First up is Ross Hudgens, who will tell us how to build a link-building machine, a linkable asset that systematically and easily piles up links.
For the maximum effectiveness, the machine should have as many of these seven properties as possible.
Property 1: A giant target market. Linkable assets can only fail if you target a small portion of the entire community. Some examples of what appeals to a large target market include the following:
- time-sensitive events
- viral content
- blockbuster movies
- miscellaneous subjects with a wide appeal
- interest groups
Property 2: Subject matter that is evergreen. For example, no longer post about Charlie Sheen or Hurricane Irene, but things like Halloween fun facts and how to make money online are still relevant.
Property 3: Ability to have incentivized placement with retained benefit in a no-follow state. One way you can incentivize would be to embed on high-traffic sites with no-follow allowance. You’ll receive tons of links this way.
Ask webmasters for an embed box, and make sure it’s clear that the content is still from you.
You want the ability to promote a piece of content to be viral multiple times.
Property 4: Unfortunately, I didn’t get everything he said and the slide flew by, so this will have to remain in the mysterious realm of the BlueGlass TPA conference tent. Cue Twilight Zone music. (Random: I am in love with this lighting.)
Property 5: Create additional links back to the website through passive discovery at a high link/view ratio. Create external hyperlinks that double as advertisements and have clear “calls to embed.”
Property 6: Asset is the leading value proposition for a target market pain point in an environment where zero-sum conditions exist. If we take away anything, this should be it. You want to build a piece of content that appeals to a pain point.
If you can be that first player, you can naturally get all of these passive links.
Multiple sources divide links. No pain points lower the likelihood they’ll ever appear. Great content isn’t enough; you have to build the best content in the industry for an area of pain.
Property 7: The asset is properly applied to the cyclical link building timeline. Try to leverage the echo effect. Sometimes you don’t click what you first see on a stream unless you see it multiple times. That’s why you should target multiple people in a market so the links are more noticeable.
Use Google alerts, Twitter search and blog search to identify mentions because some people don’t cite properly, and you want to be keeping track.
After working with the social side, the second step is to do cold outreach. Contact all sites linking to comparable assets using broken link strategy. It’s really important to monitor link growth.
The next step is the repurpose. If you have something about Christmas one year, you can’t easily repurpose, so create layers when designing infographics so you can use it for another reason later.
He suggests doing a content audit after 6 to 9 months.
It’s pretty much impossible to have all of the properties exist at once, but try for at least 5 or 6.
Next up is Dave Snyder, who starts by applauding Chris, Loren and Mary from BlueGlass for planning this great conference — recognition that’s definitely deserved.
He starts with a newsflash: Brute force rankings came to an abrupt on June 9, 2010. Because Caffeine allows granular changes to the index, the Spam team can now monitor link data and make changes on an extremely granular level.
Based on this change, companies that continue to brute force anchor text optimization of links began being filtered.
The new link game needs to be based on a real-time view of your backlink portfolio, especially if you’re a large organization. A well-rounded deep link and branding campaign are the keys to success in the long-term.
When you start to get filtered, you’ll see things like individual pages being filtered, individual ranking drops and overall search traffic drops.
Some quick things that you really want to look at:
- Anchor text distribution of optimized links v. branded terms
- Anchor text distribution of optimized links v. total link count
- Total number of links v. total number of linking domains
The biggest things that Google is looking for is the ratio of anchor text saturation, known paid link signals, lack of deep links and the saturation of unnatural link placements.
“If everything’s going to your homepage, it’s a bad move,” Dave said.
He says you should be building natural, high-quality links outside of link networks. If you want to invest your money properly, you can do it well.
Monitor your analytics, rankings and backlink portfolio for major changes to the site.
What it all boils down to: More is less. It’s all about the quality. One concept that SteelCast has been working on micro-network creation: they build out smaller networks to drive search traffic to a certain point.
With Panda, Google devalued content that is not being utilized by searchers or users, which gives value to content that has social and user signals.
To construct a micro-network, break your website into topical themes. Break it thematically around your larger concept. Create sharable, high-quality content, not spam content.
Do not spam. Use common sense and build for the long-term play.
Jordan Kasteler concludes by emphasizing that what you do won’t necessarily cause Google to go after you, but it might be a waste of money, especially if Google’s de-valuing everything you’re doing.
And with that, we’ve concluded the last session of TPA Day 1. Tonight’s all about the Caribbean-style cuisine and music for our evening luau. I’ll be back bright and early for Day 2!