Monday, November 7, 2016

Case Study: A Penguin 4.0 Recovery

We’ve had time for the dust to settle after the Real-Time Penguin update was released.  It’s now been more than 4 weeks since the update was implemented, and close to a month since Google announced the end of the launch.  The question in everyone’s mind now is – what can we learn from this update? How should we proceed now that Penguin is integrated into the algorithm?

In this article, we’ll delve into an analysis of results pages to determine what can be inferred from this latest update.  Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to disclose the site, but we are free to discuss the details and process that we followed to achieve this recovery.

Out of Antarctica

Many have complained that there have been few recoveries from Penguin 4.0.  I think it’s important to analyze those sites that recovered so we can identify what works and what will continue to work now that Penguin 4.0 is real time.

Let’s start by looking at the organic traffic patterns according to SEMrush:

As you can see, this is an obvious case of a Penguin recovery.  Traffic doubled when Penguin 4.0 was released, and thousands of long tail terms increased in the rankings.

The Penalty

What caused this site to receive a Penguin penalty to begin with?  This client came to us after engaging in the typical Pre-Penguin linking schemas.  They had engaged in article submissions, profile spam, comment spam, web 2.0 spam, and other such links.

At the time of the penalty, the site lost between 40-60% of organic traffic.

The Strategy – Cleaning Out

We started with a link audit, where we mapped their backlinks by patterns.  We looked at all of their anchor text backlinks, and disavowed them all.

Next, we looked at sites that fit the typical Pre-Penguin patterns, including article directories, forums, and web 2.0 sites.  We disavowed every last one of them.

We didn’t stop there.  We looked at every single backlink to look for low quality sites, scrapers, and any other site that wasn’t of value to Google.  All of those were disavowed as well.

The Strategy – Building  Up

Knowing that many of the links that had previously supported the site’s rankings had been disavowed, we proceeded to earn high quality links.  

Our strategy was not to “build links” like many other companies were doing.  Instead, we pursued campaign based digital PR with blogger, media, and press outreach. We focused on quarterly campaigns with high level content creation featuring unique stories and research.

One of the campaigns constituted of a survey of over 50,000 participants to explore an industry specific question that hadn’t been previously explored.  The findings were visualized with infographics, ebooks, and other digital assets.  The results included coverage in Huffington Post, the Telegraph, USA Today, and LA Times, amongst many others.

The campaigns were complemented by reaching out to bloggers and influencers, and sharing the findings of our study.    Instead of offering compensation, bloggers and influencers were compelled by the fact that the study was unique and the data not found elsewhere.  

Going Forward: What Should Site Owners Do?

If you still have a Penguin 4.0 penalty, there is hope! Now that Penguin is real-time, you do not have to wait months or years for Google to run an update and to see the results of your work.  You can now count on seeing recoveries sooner if you go through the effort of cleaning out your link profile and earning quality links.

If you do not have a Penguin penalty, then you can start building links a little more aggressively.  Google announced that the negative links will no longer result in penalties.  Instead, the links will simply not count – positive or negative.  So if the links are negative, they will not boost your rankings, but will not cause terrible traffic loses like they used to.  

BEWARE.

Manual evaluation of links and manual penalties will likely increase.   With all of the disavow data Google has sufficient data to apply AI spam filters, which will likely alert human spam raters who will review and apply manual penalties. DO NOT BUILD SPAM LINKS.  Recovering from manual penalties is infinitely harder than recovering from Penguin – especially now.  

What Real Time Penguin means is that you can be a bit more aggressive, without fear of accidentally tripping algorithmic penalties that cause a loss of site wide traffic.   And if you DO build a few low quality links along the way, you do not need to fear as much as you would’ve in the past.  



via Search Engine Watch http://ift.tt/2fNdbWo

10 useful tools for writing compelling content for SEO

Almost 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine and 70% of the links that people click are organic.*

Do you need more evidence that SEO is the way to go when it comes to boosting the popularity of your website and your brand? When it comes to inbound marketing, no other technique can deliver the same results.

Writing SEO content is the heart and soul of effective optimization but it’s far from an easy task. Various tools can be used to simplify the process and make it more effective.

If you’re just getting started with SEO content, you’ll find the following 10 tools to be quite useful.

1. Google Search Console

This one is an absolute essential for the execution of your SEO campaign. Google Search Console gives you access to tons of information about the performance of your website, as well as to various tools.

