SMX Search Marketing Bootcamp March 2014 - The Art and Science of Links


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Smx West 2014 Search Marketing Bootcamp Session #Smx #12B - Smx Search Marketing Bootcamp March 2014 - The Art And Science Of Links Presentation By Debra Mastaler Of Alliance Link

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SMX Search Marketing Bootcamp March 2014 - The Art and Science of Links

  1. 1. Link Building Bootcamp The art and science of links. Debra Mastaler @debramastaler
  2. 2. • Slides on SMX Slideshare but note taking highly recommended • Q&A at end of session • Tweet this session But! Please respect request not to tweet • This presentation is copyrighted and cannot be reprinted ©Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  3. 3. Agenda • Search algorithms – The influence of link popularity & social signals • Link building trends – What to avoid. • Tactics – What is working? Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  4. 4. Search Engine Rankings January 2014 67.3% 18.2% 10.8% 2.5 % 1.3% © @debramastaler #SMX
  5. 5. Organic vs. Paid Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Organic Paid
  6. 6. What Makes A Page Rank? (Google) Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Google = 200+ ranking signals Bing = 1000+ ranking signals
  7. 7. What Makes A Page Rank? (Google) Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler “long clicks” and “short clicks”
  8. 8. What About Social Signals? Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Google Bing Facebook Twitter Quora
  9. 9. Says: Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler given-search-priority …”Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
  10. 10. Using To Rank • Build a strong network , find active and influential people to add to your circles. • Get links from sites/pages in the Google + network. • Include your Google + profile in your author bio Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  11. 11. Bottom Line? Link Popularity Still Dominate Factor Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler “…we have run experiments internally and the quality looks much worse, turns out backlinks, even though there is some noise and certainly a lot of spam, are still a really really big win in terms of quality for search results. …backlink relevance still really helps in terms of making sure we return the best most relevant…search results.” Feb 2014 Google Engineer Matt Cutts
  12. 12. What Is Link Popularity? Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler • Link popularity measures the quality and quantity of links pointing to a page. • Considered an off-page factor Slang: link juice, link pop, link love
  13. 13. Link Popularity – Four Components Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Quantity Quality Relevance Anchor Text
  14. 14. Link Quantity Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  15. 15. Link Quality Determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking to them. Quality flows from one page/site to the next through links. Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Your page Site X Site A Site B Site Y Site C
  16. 16. Link Quality, Also Known As: All three engines have a formula to measure and compute quality: Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler PageRank™ TrustRank NetRank(?)
  17. 17. Relevance Works to establish your topical and/or geographic dominance Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Links to and from contextually relevant or thematically related sites convey more authority.
  18. 18. Anchor Text Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler • The clickable part of the link you see My child and my money go to The University of Virginia. My son spends a lot of money buying college text books. Visit us at for more information. • An endorsement of what is to come • Provides ranking weight and semantic value Branded anchor Keyword anchor URL anchor
  19. 19. Your Goal When Building Links: Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Secure a lot of links from (quantity) Quality pages using (quality) Appropriate anchors on (anchor text) Thematically related pages using (relevance) Authoritative social media profiles (G+/FB/T)
  20. 20. Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Part Two • Scalable tactics devalued • Flags and footprints • Cleaning up “bad” links
  21. 21. Algorithm Changes, Tactics Devalued (Google gets specific) Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Forum links Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature Directories Low-quality directory or bookmark site links Promotional Links Sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link Widget marketing Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites
  22. 22. Algorithm Changes, Tactics Devalued Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Press Releases Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example Guest Blogging Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links Content Outreach Services Using automated programs or services to create links to your site (Google gets specific) creating links that weren’t editorially placed… can be considered a violation of our guidelines.
  23. 23. How You Use Anchor Text Makes A Difference Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler • My child and my money go to The University of Virginia. • My son spends a lot of money buying college text books. • Visit us at for more information. Branded anchor Keyword anchor URL anchor …”The following are examples of link schemes… Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links…”
  24. 24. Anchor Text Best Practice Example 1: What Not To Do Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler No image Branded anchorLink to G+ profile Image also featured in G+ profile Example 2: Best Practice
  25. 25. Flags And Footprints To Avoid Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler • Do not secure the same type of link over and over • Avoid linking with low quality pages • Stay out of known networks • Avoid placing links in navigation and sponsored areas • Avoid pages/sites hosting excessive reciprocals and site-wides • Avoid sites with ads above the fold or excessive Adsense • Don’t use a directory mentioning the word SEO • Avoid sites with no Contact or About Us info
  26. 26. Before You Link Checklist Is the page your link will sit on in the index? Has the page been cached lately? Is the site/page tied to an active Google + profile? Does the site participate in social media (FB/Twitter/Pin) Is the website tied to a network or content service? Are all the posts written by guest authors? Is my content competing with Adsense? Is the host site topically compatible with mine? Site/page have contact information? Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  27. 27. Cleaning Up Bad Links • Pull links from Google Webmaster Tools link list • Pull links from two additional sources (Majestic/Ahrefs/Moz, etc) • Keep detailed notes • Make multiple efforts to contact webmasters • “Some” is not enough. • Wait two weeks after using disavow to submit reconsideration Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  28. 28. Part Three Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler
