AudienceBloom

CALL US:  1-877-545-GROW

Category Archive: Link Building

  1. When and How to Perform a Link Quality Audit

    Leave a Comment

    articleimage638When and How to Perform a Link Quality Audit

    Link building is still a viable and necessary strategy for SEO. External links pointing to a domain pass authority to that domain, and the more authority a domain has, the easier it will be able to rank for specific keywords.

    Unfortunately, the link building process is more complex than just posting links on external sites; Google’s Penguin update, which originally released in 2012, has made the link identifying components of Google’s search algorithm incredibly sophisticated. Its most recent iteration, 3.0 in October of this year, pushed those changes even further. Under Penguin, your external links need to be diverse, authoritative, and of a high quality. Otherwise, you could face a penalty and suffer a ranking drop instead of a boost.

    As a result, it’s important to perform an occasional link quality audit to review your overall strategy, identify possible weaknesses, and preventing the possibility of getting hit with a sudden ranking fall.Many search marketers know this information, but still fail to perform an audit regularly. This guide will help you understand not only when—but also how—to perform a link quality audit for your campaign.

    Reaction to a Penalty

    articleimage638Reaction to a Penalty

    Unfortunately, most search marketers only implement a link quality audit after they’ve already been hit with a penalty. It’s easy to spot a penalty when it happens, especially if you keep a tight watch over the progress of your campaign. Your rankings will start to diminish for some or all of your keywords, and your organic traffic numbers will start to dip.

    These penalties are usually not “penalties” per say. Instead, they’re the result of a new update or data refresh rolling out, such as Penguin 3.0. When this happens, Google refines what links it sees and how it sees them, and automatically recalculates the rank for every business on the web. A decline of rank after a rollout is just an unfortunate and automatic drop in perceived significance.

    Manual penalties also exist, but these are very rare. In these cases, if a website has committed a particularly atrocious offense, a Google analyst may submit a manual penalty and greatly reduce that website’s visibility across the web. You will receive a formal notification if this happens, and the road to recovery is long and difficult.

    Nevertheless, if you have already suffered an automatic penalty, your first step is to respond immediately by performing a formal link quality audit and find the root of your problem.

    Ongoing Maintenance

    articleimage638Ongoing Maintenance

    Obviously, the better way to solve a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you can identify your bad links before Google can get to them with a data refresh or an update, you’ll never have to experience a ranking drop at all.

    The first step, of course, is to build exclusively high-quality links in your profile. If you only submit the best links, it makes sense that you’d never have to worry about a penalty, and a link quality audit would seem redundant. However, it’s still a good idea to go through your link profile occasionally and clear up any inconsistencies. Old links and negative SEO attacks are just two possible liabilities a link quality audit can catch.

    You don’t need to perform a link quality audit every day, or even every week (unless you’re running a very high-profile campaign). Bi-weekly or monthly link quality audits are suitable for most businesses.

    Step One: Identify the Culprits

    The first step to any link quality audit is to find any questionable links pointing to your domain. It’s not enough to simply review what links you personally posted and where; you’ll want to take a look at every link on the web pointing back to your site. You can do this using a free tool like Moz’sOpen Site Explorer, or some other external link-based search system.

    Once you have a list of all the links pointing back to you, start going through them one by one. If you’ve already experienced a penalty, you can be pretty sure there’s at least one bad link hiding in the others. Keep an eye out for links that exhibit any of the following questionable qualities:

    • Links stuffed with keywords as anchor text
    • Backlinks on questionable sources, such as article mills or local directories that have nothing to do with your industry
    • Links that are unhelpful to readers or irrelevant to the conversation
    • Links you’ve paid for (other than affiliate links)
    • Links on guest blogging networks or other link building schemes

    You don’t necessarily have to remove every link that seems questionable. Unless you’re facing a harsh penalty, only remove a link if it truly stands out as suspicious.

    If you haven’t found any questionable links in your link profile, then congratulations! Your link profile has passed the audit, and you can relax until your next regular check.

    Step Two: Reach Out to the Webmasters

    Now that you know the worst offenders in your link profile, you need to work on removing them from the web. Otherwise, they could damage your reputation and make your ranking situation worse. Your first step is to try removing the links yourself through a login and manual removal. If you are unable to do so, you’ll have to go straight to the webmaster.

    If you remember building the link in the first place, you should still have the webmaster’s contact information. If not, you can usually find it listed on the site itself under the contact page.

    If you’re still having trouble finding the webmaster, do a Whois search in Google by typing “Whois” followed by the domain. This will give you all the publicly available information on a given domain such as the contact information and the hosting company. You can also contact the hosting company directly to try and get closer to the webmaster.

    Once you have the information, write a polite email to the webmaster and formally ask that the link be removed. In most cases, they’ll be happy to help.

    Step Three: Escalate the Removal

    Asking the webmaster for help removing the link is the easiest and most reliable way to go. However, there may be rare instances when they refuse to help or ignore your request. In these instances, there is a last-ditch effort option available through Google Webmaster Tools.

    You can find the tool here, but only use it as a last resort. Google rejects a vast majority of link disavowal requests.

    Step Four: Repair Your Ongoing Strategy

    Finally, take a look at the links you removed and determine the fault point that led to their creation. Where was the flaw in your strategy? Make any corrections that you need to make, and get your team up to speed on the adjustments. The more you refine your strategy, the better your link profile will be, and your link audits will be much easier as a result.

    Commit to performing a link quality audit at least once a month for your campaign, even if your link building strategy is only a small component of your overall direction. Finding and removing one bad link can save you the pain of dealing with a ranking drop, and proactively keep your site’s domain authority rising over time.

  2. 5 New Link Building Strategies for a Post-Penguin 3.0 World

    Leave a Comment

    Penguin 3.0 is finally here, and it’s delivered a similarly powerful scope of changes to the world of optimization as its predecessors. Penguin 1.0 started altering the linkbuilding landscape back in 2012 with an algorithmic change that impacted more than three percent of all search queries. The update targeted low-quality backlinks, such as those stuffed with keywords or those posted on sites whose specific purpose was hosting external links.

    Now, more than two years later and more than a year after the last Penguin refresh, Penguin 3.0 is forcing link builders to alter their strategies yet again. Fortunately, there are several new tactics that can keep you afloat and push you forward, free of ranking penalties.

    Penguin 3.0’s Refinement

    Penguin 3.0 has continued in the tradition of Penguin updates, refining what constitutes a “good” link in the eyes of Google and launching a more sophisticated algorithm for weeding out the negative offenders. Since most obvious negative links have already been caught and penalized with previous updates, Penguin 3.0 has focused on targeting previously unnoticed low-quality links. While the exact algorithmic changes remain undisclosed and therefore unclear, it’s reasonable to expect that the “naturalness” of external links can be somehow measured with even greater precision.

