Deep-Dive #2: Small Levers, Big Results.
July 12, 2016 by Alex Miller
In this post we’ll discuss how to expertly wield the “light touch” with onsite and a mix of high quality links (and signals) to rank faster than ever.
Sound good? Great – let’s dive in.
Let’s Talk Links…
This is common knowledge now, but worth re-iterating.
You must get rid of any remaining mindset that might have which says that “brute force” is a good idea when building new links.
Slow, and steady, really does win the race with link building. It has to be a continual effort to acquire a stream of quality tier 1 links and signals from multiple channels – not random bursts of promotions when your site stagnates or starts to dip.
- Building any type of link in excess, especially when it’s sandwiched between periods of zero link velocity and promotions (that’s really the worst). Brute force only delays Google’s response-time in most cases, or it causes complications.
- Using automation (i.e. tools) that spit out garbage links that point directly at your site.
Instead, You Must Focus On:
- A combination of High DA Guest Posts, Social Momentum products & boosting of any existing quality editorial / natural links – at a steady, consistent pace. You’ll see the fastest results possible with this method.Of course, any relationships that you can leverage in your space to acquire links is a must, as well as specific outreach for pieces of exceptional content on your site. This is where you really need to roll up your sleeves. Strategic outreach in this manner will only “work” if the content is good enough for people to want to link to it, then all you have to do is “nudge” them to do so. (we offer this outreach service to our Infinity clients if you’re interested)
- Understanding that as your site continues to grow and rank higher, it’s becomes even more important to continue these promotions. This is because when you hit the front page, all eyes are on you and all your competitors want to beat you. They’ll up their game to steal your position and you can’t afford to take the foot off the gas.
But this is what we tell our clients, right? Of course – that’s a fundamental part of understanding SEO and how sites rank and continue to grow.
The frustrating and unfortunate thing we see is that some of our customers will only order link promotional campaigns when results aren’t being produced (and even when results are being produced)!
They take their foot off the gas. What does this result in? Big spikes and inconsistencies in the number of backlinks which creates a growth rate shown in the graph below (blue line).
Actually, SEOBook.com wrote a fantastic post about this topic a while ago (now there’s some incredibly in-depth content right there folks!) and the image below is making the point that the green line reflects a typical (natural) link growth profile.
The blue line is what you want to avoid as well as the red because let’s face it, that just isn’t feasible or natural.
Remember: PosiRank allows you to setup recurring orders in as little as 60 seconds, and this wasn’t a mistake on our part!
Not only does it make managing your promotions 100x easier (especially those of you who are juggling tons of clients and projects, I remember the days of promoting 400+ sites back in 2010/11 without a platform!) but it creates an environment that reflects the “red” line.
(So if you’re not taking advantage of our “recurring” feature which is available for all products that make sense, then I’d take another look).
I could talk about the importance of link velocity forever, but the bottom line is this:
Build (and attract) links as regularly as you can. Google rewards growing sites a hell of a lot more than stagnant (or decaying) ones. Steady links (and publishing new content) reflects a healthy, growing and popular site. It’s as simple as that.
Let’s Move onto Onsite Factors…
600 horsepower doesn’t really mean much when you have flat tires.
Onsite optimization is a multiplier of how effective your external marketing will be. So, you’ll want to ensure that multiplier is at least 70% “there”, otherwise you’re just throwing money away (for you and for your clients).
This is again why the following points are so critical to focus on, which definitely equates to the 70%+ required:
- Optimized title & meta description tags (at the VERY least for the pages you want to rank in Google, it doesn’t get much more important – or easier – than this).
- Fix all meta tag duplicate content (Go to Webmaster Tools, then Search Appearance > HTML Improvements). Unless there are 0’s being shown, this is work you definitely want to prioritize.
- Create kick-ass content that goes above and beyond competitors, with the aggressive uprising of RankBrain you’re going to want to take this VERY seriously (more on RankBrain in another post).The way to actually make a start on what can be a really daunting task is to just start improving 1-2 pages. 5x the quality and quantity of content on those pages and watch what happens to your traffic and rankings. (and then please let us know the results!).Once you’ve seen the effects of this, you’ll be hooked. You’ll truly just want to apply this technique across all your important pages and sites because it’s too good to miss out on.
- Site Speed – just use GTMetrix and give a developer their dream-day by fixing your speed issues 🙂
- Make sure you have internal and outgoing links – include links to other relevant pages on your site (help the user out while distributing link equity at the same time) and as discussed to death, add-in those outgoing links. It’s a sign of quality.Google wants you to recognize that your site isn’t the only quality resource online, and that there are others out there which can help users and supplement your content. The last thing you want is a massive chunk of text with no internal or outgoing links – we STILL see them all the time. Sigh.
OK, A Quick Bonus Ranking Tip!
Seeing as we’re talking about internal links, a killer way to boost ANY page in Google on your site is direct authority from your most powerful pages to your target ones. (Your target pages should only be those that are more important to rank.)
I realize this is a simple technique but I’m always surprised at how many don’t bother to implement it.
Step 2 – Sort by your highest authority pages (e.g. in Majestic you’ll sort by “Trust Flow” and in Ahrefs you’ll sort by “URL Rank”) and export that list.
Step 3 – With your target pages in-mind that you want to boost, add-in relevant contextual links from those high authority pages on your site. This will simply direct additional link equity to those target pages and it’s very potent.
Of course – only do this if it makes sense to do so. The point isn’t to spam or force them in unnaturally. It all has to be fluent and useful/relevant to the reader.
Don’t worry, in a future post I’ll cover this in a little more detail, but I just wanted to bring it to your attention. This is also a great way to boost pages on your site that haven’t received any editorial links (or are just harder to get links to in general. It means you can use the authority from one page and direct it to another!
