TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers Backlink Building: Strategies to Help Grow Your Links – Recap of SEO For Bloggers Episode #24

Backlink Building: Strategies to Help Grow Your Links - Recap of SEO For Bloggers Episode #24

Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

Whether you need to grow the number of backlinks you have or need better quality links, this webinar will shine light on just how to build quality backlinks. Tune in to episode 24 of SEO For Bloggers and discover various strategies to gain those high authority backlinks!

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Q&A With The Panelists

These are each of the questions that were asked during the Q&A portion of the webinar. The answers are provided by the panelists. Have a question about this episode you'd like addressed? Reach out to!

Question 1

Are there penalties for comment schemes? (e.g. where bloggers start a FB thread and all comment on each others’ posts?)

No, and blog comments are “nofollow”

Question 2

I post in round up groups for backlinks, and I’m wondering how many times one other food blog can link back to me without sending a negative signal to Google. What happens if one other food blog has backlinked to me 3+ times?

It’s not a negative signal if more than one is linking to you, but is they are all linking from the same site it will only count as one.

Question 3

Do backlinks only help that specific post or the site overall? For example, if I had 100 backlinks to a chicken recipe, does it mean that Google would view other unrelated recipes of mine more favorably or just the chicken recipe?

Both. Links into a direct page help that page. Those linking root domains help the overall site. The benefit of links is both granular and widespread per Google and the patents we have access too.

Question 4

Regarding studying competitors, can I check the time spent on other sites’ posts or their CTRs?

Not unless you have access to their Google Analytics.

Question 5

Is still a reputable and reliable source for  backlink checker?

Yes, they are fine to use but the info is from a feed

Question 6

Can we still do something like what Andrew did today, or would it be considered by G to be a link scheme these days?

If you’re providing something of value for readers (which Andrew’s October Unprocessed challenge did), it should be just fine. There are plenty of online campaigns, events, projects, and programs that get “attention” and therefore generate links, and — unless it’s done primarily to get links — Google have any issue with that.

Question 7

What does a healthy backlink profile looks like?

There is no wrong number here. We’ve seen sites with 300+ linking root domains have less than 10,000 sessions a month. And a competing site with 1+ million sessions a month. But generally, more links correlates to higher monthly traffic levels.

Question 8

Is having your own podcast more valuable for backlinks than being a guest on other people’s podcasts?

It depends! ( both are good!) Is your podcast so awesome and useful that it generates a ton of inbound links from a variety of relevant sources? (In which case, that will elevate your podcast, not necessarily the rest of your blog. On the other hand, being a guest on other podcasts can generate a backlink or two for each time you’re a guest – so those can add up too.

Question 9

Should I bother to reach out to sites that have no-follow links to my recipes to ask to change to do-follow?

If it’s a relevant link, and there’s no financial relationship, and you think the site owner is likely to remove the nofollow tag, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask!

Question 10

Can you get bad backlinks?

Absolutely, most sites get ‘bad links.” But, per Google, this is something they handle well a their end and its nothing something you should worry about.

Question 11

In my niche (lifestyle, home decor, DIY), blog hops are very popular and vauable ways to grow our reach. Is that acceptable?

Blog Hops are mostly dead. Large-scale “you link to me and I’ll link to you” campaigns with long lists of blogs featured on the same pages, over and over again, are not going to do much for you. They are too easy to systemically find and ignore by Google.

Question 12

When should you disavow spammy/bad links?

If you KNOW you built in links you shouldn’t have. Or, you actually receive a Manual Action backlinks penalty from Google. Those are the only two situations per Google and best practices.

Question 13

How do you tell if a link to your site is a follow or no follow link?

In Chrome or Firefox, right-click (or control-click) on the link and select “Inspect.” This will open up the Developer Tools and show you the actual HTML code of the link. Look for rel=”nofollow” in the link (in the opening <a> tag). If it’s not there, it is a “follow” link, which is the default. It would look something like this: <a href=” rel=”nofollow”>WordPress support for food bloggers</a>


Resources & Links

Below are links to all tools, articles, and other resources mentioned in this webinar:

  1. Nerdpress: A variety of resources put together by the team at NerdPress.
  2. SEO For Blogger’s Episode #14: Webinar focused on keyword research tactics.
  3. Google Alerts: Google tools to identify alerts.
  4. (HARO): Great opportunity to find backlinks – HARO connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content with sources who have that expertise.
  5. SEO For Bloggers Link Building Episode: Webinar focused on link building tactics.



Casey Markee (00:00:02):
Hey welcome. I guess the webinar has now started. I think we’re going to let people in, in a minute. We were just talking about keyword research, so we’ll just continue that conversation. One of the things that we’re finding more and more, and I know Arsen has some thoughts on this, is that we’re finding a lot of people are continuing to target keywords that they have no chance of ranking for. Good and bad to that.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:21):
I mean, well, the other way.

Casey Markee (00:00:23):

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:23):

Casey Markee (00:00:23):
Yeah, they’re targeting keywords that-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:26):
Are not going to yield have much traffic,

Casey Markee (00:00:28):
Honestly have no volume or are very, because maybe they’re using domain authority. We’ll talk about that in a minute again. We don’t want to pigeonhole you too much. It’s amazing how you will rank for something in say just six months or a year, if you’ve built up the authority to your blog. We don’t want to pigeonhole you too much. I know there’s a lot of courses out there that are like, “Oh my God, never go after this keyword because it’s too competitive and your DA is not going to line up with it and you have no chance of ranking for it.” If you do that 100% of the time, you’re going to find that the keywords that you are targeting are going to be so low volume in competition that you’re not going to generate a ton of traffic. We’re going to literally have to publish 300 posts just to get you to the level of where 100 posts with decent keyword research would have gotten you six months or a year ago.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:14):
Maybe even less. Right.

Casey Markee (00:01:15):

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:15):
This kind of also goes into this whole link building conversation that we’re going to be having today.

Casey Markee (00:01:21):
Exactly. We’re going to talk about that today.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:21):
Right, because if you already invest the time into creating the content, shooting the recipe, writing the recipe, videoing the recipe, everything, and the recipe doesn’t have much volume, you already invested time into not much return. Then when you’re going to start promoting and amplifying that recipe, a part of that process is link building. Is it worth that additional investment if the demand for that content is just not present?

Casey Markee (00:01:49):
Yeah. For those of you who came on late, again, don’t even worry about this. This is a conversation we were having behind the scenes. We’ve been seeing more and more bloggers coming to us like, “Yeah, I don’t understand what’s going on. I took a keyword course and the keyword course told me to target this kind of keyword.” The problem is the keyword course was a little bit too restrictive and it was making you target keywords that honestly you could rank for, but they literally had no volume and you were basically proverbially spinning your wheels. We want to understand that just because you don’t think you can rank for something now doesn’t mean that you won’t rank for that in six months or a year. That’s what we really want to mix in the competitiveness of those keywords and understand topics.

