Links Defined• In basic terms, links are the underlined words people click on a website to go to another. Technically, they are called "hyperlinks" which is the foundation of how the web works. Image Link Text Link 3
Why are links important?• Links are the foundation of the Internet – Links allow users to move site to site seamlessly – Links connect pages with similar and relevant information• Links are a source of targeted traffic. – Links from similar themed websites drive relevant and targeted traffic. – Links create exposure and a “referral” scenario from the other site.• Relevant links raise your natural search engine rankings. – Links connect you to search engines for inclusion. – Search engines use links in their relevancy algorithms as a means of determining “relevance” and “authority” of your site within the peer sites of a similar topic.
Importance Of Links For SEOInternal Links• Ensures all pages are connected and findable via crawling• Tells SE‟s what each page is about and how relevant they are• Identifies primary keyword phrases• Highly relevant links often used at SERPS as “sitelinks” to internal pagesExternal/Incoming Links• Drives traffic from relevant site to your site• Allows SE spider to find pages naturally and in context• Identifies key authoritative pages and site sections• Creates a “contextual link” between similar content that increases relevance for search engines resulting in higher rankings 5
Types of Linking• Reciprocal (Fig 1) – Less important today due to past abuse; value of reciprocal links is usually discounted• Triangular (Fig 2) – Attempt to hide reciprocal linking – easily detectable• One Way (Fig 3) – One way inbound links are usually most valuable A A B A B Fig 1. B C Fig 3. Fig 2.
Link Quality (Popularity + Authority)Important pages are either linked to by a lot of pages or by other important pages – Page A is more important than page B – Page C is more important than Page D External “inbound” links 1 1 1 1 3 A 1 B 3 C 1 D
Link Quality (Popularity + Authority) Page Importance (or “Link Value or “Link Juice”) counts… – Page B is more important than page A – Page D is more important than Page C External “inbound” links 1 1 1 6 3 A 6 B 3 C 6 D
Google Page Rank• Google PageRank™ – Google’s Algorithm for measuring a page’s importance based on the quantity, quality and contextual relevance of links – Each “page” has its own score – Scores are are from 0 – 10 – logarithmic scale• Tool Bar Page Rank – A simulation of Page Rank in the form of a “bar” and “number 0 to 10” – Not always accurate and should not be obsessed over View Google PageRank in Chrome Browser with PageRank Viewer Plugin
Current State Assessment• How many links do we have to the following: – Home page (and variations) – Key categories – Specific pages• How many links do we have that are: – Linking to broken pages – Linking to the home page vs. category or page
Open Site Explorer www.opensiteexplorer.com
Develop Content to Satisfy Needs 80,000 monthly How To related searches
Content Distribution Strategy• Companies create “transportable” assets each year yet doesn’t always maximize their portability• When using and distributing marketing assets, always ask yourself some key questions – Is my content linkable? • Does this product, news release, event create interest where someone would link to it? • Have you clearly articulated the proper destination URL for more information? – Is my content portable? • Do you have anything you can pass along? PDF? Video? Widget? • Have you included “forward to a friend” or other social media capabilities on the page? – Have you syndicated your portable content? • Do you have it indexed in Google and/or White Paper aggregators like Bitpipe? • Do you have videos in YouTube and Google with appropriate meta information? • Have you included the content in your Pressroom?
Digital Asset Distribution 101 • Enable RSS feeds. – Potent permission marketing tool, RSS feeds provide an avenue for ongoing distribution of assets in context. • Enable social bookmarking. – Ensure you’re using social media tags in footers. – Submit the new page to social bookmarking sites with relevant tags so that others can find it. • Ensure all digital assets have meta data. – Pull together your relevant words and develop a solid asset title and description. – Update the Meta properties of digital assets. • Develop social media tags. – Pull together a list of most impactful and relevant tags for the individual asset. – Investigate Technorati, Delicious, and other social media referral sites to identify which tags are garnering maximum traffic.
Consolidate or Migrate- Consolidate existinglinks from old or legacy pages or domains and properly redirect them to the proper page or primary domain- Free Management tools: Yahoo! Site Explorer or Google Webmaster Tool You can export the results. You can choose to see only external links.
Fix Wasted Links Check and repair any broken links – Webmaster Tools Shows you pages that link to the Page Not Found.
External Links – Portfolio Family domains Identify all the domains that your company owns as well as key partner sites and acquisitions.Example: http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/homehttp://www.telelogic.com/ International Sites Identify your international sites and create links from them to each other for relevant content. Link “context to context” using your international site navigation in the footer or in a SEO friendly pull down
Maximize WW Link Architecture Leverage the links between your sites where they are hosted in separate environments.•Leverage enormous power of globallylocated sites to build link equity•Leverage Partners and Distributed contentto increase link equity•Leverage different C block sites in yourportfolio
IP & Class C Blocks• The IP address is a numeric address, providing a unique identification of a computer and the network it resides, written as a set of four groups of numbers separated by dots, for example 188.8.131.52Typical IP Address 184.108.40.206A block - 129B block - 42C block - 38D block – 121• Imaging “C block” as an apartment building and all of the apartments are all “D blocks” this means the potential for these people to know each other and “help” each other achieve a goal is pretty high. 25
Leverage Business Relationships Business partners Review special deal partners, vendors, and channel partners Conduct training or share linking best practices Trade & Industry associations Identify reputable industry associations, especially the ones where your currently a membership. Review the links you get to ensure they are relevant Industry Events Participate in industry events to get content exposure and links Bloggers and online bios are often great places to get links
Business PartnersConfirm reciprocation from business partners. Opportunity IBM Page Request your business partners to add a link on the relevant page and use the keyword in the anchor text pointing to the IBM small business resources page.