Search Console Search Analytics

You can learn which pages are delivering the best performance, the keywords that people are using to reach your content and the number of pages that have been indexed already. Based on this information, it will be a whole lot easier to modify the content strategy and make it much more targeted.

2. Google Keyword Planner

Here’s another free option developed by the world’s most prominent search engine.

Google Keyword Planner lets you know which keywords in the respective niche are most popular. You’ll also find out how competitive a particular phrase of interest is. Choosing high volume keywords that aren’t too competitive will form the backbone of a solid SEO strategy.

keyword-planner

3. SEMrush

Doing competition analysis is just as important as understanding what optimized texts should feature. Luckily, there are tools you can use for the purpose.

semrush

When it comes to competition research, SEMrush is one of your safest bets. You’ll get a detailed domain overview that features the keywords your competitor is ranking well for, whether they’re carrying out a paid search campaign, the number and types of backlinks that they have and the main organic competitors of the respective domain.

4. nTopic

You know what your main topic is and you know what you want to accomplish with your content. Have you managed to complete the task successfully, however? nTopic will let you know.

ntopic

All that you have to do is enter your domain and a keyword of interest. The tool will run analysis and let you know whether your website’s content is relevant. You’ll get a relevancy score that can be used to do an even better job in terms of focusing your content in the future.

5. Scoop.it

Content curation is imperative for SEO copywriters. Through curation platforms, it becomes easier to go through relevant content, curate ideas and organize all of the data in an effective way.

scoop-it

Scoop.it is currently one of the most popular content curation platforms. You can upload your own curated links or organize the relevant content that others are sharing. Scoop.it has both a free version and a paid plan, depending on how serious you are and what features you need.

6. TopAussieWriters

Feeling a bit insecure about your SEO content writing skills? Professional assistance will come in handy. Topaussiewriters.com is a service that helps you get in touch with some of the best professionals in the field. You can provide information about the project’s specifics and choose the writer that will do the best job.

In this sense, this tool is the only one that doesn’t offer a completely free version. Still, paying for professional content will be a smart idea. You’ll get a high return on investment in the long run, especially if you choose the right person for the job.

7. SpyFu

SpyFu is a smart little tool that can be used to do both competition and keyword research. All that you have to do is enter a keyword or domain of preference.

spyfu

If you’re doing competition research, SpyFu will let you know which organic keywords the website is ranking for, the estimated monthly SEO click value, the keywords for which the website has made it to the first page of the search engine results and its most prominent competition.

SpyFu can also be used to rank keywords in terms of popularity and competitiveness.

8. Word2Clean

This is a rather basic tool but many SEO writers find it beneficial.

Word2Clean has one very simple purpose – it converts a text file to clean HTML. Whether you’re writing ebooks or you’re uploading blog posts online, having clean HTML to work with is one of the prerequisites for success.

word2clean

9. Infogr.am

Creating content for SEO purposes isn’t always about text. The best optimization experts know that multimedia and visual content are both incredibly important for the success of the campaign.

infogram

If you’ve never made an infographic or a chart in the past, you may worry that it’s too difficult. This is the main reason why you’ll like Infogr.am. The tool makes it easy for people who aren’t graphic designers to put together professional infographics and charts.

10. WooRank

Keeping track of how you’re doing is as important as starting out with a solid plan.

WooRank is one of the best SEO analysis tools out there. Keep in mind, however, that you’re entitled to just one free report per month. If you need to do additional analysis or if you’re writing content for multiple websites, you’ll have to pay for an upgraded plan.

woorank

WooRank identifies the strengths and the weaknesses of your SEO campaign. It lets you know whether you’ve managed to rank for keywords of interest, how effective your social media marketing is and if your website has the type of online reputation that you’re hoping for.

Alice Clarke is a content strategist and a passionate writer. She loves hitchhiking and exploring new places for writing catching pieces.

*Source: http://ift.tt/2frYi7U



via Search Engine Watch http://ift.tt/2fLgXiN

Guide to Google ranking factors – Part 10: backlinks

Last week we published the ninth instalment of our complete guide to Google ranking factors.

It concentrated on outbound links and how and why these affect your site’s ranking.

This week, we tackle backlinks.

What is a backlink?

A backlink is link from a third party website, back to your own.

These can also be called ‘inbound’ or ‘incoming’ links.

Why are backlinks important?

As revealed by Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, earlier this year, links pointing to your website are one of the top three Google ranking factors.

Backlinks are a vote of confidence that someone outside of your own web property trusts your content and believes it has value. Google weighs up each of these links and assigns the linked-to webpage its own value.

