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Ticketing systems are one of the top tools for collecting and tracking customer data. They manage all the customer problems in one place and act as a base to make future business decisions.
It can be a great source of predictive analysis that measures the anticipated risks and outcomes related to customer issues.
Companies and analysts usually extract and refine the data from these ticketing systems to identify similar customer patterns and find opportunities to make the business more profitable.
Effective use of ticketing system data to conduct predictive analysis also plays a vital role in reducing churn rate, improving retention rate, defining prices, and creating marketing campaigns as per customer and business needs.
Before diving into predictive analysis by leveraging the ticket system, you should thoroughly discuss the topic. This article will help you understand the predictive analytics framework for a ticketing system to perform future business actions.
Let’s begin!What is a Ticketing System?
A ticketing system is a customer issue collection tool that automates and organizes all the customer data in a single dashboard.
Using a ticketing system in your business allows customers to submit their queries and requests via various channels, including email, social media, phone, or website.
It is specifically designed to make the customer interaction process smoother. This system helps build strong customer relationships and understand their requirements in detail.
Here are the features of a ticketing system:
Lets you keep track of all the current requests
Helps improve the customer-business relationship
Provides a personal touch to the customer requests
Ensures that no query is neglected
Helps understand customer behavior to create marketing campaigns
Integrates all the customer contacts in a single placeWhat is Predictive Analytics?
Predictive analysis refers to using historical business data and statistics to predict future events and outcomes.
Using this analysis as a base to perform future courses of action in a business helps to develop new products and even make investing options.
Predicting future events helps the companies to be prepared and work on the SWOT areas of the firm. It reduces the risk and operational efficiencies.Types of Predictive Analysis Models For Ticketing Systems
Here are the top models of predictive analysis for the ticketing systems:
This includes categorizing the customer request based on their categories, priorities, and other essential attributes. These categories also include the interests, purchasing capacity, and demographics of a particular set of customers.
This model includes predicting a particular event or course of action based on past trends and data.
This model combines AI and
to predict future events for complex customer data.
This model uses specific time intervals such as weekly, monthly, and yearly to make futuristic decisions for the betterment of the business.Top Use Cases of Predictive Analysis For Ticketing System
Here are the top areas where predicting analysis can be conducted by leveraging customer data from the ticketing system:
Predictive analysis helps decide the final product with the help of customer feedback and data. You can experiment with different prices and get an idea of what best suits the target customers. One of the key reasons that restrict your sales margins could be higher product prices. Gathering abandoned cart data and knowing why customers are leaving between their buying journeys through the ticketing system helps you put a suitable price tag on your products.
Providing high-quality products and experience to customers significantly impacts your sales margins and customer retention rate. Identifying and evaluating customer behavior through ticketing systems helps control the quality of the products and services, not only improving revenues but also helping in reducing additional problems such as customer costs, warranty issues, and extra repairs. An efficient predictive analysis will provide insights into possible quality issues and how to reduce them.
Ticketing system data capture what customers say about your brand and your market reputation among the target audience. You can analyze this customer feedback to give insights and recommendations for improving your brand rapport.
Predictive analysis with the help of ticketing systems helps in identifying your target audience. It helps you curate the product line and
make data-driven decisions
based on accurate customer data.
Predictive analysis through ticketing systems works on a pattern that depends on various factors, including customer service and grievance redressal systems. In these automated systems, you get real-time customer data that helps you be well-equipped with the resources and get an estimate of future product sales.Conclusion
In this digital data-driven era, you need to pay more attention to your customer data, and ignoring their feedback is a massive mistake for businesses of all kinds.
Hence, it becomes essential for businesses to automate and capture all customer data. The data should also include the queries and problems they face while encountering your brand.
It helps understand the target audience better and curate an improved experience for them.
Putting this data into analysis requires extra effort and resources but pays off as it helps make better-informed decisions while amending the ongoing processes.
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Businesses have more data from various sources at their disposal than they may think.
With predictive analytics, you can use past information to project future outcomes for your business.
Analytics help you identify future opportunities, serve customers better and make more informed business decisions over time.
This article is for business owners and managers who want to leverage data and predictive analytics to bring thoughtful change to their organization.
Applying predictive analytics to a business or organization requires specialized software. It’s offered by several vendors, including IBM, SAP and SAS. It crunches the collected data to determine the specific answers a business is looking for.
