The Rules of Link Building – Whiteboard Friday [VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

Howdy Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Cyrus. Today we’re going to be talking about The Rules of Link Building. Now, this is really important because we see a lot of people out there in the marketing world getting scared of link building. Past actions coming back to haunt them. People saying that link building is dead. Links losing value in Google’s algorithm. Rand did a great Whiteboard Friday a few weeks ago about that. But what’s really disturbing is some people are giving up completely on link building, when it’s still a really huge part of Google’s algorithm. They’re giving up because they don’t know rules. They don’t understand that when you play by the rules, for the most part, you can really win.

I like to think about this as like a basketball game, going back to the days of the ancient Aztecs, when they started playing and there weren’t a lot of rules. What’s happening now is we have Google, the referee in the black and white shirt, and they’re coming down, they’re saying, “Hey guys, this isn’t working. We need to install some order here.” So they start giving out fouls and penalties to people. Some of these people are getting frustrated. They’re leaving the game, but the people who aren’t getting fouled, who aren’t getting the penalties, they are winning the score. That’s where we want to be. We want to be the people who are still playing the game instead of walking off the court, because these people aren’t going to win.

If we understand what the rules are, and these rules I see get violated all the time, even people trying to do what they can get away with. It’s not worth it. Playing the rules is something that we want to strive for. One thing I’ve heard internet marketers talk about for years is the idea of doing what works. For a long time, there was no referee on the court. Google was just absent and people were doing whatever they wanted.

People would say, “I don’t really care what the rules are, because I’m going to do what works today for my client.” People like Rand Fishkin and Will Reynolds, they were saying, “Guys, you got to follow the rules because the rules are coming. Don’t do what works today, do what works tomorrow.” That’s the advice. These rules are based on not only what works today, but what works tomorrow. Not only that you win today’s game, but that you keep winning game after game after game and you win that NCAA tournament.

First of all, I want to start off with some things that we want to avoid when link building. If we look at what Google’s been targeting, there’s usually two common factors in links that they target. They are first of all, links that you control. When we see Google crack down on guest blogging networks, on widget links, signature profile links, they all have that one element in common that you control, the anchor text. That’s exactly what Google is not looking. I predict any new link penalties that happen in the future will also follow this pattern. It will be links where you control the anchor text.

We’re always going to have situations where we do control the anchor text, beware and be very careful with those links, because those are the links that are subject to devaluation and penalization. The same thing goes for links that scale. Again, we’re talking about widget links, author bio boxes. When you combine these two together, those are exactly the kind of links you need to be extra special careful with and not scale, not do too much anchor text manipulation, because they will always be subject to those penalties.

One rule that I’ve been following for years. I got this from Eric Ward, the very famous link builder. Never ask for anchor text. When you’re doing outreach, when you’re talking to other people, when you’re guest posting, asking for the anchor text is going to raise a lot of red flags. That’s what kills it for you, because when you start asking for anchor text your brain starts working. You think, “Well, I need this keyword. I need this keyword. You create patterns. You create over-optimization. No matter what the temptation is, if you don’t ask for anchor text, you’re going to get a much more natural link profile. In all the years that I’ve been doing link building, I have never asked for anchor text once. Whoever is linking to me can link to me however they want. Sometimes it’s a no followed link, sometimes it’s not exactly what I want, but it’s natural and it comes off so much more natural.

Couple of other rules that I see people violate all the time that Google has made painfully clear in the past few months. Don’t link externally in the footer. Just don’t. Not going to go into the reasons, just don’t do that. By the same token, except for navigation avoid site-wide links. This is something that we’ve known for years. If someone links to you externally site-wide in the sidebar, that’s ripe for paying 1 style links. Again, this are best practices. There’s always exceptions to the rules, but generally following these rules is going to help you out, even if you have to break them sometimes.

On the do side of things, one thing that I want to emphasize is do link building. Don’t give up just because Google is imposing these rules and penalizing people. Link building is still important even to the best SEO company and we still need the people who are actively out there building still have a huge opportunity to win, so don’t give up on this as a part of your practice. One thing that I would emphasize doing is shifting from actively building links to more of a focus on distribution, because the more eyeballs that are on your content, the more of the natural links you’re going to earn. That’s something we do here at Moz. Huge emphasis on social distribution, distribution through our partners. We just want to get the eyeballs on the content, because that’s the end goal anyway. There’s a huge correlation between getting eyeballs on good content and link building. It’s one of the best kind of link building you can do is just getting your content out there on the right eyeballs.

