TopHatRank Publisher SEO SEO Resources For Bloggers Recap SEO For Publishers Episode #9; Luck of the Links

Recap SEO For Publishers Episode #9; Luck of the Links Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

Luck of the Irish? How about luck of the links! In this episode, panelists discussed everything links including tips on link building, gaining backlinks, external links, internal links, proper link structure, and more!

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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 info@tophatrank.com!

Question 1

Is it ok to link to your recipe in the FAQ section?

Absolutely, no issue at all.

Question 2

How can a food blogger add do-follow links without linking to competition? Since many products are no-follow affiliates.

I’m not sure I follow. Don’t be afraid to link-out when it makes sense, even to a competitor. That’s fine.

Question 3

What should we do with the backlinks that come through (should we approve or trash) both internal and from other sites?

Are you talking about trackbacks/pingbacks? Delete those — and turn off that feature, it doesn’t offer any value anymore.

Question 4

Is it useful to list links to similar recipes at the end of posts?

If it makes sense to your users absolutely. But it’s also not required. In-content links are always better.

Question 5

For internal links to other recipes on our site, should the anchor text be the same as the recipe title, or can it be different? Should it include a keyword?

It should be descriptive. And yes, ususally that involves a keyword.

Casey

Question 6

Can you go deeper into the concept of anchor text?

I often say something to the effect of “for more information on _____ (topic), check out THIS HELPFUL POST.” (caps represent my link to the post that is “helpful”)

Is this poor practice?

Yes. Covered this live. Be specific, where are they going?

All

Question 7

If I’m linking to a relevant source within a blog post, or as part of a roundup post, should I hyperlink on the keyword or the blog name? While I know that google will understand the context of the link better by linking on the keyword, is it bad for my chance of ranking for that keyword?

In general, no. But mixing your anchor texts is more natural and better long-term.

Question 8

Is paying for professional link building more worth your money than paying a VA for Social Media management-with the intent to build links? If we had to pick ONE!

Social Media links do not count algorithmically. They CAN help surface other factors that Google will use, but generally, what you described is not worth the money.

Question 9

Can you explain the difference between a regular internal link and a link to cornerstone content? Should we be checking the “cornerstone content” box from Yoast?

That’s a ‘Yoast only thing.’ It has nothing to do with SEO. It’s just a reminder that you should link to your better resources when you can. That can be anything YOU label as “cornerstone.”

Question 10

Is it harmful to have links in a post that people DON’T click on? (Either post!)

No, it is not harmful. 

Question 11

Are multiple backlinks from a recipe site with higher DA useful if the backlinks are only to your homepage (as a guest writer/recipe developer byline)?

Google doesn’t count all the links from one site to another. But it’s fine. Even Google doesn’t know which links they count.

Casey

Question 12

I have seen bloggers use “Tools Needed for this recipe” with Amazon links listed. Is this better than placing them in paragraphs in a post?

This is fine. You can use affiliate links in-content, or as blocks, or under “equipment links.” It’s up to you.

Casey

Question 13

The orphaned page finder from Yoast doesn’t count links from reuseable blocks. How can we really know what posts are truly orphaned?

I would recommend NOT including related recipes in your orphaned block.

Question 14

So is there a difference between “For info on such and such (link) see here (/link)” vs “For info on this see (link) such and such(/link)?

Yes, absolutely. Make sure the clickable part of the link uses words that are actually related to what’s on the other end of the link. “see here” has no relevance — and is also a big accessibility problem.

Casey

Question 15

So, are you saying to NOT share a list of relevant links at the end of posts at all? Even if you do have in content links?

Didn’t say that at all. If you want to add related recipes do it. But don’t just DO THAT. Add in-content links, add links higher in the post. If all you are adding is a block of related links, that’s not enough or more effective long-term.

Question 16

Can we add related recipes section and add similar recipe links?

Yes, you can. 

Question 17

What if we’re writing a side dish recipe and we link to a “side dish” category page. Is that relevant enough? Or does it need to be specific relevant posts?

I think you can do both and should. Link to a ‘side dish’ category for more recipes BUT also choose some specific “side dishes” and link to them individually.

Question 18

When do a redesign, what should we keep in mind for linking?

