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The Art and Science of Building Links By Matt Sitala

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From the SMX West Conference in San Jose, California, March 1-3, 2016. SESSION: Link Building Fundamentals. PRESENTATION: The Art and Science of Building Links - Given by Matt Siltala, @matt_siltala - Avalaunch Media, President. #SMX #14D

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The Art and Science of Building Links By Matt Sitala

  1. 1. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK BUILDING FUNDAMENTALS SMX WEST 2016 THE ART & SCIENCE OF BUILDING LINKS Matt Siltala | Avalaunch Media
  2. 2. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala AGENDA UNNATURAL Links LINK Popularity LIGHTNING Round TACTICSPENALTIES & Disavow RANK Brain
  3. 3. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Algorithms & LINK POPULARITY
  4. 4. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala MOST POPULAR SEARCH ENGINE? Almost 70% of the world uses Google 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Excite Lycos Ask AOL Baidu Yahoo Bing Google Total Market Share Total Market Share
  5. 5. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Paid Organic Domain level links Page level links Page Level (Title, tags, content) Mobile Query data (long & short clicks) Social media metrics Location personalization HOW ARE PAGES RANKED? Over 200+ factors contribute
  6. 6. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Most of the changes/filters are done to help DEFINE, EVALUATE and RATE links and the pages they come from. Authorship Removed Aug 28 “In the News” Box Oct 01 Penguin Everflux Dec 10 Authorship Photo Drop Jun 28 Page Layout Feb 06 Sep 23 Panda 4.1 Dec 22 Pigeon Expands (UK, CA, AU) Jun 12 Payday Loan 3.0 Oct 17 Penguin 3.0 Mar 24 Unnamed Update May 19 Panda 4.0 Jul 24 Pigeon Oct 21 Pirate 2.0 May 16 Payday Loan 2.0 Aug 06 HTTPS/SSL Update
  7. 7. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala There are four components of link popularity… LINK POPULARITY Link popularity measures the quality and quantity of links pointing to a webpage. Considered an off-page factor. Engines weigh off-page factors more heavily than on-page*. SLANG: Link Juice, Link Love, Link Pop, Link Equity
  8. 8. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK POPULARITY Four components and a lot of moving parts QUANTITY QUALITY RELEVANCE ANCHOR TEXT
  9. 9. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK QUANTITY The number of links pointing to a webpage from different websites/pages A B D E YOUR WEBSITE C
  10. 10. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK QUALITY Determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking them X X C X AX X BX X X YOUR WEBSITE
  11. 11. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK QUALITY All three engines have a formula to measure and compute quality PageRank™ TrustRank NetRank
  12. 12. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Quality pages have unique characteristics, they show: WHAT MAKES A QUALITY PAGE? The power of PageRank™ – Yep, it’s still around Algorithms reward quality and factual accuracy* AUTHORITY EXPERTISE TRUST
  13. 13. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala RELEVANCE Establishes your topical and/or geographic dominance Costa Rica Vacation Rentals Baby Strollers Diamond rings petfinder wfmz pawlooza huffingtonpost app.pickering.ca donatenow.networkforgood peternity somepuppytolove saveacat reseausecoursanimalmontrea LINK: PETFINDER.COM
  14. 14. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala RELEVANCE Relevance is keyword, relationship and fact based Relevance factors change constantly as the index grows Your relationships may influence what is returned Factual accuracy plays a part in determining relevance
  15. 15. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Anchor text is the clickable part of the link you see My son and my money go to The College of William & Mary My son spends a lot of money buying college text books Visit us at www.poor-parents.org for more information Anchor text is a query ranking factor ANCHOR TEXT An endorsement of what is to come anchor text influences the queries your website ranks for in the search results” GOOGLE “ anchor text helps define the theme of a linked page” BING “
  16. 16. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Make your anchor text part of the conversation ANCHOR TEXT Hyperlink when it makes sense Any links intended to manipulate… a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Additionallym creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines.” - GOOGLE Doesn’t matter what you do, if Google thinks your inbound links are anything but editorial, YOU LOSE. “
  17. 17. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala YOUR GOAL WHEN BUILDING LINKS: QUANTITY of links QUALITY pages ANCHORS conversational RELEVANCE audience
  18. 18. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Unnatural LINKS
  19. 19. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Paid links Large scale guest posting Low quality directories Footer links Template links “UNNATURAL” LINKS What the search engines (especially Google) want you to avoid Large-scale reciprocal linking Press releases Widgets & badges Forum drops
  20. 20. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Do not acquire a lot of the same links quickly Avoid using same anchors over and over Avoid linking with low quality pages Avoid placing links in navigation and sponsored areas WHAT TO AVOID Avoid these flags and footprints Avoid pages/sites hosting excessive reciprocals and template links Avoid sites with excessive Adsense Don’t make directory links (even niche directories) a large part of your portfolio Avoid sites with no Contact or About Us info
  21. 21. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala THINK BEFORE YOU LINK Questions to ask Is the page hosting your link in the search index? Been cached lately? Do they use nofollow attributes? Does the website participate in social media? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Does the webpage rank for relevant keywords? Is the website tied to a network? Is the content relevant to my site? Search “complaint” + URL?