Abstract network connection background.

What does Google look for when it comes to backlinks?

1) The number of referring individual domains linking to your website or webpage is a very important factor in Google’s algorithm.

2) The authority of the website or webpage linking to your site is also key. A few high authority links are far more valuable then many from low quality sites.

This from our own guide to authority websites:

An authority website is a site that is trusted. It’s trusted by its users, trusted by industry experts, trusted by other websites and trusted by search engines.

The more good quality links you have the better.

3) An authority website doesn’t necessarily have to be one of the usual big publishers. If you’re a niche website or blog with high quality, relevant content, you can be as highly regarded as any other source.

4) Backlinks from older websites may be worth more than links from newer sites.

5) Backlinks from relevant sites in your niche will be worth significantly more than ones from irrelevant sites or webpages. Some people believe that links from competitors for the same search position as you are worth more than others too.

6) Links from low-quality sites will do very little for your visibility. If the site practices Black Hat SEO (link-schemes, spamming, doorway pages) then can potentially harm your ranking.

7) Links found within the main body text of a webpage is more valuable than links found in separate plugins or widgets found elsewhere on the page.

8) If a site links to you using the ’nofollow’ meta tag then their website’s authority won’t be passed to you. Some publishers automatically nofollow all external links, which is bad practice. Nofollow links should be reserved for sponsored or paid for links and content you don’t necessarily trust but still want to use as an example.

9) Links from a diverse range of websites is good, many links from a single domain to your site (especially if it’s one of the very sites linking to you) can be seen as spammy.

10) A link from a 301 redirected page may have, on average, 15% less value than one that hasn’t been redirected.

11) Anchor text can affect how Google weighs up links to your site. If linking to your homepage and referring to your brand, anchor text should just say your website or brand name. Links to your homepage that are more descriptive “leading experts in local SEO” can be seen as manipulative, so you want to avoid this.

12) Anchor text to specific webpages on your site should be descriptive (but concise) as possible in order to benefit from the link.

13) Links at the top of a page carry more weight than those further down.

14) Links from longer form, evergreen content (a 1,000+ word article that’s been popular for a long time) will be higher value than short, news-based posts.

15) Although the top-level domain isn’t necessarily considered a factor, some people believe obtaining a link from .edu or .gov domains can carry more weight than others. This may be because these sorts of websites have high authority anyway.

For more chapters in our Google ranking factors series, check out:

Part 9: outbound links
Part 8: internal links
Part 7: site-level signals
Part 6: trust signals, authority and expertise.
Part 5: duplicate content and syndication.
Part 4: content freshness.
Part 3: quality content.
Part 2: keyword relevancy, frequency and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
Part 1: on-page signals such as title tags, H1 tags and meta descriptions.



via Search Engine Watch http://ift.tt/2eeZQF2

Friday, November 4, 2016

Understanding FTC guidelines for influencer marketing

The FTC is cracking down on brands that aren’t following the rules and regulations for influencer marketing. Where they are and aren’t enforcing these rules, though, has left many confused.

To help with your influencer marketing planning, we’ve outlined what you need to do in order to keep your brand compliant with the FTC Guidelines.

Include disclosures

The important point is for the influencer to get the message across to his/her audience that the brand is compensating him/her for the post. Surprisingly, there is no single correct way to do this.

In the FTC guide, the organization outlines these two options for statements as a way of properly alerting audiences that the brand provided products for the influencer to post about:

“Company XX gave me this product to try . . .”

“Some of the products I’m going to use in this video were sent to me by XX’s manufacturers.”

The FTC’s guidance is to make the audience aware of the nature of the influencer’s relationship with the brand. If you’re providing both product and additional compensation, then the likelihood is increased that the influencer will give a favorable review.

The addition of compensation beyond product trial could bring into question the validity of the review. This makes disclosure especially important.

The only two hashtag versions that seem to fully cover your bases are #ad and #sponsored— these are the briefest ways to declare that an influencer is receiving financial compensation, as well as products, for a post.

Make disclosures clear & conspicuous

The basic question you should ask yourself when evaluating a caption for a sponsored post is, “Could anyone mistake this for a non-sponsored, organic post?” If the answer is “yes,” then the disclosure is not sufficient.

The FTC requires that disclosures be “clear and conspicuous.” Clear, meaning you can’t mistake it for an organic ad. Conspicuous, meaning you can’t miss it.

US Federal Trade Commission FTC Washington DC

When you’re giving creative direction to your influencers, make sure that they understand the basic rules and give them some examples of disclosure statements that they can use in their posts.

