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Link Practices: Keeping You Out of Jail By Megan Geiss


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From the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, Washington, June 2-3, 2015. SESSION: Advanced Link Auditing & Best Practices For Acquiring Authoritative Links. PRESENTATION: Link Practices: Keeping You Out of "Jail" - Given by Megan Geiss, @MeganGeiss - Merkle | RKG, Marketing Strategy Director. #SMX #14A

Published in: Marketing

Link Practices: Keeping You Out of Jail By Megan Geiss

  1. 1. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss Megan Geiss, Director, Marketing Strategy, Merkle | RKG LINK PRACTICES: KEEPING YOU OUT OF “JAIL”
  2. 2. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss Megan Geiss Director, Marketing Strategy Merkle | RKG
  3. 3. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Major financial company  4 domains (2 with manual action penalties)  270,000 Backlinks  4100 referring domains  Reconsideration granted on first try  HOW DID WE DO THAT? CLIENT EXAMPLE
  4. 4. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Assessing Your Risk  Penalty Rescue TODAY’S DISCUSSION
  5. 5. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss Are you at risk? Backlink Profile Audit
  6. 6. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Penguin or Manual Action  Penguin = Algorithmic Penalty  Manual action = Notification  What to look for  Assessing the overall health of a backlink profile  Patterns, trends, red flags, anomalies  Potentially threatening egregious backlinks  Do you need a penalty rescue? BACKGROUND
  7. 7. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  There are clear signals that will help in determinations  Quality metrics  Referring Domains  C-blocks  Anchor Text  Geo-Location  Sitewide Links  Advertorials  Relevancy RISK ASSESMENT
  8. 8. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Link Velocity  Newly discovered backlinks  Referring Domains  Link network detection  ID client owned domains  C-block analysis  Anchor Text  Low ratio of referring domains to backlinks  High % of sitewide links  High %'s for money terms/phrases  Exact match anchor text % relative to entire backlink profile  Followed images ("advertorials" passing PR)  Links to home page vs. deep pages TIME TO BE A DETECTIVE
  9. 9. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Majestic SEO  Comprehensive inventory of inbound links  Ahrefs  Deep dive into anchor text analysis  Moz Open Site Explorer  Analyzing authority and trust of backlinks  Google Webmaster Tools  Sample data from Google’s index TOOLS
  10. 10. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss ANALYSIS Majestic SEO can help determine UNNATURAL spikes in inbound links
  11. 11. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss AND MORE ANALYSIS… Pivot table anchor text data to determine ratio of referring domains to links
  12. 12. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss …AND MORE ANALYSIS Use Majestic SEO to pinpoint geo- location red flags
  13. 13. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss AND MORE ANALYSIS…. Highlight low Citation and Trust flow via Majestic SEO
  14. 14. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss EVEN MORE ANALYSIS…. Use MOZ’s Open Site Explorer to look at page level link data
  15. 15. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss Penalty Rescue Has Your Site Been Hit?
  16. 16. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss A significant drop in traffic and that is not due to other site architectural or crawling issues HOW WILL YOU KNOW?
  17. 17. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss Gather all backlinks Rank by quality Analysis Outreach for removal requests Follow up Disavow tool Reconsideration request PROCESS, PROCESS, PROCESS 1 2 3 5 6 4 7
  18. 18. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Create a comprehensive inventory of all inbound links.  There are 2 primary sources:  Majestic SEO (fresh index)  GWT for representative sample of Google’s Index GATHER ALL THE BACKLINKS1
  19. 19. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Consolidate and de-dupe Majestic and GWT  Remove nofollows  Filter by Citation Flow (we use 30 or below)  Look for IP patterns or trends within C-blocks RANK BY QUALITY2
  20. 20. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Analyze and evaluate the filtered master list.  Determine if a backlink or domain is outside of Google’s quality guidelines or falls within an identified link scheme.  Manually review domains ANALYSIS3
  21. 21. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Gather contact information for the identified removal targets  Can be done during manual analysis  Minimum 2 outreach attempts  Be kind…. This is human interaction  Document as much of the communications as possible to later include in the reconsideration request. OUTREACH FOR REMOVAL4
  22. 22. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Typical removal request responses:  Webmaster removes link  Webmaster requests payment to remove link  Webmaster removes link and doesn't tell you  No response FOLLOW UP5
  23. 23. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Completed due diligence to remove low-quality links  Create file in .txt (must be encoded in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII) – one URL per line  Disavow entire domains with this notation: “”  Include additional information with the "#" character  All lines beginning with # will be ignored  Avoid common mistakes:  Disavowing “just enough” to get by  Disavowing everything  Upload a new list overwrites the old DISAVOW TOOL6
  24. 24. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Tell the story…  Google is looking for the following:  Admit the mistake  Website has stopped the violations  Has cleaned up egregious links as much as possible  A good faith assurance RECONSIDERATION REQUEST7
  25. 25. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss HAPPY ENDINGS
  26. 26. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss  Rebuilding a healthy backlink profile can lead to more than just links  39% rate of influencer engagement  2,383 social mentions during (Likes, Shares, Tweets, etc.)  Site Visits from Campaign: Incremental 17k  44 Unique Article Posts  2,034 organically earned backlinks WHAT’S NEXT?
  27. 27. #SMX #14A @MeganGeiss THANK YOU! Megan Geiss Director, Marketing Strategy Merkle | RKG