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Do you want more links or more money?

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In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, it seems everybody is clamouring for one thing: links. But are they really the holy grail of rankings?

Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) position a site should occupy. As links are just one of these factors, you could be spending too much time, money and effort on stockpiling citations and mentions from third party sites. In short, could these efforts be better spent on more neglected areas of your digital strategy?

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Do you want more links or more money?

  1. 1. mediaworks free webinar effective outreach for your brand: do you want more links or more money? craig bradshaw – head of creative
  2. 2. introduction www.mediaworks.co.uk
  3. 3. www.mediaworks.co.uk In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, it seems everybody is clamouring for one thing: links. But are they really the holy grail of rankings?
  4. 4. www.mediaworks.co.uk Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) position a site should occupy. As links are just one of these factors, you could be spending too much time, money and effort on stockpiling citations and mentions from third party sites. In short, could these efforts be streamlined to improve your digital strategy?
  5. 5. your host … Mediaworks | Game-Changing Content Marketing | Leeds Business Week www.mediaworks.co.uk Craig Bradshaw Head of Creative
  6. 6. Mediaworks | Game-Changing Content Marketing | Leeds Business Week www.mediaworks.co.uk running caffeine photo-jacking likes :
  7. 7. warning www.mediaworks.co.uk
  8. 8. www.mediaworks.co.uk this isn’t about one simple thing you can do to get more links
  9. 9. www.mediaworks.co.uk it’s about encouraging you to change the way you think about how search engines work
  10. 10. www.mediaworks.co.uk and how you can be more incisive with your outreach, and better measure the economic value of the work you’re doing to earn links
  11. 11. www.mediaworks.co.uk Google has openly stated that they are a machine learning company. In the future, only a machine will know what it takes to rank well, and it will never be able to explain it to you Moreover, it will have multiple contingencies, will constantly be evolving, and it will spot patterns and connections that we will never think of connecting.
  12. 12. www.mediaworks.co.uk By focusing on SEO strategy purely on links, you may be ignoring a plethora of non-link metrics that correlate with high vs. low rankings. And you never know when a machine will decide that links no longer influence successful searches for users
  13. 13. www.mediaworks.co.uk
  14. 14. case study www.mediaworks.co.uk a genuine quote from the SEO Manager of a FTSE 100 company …
  15. 15. www.mediaworks.co.uk seo manager: I want 20 links from this next project. me: we don’t think link volume numbers are a good indicator of the success of a campaign. me: what if we only built one link, but that link generated 1,000 visits and £50k worth of new business – would you still deem the campaign a failure? seo manager: yes. everyone knows seo is all about links. me: …
  16. 16. www.mediaworks.co.uk
  17. 17. www.mediaworks.co.uk The problem with this statement is that it confuses correlation and causation Correlation - when two or more things or events tend to occur at about the same time and might be associated with each other Causation – when two or more things are connected by a cause/effect relationship
  18. 18. www.mediaworks.co.uk For example, in sick people, a runny nose and a sore throat correlate to each other - they tend to show up in the same patients. That doesn't mean runny noses cause sore throats, or that sore throats cause runny noses, however. Forgetting that leads to sloppy thinking – the same is true for links.
  19. 19. www.mediaworks.co.uk This is key because SEO has turned from an exercise, where we essentially try and acquire/point links to a piece of content Instead it has now evolved into something where we have to go out and earn a wide range of ranking signals
  20. 20. www.mediaworks.co.uk In order to make this change, we need to think smarter about outreach In order to earn ranking signals, we need to have an audience that will help amplify your message; whether that’s: • the content that you create • the unique value that you provide • your core service/ product • the message about your brand
  21. 21. evidence of links fading www.mediaworks.co.uk
  22. 22. www.mediaworks.co.uk link volume alone has not been a reliable, correlative metric for rankings for almost a decade