  22. 22. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Penalties & DISAVOW
  23. 23. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala GOOGLE PENALTY OR ALGORITHM UPDATE Not hard to figure out but bad either way IF YOUR SITE: OR YOU EITHER HAVE: OR a manual penalty affected by changes/filters to an algorithm disappeared from the search results lost ranking
  24. 24. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala MANUAL ACTION NOTICE Google love notes in your Search Console … not so sweet
  25. 25. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala MANUAL ACTIONS Two Types: site-wide and partial Unnatural links pointing to your site Hacked site User generated spam in your blog/forum Thin content with no value Cloaking/spammy redirects Hidden text/keyword stuffing
  26. 26. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala RECONSIDERATION Asking Google to review your site after manual penalty (request a review) A good reconsideration request does THREE THINGS: Explains the exact quality issue on your site. Describes the steps you’ve taken to fix the issue. Documents the outcome of your efforts.
  27. 27. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala RANKINGS DROP DUE TO CHANGE IN ALGORITHM How do you determine which search engine update affected you? CHECK GOOGLE & Other Analytics GOOGLE ALGORITHM Updates History
  28. 28. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala STEP 01 STEP 02 STEP 03 STEP 04 STEP 05 Pull Backlinks Use links from WMT and at least one commercial tool. Audit Backlinks List unnatural links in spreadsheet Contact Info Use a tool like URLProfiler to pull email from list of unnatural links Reach Out Ask to remove Repeat after 10 days List no responses (provide details!) Disavow Ask Google not to take low-quality links into account when assessing. It takes Google some time to process the information you’ve uploaded, (weeks!), these links will continue to be shown in your Search Console. DISAVOW Cleaning up and disavowing links
  29. 29. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Watch your backlinks like you watch your rankings! RANKINGS DROP Watch, watch, watch BE PROACTIVE, DON’T WAIT FOR A SLAP DOWN! Analyze your website’s backlinks and identify what caused your rankings drop. Once you identify the links, try to remove them. Disavow the ones you cannot get removed.