Pay very careful attention to any sitewide links — anything in your header, menu, sidebar, and footer. Keep a list of those on your existing site, and if you’re going to change them with the new design, make sure you’re making deliberate choices.

Question 19

What about linking to wikipedia for “history” of a recipe or cusine?

You can certainly do that, but there is no real “SEO value” in doing this. You link there to provide value to users. That’s it.

Question 20

Do JUMP TO blocks in the TOC count when you’re talking about keeping anchor text short? Sometimes my headers are a question that have more than 3-4 words…

I would not make any FAQs H2s. You should be using FAQ schema blocks instead. Keep headings short and sweet. They are a round-up, nothing more.

Question 21

A friend (who has a similar site to mine: international, healthy, real food recipes) and I often link to each other, like once each post IF we have a relevant recipe. How does Google see this? Could it possibly been seen as a “link scheme?”

If you are doing it over-and-over and it’s the same sites, then yes. That’s the definition of a link scheme. Less is more there.

Question 22

For round up linking, I’ve been using a button “click for recipe” which isn’t good anchor text I guess? Or is it okay because it’s a button and not text? Also, on round ups, I’ve been linking to the recipe on the image and the button. Is this not a good idea to link twice? Thanks!

No, that is not good anchor text. Talked about live.

Question 23

What are your thoughts on linking to your related Pinterest pin? Should the anchor text to the Pinterest pin be descriptive as well or is PIN IT sufficient?

I recommend you hide pins and if you want to link to it, great, but I would never show the full pin on the page.

Question 24

What links should be “no follow” besides Amazon links or sponsored posts?

Anyting that with any financial relationship of any kind, or where there’s any “incentive” (or Google thinks there might be an incentive) should be tags with rel=”nofollow” (or rel=”sponsored”). So, all affiliate links, any links in sponsored posts, and even links in posts if you received free product (even if they didn’t pay you).

Question 25

I heard last week in a webinar that you should use an external link in every paragraph. That seems excessive. Thoughts?

Your instinct that it’s “excessive” is spot-on! Anytime you hear an “absolute” like that it’s a huge red flag… (Is this good for your readers? Probably not, in most cases.)

Question 26

What is the best way of approaching external links for references in an informational health post? (I realize this is a bit outside of food posts – as an RD, I do both).

For ex:
A) Health claim sentence (source) – and source is linked?
B) Health claim sentence (1) – and numbered reference is linked
C) According to X study, health claim… – and “according to X study” is linked
D) A full list of references at the end?
E) Some other way not mentioned, haha

Google prefers “in-content explanations” for health citations. So A, B, and C preferably.

Question 27

When talking about a specific recipe multiple times in a post, eg pie crust, should you have the words “pie crust” linked every time you mention it? Same for mentioning an affiliate link, like “digital thermometer,” should you use the link every time it’s mentioned?

NO, just once is fine.

Question 28

Is there any plugin that we should use for Links? (to show external links) Is that necessary for SEO ?

Showing an icon for external links isn’t necessary for SEO, but it’s a very good practice for accessibility. The “WP External Links” plugin is a good option for this (and other link tools). https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-external-links/

Question 29

I am a food blogger who was recently instructed to link to my pin on Pinterest for the recipe within the post. I have been inserting a hyperlink to Pinterest to the pin just above the Pinterest pin image on my post with the anchor text ‘LOVE this? SAVE it!’ My Q is 1) is this a great idea or am I listening to misinformation, and 2) if this is a good idea, is this a follow or no-follow?

It’s fine….if users are ACTUALLY clicking on it. But from an SEO standpoint, no real value there. The goal is to drive traffic “from Pinterest to you site.” Not necessarily from “your site to Pinterest.” So I would say if you think it adds value to your users, great. But I certainly don’t think you need to do this.

Question 30

Straight text links vs linked images … thoughts? Does the linked image need an accompanying text link?

Straight links are considered a little more valuable to Google than “image links.” It’s why we recommend not showing “just images on the sidebar” for related recipes. Show links instead. Especially so users know what it is.

 

Question 31

What’s the correct procedure for existing links (internal & external) when switching blog from .co.uk to .com ?

You updated all the internal links to the NEW domain. Otherwise, you have “internal redirects” and that’s not good.

Casey

Question 32

No Pinterest Pins (images) in post??