Casey Markee (00:02:26):
We’re not going to talk a lot about keyword research today. We have a whole webinar on that, and I’m going to put Ashley on the spot and she’s going to paste that into the notes so that you guys can catch up on that. Just understand that there is no hard and fast rule. Whenever someone tells you, “Okay, your domain authority is this and therefore you should only be targeting this type of keyword.” That’s a generality. It’s never going to work in 10 out of 10 cases, and I certainly do not want you to hitch your wagon on that kind of strategy, because you can and will rank for a lot of keywords that on the surface that you might not have thought at all that you had any chance of ranking for. We just don’t want to pigeonhole you from the start. We’re seeing a lot of bloggers coming to us saying-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:03:06):
Casey has said pigeonhole like seven times already.

Casey Markee (00:03:08):
Yeah. Pigeonhole seven times, six times.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:03:10):
In the three minutes that we’ve been on. I think we have a t-shirt.

Casey Markee (00:03:13):
Every time you pigeonhole yourself, you have to take a drink.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:03:13):
We have a a t-shirt.

Andrew Wilder (00:03:14):
Definitely going to be a pigeon pillow.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:03:16):
We don’t want to pigeonhole you, #SEOforbloggers.

Casey Markee (00:03:17):
SEL for Bloggers. Anyway. Good times.

Ashley Segura (00:03:23):
Yeah. For those who joined a little bit late and heard conversations happening about keyword research, have no fear, they’re recording. People have been asking. We will publish the recording of this a week later in the recap blog post, as always. If you felt the need to get the beginning of the keyword research conversation they were talking about, you will hear it. We’ll make sure and publish the full thing.

Ashley Segura (00:03:44):
Let’s talk about backlinks. That’s what we’re here for. Let’s talk about link building. Let’s talk about how to build back links. As always, we’re going to do Q&A at the very end of the webinar. At the bottom of your Zoom screen, there is a Q&A button. Make sure and press that button and it’ll pop up a lovely Q&A box. Inside that box is where you can put your question, and you can expect an answer. If you put your question in the chat box, which is in the webinar box, most likely it may get skipped.

Ashley Segura (00:04:14):
If we don’t get to answer all of the questions in the Q&A section, which rarely ever happens that we can get to all of them in the webinar, the panelists take the time throughout the week to actually go in and physically answer every single question that’s in the Q&A. Summary, put your question in the Q&A, not in the chat box, and it will for sure get answered. The blog post recap will be published in a week. Lots of housekeeping things, but let’s talk about backlinks.

Casey Markee (00:04:39):
Yeah, let’s do it.

Ashley Segura (00:04:42):
You guys submitted such great questions about how to gain new backlinks, backlink building, but I really want to take it to the basics first and then get into the advanced stuff. Andrew, can you just start us off by explaining a real simple explanation of what backlinks are and why they’re important?

Andrew Wilder (00:04:59):
Sure. Backlinks are just links to your own site from somebody else’s site. That’s it. It’s not super fancy, but this is how the internet works. Everybody links to everybody else. That’s why it’s called the internet. The thing that made Google so brilliant early on in the ’90s was that they figured out that links were really important. It’s like a vote from one site. If you link to another site, you’re saying, “Hey, this site is worthy, I want to link to this site for some reason.” They factored that into their algorithm and they said, “Hey, we’re going to do this crazy mathematical computation to figure out the more links you have, the more important your site is and we’re going to give you more ranking.”

Andrew Wilder (00:05:34):
In the ’90s, it was very simplistic. It’s gotten infinitely more sophisticated now, but it still holds true. Links are really important because they’re really hard to fake. They’re hard to fake properly. Google can detect… I see Arsen shaking his head, but Google can detect, or works very hard to detect if you’re trying to game the system, and so when you have a natural backlink profile it looks really good and it says, “Hey, this site is worthy so we’re going to lift you up in the search results.”

Arsen Rabinovich (00:06:02):
I’m going to quickly chime in.

Andrew Wilder (00:06:05):
Oh, sure.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:06:08):
Think of links, especially for bloggers. There’s different verticals and how links affect them, especially for bloggers. Think of links, and I’m looking at Casey’s cat, good profile shot. Think of links as secondary signals from other sites. Think of them as third party validation, other sites on the web saying, when they link to you, they’re essentially telling Google that the page that I’m linking, the document that I’m linking to is indeed a valuable resource on the topic that it’s covering. There’s much more involved in that, but think of links that way.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:06:43):
The more of that you have coming to you from relevant sites, so you don’t want a transmission repair website in Fresno, California linking to your Ukrainian borscht post. Maybe a mom blog that has a section on her site about cooking for her kids linking to you, that makes sense. That relevancy signal is so important. They’re secondary signals your content is still the primary driving factor. They’re secondary signals and they’re third party relation. The more of those you have, the more chances you have at hitting top of page one positions.

Casey Markee (00:07:21):
I would just add to that. One of the themes that you’re going to see today folks on the call is that our goal here is to show you that, and this is what Google is looking for, we want you to be a content creator who happens to get links, rather than a link builder who happens to create content. Once you make that shift, you’re going to find that it’s a lot easier to build in links or to generate these authoritative mentions to your site on the interwebs. That’s kind of our goal today, to show you some strategies that’ll work and provide some targets that you can go after.

Ashley Segura (00:07:58):
You can’t really talk about backlinks, I mean, you guys gave such a great explanation of the depth of backlinks, but you really can’t talk about backlinks without clarifying what a high authority website means. Casey, what exactly deems a high authority website? Does it really matter when all these SEO tools claim things like domain authority as metrics? Does that have to do with the authoritativeness? Can you kind of dive into that and explain that?

Casey Markee (00:08:26):
Sure. A high authority website is simply a trusted source of reliable information for users. That’s the simplest way to say it. It’s a site that offers clear increased UX, it has a strong trusted engagement signals, it tends to have a lot of earned links from outside sites that are relevant and viewed as authoritative themselves. What we’re trying to do is that if we’re looking at a backlink profile, whether Google is doing it programmatically or algorithmically or whatever, they’re looking at clusters. They’re looking to see kind of seed units. What is linking into the site? Where are those links coming from? Do they represent a specific niche or a specific topical focus? Then they determine, based upon an extremely complicated algorithm that we will not get into today, whether or not those links are trustworthy.

Casey Markee (00:09:18):
Our goal here today is really to kind of understand that any site, especially all of you on the call today, can have a high authority website. It’s really all just a matter of you getting other sites that are niche related to link to you, or getting local sites that will feature you to link to you. Think of it as a competition for prom king and queen. It used to be that, again, whoever had the most votes won. Not necessarily so much these days with prom queen and king. It’s really about the quality of the sites that are linking to you and the quality of the votes. That’s what we’re going to kind of focus on today specifically.

Casey Markee (00:09:58):
Now, as Ashley mentioned, we’ve always heard about the concept of domain authority. The concept of domain authority is an invented metric. It was invented by Moz years ago. Many of you are familiar with Moz. It is a metric that Google does not use. They’ve come out and specifically said this on a handful of occasions, but it is a metric that we kind of have to pay attention to because it’s good for comparison metric purposes. It allows us to kind of see very quickly how we might stack up to another site.