Industry Associations Industry associations are a great source of links but make sure they use the context in the anchor text. Opportunity IBM Page Request the association to add a link and use the keyword in the anchor text pointing to the Point-of-sale page.
Key Link Acquisition Concepts Quality vs. Quantity • Better from Relevant sites & Authority sites than many non-related or poor quality. Contextual Relevancy • The measure of how well two sites are related in content and Theme Authority & Trustworthy Sites • A site highly rated by a search engine: size, importance, &relevance • Age and perceived “trustability” of the site 30
Choosing Quality Links Authority Sites Site Rated By Size, Importance, & Relevance • Unique content • Many inbound links, especially from other authority sites • Many of outbound links • Inbound links built gradually over time • Usually an older site. Avoiding A Bad Neighborhood • Has been banned • Under a penalty • From a link farm • From a shady industry 31
Start with Google Review the top positions for key phrase and what links do they have!
Identify Quality Shared Links• Identify relevant links with a high PageRank that are linking to top sites in search results. Quality is more important than quantity. * Below are URLs currently linking to the top ranking pages in Googles results for a specific keyword phrase. Sort linking by Google PageRank and Link Score, which helps assess the validity of a site.
Quality Not Quantity of Links Compare your links to those in the top positions of Google or Yahoo! PR0 PR1 PR2 PR3 PR4 PR5 PR6 PR7 PR8 PR9 Total PR6+ %PR6+app server 450 15 149 96 537 148 23 6 0 1 1425 30 2% 701 27 204 57 63 96 41 23 4 0Google #1 1216 68 6% 223 10 45 31 36 145 143 30 11 28Google #2 702 212 30% 613 38 120 191 100 121 35 3Google #3 0 0 1221 38 3%• While the IBM page as more links than anyone, only 2% were links from high-quality sites.
Review the IP and Quality www.seoelite.com offers this simple table after gathering links for a site/page
Link Quality Worksheet http://ontolo.com/link-building-tools/link-building-worksheets
Search Modifiers• Leverage “search syntax” in engines to find relevant content: Syntax Term Location Results “digital camera reviews” Anywhere on page 1,180,000 allintext: “digital camera reviews” Body Text 1,150,000 allintitle: “digital camera reviews” Only Page Title 821,000 allinanchor: “digital camera reviews” Only In Anchor 922,000 Text allinurl: “digital camera reviews” Only in URL 85,500 Note: Helps find “contextual relevance but not quality”
External Blogs/ SitesGoogle Blog SearchUse target keywords tofind topically relevantblogs.Sign up „Blog Alerts‟ tostay updated on potentialblogs.
Submission OpportunitiesDirectories• General: Yahoo! & Open Directory Project (Google) Business.comLocal Directories• Google• Yahoo!• City Search• AOLYellow Pages• Super Pages• City Search• Info USA and Info USA Business• MSN Yellow Pages• Yahoo! Yellow Pages
.Edu and .Gov Sites• These are valuable since they don‟t just link to anyone• Ways to get .edu and .gov links – Provide valuable content to their audiences – Speak at their events, seminars and provide resources – Leverage memberships and alumni organizations 40
.Edu and .Gov Sites Provide high-value and relevant information to be linked as a resource 41
.Edu and .Gov Sites 42
Press Releases Prime the Pump Release sent via digital announcement – 11,300 sites pick it up and reference “exact” title of release – resulting in 100,000 references to “free online photo editor” in less than 3 months
Press Release Link Opportunities • Cisco Leverages “More Information”
Integrate Search and Social Media/PR Priceline release announcing destinations for Valentines day and Presidents Weekend 1. 20,300 pick ups of digital release in Google 2. 2,589 inbound links to release 3. 3,043 new links to blog 4. 1,500+ new links to destination pages 45
Buying Links • Simple answer – Don’t buy them – Ever from a link broker or link builder – If your business depends on traffic from Google • Complex answer – Buy them when: – You negotiated the direct link from a highly relevant site where you would benefit primarily from traffic and there is not mention of the sale or tracking.
Avoid Link Spamming Techniques What to Avoid • Link farms • Reciprocal links • Republished or poorly written articles • Inconsequential or repeatedly used press releases • Paid links • Hidden image & text links • Blog spam • Forum spam • Site wide links 47
Best Practices Recap • Link Building is hard and cannot be faked or rushed • Quality and relevant content generates links • Clean up and fix current links • Research quality links from relevant sources • Leverage digital press releases • Leverage social media for real time impact