While each software offering has different capabilities and user interfaces, the premise is the same. They all work by first analyzing all the information a company collects. This includes sales and customer statistics, employee productivity, and social media data.
They then plug that data into predictive models. They can project future trends and problems based on that past behavior by using specially created algorithms.
Be sure to use relevant, accurate data with a considerable sample size. Otherwise, predictive analytics may not produce reliable insights.
These models can help businesses predict various consumer trends, as well as employee productivity shifts, to help drive supply and marketing decisions and improve efficiency.
While predictive analytics software used to be an option for larger organizations only, recent developments have made it more accessible to small businesses. This type of software, which is available from vendors such as Emanio and Angoss, is now sold at more affordable prices. It can be run from any personal computer instead of needing to be installed directly on a company’s server.Examples of predictive analytics
Predictive analytics was originally used by large retailers and financial institutions. Today, businesses in every industry and of all sizes employ it to get a jump on the competition.
According to IBM, businesses can use predictive analytics in many different ways, such as these:
Uncovering hidden patterns and associations
Enhancing customer retention
Improving cross-selling opportunities through personalized offers and experiences
Maximizing productivity and profitability by aligning people, processes and assets
Reducing risk to minimize exposure and loss
Extending the useful life of equipment
Decreasing the number of equipment failures and maintenance costs
Focusing maintenance activities on high-value problems
Increasing customer satisfaction
For example, Sephora analyzes customers’ purchase histories and preferences to predict which products will most appeal to them. These tailored recommendations have led to 80% of its customers being completely loyal to the company. Similarly, Harley-Davidson uses predictive analytics to highlight potential high-value customers whom marketing agents and salespeople can target.
The popularity of predictive analytics with businesses has led to other types of organizations using the software. For example, healthcare firms use it to predict how certain drugs and therapies will be received by patients and help doctors better detect early warning signs for life-threatening diseases and illnesses.
Government bodies use predictive analytics software to help prevent crime, deliver social services and better serve residents. For example, more than two dozen U.S. cities use predictive analytics to determine where different crimes are most likely to occur. They then use this data to allocate resources appropriately, fighting crime while reducing costs.
Moving forward, businesses that don’t use predictive analytics software to drive their decisions will find themselves in the vast minority.Pros and cons of predictive analytics
While predictive analytics holds vast potential, according to BDO Digital, just 19% of midsize companies are actively planning analytics initiatives. Part of that is because the technology comes with some potential downsides. Here’s a look at the benefits and drawbacks of predictive analytics today.Pros
It provides actionable insights to help you get ahead of the competition.
It saves time that would otherwise be used for manual research and testing.
It can lower ongoing expenses through workflow optimization.
It may reduce wasted capital on ineffective marketing campaigns.
It becomes more reliable as time goes on.Cons
It takes time to produce meaningful results.
It requires considerable data-gathering efforts and preparation upfront.
It may come with high upfront costs and initial disruptions.Making the most of predictive analytics
Given the potential drawbacks, you need to apply predictive analytics correctly to experience its benefits. One of the most important considerations is to use reliable, clean data.
If these algorithms don’t have high-quality data, they won’t produce accurate results. Consequently, organizations believe that bad information is costing them $15 million a year in losses, according to research by Gartner. You can avoid this by collecting data from reliable sources and cleansing it before feeding it into predictive models. That includes verifying it against other sources, removing redundancies and standardizing its format.
As with any new technology, it’s also best to start small. You can minimize the initial expense and disruptions by applying predictive analytics to one area first, then slowly expanding it as your company learns to manage it. This will also help your employees understand how to work with these technologies more effectively.
Finally, you should regularly review your predictive analytics data to ensure it remains reliable. As situations change, algorithms will likely need tweaks and adjustments. Monitoring their performance can help your business experience the benefits without assuming too much risk.Predictive analytics revolutionizing business
Predictive analytics has changed the way many businesses operate. Companies across virtually every industry have seen remarkable improvements after implementing this technology. It could become the norm as more people realize these benefits.
Like any technology, predictive analytics is not a cure-all. It won’t solve every problem a company faces, especially without careful planning and implementation, but it can offer substantial help. It will undoubtedly change the way business works.
Chad Brooks contributed to the writing and research in this article.