Thinking that your influencers can bury their disclosure tag in a second comment amongst a bunch of other tags? Think again. The FTC guidelines clearly discourage that: “Preferably, design advertisements so that ‘scrolling’ is not necessary in order to find a disclosure. When scrolling is necessary, use text or visual cues to encourage consumers to scroll to view the disclosure.”

In short, these are the FTC’s criteria for gauging whether your disclosure message meets their standards:

  • Close to the claims to which they relate;
  • In a font that is easy to read;
  • In a shade that stands out against the background;
  • For video ads, on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and understood;
  • For audio disclosures, read at a cadence that is easy for consumers to follow and in words consumers will understand.

Make the posts honest

Brands cannot make false claims about their products in any kind of advertising. This rule applies to influencer content, as well. If the tea can’t really help you detox, or the strips can’t really whiten your teeth, you’re not allowed to purport that they can.

Furthermore, disclosures do not absolve false claims: “A disclosure can only qualify or limit a claim to avoid a misleading impression. It cannot cure a false claim.”

If you are identifying influencers who are smart lifestyle matches and who believe in your products, you’re off to a good start. Most content creators will not partner with brands whose products they would never actually consume.

If influencers believe in the product they are endorsing, their content will be much more meaningful to both the audiences and the brands. In addition, you can be comfortable that the claims they’re making (if any) are truthful.

The FTC provides these three guidelines for avoiding false claims:

  • You can’t talk about your experience with a product if you haven’t tried it.
  • If you were paid to try a product and you thought it was terrible, you can’t say it’s terrific.
  • You can’t make claims about a product that would require proof the advertiser doesn’t have.

Understand the consequences

So what if an influencer doesn’t disclose their involvement with your brand? What could happen?

The FTC has been cracking down on companies and influencer marketing agencies that do not have disclosures included in the posts made on their behalf.

Two recent examples:

Lord & Taylor’s now-famous blogger campaign that featured 50 women endorsing one dress without disclosure of their sponsored relationship. The campaign was outrageously successful, with the dress quickly selling out.

This success may have caught the attention of the FTC, which led a complaint against the brand. The FTC will be babysitting Lord & Taylor’s marketing efforts from here on out to make sure that they don’t violate the rules again.

Warner Bros paid people to promote a new video game without properly disclosing their affiliation with the brand. The brand directed influencers to “place sponsorship information in the text of the description box – that’s the collapsed box just below a YouTube video – not in the video itself.”

shadow-of-mordor

The FTC caught wind of this and the brand was reprimanded. The settlement included steps to ensure that the brand is “educating influencers regarding sponsorship disclosures, monitoring sponsored influencer videos for compliance, and, under certain circumstances, terminating or withholding payment from influencers or ad agencies for non-compliance.”

These brands will have the FTC looking over their shoulder at every turn for future violations. But what could happen to the individual content creator involved with a deceptive program?

In the case of the Warner Bros settlement, it is clear that the FTC could require that a brand or agency withhold your payment. Queen of the internet, Kim Kardashian, was reprimanded by the FTC for a post she made to promote a morning-sickness pill during her pregnancy.

Kardashian stated in her caption that she was “excited and happy to partner” with the brand. The FTC did not deem this a clear enough statement about her financial relationship with the brand.

Advertising Attorney Linda Goldstein, with the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, speculates that the FTC could pursue legal action against Kardashian for misrepresenting the drug in an ad.

As of the writing date, we are not aware of any legal action taken against individual influencers. The FTC has an ad nauseum list of actions it can take in legal response to rule breakers, including adjudication and litigation.

Influencer marketing is still pretty new and some brands are just trying it for the first time. You may find yourself in the position to help your clients understand the FTC guidelines.

This is a great example of taking a partnership role with a brand to a more valuable level. Arm yourself with knowledge to protect yourself and your clients.

Get yourself educated so you can educate your influencers

Educating your influencers comes from having an understanding of these dos and don’ts yourself. The FTC has published a plethora of resources to help you understand the in’s and out’s of their rules and regulations (listed below). But all of this information can be fairly cumbersome to digest.

To simplify the information you need to know, there are some comprehensive guidelines available for brands that outline what you can and can’t do with your influencer marketing.

We recommend these handy guides for your campaign planning:

Influencer marketing is a smart way to create authentic engagement with your community. But only when it’s done right and in accordance with the law. With this information at your disposal, you’ll be able to safely activate influencers for your next marketing program.

