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How
Automated Contextual Linking
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Links are the key to Google’s algorithm
=
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
As SEOs, we
love links!
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
As SEOs, we
love links!
We know links are
not everything.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
As SEOs, we
love links!
We know links are
not everything.
But, links are
still great.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Links are versatile
Create relationships
Provide accessibility Signal popularity
Drive traffic Pass authority
and more
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
While many SEOs
love external links …
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
... I prefer
internal linking
While many SEOs
love external links …
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Internal linking often
lacks creativity.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We stuff links in headers
and navigation.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We create long lists
of footer links.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We create myriad
combinations of facets.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
These tactics
still work
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
but there’s a
better way.
These tactics
still work,
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Introducing
contextual linking!
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Contextual Links
1. Have anchor text
Boston University is among the most
respected research universities in the
nation. Right next door to the Back Bay,
the BU campus enjoys a superb location
on the banks of the Charles River.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Contextual Links
1. Have anchor text.
2. Link to important
pages
Boston University is among the most
respected research universities in the
nation. Right next door to the Back Bay,
the BU campus enjoys a superb location
on the banks of the Charles River.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Contextual Links
1. Have anchor text.
2. Link to important pages
3. Provide context
to users
Boston University is among the most
respected research universities in the
nation. Right next door to the Back Bay,
the BU campus enjoys a superb location
on the banks of the Charles River.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We think Google
trusts contextual links
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Are they harder
to spam?
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Are they harder
to spam?
They make sense
for users
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Are they harder
to spam?
They make sense
for users
Contextual links
don’t scale!
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
At Apartments.com, we have scale.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We write a lot of
local guides.
At Apartments.com,
we have scale.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We write them for
neighborhoods
We write a lot of
local guides.
At Apartments.com,
we have scale.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
and cities
We write them for
neighborhoods,
We write a lot of
local guides.
At Apartments.com,
we have scale.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
and cities,
We write them for
neighborhoods,
We write a lot of
local guides.
At Apartments.com,
we have scale.
and college/
university campuses.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Local guides
drive traffic
Jan-17M
ar-17M
ay-17
Jul-17
Sep-17N
ov-17
Jan-18M
ar-18M
ay-18
Jul-18
Sep-18N
ov-18
Jan-19M
ar-19
Started
writing
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
They also mention
a lot of entities
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
which is an
opportunity
They also mention
a lot of entities,
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
What if we use
AI to place the links?
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Created a plan!
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We care about …
Quality Accuracy
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
1
Run an algorithm
to identify entities
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
1 2
Match found entities
to our database
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
1 2 3
Prioritize the
matched entities
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
1 2 3 4
Place the links
in the content
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Confirm the link
destination works
1 2 3 4 5
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Our plan didn’t
work
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
What went wrong?
Google’s Cloud Natural
Language API
• identified a ton of entities
• expensive to run to run at scale
• entities were largely irrelevant
to our database
spaCy Natural Language
Processing
• free (open source)
• didn’t identify as many entities
• entities were still largely irrelevant
to our database
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Models were not trained on our data
We could label our
own data
• Train our own model
• This would take months
• Would be expensive
Come up with
simpler solution
• May not be fancy
• Address most needs
• Use the 80/20 rule
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
We flipped the problem
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Start with
our database
of entities
1
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Prioritize which entities
to search for
1 2
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Look for priority
entities in the content
1 2 3
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Place the links
in the content
1 2 3 4
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Confirm the link
destination works
1 2 3 4 5
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
It worked!
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Our solution
is live in
production.
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Our solution
is live in
production.
Links update
automatically
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
What did we
learn?
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Data science is key
for enterprise SEO
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Simple solutions
can be effective
Data science is key
for enterprise SEO
@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
Simple solutions
can be effective
Data science is key
for enterprise SEO
Dream big
Thank you!@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com

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How Apartments.com Automated Contextual Linking - Next10X Boston 2019

  • 1. How Automated Contextual Linking @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session
  • 2. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Links are the key to Google’s algorithm =
  • 3. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session As SEOs, we love links!
  • 4. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session As SEOs, we love links! We know links are not everything.