I recommend you hide them. They can slow down page speed and add unnecessary length to the page.

Resources & Links

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

  1. Google’s policy on links 
  2. Google’s SEO Starter Guide
  3. Examples of recipe bloggers who have implemented link building strategies:

About The Panelists

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 >>

Transcript

Ashley Segura (00:00:01):
We are live?

Andrew Wilder (00:00:03):
Are we live?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:04):
We’re live.

Casey Markee (00:00:06):
If you’re just joining us, welcome. We’re talking about how we are rapidly aging in the time of COVID and how we… I didn’t have all this gray hair a year ago, but then they were kind enough to remind me. Yes, Casey you did. So it’s clearly just me, but Arsen though over here, who looks like he’s just stepped off of a boy band audition. He’s using really new shampoo that is made with the crushed tears, it’s made with unicorn tears…

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:32):
Of Soviet children.

Casey Markee (00:00:34):
Of Soviet tears. That’s also why he’s not wearing green because he’s from Russia and in Russia…

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:38):
This is green.

Casey Markee (00:00:39):
All colors are blue.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:41):
Is this green?

Casey Markee (00:00:43):
No. He is a little…

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:44):
I’m a little color blind.

Casey Markee (00:00:45):
Color blind.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:46):
I’m a little color blind. Yeah.

Ashley Segura (00:00:49):
It’s family but it’s on the like green and blue chart family. So it’s not green.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:00:53):
By the way, this was a horrible idea to wear green because, green screen, anybody can do whatever they want. They can take this video.

Casey Markee (00:00:59):
That’s fine. I’m all for it.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:00):
And then project whatever on Casey’s shirt.

Casey Markee (00:01:02):
It’s okay.

Andrew Wilder (00:01:02):
Why do you think I’m wearing…

Casey Markee (00:01:05):
That’s why I got it right here. It’s all good. They can put whatever they want on there.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:08):
Going to be a floating head.

Casey Markee (00:01:09):
Floating head done.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:10):
Casey floating head.

Casey Markee (00:01:11):
Done. At least maybe they’ll dark on my hair up.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:14):
Right.

Casey Markee (00:01:15):
Arsen is blue. Definitely blue. Yeah.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:01:17):
I think you look amazing. You don’t look aging.

Casey Markee (00:01:22):
I don’t look a day over 80. It’s good. I don’t look a day over 65. It’s fine. No problem at all. It’s good.

Andrew Wilder (00:01:34):
So I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a boy scout, so I’m prepared.

Casey Markee (00:01:39):
I literally do not have any beer in the house. That’s terrible. I’m drinking a Rockstar here.

Ashley Segura (00:01:43):
And you ruined your snap shot right now. Perfect.

Casey Markee (00:01:49):
Yeah. Happy St. Patrick’s day to everyone.

Andrew Wilder (00:01:50):
Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone.

Casey Markee (00:01:51):
I’m really jealous. I’m really jealous.

Ashley Segura (00:01:54):
Is your Rockstar Cold too. Nice.

Casey Markee (00:01:58):
I approve. I approve. Good job, Andrew. I’m putting you back in the will.

Andrew Wilder (00:02:02):
I used to have a beautiful Guinness pint glass, that I stole from the brewery in Dublin, but it met an unfortunate, early end a couple of months ago.

Casey Markee (00:02:11):
Nice.

Andrew Wilder (00:02:12):
After too many Guinnesses.

Casey Markee (00:02:13):
That’s all right. That happens.

Andrew Wilder (00:02:15):
Cheers.

Casey Markee (00:02:16):
Cheers. Go.

Ashley Segura (00:02:19):
Cheers. Hello, everybody joining us. Where is everybody tuning in from on this St. Patrick’s day.

Casey Markee (00:02:23):
Oh, I see Carrie. I am going to publicly take this opportunity to apologize to Carrie. She was supposed to receive girl scout cookies from me at least a week ago. If not longer, the problem is I totally forgot about it. And then I ate all the cookies. So it’s combination of two errors. Number one, user error on my part and two I’m out of cookies, but no worries.

Ashley Segura (00:02:49):
You are out?