This is a great example of “Small lever, big results” because you’re effortlessly leveraging existing authority.
What Does An Expert Campaign Look Like Using PosiRank?
Here’s how we would likely map out promotions for the following, over a 4 month period:
Brand New National Site: $1000 Budget
1 x Press Release – 159 credits
1 x Entry Level Guest Post (500 words) – 99 credits
2 x Guest Post DA 20+ (500 words) – 298 credits
1 x Social Signals Bundle – 249 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 30+ (500 words) – 199 credits
Month 1 Total (One Time): 1004 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 20+ (1000 Words) – 169 Credits
1x Guest Post DA 20+ (1500 words) – 189 credits
1x Guest Post DA 20+ (500 words) – 149 Credits
1 x Social Signals Bundle – 249 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 30+ (1500 words) – 239 credits
Month 2 Total: 995 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 20+ (500 words) – 149 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 20+ (1000 Words) – 169 Credits
1 x Guest Post DA 20+ (1500 Words) – 189 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 10+ (1500 Words) – 139 credits
1 x Social Signals Bundle – 249 credits
1 x Guest Post DA 10+ (500 words) – 99 credits
Month 3 Total: 995 credits
1xGuest Post DA 50+ boosted with 60 High PR Squared – 608 credits
1xGuest Post DA 50+ -399 credits
Month 4 Total: 1007 credits
- Spread the above across 3 URL’s and rotate your URL’s every 2-3 months, depending upon results. It’s crucial to rotate the URL’s otherwise your campaign won’t be diversified enough.
- You can also order a Giza pyramid for the 1st month (which includes a press release) instead of the standalone press release and a guest post or two.
- The point is diversity, with Tier 1 links, a press release for foundation links and of course – social.
For a brand new LOCAL site, what we’ll do is very similar but the major difference is that in the 1st month we’ll add-in our “35 Local Business Listing Submissions + Cross Check” product in the 1st month in place of a guest post.
Social Signal Momentum works VERY well for local campaigns, we’ve seen regular occasions of sites getting listed on the Local 3-pack after a few of these promotions.
Q: How Do I Promote An Authority Site?
You’ll want to follow a similar pattern to the above, which as you can see is a real mixture of our guest post varieties and social.
But – make sure you’re boosting your best and most valuable backlinks.
Go to your preferred backlink tool, find your most powerful links and order a “High PR2” product for each one. The 15 package is fine, the 60 will get you that little bit extra.
If your budget is constrained, spread this over several months. Ideally, only boost links that are on pages with approximately less than 10 other outgoing links. If they are contextual links, all the better! Ignore pages where there are tons of other links – it’s not worth it.
Q: If I Have A Larger SEO Budget, How Should I Use It?
The answer is pretty simple. I would personally build more of the same links to additional pages on your site. If you have quality, in-depth content then this will effortlessly increase the number of keywords you’re ranking for.
If you’re looking to be more aggressive on a few number of pages (assuming you’ll rotate them every 2-3 months), then you can safely more guest post links and social products, making use of all the options we offer.
Of course – don’t ignore opportunities to increase the value of your most authoritative backlinks. It’s a very potent method (results-wise) but also conservative in terms of Google and penalties. This is because you’re not actually building any additional Tier 1 links using this technique, you’re just inflating the value of them.
Q: Which Backlinks Should I Be Boosting?
In my testing, I’ve tracked and seen that the Ahrefs URL Rank will increase by 50-200% when you boost a backlink with HighPR2 (which is pretty awesome). The best and most affordable strategy is to only boost your top tier links.
From a mathematics standpoint, boosting a link 50-200% on a DA50 site makes a whole lot more sense than boosting one on a DA20 site. Therefore, start from the very top and work your way down. Unless your link is on a page where there are only 2-3 other outgoing links, I wouldn’t boost any links on a DA30 or less.
Q: How Often Can I Order Press Releases?
You’ll get diminishing returns pretty fast if you order a press release more than once per quarter. Each time you order a press release, rotate the URL’s so that link equity passes through to new internal pages on your site (as opposed to hammering the same ones per release).
Q: What Other Link Building Opportunities Are There?
For our Infinity clients (where you get access to your own dedicated manager who will create custom campaigns for you AND place the orders on your behalf), we offer a couple of additional link building services.
- Scholarship campaign (real EDU links) – in a nutshell, we’ll get you 5-10 real, DoFollow links from EDU sites by running a scholarship for your site. You’ll publish a scholarship page on your website (with all the pertinent details for students to follow) and this is where the EDU sites will link to. The winner of the scholarship receives $1k (which you’re responsible for paying) and we charge you per EDU link.
- Targeted Outreach Campaigns – for extremely high quality pieces of content (that aren’t heavy on the promo-side) we’ll create a custom list of influencers that we’ll personally reachout to. These sites will be in your niche and the links acquired are certainly varied (which is what you want and will perfectly supplement guest posts).For example, your link might be placed on a resource page or within an existing article (long or short). Sometimes sites will also share on their social channels as well. These are different to guest posts because typically you have to pay sites for a guest post (that’s how it has always been) but with outreach, you have to earn them. This is why it can’t be a promotional piece and instead has to be a helpful, informative and top quality piece of content. It takes a LOT of outreach to obtain these links but it’s so worth it.
- Your Connections – brainstorm all the people you know in your niche, contact them and ask them what it’ll take to get a link from their site to yours. You never know where this can lead to – perhaps they own 10 more sites in your niche and can hook you up!
That’s a lot to digest, to be sure.
But I assure you, if you bookmark this post and use it as a “checklist” for your next couple campaigns – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
SEO is one area where – ironically – the big results come from being consistent & predictable.
If only the same were true in other areas of life 🙂
Till next time…