    Your goal as a link builder should therefore be to build as many natural links as possible, while cutting out any strategies that could make it seem like you’re building links only for higher ranks.

    Strategy 1: Get More Local

    articleimage572getmorelocal

    Local optimization isn’t just a strategy for mom-and-pop gift stores or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It can and should be harnessed by all businesses with a physical office, even if they operate nationally. Pursuing a local SEO campaign gives you a much higher relevance to a slightly smaller audience, with much less competition to deal with. You’ll immediately get more visibility with a wider range of keywords that deal with local-specific terms, but more importantly, you’ll open the door to a new world of link possibilities.

    Local optimization demands attention for local-specific publications and PR opportunities. For example, if you want to build links with some region-specific language around them, it’s a good idea to attend local events and publish press releases around the opportunity. You can also post more on your social media profiles about local events, and make blog posts about local developments. It’s an easy opportunity to attract new links, and it will give you immediate authority for local-specific keywords. All you have to do is pay attention to the local news, and put yourself out there.

    Strategy 2: Create Infographics for Niche Topics

    articleimage572 Create Infographics for Niche Topics

    Infographics have always been a high-quality link building strategy because they’re permanent, high-quality pieces of content that are easily shareable and naturally attract tons of backlinks. However, the modern market has been saturated with infographics, and building one that’s both relevant and interesting is becoming more difficult. Churning out infographics that are redundant or ones that serve no purpose could earn you a penalty, or worse—a poor reputation.

    Instead, start creating infographics for niche topics—the hyper-specific topics that no one in your industry has tried to do before. You’ll sacrifice the sheer volume of your audience, but the audience you have left will be much more appreciative, and your infographic will get much more visibility. For example, making an infographic about the most powerful buzzwords in Twitter marketing is much more specific than making one about “social media marketing” in general. In the end, this strategy will earn you more links and give your infographics a much better shot at getting found (though you may have to perform some original research to put them together).

    Strategy 3: Selectively Hunt High-Quality Link Sources

    articleimage572Selectively Hunt High-Quality Link Sour

    The highest quality link sources are also the most difficult to build links with. Governmental sites ending in .gov and colleges and universities that end in .edu tend to be some of the most powerful and authoritative link building platforms, but getting your links on those sites is difficult and occasionally problematic—first, you have to find a way to build a relevant, valuable link, and second, you have to convince the webmaster to host it.

    Instead of trying to post links yourself on these sites or sending out a mass email to fish for an opportunity, take time every week to hunt down a handful of key opportunities. Offer a new program or product that fits with their purpose—such as a scholarship that can apply to several colleges and universities. Then, reach out to each webmaster individually and politely request that one of your links be featured on their sites. Don’t be surprised if your response rate is low—the links you do win will be that much more valuable to your strategy.

    Strategy 4: Diversify, Now More Than Ever

    Diversifying your link profile has always been a good strategy, but in a post-Penguin 3.0 world, it’s not enough to simply build links on different sites. You have to build several different kinds of links (such as 301 redirects, nofollow links, and broken links) on several different sources, in several different ways. Diversity is an understatement—no two links you build should be alike.

    It’s a difficult strategy to manage, especially if you’re running thin on sources to build links on, but the payoff is worth it. Every couple of weeks, you should do a run-through of your link profile as it currently exists using a tool like Moz’sOpen Site Explorer, which is free and open to the public. You’ll be able to see all the links currently pointing back to your site, including the domains they’re hosted on, and you should be able to infer broad themes about your link building strategy and note key areas for improvement or development.

    Strategy 5: Link Build Without the Links

    It sounds counterintuitive, but there’s a way to build links without actually building links. Google recently disclosed that brand mentions (instances of your brand’s name on the web), even without an accompanying link pointing back to your site, pass authority to the appropriate site. This means you can build “brand mentions” instead of links to get a similar boost in page rank.

    As with links, you’ll have to keep your diversity in mind. You don’t want a backlink profile that exists entirely of backlinks, nor do you want a profile that exists entirely of linkless brand mentions. Vary up the format of your brand mentions too—for example, if you’re running a company called “Bunker Media Marketing and Advertising,” you could build brand mentions such as “Bunker Media Marketing” or simply “Bunker Media.” Those variations add up to register as natural occurrences, since no “real” customers are likely to use the exact trademarked brand in every single instance.

    These strategies can all help you achieve a more natural, more authoritative link profile, but keep in mind your direct efforts are not nearly as significant unless you have a dedicated audience building links for you. The true key to cultivating a high-quality, Penguin-proof link profile is nurturing a linkworthy content strategy that people want to link to. Spend your efforts making and distributing great content, and you’ll never have to worry about links.

  3. The Importance of Interlinking Your Guest Blog Content

    Leave a Comment

    Guest blogging has always been a great SEO strategy; it increases your brand visibility, gives you more opportunities to link back to your main site, and creates a tight network between your main site and a series of high-authority external sources. If executed properly, a long-term guest blogging campaign can multiply the power of your brand and significantly increase the authority of your site—both from users’ and search engines’ perspectives.

    In order to get the most out of your guest blogging campaign, it’s a good idea to implement a process of interlinking to strengthen the bonds between your posts and help direct users to more valuable content—ultimately getting you closer to a converted lead.

    What Is Interlinking?

    articleimage559What Is Interlinking

    At its most basic, interlinking is a strategy that embeds hyperlinks in your articles which lead to your other articles. Essentially, you’ll be using your content as a bridge that connects users to other pieces of content that you’ve written, usually on your main site or on other external blogs.

    There are several benefits of interlinking, including:

    • Increasing the readability and authority of your article. When people see hyperlinks embedded throughout the article, it immediately imbues the article with an extra layer of authority, plus it looks great and helps your content become a more “visual” piece.
    • Giving users a chance to spend more time reading your material. When users click your links, they’ll be brought to other pieces of your content. Your bounce rate will decrease, and your users will have more reasons to stick around on your site.
    • Increasing traffic to your site (and other guest blogs). By interlinking your guest blogs, you’ll be automatically driving more users to your site—users who might not have found you otherwise.
    • Building a tight, scannable network for Google’s robots. Google likes to see connections between things. If you have your guest blogs aligned with a similar web of interrelated links, it will view all of them with a higher authority, and your main domain will see increased ranks as a result.

    No matter how often you guest blog or what sites you use to do it, it’s important to interlink your content as much as possible—without spamming or annoying your users.

    Interlinking Guest Blogs with Your Main Site

    articleimage559 Interlinking Guest Blogs with Your Main Site

    The main purpose of interlinking a guest blog is to get more traffic for your main site. The more traffic you have, the more chances you’ll have at converting leads, and ultimately, that means higher sales and revenue. Interlinking your guest content with your main site also passes authority in the eyes of Google, so if you link from a high-profile, high-authority site to your main website, you’ll eventually see a ranking increase as a result.

