Video Content for a SEO World

02 Aug 2013 – Tina Courtney-Brown – Featured –

PoD_HD_Camera_SEO_YouTube (Custom)

Video content is the life force of the web, infusing movement, sound, and priceless engagement to the legions of people waiting to hear and see your message. Done with aplomb, videos create indelible experiences for people to bond with your message and brand, in ways that can literally be unforgettable.

Video content can also equate to SEO gold. In a recent study on content, ReelSEO proclaimed videos are a whopping 50 percent more likely to be found in a search, compared to plain text. With conversion rates having this much potential, it’s time to seriously consider your move into the world of viral videos.


Why Videos Rock SEO

A 50 percent increase in search clicks may not be the norm, but it’s clear that this kind of optimization is more than possible. Why? Because the web is built on text content, and anything that stands out from the pack is immediately more likely to draw attention.

Sure, it may seem like YouTube is overflowing with generic video content, but compare that to the sea of web pages, and video is a tiny pixel on a big screen full of data. That equates to a leg up in your SEO efforts. Only a small fraction of current video content is properly optimized, which means there’s a serious potential for getting your audience’s undivided attention.


Don’t Think Like a Marketer

The first step in creating video content that moves your SEO needle is to stop thinking like a marketer for your brand, and start thinking like someone searching for your goods or services.

Videos usually accomplish one of two goals: they entertain, or they instruct – preferably with notable expertise or engagement. Take a gander through YouTube’s treasure troves, and you’ll see a lot of popular videos with “How To” in their titles. Assess what works, and what makes the most sense for the message you’re attempting to share, and move forward with your vision.

Video titles, as you can well imagine, are absolutely critical to finding your intended audience. They need to be concise, informative, and they should clearly articulate what the viewer can expect when they choose to watch. Equally important, your title should be eye-catching; the title alone will sometimes make or break a user’s decision to press play, so spend serious time crafting the perfect hook.


Choose Keywords Wisely

Just as paramount to your video’s title are the keywords you choose to describe it. Ideally, at least one main keyword will appear in your title too. The process by which you’ll choose these keywords is actually pretty identical to that of text content. The difference is simply where you’ll place your selected keywords; in the case of videos, these will appear in your title, description, and tags. Use standard tools like Google Adwords to verify your keywords are in fact frequently used in similar searches. Then weave them into each descriptor with clarity, brevity, and a little pizzazz.


Placement Matters

Once you’ve produced a video you’re proud to show the masses, it’s time to rein in the eyeballs. To get the most out of SEO, you’ll want to post the video in a variety of places. At the bare minimum, video content should be showcased on your YouTube channel and your company’s website. If you have a company blog, definitely show-off the goods here too. You don’t need to post the actual video each time, but can always link to it on your YouTube page.

Every time you post the video online, however, it’s equally important to choose your words carefully once more. This means integrating your keywords and insuring text links are short and to the point. And here’s a rarely used but very powerful tip: transcribe your videos for maximum SEO magic. Sure, this can be tedious, but if you’re smart in production and script out your content before shooting, you only need to modify the existing text a bit to make it reader-appropriate. The result will be oodles of SEO-friendly text content to accompany your video – a very powerful duo indeed.


Share and Share Alike

Now that your video is produced and proudly showcased, your final step is some well-strategized social callouts. Use your active Twitter and Facebook accounts to alert your existing audience, and once again, choose the words that accompany the blasts very succinctly. It’s also wise to stagger your social shares across a number of days, rather than inundate your audience all at once. Since some of your fans are likely to follow you on more than one social channel, you’ll save them a little redundancy.

Finally, make sure to take a fair amount of compelling screenshots of your video to integrate into various campaigns. Don’t fall into the trap of posting your video and then forgetting it; allow it to continue to assist in your marketing strategies for as long as it feels current.

With statistics showing the popularity of videos over plain text in search results, and so few video content providers knocking it out of the SEO-park, there is ample opportunity to make major marketing headway with a few smart steps. Adopting a holistic and step-by-step approach to video production that includes smart SEO-tactics could equal a major marketing windfall for your team. Be ahead of your competitors; perfect the art of video search engine optimization.

SEO is Neither Dead nor Dying

25 Jul 2013 – Paul Teitelman – Featured –



In the past few weeks, the Internet has exploded yet again with the latest round of obituaries dedicated to search engine optimization. The same old questions pop up under a slightly different context. What is left for SEO when Google shoots down each new exploit and tactic? If every useful technique eventually becomes obsolete, what is the point of developing it to begin with?