Mimicking the DEFCON levels, Microsoft divulged the “SECCON Framework” i.e. a generic Windows 10 Security Configuration Framework. This framework aids in standardizing the basic security settings that should be applied for Windows 10 systems. It consists of a series of guides which help in securing a range of Windows 10 configurations in diverse environments.Windows 10 Security Configuration Framework or SECCON Framework
Chris Jackson, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft said,
We sat down and asked ourselves this question: if we didn’t know anything at all about your environment, what security policies and security controls would we suggest you implement first?
The result was what Microsoft has named – The SECCON framework. Opening with an “Administrator workstation” at level 1 building up to the “Enterprise security” at level 5, the Windows 10 security configuration framework is Microsoft’s effort to simplify and standardize the security system on Windows 10. This security configuration isn’t a universal solution, yet a simplified configuration which could be used by enterprise-level users to meet many common device configurations and scenarios.The five levels in Windows 10 security configuration framework
Windows 10 security configuration framework for enterprises is defined based on “Common Device Scenarios” in 5 different levels by Microsoft: Enterprise Security, Enterprise High Security, Enterprise VIP Security, DevOps Workstation, and Administrator Workstation; Levels 5 – 1 respectively.
Here, the lower numbers indicate a higher degree of security hardening. Following are the 5 levels in Windows 10 Security Configuration Framework.
Level 5: Enterprise Security
Level 4: Enterprise High Security
Level 3: Enterprise VIP Security
Level 2: DevOps workstation
Level 1: Administrator Workstation
Let’s briefly explain each of these security levels:
1] Level 5 – Enterprise Security:
Enterprise security or Level 5 is the minimum-security configuration for an enterprise device. This security configuration level contains recommendations that are generally straightforward and designed to be deployed within 30 days.
2] Level 4 – Enterprise High Security:
This configuration is recommended for devices where users need to access confidential/sensitive information. Few of these controls can impact app compatibility, hence often pass through an audit-configure-enforce workflow. According to Microsoft, recommendations for Level 2 are accessible to the administrators and the configurations can be deployed within 90 days.
3] Level 3 – Enterprise VIP Security:
Aimed specifically at devices run by organizations having a larger or more sophisticated security team, or for specific users/groups who are at exclusively high risk. An organization who is prone to get targeted by well-funded and sophisticated rivals should pursue this configuration. Deploying this set of configurations may be complex and can often take more than 90 days.
4] Level 2 – DevOps workstation:
Microsoft recommends this configuration to the developers and testers, who are an attractive target since they are on systems holding high-value data or running critical business functions. This level is still under development, and Microsoft will make an announcement as soon as it’s ready.
5] Level 1 – Administrator Workstation:
Administrator Workstation or Level 1 in Windows 10 Security Configuration Framework (SEECON) is designed for administrators who “face the highest risk, through data theft, data alteration, or service disruption.” Like Level 4, this level is also under development, and Microsoft will make an announcement as soon as it is ready. Read more about this level in the Microsoft Docs.Security Control Classification
Owing to the risk levels associated with each device type, the Windows 10 security configuration framework is more restrictive in the lower levels. Recommendations for each level are alienated into 3 different categories:
Policies: These suggest configuring certain security policies on devices like applying a minimum password length, password complexity requirements, deactivating guest accounts, certain firewall rules, or limiting certain rights to specific user groups.
Behaviors: This group defines security processes like installing security updates in specific duration after release or confiscating as many users as possible from the administrator group.
When designing units of study, it’s important to provide students with authentic learning experiences that are engaging and challenging and that foster essential skills. This is especially important if you are looking to integrate learning between subject areas, develop culturally responsive units, and encourage transfer of understanding between contexts.
With so many things to consider during curriculum design, it can be helpful to have simple frameworks with which to structure your teaching and planning. One approach I’ve developed is People, Places, and Problems (3Ps)—a guide, described below, that can help you create units and learning experiences that are relevant, inclusive, integrated, and meaningful to all involved.
To bring learning to life and develop culturally responsive teaching practices, consider the “who” behind any unit of study—the people and identities most connected to a given curricular topic. How can you integrate these perspectives into curricula?
A unit can include visits from a local expert, visits to community spaces, or conversations with elders. Young people can identify with local change makers and influencers and understand that the world around them is shaped by “ordinary” people—meaning they, too, hold the power to influence their surroundings.
