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Category Archive:   SEO


If you would like to keep track of every website that has linked to you, Google Analytics can help you find a large percentage of URLs with a link to your site.

From your Google Analytics home page click on your website. Then click on “All Referrals” under the Acquisition section on the left sidebar.

all-referrals

This will display a list of the top 10 website domains that are referring traffic to your site in the past month. You can display up to 5,000 rows and extend the date range to when you started your website.

To find the URL of the specific webpage with the link to your site click on the website domain.

referral-url

This will show you the specific URL on the domain that is referring you traffic. Previously you had to create a custom report in Google Analytics to find the referring page URL.

referral-path

Now that you have the specific URLs that have a link to your site, you can track them in a spreadsheet like a Google Doc.

track-links

This is useful to monitor the growth of your link profile, and it can be encouraging to see new links that you can add to your list. You may want to document your new links in a spreadsheet to monitor things like anchor text distribution and link velocity. You can also use a tool like Raven Tools’ Link Manager to track your links to see if any are removed for some reason. Sometimes link removal is inadvertent (e.g. during a site redesign) and you can contact the webmaster to have the link added back.

If you extend the date range to the beginning of your site, you can find almost every link since someone has probably clicked on the link at some point. If no one has ever clicked on the link, then it is probably not a very good link. If a URL only has one referral since the site launched, it may be a spammy link that you may want to have removed if practical. A downside to this technique for finding links is that some URLs displayed in Google Analytics may be no-follow links such as blog comments.

You can also find links with tools like Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Link Explorer, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, and Majestic SEO.

Do you have a tip for finding links to your site? Please share it in the comments.

This article originally appeared on Cool Marketing Stuff.

Open Site Explorer is an extremely useful tool for finding out who links to a specific site. You can export your competitor’s link data and use Excel to filter the best link opportunities to the top. Like mining for gold, you often have to filter through a lot of worthless stuff to get to the gold nuggets.

Here is my process for filtering link opportunities with Open Site Explorer and Excel.

1. Go to Opensiteexplorer.org. You will need a Pro membership with Moz or a free trial.

2. Enter the URL of a website that you want to mine for link opportunities and click “Search.”

3. Select “only follow”, “only external”, “pages on this root domain”, and “show links ungrouped” from the drop down menus.

ose-step1

4. Click on Export to CSV.

ose-step2

5. Open the CSV file in Microsoft Excel (I use Excel for Mac).

6. Turn the sheet into a table by clicking on the cell in the first column and second row and clicking on the create table icon.

ose-table

7. Go through the rows and highlight rows that are good link opportunities. You can use different shades of color to indicate the level of opportunity. If you go by the temperature of stars, yellow cells can be moderately hot targets and blue cells can be very hot targets.

ose-shades

8. Click on the table header to filter the highlighted rows to the top of the table.

ose-filter

9. Work on taking action with the highlighted opportunities. When an action is taken, write a note and change the highlighted color to gray. If it turns into a link, change the color to green (or use your own color scheme).

10. Create a Google Doc and keep track of your link wins over time. Seeing your list of links grow can keep the motivation going.

won-links

Article originally published on Cool Marketing Stuff.

Infographics can be an excellent way to leverage content marketing to earn attention, social media shares, and links. Google spokesman Matt Cutts has warned webmasters against using irrelevant infographics to promote your site and stated that infographic links may be devalued at some point. However if you create an amazing infographic that people love, there still appears to be great value in terms of helping your site gain authoritative links. Excellent infographics are published on popular sites like Mashable and Boing Boing which can result in powerful links and thousands of people experiencing your brand in a positive way. They are also shared frequently on social sites like Twitter and Pinterest which can help raise awareness of your brand.

If you decide to try developing an infographic for your business, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Designate a Target Audience
When I’m planning an infographic one of the important things to consider whether there are people that would link to it. For example an infographic about the obesity epidemic has a clear audience of bloggers that would share the infographic on their site: health and fitness bloggers.

Do Enough People Care?
Hot news topics tend to work well because the topic is top of mind for a lot of people. Topics that a lot of people are passionate about can also work well.