These laments are heard every time the search engine wipes out another fraction of its search results. The most recent source of woe is Penguin 2.0, which cracked down on the spam backlinks that many still used despite repeated warnings from Google. Besides shuffling a small percentage of pages, Penguin sent a message: The Wild West days of the Internet are over. The law is coming with guns blazing.

It is true that SEO has changed dramatically from its earliest days. In that sense, the SEO of keyword stuffing and link farming is well and truly dead. Arguing that optimization no longer has a place in online marketing, however, is short-sighted and dangerous. There have been many setbacks, but SEO is here to stay.


The Many “Deaths” of SEO

In 2010, Google introduced its newest search feature: Google Instant. Rather than waiting for users to finish inputting a query, the search engine instead began throwing out suggestions while they typed, based in part on their browsing history. The decreased standardization of Web searches had some experts predicting the imminent demise of SEO.

Three years later, having survived both Panda, Penguin and social media, experts are still forecasting its doom. And that only covers the last few years; the gradual progression of SEO since Archie debuted in 1990 has seen many such panics, each as unfounded as the last.


Who Says SEO is Dead?

Although SEO is still a vital factor in Internet marketing, it no longer commands such prominence as in the past. Many still use it as a blanket term to cover more than on-site optimization and link-building, but succeeding online now requires a strong social media presence as well. The old methods no longer work, and in that sense SEO is caught up in a constant cycle of innovation and limitation.

Others making this argument are less nuanced. Some use it for a sensationalist headline, while others claim to have discovered the technique that will fill the gap left by SEO. As with all things in the marketing community, take everything you read with a grain of salt.


Why SEO is Still Going Strong

As long as there are search engines, search engine optimization will be necessary to help worthy websites reach interested viewers. Given the incredible proliferation of websites and pages online, it is reasonable to assume that systems will always need a way to find information that users cannot. The methods, on the other hand, are sure to change, as well as the organizations setting the rules that govern them.

No matter what name it goes by, search engine optimization is simply a means of bringing publishers and companies to readers for mutual benefit. This practice predates the Internet and will outlast it, but until the last search engine shuts down, SEO will remain a vital piece of any website’s business strategy.


Modern SEO

The question, then, is what currently works in SEO? When a so-called expert cannot find an answer that he likes, he declares optimization dead. Those who wish to continue profiting from the remarkable opportunities of the Internet, however, must stop and take stock of what has been left behind.

Link building has not been eliminated. In fact, the need for high-quality inbound links has never been greater. Rather than paying for or spamming links, webmasters must now court recommendations from reputable websites and social media users. It demands effort, helpfulness and cooperation. The quick tricks are being picked off one by one, and real finesse is now needed to bring a page to the top of the rankings.


Adapting to the Future

In a few months, the outrage and despair of Penguin 2.0 will have faded into the background, only to be replaced by a new harbinger of doom. Through it all, Google will keep moving toward its vision for a strong search environment: one free of spam, exploitation and excessive commercialization. Anyone who pays attention to the rumblings of the giant’s press releases and mouthpieces like Matt Cutts should never be taken by surprise.

So, when everything is considered, it is not SEO that is dying, but rather the obvious black-hat methods that have flourished unregulated for so long. Google and its fellow search engines are ushering in a more civilized era in online marketing. Who will pull ahead and who will lag behind remains to be seen.

Google Insists Panda, Penguin Not Designed To Increase Its Revenue

05 Jun 2013 – Chris Crum – Featured –

PoD_Google_Penguin_Money_Bank (SM)

Google put out a new Webmaster Help video, featuring Matt Cutts once again talking about “misconceptions” in the SEO industry. You may recall a while back when he tackled the “misconception” that Google is doing everything you read about in its patents.

There are two main takeaways from the new video. The first is that Google does not make changes to its algorithm (like Panda and Penguin) in order to generate more revenue for itself. The second is that you should focus more on design and user experience than link building and trying to please search engines.

First, Cutts points out that a lot of people don’t get the difference between an algorithm update and a data refresh, both of which are common terms associated with Panda and Penguin. He’s talked about this before, but here’s his latest refresher.