    You do have to be careful with how many links you have pointing back to your site, however. If a user clicks on multiple links within your article and they all link to one domain, they may become suspicious that you are trying to lure them into a sale, and they will distrust the intentions of your content.

    Interlinking Your Guest Blogs with Other Guest Blogs

    It’s wise to complement your interlinking strategy by including links to other guest blogs you write, either on the same host or a different one. The idea here is to give users a chance to explore your other content so they can get a wider view of your experience—and of course, to give them more value by providing helpful resources where they are required in the context of the article.

    Interlinking between guest blogs will also help build and strengthen the network of links and affiliates you display to Google, meaning increased authority all around.

    Best Practices

    articleimage559bestpractices

    Interlinking, while straightforward in theory, is a bit more complicated when you look at correct implementation. It’s not a process you can just start, stuffing as many links as you want into the body of your content. While the idea of building many bridges is appealing, you also have to keep the preferences of your users and the search robots at Google in mind. If you annoy your users, the strategy crumbles, and if you’re seen as a questionable practitioner in the eyes of search engines, your rankings will plummet.

    Keep your interlinking strategy healthy by incorporating these best practices into your campaign:

    The Importance of Link Relevance                                   

    Your links must be relevant to the subject of your article. If you try to stuff a link that leads to a meat processing factory’s website from an article about financial planning for seniors, you’re going to get some confused users and a red flag from Google’s algorithm. Google robots use contextual clues and semantic analysis to determine when links are appropriate or inappropriate, so use them only when they’re relevant and can give users more information. Your first goal should be making an informative, authoritative article, and your interlinking efforts should only enhance that purpose.

    Choosing the Right Anchor Text

    Anchor text has gotten a lot of attention lately, especially with the recent onset of the Penguin 3.0 update. Backlinks aren’t nearly as simple as they used to be; once upon a time, you could root your links in anchor text that contained a keyword you wanted to optimize for, and your ranking for that keyword would improve. Today, if you even try to optimize your anchor text, you’re begging for a penalty. Instead of writing out the names of your articles or trying to stuff a keyword phrase in to justify a place for your articles, embed your links into naturally relevant phrases (like I just did).

    Just the Right Number

    You want to have enough links to entice your users to click, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them. Having too many links from related sources pointing to one another can trigger a red flag from Google, signaling a link exchange scheme. It could also make your text virtually unreadable to the average user. There’s no firm rule for how many links you should have; instead, try and focus on only including the most relevant, highest quality links you can. You also need to vary your link targets—use many different articles in your interlinking strategy.

    Occasional Nofollow Links

    If you want to hedge your bets to avoid a penalty from Google, start using a handful of nofollow links as part of your interlinking strategy. Nofollow links are links marked with a rel=nofollow tag, which instructs Google to ignore the link in its authority-scouting algorithm. Essentially, you’ll be able to capture a share of user interest and traffic without angering search engine robots. It’s not ideal, since you’ll be missing out on a bit of authority, but if your interlinking strategy is tempered with occasional nofollow links, you’ll protect yourself against a possible ranking drop.

    Interlinking is a worthwhile strategy for any guest blogging opportunity. The benefits of increased rank and more traffic are nice, but keep in mind that your first priority should be giving your users a more valuable experience. If your links aren’t improving the quality or value of your article, you might as well have none, so remember your users and interlink responsibly.

  4. 10 Strategies to Attract Links to Your Content

    Leave a Comment

    Link building is still one of the most effective offsite search engine optimization practices around—the more high-quality links you have, the better. But with the onset of advanced Google updates like Penguin 3.0, it’s becoming more and more difficult to build “natural” backlinks on your own. In most cases, it’s better and easier to let your readers and customers do the work for you, by creating content that naturally encourages people to build links pointing back to your site.

    That may seem difficult, but when put into practice, you may find it’s one of the easiest—and most effective—link building strategies around. Try using these 10 tactics to attract more links to your onsite content:

    1. Show Something New.

    articleimage556Show Something New

    People like to see what’s new, and if it’s new enough and different enough, they’ll want to share it to their friends and followers. Nothing satisfies social urges quite like being the first person to share something new and exciting. If you have a new product or service to unveil, write a post about it, and talk about how it’s going to change the industry. You can also share a new take on an old problem, or share a new idea that has future potential. Anything you can do to share something new will pay off in spades.

    2. Tease Your Audience.

    articleimage556Tease Your Audience

    Build anticipation whenever possible. Anticipation leads to more attention, and the value of whatever you build to will correspondingly increase. You can build this anticipation by teasing your audience of a release to come—either in the form of social media posts, or by the creation of a webinar or content series. For example, you can make posts leading to a specific date like “We’ve got a big announcement for you next week!” and “only two days until the big reveal!” Your content, when revealed, will pack a much bigger punch, and your users will be far more likely to link to it as a result.

    3. Take a Firm Stance.

    Controversy can be a good thing. If you have the opportunity to take a firm stance on a major issue in your industry, or something else debatable, you should take it. Make sure your stance is in line with your brand standards, but don’t be afraid to firmly pick a side. You do run the risk of alienating some of your readers, but the remainder will be far more loyal and passionate about your brand. Those loyal followers will be highly likely to link to your strong, opinionated content—especially if they’re posting their own variations of it!

    4. Give Your Readers a Surprise.

    articleimage556Give Your Readers a Surprise

    Giving users exactly what they expect can lead to satisfaction, but if you give your users a surprise, they’ll remember it. Create content that offers something surprising—you can support an unconventional opinion, offer a unique solution, or simply have a sudden twist in your video content to evoke a surprised response. That surprise element is invaluable to facilitating interest from your readership. People like to share surprises to others, so your content will be far more likely to attract links from other bloggers and readers.

    5. Demonstrate Original Research.

    Original research is one of the juiciest and most attractive forms of content you can provide. Original research is—as the name suggests—original, and that means users can’t get your data anywhere else. Your data is also going to be valuable, at least to somebody, and many people will want to link to you simply to credit you as a source of their information. You’ll be the root source of dozens, if not hundreds, of secondary articles, most of which will link to you as the original source. The only problem with this strategy is the amount of time and effort it takes to perform original research properly.

    6. Let Others Guest Blog on Your Site.

    This strategy is much easier, and can be done by any company in any industry. Make a public request for guest bloggers—most writers are itching to write guest blogs as a source of new readership and more brand visibility. While allowing guest bloggers within your industry to post on your blog might actually send some of your users their way, the benefits to your brand can be just as powerful. Your readerships will “cross over,” and your guest bloggers’ current fans will be likely to link to their content—plus, your guest bloggers will be more than happy to share the links to their content on your site.

    7. Conduct Interviews and Surveys.

    Interviews and surveys are almost a type of original research that doesn’t take much time to implement or analyze. Essentially, you’ll be borrowing the authority of an individual or group of people in order to substantiate your own content—either with new insights or aggregated data. This strategy will attract links, either because it’s interesting, because it’s informative, or some mixture of the two. And if you’re conducting an interview with an individual, make sure to ask him/her to share it with his/her current fans.

