Trending December 2023 # The 10 Best Google Fi Phones To Get # Suggested January 2024 # Top 18 Popular

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Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Formerly known as Project Fi, Google Fi has been around for around seven years. Before opening up to other Android handsets, it was initially limited to Nexus and Pixel phones. Now there are more devices to choose from. Even Apple’s iPhones support Google Fi, although you usually have to play around with the settings to get things working correctly. Let’s check out our favorite Google Fi and supported phones!

Before we jump into our list of the best Google Fi phones, please note that we’ve divided this post into two sections. The first one lists the handsets you can buy directly from Google Fi, while the second includes unlocked phones compatible with Google Fi. This is to give you the best feel for your options since Google Fi still only sells a limited selection of devices.

More: These are the best Google Fi plans

Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best Google Fi phone as new devices make it to the carrier.

The best Google Fi phones

Pixel 7 specs:

Display: 6.3-inch, Full HD+

SoC: Google Tensor G2


Storage: 128/256GB

Camera: 50 and 12MP

Front camera: 10.8MP

Battery: 4,355mAh

Software: Android 13

Pixel 7 Pro specs:

Display: 6.7-inch, QHD+

SoC: Google Tensor G2

RAM: 8/12GB

Storage: 128/256/512GB

Camera: 50, 48, and 12MP

Front camera: 10.8MP

Battery: 5,000mAh

Software: Android 13

Pixel 6a specs:

Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+

SoC: Google Tensor


Storage: 128GB

Camera: 12.2 and 12MP

Front camera: 8MP

Battery: 4,410mAh

Software: Android 12

Galaxy Z Fold 4 specs:

Display: 7.6-inch QXGA+ and 6.2-inch HD+

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1


Storage: 256/512/1,024GB

Cameras: 50, 12 and 10MP

Front camera: 10MP, 4MP UDC

Battery: 4,400mAh

Software: Android 12

Galaxy Z Flip 4 specs:

Display: 6.7-inch and 1.9-inch

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1


Storage: 128/256/512GB

Cameras: 12 and 12MP

Front camera: 10MP

Battery: 3,700mAh

Software: Android 12

Samsung Galaxy A53

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy A53 offers a great balance between affordability and performance. The device may not come with the best of specs, but it packs enough power to keep most casual users happy.

The Exynos 1280 can handle its own, and you can get up to 8GB of RAM. The screen is surprisingly good for a mid-tier handset, offering a 6.5-inch Full HD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate. And because the phone isn’t as resource-intensive, the 5,000mAh battery will take you a long way.

Galaxy A53 specs:

Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+

SoC: Exynos 1280

RAM: 4/6/8GB

Storage: 128/256GB

Cameras: 64, 12, 5, and 5MP

Front camera: 32MP

Battery: 5,000mAh

Software: Android 12

Galaxy S23 specs:

Display: 6.1-inch, FHD+

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2


Storage: 128/256/512GB

Cameras: 50, 12, and 10MP

Front camera: 12MP

Battery: 3,900mAh

Software: Android 13

Galaxy S23 Plus specs:

Display: 6.6-inch, FHD+

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2


Storage: 256/512GB

Cameras: 50, 12, and 10MP

Front camera: 12MP

Battery: 4,700mAh

Software: Android 13

Galaxy S23 Ultra specs:

Display: 6.8-inch, QHD+

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

RAM: 8/12GB

Storage: 256/512/1,024GB

Cameras: 200, 12, 10, and 10MP

Front camera: 12MP

Battery: 5,000mAh

Software: Android 13

The Best Google Fi-compatible phones:

If these Google Fi phones aren’t up your alley, bringing an unlocked device to the carrier is the way to go. Almost every unlocked Android phone should work with the network, provided it runs at least Android 7.0 Nougat, has LTE bands 2 and 4, and supports VoLTE. If you want to bring an iPhone, it needs to have iOS 13 or newer. However, the list below only includes phones that the carrier officially added to its list of compatible phones. Google Fi isn’t always the best about updating its phone list, so you may want to check in with the support team if you don’t see your phone on the list.