Brian Zuercher is the CEO & Founder of SEEN and a contributor to SEW.



via Search Engine Watch http://ift.tt/2eluZBI

Google Home Services ads come to mobile search (then disappear again)

A trial of Google Home Services (GHS) ads on mobile is the clearest sign yet that Google intends to roll the GHS beta program out to the mobile platform and an insight into how it might look when it happens.

Google has been running a trial of Google Home Services (GHS) ads on mobile. GHS results have been spotted – revealed below – in mobile searches for tradesmen in San Francisco and Sacramento, during October.

The subsequent disappearance of the ads come November show this was just a trial. But it is the clearest sign yet that Google intends to roll the GHS beta program out to the mobile platform. Plus, if this format is a good indication of the real thing, the format will look very different on mobile to what we are currently seeing on desktop.

Experts privy to Google’s plans have been sworn to secrecy, so we can only speculate on when (not “if”) Google will finally roll out the GHS beta to mobile search and what format it will take. But this does look like one to put on the watch list for the New Year.

What is Home Services ads?

The GHS beta has been running in desktop search for over a year in parts of California, near Google’s HQ. On first glance these desktop results look similar to the Google My Business (GMB) listings, which have become commonplace in desktop and mobile search in US, UK and other markets.

But there are three distinct differences from GMB:

  • GHS are “sponsored” listings i.e. tradesman pay for referrals (it is powered by Ad Words Express).
  • Each tradesman has been verified http://ift.tt/1JxyCS0 by Pinkerton Corporate Risk Management.
  • Some services are also now guaranteed by Google. http://ift.tt/2eY4I0a

The GHS beta has been expanding – suggesting Google is satisfied with the results. GHS started in the San Francisco area with plumbers and locksmiths. It has expanded geography now also covering the cover the Sacramento area.

The number of trades covered has also expanded now also including searches for local handymen, interior painters, house cleaners, garage door pros, electricians and HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning) engineers.

But Google has been surprisingly slow to expand Home Services to mobile search.

Then during October 2016 that changed

Searching for a handyman in Sacramento http://ift.tt/2fiJj07 or San Francisco during October brought up the following results page headed by the search box to find “pre-screened and insured handymen.”

A subsequent screen invites searchers to describe the job to get personalized quotes, with buttons for drywall, fans, flooring, furniture assembly, gutter cleaning and home theatre.

sew1_handyman_sacremento_home_services

This mobile version of GHS has a different look and feel to the current version of GHS on the desktop, as showed image below for handyman in San Francisco http://ift.tt/2fBIDqo.

The desktop version shows three handymen in Google’s program, with an option to expand for more; whereas the mobile version encourages searches to enter the job type and ZIP code for the most accurate match.

sew1_handy_gardener_san_fran_nov

Notably in both cases of desktop and mobile, GHS are at the very top of search results, there are no traditional search ads (though some still appear at the bottom of the page) and there are no GMB listings, commonly known as the “three pack”.

This gives both GHS formats a cleaner, less cluttered feel than is typical of Google’s modern search results pages.

The added advantage of this compact approach is that organic listings tend to appear higher up the page with Google Services. Perhaps, on some devices – gasp – even appearing above the fold. This should appease search marketers who have been frustrated by Google’s new innovations GMB, Knowledge Graph, AMP pushing organic results further and further below the fold.

This demonstrated well when a mobile search for handyman in Sacramento http://ift.tt/2fiJj07 is compared with a mobile search for handymen in Venice Beach. http://ift.tt/2fBI0gF (Venice Beach, and the rest of the Los Angeles area, isn’t covered by Home Services beta, yet).

sew1_handyman_sacremento_venice

Puff… and then they were gone

Just as quietly as Home Services appeared on mobile, so they were disappeared.

As of November a mobile search on handyman in San Francisco http://ift.tt/2fBIDqo (or Sacramento) delivers up to four PPC search ads – which look increasingly old-fashioned and bloated, compared with GHS (on desktop or mobile) – and then the usual organic results.

There’s no Home Services ads, but nor has the GMB three-pack returned. This is the same for all Home Services verticals, including locksmiths, plumbers, handymen, interior painters, house cleaners, Garage Door Pros, electricians and HVAC.

GMB remains unchanged for mobile search for verticals not yet included in GHS e.g. gardeners, mechanics, accountants, lawyers. As show in the image below.

So why does this matter?