  30. 30. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Link Building TACTICS
  31. 31. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala It is less about what you do and more about where. Links help get you ranked but clicks show you deserve to be there. You need to have something worth linking to. REMEMBER THESE 3 SIMPLE FACTS In link building
  32. 32. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU LINK And some tools to help Does the page rank well? RankRanger AuthorityLabs Does the site have a varied backlink portfolio? RavenTools SEOBook Tool Set OSE Cache date recent? CachedPages (free) Content relevant to yours? Buzzstream Inbound links use a wide variety of anchors? Majestic SEMRush BacklinkWatch (free) Lots of social signals from several networks? Sendible Buzzsumo
  33. 33. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Un-Linked Mentions Citation Building Resource Pages Image Gifting Image Galleries Content Sourcing Author Prospects & Curator Mining Repurposing Content Link Roundups LINK BUILDING TACTICS Reclaiming Broken LinksContent Outreach (on your site & content you send away) Content Marketing Tactics: Foundational Tactics: Credibility Links
  34. 34. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK BUILDING TACTICS: CONTENT MARKETING
  35. 35. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Foundational Tactics: Reclaiming Broken Links Un-Linked Mentions Credibility Links Citation Building Resource Pages Image Gifting LINK BUILDING TACTICS
  36. 36. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Help position you as a brand expert and credible, factual source Identify your brand in an ever-growing link graph Puts you on credible/authority sources Tend not to change Inexpensive to acquire Content marketing SHOULD NOT be your only link building strategy! FOUNDATIONAL LINKS: Links get you ranked but clicks show you deserve to be there
  37. 37. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Tactic twist: 404 pages FOUNDATIONAL LINK TACTICS: RECLAIMING BROKEN LINKS Tools: Citation Labs | Ontolo Tools | Check my Links (Chrome plug-in) | Fix what’s broke Ontolo Tools:
  38. 38. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Find unlinked mentions of your brand Contact webmaster Ask for hyperlink NOT A BRAND? Find unlinked keyword phrases (where it makes sense) Find mentions of out-of-business competitors FLT: UNLINKED MENTIONS TalkWalker | RankTank TalkWalker
  39. 39. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala . Find #1 site ranking for your keywords Copy their name, address and telephone number Search using quotes Results are potential sites you can add your information to. “excel spreadsheet” + citation building Use competitors to find sources to add your site to WhiteSpark TIP FOUNDATIONAL LINK TACTIC: CITATION BUILDING Tools: WhiteSpark (Mentions of a business by name, address & telephone number)
  40. 40. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Establish trust signals: FOUNDATIONAL LINK TACTIC: CREDIBILITY LINKS Establish trust, set expertise Chamber of Commerce Industry Associations Better Business Bureau Wikipedia*
  41. 41. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Your keyword in url: LINKS Your keyword in url: RESOURCES “USEFUL LINKS” your keyword “HELPFUL LINKS” your keyword FLT: RESOURCE PAGES Find opportunities on academic & government outlets Tool: SoloSEO (no charge) use ‘recommended” function
  42. 42. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Search for blog posts and magazine articles using your keywords. Offer photo at no charge Own the photo! FOUNDATIONAL LINK TACTICS: IMAGE GIFTING Giving the gift of an image to an article that needs it
  43. 43. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Fun images help sell content Creates memorable content Stimulates linking! FLT: IMAGE GOOD, CINEMAGRAPHS BETTER Also known as a .gif Make your own http://makeagif.com/ Backlink topical gif’s found in directories: http://giphy.com/search/gif-directory
  44. 44. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK BUILDING TACTICS: USING CONTENT Content Outreach (on your site & content you send away) Image Galleries Content Sourcing Author Prospects & Curator Mining Link Roundups Repurposing Content Content Marketing Tactics Repurposing Content
  45. 45. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Do not over use keyword anchors in posts/articles/bios Hyperlink conversationally. Avoid blog networks. Do not partner with a blog/site not using social media (especially Google Plus and Twitter) Do not partner with a blog/site that does not have an active About Us page. BEST PRACTICE: USING CONTENT TO ATTRACT LINKS Don’t over do the anchors L I N K
  46. 46. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala WHAT IS HOT IN CONTENT OUTREACH? Know what your audience wants to read & where they are reading it LISTS VIDEOINFOGRAPHICS SURVEYSROUNDUPSPRODUCT Reviews
  47. 47. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Written reviews with images are most frequently linked to (the longer the better) Keep best reviews on your site, promote from there, unless… Issue press release for substantial reviews Target social networks for distribution Bundle reviews into ebooks with email paywall Reviews dominate on YouTube CONTENT TACTIC: PRODUCT REVIEWS YOU CREATE Highly sought after written & video content, taps factual