Is the Topic Relevant
Off-topic infographics have been mentioned by Google as something to stay away from. If you create a zombie infographic and you sell sporting goods you may get a lot of links from unrelated sites that will look unnatural to search engines.

Are There Enough Interesting Facts?
Including mind blowing facts and data can help make an infographic worth sharing. On the other hand, facts that are dull will make for an unremarkable visualization that will be difficult to promote.

Do you have the design chops
It should go without saying that your infographic should have great design. However there are a lot of poorly designed infographics that are created every day. Since the infographic is representing your brand you want to use top notch designers if you can. A beautiful visualization is more likely to be trusted and shared. There are several high quality infographic design firms that can help you or you can find a freelance designer on sites like Dribbble.

Is the information accurate?
It is a good idea to double and triple-check your facts in your infographic and make sure information is from highly authoritative sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics or Harvard. It is not fun to get called out by a blogger because of an inaccurate fact in your infographic.

When a company is first starting to implement an SEO strategy on their site, the tendency is to look for the fastest path to reaching the goal of ranking #1 for your most important keywords. Often this approach can resemble the hare in Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare. The marketing team gets really excited to start the campaign, and with little planning they launch programs to get as many links as possible pointing to the site.

However, this strategy can have disastrous consequences. Often pursuing rapid link growth involves risky tactics that can result in Google penalties that can remove you from the Google index or lower your rankings significantly. Two examples of this are the SEO company iAcquire and the retailer JC Penny who were banned from the Google index for a period of time (they were both able to get back into Google’s good graces).  Google also considers the rate of new inbound links and can be suspicious if you suddenly earn too many links when you normally earn few links.

The better approach to SEO is to be like the tortoise: slow and steady.

Developing high quality content on a regular basis that people want and promoting that content to earn links over the long term is often the best path to success. This means a ton of hard work but over time Google tends to reward sites that consistently produce great content and have a steady growth in inbound links.

A great example of the hare strategy at work is the Everywhereist blog.


Image source: SEOMoz.org

According to SEOMoz, Geraldine spent 3-5 hours a day on her travel blog for years before the site experienced a huge jump in traffic. Most bloggers are not patient enough to keep pushing forward until they get over the hump or what Seth Godin calls “the Dip”. But once you build enough momentum, your site can experience a self-perpetuating cycle of traffic. Since more people visit your site, more people are likely to want to link to it, which increases the authority. Once you build up enough authority, you will start ranking #1 for more and more keyword phrases, and the site ranking #1 receives a disproportional amount of rewards. According to a study by Optify, the #1 ranking in Google receives an average click through rate of 36.4% while the #2 ranking receives an average of 12.5%.

Effective SEO is more like a marathon than a sprint. So think like the hare and your online marketing strategy can win in the long run.

SEO has a very negative reputation that is primarily driven by bad operators who send spam messages and write worthless articles. In fact it is so bad that some have attempted to rebrand SEO under the name inbound marketers.

Despite the negative press, SEO is a highly legitimate practice that can help make the Web a better place when used to present great content in a way that is easy for search engines to read and understand. SEO involves researching what keywords people are using to look for you and using those keywords wisely on your site so search engines can include your site in results when it is highly relevant for a searcher. If you opened a physical store, you would want to put up signs to communicate what you offer so people could find you when they need what you provide. Without implementing SEO on your website it is like having a physical store in an empty field with no signs and the lights turned off.

In fact Google produces resources to help webmasters to better optimize their sites for search engines and both Google and Bing have teams that work on SEO for their own websites. Google also has clear guidelines on what practices can help your site rank better and what can lead to penalties or removal (Google Webmaster Guidelines). Google and Bing want to get rid of spam sites, so if you are trying to promote low quality content with shady link acquisition tactics it hurts the Web and you will eventually lose.

Often what is good for users is rewarded by search engines so effective SEO involves creating highly useful content and building links within the rules and using common sense. Like most things SEO can be taken to far and that is often when SEO is no longer marketing but becomes spam. Spamming should be avoided at all costs if you plan to be in business for the long-term.