Casey Markee (00:10:29):
If I have an audit with a site who’s a domain authority 19 and I look at their backlinks and I see that they only have about 200 link and root domains, and yet they’re trying to steal links from another site that might be a domain authority 38 with 700 or 900 linking root domains, then it’s going to be very hard for them to compete on shared keywords unless we can get their own internal authority up. What we’re trying to do is understand that I know it’s kind of a… I can’t even think of the word I’m using, Arsen, but it’s kind of a conundrum in that Google doesn’t use domain authority, but nevertheless domain authority is an interesting metric in comparison purposes. Because we know and we can get you to the next tier of domain authority, it is substantially easier for a site to rank for very specific queries.

Casey Markee (00:11:21):
Now, there is a lot of similar metrics out there, whether you’re using Semrush or you’re using Ahrefs or Majestic. All have similar authority and domain level strength metrics that they use across their own data. I just want all of you to understand on the call two things. Number one, this is not something that Google uses, that they say repeatedly. Number two, it should be used as a comparison metric only so that you can both determine where you stack up right now and also compare side by side possible link targets for competition data.

Ashley Segura (00:11:51):
I do just want to note, it looks like we’re having a little bit of technical difficulties on our side. If you put out conversations in the chat, the panelists aren’t actually able to chat, so I’ll be relaying everything.

Casey Markee (00:12:06):
Okay. I see that.

Ashley Segura (00:12:08):
There may be [inaudible 00:12:08] if there’s any conversations in there. Arsen, when it comes to backlinks, and Casey just briefly started touching on this, but is it more important to have a larger number of backlinks pointing to a blog, or have less backlinks but backlinks from higher authority websites?

Casey Markee (00:12:27):
Who’s answering that, Arsen?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:12:29):
Do you want to take it?

Casey Markee (00:12:30):
No, absolutely. Let’s have Arsen do it.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:12:33):
The answer is it depends.

Ashley Segura (00:12:44):

Casey Markee (00:12:44):
Really? That’s interesting. Really? Tell us more.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:12:47):
Right. If you’re a natural, a natural backlink profile will consist of a little bit of everything. It will consist of good quality links, poor quality links, follow links, no follow links, image links, naked, just it’s going to be scattered, there’s going to be no rhyme or reason. Google over the years has become much better at sifting through the crap and ignoring it. This is also why, and I think we’re touching on this later also, this is also why we haven’t had to do a backlink penalty clean up in a good amount of time, like four or five years now we haven’t had a penalty recovery client.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:13:33):
Google is becoming much better at sifting through the trash. Would I go out there and invest time into building trash links? Probably not. I’m going to chase, and again, when we say authority, we’re not talking about domain authority, we’re talking quality. We’re talking about topical authority. We’re talking about quality of a site. We’re not talking about domain authority. Would I invest my time into chasing authoritative links? Yes, absolutely. Do you need a lot of them? It depends. Certain queries you definitely do. For certain things you definitely do need links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:14:08):
If you’re competing and you’re seeing that page one is very much filled with sites that have topical authority, like WebMD has topical authority in everything medial. Allrecipe has topical authority in everything that’s food. If you see that the page one is full with that, you will most likely have a hard time ranking on page one without links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:14:30):
For other queries, not so much. It depends. It depends on a lot of factors. A good healthy backlink profile will definitely have a variety of everything. It will definitely have a lot of links and have a variety of all kinds of types of links.

Casey Markee (00:14:43):
Yeah. Ashley, I don’t think we put this on there. Maybe it was part of the question, I didn’t get to it, about how to build up your domain authority. Is that something that we had on the list, or is that something we could just interject now?

Ashley Segura (00:14:54):
Yeah. That’s also echoing a little bit of some of the questions that’s going into the Q&A, so it would be perfect.

Casey Markee (00:15:00):
Okay. When we talk about building up domain authority, Arsen touched on it very quickly there, about the quality over the quantity. We want to prioritize relevant backlinks whenever possible. Clearly if you’re a recipe site, I would want to prioritize a link from another recipe site over say grandma’s crochet site. Maybe the grandma’s crochet site is not a bad link, but nevertheless it’s not a quality or a quantitatively relevant link as say a link from another recipe site. We want to focus on that.

Casey Markee (00:15:30):
We also want to generate content focused on the core audience so that we can attract new visitors. With recipe sites, that could be anything from meal plans, to roundups, to detailed ingredient guides, to whatever you think your audience is going to be interested in that you also think might be able to resonate online with other non maybe recipe lookers that would generate links in the short and long term.

Casey Markee (00:15:58):
We also want to update older content whenever possible and make sure that it’s the best it could be. Because once we do that, we increase the likelihood that content will be considered high quality and will generate increased links both in the short term and the long term.

Casey Markee (00:16:12):
We also want to study our competitors. We want to make sure that we find out where they’re getting their links from and go after those same links. I know many of you on the call try to emulate other sites in your niche, or have sites that you aspire to go after. Well, a good idea, a good way to do that would be to start doing some competitor backlink analysis on those sites and find what links they have that you do not have, and see if we can fill in some of those gaps.

Casey Markee (00:16:39):
Now, backlink analysis is a little tough because of course we don’t have access to one of the biggest free versions of backlink data for that other competing site, which is their search console. What you can do is use an Semrush, you can use a Majestic, you can use a Moz, Ahrefs. Maybe you could share a subscription with someone else to run some link analysis and pull their link data and see if you can find some link opportunities that way.

Casey Markee (00:17:08):
We also want to be visible. We want to pull in links via podcast. We want to pull in links by maybe offering maybe scholarships or other community based opportunities on your site that might allow you to stand out locally. Local links are a great way to both expand your brand and also generate some very inexpensive links that will help you long term, because those local links especially are very usually editorially vouched for and given. Things like the Better Business Bureau. Things like being a regular at a local farmer’s market. Usually those all have sites, and when we can get on those sites, that will help our backlink profile in the interim.

Casey Markee (00:17:49):
Then finally, we want to push our content out by social media. We want to generate viral inflection points on specific articles and podcasts. Maybe you have a recipe or maybe you have a resource that you know is just kick ass. We really want to push that out as much as possible. Maybe we do not have strong social accounts, but maybe we have friends who do. Get them involved. See if they can help you propel or retweet or re-share that content so we could get it out, because the wider audience we can get to review your content, the better chance we can generate links to that content. All things to think about when you’re looking to build up your own domain authority.

Ashley Segura (00:18:33):
A couple things I want to dive into, Casey, on what you just mentioned, aside from the cute cat, is on the local aspect. Would local links still make sense for a brand that doesn’t focus on a local audience, it has more of a national or even international audience? You also said inexpensive, so is there generally a cost, or do you mean time wise?

Casey Markee (00:18:58):
That’s a good question. When I say inexpensive, I mean time related. For example, one of the easiest ways for a food blogger to generate increased traffic and notoriety for their blog is to literally contact their local news and radio stations to see if they would like free cooking or recipe content. In many cases, those sites will fall over themselves agreeing to that. We’ve had a lot of success here in San Diego. When I turn on the TV, it’s amazing how many times I’ll see a blogger that I’ve consulted with or who’s locally based who has a cookbook or something else where all they’ve done is contacted the local morning show and managed to get some time to talk about the cookbook or provide a cooking demonstration. Maybe they were just providing some very specific information on a seasonal trend.