You’ll also want to ensure that your phone works with T-Mobile’s 5G network if you’re hoping to tap into the fastest speeds.

Razr 5G specs:

Display: 6.2-inch and 2.7-inch

SoC: Snapdragon 765G


Storage: 256GB

Camera: 48MP

Front camera: 20MP

Battery: 2,800mAh

Software: Android 10

Pixel 6 specs:

Display: 6.4-inch, Full HD+

SoC: Tensor


Storage: 128/256GB

Cameras: 50 and 12MP

Front camera: 8MP

Battery: 4,614mAh

Software: Android 12

Pixel 6 Pro specs:

Display: 6.71-inch, WQHD+

SoC: Tensor


Storage: 128/256/512GB

Camera: 50, 48, and 12MP

Front camera: 11.1MP

Battery: 5,003mAh

Software: Android 12

OnePlus 10 Pro specs:

Display: 6.7-inch, QHD+

SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

RAM: 8/12GB

Storage: 128/256/512GB

Cameras: 48, 50, and 2MP

Front camera: 32MP

Battery: 5,000mAh

Software: Android 12

iPhone 14 specs:

Display: 6.1-inch, 2,532 x 1,170

SoC: Apple A15 Bionic


Storage: 128/256/512GB

Cameras: 12 and 12MP

Front camera: 12MP

Battery: 3,279mAh

Software: iOS 16

iPhone 14 Plus specs:

Display: 6.7-inch, 2,778 x 1,284

SoC: Apple A15 Bionic


Storage: 128/256/512GB

Cameras: 12 and 12MP

Front camera: 12MP

Battery: 4,323mAh

Software: iOS 16

iPhone 14 Pro specs:

Display: 6.1-inch, 2,532 x 1,170

SoC: Apple A16 Bionic


Storage: 128/256/512/1,024GB

Cameras: 48, 12, and 12MP + ToF

Front camera: 12MP + SL 3D

Battery: 3,200mAh

Software: iOS 16

iPhone 14 Pro Max specs:

Display: 6.7-inch, 2,796 x 1,290

SoC: Apple A16 Bionic


Storage: 128/256/512/1,024GB

Cameras: 48, 12, and 12MP + ToF

Front camera: 12MP + SL 3D

Battery: 4,323mAh

Software: iOS 16

iPhone SE (2023) specs:

Display: 4.7-inch, 1,334 x 750

SoC: A13 Bionic


Storage: 64/128/256GB

Camera: 12MP

Front camera: 7MP

Battery: 1,821mAh

Software: iOS 14.1

Are you not convinced about Google Fi yet? Google’s MVNO offers exceptional value, but it’s hardly the only option around. There are plenty of plans and companies to choose from. Let’s help you out with a list of the best prepaid plans, as well as a guide to the best general cell phone plans available.

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10 Best Price Comparison Websites To Get The Best Deals

Shopping online is already quite difficult. If you want the best deal, you usually end up checking a couple of websites. This is where price comparison websites, tools, and apps can help. 

These are specialized tools and search engines that will do the hard work for you. They’ll compare the price of a given product between all popular and niche retailers so you can get the best deal, every single time.

Table of Contents

Google is already one of the best search tools online, a. And with Google Shopping, Google brings all that expertise to help you find the best deals. Google Shopping has a separate landing page where you can explore deals or you can search for something specific. 

Google Shopping offers a price comparison feature that lists the prices from all the websites that Google has scrapped for data (you’re likely to find all popular shopping websites here).

If you’re an avid user of Google services, you should try to integrate Google Shopping into the fold as well. You can search for products, save them for later, track their prices, and monitor deals so that you can make the purchase when the price and the time are just right.