    8. Create Something Funny or Entertaining.

    Funny content is self-explanatory—if your content makes somebody laugh, they’ll be far more likely to share and link to it. The trick is to find something funny to create. Amusing videos are one of the more popular options, but you can also write a parody post or something similar. If your brand voice is casual or flexible, you have a lot of room to work with—remember, that everybody loves to laugh deep down.

    9. Write Landmark Pieces.

    Landmark pieces, like whitepapers or thorough guides, are some of the best types of content you can write. They are longer, more detailed, and more useful than typical blog posts or infographics, and usually come through a PDF download link rather than existing onsite. These pieces are highly shareable, and are perfect for attracting links because they are seen as having a high level of authority, and they’re usually evergreen, meaning they’re useful for a longer period of time than a typical blog entry, and will attract links for a much longer time as a result.

    10. Reward Shares Directly.

    This is one of the easiest ways to build links, and one of the most effective—as long as you’re careful with it. Directly compensating users for linking to your content can be seen as manipulative and therefore against Google’s terms of service. However, you can encourage links to your content by offering entry into a competition, or by offering small rewards like discounts or credits. One specific example is asking your users for videos explaining why they love your ____ product, which in turn link back to the original competition page. You can also encourage social sharing along the same lines.

    Link building doesn’t have to be a massive internal effort. By leveraging the power of your own audience, you can build your reputation and naturally allow the development of all the links you could ever want. It’s still a good idea to occasionally review the sources of your links, and pursue extra high-quality link building opportunities in order to create the best possible backlink profile, but with these 10 strategies, you’ll be in an excellent position to let your link building campaign grow on its own.

  5. Is Infographic Marketing Still Effective for Link Building?

    Leave a Comment

    Infographics have been hailed as a penalty-proof strategy to build backlinks effectively, but now that they’ve been around for a few years, the enthusiasm for their utility is beginning to wane. In order to get the best results from your SEO campaign, you need a link building strategy that accomplishes three things:

    1. It builds links quickly enough to influence a significant change in page rank
    2. It builds links cost effectively, keeping the campaign within budget
    3. It builds links safely, without attracting any negative attention from Google

    Infographics once easily met all three of these criteria, but are infographics still an effective way to build backlinks?

    The Theory

    articleimage432The Theory

    The theory behind the usefulness of infographics in a link building campaign is still solid. At their best, infographics are concise, visual pieces that convey complex significant information in a compelling, entertaining, and easy-to-understand way. This is a perfect recipe for “viral content,” which has a high propensity to be shared amongst peers.

    Viral content has a number of advantages on its own, such as widening the reach and visibility of your brand, but its advantages for link building are what have made infographics such a popular medium for search marketers. When a piece of content, particularly an infographic, is shared on a new site, the sharer typically posts a link back to the original poster. Any of their readers who share the infographic would also link back to the original, eventually generating a large network of backlinks.

    The best part about the strategy, compared to other link building tactics, is that it is completely organic. One hundred percent of the links generated with infographic marketing are naturally produced by audience members, which means the marketer spends less effort building individual links and Google has no real reason to implement a penalty.

    One of the only downsides of infographic marketing was the cost of doing it right. Creating a compelling enough infographic requires the help of an in-house or freelance designer and several hours of intensive work. But still, infographics were safer and more effective than almost any other link building strategy available.

    Changes in Popularity

    articleimage432changesinpopularity

    Infographic marketing has changed. Over the course of the last five years or so, there has been a stunning increase in the popularity and importance of visual media in the marketing world. Popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter began seeing a trend of people posting, liking, and sharing more visual content than written content. Content marketers noticed that posts with images get far more traffic than posts without. And new, entirely visual social media platforms began to take center stage as the next step in social media evolution. Today, the photo sharing network Pinterest attracts around 40 million active monthly users, while Instagram has over 200 million active users.

    This rise in popularity has actually been a good thing. More visual users means a larger audience for infographics, and a higher potential for infographics to circulate quickly. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest almost cater to this idea, encouraging users to engage with one another in an almost exclusively image-based format. For marketers, this translates to a higher number of potential backlinks from a more diverse range of sources.

    On the other hand, thousands of marketers have realized the power of infographics and have started producing them on a more frequent basis. This rise in popularity has been a bad thing. Think of this concept as infographic inflation; money is valuable because it is a limited commodity. If the government were to decide to double the amount of money in circulation, it wouldn’t make everybody twice as rich; it would just make money half as valuable. The same principle applies here, at least to some extent. When you see your social media news feeds flooded with a torrent of infographics on a daily basis, over time they begin to diminish in significance, and eventually, they register as white noise.

    The popularity surge of infographics, by some accounts, has overtaken the surge of visual social media sites, resulting in an oversaturated market where the power of the infographic is greatly diminished. For example, Neil Patel of KISSmetrics found that the average power of his infographics decreased from 53,459 visitors and 875 backlinks to 21,582 visitors and 371 backlinks between 2012 and 2014. This is a perfect example of infographic inflation; these infographics are researched, produced, and distributed using the exact same process, yet the number of backlinks produced has been cut in half.

    However, take a look at the current power of content marketing in general. More businesses than ever are using blogs and social content sharing to build their authority and generate revenue, and yet it’s still a relevant strategy with plenty of room for anyone who wants to get in on the action. While infographics have waned in value, that doesn’t mean they are no longer valuable. Even looking at the low figures in the example above, 371 natural backlinks per infographic is substantial.

    Cost and Impact

    Infographics are still effective for link building, but that doesn’t mean they are an efficient strategy. For example, if infographic effectiveness has declined to the point where manual backlink building can earn you more backlinks in fewer hours, then manual backlink building would be a superior strategy.

    Depending on how you develop infographics, the cost can vary. Generally, it takes a graphic designer several hours to perform preliminary research and design out the piece. It then takes a marketer an hour or more to distribute the infographic on the proper channels. An average infographic would therefore cost hundreds of dollars, and like with any piece of design or content—you get what you pay for. Skimping on your infographic budget will only lead to low-quality work that only generates a minimal number of backlinks. With the current popularity of infographics, only quality work stands out.

    Still, even if you pay upwards of a thousand dollars for an infographic, if you can get several hundred unique backlinks from them, it’s worth the investment. Otherwise, you’ll be spending dozens of hours hunting down high quality backlink sources and building links, one by one, on your own.

    Why Infographics Are Still a Great Strategy

    articleimage432Why Infographics Are Still a Great Strategy

    Infographics aren’t nearly as efficient as they used to be. An infographic today, identical to an infographic in 2011, will only generate about half the interest and half the backlinks. Fortunately, that’s still a significant amount.

