Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links Like A Techie

An Unnatural Link Warning from Google Webmaster Tools You've been in business for many years. You may have done it all on your own, or you may have enlisted the aid of unscrupulous SEO "services" to built links for you. Either way, you may be wondering whether you need to conduct a link clean up. This column contains a five-step process outlining how to determine if you have a problem, how to analyze it, and then how to clean it up. But first: Unnatural Links Warning = Problem If you get this message, you have a problem. Skip to step two. [caption id="attachment_166889" align="aligncenter" width="505"] An Unnatural Link Warning from Googl [...]


Build B2B Brand Awareness, Not Links

content social promotion diagram Given the ample warning and increased transparency Google provided in advance of Penguin 2.0, it surprises me that B2B search marketers still blew up the forums about being penalized for link spam after it hit. There's no reason webmasters should not have cleaned up their act before the rollout (the exception being a recently acquired client that already had a bad link profile). Yet, some B2B marketers continue to build spammy links. Can you honestly picture a manufacturer of pipes or a custom fabrication shop creating enough online dialogue that 100 sites per month would link to them legit [...]


Link Building Campaign Design: How To Scale Outreach Today

Community "Scaling link building" is a buzzword that died a slow but well-deserved death over the course of the last several years. Panda, Penguin and common sense were nails in the coffin for many wild link building schemes advertised as "cheap and scalable." But, if you're shrewd, there are still a few opportunities to scale remaining in today's world of authentic, quality, natural link building. Link builders have to be very careful about what they choose to scale. Scaling the wrong thing, or not scaling properly, leads to a quick disaster. Low-quality, template emails = bad. Beautifully wordsm [...]


How To Get Links By Writing About Other People

People usually love talking about themselves, and most people are naturally interested in the intricacies of others, whether it's business or personal. When you do an interview or put together a crowdsourced piece (and yes, I know many of you hate that term!) you're linking to the people involved. At first, this may seem counter-intuitive to earning links for yourself -- however, linking out to influential people while pumping out great content can be one of the best link building tactics out there, and here's why: Some people find it easier to promote themselves indirectly. By promo [...]


Public Relations For SEO: How To Target Journalists

Public Relations for SEO A few years ago, I launched a website called FindHow, and we gave it a full-court press from a PR standpoint. In this series of articles, I’m running through all the best practices we leveraged. In the first part of Public Relations For SEO: The Complete Guide, we talked about how to convince journalists that your topic is newsworthy by properly “positioning” your product or service, and then delved into the basics of writing a press release. Part 2 continues with strategies for targeting journalists and tips for scheduling your announcement. Pick A Strategy To Target Journalists [...]


Public Relations For SEO: How To Pitch Journalists

Public Relations for SEO A few years ago, I launched a website called FindHow, and we gave it a full-court press from a PR standpoint. In this series of articles, I’m running through all the best practices we leveraged. In Part 1 and Part 2, we talked about how to convince journalists that your topic is newsworthy,  the basics of writing a press release, strategies for targeting journalists and tips for scheduling your announcement. Here, we conclude with tips for pitching journalists and how to work it before, during and after the announcement of your release. Pitching Journalists Before you start, understan [...]


A Data-Centric Approach To Identifying 404 Pages Worth Saving

A critical part of doing a site or link audit is checking to see how many 404 (page not found) pages there are in a site. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an audit that lists the total number of 404 pages and advises developers to find appropriate pages to redirect these 404 pages to. That’s no big deal if we’re talking about just 20 to 30 pages. But, when a site has 404 pages in the thousands, and you tell the developers to fix these pages, you’re going to look more than a little ridiculous. So, how can you find out which of those 404 pages are actually important? Two [...]


How To Create A Sustainable Link Plan

it's not sustainable I've recently spoken with three business owners who have approached me in a fairly atypical way: instead of asking me for a proposal, they've given me theirs. It's been a fascinating glimpse into the dangers of thinking that just because you read a lot about link building (and by and large, most people who tell me what they "know" will work say that they read every link building article that comes out), you're equipped to run a successful campaign. Here's the most common thing that these guys have in common:   They have a link plan that is absolutely and completely unsustainable [...]


How To Conduct A Link Audit

In the comments section of my last column, someone asked me about link audits, and after looking around to see if I could find a good resource to point her to, I didn't find anything that was exactly what I was looking for. I found loads of great pieces on SEO audits but not that much specific to links. (Maybe that particular SERP was affected by the latest Google update.) One reason that I've not written much about link audits is that it's a process that's very fluid for me. I love trying out new tools and there are always algorithm updates that favor something more than something else. [...]


Are You Using Gap Analysis For Multinational Linkbuilding?

local-links-panda-penguin-featured Linkbuilding still lies at the core of any successful SEO campaign. Indeed, campaigns at the very top end in the most competitive verticals are all about the effectiveness of their linkbuilding strategy. When you look at delivering significant returns across a range of countries, this truism is even more pronounced: despite all the advances in SEO strategy over the years, without a killer linkbuilding strategy you won't compete at the very top level.   Achieve Lasting Link Value The guts of a solid strategy, for me, revolve around achieving excellence in two areas of your linkbuil [...]