Casey Markee (00:19:51):
Laura Bashir, we all know Laura, I think. Laura’s based here in San Diego. A couple years ago she released a cookbook that was all about cookouts, family cookouts. I turned on KUSI in the morning and lo and behold, there’s Laura doing a cooking demonstration on showing some of these more popular recipes for cookouts. She did that by contacting them and positioning her cookbook as an option that she knew the audience would be interested in. That is something that a lot of bloggers struggle to do. They don’t want to put themselves out there because they’re either shy or they don’t want to deal with a possible rejection. Trust me, I get it. I’ve audited everyone you can think of, and there’s a percentage of bloggers out there that just do not even want to show their photo on their website. Unfortunately, those are the bloggers that do not tend to do as well long term.

Casey Markee (00:20:53):
You want to be as visible as you can. Be as vocal as you can in saying, “Hey, I’m a member of this community. I have content that I know the community would be interested in and it’s not going to cost you anything.” In return, you’re going to generate very good goodwill, and you’re also going to generate some links on those sites as well, which will help you.

Ashley Segura (00:21:15):
Thank you, Casey. Andrew, looking at this from more of a resource perspective on, let’s actually task this out, how much effort should you put towards backlink building on a monthly basis? In percentage terms so we can actually think about this out of all the mini tasks that need to get done, especially for optimizing your blog. How much effort should you put towards backlink building alone?

Andrew Wilder (00:21:42):
You guys know what answer is coming, right? It depends. It’s really going to depend on your site and how much content you have, how many links you already have, what you’re trying to do, where you’re trying to compete. I can’t say like spend 37% of your week building backlinks. You can’t do that. I want to illustrate with two sort of stories of how I’ve been working on links, because I think building backlinks, if you do it smartly, it’s not just about getting a link, it’s about building something else and it reaps dividends for years.

Andrew Wilder (00:22:20):
When I started my food blog in 2010, I was brand new and didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but I had this idea to do a challenge, and so I did what I called the October on process challenge, where I tried to get as many people as possible to eat no processed food. There are probably some of you on the call who participated, I hope. What I ended up doing was I put this pledge page on my site and I had this plea of, let’s stop eating processed food. Then I reached out to lots of other bloggers and said, “Hey, I’m doing this challenge. Would you like to participate? What I’m going to do is publish a guest post on my site every day for the month. Will you write a guest post and I’ll link back to your site? Then when we publish that, please do a teaser post on your site sending people to the challenge.”

Andrew Wilder (00:22:59):
I got a lot of people involved in this. I don’t know how well that would work in 2022. This was 12 years ago and it was a slightly different environment, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. It wasn’t a super strategic backlink building plan. I was just excited doing this and building something really cool and building community. It ended up getting a ton of links, and it got everybody’s social media involved. My site still has backlinks from a lot of those posts. Eating Rules is sadly neglected right now because I’m spending all my time with NerdPress, but it still has a fair amount of traffic. It’s still growing well. I need to do a little bit of work to kind of, it’s starting to drop off, but I think the primary reason it’s still getting any traffic at all is because it has a really strong backlink profile because of all of that.

Andrew Wilder (00:23:47):
There’s that. The other example I want to give is actually what we’re doing right now. The four of us are doing these webinars, and then the webinars are going on the TopHatRank website, and Arsen and Ashley are very strategically doing the Q&A so it’s all text on the page, so there’s content on the page. It’s not just a posted video. All of that is very deliberate. It’s useful and helpful for everybody, but it’s also strategic.

Andrew Wilder (00:24:13):
What I’ve started doing at NerdPress is we’ve actually started building an SEO resources library, and Ashley just posted the link in. Thank you. Where we’ve started collecting links to other sites that have good SEO content. Because we have lots of clients who are asking us for SEO advice, and we kind of wanted to have a repository of all this information. Well of course in the various categories we’re linking to all the TopHatRank webinars. NerdPress is linking to TopHatRank because it makes sense, it’s providing value and we’re helping people get to the right content. Instead of just sifting through all of the webinars in chronological order on their blog, they’re looking at the link building section and they know which webinar to go to.

Andrew Wilder (00:24:55):
I think the big takeaway I want everybody to have on this is you have to get creative. With recipes, it’s really challenging right now because there’s so much competition of so many sites, and so you do need to start branching out and thinking how can you get these links? It’s not just about slogging through to spend your time building backlinks. It’s about being strategic and smart about it, and coming up with creative approaches.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:25:24):
Good answer.

Ashley Segura (00:25:25):
Great answer.

Andrew Wilder (00:25:26):
Better than my first one, Arsen?

Ashley Segura (00:25:27):
You did it.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:25:29):
The first one was great too. I just had to Jewish mother it a little bit.

Andrew Wilder (00:25:33):
No. That was good.

Ashley Segura (00:25:34):
Something, Andrew, that you mentioned that I want to expand on is you gave your example that was back in 2012?

Andrew Wilder (00:25:43):
2010. Well, I did it for like nine years. I did it every year, every October. Sorry, you had a question.

Ashley Segura (00:25:52):
Okay. You did it every year for nine years. Is there such thing as a backlink going bad? Can you lose a link because too much time has passed?

Andrew Wilder (00:26:01):
Sure. I mean, a lot of the sites that linked to, a lot of people who did a guest post in 2011 or 2012, they might have taken their site offline by now.

Casey Markee (00:26:09):
Yeah, or changed their URLs and forgot to put in those redirects, which we see all the time still.

Andrew Wilder (00:26:16):
Yeah. That’s part of why my traffic is starting to go down, because a lot of those things are kind of falling off naturally. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s-

Casey Markee (00:26:26):
Arsen and I have also been sending a ton of Japanese cat fancy links to your site for here.

Andrew Wilder (00:26:31):
That’s why.

Casey Markee (00:26:32):
That probably has something to do with it.

Andrew Wilder (00:26:33):

Ashley Segura (00:26:36):
Casey, let’s talk about a brand new site. Literally starting from scratch. Maybe just launched like a month ago. Where would you even begin to start to get backlinks for a brand new site?

Casey Markee (00:26:53):
There’s a significant amount of things that you can do, so I’m going to go ahead and paste this over into the chat and I’ll have you re-paste it over to everyone else there. See if it actually goes. Maybe not. If you don’t see it, let me know.

Andrew Wilder (00:27:13):
I think Ashley’s the only one who could actually message with everybody else in the chat.

Casey Markee (00:27:17):
Yeah. That’s why I’m pasting it over here.

Andrew Wilder (00:27:19):
Once again, Arsen, Casey and I are-

Casey Markee (00:27:20):
We have to be super nice to her.

Ashley Segura (00:27:23):
Yeah. If you want your information transferred over, yes.

Casey Markee (00:27:27):

Ashley Segura (00:27:27):
Casey, if it’s not, you can always drop it in the doc or I can get it from you afterwards. Don’t worry everyone. All of the resources and the URLs that they normally would have pasted over, I’ll make sure and collect them afterwards and put them in the recap blog post, so you’ll still get links to everything.