“The difference between an algorithm update versus just a data refresh – when you’re changing your algorithm, the signals that you’re using and how you weight those signals are fundamentally changing,” he says. “When you’re doing just a data refresh, then the way that you run your computer program stays the same, but you might have different incoming data. You might refresh the data that the algorithm is using. That’s something that a lot of people just don’t seem to necessarily get.”

Cutts put out a blog post back in 2006 on the difference between algorithm updates and data refreshes. He then gave these straight-forward definitions before pointing to a video in which he compares an algorithm update to changing a car part, and a data refresh to filling up the gas tank:

Algorithm update: Typically yields changes in the search results on the larger end of the spectrum. Algorithms can change at any time, but noticeable changes tend to be less frequent.

Data refresh: When data is refreshed within an existing algorithm. Changes are typically toward the less-impactful end of the spectrum, and are often so small that people don’t even notice.

So that’s the first misconception Cutts aims to clear up (again) in this new video. Then he moves on to “a bigger one they don’t seem to get”.

“I’ve seen a lot of accusations after Panda and Penguin that Google is just trying to increase its revenue, and let me just confront that head on,” says Cutts. “Panda, if you go back and look at Google’s quarterly statements, they actually mention that Panda decreased our revenue. So a lot of people have this conspiracy theory that Google is making these changes to make more money. And not only do we not think that way in the search quality team, we’re more than happy to make changes which are better for the long term loyalty of our users, the user experience, and all that sort of stuff, and if that’s a short-term revenue hit, then that might be okay, right? Because people are going to be coming back to Google long term. So a lot of people…it’s a regular conspiracy theory: ‘Google did this ranking change because they want people to buy more ads,’ and that’s certainly not the case with Panda. It’s certainly not the case with Penguin. It’s kind of funny to see that as a meme within the industry, and it’s just something that I wanted to debunk that misconception.”

“Panda and Penguin,” he continues. “We just want ahead and made those changes, and we’re not going to worry about whether we lose money, we make money, whatever. We just want to return the best users’ results we can. And the mental model you should have is, we want to have the long-term loyalty of our users. We don’t want to lock users in, so we have Data Liberation. People can always get their own data back out of Google, and if we just choose short-term revenue, that might make some money in the short term, but historically we’ve had the long-term view. If you make users happy, they’ll come back. They’ll do more searches. They’ll like Google. They’ll trust Google more. That, in our opinion, is worth more than just some short-term sort of revenue.”

“If you look at the history of the decisions that Google has made, I think you see that over and over again, he adds. “And Panda and Penguin are no exception to that.”

We did look back at some of Google’s earnings reports. The Panda update was first launched in February, 2011. Google’s revenue grew 27% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2011.

“We had a great quarter with 27% year-over-year revenue growth,” said Google CFO Patrick Pichette. “These results demonstrate the value of search and search ads to our users and customers, as well as the extraordinary potential of areas like display and mobile. It’s clear that our past investments have been crucial to our success today—which is why we continue to invest for the long term.”

Some other snippets from that report:

Google Sites Revenues – Google-owned sites generated revenues of $5.88 billion, or 69% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2011. This represents a 32% increase over first quarter 2010 revenues of $4.44 billion.

Google Network Revenues – Google’s partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $2.43 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2011. This represents a 19% increase from first quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.04 billion.

Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our AdSense partners, increased approximately 18% over the first quarter of 2010 and increased approximately 4% over the fourth quarter of 2010.

Looking ahead to the next quarter’s report, the first full quarter of post-Panda results, Google’s revenue was up 32% year-over-year. Here’s CEO Larry Page’s statement from that one:

“We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32% year on year for a record breaking over $9 billion of revenue,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+ which lets you share just like in real life.”

A few more snippets from that report:

Google Sites Revenues – Google-owned sites generated revenues of $6.23 billion, or 69% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011. This represents a 39% increase over second quarter 2010 revenues of $4.50 billion.

Google Network Revenues – Google’s partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $2.48 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the second quarter of 2011. This represents a 20% increase from second quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.06 billion.

Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our AdSense partners, increased approximately 18% over the second quarter of 2010 and decreased approximately 2% over the first quarter of 2011.

The word “panda” is not mentioned in either report as far I as can tell, but there you do have a slight decrease in paid clicks from quarter to quarter, which given that this takes AdSense into account, and many sites affected by Panda were AdSense sites, could be representative of a direct blow from Panda itself.

The next quarter, however, saw paid clicks increase 13% quarter-over-quarter. In Q4 of that year, they increased 17% quarter-over-quarter.

