Authority Building vs. Link Building - SMX Advanced Seattle

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These slides were presented at SMX Advanced Seattle conference on Jun 5th, 2012.

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  • Hello, my name is Philip and I am the CEO of Caphyon. We build a desktop SEO software called Advanced Web Ranking. If you’re interested to find out more about what we do, you’re welcome to visit our booth.But enough about me. The reason why I am here is because I want to share with you some interesting details about a research that I've done recently.We have a blog on our website where we post most of the interesting things that we are working on.From time to time, we also post articles that solve common problems that people in our industry face everyday.I will show you some example articles of this type from our blog:
  • What's interesting about these articles is that once they are published on our blog, in less than 5 minutes, they rank first in Google when searching for their title.
  • But it's probably easy to rank first for such a long tail keyword right?How about a 3 word keyword?
  • How about 2 words? Not bad with virtually no links and just a few shares.
  • Or take a look at this post. We’re ranking 2nd for SMX advanced seattle.
  • Here’s another example.So what's so special about these articles? Why is Google giving them so much attention?First of all, it's fresh content. Google loves fresh content. Second, the article is good enough for people to share it on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.On average, these articles only get about 50 to 100 shares total.What would happen if you would have some very influential people share that content? I'll give you an example.
  • My friend Martin Macdonald from Expedia has experienced something similar at the end of March, but on a much larger scale.He wrote an article on his blog about someone who apparently ranked for "camper shoes man" on 5th place without any links to the page.Or so he pretended, because Martin has quickly uncovered his hidden network of links. You should check it out, it’s pretty funny.
  • Here’s how the story unfolded.
  • But let's look at this story from a different point of view. What Martin tried to do here is prove the guy wrong, that he did need some good amount of links to rank for that keyword.But he managed to accomplish something that even he did not expect. Martin's article actually outranked everyone on the "camper shoes man" keyword with no actual links, only with some good amount of social shares.
  • He even managed to rank second for “camper shoes”.
  • And this is the impact on the site traffic. 20 times more visitors.
  • That the title of your content is very important. Do a little research to see how people search for this kind of content before you name it.
  • AmitSingal said at SMX London that “Computers don’t understand things, they understand strings.” and it’s Google’s job to teach computers how to differentiate between different intentions.
  • If your article gets shared by many influential people you get a higher exposure for a limited amount of time.
  • But are these social signals enough to keep that article to rank well?The answer, as you would expect it, is no. The data from my research suggests that you get a good exposure for about a week and then you start losing your rankings.If your article is good, this will be enough time for people to start linking to you. Google will then pick up those links and add some important ranking signals to your article.Unfortunately, that means there is still no long term ranking without some good authoritative links.So let's find out what kind of impact do authoritative links have on rankings.Do they have more authority signals? Are those signals enough to rank higher? Let's find out!
  • As you probably already know, Google has more than 200 signals that affect rankings. I have only chosen the ranking factors that are related to links in my research and I have grouped them into the following categories:In my research I have analyzedmultiple keywords that we are competing for. For the sake of simplicity I will only show you here the analysis for one of these keywords that I found relevant to this presentation.
  • I have used data from both SEOmoz and Majestic SEO in my research.
  • In the following slides, I will show you some charts that contain the top 10 ranking pages for the keyword I have chosen. These are rendered on the X axis. Depending on the metric that is shown, the values for this metric will appear on the Y axis.The line that you see in this chart is how a perfect correlation would look like.Just keep in mind that you will not be able to see a very good correlation when we look at each metric separately. That’s mainly because all the 200 metrics that the Google algorithm uses work together.
  • First of all let's look at the quantity of links that these pages have.You can see here both links and LRDs. There is a surprising large amount of links for the 5th and 6th positions.Why aren't these websites at the top of these results?
  • Here we are comparing exact match and partial match LRDs. Most of the charts only show data about LRDs because I wanted to eliminate any errors coming from site wide links.You would think that a larger number of exact and partial links should indicate a better ranking. Well, not anymore. Welcome to 2012! The website on the first position has fewer exact match LRDs than the second website. Not to mention the 5th website.This looks likehaving a large number of matching anchors is no longer the definitive answer to higher rankings.
  • Position no. 6 has a very few number of links with exact match compared to the other ones. That is probably why it’s not ranking higher. However, it looks like there is a big boost given by the brand signals, even though it has a lower relevance.Hint: There are also some brand + keyword links involved. They may be counted as both brand signals and partial match keywords, so many people nowadays say that they work really well. Plus these links look natural so you should not incur any penalties.
  • Compare the first two websites. The 2nd place has a lot more LRDs with exact match and they make up 70% of all the LRDs. That’s got to be a signal to Google that something fishy is going on. However, even if there is a penalty, it doesn’t look too bad.What’s curious is that there are websites ranking in this SERP with less than 10%. Maybe their anchor text distribution is more natural?