Casey Markee (00:27:39):
Yeah. That’s hilarious. It’s not pasting over. Good times. When we’re talking about a brand new site, the very first thing we want to do is claim all the social profile and brand websites and immediately link out from those to your main website. We want to immediately claim all of your social profiles. That is literally the very first thing you should do after you’ve launched your site or in the time you’ve launched your site. We want to claim all our social profile and brand websites and immediately go into them and link back to our main website as soon as we can.

Casey Markee (00:28:08):
We also want to focus on publishing at lest 50 high quality articles or recipes, whatever we can get upline first, because we want to actually make sure that we have linkable targets that we can work with. Then we want to set up things like Google Alerts and Talkwalker alerts for our brand, our site name and more, to monitor for possible link opportunities. It’s amazing how many established bloggers do not do this. I have an alert set up so that anytime someone mentions Casey Markee or Media Wyse, I’m alerted so that I can possibly see did they link to me? If not, maybe I can drop them a quick note and ask them to link to me, if that’s appropriate.

Casey Markee (00:28:47):
We’d also want to set up a account. A account is really interesting, it’s free to do. Find your niche. There’s a niche for everything, including food and drink, where you can answer questions to kind of build up your expertise, provide a way for you to get some other links to your website and kind of start researching what’s going on in your niche.

Casey Markee (00:29:06):
We’d also, and I’ve mentioned this earlier, we want to start competitor research. Find three sites you wish to emulate and pull their backlink profiles. Take a look and see where they’ve linked, where they’re linking from. Maybe you can go in and get some of these links yourself. Find five to ten link targets that should link to you and start reaching out with contact emails.

Casey Markee (00:29:27):
We can do, I know a lot of bloggers have started a podcast or submitted themselves to podcasts. As part of the audits I do, I provide a whole section on link building and provide some very quick and easy link targets that those bloggers can use to get the ball rolling at their end.

Casey Markee (00:29:44):
We can also start advertising offline. We can sponsor sports teams. We can do a bake sale. We could do local events or conferences. Anything that you can think of that will get your exposure or get your site out there, you should. It’s funny because I used to work a lot with law firms, and you wouldn’t believe how many sports teams we sponsored with law firms that resulted in a lot of links and goodwill with the community.

Casey Markee (00:30:11):
Little things like that. You can also expand your network by following and befriending bigger bloggers and getting them to propel your content. We’ve covered a lot of this stuff, and I’ll have Ashley paste that in, in our previous link building webinar, where we talked about the concepts of broken link building, we talked about guest blogging. We talked about creating the infographics and other original image resources on your site to pull in links. We talked about testimonials. We talked about generating reviews on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Casey Markee (00:30:42):
I think a lot of my personal success has been because I have generated a ridiculous amount of visible, reputable reviews on LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites. I have 200 plus reviews on Facebook from clients who enjoyed their audit experience. I think that really helps reinforce your expertise, and it also makes people understand this is something that we have to invest in, or if I am going to invest in, I want to overcome some of the worries I had by looking at the returns or experiences from previous people who were in the exact same position I was and maybe was hesitating as well.

Casey Markee (00:31:23):
We also really want to build relationships by blog commenting. Now, the thing about blog commenting, which again is still very popular in the food and lifestyle niche, blog comments are no follow. It’s fine. Blog comments are a good way for you to get on the radar of other bloggers to form those relationships to have, “Hey, this is something that I really enjoyed making. Oh, by the way, I’ve got something over here that you may be interested in.” We can do some kind of a cooperative arrangement where, as we were discussing earlier, maybe we can have them guest blog on your site or vice versa. All that stuff still works.

Casey Markee (00:31:59):
We just want it to be as natural as possible. What we don’t want to do is have seven bloggers working in concert, linking back and forth to each other in every post they’re doing. Trust me, I still see that over and over again, because that kind of pattern is easy to suss out. It’s something that Google can algorithmically detect and ignore at scale, so it’s certainly not something I would waste a lot of your time. We’ll make sure that we have a full list of these possible opportunities in the transcript or something, and we’ll get those to Ashley at the end of the call.

Ashley Segura (00:32:30):
Yeah. Definitely make sure those are linked. Arsen, say we’re building backlinks for a site that is already established, that is getting great traffic but basically needs to beat out maybe one of the top one or two competitors, and links is where it’s at. Are there any strategies that maybe Casey didn’t mention that you would do for established sites?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:32:56):
Yeah. A lot of times what we see with larger sites, or sites that have been around for a while and have been collecting a good amount of inbound links, and those are typically scattered all over the place. When I get on these consultation calls, the first thing I say is, “We build links with a purpose.” You don’t just want to build links just for the sake of building links or improving domain authority. That really doesn’t matter. You want to build links with a purpose, and the purpose obviously for bloggers and publishers, because of how you monetize, is traffic to the website. Building links towards posts, recipes on your site, that have high demand.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:33:42):
Typically, what we do is we take a look at that backlink distribution. We take a look at the incoming links that are coming to your website from third party sites, where are they focused? Which pages on your site receive the most amount of links? What’s the velocity of those links? Do they spike and then stop receiving links, or is this a popular topic that’s constantly receiving? All of that goes into figuring that out.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:34:05):
At the end of the day, more established sites should be building links towards content, so deep links. Links that are pointing not to just your home page or about page, links that are pointing to specific posts on your site. Those links should be created, or if Google is listening earned. Those links should be earned strategically to reinforce the topic that’s being covered on the post. Remember, this is third party validation. These backlinks are third party validation signals that you’re getting a link from a site that says, “This page on this site is indeed a relevant source or a good source for the information that’s being published there.”

Arsen Rabinovich (00:34:55):
Some of the tactics. Ego baiting has been one of the best techniques that we’ve used back in the day. The way that works is you have to take a look at where you have equity, where do you have power? Let’s say Casey has Super popular site, but maybe he kind of sucks at social. Then I have a really strong social presence but I’m not doing so well with SEO. I can reach out to Casey and say, “Hey, let’s barter. I need you and you need me.” In my case, I want Casey to publish something on his site with a link pointing to me because that’s where his power is. I’m trying to siphon that. Then in exchange, I can do something on my social to help promote Casey. Then the way that works is you want to make sure that you explain to Casey, or I would explain to Casey, “Hey, I’m really trying to promote this one post, please reference it in whatever you do.”

Arsen Rabinovich (00:36:03):
Casey touched on pretty much everything. Collaboration, building relationships. That’s the most important part of link building. Even us internally when we do outreach, because the way we build links is through outreach, we build relationships with these bloggers. We’re not just pitching, we’re building relationships. When you start building relationships, really cool things happen. You can collaborate on certain pieces of content. You can reference each other in certain pieces of content.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:36:28):
Getting on these podcasts, Casey touched on local, so much potential there. I’ve seen it done properly create a meal planning guide for moms with multiple kids, or something like that. Lunches, or lunches for kids who have gluten intolerance. Whatever. Create a free resource, make it hyper local. You’ll set up a virtual cooking class for moms and kids. Set it up, do a press release, hit all the local publications. There’s so many services out there, just Google them, that they will draft a press release for you and distribute it to all of your local news outlets. You don’t even have to do the legwork. Your job is to focus on creating the idea, being creative, building that relationship, then putting the effort into delegating the rest of that work so you’re not driving yourself nuts doing outreach, responding to emails and all of that.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:37:33):
Going back to ego baiting, collaboration, interviews. Can I interview you for my site? Ask somebody if there’s an interest for them to be interviewed on your site. All kinds of different. Don’t give up on HARO. I just recently saw Paul from Grilling Montana execute HARO, and it was just like he was sending us emails because he’s a client of ours, he was sending us emails like, “Hey guys, got a link from here. Got a link.” It was just like almost one or two every week, but it was organized and executed properly.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:38:11):
Collaborate. Reach out to each other. Don’t just do these roundups. It’s the same link over and over. Get creative. That’s my story.

