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Outbound link audit workshop - summer party 2014


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Digital Growth Day: September 18, 2014

It’s important to audit and monitor your outbound links to make sure they serve a real purpose, while also keeping Google happy.

Kit Nicols, DeepCrawl

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Outbound link audit workshop - summer party 2014

  1. 1. A Kick-Ass Outbound Link Audit How to Improve Links and Show Your Readers a Good Time @KitNicols
  2. 2. What is an outbound link?
  3. 3. What is an outbound link audit? “Ensuring that your site provides useful information to visitors – not just with the content itself, but also with the content your links endorse.” What does it involve? - Performing technical checks of external links - Performing editorial checks - Auditing old content - Futureproofing ongoing content
  4. 4. Why do I need to do one? You may be misleading visitors, sending them to broken pages or interrupting their online journey. They can’t trust your site. Search engines may be associating you with low quality/spam sites. They won’t see you as credible. Outbound link audit = being seen as authoritative and trustworthy by your visitors...helping with engagement. Outbound link audit = search engines see you only provide quality, relevant sources…helping with credibility
  5. 5. What do my links mean for SEO? Your Site Travel Deals Stationery Sports News Fashion Blog
  6. 6. What do my links mean for SEO? Your Site Sky Scanner Debenhams Holiday Shop Travel Blog Lonely Planet
  7. 7. Steps to Take – Technical Checks Follow/No Follow - Comment/forum links - Paid links/affiliate links – including links in guest posts - Embedded items (such as widgets etc) - Off topic sources that you want to link to <href=>Do follow</a> <href= rel=“nofollow”>No follow</a> Remove Links to… - Malware infected sites (your site is a risk to users). Run a malware check on external domains. - Broken links (you’re ending a user journey). Scan for these with a link checking tool Redirect Chains - Don’t send visitors (or search engines) on a messy journey trying to follow a link you’ve recommended - If links you’ve recommended change, you could end up forcing visitors through a redirect loop
  8. 8. Helpful Tools Who does Google associate me with?
  9. 9. Helpful Tools Where can I find my outbound links?
  10. 10. Steps to Take – Editorial Checks Are your links for humans or robots?
  11. 11. Steps to Take – Editorial Checks Are your links for humans or robots? - Is your anchor text engaging? Don’t use exact match unless it makes sense, and don’t just link to the URL - Are you linking to spam sites? If you’ve done reciprocal linking in the past, spam links can still exist - Have you got too many links on a page? This fluctuates depending on the content…but consider a ‘reasonable number’ for your page
  12. 12. Where are you placing outbound links? Nav bar? In content? Sidebar? Footer? Sitewide?
  13. 13. Steps to Take – Ongoing Content Futureproofing your site - Read the whole page you’re linking to - don’t rely on the headline. Is the information on the external page correct, trustworthy and contextual? - Does the content on the external page add anything to your argument? If not, your readers may just bounce back to the search results. - Don’t stuff your anchor text with keywords. Use natural language that encourages people to click through. But please, for the love of SEO, never use ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. - Set your links to open in a new window. This ensures that readers can enjoy the external content without leaving your website.
  14. 14. Discussion How many links are too many links? “We dropped the 100 links per page guideline – but we may take action if it is too spammy” Matt Cutts Is there a ‘ratio’? What’s your best practise?
  15. 15. Activity time!
  16. 16. Helpful Links - - - - - - @KitNicols