Interestingly, back in July of 2011, analyst Tom Foremski suggested that Google wasn’t being clear about Panda having an impact on ad revenues, pointing out a “huge disparity between the growth rates of Google sites and partner sites,” which he said was “without precedent for most of its history.”

Cutts actually took issue with some words from Foremski, and reacted in a comment on a Hacker News thread, where he points to transcripts from actual earnings calls, highlighting relevant sentences. Here’s Cutts’ full comment from the thread:

DanielBMarkham, let me try again using quotes from Google’s last two earning transcripts from the last two quarters and see whether that helps to clarify.
I’m loath to go anywhere near a subject like corporate earnings for various reasons, but Foremski says “There is no explanation from Google or Wall Street analysts that I could find,” but anyone can go read Google’s Q2 2011 earnings call transcript, which you can find at… . The relevant sentence is “Network revenue was again negatively impacted by the Search quality improvements made during the latter part of Q1, as you will remember, and know that Q2 reflects a full quarter of this impact.”

Now go read Google’s Q1 earning’s transcript at… . The relevant section is “The Google Network revenue was up 19% year-over-year to $2.4 billion. That Network revenue was negatively impacted by two things, the loss of a Search distribution partnership deal and also, what has been broadly communicated, by Search quality improvement made during the quarter. Regarding the Search quality improvement, remember that we regularly make such trade-offs. We really believe that the quality improvements that benefit the user always serves us well both in the short term and in the mid term in terms of revenue.”

So Foremski claims that “For some strange reason no one has picked up on this or noticed this huge change in its business model. There is no explanation from Google or Wall Street analysts that I could find.” I would contend that Google has actually been quite clear about the reasons for the change in network revenue in its earnings calls.

In particular, Google has been clear in that it’s willing to accept an impact in our revenue in order to improve the quality of our search results.

In Q1 2012, paid clicks were up 7% quarter-over-quarter. In Q2 2012, they were up 1%. In Q3 2012, they were up 6%. In Q4, they were up 9%. In Q1 2013, they were up 3%. So, while there was a short term hit, the long term does seem to see increase after increase in this area.

Now, back to the video. Finally he gets to the topic of what he thinks SEOs are spending too much time doing.

“I think a good proxy for that is link building,” Cutts says. “A lot of people think about, ‘How do I build more links?’ and they dont’ think about the grander, global picture of, ‘How do I make something compelling, and then how do I make sure that I market it well?’ You know, you get too focused on search engines, and then you, for example, would entirely miss social media and social media marketing. And that’s a great way to get out in front of people. So, specifically, I would think, just like Google does, about the user experience of your site. What makes it compelling? What makes it interesting? What makes it fun? Because if you look at the history of sites that have done relatively well or businesses that are doing well now…you can take anywhere from Instagram to Path – even Twitter…there’s a cool app called YardSale, and what those guys try to do is they make design a fundamental piece of why their site is advantageous to go to. It’s a great experience. People enjoy that.”

I think we’ve all pretty much heard this before.

2013 Mid-Year SEO Review

30 May 2013 – Tina Courtney-Brown – Featured –


2013 is already halfway over, and there’s been a flurry of SEO changes (thank you, Panda) to keep track of. Now is the perfect opportunity to review what’s occurred, take stock of current trends, and look to the remainder of the year for impending updates. With each day that passes, SEO becomes more and more critical to businesses, so keeping your finger on the search engine pulse is a wise move indeed. If you’ve fallen a bit behind, keep reading and get yourself up to speed.


Content Marketing Climbs to the Top

Google’s latest Panda release made what many already knew a cold-hard reality: Quality trumps quantity in the world of search engine supremacy. Those without fresh, relevant, valuable content are feeling the squeeze in a big way now, and those with excellent content practices are also scrambling to decipher Google’s preferences and land at the top of each competitive keyword marketplace.

Content marketing, therefore, could arguably be seen as more important than traditional on-site SEO. Offering your visitors useful resources and engaging content is now the key to landing prime ranking spots across the various search engines, but don’t count-out the necessity to balance this with SEO tactics.

The Guardian’s Jonathan Piggins recently expressed the same, stating in an insightful article about content marketing that SEO is not dead, just transformed.

