Countermeasures against negative SEO done via spam backlinks

In today’s age, business and popularity on the Internet depends much on what Google thinks of your website. Being in the search engine’s good books has become the single biggest first step for online businesses. For legit people, it is great to know that the surest step to have an online presence is to target search engines. At the same time, for the blackhat people, it is great to know of the significant place to attack you.

So we have folks who choose to attack a website to take down its organic standing in SERPs.

Such targeted attacks do not come from mindless spammers. These are targeted and customized to bring down your domain’s good standing in the eyes of search engines and are personalized against YOU! It primarily comes from competitors as a form of corporate sabotage or from someone you may have rubbed the wrong way.

Negative SEO comes in many forms, a major one being spam backlinks to your domain. Spam here does not just mean unsolicited, but it means the ones that contain ‘negative’ content, which users (and hence search engines) do not like any bit. Remember search engines are just hyper-vigilant end-users?

So what is the recourse?
1.   Most of the time, one can let Google take care of it. For more reassurance, watch Matt describe Google’s default actions against Negative SEO attempts.

2.1   In some not-so-popular cases, one needs to request a reconsideration and to disavow backlinks. If you don’t want to go through the long article, here’s the summary:

This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you. In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool.

2.2   In another extreme case, if it is getting impossible to keep listing hundreds of backlinks targeted at you, consider disavowing entire domain. Though use this option carefully because one may disallow search juice coming from a domain. For example, if your domain gets genuine backlinks from a forum but some miscreants start creating spammy backlinks, then disavowing the complete domain makes you lose the juice the domains was sending your way.

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Generate tag cloud of keywords on any page using Urim Firefox addon

Urim is a nifty addon for Firefox that creates tag cloud of words and phrases of the open webpage. It generates the results on the fly and in real time. Some potential use cases where I find this addon very helpful are:
Urim icon

  • Analyze the primary keywords used on the open online article
  • Check where these primary keywords are used on the page from SEO perspective
  • Speed reading and skimming through sentences containing the primary keyword
  • Quickly understand the context and category of the content on a page

The interface is very user-friendly.

With the URIM sidebar open, you can switch between different tabs and quickly check the keywords density on any tab in real time. The generated word cloud shows single words, as well as, two or three word long phrases. A total of 50 words are listed for each page. Click on a word in the tag cloud to jump to the first occurrence of the word. To cycle through all the occurrences, keep pressing F3 shortcut.

If some specific content is selected on a page, Urim generates the tag cloud for the selected text. Urim needs to be (closed and) opened after the content is selected.

Tip: To open Urim use Alt+Shift+U keyboard shortcut or click on its icon in the Firefox navigation toolbar. Check in the screenshot below.

Urim icon in toolbar
Urim icon in toolbar

Do away with data copying hassles on Windows

Read on if you relate the following scenarios:

  • A copy operation you started is hung.
  • There are many small files so the copy is sluggish.
  • In a folder, some files are present on destination, while some are to be copied. You don’t want to overwrite (it takes more time) and you also don’t want to manually look through folders.
  • Electricity went off or you had to close the operation mid-way, even though copying is not finished. Your copying operation is incomplete.
  • You’ve run a copy operation; it is taking up a lot of system resource; you have left the machine running and are attending other chores; suddenly you want to use the system quickly for a min but it is taking forever to even open mail because of the resource-hungry copy operation. Now you want to pause the copy operation!

Use Teracopy.

  • To copy data in bulk. It copied faster using buffers and multiple threads. It copies asynchronously.
  • If something erroneous happens while copying TeraCopy handles it gracefully. It’ll try copying over and over but will time out, skip the file and get going with other files in the queue.
  • You can pause the copying (and later resume it).
  • A simulation will tell you the difference between source and destination.

I have used TeraCopy and RichCopy (by MicroSoft), and they have served me well, former being less intrusive 🙂

What do you use for bulk file copying?

Better and more powerful file search in Windows

If you want to search:

  • in multiple drives and folders simultaneously
  • for file(s) containing a word/sentence
  • by adding case-sensitivity to your search keyword
  • files created within a specific date range
  • and then export the results in a text, HTML, or Excel file

then read on…

With every thing going digital, the amount of data is exploding. With that is the importance of search. We all desire a more powerful search experience, not just on the web, but on the desktop too. Yet most of us don’t look beyond the default Windows search. In my opinion, search cannot get more dumbed-down than Windows XP/7 file search.

UltraFileSearch search utility
UltraFileSearch search utility

UltraFileSearch (download here) is a great utility which addresses all the issues, as well as, your wish list 🙂 Check these screenshots to see its options and some of the possible scenarios in which you can use it. It is available in a portable version too, which you can use without installing. Now that’s a lot of horsepower for a 1 MB utility!

How to easily manage formats in FrameMaker

  • You want to see which formats are currently in use?
  • You want to see only the relevant formats in the catalog to quickly format a document?
  • You imported formats from a different document and want to delete the unused ones?
  • You want to bring up a format in the list temporarily to be able to apply formats using keyboard shortcuts?
  • You want your settings to be applicable to all documents you edit on your machine?

The answer to all your questions are the new paragraph, character, and table catalogs in FrameMaker 10. Watch the video demo below to figure.

Continue reading “How to easily manage formats in FrameMaker”

Synchronize folders to maintain exact copy of data on two different machines

Consider these scenarios:

  • You are a writer who is working in a set of folders on a machine and at the end of the day have to ensure that the work is uploaded to the team’s network drive.
  • You have two different machines at work. At the end of the day your work files are spread across both devices.

A close friend says, “I need to many times answer urgent customer mails from home, I need to access some documents which lie on office servers. I occasionally copy those docs to my laptop but I am not always updated. Had tried windows inbuilt features for these but are not really easy to use. This utility can help me there. I will have an updated copy of all important office folders in my laptop. […]”.

So how do you maintain an exact copy of data on two different machines?

Continue reading “Synchronize folders to maintain exact copy of data on two different machines”

Share over-sized documents for printing on regular printers

I recently posted on my team’s blog how one can print over-sized documents on your regular printer (which uses A4 papers), WITHOUT decreasing the size of the paper. The article talked how to print for yourself. What if you do not want to print it yourself but want to share with someone who does not know how to tile? You are a graphic designer and your boss cannot print that A3 sized advert you just designed, on his regular desktop printer. You are an architecture who has designed the layout of a big building. You company will share it with your client and you cannot send any instructions on tiling along with the mail.

Acrobat Print dialog for tiling large pages
Acrobat Print dialog for tiling large pages

Continue reading “Share over-sized documents for printing on regular printers”