Along those same lines, outreach is still okay. Writing those emails, finding those influencers. Our friends at BuzzStream just wrote a really excellent guide on how to do outreach. I’ll link to it in the comments below in the transcript below. Really worth a read. But the idea is, along with distribution, you want to get the right eyeballs on your content, so that they have those opportunities to build those natural links that you don’t control the anchor text. Where it’s not scalable, it’s a real human being putting a real link in their content and endorsing you.

One thing to always keep in mind that when we’re looking at links and how we judge them, the value of the link equals the quality of the traffic that it can drive you, meaning that this is kind of Google judges links. It’s not necessarily the quantity of the traffic that the link can drive, but the quality. If you run a mechanics shop and you want good leads from those links, you’d want other mechanic shops or auto parts stores to link to you. A link from an SEO company Vancouver blog probably doesn’t have a lot of value, because it’s not very relevant. When you build links, that’s one of the golden rules is look at the quality of the traffic that it’s going to drive you. That’s going to help you a lot in those relevancy signals that Google is looking at.

Finally, in this new age of link building, we need to start embracing the no follow and not be as scared of it as we have been, because those links that we are considering no following probably weren’t helping you that much anyway. Embracing them kind of cuts those signals off that Google doesn’t want those to pass page rank. They don’t want them to pass anchor text. Keep in mind that even no followed links, Google still looks at those. We have evidence that Google uses no follow links for crawling and discovery purposes and there’s some evidence, some evidence, that Google may use no follow links for signals other than that. Not every link has to pass page rank or anchor text to be valuable.

One final thought that I want to leave with to keep in mind. When you practice these good dues, these good link building practices, you start to take your marketing to a higher level. At its best, good link building is indistinguishable from good marketing. When you’re doing link building right, you don’t even need the links, because you’re doing good marketing. You’re pushing your content out there. You’re talking to those influencers. You’re getting traffic to your site. Those just happen to be the signals that Google wants to reward.

Let’s do that. Let’s win the link building game. Happy Friday everybody. Thank you.

Understanding The Importance Of Local Search For SEO

Google has been constantly updating its search engine algorithms and the results have been catastrophic and market changing with a few notorious updates. With the new search update by Google named ‘possum’, one thing has become quite clear- the proximity of the user’s location as a metric is going to be tapped more and more aggressively.  Therefore it is no surprise that those service providers and businesses who have been tapping their location data and metrics more sincerely are being rewarded with better rankings. SEO Vancouver takes a look at what this means for the end users.

Suppose you are looking for a particular service in your area, and a very large corporation provides that service in your area. You could expect to see multiple entries from the same domain in the search results, and it was problematic to say the least for users who had been looking for alternative service providers. However, this has been taken care of post ‘Possum’ as users can expect to see more and more different service providers who have locations approximate to the user. Hence, the user gets a more comprehensive utility out of his search now, a win win for both the user and Google.

What Google has been trying to do is not something entirely new. This has been existing for a while. However what is new is how aggressively the results are being filtered for the user. If you want to dominate the results in this market, well you need to outperform your competitor by a considerable margin at least. This is going to put pressure on content as well as service providers to do better both with content as well as their offerings, argues the Best SEO company.

What This Means For You

Well, if we were to summarize in a nutshell, the competition is going to increase, and it is going to increase ferociously.  The search has been affected in a very subtle, yet very important way. The results are not being presented on the basis of dominance or clustering of providers any more, but rather than the utility for the user. This invariably means that the end user is going to gain the most as the results are more meaningful in respect to his location. The importance to the location of the searcher has become greater than ever before.

Gearing Up For The Changes

If you are a service provider for local searches or if your business depends upon local search engine traffic for business, the first and the foremost step is to check to see how much your search rankings have been affected. Irrespective of the fact on whether you have been affected or not, it is time that you took your location foot print seriously. You should make sure that all the data that can help your customers in making a decision are available to your customers, for example the space for parking. You also need to make sure that you are in good company of a SEO agency which can manage these hassles for you, according to SEO Vancouver.

Search,  the way we see and understand it, is ever going to change. Therefore it is very important that we stay in tune with these changes at every step if we want our business to succeed.

WordPress And SEO- What, Why and How?

WordPress is a CMS or a Content Management System which can be more easily understood as a framework which provides you with a functional website to start with, in a matter of a few minutes. WordPress has been among the most popular PHP frameworks. Initially intended to be a framework to provide a turn key blogging solution for users, it soon became flooded with usable extensions that can supercharge your wordpress installation and you can use it to run e-commerce websites. The immense possibilities of customization and availability of a large number of plugins which can fine tune every little detail in your installation have made WordPress the most familiar frameworks encountered by the top 10 seo companies.Since it is one of the most important and widely used frameworks, it becomes important to know the in and out of SEO optimization for wordpress.