To supplement real-world interactions, teachers can use primary source materials, such as diaries, letters, and photographs, to highlight diverse perspectives and tell stories of real people in engaging and empowering ways.
In a grade five unit on biodiversity, I saw teachers operationalize this approach by connecting students with a local nature society, where they learned about a community environmental activist and understood the important impact that people are having on animal conservation in the area.
This experience had a significant influence on students, helping them to identify as environmental activists in their own right, and a number of them took it upon themselves to study native bird species. They now help lead regular data collection surveys on the school campus, demonstrating how, by centering relational and experiential learning, we can encourage deeper learning in and beyond the classroom.
Incorporating a sense of place by applying place-based-learning strategies can provide context and relevance to a unit of learning that abstract study rarely can. Through deep study of a particular place, students can learn about geography, history, and culture, but they can also integrate other skills, such as writing, art, and mathematics.
Studying place can look like one-day field trips, a series of regular visits to one or multiple locations, or an entire unit based around a particular place. Teachers can use maps, photographs, and other visual aids to help students understand the physical and cultural landscape of a place (this is also a great option if you don’t have the resources to facilitate real-world travel through field trips). Considering opportunities for the study of place immediately opens up options for subject integration, as real-world places are naturally complex and interdisciplinary.
In a grade four mathematics unit on data, for example, students traveled to a local beach to collect data on the types of plastic that washed ashore. Grounded in a particular place, the unit became more relevant to learners who witnessed the impact of plastic waste firsthand. Students could touch, feel, and see the thing they were collecting data about, and it was clear how using data could be an important skill when understanding the human impact on nature. This learning integrated naturally with social science units and provided opportunities for authentic action and interdisciplinary projects later in the unit.
Often emerging within the study of people and/or places, problems provide tremendous opportunities for real-world application and transfer of understanding. Authentic learning experiences should be designed around real-world problems that challenge students to think critically and apply their knowledge and skills. By using problem- or project-based learning, you can empower students to be solutions-oriented and develop a sense of purpose and agency.
When they work collaboratively to solve problems, students can develop communication and collaboration skills in ways that are rarely possible in singular-lesson activities. Solving authentic problems offers an interesting assessment point, giving students the opportunity to transfer their understanding, thereby showing conceptual understanding rather than simple knowledge recall.
I recently witnessed seventh-grade students design ways to stop birds from eating the plants in their school’s kitchen garden. This task required them to understand the needs of the plants in the garden and the behaviors of local bird species, and to apply their design and technology skills to create structures that protect vulnerable plants, integrating background knowledge, acquired skills, and cross-disciplinary thinking to target a community-oriented problem.
A Fresh Approach to Unit Design
Not every unit of study provides opportunities for the simultaneous study of people, places, and problems; however, by using this 3P approach as a mental checklist, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of unit planning, maximizing engagement for all learners.
Articulating the 3P framework to your students can also provide a neat thinking model for researching and organizing their learning. As students study independently, we can encourage them to look at the world holistically and consider the people, places, and problems related to what they’re exploring. I have seen the 3P framework act as a template for a fifth-grade independent project showcase, and when students connected the 3Ps with their chosen topics, they achieved very clear and purposeful outcomes.
In a sometimes overwhelming world of educational initiatives and innovations, using a simple framework can help organize and focus your units in a coherent, digestible way. At the same time, the 3Ps allow us to include many areas of learning that are at the forefront of educational theory and research, including diversity, equity, and inclusion; Universal Design for Learning; concept-based teaching and learning; student-centered pedagogy; and education for sustainable development.
By distilling these various approaches into one framework, we can create a structure that is easily digestible for teachers, students, and even the parent community, facilitating a whole-school approach to making clear the objectives, learning experiences, and assessments that align and enlighten your classroom.
Looking for new ideas for how to market your Software as a Service (SaaS) business? Refocus and restructure your marketing with the RACE Framework
RACE focuses on how to improve your marketing across the full customer lifecycle from creating awareness to build an audience, encouraging interaction and lead generation, to purchase, and then customer loyalty.
When looking at how to market Software as a Service (SaaS), it’s important to use the most up-to-date marketing methods to reach your key demographic and generate maximum revenue at each stage of the customer journey.