ShopSavvy is designed for mobile shoppers and it works great for both online and offline shopping. ShopSavvy will help you shop offline using their barcode scanner. When it comes to shopping online, the app’s price comparison tool will help you get the best deals.

Once you scan a barcode, you can see the price of the product from various retailers online, and from nearby shops. 

You can search for products right inside the app and save them for later. The app will notify you about price drops. 

Download: ShopSavvy (iOS, Android) 

BuyVia is another mobile-focused price comparison app, but with a community and deal-hunting twist. BuyVia will show you a curated list of the 10 best deals of the day from popular retailers like Amazon, Target, and more. 

You can also find deals that are highlighted by community members. TAnd that’s on top of the price comparison features that you’ve come to expect from shopping apps. You can search for, and save products in the app, and you can compare the prices from different stores, right in the app. 

Download: BuyVia (iOS, Android)

Shopbrain is a popular price comparison website tool that’s designed to work on the web (using Chrome or Safari extension), or on smartphones (using iPhone and Android apps). 

Shopbrain’s browser extension works automatically and it helps you find prices from different popular retailers. Shopbrain’s extension is fast and well designed, but its list of supported retailers leaves something to be desired. 

While the app says it shows prices from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, eBay, Google Shopping, and more, we couldn’t get consistent results from Best Buy and eBay in our tests (while some of the other tools from this list worked fine). 

Download: Shopbrain (Google Chrome, iOS, Android) 

PriceBlink is an old player in theis price comparison website segment, and it’s been goingit’s going strong since 2010. The website functions as a coupon search engine. But what you’ll be interested in is the PriceBlink extension for Chrome and Firefox. 

PriceBlink’s extension shows a banner at the top of the website when it finds deals for the product you’re currently looking at. And in our experience, it almost always succeeds in finding a better deal. 

PriceBlink has an extensive library of sources and it shows you results from eBay, Newegg, Best Buy, Office Depot, Amazon, Adorama, and more. 

Download: PriceBlink (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox)

Honey is one of the most popular money-saving tools available online. The Honey extension has helped users save more than a billion dollars by applyingapply coupons and finding discounts from different retailers. 

While Honey is popular for its coupon service, it also has a sophisticated price tracking tool built into its extension and in the website.

The extension works on Amazon. It will tell you if you’re looking at the best deal or if a cheaper alternative is available. 

After you sign up at the Honey price comparison website, you’ll be able to search for products. Honey will then show you search results for many popular and niche retailers. Honey casts quite a wide net here. You’ll find results from places like eBay and smaller stores like Factory Outlet Store.

Download: Honey (Google Chrome, iOS, Android)

Amazon Assistant is the perfect shopping companion for Amazon Prime users. If you mostly shop from Amazon, you can use this extension to instantly know the price of any product on Amazon.

When you visit a product page online (or even when you’re searching for a product online), Amazon Assistant gets to work. 

If the product is available on Amazon, you’ll see a panel slide in from the right, showing you the price of the product on Amazon, along with the price history (The Amazon price tracking feature is quite useful for bargain hunting ifwhen you can wait a while). 

Amazon Assistant works on Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Opera. It’s currently available in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, Japan, India, and Mexico.

For International Users

Most of the tools and extensions that we have mentioned above do work with international versions of popular retails websites (they should work with Amazon UK, Australia, and so on).

But if you’re looking for specialized price -comparison websites for non-US countries (for instance, if you’re planning to import something), take a look at the following options.

PriceRunner is one of the best price comparison websites for UK users. It has a wide range of vendors (it lists them for free). As the website doesn’t take any commissions, their recommendations are easier to believe. 

The website also sports a modern design with features like detailed product information, price histories, price drop alerts, and product reviews.

ShopBot is one of the best options whenwith it comes to Australia. It’s also available in New Zealand and Canada. 

The website lets you search for products and shows you prices from different retailers. One of the ways ShopBot sets itself apart is by offering their own expert reviews for many products. 

