The Advanced Link Building track brings new metrics and competitive analysis strategies to the forefront so that you’ll be armed with the tools to find the strategies that are working to increase rankings.

First up is Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz in Seattle, second is Adam Audette from Audette Media and this session is being moderated by Scott Hendison from Search Commander.  Topics covered include how to dissect the domain authority and how to dissect the strategies being employed by your competitors.

Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

The future of Great Links:  Where link analysis is heading and how marketers can win today and tomorrow.

Google and Bing are evaluating the ‘classic’ link building strategies and making changes to algorithms that are affecting your rankings.  Matt Cutts is talking about the JC Penney issues recently and says “don’t chase after Google’s algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want, because that’s what Google’s chasing after.”

Link Building Signals Today
Diversity of Domains + Linking C-Blocks – diversity is very powerful vs. the # of links to a URL.
Anchor Text – # of links containing anchor text vs. # of linking domains with anchor text.
Features of Linking Pages – importance of page, domain authority, + 100s more!
Topic Modeling & Topical relationship – Simplistic term vector models (distance between words).

Link Building Signals of the Future

Social Signals – test in December 2010 – SEO community tests the power of Tweets by comparing:

  • Page A with 600+ links, 36 root domains and 2 Tweets.
  • Page B had 1 link from 1 root domain and 522 tweets.
  • Result: Page B – Tweeted version ranks #1. Google may have determined that Social Signals are more important.

Author Authority – Google & Bing do use this factor for social weight.

Brand Signals – Brands are usually the top on the list as a relevant result to a ‘search quality rater’.
Real People working at physical addresses, Linkedin profiles, social signals, robust contact info.

Domain Name & Brand Name “Mentions” matter – journalism sources sometimes don’t link but they mention URLS or Brands.

Q+A websites are a great place to start building mentions, Quora, Yahoo! Answers, etc.
Build your own community.

Media Coverage – This may become a larger signal in the future. (check out the book Made to Stick)

Comment Marketing – make sure these are relevant & useful for a user and don’t ignore ‘no-followed’ comments.  Powerful sites with lots of comments are good spots to start building your brand impression.
Conduct Competitive Analysis of Top “Brands” – Where do brands earn their links? How can you get profile mention or news coverage similar to your competitors?

Adam Audette, Audette Media

Building Links & Competing in the SERPs.

  1. What’s the first thing that we do when we get into link building?
  2. Start with the website and the keywords that we want to target.
  3. Now, let’s go get some links to boost rankings!

Tactically links are the ‘next’ thing to do once your On-Page SEO strategy is in place.  Equity is not in the keyword, the keyword is really a proxy to get an audience to your website.  The URL is where the equity exists and this is a major factor for link building – Many SEO factors lie with the domain name.

Keep in mind that every SERP is different, so what works for one keyword may not work for another – you need to dissect results to understand why a page is ranking for a certain keyword.  Some SERPs may be all about domain strength, others may be all about the content or the links.

In most markets the long-tail is where all the action is – not the head-terms.  Exact Match anchor text does matter when you look at the 5-10 ranking positions. Not only does traffic derive from the Long-Tail Traffic but so does the revenue.

Key Takeaways

  • Different SERPs, Different Tactics
  • Start with the URLS rather than the keyword.

Links & SERP Presentation
Description text makes a difference when you look at the snip-it text in the SERPs – for some companies this may cause them to loose Click Through traffic.
Is your footprint is smaller than it could be? Maximize the Description text space that you’re given in the SERPs.

Links in the SERPs
Evaluating the Top 10 Results with 5-10 factors and then graphing those metrics can give you a lot of data.  You can discover whether links are the major factor or whether On-Page factors are driving the rankings.

Factors to evaluate:

  • Unique links into a domain
  • Total links into ranking URL
  • Unique links into ranking URL
  • Exact match anchor text in links
  • Unique links compared to exact anchor text
  • Exact anchor text by position
  • Exact anchor text vs. unique URLS
  • Unique Links compared to URL mozRank

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