Ashley Segura (00:38:23):
When you’re getting creative, it’s very important to make sure there’s no spam in that creativity. Casey, can you kind of establish what the fine line is between a good backlink and a spammy backlink, and how spammy backlinks can hurt your site?

Casey Markee (00:38:43):
Make sure I’m off mute here. Good. Google’s really clear that any links intended to manipulate page rank or a site’s ranking in Google search results can be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines, which is hilarious because basically to Google any link building’s bad. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site. A spammy link to Google would really be any link that would be a possible link scheme, or would be any link that again is not something that is giving editorially or something that is given naturally, which is interesting just the same.

Casey Markee (00:39:22):
Now, I’m going to go ahead, and again I’ll have Ashley, you’ll have to go in and paste in the link scheme guidelines since apparently our copy and paste is not working here. When we’re talking about spammy link practices, we’re talking about, and I mentioned this a little bit earlier, when you have a small group of bloggers who are intentionally linking back and forth over and over again to each other with the very specific reason that they’re doing this for SEO purposes and not necessarily because there’s a benefit for the user.

Casey Markee (00:39:48):
I had a client a couple years ago, a bigger blogger, who they made it a point that at the end of every one of their posts they had three links to these other two bloggers. They tried to disguise it by saying these were related dishes, but in many cases it was a stretch. The problem is when you’re able to do something like that at scale, it leaves a pattern and that pattern is easy to find and ignore, or get penalized by Google. In this case, the blogger did get penalized for an unnatural outbound linking scheme that we had to submit a reconsideration request for.

Casey Markee (00:40:20):
It’s certainly something that Google is still looking at, although I’ll be honest, the link spam penalties have gone down precipitously over the last 18 months. I’ve only seen three of them, whereas the previous 18 months I saw 33. There’s a noticeable increase with regards to what Google’s concentrating on and what they’re not concentrating on right now.

Casey Markee (00:40:40):
Google is just really clear that they believe that all links should be given naturally and editorially. You shouldn’t really have to publicize that content to get those links, which is just complete and utter garbage and horseshit. That’s just not how the world works. We want to make our sites as attractive as possible, that means that we want to be a good spokesperson for our sites. We want to go out and be a good cheerleader and say, “Hey, this is my content and I want you to link to it.” That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We have to have a contact list. I’ve personally done link building campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and the automotive shop in Ramona. It covers the gamut, and they all involve a targeted syndication list with targets that we go after. We’ll either submit them by email, or if it’s local we’ll do in person or whatever. It involves a lot of give and take.

Casey Markee (00:41:43):
Paid links are of course still bad, but paid links still happen. I’m going to tell you right now, a lot of the bigger bloggers have been doing paid links for years. This is not a secret. This is just something that they can afford to do. They can hire PR agencies. Some of the bigger bloggers have hired PR agencies, we’ve helped them do it. Maybe you’ve gone with a reputable firm that we’ve recommended and they’ve gone out and tried to work at increasing your link profile.

Casey Markee (00:42:08):
The best opportunities for you is if you’re looking to get to that next level, hire help. Hire a professional. Hire a PR firm that can pitch you to the appropriate people, or can pitch you to The New York Times food and drink section, or the LA Times. We just had a representative from the LA Times with us just last month who currently works for Google Trends now, and we’ve had some very interesting conversations with her. That stuff happens, especially at the bigger Tribune owned newspapers in the United States, where they have whole sections devoted to finding links to input into their editorial site of the newspaper. We just want to be one of those squeaky wheels that they can consider for those kind of placements. That involves a lot of local outreach, especially for food blogger, especially here in San Diego.

Casey Markee (00:43:04):
I’ve helped bloggers put together syndication target lists of all the local radio and news stations and let them know, “Hey, this is my focus. I’m a gluten free blogger. If you’re going to do anything that’s gluten free related in the future, please consider reaching out to me for a quote or a cooking segment, especially if you have a deadline and need something last minute.” You’d be surprised at how effective that kind of outreach is.

Ashley Segura (00:43:31):
One thing I’d like to clarify, because it was mentioned throughout several times on the webinar so far, and Andrew, maybe you can help us out with this one. Do links from social media sites actually count as backlinks? Are they spam?

Casey Markee (00:43:44):
Sure. They count as backlinks. They just in most cases don’t count as followed backlinks. Twitter actually just recently took off the no follow on all of their links, and it caused such an uproar that they literally reversed the trend in 10 days. The reason that they reversed it is that there was a lot of fallout with regards to the link craft that it started to create. You wouldn’t believe at how much spam suddenly appeared on Twitter’s site after they had publicized the removal of the no follow attributes site wide, so that was something that they reverted.

Casey Markee (00:44:18):
Social links still count because they’re links, but they’re not going to move the needle. Facebook has been no follow forever. Pinterest has been no follow forever, even though they experimented here and there about it. The good thing about Pinterest being a public company in many cases is there’s lots of interesting data to be gleaned from the shareholder notes, and one of them was their attempt internally, an internal discussion that happened in August of 2021, where they were talking about removing the no follow from all the sites. Had consultations with associates of ours who decided it probably was not a great idea, and so they did not do it.

Casey Markee (00:44:56):
The thing about social links is that social links allow your content to be exposed to a very large audience, which in turn can lead to your content being linked from those individuals in other sites who will follow it. Understand that social links are used for exposure. They’re not necessarily a link building tool.

Ashley Segura (00:45:18):
Let’s switch gears a little bit. Arsen, let’s talk about roundups. How can you utilize roundup posts to actually gaining new backlinks? Casey mentioned, and I think he even might have touched on roundups a little bit, but how can you use them these days to get more backlinks?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:45:36):
I know there’s all kinds of Facebook groups that bloggers utilize to get themselves onto roundups, and they’re almost like a circular you link to me, I’ll link to you, kind of a thing. That’s great. It’s not really going to be the win all link building strategy for you. A lot of times Google will most likely, and again, we’re assuming, we don’t know 100%. Google will most likely disregard those or ignore those.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:46:14):
Roundups are great, but again, it’s a one specific type of content. If your backlink profile consists of only that one type of content, that’s not going to look very natural and organic. You should definitely be splitting your efforts. I get that it’s easier to do link building through these groups and just like, “Oh yeah, I got a recipe.” Throw it in, and then I’ll throw you in. That’s great, but it’s not going to win the race for you. You definitely want to diversify and create as much recumbency as possible within your footprint in order to show, not even to show Google, to make it look as clean and organic as possible.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:47:00):
Again, going back to get yourself on podcasts. That’s a different type of link. The local stuff is a different kind of link. A lot of local websites will syndicate press releases. Might not be the best type of a link, but at least it’s mentions.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:47:17):
Again, roundups are great. I haven’t seen much in terms of lift in positions from just roundup link building. I think it’s good for discovery. Google will crawl that page and say, “Oh, here’s another point of entry for me to check out another website.” That kind of has a cascading effect. Google crawled this page, and maybe Google didn’t find it before and now crawled it because of this backlink, so you have a byproduct of that link.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:47:46):
As far as that authority transfer or the topical signal, I don’t think you’re going to get much. Maybe for a newer blogger you will see improvements, but if you have other links pointing to it, focusing on just this type of link building is not going to yield too strong of results.