BizRate has been a market leader in price comparison websites for a long time now. Not only does it have a US website, it’s also available in France, Germany, and the UK. 

BizRate doesn’t have nearly as many retailers as some of the websites we have mentioned above. But it makes up for it by surfacing high-quality results and by offering extra features. Along with a price alert feature, you’ll also find an option to easily download a PDF manual for many gadgets. 

Here Are The Best Phones With 4Gb Ram

Google Pixel 2


5.0-inch OLED 16:9 display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441 ppi (Pixel 2)

6.0-inch pOLED 18:9 display with 2,880 x 1,440 resolution, 538 ppi (Pixel 2 XL)

Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

4 GB of RAM

64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion

12.2 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera

Non-removable 2,700 mAh battery (Pixel 2)

Non-removable 3,520 mAh battery (Pixel 2 XL)

Android 8.0 Oreo

145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm, 143 g (Pixel 2)

157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm, 175 g (Pixel 2 XL)

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

If you are looking for phones with 4GB RAM, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus should be near the top of the list if you want to get phones with some of the latest hardware and software out of the box. Both the S8 and the S8 Plus come with either a  Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor (depending on the market), with 64 GB of storage, a 12 MP rear camera and 8 MP front-facing camera. The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 2,960 x 1,440 resolution,  and a 3,000 mAh battery, while the S8 Plus comes with a larger 6.2-inch display with the same resolution, and a larger 3,500 mAh battery (be aware that you can also get the S8 Plus in some markets, including India, with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage). Amazon is selling the unlocked version for the S8 for $665, while the S8 Plus goes for $725.

The Motorola Moto Z2 Force is the most recently released handset on this list of phones with 4GB RAM. It also has a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, along with a 5.5-inch POLED display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. Inside there’s 64 GB of onboard storage, along with two 12 MP rear camers (one color, one monochrome), a 5 MP front-facing camera and a 2,730 mAh battery.


5.5-inch OLED display with 2,560 x 1440 resolution, 564 ppi

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor

4 GB of RAM

32 GB of on-board storage

Dual 12 MP rear cameras, 5 MP front camera

Non-removable 2,730 mAh battery

Android 7.1.1 Nougat

155.8 x 76 x 6.1 mm, 143 g

Read More:

Moto Z2 Force Review

Specs comparison: Moto Z2 Force vs Moto Z2 Play vs Moto Z Force

Where to buy the Moto Z2 Force

Essential Phone

Essential Phone

This phone has received a ton of media attention, thanks in large part to the fact that Andy Rubin, the co-creator of the Android OS, founded the company that created the Essential Phone.  It also helps that the phone itself has some solid hardware inside. The first thing people notice about it is the near bezel-free display, with a small amount on the bottom and nothing on top; the screen wraps around its front-facing camera. The screen itself is 5.7 inches and is a QHD display with a 19:10 aspect ratio.

Inside, the Essential Phone is one of the best phones with 4GB RAM, and it has the fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and 128 GB of onboard storage. It also contains dual 13 MP rear cameras, an 8 MP front facing camera and a 3,040 mAh battery. The phone also has some magnetic connectors on the back that are designed to connect to extra accessories, such as an upcoming 360 degree camera and a charging station. Even the chassis of the phone is made of premium materials, with a titanium main body and a ceramic back.

While this phone launched just a few months ago for $699.99, you can get the unlocked version of the Essential phone from Amazon right now for just $449.99. It will work with all four major US wireless carriers.