    But even if you throw out the idea of backlinking entirely, infographics are a great long-term strategy:

    • They are an easy way to promote your brand. Even if you don’t generate any links, if you include your brand, more people will see it and become familiar with it.
    • They are perfect social media fodder. Syndicate your infographics on social media, especially on visual platforms like Pinterest, and you’ll be able to attract more followers to your profile even without the extra backlinks.
    • They facilitate more traffic. You might not get as many links as you used to, but your infographics will drive more traffic to your site (especially if you become well-known for your high-quality infographics).

    All in all, infographics are still a fantastic inbound marketing strategy—they’re just not as good at link building as they used to be.

  6. How to Filter Trackback Spam From WordPress

    Leave a Comment

    articleimage430How to Filter Trackback Spam From WordPress

    Spam has been a problem since the dawn of the Internet, and it keeps evolving into new forms as increasingly complex solutions arise to conquer it. While some old-school forms of spam have all but been eliminated, modern forms of spam, such as trackback spam, are still problematic for millions of Internet users. The popular blogging platform WordPress features trackbacks as an option, but for many users, the volume of spam associated with trackbacks is too high to warrant their presence.

    There are many options available to deal with trackback spam in WordPress, including filtering options, but first, let’s take a high-level look at the root of the problem.

    What Is a Trackback?

    articleimage430whatistrackback

    A trackback is a type of link posted on one blog, pointing to another, which allows the original article creator (and the focus of the link) to track who is linking to their content. It’s a type of communicative exchange that allows multiple bloggers to connect with each other, and when done correctly, it can be beneficial for both parties.

    For example, if Blogger One posts an interesting article about kitchen knives and Blogger Two writes a blog about cooking with vegetables, Blogger Two might use a trackback to post a link back to Blogger One’s article. This way, Blogger Two can comment on Blogger One’s kitchen knife post while still allowing his own readers to see his commentary. Blogger One would also receive a notification of the trackback, and would have the option of displaying it as a comment on his own site. If the comment is accepted, it will include an excerpt of the new post and a link back to Blogger Two’s full post.

    Pingbacks are a similar, but distinct entity in the world of WordPress, and it’s important to understand the difference. The biggest difference is that pingbacks are automatically sent, whereas trackbacks are specifically created. Let’s take the above example: in this scenario, Blogger One writes a post and Blogger Two simply mentions the article in a new post. Blogger One’s blogging platform (WordPress, in this case) receives a pingback, which can be reviewed and posted as a comment that simply links back to Blogger Two’s site.

    Why Does It Matter?

    Trackbacks may seem like a superfluous feature, but they can be helpful in community building between multiple blogs. Since bloggers have full control over which trackbacks and pingbacks appear as comments on their site, it’s fairly easy to moderate comments and only accept those that are mutually beneficial. For example, Blogger One may not wish to publish a trackback that harshly criticizes his/her original content.

    The exchange of links is also beneficial. Backlinks are an important ranking signal in Google, so the more high quality backlinks you have pointing back to your site, the better. Do take this with a word of caution, however: Google has been known to penalize link exchangers (two parties who post backlinks to each other’s site in an effort to help both rise in rank). So if you engage in trackbacks yourself, make sure you engage with a wide circle of blogs with similar topics.

    Trackback Abuse and Spam

    articleimage430trackbackabuseandspam

    Despite the potential benefits of trackbacks when used properly, unfortunately the vast majority of trackbacks on the web are spam. And spam is annoying for everybody.

    In the older days of the Internet, comment spam was the most popular way to spam links on external blogs. Spammers would simply post blog comments containing a link pointing back to their site and reap the benefits of the increased traffic and higher page rank. However, modern spam filters and smarter blog structures have done a fantastic job of eliminating most comment spam (and penalizing the spammers behind them).

    Trackback spam functions like comment spam in the sense that spammers can post links pointing back to their site on other blogs; however, trackbacks circumvent many of the safeguards intended to protect blogs from receiving comment spam. Some blogging platforms have eliminated trackbacks entirely because trackback spam has run rampant, but WordPress still supports trackbacks for users who wish to use them appropriately.

    Trackback spam can be obvious or subtle, depending on the skill and intentions of the spammer. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to deal with this burden.

    Solution One: Manually Deleting Trackbacks

    If you notice that your blog is receiving an inordinate number of trackbacks, or if the trackbacks you receive seem irrelevant or questionable, you can go through and manually delete the offending trackbacks. All trackbacks appear under the “Comments” section of your WordPress site, where you will be able to review and moderate each individual instance. You can flag these instances as spam, delete them, or approve them if they appear to be natural or valuable to you.

    Solution Two: Setting Up a Filtering System

    If you receive trackback spam regularly, or if you simply don’t want to spend time deleting them manually, you can add a WordPress plugin that filters incoming trackbacks and automatically weeds out the bad seeds. A filter might not catch every single instance of trackback spam, so it’s possible you’ll still have to go in and manually delete some, but for the most part it is a great long-term solution.

    The Simple Trackback Validation plugin is one of the best tools available. Whenever it receives a trackback, the plugin runs a quick check to compare the IP address of the sender with the IP address of the webserver in question. Since trackback spammers tend to rely on bots and third party entities, most IP mismatches are evidence of spam, and are thus thrown out. Next, the plugin tests the URL from the trackback to verify that it links to a real blog. If it does not, the trackback is automatically removed.

    There are many filtering and setup options available, so you can customize the plugin to best suit your needs. There are also a wide variety of other plugins for catching trackback spam—this just happens to be one of the most efficient.

    Solution Three: Remove All Trackbacks

    If you don’t want to manually remove any trackbacks and you aren’t satisfied with setting up a trackback filter, you could also go the extreme route and simply block all trackbacks to your site. If you visit the Options > Discussion panel on the back end of your site, you’ll see an option for “Allow link notifications from other Weblogs (pingbacks and trackbacks),” which is currently checked. Uncheck that option and you will no longer receive any future trackbacks (though current trackbacks will remain until you delete them).

    Disabling all future trackbacks isn’t the best option, however, since trackbacks can be a beneficial feature when used responsibly by other bloggers.

    How you deal with trackbacks is entirely dependent on your personal preferences:

    • If your blog doesn’t receive much traffic or doesn’t receive many trackbacks, you might as well stick with manual moderation and deletion moving forward.
    • If you like the community-building potential of appropriately used trackbacks, it’s probably worth downloading and setting up a plugin that will automatically filter trackback spam.
    • If you don’t like the trackback feature at all and would prefer not to mess with a new plugin, simply disable all trackbacks and continue blogging.

    Remember, you can always adjust your approach if you change your mind.

     

  7. Do Website Rankings Remain After Backlinks Disappear?

    1 Comment

    Search engine optimization is characteristically veiled in a shroud of imprecise speculations and anecdotal evidence. While there are some hard, objective factors that can help a site rank higher, the remainder of our collective knowledge on SEO is, at times, unhelpful due to the unpredictable nature of the digital world.