Ashley Segura (00:48:04):
Perfect. That makes sense. We have 17 questions in Q&A and only about 10 minutes left, so let’s dive into Q&A because there are some fantastic questions in there. First one is from Tony. “Hi. I post in roundup groups for backlinks and I’m wondering how many times one other food blog can link back to me without sending a negative signal to Google. What happens if one other food blog has backlinked to me three plus times?”

Arsen Rabinovich (00:48:30):
Only one link counts.

Casey Markee (00:48:33):
Yeah. It’s not a negative signal. Let’s take that out of the connotation completely. It’s not a negative signal that more than one roundup is linking to you, far from it. It’s just that if they’re all linking to you, to the same site with the same or similar anchor text, or maybe it’s the same site linking many times over and over again, it’s very possible that Google doesn’t count all those links, even though we have no idea how many of those links they count.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:48:57):
Right. Casey, I’m sure you remember blog roll links from sidebars back in the day.

Casey Markee (00:49:05):

Arsen Rabinovich (00:49:05):
Because that was like, ooh, I’m going to get a lik from every page on this website.

Casey Markee (00:49:09):
Yup. 1100 links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:49:11):
Right. That used to work. I used to skyrocket websites with that, and then Google’s like, “Well, you can’t have nice things anymore.” Google will see the other links, but we’re assuming that only one. It doesn’t matter how many times, that’s why usually when you look at Ahrefs or any other tool, or Semrush, they show you amount of backlinks and amount of referring domains. Referring domains would be the more accurate number to look at because that’s how many sites are linking to you, instead of how many pages, because one site can link multiple times.

Andrew Wilder (00:49:44):
Maybe a good way to put it would be diminishing returns after the first link.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:49:48):
Well, I don’t think it would be diminishing. Maybe from an effort and no outcome.

Andrew Wilder (00:49:52):
Right. I mean, if they’re deep links to different things that are related, it may have some value.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:49:59):
Right, but we don’t know.

Casey Markee (00:50:00):
Exactly. If I have a exceptional link from say The New York Times and they’re linking to three different articles on my site, I’m going to get value from all three of those links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:08):

Casey Markee (00:50:11):
It depends. Did we say that already today?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:13):
There you go.

Casey Markee (00:50:14):
There we go.

Ashley Segura (00:50:16):
Just a couple times. Not too much. I do want to echo though, you guys have mentioned a lot of SEO tools that you can see who’s sending links to you and how many backlinks you have. Is this data inside of Google Analytics? Say a blogger doesn’t have any SEO tool, how-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:28):
In search console, right Casey?

Casey Markee (00:50:30):
Well, in search console, yeah absolutely. The search console data is free. The problem with any link tool, it doesn’t matter, and I notice that Amanda Mason has Keysearch, and I love Keysearch, but the problem with a backlink tool like Keysearch, Semrush, Ahrefs, Google Search Console, you’re only seeing 20% to 30%, maybe a little bit more, of your backlink profile at any one time. There is no way ever, it doesn’t exist, for you to see your entire backlink profile. Doesn’t matter.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:58):
That’s why mimicking your competitor’s backlinks is also kind of like you’re throwing things up against the wall and hoping that it sticks, because you’re not getting the full picture of what’s actually making them move.

Casey Markee (00:51:10):
It’s impossible, it doesn’t matter. We have access to some tools that we don’t even advertise, that are incredibly expensive and that we’ve been grandfathered in for years, and even with them we’re not able to see, I would say we’d be fortunate to see half of the backlinks that exist for any one file.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:28):
Because you’re relying on these third party tool’s ability to crawl the web. Basically, they probably don’t have enough resources to crawl the web the way Google crawls the web, so they’re not collecting all of it.

Casey Markee (00:51:40):
It’s never a complete picture, that’s what we’re saying here.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:43):

Ashley Segura (00:51:44):
Perfect. Thank you for clarifying that both of you. Next question from Nisha. “Do you need links to the actual posts, or is it enough for people to link to your home page? Do Pinterest links count?” Great question. Arsen, take it away.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:59):
Both are good. Think of it this way. Your homepage is kind of like the landing page, you get links to your homepage, and then if your blog is structured properly, your homepage is kind of funneling all of that authority to other pages on your site. You also want direct links to specific content because there’s certain contextual signals that come from that. Not only the anchor text, the clickable part of the text brings, we’re assuming again, sends a contextual signal telling Google, “This post is going to be about what’s on this anchor text.” Also, in certain patents, and again, because it’s in a patent we’re not 100% if Google uses it, but in certain patents we’ve seen mentions of co-citations or content that surrounds that link that also provides a contextual signal.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:52:46):
Both are important. If you’re going to funnel authority through a buffer page. There used to be a technique we used to do back in the day, where we would write a very interesting blog post or a piece of content, or an infographic for a very boring website that typically would not gain links on its own because the topic was just terrible, nobody cared about. Let’s say appliance parts. Then we would create an infographic that would be like top three appliances that break down by category across the US. It would be like an infographic with maps, and that got a lot of backlinks to it, because a lot of people were talking about it. Then we used that page to funnel that authority internally through internal links. It works a little bit here and there.

Casey Markee (00:53:29):
Which is still very important. For those of you on the call, we cannot ever understate the value of internal linking. I visited with Nisha today specifically and she’s on the call today, good to see you. Internal linking, as we discussed, is something that we definitely need to work on with your site. You have a full internal link analysis now showing everything on your site with the accompanying anchor text. We just want to continue to focus on that. If we know we’re trying to rank for Tahitian salad and I only got one internal link to a Tahitian salad, then we know that’s probably not a very strong signal and we want to increase those internal links whenever possible so that we can provide that as a strong signal that Google can look at. We make sure it’s contextual.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:13):
We should have an episode on just internal links.

Casey Markee (00:54:13):
Make those contextual explanations.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:14):
We should have that episode because there’s so much value in that. Some of the stuff we do on TopHatRanks site with just internal links moves posts, especially for those pieces of content that are already closer to the top and you’re like, “I don’t want to touch this post. It’s almost there. I don’t want to touch it.” You can use secondary signals like backlinks and internal links to further focus that post towards a specific keyword.

Ashley Segura (00:54:40):
Perfect. Okay. Next question, from Zenzi. “I understand that there are penalties for link schemes now. Are there similar penalties for comment schemes, where a blogger started a Facebook thread and all comment on each other’s posts?” Great question.