The RACE Framework is used in SaaS marketing as a structure to cover the paid, owned, and earned inbound marketing activities to encourage purchase. The initial plan for how to market SaaS should:
Create an integrated digital strategy as a roadmap for future growth
Define the resources needed to implement the strategy
Improve your customer focus by segmenting your audience through digital mediaREACH: Marketing your software to reach more customers
Reach involves building brand awareness on other websites and offline media to build traffic to your main site by using, for example, microsites and social media.Customer Acquisition Plan Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketers can generate revenue for referring new customers to other businesses through tracked links in online content. To pick the right affiliate marketing strategy when considering how to market SaaS:
Ensure the strategy works for your audience; know where your customers are
Understanding the kind of content your audience responds to
Which offers work best for your potential audience?
Use A/B testingSocial Media
Social media marketing is comprised of two methods: organic and paid. The key is accessing the right networks and this is achieved by a well-defined audience. While 74% of companies invested resources into more than eight social media platforms in 2023, Facebook was cited as the platform providing the most ROI (Hubspot, 2023).Search Engine Optimisation
Putting your main keyword in the post title
Adding alt text to your images
Uploading transcripts for video and audio content
Linking internally within your site
Take a look at How Paid Search and SEO Work Together by HawkSEM.Measuring effectiveness
Measure the number of unique visits, value per visit, and followers, comparing social media influence to your main relevant social networks. Track month-on-month and year-on-year changes.
Is your IT/High Tech business competing online?
With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers
Get Started TodayACT: Data-driven marketing to inform your SaaS business’ interaction with customers
Customer personas: These help focus on the target customer and provide a framework to create content. It’s crucial to understand your target customer’s pain points and goals and create content that will draw them in and resolve their queries.
NEILPATEL covers customer personas in How to Get in the Mind of B2B SaaS Customers.
Customer nurture: nurture the customer relationship through the provision of relevant solution-based content.
LiveChat and virtual messaging: is very likely to provide customers with an added sense of reassurance as well as instant answers to any queries they may have. Make sure you test the impact that a live chat has on your conversion rate.
Funnel provides good examples of how to market SaaS using forms, CTAs, and a LiveChat function:
For further ideas of how CRM can support your SaaS marketing, Kandra Digital outlines: How CRM can Increase Conversion Ratio or sales?
To track your performance, you should monitor lead conversion rates, cost per lead, time on site and bounce rates.
Is your IT/High Tech business competing online?
With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers
Get Started TodayCONVERT: How to Market SaaS to achieve acclerated conversions
This is about using communications techniques to increase conversion to sale in your SaaS marketing, which will often include both online and offline channels. When considering how to market SaaS, these should include:
Lead nurturing: implementing a system that builds and maintains relationships with customers.
Lead scoring: identifying when and how to address each buyer with timely and relevant communication.
Web: this should be dynamically personalized to reinforce and extend dialogue.
Social: social is a critical part of cross-channel nurturing. You should make every campaign social.
Direct mail: consider adding direct mail to further personalize and add a human touch.
Marketing automation: helps align all of your marketing efforts and messages.Measuring effectiveness
Lead nurturing must be monitored and tested regularly to measure health and effectiveness. You should continually test to gauge how many touches have been received within a particular timeframe, the time of day and types of messages.
Is your IT/High Tech business competing online?
With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers
Get Started TodayENGAGE: Retain and delight your software customers
Engage is aimed at building a long-term relationship with your buyers and includes the following techniques:
Customer engagement: ensure that feedback is a key part of your SaaS customer retention strategy utilizing e-mail, phone calls, asking questions, and encouragement to use your service
Send targeted content: with simple techniques such as automated e-mails when an action has been completed in the SaaS, you will add more value and are less likely to lose customers.
E-mail marketing: use e-mail to provide quality content to your customers, as well as product information, discounts, event invitations, happy birthdays, and promotions. It is also very easily measured and monitored.
Upselling: this is the process of increasing the level of service and being paid more – engaging an existing customer at a deeper level. This, in turn, deepens your relationship, increases the value received by your customer and their customer lifetime value (CLV).
Customer retention: retaining customers is far less costly than gaining new ones with 90% of happy customers being likely to make a repeat purchase. 93% are also more likely to be repeat customers at companies with excellent customer service. Your retention strategies will differ depending on, for example, your resources, audience and business model.