    Google is constantly changing its standards for what makes a site “authoritative,” and which ranking signals are most important, but there are some tenets that have been consistent, such as high quality content and reputable, natural backlinks. So what happens when one of these ranking signals, such as a backlink pointing to your site, disappears?

    The Relationship Between Backlinks and Site Rankings

    articleimage429The Relationship Between Backlinks and Site Ranking

    First, let’s take a look at the relationship between backlinks and site rankings. In the old days of SEO, search marketers would litter the web with backlinks, knowing their association with higher page rank. Fortunately for web users, Google has released a series of updates, including Google Penguin, which eliminated spam-like backlink practices in favor of a more natural system of authority measurement.

    What does that mean for modern link builders? Well, like we mentioned, there’s a bit of a veil blocking us from understanding exactly what makes a link significant in the eyes of Google. We know that Google can tell when a link is relevant (such as determining whether the location of the link is related to the host site’s industry), and keeps count to detect when a site is engaging in spam. But we also know that adding more high-quality links (and their new cousin, brand mentions) generally results in higher page rank over time.

    The Concept of “Link Echoes”

    Clearly, the number of links you have pointing back to your site is important, to some degree. Adding links can improve your page rank, but what happens when you take a link away?

    Logically, because there is some dependency on the sheer number of links available, taking away a given link should result in a decreased rank. However, search marketerslikeMoz founder Rand Fishkin have noticed a strange and intriguing pattern; when a backlink is removed from an external site, in some cases, the site’s rank will not drop. And in some cases, the site’s rank will actually increase.

    This phenomenon has been observed and debated for several months, sometimes called the result of “link echoes” or “link ghosts.” When the team over at Moz ran a formal experiment, they took two similar sites and for each of them, built 22 links using 22 identical sources. Naturally, the link increase resulted in a measurable rise in ranks (the exact rise was different for each site, due to differences in anchor text). After this phase of the experiment, the researchers then removed all 22 links from both sites, expecting their ranks to drop back down. However, both sites stayed exactly where they were.

    Moz repeated this experiment multiple times, and under each condition, the sites stayed at the same rank or only dropped one or two positions. There were no major external factors that could have affected this experiment, suggesting that the concept of a “link echo” is real. The authority you get from a backlink can continue supporting your site even after the link is taken down.

    Why is this phenomenon occurring?Of course, Google wisely keeps most of its secrets under lock-and-key, but there are several theories that plausibly explain the mechanisms behind this effect.

    Theory One: Reverberation of Link Power

    The first theory is the most straightforward, though it doesn’t explain the mechanics behind the effect. It could be that Google’s algorithm is built specifically to “remember” links that once existed, or catalog them as a factor in a site’s ranking. This would lead to a reverberating effect, theoretically giving preference to links that still exist but also taking former links into consideration. It is unclear how long this reverberation period lasts, though experiments suggest it lasts at least a few weeks. If this theory is true, the reverberation period likely varies depending on the type of site and the type of links used to support it.

    Theory Two: Improved Site Performance

    It’s also possible that there is nothing in Google’s algorithm that specifically produces the link echoing effect. Instead, the external links could naturally produce more traffic to the site in question, which would then be viewed and analyzed as an indication of higher site relevance by search engines. Even when the link disappears, that effect of that increased site performance could remain. If this is the case, then external links aren’t as relevant to the ranking process as the secondary effects generated by those links. It’s tough to put this theory to the test since it relies on specifics within algorithm data unavailable to the public.

    Theory Three: Other Factors

    Of course, both of these theories could be completely wrong. The experiments could be flawed, resulting in a skewed perception of whether “link echoes” actually exist. Or, there could be some invisible third factor playing a role in determining the strength of those reverberations. If that’s the case, there’s almost nothing we can do to uncover the mystery. All we can do is consider the fact that links can be useful even after they are removed and worry less about preserving the links we have.

    Good News and Bad News

    articleimage429Goodnewsandbadnews

    For most search marketers, link echoes are a good thing. It means you don’t have to spend time backtracking and checking up on all the links you’ve built. And if you do lose a handful of links (for whatever reason), you can rest easy knowing you’re still getting a benefit from them. Instead of retracing your linking steps, you can spend more time building new links from new sources and diversify your existing strategy.

    There is also a potential downside to this algorithm feature. While good links that disappear continue to have positive effects for your site, it’s entirely possible that bad links can continue to have negative effects. For example, if you post a link on an irrelevant site and lose page rank, you could face a slow or impossible recovery even after you take that link down.

    If you end up facing a situation like this, the best thing to do is perform a disavowal—a request to Google that they do not take a certain backlink into consideration when attempting to rank your site. This likely circumvents the link reverberation effects since it forces the algorithm to completely ignore the link(s) in question.

    Backlinking Strategies That Work

    articleimage429 Backlinking Strategies That Work

    Link echoes aren’t something that requires a major adjustment to your strategy, but they are worth considering. If you can spend less time focused on the past and more time focused on the future, you’ll wind up with better campaign results.

    The key takeaway here is that links have a greater long-term significance than we ever thought previously. If you want to make sure you keep positive page ranks, you need to ensure that your strategy only builds links using the most authoritative sources:

    • Specific niche industry directories
    • Industry-relevant blogs
    • Industry-relevant forums
    • Guest blogs from a range of different high-authority sources

    The more effort you put into your link building strategy, the more it will pay off—even after those links disappear.

  8. 8 Types of Backlink Sources to Avoid

    Leave a Comment

    Backlinks are a vital part of any SEO strategy because they serve as a roadmap for search engines. The more quality, authoritative links you have pointing back to your site, the more “authority” your site is deemed to have, and the more likely it is that you’ll rank for a given keyword or keyword phrase. Over the years, this has become less of a mathematical problem and more of a relationship-based one; Google once calculated a site’s authority based on the sheer number of links, but due to spam and aggressive rank manipulation, it now only favors natural, relevant links.

    What does that mean for you, the link builder?

    It means you need to be careful where and how you post links. If you’re suspected of spamming unnatural links for the purposes of increasing your page rank, you could earn yourself a Google penalty. Since it’s still important to build links if you’re going to succeed in your search engine marketing campaign, you have to recognize which sources of links are valuable and which ones are dangerous.

    For starters, make sure you avoid these eight risky types of backlink sources:

    1.Article Directories.

    articleimage415 Article Directories

    Article directories used to be a big deal in the world of SEO. They were cheap, easy, useful ways to syndicate one article and generate hundreds of links pointing back to your site from other directory participants. Too many people took advantage of this, syndicating poorly written, keyword-stuffed fluff, and Google took notice. Since then, Google’s algorithm has penalized backlinks that have been generated from low-quality article directories, and has scouted for any duplicated content on the web that could be evidence of such a practice. There’s nothing inherently wrong with guest posting, but avoid duplicating your content through article directories if you don’t want to earn yourself a penalty.