Many people tend to think that WordPress also comes with search engine optimization out of the box. However this is far from true, argues SEO Vancouver. Many vendors claim their product to be SEO optimized out of the box, but it isn’t anything beyond just a unique selling point. There isn’t anything as a SEO optimized CMS which can solve all your worries, else all the SEO agencies might have been gone out of business by now, don’t you think ? Sure, it does provide extensibility in the form of plugins which can make the task of SEO optimization a bit easier as compared to custom coded CMSes.

Many people also think that just because they have purchased an SEO plugin, they do not need to hire an SEO consultant. This is far from true and has given more rude shocks than anything else possibly. The only purpose of a plug-in is to help the consultant do his job easily and in a hassle free manner. Plug-ins make the process of optimization of your website easier and hence save you unnecessary costs, but that is the extent of it. They were never meant to be a replacement for any kind of human consult.

Another problem that needs to be addressed with WordPress is the bloating of your website with an increase in the amount of plugins that you use with the website. Each plugin you add increases the amount of code that is processed for the rendering of your website. With search engines, especially Google giving the load times of a web site due importance in search rankings, you need to make sure your website is performing at an optimum speed. A good hosting plan is not an excuse to continue ignoring a bloated website. Fortunately, Google provides detailed analysis of bottlenecks in your website with its pagespeed tool. You should deactivate any plugins which are not being used in your website at all. You should also take care to make sure your styling and script resources are optimized as well.

We cannot ignore the plugin for search engine optimization and the hosting as well. You should choose a hosting plan that suits your need and provides you enough speed to boost your metrics. Some hosting providers put restrictions on the kind of plugins you can use, therefore you should make sure the plugins you want to use are okay with your hosting service provider.

One more thing you might want to check is the theme you will be using. Many free themes come installed with spammy links which can really hurt your website. So make sure the theme you are using is clean and has a good reputation amongst its users. Checking the feedback system at theme marketplaces can surely help with this.

Writing about wordpress can get pretty long pretty quickly, so we are thinking of bringing out an entire series on WordPress. You can let us know your views by using the comment box below.

Don’t Cry Foul when Google Updates Algorithms!

google algorithm

If your site has started performing badly after the recent releases of updated algorithms then don’t blame them. Chances are the mishaps are not due to the updates but your site has something going on with it.

In this article for SEO Vancouver, I’ll explain how to keep your site in check before and after a Google Algorithm update. I’ll also mention a couple of points which will help you in retaining your pre-update rankings.

Mobile Optimization:

Stats say that 35% of total search queries are now generated through mobile devices. Keep it in mind when you are performing SEO exercises for your website. If your site is not mobile optimized, you’ll be losing a lot of traffic which you could have been generating. The share of mobile searches are increasing day by day and after Google mobile friendly update, it is evident that even google is trying to give mobile optimized sites better ranking.

Is Your Google Analytics Properly Installed?

Before blaming anyone, re-check the analytics configurations in your site. “Not getting traffic” and “Not showing-up traffic” are two different things. If your analytical tools are not properly installed then you’ll not be able to keep the track of actual traffic that you are generating and will lose a lot in conversion ratio.

Never Forget to Utilize Data Science:

Data science is something which has taken the internet marketing in a whole new level. If you don’t have data, you have nothing. Historical data helps in predicting the market trend and helps in fortify your present situation. After properly analyzing the historical data of your site, you can actually build a list of pages according to their performance in past and present. After comparing the performance, you can easily figure out what needs to be changed in order to get the desired results.

Keep Yourself Updated With Techniques Other that SEO:

Since the market is changing, it is high time for the marketers to think outside the box to sell their product / services. SEO Vancouver has explained how important it is to keep creativity charged. This charged creativity can turn the table around and bring the ball in your court. Whenever google updates its algorithm, be sure that the update is going to be consumer centric. This approach of google should be welcome as we are moving forward to an open market. But, to survive in this environment where the consumer can directly talk about your brand, you’ll have to be extra careful.

Branded traffic is something you should focus on if the site is not generating as much traffic. It is always helpful to have some high quality banded traffic as it helps with the conversion.

Get Your SEO Basics Right:

Last but not the least, if the basics of your SEO are not right, the site is destined to ill perform. Having done on-page, off-page and every type of search engine optimization, it is necessary to keep updating the link juice. SEO is an on-going process. It is always helpful getting authority links. Target big and try to achieve big.

Along with these points, keep customer satisfaction as your primary objective. If you are providing what you are promising, there is nothing to worry about.