Imagine spending months promoting a website only to find out that some of your backlinks aren't even visible to Google.
That's exactly what happened to Room 8 Studio, an art production and game development company that partnered with Kaiiax to create content and develop an SEO strategy. Backlinks, a key factor in Google rankings and driving traffic, were integral to their success. However, the project hit a major roadblock when the team noticed some backlinks weren't being indexed by Google.
What's worse, Room 8 Studio also noticed that the organic traffic for some of their backlink donors had changed unpredictably, meaning that Google no longer ranked those sites as expected. This posed two major challenges for Kaiiax – non-indexed pages and unreliable donor websites. But fear not, read on to find out how our team tackled these issues and emerged victorious.
No one is safe from indexing problems
There are various reasons why Google might not see web pages. One of them might be in a crawl budget ‒ the number of pages Googlebot can crawl within a specific timeframe. For example, when a website’s loading speed is slow, the search engine simply misses some pages which negatively affects crawling and indexing. Also, in some cases, the website can use plugins that block Googlebot, which results in the website being hidden from Google’s eyes.
Identifying the root cause of indexing problems can be a challenging task. It requires a thorough investigation of the website's technical aspects, including its structure, speed, and plugins. It also involves analyzing the behavior of the website's visitors and the backlink profile.
Given that we are discussing the indexing of pages containing backlinks to our website from hundreds of other websites, we figured that it is more practical to focus on finding a solution rather than dwelling on the reasons behind the issue, to avoid wasting time.
The dark side of link building: Unscrupulous backlink donors
Just like with indexing, there might be different reasons that influence organic traffic to donors. Trying to sell a backlink at a higher price, some backlink donors resort to shady tactics that can damage your website's reputation in Google’s eyes. For example, some donors might change page URLs frequently to fool Google into thinking that the content has been updated and deserves a higher ranking. Others might generate traffic by publishing sensational content, like juicy details about celebrities' lives. Unfortunately, these underhanded methods can backfire.
That’s exactly what happened in our case. Several donor platforms which we used for link building failed to meet Google's quality criteria after the algorithm update and lost their ranking.
But don't despair – we identified the problems and devised a plan to fix them. Keep reading to learn more.
Dealing with indexing and backlink setbacks
While we clearly could fix indexing issues, we couldn’t influence organic traffic to donor platforms. However, we learned how to avoid this problem in our further work.
Reaching out to webmasters
To resolve the indexing issue, we took a proactive approach and contacted the webmasters for each link, requesting that they submit them for indexation via Google Search Console. Our efforts paid off as all pages were successfully indexed, resulting in a significant boost in traffic to the Room 8 Studio website.
Changing requirements for donor platforms
Unfortunately, we were unable to repair the damage caused by the wrong choice of backlink donors. However, we took steps to ensure that similar issues wouldn't arise in the future.
We analyzed donor patterns that led to the traffic drop and established additional requirements for qualifying backlink platforms. Our new standards included "stable traffic without rapid changes," "content being published consistently," and more. By evaluating new donors against these criteria we significantly reduced the risk of picking unreliable donors and ensured that Room 8 Studio's future link building efforts were more successful.
Valuable experience to help other projects
Following the issues faced during the Room 8 Studio project, we conducted a comprehensive backlink audit of all our clients to prevent similar problems from occurring. Additionally, we increased the frequency of our regular audits from once every two months to once a month. This approach allowed us to identify and address potential issues before they impacted our clients' websites.
Our experience with Room 8 Studio demonstrated that successful content marketing isn't just about doing your job perfectly well; it's also about the ability to acknowledge mistakes, correct them, and learn from them. At Kaiiax, we take pride in our ability to do just that, and we are committed to continually improving our strategies and processes to deliver optimal results for our clients.