What Everyone Needs To Know About Good, Bad & Bland Links

Links are always a popular topic, and this year has proven no exception including Penguin, links vs. social media, negative SEO and disavowing links. Recently, someone asked me to distinguish between good links and bad links. First, there are really three types of links: Links that help SEO Links that hurt SEO Links search engines ignore Google and Bing have been clear, search engines do not use every link as a ranking signal; they ignore many links. While they are not going to tell webmasters which specific links matter and which ones they ignore, the search engines d [...]


The Domino Effect Of Links & Relationships

Link building can, and should, be a domino effect. A good solid link should lead to more good, solid links, but do we always pursue links with this in mind? I confess that I don't always. Sometimes a link is just a link, and that's where it ends, but moving forward in the wake of the recent algorithm updates, I think we'll all be better off if we try to build links that build links. Along with that, since I firmly believe that building relationships builds links, we'll talk about how to do that, too. It's simple and easy but sometimes the simple and easy methods are the most overlooked. [...]


How To Panic-Proof Your Link Campaign

All too often, I get a fair amount of frantic emails from people who are seeing a dropoff in rankings and/or traffic after the latest algorithmic update and are looking for help or just a second opinion. Sometimes a keyword that has been number 2 for 8 months in a row moves down a spot to number 3. Sometimes one drops off the first page and isn't in the top 100. Sometimes traffic almost completely dies. In any case, it creates panic. Most people don't think very clearly when they panic. Their immediate response is something drastic, their directives are to take place yesterday, and t [...]


How To Creatively & Effectively Build Links Using Public Data

Governments, non-profit and other organisations are under constant pressure to improve transparency and, as a result, are making vast amounts of data available to the public. The range of data sets available is enormous, with 16 nations currently spear heading open data initiatives, and countless private organisations publishing data online - the US alone has published more than 400,000 data sets. This free data presents an opportunity for anyone with a creative mind to produce something of real interest and, in return, acquire quality inbound links to their website. Furthermore, both th [...]


How To Find Link Prospects Without Using Google

I'm obsessed with Google. (I mean, you kind of have to be if you're in this industry.) But sometimes, you need a break from the hand that feeds. There's no denying the power of advanced search queries, but you'd be surprised how many other and different prospects you can find without using the search engine at all. Curated Lists OK, I lied. You do have to use Google for this, but not nearly in the capacity you would with normal searches. With lists, you have less sources to sift through but the value of the sites far outweigh normal SERPs. My favorite searches — thanks to SEOmoz — [...]


9 Free Tools For Link Discovery & Content Creation

Every day it seems that there's a new tool out there to monitor, measure, track, and suggest what we should be doing. Many of these are free or offer free trials, which I love, but finding the time to test out a new tool in order to see if it suits you isn't always easy. My objective in using these tools is, of course, building links, so I'll go over the tools that I use and show you how I'd use them. And hey, they're all free!! For the record, I'm not interested in competitive analysis, analyzing sites, using social media (with one notable exception, and my exclusion here is only becaus [...]


How To Terrify Executives Into Linkbuilding

scared-businessman-featured Much has been written about the poor in-house SEO, fighting the good fight to inculcate SEO awareness and best practices throughout the organization. This is an unenviable task and more than one in-house has shared a narrative with me that sounds something like this:  SEO:  "So, I’m concerned that we’re not proactively link-building and that may have a negative impact on our high quality in bound traffic." Executive:  "But when I type-in the company’s name, we are number one in Google." SEO:  "Yes, well you are getting personalized results AND there’s a lot more to . . ." [...]


How To Canonicalize URLs As Backlinks In Local Search & Online Business Directories

If you read my previous Link Week entry, Why Canonicalization Matters From A Linking Perspective, you know that canonicalization - the process of selecting and using one specific URL for each page on your website for indexing in search - is vitally important for consolidating potential link juice. This is because search engines index URLs to get content, so when multiple versions of URLs point to the same content, that content’s Page Rank is diluted across those URLs. Today, I want to advance that concept a bit more. Let’s look at how the external world of the Web views your business. I [...]


How To Capture Broken Inbound Links

Everyone in our field knows that inbound links are an important facet of search engine optimization (SEO) – search engines regard them as votes of approval from the linking sites. That’s why webmasters and optimizers invest so much work on link building. Unfortunately, with link building, you are usually left counting on someone else to do the job that’s so important to you. You actively ask another webmaster (or blogger, online author, or worse yet, a casual, social media user) to link to a page on your website. You depend on them to do the job right. You can even give them explicit [...]


How To Use Q&A Sites To Help Build Better Links

Asking questions is considered to be one of the most basic yet the most effective ways of learning. Whether you ask questions to better understand a technique, an event, or a motive, you're gaining insight that should help you in the present and the future. It's no wonder that question and answer sites continue to gain in popularity, and while I've viewed them as a great free or inexpensive marketing and personal branding tool for awhile now, it's only recently that I've come to see how useful they can be at helping everyone build links and do better SEO. Think about how you'd search onl [...]


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