Casey Markee (00:54:54):
Well again, that’s Facebook specific. That’s not really going to affect you with Google, so no.

Andrew Wilder (00:55:00):
Comments on blogs are no follow, so it’s not going to matter.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:05):

Ashley Segura (00:55:05):
Okay. Next question from Amanda. “Casey didn’t mention They have the backlink checker and I use that for analysis. Is this still a reputable and reliable source that you would recommend?”

Casey Markee (00:55:18):
Yeah. Keysearch is fine, but they’re getting their information on a feed. They’re probably just getting their information from Moz would be my guess. It’s possible that they’re pulling that link data from search console, but it’s unlikely considering that API has completely different parameters. Doesn’t really matter what you use, just as we discussed earlier, there is never one link tool that’s going to have a complete picture. As Arsen will tell you, years ago, when all we were doing was link auditing and formatting disavow files in the early days, by the way, we certainly did not need to-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:53):
Printing money.

Casey Markee (00:55:55):
Printing money, and you don’t need to be worrying about disavow files these days, but in the good old days when you had to, we had to routinely pull link profiles from five or six different tools and filter those all out just to have a 50% view of what’s going on with the site. Even then it was incomplete, but that’s just how it works.

Ashley Segura (00:56:18):
Next question by Kathleen. “On blogger roundup request Facebook pages, is it detrimental to copy and paste my intro paragraph as the one to two sentence description, or does it need to be the original wording?” Interesting question.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:56:33):

Andrew Wilder (00:56:34):
I would assume original wording is better. I mean, Google-

Casey Markee (00:56:42):
This is on a Facebook page. It’s a blogger roundup request Facebook page.

Andrew Wilder (00:56:46):
Internally on Facebook?

Casey Markee (00:56:48):
Yeah, so honestly no one’s really going to care.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:56:51):
Casey, I think they’re talking about a Facebook group that bloggers get together in order to form roundups that they publish on their site.

Casey Markee (00:56:58):

Andrew Wilder (00:56:59):
I mean, I would do everything you can to make things original whenever possible. I mean, Google’s looking at all of it. We don’t know for sure what they’re factoring in, but I can’t imagine the same two sentences surrounding a link that appears on 20 different sites is going to look nearly as good as the link appearing with 20 different sentences.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:57:17):
There you go.

Andrew Wilder (00:57:17):
That’s going to look much more-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:57:18):
You’re really missing out on an opportunity to diversify the topical signal that’s being sent to your site. It might potentially look as syndication. You will never lose with original content.

Ashley Segura (00:57:31):
We have time for just a couple more. The next one is from Cheryl. “I get many people reaching out to me to post links, do an article, et cetera. I always pass because I’m afraid the source is not legit or it’s spam, or it would be frowned upon by Google. Are there any rules of thumb to help us determine what we should and shouldn’t stay away from?” Great question, Cheryl. Arsen, take it away.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:57:53):
Majority of those links… I wouldn’t spend too much time replying to people who are trying to get you to link to them. Most of the time it’s marketers and SEO agencies who are just trying to build links for their clients. Definitely ignore and don’t put too much effort into it. Building outbound links from your site that are not very helpful to the user and don’t relate to the content in which the link is placed is just not going to be beneficial for you at all. I would definitely not put any of your precious time that you should be spending on developing content into replying to these emails.

Ashley Segura (00:58:34):

Andrew Wilder (00:58:35):
Does it add value for your readers? That’s the most important question you have to ask. Also, I just want to give you a warning. If there’s any financial relationship whatsoever, if they’re going to pay you for that or give you free product or anything, you have to put no follow tags on any links. Can’t stress that enough. That goes for affiliate links too. Most of you know that.

Andrew Wilder (00:58:58):
If you aren’t sure, if somebody sends you let’s say some great content and they offer to pay you to post it, great. If you love the content, take their money. Just no follow all the links. Win/win. They’re going to be pissed because they’re going to want them to be follow tags, so make sure it’s okay with them or they’re going to want their money back. You might be able to make that work if it’s a legit relationship in some way. I get all those for Eating Rules, I get multiple a day, I mark them all as spam.

Ashley Segura (00:59:24):
Yeah. That’s a really good point. All right, we’re going to wrap it up with one last question from Cathy. “How do we find what the domain authority of our site or another site is?” Domain authority, not number of backlinks or anything like that, but the DA.

Casey Markee (00:59:42):
Again, as we’ve discussed before, this is more of a comparison metric that you use for competitor research. I certainly would not lose any sleep over it. The fastest way to find the domain authority of a site is just to download the Moz toolbar. You can download the Moz toolbar and for free it should be able to show you that metric live, or you can go over and use the open site explorer over at Moz, put a site in and I believe that without having to sign up for an account you should still be able to see the domain authority on most sites. That’s probably the simplest way for you to find that information.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:00:14):
Also, why?

Casey Markee (01:00:18):
Again, ours is not to reason why. Ours is not to judge.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:00:21):
We’re here to answer questions.

Casey Markee (01:00:24):
If you want to find the domain authority, so be it, that’s how you can do it.

Ashley Segura (01:00:30):
Well put. Very well put. Awesome. Well, that wraps up today’s episode on backlink building. Thank you everybody for joining us. As always, thank you panelists for answering so many questions. Next month we’re going to have a special guest and we’ll be talking about Pinterest organic, so you’ll definitely want to tune in.

Casey Markee (01:00:44):

Ashley Segura (01:00:45):
About a week from now we’ll send out an email to everyone who registered with a link to the recap blog post, as well as info for next month’s webinar. Until then, have a great day everyone and take care.

Casey Markee (01:00:57):
Stay cool out there everyone. We’ll see you next month.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:00:59):


About The Panelists

Ashley Segura

International speaker and content marketing expert, Ashley is the VP of Operations at TopHatRank and the CoFounder of TopHatSocial and TopHatContent. Ashley is also an author of the best-selling book, The Better Business Book, and writes regularly for Semrush and Search Engine Journal.

Ashley on Twitter >>

Andrew Wilder

Andrew Wilder is the founder of NerdPress, a digital agency that provides WordPress maintenance and support services for publishers and small businesses, placing an emphasis on site speed, stability, and security. He has been building, fixing, and maintaining websites since 1998, and has spoken on a wide variety of technical topics (in plain English!) at conferences such as WordCamp LAX, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Food & Wine, Techmunch, BlogHer, BlogHer Food, and Mediavine.

Andrew on Twitter >>

Arsen Rabinovich

Digital Marketer, SEO, International Speaker, 2X Interactive Marketing Award Winner, Search Engine Land Award Winner. Founder @TopHatRank, a Los Angeles based marketing agency that specializes in innovative digital marketing techniques for modern brands of all sizes.

Arsen on Twitter >>

Casey Markee

Speaker, writer, and trainer, Casey Markee has been doing SEO for 20+ years, has conducted over 1000+ site audits, and has trained SEO teams on five continents through his consultancy Media Wyse. He believes bacon should be its own food group and likes long walks to the kitchen and back while under home quarantine.

Casey on Twitter >>

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