  • Most of the websites ranking here have pretty high ratios of branded LRDs in their link profile just as it would be natural for any website.The first website seems to have a good combination of both brand and brand + keyword anchors.The major exceptions, the 2nd and the 5th places make us think that with their large number of exact and partial links they would have ranked higher if only they would have a higher number of branded links.
  • Looking at the percentages, it’s easier to see that most of the top 10 results have more brand signals than exact match anchor texts.The only exception here is number 2 which has a lot of exact match anchor LRDs.
  • Here’s a different view of the same data, but it’s much easier to see the amount of brand signals each website has.
  • But since we are comparing branded links with exact and partial match links, why not do a proper comparison?Again number 2 seems to be the exception here. All I can say is that the Google spam team still has some work to do.
  • With a PA over 90, the 6th place should outrank everyone. But it doesn't and we can only think that the reason for this is its lack of relevance pointed earlier in the anchor text analysis.
  • Most of the results have a higher Page Authority than Domain Authority, which suggests that most of their links are pointing to the page ranking in the results.
  • Even PageRank, taken by itself, doesn’t have a better correlation.
  • Citation flow and Trust flow show slightly different results for the 1st website that now appears to be less authoritative than the 2nd and 3rd.Don’t forget that these metrics have just been released and they apply only to the fresh index, which is only for the links parsed in the last 30-45 days.
  • And I have added here Page Authority from SEOmoz to the same chart to see how it compares with the new Majestic data. They look pretty similar, but I wonder what happened to the first result.
  • Here’s the distribution of all links by Page Authority. The two sites with most of the links, 5th and 6th places, are clearly shown here. Number 5 though seems to have a lot of low quality links to it, which are probably ignored by Google. And number 6 has a lot more links with higher authority.
  • What happens if we combine Relevance with Quality? Number 6 is gone because it does not have enough links with this anchor text. The only thing that keeps it this high may be the brand signals.
  • If we remove the 5th place we can see that they all seem to have a pretty good natural profile, with 1st place taking the lead.
  • The 6th place not only has a lot of branded links, but these links also have a higher authority than the links pointing to the 5thplace.
  • Now let’s combine all four link categories: Relevance,Quality, Quantity and Diversity. The blue line is the average authority of the exact match followedLRDs (authority). The red line shows the number of exact match followed LRDs (quantity).As you can see, these two lines are opposing each other. Where authority lacks, quantity compensates. So it looks like all these signals work together. Quantity is lowered by quality. Relevance is still the critical factor. Without it, neither quantity or quality matter.
  • Oh, yes. I saved this for last. Do you know what the secrets behind Google’s algorithm are?There are no secrets! The algorithm works for you.Think about it this way.If you create a great product, what anchor text would people use to link to you? That's right, the name of your product. That's a brand signal.If you create some great content, how would people link to it? They will probably use some or all the words from the title of your article. Those are exact and partial match anchor text signals.What happens when all these people share your content or link to it? You become an authority.So you see, it's not about trying to build authoritative links to your website, it's about becoming an authority yourself.Stop spending so much time trying to get these links the hard way.You should spend your valuable time creating a great product that people would want to write about or creating that great content that people would want to share.That's how you become an authority!
  • Authority Building vs. Link Building - SMX Advanced Seattle

    1. 1. Authority Building vs. Link Building In A Search Meets Social World June 5-6, 2012Philip PetrescuFounder and CEO, Caphyon Advanced WEB RANKING@philippetrescu
    2. 2. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsCase Study and Research from our blog.
    3. 3. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsCase Study and Research from our blog.
    4. 4. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsCase Study and Research from our blog.
    5. 5. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsCase Study and Research from our blog.
    6. 6. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankings Really? 2nd place from 4 bil results with no links?Case Study and Research from our blog.
    7. 7. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsWhat happens when influencers share your content?
    8. 8. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankings The original tweet that started it all. Jennifer exposing his network. The denial… Martin’s tweet about his blog post which mentions @randfish.What happens when influencers share your content?
    9. 9. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankings Rand’s tweet that sparkled a lot of interactions and retweets.What happens when influencers share your content?
    10. 10. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsWhat happens when influencers share your content?
    11. 11. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankingsCase study courtesy of Martin Macdonalds, Expedia EAN
    12. 12. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankings This is what happens when influencers share your content.
    13. 13. The impact of authoritative mentions and shares on rankings Normal traffic: 30-50 visits/dayAnd this was the impact on site traffic.
    14. 14. What have we learned today? There is a very strong correlation between the title and the keywordDo some research to see how people search for this kind of content.
    15. 15. What have we learned today? Google is getting closer and closer to understanding user intentDo some research to see how people search for this kind of content.
