Jen Keller - Demystifying SEO Link Building: The Key to Ranking High

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On May 18, 2011, Jen Keller spoke about link building, which is arguably the most difficult & misunderstood element of SEO.  Yet, “good” inbound links are absolutely critical to high search engine rankings and are often the difference between ranking 1st or 10th!  The highly practical presentation, loaded with real-life examples, tips and how-tos.

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Jen Keller - Demystifying SEO Link Building: The Key to Ranking High

  1. 1. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Link Building: The Key To Ranking High
  2. 2. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Session Goals • In 50 minutes… “Link Building 101” – Why inbound links are critical to rankings – How to assess the value of a link – How to figure out who is linking to you – How to find effective link building strategies • Give you examples & useful tools • Won’t cover in-depth: – Social media & link building/SEO cross-over
  3. 3. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Before We Start…
  4. 4. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. 4 Pillars Of SEO Content Keywords Optimized Website Linking Technical Architecture
  5. 5. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Critical Starting Point Webpage URL Keyword Targets http://www.example.com/outdoor/ outdoor lights (147) outdoor light (83) outdoor light fixtures (63) outdoor lighting fixtures (43) outdoor light fixture (20) http://www.example.com/outdoor/path-lights/ path lights (63) path lighting (53) path light (24) outdoor path lighting (20) outdoor path lights (13) • Know your 3-5 keyword targets for each page
  6. 6. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Basics
  7. 7. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Definitions • “Inbound links”, “external links”, “backlinks” = links that sit on other websites and point into your website. – Image links – URL links • http://www.keyword-rich-domain-name.com – Anchor text links
  8. 8. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Anchor Text = Words In The Link Source: http://www.bobcarlisle.com/
  9. 9. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Links Are Like Votes Source: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html
  10. 10. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. 12th 1st Not All Links Are Equal In Value Balance quantity versus quality. Look at the value of the link
  11. 11. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Top 5 Ranking Factors From SEOmoz Research 1. Keyword focused anchor text from external links 2. External link popularity (quantity & quality of external links) 3. Diversity of link sources 4. Keyword use anywhere in the title tag 5. Trustworthiness of the domain based on link distance from trusted domains • Note: 4 out of 5 have to do with links! Source: SEOmoz Search Engine Ranking Factors 2009
  12. 12. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Moral of the Story… • Link building is fundamental to SEO • Unless you are a top tier brand (one that can attract good links without effort), you need to link build • It’s often the difference between stagnating at #12 and moving up to #1 • Link building is an ongoing effort
  13. 13. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Value Of A Link
  14. 14. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Value Of A Link Anchor Text Trust Relevance Placement Outbound Links Source: Dan Deceuster, Internet Affiliates
  15. 15. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Anchor Text • Build anchor text links into specific webpages, using the keyword targets identified during Keyword Research • Don’t over do it. Search engines can detect unnatural patterns • Add variations – “stacking chairs”  “stackable chairs”, “stacked seating”, “chairs that stack”
  16. 16. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Anchor Text Analysis Tools: SEOmoz’s Linkscape
  17. 17. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Relevance • A measure of how connected the content of your webpage is in relation to the page that is linking in to you – www.nfl.com  www.packers.com – www.bootsontheroof.com  www.siliconsolar.com – www.milwaukeepressclub.org  www.milwaukeeima.org
  18. 18. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Relevance
  19. 19. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Relevance? Tools: SEOmoz’s Linkscape
  20. 20. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Placement • The value of a link may differ based on where it is located in a webpage (Google’s “Reasonable Surfer Model”) In the main body text, surrounded by supporting context Greater prominence (higher on the page, color/bolding, near headings) Near other relevant links Overall site context Source: Bill Slawski http://www.seobythesea.com/?p=3806
  21. 21. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Good Placement
  22. 22. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Not-As-Good Placement http://www.datinghotline.net/electronics.html
  23. 23. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Trust • Evaluating the link neighborhood – How many links or clicks away are highly trusted “seed” sites? Source: The Art of SEO
  24. 24. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Trust eere.energy.gov DmT = 8.01 energyusernews.com DmT = 5.99 solarhome.org
  25. 25. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Number Of Outbound Links • Each link out on a webpage, passes on some of that page’s value Source: The Art of SEO = The Value of a Page = The # of Outbound Links • The more outbound links a page has, the less valuable a link from that page will be
  26. 26. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Number Of Outbound Links Source: Quirk SearchStatus Firefox Addon
  27. 27. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Value Of A Link: Recap • In a perfect world, you want all pieces of the pie: – Anchor text with keyword focus – High relevance – Good placement – High trust – Low number of outbound links • Two or three pieces can sometimes be good enough
  28. 28. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Links Search Engines Don’t Count • Links on pages they are instructed to ignore – Disallows in robots.txt – NoIndex meta tags • Links they cannot read – Encrypted JavaScript – In an iFrame • Links identified as NoFollow – <a href="http://www.example.com" rel="nofollow">Example</a>
  29. 29. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. NoFollow Highlight Tool Source: Quirk SearchStatus Firefox Addon
  30. 30. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Backlink Analysis
  31. 31. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Backlink Analysis Tools • Analyze Backlinks • BackLink Watch • BuzzStream • Link Diagnosis • Link Insight • Link Manager • LinkScape • Majestic SEO • Ontolo • Open Site Explorer • Raven Tools • SEOBook Tools • SEO Spyglass • BackLink Summary • Who Links To Me • Yahoo Site Explorer • Yoast Link Analysis
