L
ADING
Link Building

Link building tools you may not know about

Contributor Julie Joyce breaks down the nuts and bolts of four unique link-building tools and shares how each can help analyze web pages and assist in your linking efforts.

If you are actively building links, you probably already know about many of the main link-building tools. If your time and financial budgets allow, check out some of these multipurpose search engine optimization (SEO) tools to aid you in your link-building efforts.

I’ll cover the tool in general and then look at the unique “nuts and bolt” features of each tool so you get the most of out it when executing link-building and content marketing campaigns.

Paid link building tools

These first two tools are robust options that perform a variety of functions and are paid tools.

Nightwatch.io. This fairly new tool has the ability to monitor 20 domains and 100 keywords. Like most tools, Nightwatch lets you track your rankings, monitor your backlinks and do tons more, but if you’re on a budget or looking for something new, it’s a great one to try.

It’s also a very pretty tool with great visuals. You can also hook it up to Google Analytics and Search Console.

In terms of link building, while I wouldn’t advise anyone to rely solely on rankings or any other one metric, it’s very good to know if you are moving up, staying the same or falling in the search engine result pages (SERPs) so you can figure out what’s going on.

There’s a great section of the Nightwatch tool where you can see a graph of your average SERP position alongside your competitors’. You can quickly run ranking reports based on the keywords you’re tracking and identify which keywords need work. If you’re building links to certain pages and using specific anchors, you can use this information to try and see where you need to put your focus. Just don’t get too caught up in the typical day-to-day ranking fluctuations, as it can drive you crazy.

Another great feature I use frequently is to quickly visualize how rankings for a client compare to rankings for his/her competitors. This is useful information to have when starting a new link-building campaign. If you notice your page is moving down while the competitors are moving up, that’s a good sign that something needs to change.

You can also pin items on the Dashboard if you want to monitor multiple sites or just different information for one site, making it easy to put together a dashboard that gives you what you need immediately after logging in.

And if you’re one of those people who lives to see a daily ranking report, you can see that as well.

Another thing I like is the Notifications section which tracks keywords and gives you new keyword suggestions. I love getting keyword suggestions when I’m running out of ideas and steam trying to find new linking partners or new content ideas.

LittleWarden.com. This tool checks for mail exchanger (MX) records and redirects. It also monitors page title changes, which I find very useful. I’ve seen some great improvement in rankings and conversions after altering page titles.

This tool monitors anything that has the power to negatively impact your rankings. A pet peeve of mine is when there is a technical issue on a site beyond my control, and I discover no one on their SEO team is monitoring it. You certainly don’t want to be working hard to attract links to a page that becomes inaccessible to Google. The monitoring feature on this tool will definitely help here.

You definitely don’t want to have a domain or secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate expire. Little Warden keeps an eye on expiration dates and will send a monthly email reminder when ending dates draw near. All of the features with this tool can be configured to your convenience which is nice.

Free link-building tools

These next two tools are free online tools that are more specific to certain tasks.

Siteliner.com. This tool helps find both broken links and duplicate content.

Broken links make for a poor user experience. Duplicate content is problematic enough that Google has an entire page about how to handle it, so it’s a good idea to use canonicalization if you have multiple pages with very similar or duplicate content.

The Skipped Pages section lists reasons why the page was skipped, potentially leading you to some troublesome issues, such as a page being blocked from Bing and Google bots or a 404 error. That’s very good information to have for your own site, but if you’re scanning a target site for link building, you definitely want to make sure you won’t be putting a link on a page that is blocked and won’t get indexed.

Finding broken links on web pages is easy with this tool. Search on a keyword and look for solid partner sites in what’s returned. Offer great content with working links to replace what’s broken on your target sites.

FirstIndexed.com. This is a free tool that allows you to discover when a uniform resource location (URL) was first indexed. It’s a search that appends some variables to make it easier for you, and I like easy!

If you’re trying to place links on a page, and you have no idea of how old the page is, this tool will give you an idea of how current the information is. If you land on a great page, and it was first indexed 10 years ago, you’d want to double-check to make sure that all the content is still relevant and accurate.

When it comes to topics that update frequently, older pages aren’t always a great source or a good link partner.

Older pages also have a higher probability of broken links, so you can also use this tool to check for broken links. Not only is that good for link building, it’s a good way to get a webmaster’s attention, by nicely pointing out that something needs to be fixed or updated.

To close

Link building can’t always be done with just the naked eye and still needs the support of smart, well-optimized pages to impact rankings. You can build great links to a site with smart content, but that doesn’t guarantee better rankings or increased traffic. There are many other factors at play that need to be taken into consideration, and the tools I have listed can help and be a great addition to your link tool arsenal.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Joyce owns the link development firm Link Fish Media and is one of the founding members of the SEO Chicks blog. Julie began working in search marketing in 2002 and soon became head of search for a small IT firm. Eventually, she started Link Fish Media, where she now serves as Director Of Operations, focusing on working with clients in ultra-competitive niches all over the world.