For further ideas, here are 27 SaaS Customer Retention Strategies You Need to Be Using Today by The Daily Egg.Measuring effectiveness
Customer lifetime value (LTV) is the estimated net profit that an individual or business will provide over their lifetime as a paying customer. When looking at how to market SaaS, calculating this can help you predict how much revenue you can roughly expect a customer to provide throughout their relationship with your business.
Customer acquisition is the driving force of any company, small or large. That means you cannot, no matter what the cost, give up on marketing to new customers. But research has shown that the key to growth lies not with your marketing or sales team but your customer service team, and your customers themselves.
Is your IT/High Tech business competing online?
With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers
Get Started Today
Did you know that doing a link analysis is critical to maintaining the ongoing health of your site?
They can also contribute significantly to the strategic and technical aspects of your domain.
For the strategic, a link analysis will help you determine weaknesses in your overall strategy that will determine the actions you must take. This strategic analysis is one that will also be a determining factor in the success of your SEO.
From a technical perspective, the link analysis will allow you to identify bad links that may have future potential negative effects on your website, with significant repercussions if you build too much of the wrong links.
Performing an accurate link analysis is critical, along with how to select the right tools for the job.
It’s not unheard of to use as many as five different tools to compile all of your links, and then use them as a year-long link remediation task.
What, exactly, is link remediation?
It’s a different name than link pruning (what some call this task), but nonetheless is the same task, and should inspire looks of dread from experienced SEO professionals who manage massive link profiles.
Or inspiration, if you love looking at links and enjoy the mechanical repetition of this task.
Regular link remediation is a critical component of ongoing link acquisition depending on the size, breadth, and scope of your site.
It can help improve performance by removing toxic links that harm your overall link profile.What Is a Link Analysis?
A link analysis, quite simply, is a deep-dive audit of all the links pointing back to your site, making up the entirety of your link profile.
Depending on the focus of the link analysis, it can reveal major problems affecting the SERP performance of your site overall.
Whether you call it link pruning, link remediation, or plain old link analysis, they all mean the same thing.
Depending on your vendor, the link analysis will usually include a link profile disavow file, which you can then upload accordingly to Google’s disavow tool.
Ongoing link analysis is critical to maintaining the ongoing, consistent health of your site’s link profile.What Is a Link Analysis Used For?
Link analyses come into play when you’re concerned about the quality of your overall link profile, and you want to maintain that quality.
If your link profile has minor amounts of bad links, you probably don’t want to care about doing a link analysis, as it’s more work than what you need to maintain.
However, if your link profile contains significant amounts of bad links, and you feel like you are an ongoing target for negative SEO campaigns, you will want to consider a regular link remediation schedule.
Depending on the size of your link profile, this could be once a month or once a quarter.
Sometimes, ongoing link analyses are required to uncover more sophisticated negative SEO campaigns. But it isn’t always necessary and could be overkill for some smaller websites.Link Analysis Tools for the Job
There is no shortage of tools on the market for link measurement and metrics tracking.
Before knowing where you’re going with your link acquisition campaign, you must understand the current state of your site’s link profile.
Proceeding with link acquisition before understanding what your link profile currently looks like is like eating raw food before it’s cooked.
Although some raw food is a delicacy, you don’t always want to take this approach, or else you may suffer serious stomachaches.
The same is true for link acquisition.
If you don’t know the current state of your link profile, and you go after some of the same links, you may not see the inherent value of your link acquisition efforts. In addition, you will be duplicating your efforts.
Using several link analysis tools at once is necessary not only for link database size, but because the differences in links discovered by these tools are worth it.
But let’s make one thing clear: third-party link analysis tools are not the be-all, end-all, although they can get you close. None of them will duplicate Google’s database of links entirely, which is why you must use their tools as well.
Although, they can help you get enough links removed so that they don’t continue to harm the success of your SEO efforts.Links You Must Look Out For
Believe it or not, there are good links and bad links. A good link is any link that bolsters your overall E-A-T, or expertise, authority, and trust.
A bad link is any link that either causes direct tanking of your site’s rankings, or indirect issues with your site’s SERP performance later. Or, it’s a link that is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines talks about link schemes as being against their guidelines:
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”
The goal of your link remediation task is to find all of these types of links linking back to your site and to go through a link removal process and disavow them. There are several situations in which you need to deal with these types of links immediately:Manual Action or Algorithmic Penalty?