  32. 32. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results) • An outgrowth of Linkscape
  33. 33. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Basic Profile Data Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  34. 34. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Comprehensive Link Details Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  35. 35. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apply Filters Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  36. 36. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apply Filters Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  37. 37. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apply Filters Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  38. 38. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Result = 301 + Followed from External Sites Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  39. 39. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Categorize & Reverse Engineer Source: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org (need SEOmoz Pro Account for full results)
  40. 40. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Questions To Answer • What links does my competitor have that I should have too? – Directories, associations, trade/industry sites… • What are my competitor’s link acquisition strategies? – Blogs, press & news, paid advertising, widgets… • What content on my competitor’s site is most linked to and why? – Sort Excel by “Target URL” column
  41. 41. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Questions To Answer • Which strategies allowed for targeted anchor text variations? – Sort Excel by “Anchor Text” column • Remember to look for “high value” link ideas – High Domain Authority, High Page Authority • Warning: This takes time and attention-to- detail but is worth it for the Ahas!
  42. 42. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Directories (General, Industry, Geographic…) Anchor text links without NoFollow Source: http://solarbuzz.com/industry-news/directory
  43. 43. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Associations, Sponsorships http://www.solarpowerinternational.com/2011/custom/spi/index.htm Image link without NoFollow; ask for alt text
  44. 44. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Blogs http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/7-portable-solar-laptop-chargers-worth-considering.php Anchor text links without NoFollow
  45. 45. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Widgets, Badges, Embeddable Content http://solar.coolerplanet.com/Widgets/Download.aspx
  46. 46. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Paid Advertising http://thesurvivalmom.com/2009/10/21/chrystalyns-adventures-with-the-sun-oven/ Many websites do not follow Google’s NoFollow requirement for advertisements
  47. 47. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Viral Content -- Infographics http://simplecomplexity.net/solar-powered-world/
  48. 48. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. How To Develop Link Building Strategies
  49. 49. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Being Identical Is Not Enough
  50. 50. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Keller SEO Approach • Goal: Leverage exceptional resources and unique & valuable information • Step 1: Run Link Building Brainstorm Session a. Identify Market Defining Words – A word or set of words that broadly describes your industry; Higher level than keyword targets • Solar  Green, Sustainability, Renewable Energy b. Identify “Linkable Assets” • What about your organization is “linkable?” • Does not have to be digital Sources:: Ontolo, Garrett French
  51. 51. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Potential Linkable Assets
  52. 52. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Approach c. Identify “Link Targets” • What types of websites, pages, people or places seek & value this linkable asset? • Step 2: Match “Link Targets” with potential “Linkable Assets” • Reseller of used manufacturing equipment  White paper • Sweepstake entrants  Embeddable badge • Distributor  Online Calculator • Step 3: Execute, Refine, Repeat… Sources: Ontolo, Garrett French
  53. 53. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Which Strategies To Adopt? • The ones that… – Fit with your content – Play to your skill set – Play to your brand’s strength – Leverage your networks & relationships – Fit your budget • Ultimately these are the ones which will work! Source: SEOmoz
  54. 54. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Session Recap • How to assess the value of a link – Conceptual: Anchor text, relevance, placement, trust, # of outbound links – Metrics: Page Authority & Domain Authority • How to figure out who is linking to you – Backlink analysis • How to find effective link building strategies – Competitive reverse engineering – Matching “Link Targets” with potential “Linkable Assets” and executing
  55. 55. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Keller SEO Services Link Building Options 1. Do-It-For-You Monthly Program 2. Link Building Workshops 3. Custom Coaching & Training
  56. 56. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. Help Make A Difference • If interested in SEOmoz Trial, sign up via http://www.jenkeller.com (on bottom right rail) – All affiliate earnings are donated to charity
  57. 57. © 2011 Keller SEO Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. About Keller SEO Services • Jen Keller is a Milwaukee SEO Specialist & founder/owner of Keller SEO Services. With over 12 years of search marketing experience, Jen has guided the development of more than 122 websites, including the first ever NBColympics.com. She has helped a wide range of clients create, refine, and execute profitable search engine optimization strategies -- garnering hundreds of Google “top rankings” along the way. Her pre-web experience is in traditional direct and database marketing. Jen has an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley with an undergraduate degree from Princeton University where she captained the Varsity Women’s Basketball Team. • Keller SEO Services provides search engine optimization services direct to companies in all types of industries. Clients have included: Yahoo!, KI, Markel American Insurance, Aurora Healthcare, Milliken & Company, Wennsoft, Marquette University, ISC International, Fox Valley Technical College and numerous small/medium-sized businesses. Keller SEO Services also provides SEO expertise to clients of interactive agencies, such as: Fullhouse Interactive -- Kimberly-Clark, MillerCoors, Johnson Controls, Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, Ruud Lighting & Pierce Manufacturing. • Contact Info: – jen@jenkeller.com or 262.758.2041

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