How Does Search Engine Optimization Help You Increase Your Web Traffic?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO, as it is more commonly known, is often hailed as one of the most important tools for online marketing. But is it really as important as people say it is? Does it really make any difference to your business? Well let us begin by understanding what Search Engine Optimisation really means.

Search Engine Optimization is basically a set of techniques aimed to improve your website’s visibility across search engine sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. When somebody wants to search for a specific thing on Google, he/she usually types in a specific phrases and then the search engine serves a list of websites which might have relevant content. Now SEO aims at improving your websites position whenever search phrases which are relevant to your site are searched.

So now we have a basic idea about search engine optimisation but the question remains-does search engine optimisation really impacts your business? And the answer is Yes, of course it does! Today, the world lives on the internet and therefore it is highly probable that your prospective customers spend a considerable amount of time on the internet. So it is really a wise idea to attract customers from the web.

If your website gets ranked on the top of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), then people would believe that your site is more relevant to them and that would increase their chance of visiting your site and possibly getting converted into a sale. A top rank in popular search engines like Google would not come unless you use a robust SEO strategy.

So to sum things up Search Engine Optimization gets you the top ranks on search engines and top ranks on search engine sites gets you more visitors to your site and increases your revenue levels as well. So to make your business more successful on the web, you got to have Search Engine Optimization.

seo ireland

How to Optimize Your Website for Multiple Keywords

In today’s SEO, where context is more important than keywords, performance measurement often still comes down to specific keyword terms and phrases that a user searches.

While you don’t have to chase the algorithm for specific terms and work on variations and phrasing to jockey for position against competitors, you still have to care about both relevancy and authority.

The relevancy of content to the subject matter and the ambiguity of what context really means versus an individual keyword approach have led to looser strategies and a renewed need to stay focused on on-page optimization.

While trusting that Google will understand the context of our content as you build a strong brand and positive user experience, you’re still faced with the need to:

  • Determine the hierarchy of our content.
  • How to organize our content.
  • How to build that context to ultimately rank for multiple keywords that will meet our conversion goals.

The need to optimize and focus on keywords is as important as ever even though the importance of certain optimization techniques has changed.

1. Know Your Current Content

Once you’ve established your conversion goals, arranged your analytics house, and conducted keyword research, you’re ready to organize your keyword data into meaningful topics.

You can find sets of terms on the same topic and group them together. You won’t need to do stemming or use all of the literal variations of the terms and its plural or singular versions, but you need to know which sets of terms are related to a topic.

When running an e-commerce site, this likely falls into top-level terms for the most general topics of the niche or industry that your site sells products in, product categories, brands, other filtering or grouping options for products, and ultimately at the product level itself.

Most B2B sites follow a pattern as well with top-level business industry terms, product or service categories, and the products or services themselves.

With keywords grouped into topics, it’s possible to take the important next step of mapping your keywords to existing pages of content or conducting a content audit.

My go-to process is to run a crawl of the existing site structure with Screaming Frog, download the HTML page results into Excel, and then get to work putting topics and terms out to the side of specific pages. Issues with gaps (in terms of pages for the number of topics and keyword terms) often emerge quickly, allowing for the planning of additional content.

When you know you have content gaps and need to create more, that’s when you can turn around and quickly search to see which websites own the top of the SERPs for those topics and draw inspiration (without copying them) for ways to fill the gaps with your own content and make decisions based on priority.

2. Optimize Site Architecture

Knowing where you stand with content and having a plan for filling gaps is the start, but won’t get you far before you realize you need to figure out how to organize the content. Bruce Clay’s concept of siloing still has solid principles for helping get hierarchy and focus right for your site (though some aspects of how it is done are different today).

Balancing user experience, priority of product/service offerings, and topical keyword search volume (audience demand), build out your site hierarchy working top to bottom going from most general to most specific. As noted earlier, most sites are already built this way naturally. However, when SEO isn’t involved, site navigation and structure is often dictated by an internal or organizational view of what we think is most important rather than what our prospects are searching for and how they are searching.

By taking an approach that looks at essentially any page at any level on the site as an entrance point and landing page for one or more topical keywords, you’re able to cast a wider net in terms of rankings and visibility.

When you try to rank for too many terms with a single page or section of the site, you will cannibalize your own efforts and dilute your message. Stone Temple Consulting recently went in depth on how to recognize cannibalization.

We’re far from the days of targeting a keyword per page, but at the same time you can’t expect to rank for a wide range of topics and terms with a small set of pages and going in the direction of “less is more” when it comes to content.

3. Do Your On-Page Optimization

It is surprising to me how many SEO campaigns I have seen recently that have neglected the basics of on-page optimization. These SEO basics and best practices still apply.