5.7-inch display with 2,560 x 1,312 resolution, 19:10 ratio

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform

4 GB of RAM

128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion

Dual 13 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera

Non-removable 3,040 mAh battery

Android 7.1.1 Nougat

2.8 x 0.3 x 5.6 inches, 6.6 ounces


6.0-inch P-OLED FullVision display 2,880 x 1,440 resolution, 538 ppi

Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform

4 GB of RAM

64 (V30) / 128 (V30 Plus) GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 2 TB

Dual 16 and 13 MP rear cameras, 5 MP front camera

Non-removable 3,300 mAh battery

Android 7.1.2 Nougat

151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm, 158 g


The HTC 10 was one of our best unlocked Android phones of 2023, and for good reason. The Taiwanese company absolutely nailed the design of the 10, and it worked hard at scaling back the software to make it feel like the bare-bones Android experience we all know and love. And while it didn’t have a bunch of gimmicky extras, that was okay. The HTC10 was a solid Android phone that nailed the basics.

Now HTCis back with the 10’s successor, the HTCU11, and is one of the best phones with 4GB RAM. With an eye-catching, glossy design, all-day battery life, and a smooth and snappy software experience, the U11 competes toe-to-toe with the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 when it comes to performance. It also has one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, according to DxOMark.

The standout feature on the U11 is something HTCcalls Edge Sense. The sides of the phone are pressure sensitive, and this allows you to physically squeeze the phone to activate a specific function or open an app like the camera or web browser. Having to squeeze your phone to make it do something does sound a bit odd, but we’ve really found this feature to come in handy.

Before you go out and spend $650 on this baby, there are a few things you should know. For starters, this phone doesn’t have a 3.5 mm headphone jack, meaning you’ll either need to use Bluetooth headphones or carry around the included headphone adapter everywhere you go. Also, while HTC’s Sense is one of our favorite Android skins out there, it is feeling a bit dated at this point.

If you can get past those few caveats, though, the U11 will certainly not disappoint.


5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534 ppi

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor

4/6 GB of RAM

64/128 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB

12 MP rear camera, 16 MP front camera

3,000 mAh battery

Android 7.1.1 Nougat

153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm, 169 g

Phones with 4GB RAM – Conclusion

Best Waterproof Phones List Of Water Resistant Phones 2023

IP rating is a usual term you will see when talking about any water resistant gadget. This stands for Ingress Protection. It is usually followed by a number, which refers to the Gadget’s ability to withstand dust and water. The first digit refers to solid particle protection and the second digit to liquid protection. The water resistant phones have IP67 or IP68 standards. IP numbers that start with a 6 mean the device have complete protection from dust. Samsung certifies the phones with IP68 certification “can be immersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.” Those phones with IP67 rating, can be immersed in water at a depth of 1 meter for a short time. I have compiled a list of waterproof phones from all major smartphone manufacturers. This list will help you to select the best water resistant phone suitable for your budget and requirments. The

Samsung Galaxy S 20 Series

Samsung Galaxy S 10 Series

Samsung Galaxy S 9 and Samsung Galaxy S 9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy S 8 and Samsung Galaxy S 8 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy S 7

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy S 5

Below are the LG whones with waterproof certifications IP68 and IP67.

LG V60 ThinQ

LG G7  ThinQ





See also:

Waterproof phones are becoming more and more popular day by day. Phones with IP certification started appearing around the year 2014. But still most of the users do not care about the waterproof capability of their phone. But now the Coronavirus changed everything! Health experts are urging to clean your personal belongings whenever possible, either with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer. Mobile phones gets dirty pretty quickly. You keep them on tables, dash boards, and other contaminated places very frequently. Eventhough you can apply mild amount of sanitizers on any phone, it is always better to have a water resistant phone on which sanitizers can be applied without any worry of damaging chúng tôi rating is a usual term you will see when talking about any water resistant gadget. This stands for Ingress Protection. It is usually followed by a number, which refers to the Gadget’s ability to withstand dust and water. The first digit refers to solid particle protection and the second digit to liquid protection. The water resistant phones have IP67 or IP68 standards. IP numbers that start with a 6 mean the device have complete protection from dust. Samsung certifies the phones with IP68 certification “can be immersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.” Those phones with IP67 rating, can be immersed in water at a depth of 1 meter for a short time. I have compiled a list of waterproof phones from all major smartphone manufacturers. This list will help you to select the best water resistant phone suitable for your budget and chúng tôi Samsung Galaxy S5 was the first waterproof Samsung Phone which appeared in 2014. From then all Samsung S series phones were having water resistance capability except Galaxy S6 series.Below are the LG whones with waterproof certifications IP68 and chúng tôi also: Android Phones with LED Notification Light

10 Bad Links That Can Get You Penalized By Google

Every SEO professional worth their salt knows that links (along with content) are the backbone of SEO.

