Interview with Google penalty expert Marie Haynes
Hello guys, welcome to new episode of our interview series, today we have Marie Haynes a well known google penalty expert. She started her career as an SEO back in 2008. She was a veterinarian (a person who treats, cures, and prevents diseases in animals). She had made a website which had at most 34 visitors per day and she was not sure why. But she struggled hard and learned how to create and promote her fantastic content. Now, her website welcomes 14,000 visitors per day. But she never even imagined that one day she will be the part of this remunerative career and become an experienced and skilled online marketing consultant. You can find her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/marie_haynes) or her website: https://www.mariehaynes.com. So now let’s started our interview with Marie Haynes, Here you go…
Hello Marie and welcome to this awesome Expert’s interview series.
Thank’s Noman for having me!
What it takes to rank in search engines in 2015 and beyond?
Google is making it harder and harder to rank a website unless that website really deserves to be one of the best results. In the past, someone could take a mediocre website and push it up high in the rankings by playing with on-page SEO and building links. But now, in most cases, if you are truly not the best result for a query, it’s going to be hard to rank well. As such, the key, in my opinion, to ranking well in 2016 is to determine what you can do to be the most useful result amongst all of your competitors.
How To Define A Content Marketing Strategy?
I’m not sure if I am the best person to answer this question as I don’t really do content marketing as a service. I think that a lot of confusion exists around what content marketing actually is. There are some SEOs who consider it content marketing if they write a guest post and get it published on a bunch of sites. For others, content marketing involves spending huge budgets to create fantastic interactive experiences on their websites and then spreading the word about that content. To me, “content marketing” is a buzzword. In my opinion it all comes down to figuring out what you can do with your website that will be useful and will attract good attention.
How to put content marketing to work long term?
Whether you call it “content marketing” or “creating great stuff that people will really like and engage with and then promoting that stuff”, the key to making it work long term is to study the data. I love using the data in Google Search Console’s Search Analytics which is free for all to use. You can look at which pages are currently attracting good attention and then find ways to improve upon that.
For example, let’s say that I am noticing that my page on green widgets is ranking on the bottom of the first page for “which green widget to buy” and “how to choose a green widget”. But perhaps those queries are not fully answered on my page. If those queries are getting decent impressions, this tells me that it might be helpful if I could create a Green Widget Buying Guide that answers all of those questions and more. I would publish that on my website and then promote it offsite.
Now lets say that that works really well and I am getting links to the content and users are engaging with it. Then, that data tells me that perhaps I could also create a Red Widget Buying Guide.
To me, the key to success in creating content long term is to continually track what is working and then improve upon that and make more content like that as well.
What SEOs in small businesses can learn from SEOs in big businesses?
This is a tough question to answer. There are a lot of large businesses that aren’t necessarily doing SEO well, so it might not always work to copy what big businesses are doing. But still, I think that a great thing you can do is use a backlink tool like Ahrefs, Majestic or Open Site Explorer and see which content the big players are producing that is attracting links. And then, see if there is something you can do that is better.
List Down five important things should marketers specially SEO’s avoid in 2016?
1. Creating your own backlinks just for SEO purposes. It amazes me how many people are still trying to rank by creating blog comments, low quality directory links and excessive guest posting. Some links are ok to make such as valid citations in directories that people actually use, but most self made links are not going to help and probably will hurt your site.
2. Be careful about improving UX to the point of disrupting SEO. I see a real trend of websites trying to look extremely pretty by using massive scripts at the expense of page load time.
3. Don’t rely heavily on guest posting. While the occasional guest post on a really authoritative site can be helpful, if guest posting is your main method of getting links, this is not good. I personally think that Google will get better at figuring out that these links are self made mentions. If all of the links to your site are guest post links, this doesn’t look good.
4. Don’t rush out to make changes too quickly. Lately there has been a lot of volatility in the SERPS. I’ve seen several sites where a keyword drops for a week and then resurfaces. Let’s say that when that keyword drops you make all sorts of changes in your title tag. Then, when it resurfaces you’ll say, “Aha. My title tag changes work. Now I need to do that for all of my title tags!” But, in reality, it was just a blip in Google’s algorithm. Be patient.
5. Be careful in using the disavow tool. I am a big fan of the disavow tool and have seen some great recoveries by using it. But, I see a lot of site owners who are running around disavowing way too many links. You can do serious damage to your site if you disavow the wrong links. The disavow tool was meant to be used by people who had been seriously trying to manipulate Google. If you have not been spamming Google, you probably don’t need to use it.
Final Tips: How to perform a quick back-link audit and how to #fixit ?
If you find the answer to this, let me know. 😛 But really, in all seriousness, there is no such thing as a quick backlink audit. While some of the automated auditing tools out there can be helpful when it comes to organizing your link profile, you absolutely must not rely on them for making disavow decisions. I have reviewed hundreds of disavow files, many of which were created by relying on these tools. You would be shocked if I showed you how inaccurate they often are.
When I do a backlink audit, I manually analyze at least one link from every domain linking to the site. And that takes time. A lot of time. Sometimes I can quickly eliminate really obvious bad links. But, usually, I end up spending a couple of weeks or more to do a thorough link audit. There is no way to do a quick backlink audit and be accurate. And it is vitally important to be accurate.
If I may, I’d like to throw in a quick plug for my new course. Because backlink auditing is difficult, I created a course to teach people exactly how I do it. You can find it here: https://courses.mariehaynes.com/penguin-recovery-course/
Thank you Marie, It was a good chat and I am sure this will help webmasters to better understand how they should work on SEO in 2016! If you guys have any question feel free to ask Marie on twitter: https://twitter.com/marie_haynes
Thanks once again!