  23. 23. www.mediaworks.co.uk Position Ranking URL Ext Links (Domain) Ref Domains (Domain) Ext Links (URL) Ref Domains (URL) 1 http://www.silverbean.com/ 1,202 125 414 83 2 http://www.icrossing.co.uk/ 11,545 934 5,585 480 3 http://www.statusdigital.co.uk/ 8,595 47 8,593 46 4 http://www.jellyfish.co.uk/ 68,678 634 56,933 252 5 http://www.saberlightdigital.co.uk/ 7,869 20 7,867 18 6 http://daykinandstorey.co.uk/about/what-we-do/ we-do/ 14,812 66 1 1 7 http://www.latitudegroup.com/ 17,632 525 15,312 332 8 https://www.mediaworks.co.uk/ 1,076 185 86 20 9 http://www.coastdigital.co.uk/ 237,059 460 173,648 260 10 http://www.koozai.com/ 46,121 1,660 13,282 588 rankings for “digital marketing agency” on google.co.uk, taken on 25th march 2015
  24. 24. www.mediaworks.co.uk the rankings for this keyword (and many others) shows numerous examples where the pages with the highest link volumes are being outranked by pages with lower link volumes at both domain and page level. there’s simply not enough of a correlation between link volume alone and rankings for this keyword for a conclusion to be drawn on what drives the ranking result.
  25. 25. so instead … www.mediaworks.co.uk
  26. 26. www.mediaworks.co.uk instead of focusing on traditional link building focus your efforts on outreach that will address traditional marketing purposes, and try to earn links through differentiation such as …
  27. 27. links get traffic www.mediaworks.co.uk links that get traffic
  28. 28. www.mediaworks.co.uk links aren’t the win! instead of focusing on link acquisition, focus on earning attention and trust, and look at ways to earn the link afterwards you are responsible for the website traffic of a real business, not just for ‘building links’ invest in tactics that will serve multiple marketing purposes and solve a searcher’s problem
  29. 29. www.mediaworks.co.uk 595 sessions 5.05% conversion rate
  30. 30. www.mediaworks.co.uk came from an unlinked brand mention!
  31. 31. www.mediaworks.co.uk wouldn’t have been able to claim the success without the link!
  32. 32. links get traffic www.mediaworks.co.uk pro tip
  33. 33. www.mediaworks.co.uk Use Demographics data in Analytics to find interests of people that visit your site, or break down your site’s visitors into different customer profiles. For example, if they are interested in films, prospect and outreach the key sites that fit that particular demographic.
  34. 34. www.mediaworks.co.uk Alternatively, you can also use Facebook Graph Search to find interests of people that like a certain page, work for a certain company etc. Moz has a great guide here - http://moz.com/blog/facebook-graph-search- guide
  35. 35. www.mediaworks.co.uk 595 sessions £2.70 avg. suggested bid
  36. 36. www.mediaworks.co.uk and it only took us the time it took to send a polite request to a journalist relative cost of acquiring the same amount of traffic through PPC £1,606
  37. 37. www.mediaworks.co.uk links get money
  38. 38. www.mediaworks.co.uk although traffic might be up, you need to ask yourself, am I making improvements in a way that means success for my client? If you’re earning links that drive conversions, these are the results that convince companies to increase their spend on SEO
  39. 39. www.mediaworks.co.uk 26 conversions 8.72% conversion rate
  40. 40. www.mediaworks.co.uk Only a Domain Authority 15 website!
  41. 41. www.mediaworks.co.uk pro tip
  42. 42. www.mediaworks.co.uk Display Planner in Google AdWords gives you valuable insight into the places that your target audience is likely to visit, or sites that are thematically relevant to the keyword/categories you want to target. Hypothetically, if a placement is a good source of goals/conversions through paid, it makes sense to try and do targeted outreach to that site too.
  43. 43. www.mediaworks.co.uk links that get money
  44. 44. www.mediaworks.co.uk being incisive is much better than throwing the kitchen sink at link building think about how to target people across the whole sales funnel; from providing information to genuine purchase intent
  45. 45. www.mediaworks.co.uk 154 conversions 41.40% conversion rate
  46. 46. www.mediaworks.co.uk pro tip
  47. 47. www.mediaworks.co.uk Filter by organic traffic in the Acquisition section of GA, and then add ‘Landing Page’ as a secondary dimension. From here you can infer what keywords/categories are driving traffic to the site. You can also make judgements on what point a user is in the conversion funnel based on the content of these pages.
  48. 48. www.mediaworks.co.uk promote the top landing pages through outreach, based on the stages of the funnel that you are wanting to target.
  49. 49. conclusion www.mediaworks.co.uk
  50. 50. www.mediaworks.co.uk the value of a link is not embedded in the link itself the value of a link is derived from the knowledge used to best segment that will amplify your message, and the ability of the link to solve a customer’s problem
  51. 51. also known as … www.mediaworks.co.uk
  52. 52. www.mediaworks.co.uk traditional marketing!
  53. 53. thank you
  54. 54. www.mediaworks.co.uk @bradshawcg @MediaworksUK
  55. 55. Princesway North Team Valley Trading Estate Tyne & Wear NE11 0NF +44 (0)191 404 0100 info@mediaworks.co.uk

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