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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz
| @randfish | firstname.lastname@example.org Link Building’s Tipping Point The same shifts we’ve seen in query & content evaluation are coming to links. What does it mean for SEO? And how can marketers react?
And Dozens More Individual Factors
Outlink Propensity Rate of Link Acquisition Nofollow vs. Follow Links in Images Link Density Content Relevance Website Relevance Trust Factors Co-Citation Content Duplication Links within Tags Geography of Host Surrounding Text Surrounding Text
Google’s Core Search team is
always asking the same question: Are searchers satisfied with these results? How do they get the answer?... Aggregate Behavioral Data
Do searchers, on average, click
the results we rank highly more than the results we rank lower? Aggregate Behavioral Data 35% of clicks 19% of clicks 11% of clicks All Good!
Do many searchers click on
nothing at all, and instead change their query, or choose a “related search?” Aggregate Behavioral Data If it’s these, maybe we show more results for commercial & manufacturing equipment up front.
Do searchers, on average, “short-click”
some results, while “long-clicking” others? Aggregate Behavioral Data If clicks on Probake.com results in a quick return to the SERPs While the NYTimes.com piece gets high engagement w/ few bounces… Google might swap their rankings
Machine and Deep-Learning Models Sites
& pages that satisfy searchers Sites & pages that don’t satisfy searchers Sites & pages that link to these good resources Sites & pages that link to these poor resources ML model to identify traits highly predictive of good vs. bad links
ML Models Can Apply to
Spam, Too Editorial, high value, search-quality-team, hand-reviewed links Links that point to good stuff, but are manipulative, sketchy, paid, or coerced ML model to identify traits highly predictive of good vs. bad links
Domain Reputation & Author Authority
But, Google might assign different weight to articles in different subsections, or different authors. e.g. Samuel Scott’s links may deserve to pass value “Anonymous executive”… not so much.
LineaPasta’s Long-Term Link Strategy Rank
in search for key terms and earn direct traffic from linking endorsements Apply a product- centric link strategy. Use our partnerships & endorsements by chefs, restaurants, & media to earn links. Outreach to current partners, sales mentions to restaurant buyers, leverage founder’s contacts w/ chefs, PR w/ media 1. Links from our partners 2. Links & mentions from media/press 3. Rankings for key terms 4. Search visits Link Goals Strategic Approach Tactical Initiatives KPI Metrics
A Balance Between Long-Term Investments
& Short-Term Hacks High upfront costs Pay (in time/$$) as you go Long-Term Investments Slow to show ROI Earn links while you sleep Non-existent Spam Risk Can Show Fast ROI Effort In = Links Out Can Have Spam Risk Short-Term Hacks
Enable a platform where a
community earns value by contributing content, products, ideas, reviews, submissions, etc. How Does It Work? Invest in amplification of the contributions Nudge your contributors to drive the links 1 2 3
Focus on people, a product,
an industry, or a problem that naturally attracts press interest How Does It Work? Leverage the fundamentals of fame, controversy, storytelling, etc. to amplify Associate your narrative with the keywords most important to your search traffic 1 2 3
Create a platform (media, commerce,
etc) or product (tools, graphics, forms, etc) that works via installation on 3rd-party websites How Does It Work? Build the initial audience that uses your embed and helps it to reach broad adoption Leverage the embed’s format to earn the right links to the right places 1 2 3
Find an audience for your
service that forms links alongside the partnership/relationship How Does It Work? Craft a common structure for the ask or nudge you use in the partnership (in the contract, with a suggested style, logo use, citation requirements, etc.) Vary link destination & anchor text over time & across partners to give boosts where you need them 1 2 3
Publish content that has high
chances of earning natural links & citations from others How Does It Work? Market your content through channels that reach the audiences most likely to link Grow a scalable process for amplification to continue attracting new potential link sources 1 2 3
Moz’s Flywheel KW Research +
Industry Intuition Publish Content Promote via Social Channels Push to email + RSS subscribers Earn Links + Amplification Grow social, email, RSS, & WoM channels Grow Domain Authority Earn Search & Referral Traffic Rank for More Competitive KWs
KW Research + Industry Intuition
Publish Content Promote via Social Channels Push to email + RSS subscribers Earn Links + Amplification Grow social, email, RSS, & WoM channels Grow Domain Authority Earn Search & Referral Traffic Rank for More Competitive KWs In 2006, I was lucky if new content led to any links or rankings at all
KW Research + Industry Intuition
Publish Content Promote via Social Channels Push to email + RSS subscribers Earn Links + Amplification Grow social, email, RSS, & WoM channels Grow Domain Authority Earn Search & Referral Traffic Rank for More Competitive KWs But, by 2016, nearly every post earns a handful of links, & some earn a lot!
Medium is a great cheat-code
for this: Via Medium The built in network, the ability to use rel=canonical (and/or link to the original post), and the domain’s ranking ability make it a sweet republishing platform.
A Tactical Tip for Guest
Contributions: The language you use in these queries matters “submit post” “guest blog” “guest post” Often Sketchy Usually Solid “share your story” “write for *” “guest author”
#3: Local Links Geography can
be a big link opportunity… But it can be a process to find potential sources. Try this: Let’s say you’re Ace Spirits, just off Main Street in Hopkins, MN
Step 1: Find the two
most popular, similar businesses in your region. We’ll skip chains, since Ace is a single-store, and go with Surdyk’s and Zipps (they have the most reviews)
Step 2: Use a combined
query for those businesses plus the region Boom! A link opportunity. And another one. And another! It goes on like this for page after page We can repeat this with combinations of all the other competitors, too
#7: Resource Lists (& Directories)
Once again, language structure matters “directory” “submit link” “add your site” “add url” Often Sketchy Usually Solid “resource list” “recommended sites” “inurl:resources” “KW + websites”
#8a: Testimonials You don’t have
to wait to be asked. If there’s a product, service, or company you love, email the founders or folks on marketing and offer an unsolicited testimonial. Via Buzzstream Discovery
#9: Brand, Image, & Content
Reclamation If you have content (particularly logos, brand names, or visuals) that have widespread use, ID’ing pages with them that don’t link back can be an easy, powerful link grabVia Vertical Measures (who does, BTW, link back)
Ask: Do your links mimic
how people might find you without search? The NYTimes writing a feature about pasta machines might be a strong starting point for restauranteurs & chefs in need Via NYTimes
Ask: Are your link sources
pointing to content searchers find valuable? By its very nature, sites like Hacker News (despite the nofollows) indicate a degree of value provided to the audience by the links (and rankings tend to follow) Via YCombinator
Ask: Will your link profile
pass Google’s machine-learning smell test? Think of learning models like savvy SEOs manually reviewing your link profile by hand. If they think “this all looks legit,” you’re probably in good shape. If not… Via OSE