Live SEO Support 2/24/21 – Full Episode
Welcome to another episode of Live SEO Support!
Live SEO Support is an hour-long Weekly Livestream where our founders, Nicholas Altimore and Chris Tzitzis, take questions from the audience on anything related to SEO.
But in case you missed us live this week, here’s the full episode:
This Week’s Archived Livestream:
[20:19] What type of link building works for niche sites in the long term?
Simply put, you want to have a conservative strategy of building quality links that have a very low chance of getting penalized by Google.
Focus on diversity. Mix up a natural blend of backlinks from different types of websites. Mix up your anchor text and target pages too. And make sure you compare it all to your competitors’ profiles as well.
We really believe link diversity is the best way to maintain safety and integrity in a website for a long time.
Let’s take a hypothetical example of starting a new website for a niche business. You’ll want to establish some pillow links first such as social profiles, local citations, forum/blog comments, directory links etc. These are the natural, clean links that any business is expected to get or would want to get in the beginning.
After the pillow foundation, you can look into powerful links like guest posts, niche edits (with anchor text diversity), and PBNs. But it’s important to stagger the acquisition process. For example, think about focusing only on pillow links during the first month or two, then start adding authority links over the successive months (while adding more pillow links on an ongoing basis).
Target diversity is about getting links pointed to all the pages and content on your website. Try to get as many homepage links as you can. In general, your homepage should get more backlinks than your hub pages/inner pages/blog posts, because that signals to Google that your entire domain is authoritative or valuable (and not just one individual blog post about a niche topic).
[34:37] Any advice on ranking in the local map pack?
Get a GMB (Google My Business) account if you don’t have one already.
We recommend sending links to both the website and the GMB.
Other than that, you’ll want to build a clean site with good on-page optimization. Like ranking any site, you’ll want to manipulate your link profile to add power, relevance, and trust to that local asset. Look at your competitors to see what kind of sites they’re operating, how big they are, and what type of content they have.
One possible way to gain traction could be to find an old directory listing that doesn’t have a website attached to it and actually suggest an edit to add a new website to that listing. We’ve been able to get a map pack in a couple days by doing this (with some luck and probably a lack of competition).
Good informational content on your site is essential for big, competitive metropolitan markets. But it’s often easier to rank in smaller areas, like cities with less than 100,000 residents.
We rank local sites in a very similar fashion to any other site. It just takes a few extra steps to get ranked in the local map pack:
- Have a Google My Business account.
- Make sure your citations have the correct NAP (name, address, phone number).
- Make sure the NAP is on your website (e.g. map embeds).
- Get some location-relevant backlinks.
[39:10] What’s a strategy to boost my article from the 8th SERP position to the 1st?
We do try to answer this question a lot in one way or another, so we won’t spend too much time here. But we do encourage readers to check out all of our informational content (because many of them are relevant to this question).
First of all, your site is already healthy if it’s on page 1 (even if it’s in the 8th position). That’s a good overall sign. At this point in time, we would focus on building more powerful backlinks that are designed to boost rankings (i.e. authority links).
You should also inspect the other sites that are indexed on the same SERP page as yours to see how many referring domains they have etc. Doing a competitive gap analysis of any missing factors will give you a better idea of how many more (and what type of) backlinks you need to consider adding to improve your position.
Try to make some on-page improvements and target your main keyword.
Hopefully, the competition of your SERP won’t be too high and you’ll be able to gain traction relatively easily without having to make too many changes/additions.
[42:53] Assuming there’s enough anchor text diversity, is there an upper limit to how many internal links a target page can receive?
It’s definitely important to maintain anchor text diversity for your internal links and not just spam the same keywords throughout your inner pages. Use variations and generic text. Contextual links are recommended as well.
It’s also worth noting that the amount of internal links to and from a target page should depend on the length of the target page’s content. Bigger articles should naturally have more internal links associated with them than smaller articles.
Moreover, you probably shouldn’t link to your most important blog article from every page on your site. Instead, you should link to a target page from the most relevant places on your site.
Having said that, we don’t really think there’s an upper limit to how many internal links a target page can have. We just don’t see the added benefit of creating more links to a page than what’s necessary or natural.
[46:45] I recently added 500 backlinks from subdomain articles. It didn’t make any difference in DR (Domain Rating) or traffic. Are links from subdomains not counted as good links?
No, there’s nothing inherently bad about subdomain links. Subdomains are treated just like top level domains. They aren’t better or worse. Subdomain links can be very powerful.
What catches our attention is the big round number of 500 backlinks. That’s a lot of backlinks. Honestly, that smells like Web 2.0 spam, bots, or a low-quality Fiverr gig.
When dealing with link building, you’ll want to focus on organic ranking in the SERPs more than metrics like Ahrefs’ DR or traffic.
If your ranking isn’t improving from these backlinks, our guess would be that the subdomains (and their content) are low-quality. Or the links are low-quality. Especially if the 500 backlinks are mostly from spun content.