It is evident from various trials and betas in California that Google’s is on a mission to bring more trust to local search results for verticals such as tradesmen. Businesses with the best SEO or who bid the most for search ads, doesn’t necessarily mean best service for the customers.

See this ClickZ column on the future of mobile local search for more detail and analysis.

But verification and guarantees cost money, which is part of the reason that Google can justify charging businesses for referrals. And if GHS does replace PPC ads in these verticals (as indicated by both desktop and mobile results, pictured above), then Google needs to replace that revenue stream.

Mobile is a massive part of local search; plus with mobile-only functions such as tap-to-call; it is not only unfeasible that GHS would not come to mobile, but it may also the results of trials on mobile may also feedback into desktop.

If Google can make GHS work on both mobile and desktop it is inevitable that the program will expand geographically and in to other trades and professions.

If GHS proceeds along the lines pictured above, the likely implications for businesses in these verticals – in mobile and desktop search is fourfold:

  • Verification and guarantees could encourage searchers to place more trust GHS results than organic or GMB results.
  • Traditional search ads could disappear for GHS verticals.
  • GMB could disappear for GHS verticals.
  • Organic results could feature more prominently in search – if GHS replaces both search ads and GMB, with take up considerable more real estate on search results.

But while Google continues to trial and beta test GHS nothing is certain.

Kevin Cotch, SEO Analyst, TopRank Marketing commented:

Google typically tests changes for mobile users and then will roll out the change to desktop over time.

The GHS ads typically cost less than other AdWords ads, which is beneficial for these industries. I would expect to see the GHS ads take visibility away from the current local packs and encourage users to use qualified professionals.

Google requires the home service professionals to pass a background check and proof of insurance to become a part of the GHS ad program to protect users. Then, Google evaluates the professionals based off of the user rating and review, which benefits other users using the ads and offers more control for Google.

It would be smart for home service professionals to use the advertising service when possible, as well as verifying and optimizing their Google My Business pages to help get the most local visibility.

sew1_handyman_ghs_san_fran

Andy Favell is writer for SEW and ClickZ. He is a London-based freelance mobile/digital consultant, journalist and web editor. Contact him via LinkedIn or Twitter at Andy_Favell.



via Search Engine Watch http://ift.tt/2fBNoA7

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guide to Google ranking factors – Part 9: outbound links

Last week we published the eighth instalment of our complete guide to Google ranking factors.

It concentrated on internal links, as well as the best way to use anchor text and hub page or category optimisation.

This week, outbound links!

1) An outbound link is a ‘vote of confidence’ to the site you’re linking to, and you will be passing along some of your own site’s ranking power. However try to avoid using anchor text such as ‘here’ as this is worthless to you and the site you’re linking to.

2) Sticking to the website name is a safe bet when choosing anchor text, especially if it’s ‘example company conducted a study’. That way usability and transparency is improved or maintained because visitors will know exactly what to expect when they click through.

3) When linking to other sites, try to avoid terms that describe what they do, especially if it’s something they’re trying to rank for. As an example, if you link to a particular SEO agency with the phrase ‘leading SEO experts’. This can be considered manipulative and may incur a penalty for either party.

4) Linking to authority sites: Reboot carried out a study to prove whether or not the strength of a site’s outgoing links has an effect on ranking.

The good news is that yes it does.

Reboot created 10 new websites each targeting the same keyword, only half of which included links to high authority sites. After five months it was concluded that, “Outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.”

reboot-study

5) Outbound links do not dilute your site if they’re towards high quality websites. And that doesn’t necessarily mean the ‘big publishers’ any smaller blog can have authority if its key resource in its field of interest.

6) According to the same research above, Pagerank retention is a myth. You may have heard the term link juice before, particularly in terms of having more internal links than external links for fear of leaking precious ‘link juice’ (or Pagerank) – but this seems to be untrue.

7) Any link building scheme is considered black hat SEO and will likely incur a penalty. So if you’re regularly linking to a website that has little to do with your own niche and/or those links have been bought or traded, you may get into trouble.

8) Outbound links can be a trust signal. If you’re linking to references in order to back up data or research, then obviously you’re doing your job properly. People will trust you, search engines will trust you. Well done.

9) Broken links whether internal or external can be a sign of a poorly maintained site, so make sure you double-check your links before publishing.

10) Affiliate links are fine, but make sure you use the nofollow meta tag in accordance with Google best practice.

11) You should also use the nofollow meta tag when linking out from sponsored content, native advertising or if you’re a blogger reviewing a product.



via Search Engine Watch http://ift.tt/2fdLFhf