    16. 16. What have we learned today? That social signals are very important in the early stages of ranking.Search Engine Ranking Factors 2011 - http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
    17. 17. Are these social signals enough? QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) is your friend. It gives your content a limited time boost in rankings.Search Engine Ranking Factors 2011 - http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
    18. 18. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quantity Quality Diversity RelevanceI have grouped the link signals into four main categories.
    19. 19. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Domain Authority Citation Flow Page Authority Trust FlowThis research uses data from both SEOmoz and Majestic SEO.
    20. 20. The impact of authoritative links on rankings The Perfect Correlation 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    21. 21. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quantity and Diversity External followed links vs. followed Linking Root Domains 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 External Followed links Followed LRD * 10The number of links is not that well correlated when taken separately.
    22. 22. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance Exact match LRDs vs. Partial Match LRDs 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Exact Match LRDs Partial Match LRDsExact match links indicate relevance, but if you have too many, it doesn’t really help.
    23. 23. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance 10,000 9,000 Brand signals are a 8,000 good indicator of a natural link profile. 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Branded LRD Branded + Keyword LRDSome people say that brand + keyword anchor texts are the best.
    24. 24. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Too much relevance? 80.00 70.00 Shouldn’t 70% - 80% exact match attract the 60.00 attention of a penguin? 50.00 40.00 30.00 20.00 10.00 0.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 % Exact Match LRD % Partial Match LRD
    25. 25. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance 120.00 With the high amount of 100.00 relevance, these guys would rank much higher, if only they had some more branded signals. 80.00 60.00 40.00 20.00 0.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 % Branded LRD % Branded + Keyword LRD*
    26. 26. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance % Branded LRDs vs. % Exact match LRDs120.00100.00 80.00 60.00 40.00 20.00 0.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 % Branded LRDs % Exact Match LRDs
    27. 27. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance % Branded LRDs vs. Exact match LRDs (Stacked Bars)100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 % Exact Match LRDs % Branded LRDsBranded anchor texts help push exact matches to give a better correlation.
    28. 28. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance % Exact Match LRDs from Branded vs. % Partial Match LRDs from Branded800.00700.00 700% exact match vs. branded anchor texts600.00500.00400.00300.00200.00100.00 0.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 % Exact Match LRD from Branded % Partial Match LRD from Branded
    29. 29. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quality Page Authority 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Page AuthorityPage Authority of each page ranking in the top 10 Google results.
    30. 30. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quality Page Authority vs. Domain Authority100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Page Authority Domain Authority
    31. 31. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quality Page Authority vs. Domain Authority vs. Page Rank 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Page Authority Domain Authority Page RankNot even Page Rank is perfectly correlated. Perhaps it is, but the integer value is misleading.
    32. 32. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quality Citation Flow vs. Trust Flow vs. Page Authority 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Citation Flow Trust FlowThe new metrics from Majestic SEO: Citation Flow and Trust Flow vs. Page Authority
    33. 33. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quality Citation Flow vs. Trust Flow vs. Page Authority100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Citation Flow Trust Flow Page AuthorityThe new metrics from Majestic SEO: Citation Flow and Trust Flow vs. Page Authority
    34. 34. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Quality Distribution of all links by Page Authority140001200010000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Each line represents a website in the Top 10 results.
    35. 35. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance and Quality Distribution of exact match followed links by Page Authority18001600140012001000 800 600 400 200 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Relevance and Quality signals taken together
    36. 36. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance and Quality Distribution of partial match followed links by Page Authority30002500200015001000 500 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Relevance and Quality signals taken together
    37. 37. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance and Quality Distribution of partial match followed links by Page Authority 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10Same as previous slide but without the 5th place.
    38. 38. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance and Quality Distribution of branded followed links by Page Authority12001000 800 600 400 200 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Same as previous slide but without the 5th place.
    39. 39. The impact of authoritative links on rankings Relevance, Quality, Quantity and Diversity Average Domain Authority vs. Followed LRD (exact match)1,2001,000 800 600 400 200 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Avg DA exact match (*10) Followed LRD
    40. 40. Conclusions1,2001,000 • Relevance signals are still important, but having too many is not 800 helpful. • Having a lot of brand signals and some 600 relevance is better than having a lot of relevance and no brand or authority. 400 • “If you have 1 million links with 200 anchor text and no brand links then you have a problem.” David Naylor - Bronco 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Avg DA exact match (*10) Followed LRD
    41. 41. Conclusions • Social signals are becoming more significant ranking factors • Fresh content that is shared will have a temporary ranking boost • You may need influencers to share your content if you want to rank for highly competitive keywords.Hint: Dont go for the influential people, go for their peers instead.
    42. 42. Conclusions The secrets behind the Google AlgorithmLet me tell you some of the secrets behind Google’s algorithm.
    43. 43. Thank you!@philippetrescuwww.advancedwebranking.com/blogphilip@caphyon.com Advanced WEB RANKING

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