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Look Before You Link by Annie Cushing
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Look Before You Link by Annie Cushing


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BlueGlass Florida presentation by Annie Cushing, Director of Search Services at BlueGlass

BlueGlass Florida presentation by Annie Cushing, Director of Search Services at BlueGlass

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  • I’m not commenting on the efficacies of buying or eschewing paid links. I’m not their priest, just their SEO. BUT if they’ve bought links, you need to be a little more vigilant in your backlink portfolio research.
  • This is where I rely on OSE (although Majestic also offers this metric).I’ve found that Majestic over-reports; OSE under-reports. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
  • I
  • Transcript

    • 1. Look Before You Leap Link
    • 2. How to Build Links Without Blowing Yourself Up
    • 3. My Well-Worn Path to Pre-Link Building Strategy
    • 4. Check Out Your Site’s Backlink Portfolio First
    • 5. How to Rock the OSE
      • You can run your site solo or compare with your top competitor to compare vis-à-vis.
      • 6. You need to be a PRO member.
      • 7. For newer sites I use Majestic.
    • Jumping Into the Deep End of the SEO Pool
      • I go right for the Anchor Text Distribution.
      • 8. I semi-randomly picked Beyond Blossoms, but there’s an SEO opp ripe for the pickin’. :)
    • History of Link Building?
      • Is the site an SEO virgin?
      • 9. If it hasn’t, chances are better everything will be organic.
    • Have They Bought Links?
      • Not a value judgment.
      • 10. You will just need to be more vigilant in research.
    • 11. Get Access to List of Paid Links
      • This isn’t always possible but worth asking.
      • 12. Have someone go through that list and check for sitewide links.
      • 13. They bloat your links/unique domains ratio
    • Check for Link Acquisition Velocity
      • I use Majestic SEO for this.
      • 14. This report measures how fast your site has acquired links compared to your competitors.
    • Breaking the Link Velocity Speed Limit
      • Here we have a blatant and indiscriminate use of sitewide links.
    • Check Anchor Text Distribution
      • If your site (or your client’s) doesn’t have a history of link building, jump to this step.
      • 15. Watch for unbalanced distributions.
    • Red Flag That Begs Further Research
      • This isn’t enough data to go make conclusions.
      • 16. Next step: Export to Excel.
    • Not the Sexiest Aspect of SEO But …
      • Before you touch the data, get your spreadsheet organized.
      • 17. I love AutoFilter for that reason.
    • Setting Up Your Filters
    • 18. Setting Up Your Filters
      • I wanted to see anchor text that contains the words beyond and blossoms.
      • 19. But it needed to also catch anchors like
    • Do Optimized Anchors Outnumber Branded?
      • If your site (or your client’s) doesn’t have a history of link building, jump to this step.
      • 20. Watch for unbalanced distributions.
    • Beyond Blossoms’ Branded Links
      • What you see here is you have 868 branded links from 413 linking domains.
    • Beyond Blossoms’ send flowers Links
      • Ouch! 1530/80 compared to 868/413.
    • Check for Filtering
    • 21. Beyond Blossoms’ send flowers Links
      • The result? SEMRush had the site listed #7 for send flowers. When I checked on Saturday, they were #25.
      • 22. However, it’s #8 for buy flowers.
      • 23. Conclusion: It’s most likely being filtered for the term it’s over-optimized for but is fine with other keywords they haven’t targeted as aggressively.
    • Find the Low-Hanging Fruit
    • 24. Find the Low-Hanging Fruit with SEMRush
      • Tells you the keywords your site is ranking on the first two pages of Google for.
      • 25. Click on the Full Report link or export to Excel.
    • Clean Up, Interpret. Rinse and Repeat.
    • 26. Explain Without Geek Speak
    • 27. Triangulate the Data with GWT and Analytics
      • From GWT you’ll get impressions and clicks for keywords your site is showing up for.
      • 28. From analytics you’ll get actual visits for each of these keywords.
    • Bringing It Home
      • One more advantage to arming yourself with data is oftentimes decision makers have their sacred cows.