Understanding Your sites Links & Trust [VIDEO]

Links are one of the biggest factors affecting the ranking of a site. Making sure links pointing to your site are of high quality, cultivating a good quality link profile and removing or disavowing low quality links is one of the most important jobs for maintaining the SEO health of your site. In this video we explain how links work, where you can find more information and what to do with low quality links.

Looking for the first video in the series? Find it here: Making Sure Your Sites Content Can Be Indexed

Transcript

Hi, this is Christian Dejan SEO. In this tape, we’re going to look at understanding your site’s backlinks and trust signals. Understanding the way people link to, share, and engage with your content is important because these are the most significant factors in driving traffic to your site and earning repeat visits.

There’re a couple of tools we’ll be using in this video, including Social Crawlytics, Open Site Explorer, and Google Analytics. We’ll also be looking quickly at the Google Disavow Tool. We’ll keep everything in this video quick and easy to understand, however, if you want to try more advanced options, you can stop the video and play around with the data available in each of the tools at any time. You can also find more supporting articles on HubSpot and Dejan SEO.

There’re few ways of observing and monitoring a site’s value in trustworthiness. These include social shares, user engagement with the site, and the quantity and quality of backlinks. Social shares are a good indication of how you perceive a site’s quality. You can review the social shares on your site using a tool like Social Crawlytics. Obtaining more social shares is generally a good indication that users find the content on your site useful or in some way, interesting. Whilst they don’t have any unique value in terms of SEO, they can result in a great deal of referral traffic towards your site. Where links are accessible and followed by Google, they can also pass standard link value.

If you’re looking to try and increase the number of social shares, you should make sure you have a plan in place for creating unique and interesting content for your users. You should also start building up a social media presents so that you have a regular audience for your content. This will also help increase the reach of your content, meaning more people interacting with your brand. There are loads of articles to help you with this on the HubSpot blog.

Another useful set of metrics for understanding your site’s value for users are those related to user engagement on your site. You can see this data in Google Analytics. A couple of things you might want to focus on include Bounce Rate, which shows why users only visit one page and then take no further action, Time on Site, which is a good indication of how users initially perceives the value of your content, and Exit Rate, which shows which pages are losing users. Each of these can give you a rough idea of how your site is meeting the user needs and can help you identifying problem areas that need fixing.

Although user engagement is primarily an issue of user retention and conversion, there is some suggestion that it might be a factor in search ranking. With users remaining on your site, instead of returning to search, being a signal that your site has fulfilled the query that the user was asking. If you’re trying to improve your user engagement metrics, you should make sure your site loads quickly, and again, that you’re producing regular and engaging content for your users and sharing on social media.

Links are important for several reasons, they can drive referral traffic to your site and help increase brand awareness. They’re also one of the most important signals in Google’s ranking algorithms. This means that if a site is to rank well in search results and it needs to have positive signals coming from its backlinks. This is something which some marketers have tried to fake, however, with various updates Google has made to its algorithms, it has become more difficult and risky for businesses to do this.

It’s important for marketers to be able to understand their site’s backlinks and what to do if there’re any problems with them. A tool which can help with this process is Open Site Explorer. There are similar tools like Majestic SEO and Ahrefs which are better for some tasks. However, Open Site Explorer has an easy-to-use interface which is helpful when you’re just starting out. A couple of things of check out are domain authority, page authority, anchor text, and the compelling metrics tab.

Domain and page authority are a summary of the number and quality of backlinks pointing towards your site. They are measured out of 100 and are a rough summary of the level of trust that can be gained from links. HubSpot has a domain authority of 90, which is pretty high. Anchor text is the text that is used in a link pointing towards your site. These are a signal to Google at the meaning of your site. They’ve also been misused in the past. An over-optimization of anchor text is a common cause of link-related penalties. You can see how this site is linked to any anchor text tab. A natural link profile will typically be linked to with a variety of anchor text and a greater percentage of branded or naked URLs and other types of anchor text. If your site has too much anchor text with words like, “Buy Product Online”, it’s a pretty good sign that someone has been attempting to manipulate search results and presents a risk to the business. In this case, it can be useful to attempt to modify, remove, or disavow those links. I’ll explain more about that later.

Using Open Site Explorer, you can also view and compare your site to that of your competitors. Open and compare your link metrics tab and add a competitor in the Add URL section. When comparing metrics, you might want to look at page authority, domain authority, and MozTrust. It can also be useful to look at the number of links a competitor has, though more isn’t always better and can be an indication your competitors have been building artificial links towards that site. With this information, you can get an idea of where your site might need to improve or where there are risks for your business. In the event that you find your site might be at risk of a link-related penalty, you’ll need to do a link analysis. The best way to do this is download all of your links from Open Site Explorer and webmaster tools, and use things like anchor text and the authority of the linking page to determine which should be removed. This can be a time-consuming process and will require some manual review. Once you have the list of the links you think need to be removed, you’ll need to try and contact the site owners to remove them. This won’t always be successful and you may need to use the Google Disavow Tool to tell Google to ignore those links. This process can be complicated and is recommended you speak to an expert before removing or disavowing any links.

With all of the factors mentioned in this video tip, it’s important to remember that they can’t be faked. Building real user engagement and making sure your site is useful and entertaining is the only long-term strategy for improving your site’s rankings.

This was a quick video tip on understanding backlinks and trustworthiness. If you want to use the tips in this video, you can get started with the action shown here. You can also find supporting articles on HubSpot and the Dejan SEO website.

Chris Butterworth is the Content Marketing Lead working from Dejan’s Melbourne office. Get notifications of his posts or give your expert feedback on his writing on Google Plus…

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