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How to avoid Link Penalties in the First place

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Links are about relationships - not about manipulating Google. But that is a very nebulous message. How do you put that into practice? Here's Majestic's approach as described at SMX Paris 2014.

Links are about relationships - not about manipulating Google. But that is a very nebulous message. How do you put that into practice? Here's Majestic's approach as described at SMX Paris 2014.

Published in: Internet, Technology, Business

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  • “Build links for Traffic not for Google”

    But actually it is more subtle than that. More or a “Nuance”

    Google is using “Authority” to assess whether a a link should pass SEO benefit.
    But it assumes you are building a brand/business – not building links to manipulate search.

    So the algorithms to spot unnatural links are NOT the opposite of those used to pass Link Juice.
  • I used to say that SEO was all about making other areas of business think about SEO, not doing it head on.

    This still applies and even more so for Links. The perfect approach is to never directly build a link, but make sure that every other marketing channel gives a signal where it can to Google.

    Because links are “Signals” to Google. They take many forms.
  • If you head into one line of marketing or one type of link building, your effort swill NOT look natural compared to a business that does not build links (but does build brand).
  • So I want to look at a different way to build a B2B empire.

    I want to take a different analogy towards marketing.

    I’m a Brit. This was Britain’s empire in 1920 – and if you believe we lost it all, you should know that almost ALL of this remains in the Commonwealth to this day.

    That small island there, created that empire there, and still influences it with the will of those people to this day. With the Queen at the head of the commonwealth.

    (Rumours of our demise have been somewhat exaggerated.)

    So it seems fitting to take a look at some of the mechanics that builds empires. An empire comes in many forms. It can be financial – as with a business controlled from a head office, or based on land and trade, like the British Empire controlled from London, The Roman Empire or the, Ottoman Empire… Or perhaps an Empire is based on spirituality – like Christianity controlled from Rome, Islam from Mecca or Buddhism from Bhutan.

    However you picture an empire… empires are vast. What are the common factors in their growth, and their stability?

    Clearly the Catholic Church has power – as did the Roman Empire and the British Empire.

    AND THESE EMPIRES HAVE THE SAME ROOT ISSUE AS I HAVE MARKETING THROUGH MARKETERS… WHY DID PEOPLE IN INDIA ACCEPT BRITISH LAW? OR WHAT TURNED DRUIDS INTO CHRISTIANS? WHY DID ISRAEL GET ANNEXED BY ROME WITHOUT A FIGHT?
    I feel that if we are able to pinpoint the common strategy that was used to build these different types of empires, then maybe… just Maybe… we will have the germ of a strategy that can be used in marketing to transcend the intermediatory marketing company.
  • What do you see here? A Church?

    This is the church outside house in my my Hobbiton like village in England. The village was reported in the Doomesday Book of 1068. There has been a Church on this site since before records began.

    What do you see here?

    I see a tower. I see – in this picture – something that ties together empires.

    This tower is a symbol of power. Until the reformation by Henry VIII in the 16th Century – this was a little bit of the Vatican city, wielding its power in my village.
    Across my lands, we see a very similar symbol of power in the castles built from the Normans right through until the Tudors.

    Towers are power.

    Different types of tower manipulate different parts of the power. From the Coliseums of the Roman Empire, to the Hospitals of the NHS, from the oil platforms of the Gulf Sea to the communications towers that power our mobile phones… empires are built on towers.

    But here’s the difference between an empire and a tyranny. Empires exist with the will of the people.

    England learnt that when Boston wouldn’t give us our Tea.

    It’s the difference between a hard nosed sales pitch and a balanced marketing plan.
    * A Tower is there when you need it, yet unfalteringly static in nature. Until it is engaged, it is entirely passive – and it is the user or citizen that chooses to engage
    An empire’s towers have power because they are two-way. They are places of TRADE.

    They are places that aim to give, more than they receive. A church receives donations – but gives hope and solace. A courtroom gives punishment – but also justice. A castle defends an army, but also gives citizens a safe place do have a market. The library of Alexandria gave knowledge to its citizens – but accumulated and centralized the knowledge giving the Moslem world technology advantages that lasted for hundreds of years.

    (Maybe Google is the new Alexandria. I wonder of it will burn down or last 1000 years?)

    So how does this relate to online marketing?

    Well it relates because it’s how I looked at business ever since that first foray at being top of the search engines…

    Because..
  • …Empires are built on towers… So is my approach to business and especially marketing.

    I have tried to do all the other things right, believing that – in the end game – it would be the sustainable way to rule in search.

    Here are my towers.
    The Palace: The website is the heart of Majestic SEO’s power.
    Communications towers: Most marketing plans have these – mine are the blog, the newsletter, conferences and public speaking.
    Annexed Properties: Like the colonies that were not ours to rule, our business uses annexed ground. Facebook, Google+ and Twitter profiles are great marketing towers on properties we ultimately cannot control, as are guest blog posts.
    Purchased Towers: America bought Alaska off the Russians. Traditional advertising and event sponsorship are my forms of purchased marketing towers.