Manual actions are not hard to spot. During a manual action, your site will be manually penalized. You will get a notice from Google in GSC when this happens.
You’ll also notice significant traffic drops overnight. You can’t do much to immediately reverse this issue. It will require a lot of work in link remediation, removal, and disavows until Google is pleased.
Algorithmic devaluations are simpler. Although they can be more challenging in some ways than manual actions. With a manual action, you at least know that you have a penalty and what you need to do to correct it.
With an algorithmic devaluation, uncovering the issue will take a lot more time and work, and it’s not always obvious what is behind the cause of your traffic drops.
Google continues to maintain that they ignore spammy attempts at link building.
However, there are plenty of examples of negative SEO in the wild. I don’t think Google will ever confirm negative SEO, because that would be dangerous, right?
Imagine what would happen if every SEO knew exactly how to apply negative SEO to every single one of their competitor’s websites. That would not be pretty!Negative SEO Attack
Believe it or not, negative SEO still exists. There are plenty of examples online of negative SEO occurring in the wild.
Yours truly has also been through a few of these and assisted in their recovery (and they are not pretty).
While in some cases you may not see a negative SEO attack register immediately, it will eventually register. And the effects can be devastating.
The premise behind negative SEO is simple: a sly competitor decides to build thousands of bad links back to your site, and your site will end up tanking in the SERPs as a result.
The negative SEO itself is generally easy to spot – using a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush, you can easily see the increase in bad links coming into your site.
While the premise is narrowed down, there are many different ways to perform one. They include:
Creating spammy looking links en masse back to your own site.
Creating dummy sites on other domains with thousands of pages of your own scraped duplicate content, pointing back to your site.
Hacking your site’s chúng tôi file, and getting it de-indexed.
Fake social profiles and fake negative online sentiment based on social signals.
Spammy PBNs to make it look like you are engaging in this behavior.
On-site negative SEO as the result of a site hack.
Many of these, when done right, can be impossible to spot for the non-savvy web entrepreneur, but it can be done by utilizing the services of a savvy SEO.Pages & Folders – Not Just Site-Wide
An algorithmic devaluation can happen not just to the entire site, but to pages and folders that look particularly spammy.
If you experience a drop in traffic overnight, it is possible that only a page that was driving the entire bulk of your online traffic was algorithmically devalued.
In that same vein, folders can also be targeted for algorithmic devaluation, especially if pages in the folder are egregiously spammy.
In other words, if you are hit with an algorithmic devaluation, combing through your Google Analytics and Google Search Console statistics will help you narrow down which pages and folders are targeted, rather than just going after your entire site.What Is the Best Way to Do a Link Analysis?
The thinking behind combining at least 5 sources of links is to cast as wide a net as possible, to gather up all potential links. You can then de-duplicate this list into a single list that you will use throughout this process.
If you don’t do it this way, you may miss some that you have to deal with later.
Why not make as complete a list as possible at the outset, and avoid the duplication of your work?Required Link Analysis Tool: Google Search Console
Believe it or not, Google Search Console is one of the required link analysis tools on our list.
The only problem with Google Search Console is that it won’t get all your links, which is why I recommend at least 2-3 tools in your arsenal for link analysis.
It’s required because Google Search Console contains lists of links that Google sees pointing back to your site. Of course, knowing which links Google considers valuable is critical for any link analysis efforts.
And this is why Google Search Console is so important.
But, this should not be the last word on link analysis tools that you collect for your link analysis tasks.Optional Link Analysis Tool #1: Ahrefs
Boasting one of the most accurate and largest link databases of its kind, Ahrefs is the premier tool of choice for SEOs looking to analyze large volumes of links.
Not only that, but you can expand your link acquisition opportunities by using several actionable techniques that they go over in this post:
You can mine for some content opportunities by examining the higher traffic pages on your competitor’s website.
You can look into how your competition is really acquiring their links, and then you can duplicate their link acquisition strategies.
It’s possible to use alerts to automate the discovery of new link opportunities.
Identify keywords with low competition and higher traffic and business potential.
Audit your site and figure out any crucial SEO mistakes that are negatively impacting your site on Google.
Look for gaps in your content strategy using the content gap analysis tool.