“These scenarios do not herald the ‘death of SEO’. Far from it. The future lies in collaboration. The relationship between content marketing and SEO only reaches its true potential when it’s designed to be symbiotic. This means that brands need to underpin their content with SEO strategies like strong internal navigation… The idea is to use varied skills to build hubs around interdependent content and search terms in order to nurture cross-selling potential.”


The Rise of the Small Screens

The buzz around new technologies like Google Glass aims to shift SEO strategies all the more. It remains to be seen on a large scale what these screens really mean for rankings, but it’s likely that the need to reach page 1 results will now be usurped by needing the top 1-3 rankings all together. Mobile has already created this urgency with their smaller screens and impatient users, so things like Google Glass and the rumored iWatch will only up the ante. When users only see a few lines of results, it’s clear that most businesses won’t be able to stop at anything less than the top slot if they are after the lion’s share.


Mid-Year SEO Must-Do’s

As you become familiar with what’s changed, don’t forget to keep a constant eye on your existing sites, and keep your content and strategies clean and current. Now is a great time to dust the cobwebs off your Google and Bing Webmaster accounts and study your latest results. Look for SEO and crawl errors, 404 patterns, and other issues that are begging for assistance. Even small changes can help you optimize your site performance and speed, not to mention bump up those elusive SERPs just a little bit more.

It’s also an ideal time to review your keyword strategies. Use tools like those listed in our SEO Tools for DIY Webmasters article to help you analyze your current selections, study what users are actually using in the majority, and shift meta data, content keywords, and related on-site sections to help you capitalize on the most effective tactics for your niche.

Do a run-through on all your social media profiles and campaigns as well. Make sure all contact data, company info, and current promotions are up-to-date, engaging, and doing all they can to gain you loyal followers and fans. If you’re not staying connected to your customers in this space, it’s time to make a solid schedule to do so. Your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social pages should never feel lifeless or outdated, or you’ve lost the chance to get these respective audiences excited about what you’re going to do next.


What the Rest of 2013 Holds for SEO

Google search engine representative Matt Cutts recently released a video outlining what to expect in SEO in the coming months. In it, he stresses the obvious (writing quality content), but also alludes to a forthcoming update of Penguin. “We’re relatively close to launching the next generation of Penguin,” states Cutts. “We call it Penguin 2.0. It’s an attempt to target black hat web-spam. We expect it to go a little deeper and have a greater impact than 1.0.” So if by some chance you’ve been employing less than honest SEO practices and have thus far gotten away with it, Google wants to make sure that won’t last throughout the year.

In the spirit of nabbing spammers, Cutts had this to say:

“We’re also looking at some ways to go upstream to deny the value to link spammers. We’ve got some ideas on ways to make that less effective. We expect that will roll out over the next few months. We’re working on a more sophisticated system, we’re still in the early days for that.”

Yes, that’s vague, but it does tell us where at least part of Google’s strategy still lies – in finding and punishing all those looking to cheat the system. How do you cheat in SEO? By tricking the engines to grant you high rankings without providing anything of value to your visitors.

Finally, Cutts also indicates that author rank will continue to be critical for top rankings later this year, stating: “We’ve been doing a better job of detecting an authority in a specific space. And trying to make sure those rank a little more highly if you’re some sort of authority or a site that we think might be a little more appropriate for the users.”

In other words, continue to be an online authority for the fields you specialize in. And when you hire writers to help you spread the word, find those that also have credibility in the space. Not only will you amass more valuable content, but the author rank scenario will offer a potential SERP boost too.

The SEO roller coaster has been wild and wooly this year, with no end in sight. By staying focused on your quality business practices and content offerings, you’ll give yourself an edge as Google continues to tighten the reins. In the end, a targeted blend of on-site SEO, keywords, and content marketing is the strategy that’s most likely to see you doing the victory dance at year’s end.

10 Tips for Successful Post Penguin Link Building Campaigns

11 Apr 2013 – Andy Morley – Featured –


Links have always been an important part of SEO and in recent years have formed the backbone of all good SEO campaigns. Since the first Google Penguin algorithm update back in April 2012 it has become more important to build links the right way, and the safe way.

Here are 10 useful tips to keep in mind when building back links for your own or your clients’ websites.

1) Quality Not Quantity

There used to be a time when the guy (or girl) with the most links would win the race to the top of the search results. Those days are long gone. Modern link building campaigns should focus on quality not quantity. Google Penguin has seen many websites get penalized for poor quality links. These are generally the links which take very little effort to obtain such as directory submissions and spammy blog comments.