    2. Link Farms.

    articleimage415linkfarm

    Link farms, as their name suggests, are low-quality resources that exist solely to host links for other sites. They serve no purpose on their own other than to increase traffic and page rank for other sites. This may sound almost benevolent, but since they exist only to manipulate page ranks, they’ve earned a smackdown from Google. You’ll likely never see a link farm on the first page of Google again and for good reason—they do nothing to improve online user experience or provide any meaningful information. If you happen to find one, don’t even think about using it to post links to your own site.

    3.Exchangers.

    First, let me say that relationship building is great in an online context. Finding relevant partners with whom you can share content is a great way to mutually build authority and share an audience. However, if you excessively exchange links with a consistent other source, you could get some serious negative attention from Google. Diversity counts, so if too much of your backlink profile is dependent on one or a handful of other sources, it could look bad for all of you. Feel free to post on each other’s blog, but don’t exchange a series of links with another source unless it’s only a small part of your overall strategy.

    4. Paid Sources.

    Google’s official policy states that paying for links is unacceptable. That’s it. If Google somehow finds out that you’ve been paying for your links, or if they catch your source selling backlinks directly, they will bring the hammer down on everybody involved. Paying for individual links may seem like a cost-effective and easy strategy to quickly build your link profile, but even if those links are high in quality, the risk of getting caught is too great. Paying for SEO services is a bit of a gray area, but paying directly for links is bad news no matter what.

    5.Link Wheels.

    Link wheels are essentially the pyramid schemes of link building, and just like pyramid schemes, they are a waste of time and money. Link wheels are artificial means of passing link juice through a series of links that point to each other. To put it simply, link wheels attempt to fool search engines by building a pathway that passes authority from site to site. Like most linking schemes, on paper it seems like a good idea and it used to work marvelously. But Google is sharp, and they’re wise to all these tricks. Link juicing in itself isn’t a terrible strategy, but trying to build a link wheel will work against you.

    6.Conversation Plugs.

    Trying to slip your link into an irrelevant conversation, or posting your link at the end of your comment regardless of the circumstances is an example of a bad backlink strategy. While forum and blog comments are ordinarily great resources for quality link building, if your message is intended solely to build your authority with a backlink, you’re in for trouble. Instead, focus on finding ways to incorporate your links naturally into the conversation. Seek out threads that give you an opportunity to present yourself as an authority. Then, make sure your link points back to a relevant page—and not the same one over and over.

    7.Irrelevant Directories.

    There are some directories that are beneficial for link building. Highly focused, niche-based directories try to organize and build relationships between companies in the same industry, and relevant links you post there will count positively toward your own authority. However, posting links in a directory that has nothing to do with your industry is a negative practice that should be avoided at all costs. Google knows what type of company you are; if you’re a hardware store posting in a restaurant directory, you might as well ask for a penalty directly.

    8.Non-Newsworthy Press Releases

    articleimage415Non-Newsworthy Press Releases

    Ordinarily, press releases are a great source of quality brand links. They’re examples of well-written content that showcase your brand, point to your site, and can be accepted by some of the highest-ranking news authorities in the country. However, if your press releases are not newsworthy, your strategy can do more harm than good. Posting too many press releases for the sake of posting press releases is considered a type of spam; you’ll have duplicate content all over the web, and a series of boring, fluff-filled updates pointing back to your site. It’s a bad way to build backlinks, and can damage the reputation of your company.

    Unfortunately, posting in the right places isn’t enough to guarantee that you’ll avoid a penalty. The context and frequency of your links is also important. Even when posting to a reputable site of high authority, you need to ensure that your link is valuable to readers and relevant to the conversation. Also be careful not to post too many links to the same place in the same location, or you could get negative attention for spamming. Use Nofollow links to mitigate these risks, and encourage brand mentions whenever possible.

    The biggest takeaway here is that there is no guaranteed safe haven for posting backlinks. It’s good to avoid the notorious low-quality culprits in the list above, but you still need to make sure all your links are spaced out, diversified, and relevant in order to see the best results. Quality link building takes time and patience, and unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

  9. Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Page Authority When Link Building

    Leave a Comment

    If you’ve been involved with SEO for any length of time, you likely know the importance of link building. And you’ve probably heard just how important PageRank and Domain Authority are when selecting sites from which to try to get links. And this is sort of true. A site’s PageRank and its Domain Authority determine to some extent how valuable it is.

    However, we’ve found in our years of working with real-world sites that these aren’t the only metrics you should concern yourself with. In fact, you should probably put your focus elsewhere entirely when seeking out new links if you want to see tangible results.

    PageRank Just Doesn’t Matter

    articleimage380PageRank Just Doesn't Matter

    At least, it doesn’t matter like you think it does. A lot of SEOs with outdated information — and clients with the same — seem to think getting as many links as you can from sites with a high PageRank will make their sites suddenly awesome. And sure, you might see an increase in PageRank by following this strategy. But this strategy doesn’t matter all that much when Google uses around 200 different metrics to determine a site’s value. PageRank is just one.

    Trying to get all the links from high PageRank sites, or chasing the green bar as Search Engine Watch calls it, is only one piece of the puzzle. If all you focus on is increasing this one metric, it’s actually pretty easy, but it won’t necessarily boost your site in the SERPs or see your site have increased authority or value all of a sudden. No, those metrics can only be obtained through building a relevant, high-quality site.

    It’s All About Relevance Now

    articleimage381 It's All About Relevance Now

    Rather than looking to PageRank or Domain Authority, now it’s important to think about the relevance of the links you get. What is relevant, you might be wondering? Good question. That can be a bit hard to define. It might seem like it’s all up to personal opinion but the latest Google algorithm has determined a way to assign a value to the relevancy of a link.

    Basically, a relevant link is one that relates directly to the content you offer on your site. The link should come from a site that speaks directly on this subject. The page itself should also be directly related. When links to your site are relevant, it shows Google that you must be an authority on this subject matter. It’s all about context.

    The Value of Natural Links

    Relevant links are natural links. That is, since they relate directly to the subject matter of your site, they are something people would naturally click on when navigating the web about that particular subject.

    Natural links are those that you would make even if SEO didn’t exist. You’d simply link to this content because it would offer value to your readers. These are the best kinds of links to get pointing toward your site’s pages. They are relevant within the context of your niche and are valuable to the people clicking through.

    Think of it this way. Let’s say someone were to be searching for information on motorcycles and came across a website on the subject. Included in the content is a link to your site. However, your site is about makeup tips. How likely is it that the person looking for motorcycle information is actually going to click on the link to your site? Not very likely, right? So what’s the value of this link? It’s not relevant and therefore not much use to those with the motorcycle query.

    Now do you see why this makes irrelevant links unimpressive in Google’s eyes? Without relevancy they don’t offer any value to searchers. Even if the linking site has a high PageRank. Google looks at whether or not the link is actually driving traffic as a major metric for a link’s value.

