page of Google Image search. Simples.

Top Tip Nine: Keywords

Keywords within a blog post are what make it possible for people to find your blog or website through a search engine. The two most important places for your keywords to go are in the page header and the title tag. Keywords should look natural within your post so over stuffing your post is not recommended as it may look spammy. When I’m placing keywords within my posts, I usually work on ‘what would I search for?’ You can always go more in depth and use the Google Keyword Research tool, but that’s going to take a bit longer to explain.

Top Tip Ten: Content Will ALWAYS Be King

We always come back to it, but the best way to improve SEO is to keep on writing fresh new content that is relevant. I always write my blog posts whilst thinking ‘would people want to read this?’ SEO is becoming more human-friendly and less about stuffing posts with keywords. Whilst the technical stuff of meta data, keywords and your URL still matter a lot, Google’s algorithms want the most relevant content to rank. Rather than stuffing this post with keywords like ‘SEO’, i’m dropping in my ‘top tips to helping my blog grow’, as I believe that is what people will be searching for than just simply ‘seo’. It’s a no brainer really.

Thanks for sticking with me for this big long post and I hope that there are things within my Top Tips that will help! See you next week for more SEO Saturday. Catch up with my previous posts on Page Authority and Domain Authority and How to improve DA by clicking the links.

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Since my last post in the SEO Saturday series in which I explained PA and DA, there has been an update to both by Google and it has changed the figures again. Mine has gone back up 3 points which I’m very happy about so it may be worth checking to see if yours has improved. If you are still feeling frustrated that your DA hasn’t increased or that you still want to see a better improvement, then read on. Today I am going to look at how to increase your domain authority and those all important back links. First of all I would just like to point out that I am in no way an SEO expert but over the last eighteen months I have been working on the SEO of my blog and I have seen an increase across all statistics on my blog. These are my tips that have worked for me and I hope you find them helpful. Improving anything on your blog is not an overnight miracle, but something that takes time and effort before you start noticing results.

How to increase your Domain Authority

As I mentioned in last weeks post, Domain Authority is made up of three factors; age, size and popularity. There’s not a lot that you can do to improve the age of your blog other than to keep going with it. Age plays an important part as Google will favour older domains as they do have a bit more credibility and seen as more trustworthy than new blogs. It’s common sense really and as your blog gets older, not only will your credibility increase but your popularity will increase as well.

The popularity of your blog plays a huge part in increasing your DA. One way that I have found my DA increasing is from external links that link back to my site. If a website with a high DA links my domain on their domain then it says to Google that this popular website thinks my website is popular too. Back links are a great way of making your website look credible and worth promoting on the first few pages of a search engine. Getting back links from other websites should be natural and organic, and not bought or manipulated. Leaving comments on other peoples blogs with your blog link will not be a natural back link, and most comment systems are set up to create a no follow link for the purpose of Google indexing. (I’ll be writing more on No Follow and Do Follow links soon). Spamming your link will not increase your DA but it may possibly say to Google that your website is spam and can cause issues in the future.

On the positive side, leaving your blog link can be beneficial. First of all, the author of the blog will start to notice that you comment frequently and may return the favour on your blog. Other commenter’s may check out your link and find a fab new blog that they continue to follow and read. You may have a similar interest in lipstick and you write a post about the new Tom Ford collection and one of your new followers mentions in their blog post that you have written said post. And there it is. A natural organic back link that counts towards your popularity. Building up natural relationships makes a whole world of difference to building natural back links.

Other ways to build up your back links can be from guest posting. I have taken part in guest posting on other peoples blogs, as well as hosting guest posts on Anoushka Loves. The posts must be relevant to your niche as it’s pointless having a beauty blog and hosting a guest post on harvesting fruit. Your readers won’t click through to any links to the guest poster so it’s a pointless exercise.

A huge part of increasing your blog popularity is to create great content. I am a firm believer in writing articles that I would like to read myself. I find it off putting when I read blog posts of just a few sentences that don’t tell me any information or say that they ‘really like’ the product and it’s ‘really nice’. I’d rather not write a post than write drivel. Although some may say it’s not important, I like to read blog posts that are spelt correctly, have good grammar and a nice flow. This in turn makes me want to revisit the website, possibly share a post or two on social media in which the link is shared to my followers, driving traffic and thus improving domain authority.