  48. 48. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Search for older reviews Back link, look for sources Offer your “newer” review as a source, or Write a comparison piece CONTENT TACTIC: PRODUCT REVIEWS BY OTHERS Use what other people have written to gain links 1 2 3 4
  49. 49. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala SEARCH FOR: Daily Link Roundup + keyword Link Roundup + keyword Weekly Link Roundup + keyword Identify blogs/sites in your niche doing roundups, contact the owner and show your very best content Set an alert and let roundups come to you LINK ROUNDUPS A collection of favorite posts from around the web Ask to have your content included in the roundup
  50. 50. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala LINK ROUNDUPS
  51. 51. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala CONTENT TACTIC: IMAGE GALLERIES Let news media & publishers know. Conceptual, factual, & historical images
  52. 52. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala CONTENT TACTIC: FLICKR GALLERIES Use Flickr to find images to backlink, or host your image gallery
  53. 53. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala CONTENT TACTIC: RECLAIMING IMAGES Asking webmasters to link to images they “borrow”
  54. 54. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala CONTENT TACTIC: CURATOR MINING Get your content added to curation outlet, use to find new sources Paper.li “paper.li + keyword” Rebel Mouse “rebelmouse + kw” FlipBoard “flipboard + kw”
  55. 55. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala CONTENT TACTIC: USING PINTEREST Look for sources to host your content, look for writers, get yourself pinned 47% RECOMMENDED RATE
  56. 56. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Tool Tip: https://drive.google.com/templates CONTENT TACTIC: AUTHOR PROSPECTING Find the writers, find the sources, hire them to write for you FREELANCE WRITER + Keyword EDITOR + Keyword CONTRIBUTOR + Keyword COLUMNIST + Keyword GUIDE + Keyword WRITER + Keyword AUTHOR + Keyword
  57. 57. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala CONTENT TACTIC: TRANSLATING CONTENT Translate or add subtitles to audio/visual content, promote on media/social networks, look for “multicultural” and “international” WEBINAR PODCAST VIDEO
  58. 58. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala In-depth article with images. Evergreen piece. PRODUCT REVIEW Create presentation on each section, add to SlideShare. PRESENTATION SOCIAL MEDIA SNIPPETS Each blog post covers a section of the review. MULTIPLE BLOG POSTS Create infographic using steps in product review INFOGRAPHIC Extended G+ posts, Tweet series, posts on FB CONTENT TACTIC: REPURPOSING CONTENT Reach wider audience, attract links, drive more traffic, avoids duplicate content issues
  59. 59. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Lightning ROUND
  60. 60. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Keep the key components of link popularity in mind when building links. Don’t scrimp on a copywriter. Make sure your links sit on mobile friendly sites/pages. Invest in SEO/link tools after using free trials. Create evergreen content that has been personalized for your target audience. Add email capture to everything, look into “content for a tweet”. Create “Knowledge Vault” quality content, Rank Brain. Site uses nofollow but the link is worth having? Point it to your social profiles for traffic. LIGHTNING ROUND: INSIGHTS 2015
  61. 61. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Contests, sponsorships, scholarships, etc – all good ideas but one-off, time sensitive tactics. Follow key media on Twitter and LinkedIn. Engage! Fax press releases directly to media, forget the press release submission outlets. Local media outlets love, love, love interviews. Media doesn’t link out except when they have to. Images are that exception. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) great resource but be quick! <3 hours HARO not the only site of its kind, do “similar” search LIGHTNING ROUND Good tips
  62. 62. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala Keep an eye on the sites ranking behind you. Yes, that’s right, behind you. They are the webmasters looking to unseat you, they want your spot in the serps. Watch what they are doing, follow on social media. Load their domain/brand names in your alert services. LIGHTNING ROUND My best tips
  63. 63. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala MATT SILTALA Avalaunch Media Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. THANK YOU! - HENRY FORD
  64. 64. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala THANK YOU! SEE YOU AT THE NEXT SMX! SMX ADVANCED: JUNE 22-23, 2016 SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
  65. 65. #SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala#SMX #14D @Matt_Siltala https://www.netmarketshare.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx?qprid=4&qpcustomd=0 http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/03/get-more-complete-picture-about-how.html http://www.bing.com/webmaster/help/webmaster-guidelines-30fba23a http://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.03519v1.pdf http://makeagif.com/ http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2014/03/pinterest-encourages-shoppers-with-new-gift-feed.html http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/flickr-stats/ https://cefait01.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/slow-blink.gif RESOURCES

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