    Natural links also add more value to the Internet as a whole. A natural link structure based on user intent and needs rather than attempts to boost search engine rank make websites more intuitive to use and more helpful in context. A good rule of thumb is to only seek out links from sites that relate directly to your content. Be very selective. It’s not about quantity here. You want to build links that last and that still hold as much power in a few years as they do right now.

    Building Relationships Matters

    articleimage381Building Relationships Matters

    Sometimes, it’s not about SEO at all. And though link building is one of the oldest SEO activities, it can actually be used in a very new way. Well, new for the online world, at least. We’re talking about relationship building here, and sometimes the process of reaching out for a link can help you to build a relationship with a highly beneficial contact.

    Of course, your first step probably shouldn’t be asking somebody for a link. It should be attempting to create a real relationship about the subject you’re both passionate about. Social media is actually a great tool for the initial contact phase. Engage in discussion. Offer the insights only you can provide. Then, after some time has passed, you can inquire about getting that link.

    Relationship building has always been an important component of marketing but it’s expanded in scope so much over the past few years. Social media, in particular, has changed the way we communicate and we think that’s something that a lot of SEOs have lost sight of. The previous methods of trying to get as many links as you could from any old site and then getting links from as many high authority sites have all but died off. When relevancy and context rule, the relationships between its owners matter, too.

    So now you know why PageRank and Domain Authority don’t matter nearly as much as some SEOs would lead you to believe. And the next time you hear this bit of misinformation, you can speak up right away and set them straight. High quality links are relevant links. There’s just no way to get around that fact. So think about context. And think about what would be the most valuable to Internet users. Keep those two things in mind and you can’t go wrong.

  10. Is It Possible to Get Google Sitelinks Without Linkbuilding?

    Leave a Comment

    Sitelinks are becoming a more important part of an overall Internet presence for all industries. Sitelinks are the links that are directly underneath the main link for site results in a Google search. Those links tend to be related to the main link, focusing on more nuanced and precise categories within the main topic area. Depending on the way that the links are being promoted, they may even point to other pages within the main website that is being linked to.

    The main advantage of sitelinks is simple: Having more links on a search engine listing creates a bigger chance that your website will be visited rather than the site of a competitor. There are other advantages as well, including:

    • overall increased click through rate
    • more impressive main site listing
    • less space on the search engine page for competitors
    • link juice and increased Google PageRank for all sublinked pages
    • increases trust in all listings that are linked

    One of the most important questions for search engine optimization professionals in today’s online market is how to create sitelinks without link building efforts. Is there even a way to do this? Link building is becoming more difficult every cycle as Google continues to implement programs such as Penguin as well as Panda that punish the efforts of good companies who are simply trying to increase their online real estate. As a result, many companies have completely abandoned link building efforts. This actually results in the exact opposite effect of what Google purports to try to accomplish: With less relevant companies vying for top search engine slots, there is less relevant content to place in front of search engine queries.

    However, sitelinks can actually be created without having to go through the muddy waters of link building and the constantly changing rules of Google algorithms. Below are just a few of the ways in which search engine professionals can create more leverage for their listings. Although the exact nature of what makes a sitelink appear is still a secret, the tactics below have been proven to work for reputable companies in the past.

    articleimage331websitestructure

    Your Website Structure

    The way that Google chooses sitelinks has a lot to do with the type of structure and organization that your website has. The more organized that your website is according to the algorithms that are currently in use by Google, the more likely that you will receive the appropriate sitelinks under your main link listing. One of the easiest ways to get started restructuring an unorganized website is through categorization.

    The categorization of a website includes detailing the more nuanced parts of your website through specialized long tail keywords and other search engine tactics. Basically, do not treat your entire website as though it is one homogenous entity: Delve more deeply into the subject matter and organize your website as you would a term paper or the table of contents in a scientific book.

    articleimage331 The Ease of Web Crawling

    The Ease of Web Crawling

    This has to do with organization, but it is more technically based than the tip above. At the same time that you detail the nuances of your website in your content and pictures, you must also do so in your coding. Be sure that the navigation of your website is not hidden behind a scripting language that Google does not recognize. Google should be able to easily follow the links that you provide in your website. Google Webmaster provides the very tools that you will need in order to create a website that is easy for Google and other major search engines to navigate. For the most part, you should use the tools that are provided by the search engine that you are looking to increase ranking on.

    articleimage331linkinternally

    Link Internally

    Organization includes internal links. The more effective that your internal link structure is to a human being, the more effective that it will be to a Google site crawler. Make sure that all of your subcategories link back up to their parents where it is most appropriate. This will give you a positive feedback loop in two ways: The people who are already visiting your website will stay on it longer because they will be able to find references more easily. Secondly, your website will receive more consideration for sitelinks because of this increased stickiness on your website.

    Internal linking also helps Google to recognize what is most important on a website. Parent categories will most likely be linked to a great deal. Subcategories will likely have links going out. This dichotomy helps Google to understand what parent categories and subcategories are. If that organization matches the schema that Google has set up for those keywords, then you are much more likely to have a high ranking page overall as well as plenty of sitelinks.

    Increasing Web Traffic

    As you continue to organize your website in the manner mentioned above, you should increase the web traffic that is already moving to your website. Not only this, but the increased organization will attract new traffic as your site moves up the rankings in the major search engines. As Google finds new ways to appropriately index your website, people will be able to more easily access those parts of the website that they find most useful.

    In order to do this, be sure that each of your pages has title elements that are unique. The descriptions should be completely unique as well. If you need to hire a professional copywriter so that you do not have to repurpose content from another website, do so. The investment is more than worth it because of the longevity of good site content.

    True Usefulness of a Website

    All of the organization that you perform should be done with the intent of becoming truly useful to the end-user. You may be able to get click through’s for a while based upon a quick reorganization without much substance; however, these users will not stay for very long. As your web traffic drops off, so will the interest that Google has in your website. If this is the case, your search engine listing will gradually decrease until it is completely irrelevant to your industry.

    The Final Word

    Not only is it possible to get Google sitelinks without a link building strategy, it is actually required. The organizational process that you must go through in order to create appropriate sitelinks is a process that all top websites must incorporate into their web presence at some point or another. Go ahead and make this a priority now so that you do not have to deal with it later.

    Be sure that your website has plenty of content for your target audience. After all, Google and other major search engines are trying to make their algorithms behave more like people every day. Even if you are able to get a few short-term clicks based on the weaknesses in the program, those weaknesses will be fixed. If the past record of Google tells you anything, short-term boosts in ranking will be punished retroactively. Therefore, it is better to initiate a long-term strategy now rather than trying to get the short-term sale when it comes to sitelinks.

Success! We've just sent an email containing a download link for your selected resource. Please check your spam folder if you don't receive it within 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Love,

-The AudienceBloom Team