  29. 29. What Works? (Which strategy and set of tactics should you focus on? @debramastaler Attraction Content Universal Foundational Links Content Sourcing
  30. 30. What Works? (What should you be focused on?) @debramastaler Attraction Content Reviews Interviews Crowd sourced articles White papers Case studies Newsletters Universal Video Image sourcing Webinars Infographics Media links Social networks Foundational Directories Reclaiming broken links Email outreach Comment dropping Reciprocal linking Forum links Sponsorships Content Sourcing Article writing Guest blogging Widgets & Badges Attraction content 50% Universal 25% Foundational 15% Content sourcing 10% Column1
  31. 31. Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Attraction Content
  32. 32. How Do You Attract People To Your Content? Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Relationship Channels customers family/friends influencers business associates memberships 1.Relationship channels 2.Traditional media outreach 3.Social media outreach 4.Paid ad campaigns
  33. 33. Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler • Search social media profiles by keywords • Lists # of followers • Free and/or paid versions • General alert service (free) • General alert service (free) • General search • General search • Lists forums by keyword Tools To Find Influencers Attraction Content
  34. 34. Outreach Example Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler TIP: Search Google + Communities to find influencers
  35. 35. Using Memberships To Attract Traffic And Links Chamber of Commerce Associations User groups Clubs Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Getting a link from these organizations is “nice”, but the real gold is in their membership lists. Attraction Content
  36. 36. Finding Media Contacts • Media wants “fact based” information/content • Infographics work best on media outlets Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Attraction Content Buy media lists Gebbie Press Bacon’s Media List (Cision) Search Twitter /archive/twitter-resources/ Tap an industry Association Online Research
  37. 37. Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler What Attracts The Most Links And Traffic? Influencers Crowd sourced articles (egobait) White Papers Interviews (video) Business associates Interviews (written) White papers Traditional Media Infographics Case studies Reviews (third party) Through paid ads White papers Newsletters (with free offer)
  38. 38. Universal Linking Strategies Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Universal Video Image sourcing Webinars Infographics Media links Social networks Offer images and/or content in exchange for link credit Search for blogs (keyword + blog) You must own the image!
  39. 39. Using Images To Net Links Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler When you find someone using your image without linking back, write and ask for the link. Universal
  40. 40. Using Video To Attract Links Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Great linkbait for media and .edu sites Universal
  41. 41. Reclaiming Links Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Foundational Directories Reclaiming broken links Email outreach Comment dropping Reciprocal linking Forum links Sponsorships Tool Free/Paid Chrome Plug-in (Check My Links) free Ontolo paid Citation Labs paid Replace broken links on other people’s pages with your links.
  42. 42. Video Articles Coupons Photos Contests Downloads Employment BlogAffiliate Foundational Links | Niche Directories Foundational
  43. 43. General & Niche Directories Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Directory Source General Affiliate Blog Coupons Downloads Photos RSS Video Avoid using free general directories and making directory links a large % of your backlinks. Foundational
  44. 44. Guest Blogging For Links Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler How do I get influential bloggers to accept my guest post? – Mutual friend introduction – Point of commonality – Showcase past writing – Flaunt Twitter/Facebook/G+ followers Content Sourcing Article writing Guest blogging Widgets & Badges
  45. 45. Where Do I Find Guest Blogging Opportunities? Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Keyword + Submit a guest post Keyword + join writing staff Keyword + Submit an article Keyword + Contribute to our site Keyword + Write for us Keyword + Suggest a guest post Keyword + guest writer Keyword + Submit blog post Tools: SoloSEO Link (free) | Link Prospector | Ontolo Directories: Google Blog Directory, Technorati Blog Directory Avoid partnering with blogs where each entry is a guest post. Stay out of the networks! Content Sourcing
  46. 46. @debramastaler #SMX© Where can I find quality sources (not blogs) to host my content? Author + Keyword Writer Keyword Guide Keyword Columnist Keyword Contributor Keyword Editor Keyword Freelance writer Keyword Find authors and you’ll find sources Content Sourcing
  47. 47. Content Syndication Copyright Alliance-Link @debramastaler Presentations for Slideshare Turn presentation into video Pinterest board eBooks Content Sourcing Re-write/shorten evergreen content and syndicate on high volume sites, turn your written content into:
  48. 48. © Article Writing For Google+ Content Sourcing Three times a week, write an opinion piece type article for your Google + page only. Encourage comments and discussion. @debramastaler
  49. 49. © Tip Lightning Round • Turn all written content into Podcasts, upload to iTunes and podcast directories • Widgets not a good idea unless you can control where they are placed. • Contests, sponsorships, scholarships, etc – all good ideas but one-off tactic. • Follow key media on Twitter, engage. • Fax press releases directly to media, forget the release outlets. • Find an SEO forum/community and start listening/sharing. • Use instead of Google Alerts. • Circle Count tool to find G+ influencers. @debramastaler
  50. 50. Key Takeaways: © 1. Keep the key components of link popularity in mind when building links. 2. Always look for partner sites with social sharing especially G+. 3. Don’t scrimp on a copywriter. 4. Invest in SEO/link tools after using free trials 5. Budget the bulk of your resources into creating evergreen content. 6. Add email capture to everything, put content behind it or “content for a tweet”. 7. Remember… it’s not what you do, it’s where you do it that matters. @debramastaler
  51. 51. Thank you! Debra Mastaler ADDRESS : Fairfax Station, Virginia EMAIL : WWW : @debramastaler Alliance-Link on Facebook Google+ I specialize in creating targeted link marketing plans for large and small business. If you need a list of content ideas and titles plus a list of sites to contact for placement, check out my Link Building Blueprint program on ~Debra