In the post Penguin world it is much more beneficial to build high quality links, from high quality sites which are highly related to your own website. This is nothing new I hear you say, and you would be right! The general advice given in the SEO world has always been build high quality links.

However, the real world of SEO does have small clients with small budgets. Don’t fall into the trap of buying a ton of low quality links. Try and build a few higher quality links for your client rather than risking their online profile with low quality.

This is always a tricky one to explain to clients…. It has been made easier post Penguin.


2) Build Connections Before Links

High quality links don’t grow on trees! They are pretty darn hard to find! As with anything which is valuable it takes a certain amount of effort and time to build high quality links.

Link building is very similar in a lot of ways to networking (not the IT networking with cables and routers). Building long lasting relationships with other website owners can make or break your link building campaign. Each and every SEO should have their own little black book of contacts who can help you with building links.

If you have worked in the SEO industry for a period of time you may already have connections you don’t even realize could help! If you work in a team for an agency your colleagues and past colleagues are a great connection!

If you are a solo freelancer I am willing to bet you have a network of people you can call upon to help with your link building – people you have dealt with in the past or have helped with their own link building campaigns.

Making a connection with other SEO’s and webmasters will open doors to link building opportunities. They may have their own websites which you can gain links from or even better put introduce you to some of their connections.

If your really don’t have much of a network to call upon why not start building one. I use Twitter a lot to reach other webmasters and take that initial step in building a relationship. This leads me onto my next point…


3) Outreach

Say what!!?!? Before you can build a high quality link you need to engage in conversation with people. Quite obvious really when you think about it. As I mentioned earlier, links don’t grow on trees.

There is always a moment where you have to reach out to somebody in order to start building links. This phase of the link building process is called the “Outreach” phase and can be one of the most important stages of the entire link building process. Often it will either make or break your campaign.

Taking the first steps in communicating with other site owners is like making a first impression. Take time to understand a little more about who it is you are talking to, what makes them tick as a person? Who are their site readers? What is the best method to contact them? If they are active on Twitter, could this be the best way? Always try to make a good first impression. Don’t hit them straight away with a link request or worst yet appear to be using an email template! (Even though you probably are).

Most importantly, try to finding their name. A personal email will usually get a much better response than one which starts “Dear webmaster”.

A very well respected and knowledgeable SEO (and link builder) called Paddy Moogan has written a book simply titled “The Link Building Book”. This book is awesome and should be on all SEO’s bookshelves. It explains the fundamentals of link building in great detail and there is a brilliant section about outreach.


4) Become An Author

Yes… content is still king. Come on you didn’t seriously think you were going to read a post about SEO link building and not hear this old classic? Writing or producing content is extremely important to any link building campaign. As we have already discussed, easy links such as directories or spammy blog comments are no longer much use.

The best links are “editorial in content” links, placed within the body content of a web page (not in sidebars or footers). These are much harder to obtain and often involve writing articles or blog posts around a related topic to your website. There are two main tactics which require a certain level of content creation,

1. Article Marketing
2. Guest Blogging

Each of these have been really useful in the past for building high quality links, however they have also given birth to a wave of crappy “spun” content, which has tainted the water for real, unique content writers. Spun articles are basically copies of existing documents, tweaked slightly using different words and sentences to say the same thing as the original. Spun articles have been seen as a horrible, quick and easy way to build links IF you can fool webmasters into thinking the article is unique.

It is highly important to produce unique content for your link building. Learning how to write and becoming an author is essential in the post Penguin world. With rumors of Google Author Rank still being heard around the dark corners of the SEOsphere, writing great content and linking it to your Google+ profile may help influence the rankings of the page where the content resides, providing you have a trustworthy and influential “author rank”.

Modern SEO demands a much more involved strategy of creating content which can be placed on related websites, aimed at their readers and audience. The need for great content has given rise to “content marketing” as a SEO strategy in its own right.


5) Know Your Audience

When building links and writing content it is important to know your audience. Knowing who you are writing content for is important. If your readers enjoy and relate to the content you have produced, they are more likely to want to share it and ultimately link to it. Social shares of content have become an important factor in SEO. The more often your content is shared on the likes of FaceBook, Twitter, and G+, the better.

You should always try to write for your audience. Use words they would use and write in a tone appropriate to them. If you were writing for children, you wouldn’t use long complicated words. If you were writing a highly technical post about the internal combustion engine, you would write according to your readers understanding of engineering principles.