Links continue to remain a significant ranking factor.

What happens when you get bad links on enough of a scale to harm your site?

Your site can get algorithmically downgraded by Google – or worse, you get a manual action.

While Google maintains they are good at ignoring bad links, enough bad links can harm your site’s ranking.

This guide will explain 10 different types of bad links that can get you penalized, and what you can do about them.

1. Press Release Links

Press release links were popular about 10 years ago.

These links were super easy to get.

All you had to do was write a press release and syndicate it to hundreds of press release distribution sites.

You’d quickly get hundreds of links.

Like any SEO tactic that worked well, it got abused.

Now, Google considers press release links a link scheme because these are so easy to manipulate.

You especially want to avoid any press release links that rely on over-optimized anchor text targeting your main money keyword.

If you absolutely must have a website link due to factors beyond your control, use naked URLs or branded URLs as your anchor text, and use only one link from the contact area of the press release.

2. Discussion Forum Links

To be clear: not all forum discussion links are bad.

If a link is coming from a good quality site, an established user, and the link itself is not manipulative or spammy, you probably will want to keep it.

However, if you have thousands of links coming in from foreign discussion forums, they are all low-quality spammy links, and they continue to come in, you may want to disavow them.

Any links that look spammy won’t do you any favors in Google’s eyes.

3. Links From Foreign Guestbooks

Links like these are also manipulative.

Links from foreign guestbooks can be placed manually or with the aid of an automatic program.

Enough of these at scale can cause ranking drops.

When in doubt, disavow.

4. Many Random NoFollow Links

Think you can fool Google by randomizing your footprint just enough so that your spammy link building will go undetected?

Think again.

It is exceedingly difficult to create randomized footprints that you think Google will not detect.

If you are using an automated program, it is increasingly likely that Google will find the footprint of that automated program, unless it is truly random.

Why? The simple act of nofollowing the link is a footprint.

Thousands of links from many different sites that are all nofollowed is an indicator that something spammy is going on.

5. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

PBNs used to be a great way to build links to get rankings.

You could randomize your footprint and all would be well.

You could continue to see significant gains from using these techniques.

Not anymore.

Now, PBNs on a massive enough scale can tank your site and cause it to lose organic traffic.

Google is able to detect – and punish – most PBNs.

Some PBNs may take longer to spot than others, but eventually Google will catch on.

6. NoFollowed (& Followed) Social Bookmark Links

This can get you in trouble if you do it too much.

Think about it. They are all manually-placed and are spammy as hell.

It’s no wonder Google considers these a link scheme.

7. Directory Submissions (or a Directory Submissions Service)

Directory submission services love to tell you that you will get great traction from their links.

“We’ll help increase your Google rankings!!” they will say.

However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Submitting to low-quality directories will likely do more harm than good for your rankings.

As with many things in SEO, there is an exception.

It is OK to use relevant and targeted directories for natural link building – especially in local SEO.

In fact, here are 21 Web Directories That Still Have Value.

8. Blog Comments

Comment spam is an ancient link acquisition tactic to avoid.

It. Does. Not. Work!

9. Links From Fiverr or Other Cheap Link Services

This is yet another abused tactic in SEO.

Again, this is so egregiously bad that, while they are not part of Google’s guidelines, the patterns and footprints left behind are likely obvious to Google’s algorithms.

It would not be hard for Google to set up an investigative protocol to sign up for accounts for these services, pose as SEOs or other webmasters, and check out the most common patterns used by these services.