These are just some of the additional cool, actionable things you can do with Ahrefs (I bet you thought this was going to be yet another dry tools list with benefits and features, huh?)
And much more. I love Ahrefs for its comprehensiveness and ease of use in its audit potential along with the discovery of new link opportunities. It’s one of the best tools around for link acquisition.
With one of the largest link databases known to man, you really cannot go wrong on this tool.Optional Link Analysis Tool #2: SEMrush
SEMrush is considered one of the best tools in an SEO person’s tool stack, and for good reason: you can fully customize your link acquisition plan from the start, beginning with low-hanging fruit opportunities at first, and going after the more difficult links later.
Among its standard list of tasks you can use, there are other little-known things you may not have thought of about using SEMrush for link analysis:
You can find and remove harmful links pretty quickly.
Through analysis, you can find everything you lost, and figure out how to get those links back.
It’s possible to get rid of all of your toxic links.
While you get rid of toxic links, you will always have cases where you will see increases in the toxicity levels of your link profile. SEMRush will also allow you to set up alerts for any negative SEO attacks.
And much more.
SEMrush’s suite of tools not only covers link analysis, but also content marketing, social media, and many other facets of SEO.
I highly recommend them as yet another tool you should have in your SEO link analysis arsenal.Optional Link Analysis Tool #3: Majestic
Majestic’s link analysis tool is a no-brainer. It’s one of the simplest, easiest methods around to export your links, and put them into a format that’s usable and reader-friendly.
There are a few little-known link analysis steps you can take to ensure that you grab every potential link that could be a bad link:
Their bad neighborhood checker tool allows you to comb through links all belonging to a shared IP, or even the same IP, unearthing links that could be used as part of a PBN or other link network. In cases of microsites, usually, site owners will have all of those sites coming from the same IP. They’re not doing anything malicious, but other techniques like on-page spam could have a negative impact, which you can actually find when going through these links.
With the latest release of Majestic, you have the context of words and images surrounding links! A major improvement in its overall link analysis functions.
Of course, as with all link analysis tools, Majestic has its own metrics and measurements for domain authority, called trust flow and citation flow.Combining Link Analysis Tools Data
The way I have done it in the past is to note the links by link type (press release link, PBN link, forum link, etc.), and whether or not it is spam/not spam.
You can have good press release links, just as you can have good forum links.
Not every link from these sources is bad. It depends on how you do it and whether or not it violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.What If I Have a Drop in Traffic?
If you have been hit with anything that’s not clearly a manual penalty (such as an algorithmic devaluation), you must do some analysis and determine whether it is really a penalty or algorithmic devaluation.
Just because you’ve had a significant drop in traffic, doesn’t mean you are automatically levied with an algorithmic devaluation.
You could have lost a critical link that was driving significant traffic.
Perhaps a page changed, altering your results significantly. Or, maybe the search query changed and people aren’t searching much for that term anymore, leading to a traffic drop.
You must answer the following questions:
When did the drop occur?
Did the drop in traffic coincide with an algorithm update?
Did this drop in traffic happen at the same time as other significant on-site changes?
Was the site potentially suffering from a loss of a critical link?
Could the traffic otherwise be gained?
Has the page significantly been changed to be more spammy than it used to be?
That’s why it’s critical to perform this type of analysis first to really nail down what actually caused the drop in traffic.
If the analysis reveals that you are being algorithmically devalued, then you will want to proceed with the link analysis/link remediation project to determine any bad links and get them disavowed.Link Analysis Can Reveal Weaknesses, As Well As Strengths
On its own, a link analysis can help you reveal significant information about your site’s own link profile.
From its health to the types of links, and whether or not it violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, all are useful indicators as to the overall quality of your link profile.
If you are under penalty, the link analysis is a critical element of your overall penalty recovery program.
If you are under algorithmic devaluation, this analysis will help you narrow down where, exactly, the devaluation is taking place on your site.
Even if you’re not under penalty or devaluation, a regular link analysis can help you in several ways, including making sure that you don’t get into trouble due to toxic links in your site’s link profile.
Link acquisition is no more. The future of link acquisition is link earning, and it’s already here. It’s making sure that your link profile is as natural as possible.
The fewer issues you have that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, the better. You don’t want to have too many toxic links tank your site overnight. That’s a nightmare for everyone involved.
As the saying goes: you can never be too careful with your site’s link profile.
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