You have to go deeper than just trying to produce great content and organize it well top to bottom in the site. When you’re building context for the user and Google, you have to ensure proper categorization.

The last thing I want is for pages on my site to provide a bad user experience. If a potential customer is searching for whiskey gifts for groomsmen in their wedding but don’t yet know what type of product they want and they end up landing on a specific whiskey barrel page that outranked the category page, they are more likely to bounce.

When you’re building context for the user and Google, you have to ensure proper categorization. The last thing you want is for pages on your site to provide a bad user experience.

If a potential customer is searching for whiskey gifts for groomsmen in their wedding but don’t yet know what type of product they want and they end up landing on a very specific whiskey barrel page that outranked the category page, they are more likely to bounce.

There is still power in the on-page variables. The focus isn’t on having a single tag or body copy keyword density that will move the needle alone, however, with all factors working together with architecture and on-page optimization, you can present a solid set of content regarding relevancy on our particular subject matter.

When you have everything in great shape, you get to spend time on more granular details of optimization and test to see how they impact rankings.

 

4. Don’t Forget the Rest of SEO

When your information architecture is in alignment with your strategy for building context and when you’re in good shape from an on-page optimization standpoint, you can focus on fine details and single variable testing changes.

You don’t want to stop here and be short sighted in your approach though. It is important to remember the rest of your SEO strategy including aspects of “authority” that work together with the “relevancy” that you have built.

When you have a balanced website and great content from top to bottom, you can now attract links to pages other than your homepage, utilizing off-page ranking strategies that are targeted to specific topics deeper within the site without worry of dilution or cannibalization, shifting the intent of a page in the determination of the search engines from one topic or subtopic to another.

SEO Management is crucial for your online rankings. If you build backlinks, like to save time, and want software that makes insightful and useful recommendations – Linkio might be what you’ve been looking for.

3 Ways SEO & Content Work Better Together

The relationship between SEO content marketing can always feel a bit complicated – specifically in how the two fit together. Do they get along? Are they at odds with each other? If so, is it possible to ever make them work together?

If you’re trying to grow your qualified search traffic, you can’t do it with only one; you have to combine your SEO efforts with engaging content.

But what’s the most effective way to do this?

One way to look at the relationship is from the perspective of SEO making requests of content marketing (although their synergy isn’t as aggressive as that sounds).

Let’s look at three essential ingredients SEO requires – keywords, backlinks, and a technical site audit – and how SEO and content work together to help you achieve your digital marketing goals.

1. Keywords Can Help You Generate Content Ideas

There is no such thing as SEO without keywords, and the most astute content marketers understand that the best content helps your rank for the terms that are most related to what your consumers are already searching for – which is why every effective content strategy starts with keyword research.

A comprehensive keyword research session starts with some simple brainstorming. Think about the main goals of your site and jot down some keywords. From there, expand this list with the help of keyword tools.

Below are two ways you can identify keywords beyond those you currently rank for:

  • Google autocomplete and related searches: There’s no better way to step inside the mind of what your consumers are searching for than through Google. Let’s say you wanted to start dedicated to cheeseburgers. “The best cheeseburger” is a query that your target audience is already likely using, but when you enter it into Google, you’ll discover a list of potential long-tail keywords (see below). Three SEO Demands That Content Fulfills | SEJFrom there, scroll down and check the related searches for an additional list of relevant keywords (see below). Three SEO Demands That Content Fulfills | SEJ
  • Paid tools like SEMrush: Another option is to look at potential keywords through the lens of how competitive the term is via SEMrush. On the platform’s main dashboard, they have a section that offers related keywords, which is another great resource to identify terms that your site might not already rank for (see below). Three SEO Demands That Content Fulfills | SEJ

Once you’ve got a set list of keywords, think about how you can use them effectively beyond just technical means. Beyond meta descriptions and title tags, here are a few other ways you can use your keyword research:

  • Blog posts: Use your list of keywords to help you come up with new blog topics. Referring back to the cheeseburger example, you can produce a blog post where you sample multiple burgers from fast food chains.
  • Static and dynamic assets: Keywords can be a jumping off point to more creative projects. In the case of “best cheeseburger toppings,” you could create an interactive asset that lets users build their own burgers.
  • Social media: Keyword research can also help you identify new opportunities for social promotion – specifically through new hashtag ideas.

2. A Diverse Backlink Portfolio Is the Direct Result of Engaging Content

Google uses links to measure relevance, authority, and trust of websites. So producing lots of linkable content will help boost your rankings.

So what’s the secret to linkable content? An analysis of more than 300 content marketing campaigns by Moz and Fractl (disclosure: my employer) revealed there are four key ingredients to highly shareable content:

Every online marketer worth their salt knows what a backlink is. Check out this article on How to Build Backlinks:THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE to learn more about it.