Just always remember – that person you’re talking to on the black hat forums regularly could very well be a Googler.

10. Links Built by Automatic Link Building Programs

Ever heard of tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker, Scrape Box, or XRumer?

Sure these tools can build you lots of links. However, in recent years, these programs have become less effective.

This SEO professional does not recommend using these programs for your SEO efforts, especially not on your money site.

If an SEO can think of it, it is likely that Google is already several steps ahead with pattern variations already built into their algorithm.

Are Links Actually to Blame, or Is It Something Else?

So far we’ve talked about links that harm you.

But could it be something else?

To find out, you should perform multiple audits.

Assess the state of your site and move forward from there.

A technical SEO audit to uncover any potential crawl issues, technical issues, or any similar issues impacting the site.

A content audit to determine the state of the site’s content.

A link profile audit to assess the current state of the site’s overall link profile.

From here, you will be able to move forward with steps to fix the site.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a complex site with issues in all three columns, you will need to get to work.

Manual Action: Preparing the Disavow File

In my opinion, nothing beats Link Detox by Link Research Tools. It can assess links from the most sources (25), such as Majestic, GSC, Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and many more.

You will want to compile all links for as many sources as you can get your hands on.

Upload them according to the instructions in Link Detox.

Once you have done this, and you have gone through Link Detox’s process of reviewing and rating links, it will be necessary to prepare the disavow file.

Google has said some interesting things about the disavow file, including the following:

“…recently John Muller from Google confirmed that bad links can in fact hurt your rankings in some cases…”

“This was specific to links that you’ve built yourself, not about negative SEO.”

Mueller has also discussed the following:

Someone tweeted: 

“If I have a “medium” sized website with lots of local physical branches, tens of thousands of backlinks, very old website with a 3-letter domain that gets linked to a lot by crap websites and 0-value directories, are those directory links hurting me? Should we disavow?”

Then followed up with: 

“Or does it not matter, and Google knows these websites link to sites like mine for no reason on a daily basis and we don’t seek these links out?”

John Mueller responded:

“Random links collected over the years aren’t necessarily harmful, we’ve seen them for a long time too and can ignore all of those weird pieces of web-graffiti from long ago. Disavow links that were really paid for (or otherwise actively unnaturally placed), don’t fret the cruft.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Link Audits How Can You Assess Whether You Have a Link Penalty?

Did you get a manual action notification?

Just check under manual actions within Google Search Console.

You’ll know immediately if Google has penalized your site.

Did your site get downgraded algorithmically?

Usually, you can assess whether you have an algorithmic downgrade by examining your Google Analytics data.

Typically, you’ll see an approximate 35-50 percent drop in overall traffic. This could be to certain pages, folders, or even sitewide.

A careful analysis can sometimes reveal other issues (e.g., technical or content) on a site that are causing such traffic drops.

In these cases, you should begin with a multi-tiered audit implementation approach designed to fix content-related issues along with link-related issues.

Should You Look at the Link Profiles of Sites That Link to You?

While a full audit isn’t necessary, checking out the links that link to you could be helpful.

In general, if you see something extraordinarily spammy, that lowers the quality of the link overall. If you don’t, it’s probably a good idea to keep it.

What to Do If You Identify a Negative SEO Attack?

You need to stop the attack as quickly as possible. If you are under high volume link attack, it’s only a matter of time before you will be penalized.

The process itself is really fairly simple and not overly complex:

Block all bots. Except perhaps the major ones: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Do a mass disavow of all incoming links.

Implement a regular link review and disavow process to continue disavowing all incoming links until the link attack goes away.

What Is the Best Way to Implement a Good Link Profile?

Adopt good habits:

Use branded anchor text where possible.

Use naked URLs.

Do not use exact match keyword anchor text.

Don’t get links from bad sites or bad neighborhoods.

Don’t place links with over-optimized anchor text manually or with tools.