Social Media is very important to my blog. It is my way of marketing my hard work and by sharing my link at various times throughout the day, I find that my traffic has increased. I don’t use all the social media outlets that are available but I would say, in order of traffic driving, that the most important ones to use are Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. I ensure my link to my home page is visible on my social media accounts, my privacy is set to public so everyone can see and that I use good quality pictures to grab peoples attention.

Whilst you are increasing the popularity of your domain, you are also increasing the size of your domain. Each time you post your great content on a regular basis, you are building up how search engines view your site. Search engines favour quality content, which in turn gets the traffic and of course the back links. It all works hand in hand. Your domain does need to be indexed by Google in order for it rank your pages and to find where you sit in search engines. I would recommend using Webmaster Tools to ensure your content is being indexed without any errors.

These are all little things that you can do to help increase your DA and as I said before, it won’t happen overnight. Building relationships is the most important way to help with those all important back links. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I’ll see you next week for the next installment of SEO Saturday. I haven’t decided on a topic as of yet, so if you have any ideas then leave me a comment below.

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Over the last few weeks, I have noticed so many people leaving posts in Facebook groups about SEO and how to improve certain aspects of your blog. Some of the Facebook groups that I am active in or I am an admin for seem to be flooded with the same types of questions, especially when PRs are looking for specific criteria. I am not an expert at SEO but in the last 18 months I have picked up a lot of knowledge regarding SEO and certain aspects of building my blog to a level in which I am satisfied in but I still want to improve. SEO Saturday will be my new series and I’m hoping to get as much information up each week to help. These are tips that work for me, however you may need to tweak things to work for you as one size may not fit all. Let’s get to the nitty gritty of Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA).

Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA)

Since Google has made Page Ranking redundant, PRs are now asking for Domain Authority or DA as a level of criteria to see how your blog ranks. Over the last few months I’ve watched my Domain Authority rise, and unfortunately drop whilst Google play around with the algorithms that index your webpage. In a nutshell, DA is the strength of a domain and plays a part in search engine ranking factors. Domain Authority is made up of three factors; the age of the domain, the size of the domain and its popularity.

Page Authority, although relevant, isn’t asked for as much as it covers the probability of a certain webpage or article from your blog appearing in a search engine. Page Authority is the strength of a single page whilst Domain Authority is the strength of an entire domain. As Google are constantly updating the algorithms, you may see your rankings fluctuate and more recently decrease. Page Authority is ranked between 1-100. My PA hovers between 32-40. Domain Authority is ranked the same however I wouldn’t expect to be reaching anywhere near 100, when sites such as Google and Facebook take those top spots. A good DA is over 25, with anything over 30 being excellent for a blog.

I must point out that DA is only measured on the domain and not sub-domains so those of you who use a .blogspot.com address or a .wordpress.com address, then your DA is actually the DA of Blogspot or WordPress. This means that the domain may rank as high as in the 70s as it is using the wordpress or blogspot domain and not your actual webpage. PRs may ask for PA in place of DA if this is the case, but this may not happen with everyone. Being self hosted means that your DA is from your own domain and you are able to play a part in increasing it.

There are several free websites that you can use to check your PA and DA. I use the SEO Review Tools page more frequently than MOZ, however they both give the same information as we the external backlinks that have contributed to increasing the popularity of your page. Don’t forget that popularity is a factor in increasing your DA.

If you are thinking that it’ll be a great idea to spam your blog links around in the hope of increasing your DA, then this is a bad idea. If Google picks up on spamming or unnatural links, then you will get penalised for this. It also doesn’t help your own website if people are leaving spam comments as the Google algorithms may become wary of the spam and the links back to other domains.

I will be dedicating an entire post to how to increase your DA and PA, so look out for that next week. There is so much to cover and I don’t want to confuse you even further. In the meantime, why don’t you check out your DA and PA and see where you rank. Don’t be disheartened if your rank is low. Everyone has to start somewhere and it will grow with time, effort and some quality content. Also, if a PR on any Facebook page does ask for criteria, you can now check it and respond accordingly!

I hope you liked this first part of SEO Saturday Series and my non expert explanation. Please do drop me a line if you need any help and I will try and explain the best way I can.

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