When Google entered the search landscape back in 1998, the founders focused on a new and different way of looking at the eco-space of search.
Instead of primarily focusing on page content, code and tags – search pioneers Sergey Brin and Larry Page recognized the value of using a citation model as a qualitative, additive component.
Their approach matched how their own university (Stanford Google Research) used white papers and referenced documents to quote authoritative data points.
A simple idea made Google stand out
If a reference (back link) cited your document from another trusted resource, the estimation would be that your document or page also would be of higher, more trusted value. It would “borrow” trust and authority from the incoming citation.
The external reference would act as a “vote” for your information.
Watch the evolution of the Google search engine
The link graph
Hence, a new search engine was born – the link graph leveraged search framework.
By focusing not only on keywords, content and on-page factors – the Google engine would also utilize a link profile – and evaluate incoming links from these profiles based on several factors in a search engine ranking algorithm that today contains well over 200 factors.
Many corroborated estimations in the SEO community count the importance of domain and page authority back links (off-page factors) as high as 70%.
However, a trusted and authoritative website will contain a balanced link portfolio – combined with on-page keyword content, positive user patterns, social interaction and many other factors. These must all be natural and not manipulative in any way.
Backlinks and SEO are not dead
The job of an SEO among an expanding universe of strategies and tasks — is to provide full SEO audits, analysis, recommendations, campaigns, data. That includes ongoing monitoring and SEO management for long term success (Rankings, traffic and ultimately, conversions/sales).
Backlinks and levels of complexity
The identification of the history of links to your website (pages), the maturity, trust and authority of these over time, the velocity or speed of acquisition, including trust indicators (trust flow, citation flow, domain authority, page authority) are just a few of the variables to track and use when analyzing links during a backlink audit. You also want links from external pages that are indexed.
This is not counting the issues of potential existing “bad neighborhoods” (unbeknownst to you), negative SEO factors, filters or penalties from Google (Penguin) and search engine blocks that may prevent your website from using a link graph to its fullest potential.
The value of link building and selling to executive teams
Nothing is more frustrating than explaining SEO to busy executives. Even if you do a great job, and you get an early ‘verbal signature’ for your project, expect it to be shot down by the CFO (chief financial officer).
It’s hard to to convince ANYBODY on the management team how price and value must BOTH be considered, and that they are important metrics to understand for link building. They often look at links in a one-sided view: it’s about price per link, when in effect the true value can be hundred-fold over time.
How to approach
Outside of explaining SEO, the strategies and implementation, you’ll have to position results and growth as major deliverables over a period.
We typically look at 6 months+ for moderately competitive areas to start. (We don’t plan for traffic spikes on a ‘lucky’ viral video or infographic that eventually dies down anyway).
Management metrics can be shared in this way:
- Traffic growth year-over-year by a percentage (range)
- High-value page targets that receive a certain traffic increase
- Keywords that move up in the rankings for related brand terms
- Keywords that show higher based on conversion data
- Awareness and visibility lead over the competition
Live data and case studies
Showing proof and case studies, and even sharing live and current data from competitors (screenshots, live demos in office, skype, etc.) are valuable.
You can use ranking software and backlink tools to show some of this data while showcasing your expertise.
Don’t hold back on your expertise. Educate them about search and how search driven user intent beats interruption-driven ads and posts (a.k.a. “Facebook”) and how Google bases their algorithm largely on incoming links for top rankings.
An investment in a balanced back-link portfolio are central to long term SEO success.
Value of back-links
The results (visibility, traffic, sales) that links can gain are the true value. And, quality trumps quantity. You can easily get links from the “black market”, but Google will eventually catch up with you, and your traffic will likely be poor quality (e.g. ‘not converting’).
Links from authority sites will drive traffic, improve your reputation and get you a larger share of the audience for your market.
When sharing reports and status updates, focus on the quality and relevancy of the links created. That includes number of links, what target pages, the level of relevancy and number of websites / webmasters you have contacted vs. connected with (received a link).
Demonstrate how the traffic improves and how goals are reached via your web analytics tracking.
Long term tracking and reporting for traffic, key phrases and long-tail terms should be included, and you must share KPI’s that matter to show progress and value. Continual monitoring is a necessity.
Google may “slap” you
You may have seen either algorithmic or manual penalties (manual reviews), and possibly received a message from Google.
You are taking big risks in building your brand if you are not staying on top of these notices, and other important search behaviors and metrics.
Our link audit and analysis
The backlink audit and analysis provides deep insights into your own link profiles (external links coming back to you) and we provide data, recommendations and best practices on how to a) solve potential issues affecting you and b) how you can proceed forward, both short and long term.
Here are extracts of backlink data points:
- Inbound link types
- Inbound site types
- Link risk levels (Bad links, suspect links, neutral links, low risk links, good links)
- Anchor text distribution (Avoiding over-optimization!)
- Domain Authority and Page Authority distribution
- Title rankings
- Potential toxic links (risk levels, above)
- Backlink spam
- Broken links
- Link reclamation
- Outreach opportunity tracking (part of an ongoing SEO campaign)
- Daily and weekly tracking monitoring
Our comprehensive report includes full details, with a table of contents, easy to follow layout, specific and important statistics with explanations, recommendations and how you can improve your entire link graph with priority levels for action.
Pricing varies for each site – but we typically work on larger sites, and it takes many weeks to complete each backlink audit for Google.
We only have a few spots available due to the depth and volume of work.
Inquire further here – (FREE QUOTE) and we’ll be happy to join a quick 20 minute call with your team and to see if we are good fit.