Link Audit Case Study: 300% Google Organic Traffic Growth
Within the highly competitive niche of the CBD industry, one site came to MHC looking for insight on their current disavow file process. They had started to do a great job of disavowing harmful links and were looking to work on improving on site E-A-T, but they wanted advice on their backlink profile as well. They shared that they had hired another SEO agency to build links for them in the past. After experiencing traffic drops in line with link-related Google updates, they were concerned that their efforts were not enough to see improvements.
Our manual link audits are extremely thorough and demand a keen eye for what Google may consider a natural or unnatural link. We have audited millions of links in our time and have disavowed hundreds of thousands. We do this manually by hand without the use of any automated tools. We gather and create a spreadsheet from multiple sources and break this list down to one link from each domain. Next, we manually evaluate and classify each individual link. We compare the links we find against what we see in your current disavow file.
Our link audit report breaks down and classifies each link and gives the client the information on how to decide which domains to disavow and which to keep. We also provide our analysis on which links are natural and which are unnatural. We then work together to create a disavow file before either filing it on the client’s behalf or sending the file over to the client to submit to Google.
While conducting this particular link audit, we found that around 30% of their backlink profile had to be disavowed. This included links and domains from known spam sources, general internet cruft, and links that we believe were unnatural, which is to say links that were gained to manipulate Google’s algorithms. Of those, over half were created unnaturally — either bought or self placed via guest posts with keyword anchors and industry terms. About 20% of their total backlink profile was unnatural. We recommended to the client that we should disavow these links.
After collaborating and working with the client, we agreed on a disavow file to submit to Google. This disavow file contained domains from paid directories, articles created specifically for SEO, and guest posts all with keyword-anchored terms. After some coaching and recommendations on how to get good links, we were able to see huge gains a few months after the disavow was filed.
- September 2019: Client sees a steady decline and a 13% drop coincidental with the September 2019 Core Update. Client contacts MHC for help.
- October 2019: MHC submits completed link audit to client
- November: Disavow file created and submitted to Google
- Mid January 2020: Client sees approx. 50% increase coincidental with the January 2020 Core Update
The client is extremely happy with the growth of the business and has seen up to a 300% increase in organic traffic. Implementing the recommendations provided in the report not only gained them natural links, they are now able to discern great links from the ones that should be disavowed.
Everything we knew about content creation and “link attraction” multiplied exponentially after receiving the first link audit report by the Marie Haynes team. The knowledge they shared with us has helped us develop healthily ever since, because we now feel able to assess the links we receive very confidently. We are grateful too for the tremendous boost that we just got in our rankings after the latest core algorithm change and this is partly due to the disavow that Andrew helped us put together. Simultaneously, we had spent nearly two years improving our content, usability and relevance following the guidance of MHC’s E-A-T insights, which elicited the very best in us. The positive results are a great motivator to keep being truthful and relevant, creating valuable content for the audience we are here to serve. Thank you so much for being our gurus in this journey!