Check out our article on what are quality backlink.
[50:53] Should you put outbound links on your blogs or is it fine to just use internal links?
Sure, it’s always a good idea to include one or more outbound authority links in your blog posts. We include 1-3 of them in all of our articles. They’re always contextually relevant too.
We think it’s a natural thing to do, and we don’t really worry about it sending off our link juice. Outbound links help Google learn more about your site, and there’s value in being part of “the bigger picture” by linking out to relevant sites that cover your topic in other ways.
However, we advise against linking to your competitors unless you’re doing it out of good will.
[54:41] Please explain H tags (e.g. H1, H2, H3, H4).
H tags can be even more important now because of the ‘passage indexing’ update from Google, which tries to rank specific passages in your page’s content. If your content is structured with targeted h tags, it’ll be easier for Google to crawl your page and rank a specific section.
Other than that, h tags are very easy to understand. We use them in all of our blog posts.
We use one H1 per article (at the top) and put keywords in it. Keyword variation in the H1, title tag, and inner-page URL are the most important on-page positions for keywords.
So the H1 is the main topic/heading of the article (but don’t confuse it with your SEO title tag). The H2’s and H3’s are simply the sub-headings of the article that fall under the H1. They help to break your content down into an organized structure for readers.
The h tag structure is a good place to insert keywords. In general, good h tag implementation will increase the chances of specific content getting ranked in the new featured snippets and Google passages in the SERPs.
[59:21] Do your ‘niche edit package deals’ help with anchor text diversification, as well as adding authority, if I sent them all to my homepage?
Yes, you can absolutely diversify your anchor text and add authority at the same time by using our niche edit package deals. Anchor text diversity includes URL, generic, and branded anchor text.
However, we also recommend our niche edit ‘bulk deals’ which are low authority niche edits that are good for diversifying anchor/link profiles. The reason why we like using these cheaper niche edits is because we don’t want to use more expensive links on anchors that are irrelevant to our target keywords.
The cheaper ‘barrage’ deals are more cost-effective in many situations, and we will tend to use them when it’s really necessary to diversify/correct the anchor profile of an unnatural website that’s only using money anchors or that has a bad anchor profile.
A clean, healthy website with a strong link profile can have it’s anchor diversity maintained and strengthened with the more expensive ‘package deals’ that contain more authoritative links and some money anchors.
[1:05:00] Should I only build links with the aim of “fixing” one issue at a time (e.g. anchor text diversity, power, authority, relevance), or should I try to improve multiple outcomes at once?
In this case, killing two birds with one stone is better than killing one bird. So you should always try to resolve as many issues as you can when link building (as efficiently as possible).
For example, let’s say there’s a site that’s losing rankings/traffic with terrible anchor texts and an irrelevant backlink profile. We’re going to try to tackle all these problems at once by immediately linking to the homepage using natural anchor text from relevant pages.
A single authoritative backlink designed this way is improving the domain trust, anchor text diversity, and relevance all together. However, a niche edit barrage blast may be needed to correct the overall anchor profile as quickly as possible.
[1:08:20] How many outbound authority links should you use in a guest post?
Always do what’s natural (or random). Longer content may need more outbound links. Also consider a seemingly powerful page with hundreds of inbound links. Would it be natural for that page to link out to only one other website, given that it has so many referring pages pointing to it?
This may be fine for the most authoritative sites on the web. But it could appear manipulative or shady if a low authority, unranked site has hundreds of incoming links to a guest post which only has one outbound link.
A good average number of outbound links for a guest post could be 2-3. But the more important consideration should be to randomize the number of outbound links across all content pages.
[1:13:35] For an Amazon affiliate site (niche products), which do you think really drives the sales conversion: content management/quality, or SERP visibility?
First of all, you should think of conversion (i.e. CRO) and content as only being important after users have visited your website. SERP visibility activities (the heart of SEO) are separate from CRO and content management activities from a strategic standpoint.
Now let’s assume your visitors are all from organic search traffic. Because conversion won’t happen until visitors land on your page, this would mean that SERP visibility is the most important driver until users have visited your website. You won’t get organic search traffic looking at your amazing content if they can’t spot you in the SERPs.
And it’s often the case that sites with lesser quality content end up performing well because they’re dominating the top SERP positions and getting maximum visibility.
However, your content and layout is extremely important after users visit your site. Given two similar sites in positions 1 and 2, which would you trust more with your money? Most likely the one with better content management (if you visited both).
Still, someone landing on a site that’s ranked on page 2 (through a direct URL) could still be easily influenced to convert if the content is good enough. This is why content and SERP visibility are both very important by themselves. Having said that, we would choose a site that has a high ranking (and lesser quality content) over a site with great content that doesn’t rank at all.
Lastly, when building a new site, it’s a good idea to focus on SERP visibility first before building out the content. Get some traffic flowing to your site first and then fine-tune your CRO. Having some traffic will give you data to analyze (e.g. A/B testing).
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