This can be key to generating links to your content, and ultimately improving upon your SEO.


6) Mixture Of Link Types

Over the years I have been doing SEO (8 to be exact) it has always been important to build a mixture of link types, not concentrating on just one method, but trying to build a well rounded and diverse link profile.

Types of links you may consider are as follows:

  • Forum Posts
  • Blog Comments
  • Articles & Blog Posts (in content links)
  • Brand Links
  • Local Citations
  • Keyword Rich Hyper Text
  • NoFollow & Follow Links
  • Widgets

Some of these methods are pretty old, but if done correctly they can still be useful for your link building. Some are easier than others and some are more valuable than others. Be sure to consider each method in your campaign.


7) Always Add Value

The Internet has become awash with low quality content. It is important to always try to add value to the website you are hoping to gain a link from.

Adding value via a useful article or blog post is a great way to build links. High quality content will naturally attract links.

If you are building links by way of blog commenting, always try to add value to the discussion of the post. Try to make a relevant and useful comment. This way your comment is more likely to get accepted by the blog owner, building that all important back link.


8) The Metrics

Not the Hollywood block buster movie starring Keanu Reeves! By metrics I mean domain metrics such as PageRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority, MozRank, MozTrust, Linking Root Domains, External Link Volume etc…

When looking for potential back link sources it is important to pay close attention to these domain / page metrics because they provide a good indication of the quality and potential of the link.

I usually base my link building around SEOMoz’s metrics, primarily Domain Authority (DA) and MozTrust (MT). As a general rule of thumb I try to target sites with equal or higher DA score than my own website. However, I have spoken to other SEO’s who use a different set of these metrics to qualify their link targets… Some opting to base their decision on MozTrust primarily.

PageRank – The oldest of the metrics. This is Google’s own scoring system. Sites are given a rank from zero to 10. This should be used as a guideline only. The reason being is that the visible PR score seen on the Google Toolbar is a snapshot and not 100% accurate. The PR algorithm is always changing, “toolbar page rank” is often out of date.

Domain Authority – This is SEOMoz’s best attempt at determining how well a domain will perform in the search engines. Sites are scored from zero to 100. The score is calculated using a combination of other metrics such as number of linking root domains, total number of links, MozRank & MozTrust. Because DA is scored on all of these factors I find it gives a greater overall view of a domain.

Page Authority – Very similar to DA, however, it is based on the Page level rather than the domain level.

MozRank – This is the visual representation of the number of links to a webpage. It is calculated using the volume of links, quality of links and number of root domains pointing towards a page. The higher the MozRank of a page the higher the quality of incoming links.

MozTrust – This works in a similar way to MozRank. Instead of representing the number and quality of inbound links to a page, however, it measures the overall trust value of these links. The higher the trust value of a page, the higher the quality of a potential back link.


9) Earn Links!

Links which are earned are usually higher quality then links which are built. This happens when people truly love your content. They love it so much that they are willing to link to it without being prompted or asked to. Once your link building reaches this level, you have mastered the Art!!

Earning links isn’t easy. With the amount of content being produced on a daily basis, you need to make sure that the content you produce is of a higher standard than the rest and most importantly place it in front of influential readers. This is an important factor with any content marketing strategy. Getting your content published and read by the right types of people will help it spread, generate social shares and grow links organically!

I have a client who earns links without even trying! With no fresh content being produced, no content marketing strategy, no link building work being done…. HOW? It’s simple, they do a fantastic job and look after their customers!

They are a well respected company in their own industry and their work is top notch. Because their customers are happy they are also happy to recommend my client to their own contacts. Industry forums are awash with recommendations and as a result links are being formed naturally!

I think there is a lot we can learn from this sort of online “word of mouth”.


10) Be Realistic

My final point, being realistic in your approach to link building, is also very important. Draw up some goals and try to stick to them. Don’t try to over reach and obtain links from sources which you have a “cat in hell’s chance” of obtaining.

If your website is brand new and has no links pointing to it, DONT try to approach high level bloggers asking for links because they will LAUGH at you! Remember, it is important in SEO to link out to relevant sources as well as build links from relevant sources. If your website is low quality, why would somebody want to link out to it?

Build links realistically. It takes time to build a highly respected website, but once you have achieved this, links will start to form naturally. And, if you remember to look after your customers and do a fantastic job, your link profile will start to grow quickly.