  • 5. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session As SEOs, we love links! We know links are not everything. But, links are still great.
  • 6. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Links are versatile Create relationships Provide accessibility Signal popularity Drive traffic Pass authority and more
  • 7. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session While many SEOs love external links …
  • 8. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session ... I prefer internal linking While many SEOs love external links …
  • 9. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Internal linking often lacks creativity.
  • 10. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We stuff links in headers and navigation.
  • 11. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We create long lists of footer links.
  • 12. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We create myriad combinations of facets.
  • 13. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session These tactics still work
  • 14. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session but there’s a better way. These tactics still work,
  • 15. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Introducing contextual linking!
  • 16. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Contextual Links 1. Have anchor text Boston University is among the most respected research universities in the nation. Right next door to the Back Bay, the BU campus enjoys a superb location on the banks of the Charles River.
  • 17. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Contextual Links 1. Have anchor text. 2. Link to important pages Boston University is among the most respected research universities in the nation. Right next door to the Back Bay, the BU campus enjoys a superb location on the banks of the Charles River.
  • 18. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Contextual Links 1. Have anchor text. 2. Link to important pages 3. Provide context to users Boston University is among the most respected research universities in the nation. Right next door to the Back Bay, the BU campus enjoys a superb location on the banks of the Charles River.
  • 19. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We think Google trusts contextual links
  • 20. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Are they harder to spam?
  • 21. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Are they harder to spam? They make sense for users
  • 22. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Are they harder to spam? They make sense for users Contextual links don’t scale!
  • 23. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session At Apartments.com, we have scale.
  • 24. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We write a lot of local guides. At Apartments.com, we have scale.
  • 25. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We write them for neighborhoods We write a lot of local guides. At Apartments.com, we have scale.
  • 26. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session and cities We write them for neighborhoods, We write a lot of local guides. At Apartments.com, we have scale.
  • 27. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session and cities, We write them for neighborhoods, We write a lot of local guides. At Apartments.com, we have scale. and college/ university campuses.
  • 28. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Local guides drive traffic Jan-17M ar-17M ay-17 Jul-17 Sep-17N ov-17 Jan-18M ar-18M ay-18 Jul-18 Sep-18N ov-18 Jan-19M ar-19 Started writing
  • 29. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session They also mention a lot of entities
  • 30. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session which is an opportunity They also mention a lot of entities,
  • 31. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session What if we use AI to place the links?
  • 32. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Created a plan!
  • 33. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We care about … Quality Accuracy
  • 34. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session 1 Run an algorithm to identify entities
  • 35. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session 1 2 Match found entities to our database
  • 36. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session 1 2 3 Prioritize the matched entities
  • 37. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session 1 2 3 4 Place the links in the content
  • 38. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Confirm the link destination works 1 2 3 4 5
  • 39. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Our plan didn’t work
  • 40. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session What went wrong? Google’s Cloud Natural Language API • identified a ton of entities • expensive to run to run at scale • entities were largely irrelevant to our database spaCy Natural Language Processing • free (open source) • didn’t identify as many entities • entities were still largely irrelevant to our database
  • 41. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Models were not trained on our data We could label our own data • Train our own model • This would take months • Would be expensive Come up with simpler solution • May not be fancy • Address most needs • Use the 80/20 rule
  • 42. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session We flipped the problem
  • 43. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Start with our database of entities 1
  • 44. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Prioritize which entities to search for 1 2
  • 45. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Look for priority entities in the content 1 2 3
  • 46. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Place the links in the content 1 2 3 4
  • 47. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Confirm the link destination works 1 2 3 4 5
  • 48. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session It worked!
  • 49. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Our solution is live in production.
  • 50. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Our solution is live in production. Links update automatically
  • 51. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session What did we learn?
  • 52. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Data science is key for enterprise SEO
  • 53. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Simple solutions can be effective Data science is key for enterprise SEO
  • 54. @jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com | Spotlight Session Simple solutions can be effective Data science is key for enterprise SEO Dream big
  • 55. Thank you!@jsilton | #Next10xJordan Silton | Apartments.com