    Many business manage these – so I need more…. less businesses make use of Training towers. Our training comes in the form of Webinars, videos and third party training.

    The videos are on Youtube – which in itself is an annexed tower and we give vouchers out to add value to training companies, helping to turn training into a marketing function.

    You can ( I hope) start to see that these towers – are ALL contributory factors in SEO. But as I go down the list, less and less business engage with the full spectrum of potential towers in their arsenal.

    Majestic’s rarest tower of all is the use of technology towers: Through our API, We get a Chrome Extension with free SEO on Google’s extensions market, a Firefox plugin with free seo on the Firefox store, Excel Plugins, Google Docs integration and other interfaces help us to expand our marketing reach through these technology towers. There are plugins in iTunes – even Remove ‘em by Virante. Every avenue gets our product further into the SEO and online community.

    How do you think a self respecting Search Engine would interpret these signals eventually?

    This is all glued together with the troops. Of course we have employees at Majestic– but Majestic uses other types of troops – a special type of marketing tower . Through our Ambassador program, we use our own selected customers around the world to man our stand at conferences and to spread our message in other languages and other cultures.

    With just a few people – we are able to mobilize all these marketing towers – sequentially or in unison – often to great effect.

    Infact – until last month – I was the ONLY full time employee in Majestic’s marketing department.
  • Transcript

    • 1. 1 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 HOW AVOID THE RISK OF A MANUAL PENALTY FOR UNNATURAL LINKS DIXON JONES @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO
    • 2. 2 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 blog.axe-net.fr/pourquoi-je-ne-joue-plus-avec-google/ If you recall one thing:
    • 3. 3 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO A Six Year Old Slide Affiliate Marketing Site Architecture / Usability Email Marketing Syndicate Content (RSS) Adwords Adcenter & Yahoo (SEM) Develop offline brand Develop Reputation (Links) Build Good Content SEOLINKS
    • 4. 4 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 ‘NO MAN IS AN ISLAND’ (JOHN DONNE) @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Google hates Cul de Sacs Google hates uncorroborated evidence Google hates Outliers Your ‘profile’ should match your peers
    • 5. 5 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO The Empires Metaphor * Coke wins through distribution (Links), not marketing. * Rome won with better roads and communication (links) not just armies * Britain won with trade routes (links) and lost with lack of TRUST. * Websites need links that maintain trust
    • 6. 6 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO What do you see here?
    • 7. 7 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Assess Your Tower Options Pop up links Random exchanges Certification lists Targeted exchange Tweets from the famous Offline Press Coverage Strategic partnerships Popular Widget White/private labelling Web rings FFA Links Automated Social Posts Banner ads Informational sites Offline documents Paid Links Search Engine Links Specialist portals Pay per click Opt in (own) email list List-bot links Pay to surf Poor paid text links Irrelevant comments Free downloads Unique changing content Videos Good paid text links Affiliate linking Authoritative content Guest Blogging Engaging comments Junk Signals Trusted signals Hard to develop Easy to Develop
    • 8. 8 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO My Marketing Towers Annexed Towers Technology Towers Communication towersTroopsTraining Towers Purchased Towers The Palace
    • 9. 9 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Make A Game Plan
    • 10. 10 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO My Own Case Study
    • 11. 11 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Picking Targets Easier with TTF Genuine influencers in your field They do not need to own a website! These are your conduits, not link requests
    • 12. 12 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Curate Lists then Cull
    • 13. 13 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Create something useful to someone
    • 14. 14 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 KNOW THAT YOU CANNOT BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. HOMER: "CAN'T SOMEONE ELSE DO IT? BUILD MARKETING TOWERS IN ADVANCE BOY SCOUT MOTTO: "BE PREPARED" CREATE A MESSAGE PLAN GIVE TO CEASAR WHAT IS OWED TO CEASAR. YOU WANT ENGAGEMENT, NOT TRANSCIENCE. @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Some Principals
    • 15. 15 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO My Preparation
    • 16. 16 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Draft the Landing Page THEN…
    • 17. 17 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Timing is Crucial (Message Calander)
    • 18. 18 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Results!
    • 19. 19 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Why this was ‘SAFE’ • Based around (Real) people not pages • Based on solid foundations (Towers) • Executed so influencers speak first (no Ego) • No anchor text manipulation • No paid links • Automated messaging, not automated links • Every tactic was valid regardless of Google
    • 20. 20 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Merci HOW TO AVOID THE RISK OF A MANUAL PENALTY FOR UNNATURAL LINKS JE SUIS @DIXON JONES DE @MAJESTICSEO
    • 21. 21 SMX PARIS – 16 ET 17 JUIN 2014 @Dixon_Jones @MajesticSEO Titre slide