Make sure your links are editorially vouched for by the site owners involved.

Get links from good authority sites in your niche.

Engage with people

In general, your link profile should be fairly balanced, and types of links should not exceed approximately 20 percent of your overall link profile.

Avoid spammy, unnatural links and disavow any against Google’s guidelines.

How Long Does It Take to Remove an Algorithmic Downgrade?

It can take 6-8 months or more to remove an algorithmic downgrade, depending on its severity.

And if it’s a manual action, you could be looking at close to a year.

I’ve personally worked on a 200,000+ link profile in the legal industry that took over a year to fully get completely reversed, and seven submissions of the reinclusion request sent to Google.

Don’t give up – it’s possible to repair even the worst of the worst link profiles.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

Windows 10 To Get Two

Microsoft is continuing its crusade to get CIOs interested in Windows 10, touting new security features that include two-factor authentication built directly into the OS.

Overall, Windows 10 will offer businesses enhanced security in areas like identity protection and access control, information protection and threat resistance, since security “has been central to many of the customer conversations I’ve had since we announced the availability of the [Windows 10] Technical Preview,” wrote Jim Alkove in the blog post, referring to the pre-release version of Windows 10 that is publicly available for testing.

In the area of identity and access control, Windows 10 will offer IT managers the necessary functions to protect user credentials and devices with two-factor authentication, without having to rely on third-party products, he wrote.

“We believe this solution brings identity protection to a new level as it takes multi-factor security which today is limited to solutions such as smartcards and builds it right into the operating system and device itself, eliminating the need for additional hardware security peripherals,” Alkove wrote.

More specifically, Windows 10 will let users enroll their devices as one of the two authentication factors, with the second being either a pin or a biometric input, such as the reading of a fingerprint.

“From a security standpoint, this means that an attacker would need to have a user’s physical device—in addition to the means to use the user’s credential—which would require access to the users PIN or biometric information,” he wrote.

The new user credentialing system will be supported by Microsoft’s Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, and consumer Microsoft Accounts “so enterprises and consumers using Microsoft online services will quickly be able to move away from passwords.”

“With Windows 10 we aim to eliminate this type of attack with an architectural solution that stores user access tokens within a secure container running on top of Hyper-V technology. This solution prevents the tokens from being extracted from devices even in cases where the Windows kernel itself has been compromised,” he wrote.

“Protection of corporate data in Windows 10 enables automatic encryption of corporate apps, data, email, website content and other sensitive information, as it arrives on the device from corporate network locations,” he wrote.

Windows 10’s new Start menu and windowed Metro apps.

The DLP technology will also work on Windows Phone, and documents will be covered by this protection as they’re accessed from different desktop and mobile devices.

IT managers will be able to establish policies that control which apps can access corporate data, and Windows 10 also extends VPN control options to protect this data in devices owned by employees.

Finally, in the area of threat and malware resistance, Windows 10 will have features to lock down devices and only allow users to run apps that have been signed using a Microsoft provided signing service.

“Access to the signing service will be controlled using a vetting process similar to how we control ISV publishing access to the Windows Store and the devices themselves will be locked down by the OEM,” he wrote. “The lockdown process OEMs will use is similar to what we do with Windows Phone devices.”

IT administrators will be able to determine which apps they consider trustworthy, such as those they sign themselves, those signed by ISVs, those available on the Windows Store, or all of them.

Microsoft is aiming to ship Windows 10 by mid-2023, and in the meantime it’s publicly testing in an open program which recently topped 1 million participants and has generated 200,000 feedback items.

After Windows 8 was thoroughly ignored by Microsoft’s enterprise customers, the company is bending over backwards in its attempts to make CIOs and other enterprise IT executives pay attention to Windows 10.

As the OS goes through its pre-release public testing, it’ll become clearer whether the Windows 10 security improvements that Alkove is trumpeting today end up being compelling enough for business customers.

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