Casey Markee (00:02:50):
I am out of cookies. I’ve literally gone… Did you guys see how many boxes I bought? I bought eight cases. Eight cases they’re gone. I gave some away. I ate some. I eat more. All I have left are the s’mores. So Carrie, if you’re okay with the s’mores and the lemon, I can still get a package out to you so I can do that for you. But the… Literally everything else is good. Now on another positive note, the local troop has set a new record this year on boxes sold. So I’m going to take full credit for that. It was literally a mortgage payment on my part. Good times. Yeah. Sorry about that, Carrie. I did not even think about that until I saw you pop in on the chat here. Good times.

Ashley Segura (00:03:32):
Looks like we have people from all over Panama city, Australia, Canada, and throughout the United States.

Casey Markee (00:03:39):
Wow. Sydney, Toronto. That is great.

Ashley Segura (00:03:42):
That time difference. Thank you…

Casey Markee (00:03:44):
Tammy joined from Boston. Very nice to speak with you again, Tammy. I think we’re visiting soon, unless we’ve already visited, then clearly it’s my fault, but we’ll see how that goes.

Ashley Segura (00:03:58):
All right perfect. So we’re going to get started. We have a lot to talk about today, but first off, Happy St. Patrick’s day, everybody and welcome to the ninth episode of SEO for publishers. Today, we’re going to be talking about links, covering just about everything there is to know about links with our amazing expert and Green Rank panel. Casey Markee, Andrew Wilder and Arsen Rabinovich. Thank you all for joining us. So we are going to have Q and A at the end as always, but please feel free and drop your questions as you have them into the Q and a box. It’s separate from the chat box. At the bottom of zoom, you’ll see a little button that says Q and A. Go ahead and click on that and drop your questions in there.

Ashley Segura (00:04:39):
We answer every single question that goes inside that Q and A, whether we run out of time or not, we do address it in the recap. So definitely make sure you put your questions in there. But other than that, let’s get started talking about Links. So Andrew, if you could please give us a good fundamental of Links. So let’s break it down in the simplest of terms. What is the anatomy of a link? And what’s all the differences between internal links, external links and back links.

Andrew Wilder (00:05:11):
So links are actually the magic that makes the internet so good. Like they’re the fundamental piece of the internet that ties everything together. And it’s why it’s an inter-net. These are… Links are the connections between other pages on the internet. So in terms of the anatomy of a link it’s basically just a… Usually a piece of text, sometimes a video or an image. It can link things, various things for what we’re talking about today, I think text links are probably the most common thing you’re going to run into. And in the anatomy of that, in the code, it’s basically you’ve got a word or a phrase or something. And you wrap that around with what’s called an anchor tag, which would be an A in brackets. We don’t need to talk about the code too much, but you’re basically wrapping some texting in an anchor tag, inside that tag says what that text should link to. So it’s another URL of another page.

Andrew Wilder (00:05:58):
So what can you link to, there’s basically three big categories. There’s internal links, external links and what we call back links. So internal links are on the same domain. So if you want to link from one blog post to another, that’s an internal link. If, they’re both on your site. So internal links are the same domain. It’s all on your site. External links are linking out to other sites. So if you link, if I link from nerdpress.net over to mediawise.com, that’s an external link to KC site. Backlinks are the universe of that. They’re links from external sites to my site. So if Casey links to me, I’m getting a backlink from him. So it’s not totally complicated actually. Those are the three options. There are nuances to links, but that’s the crux of it. So you want to be paying attention to internal linking external linking, and then getting links from others to your site.

Ashley Segura (00:06:48):
Perfect. Great break down. Arsen what is link building and why is it so important in such a conversation?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:06:57):
So link building is where you get links to your website coming in from other websites around the web. It’s important for two reasons. Backlinks help Google help search engines. So backlinks are there for when you link to somebody else’s website, you’re essentially telling somebody, “Hey, here’s a resource on another site that is valuable and is relevant to the document that you’re reading on my website.” Right? So for the user, it’s a way for them to gain more knowledge, gain more information on the topic that’s being covered. And it helps them just like Andrew said earlier surf around the web. But for Google, algorithmically backlinks are important for two reasons.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:07:44):
They help with contextualization and they help with something I call third-party validation or help with authority. So contextualization. So we assume that Google uses certain information like the anchor text, the title of the link and words that surround the link and the paragraph, the page or the document where the link is placed to understand what the context of the page that the link is pointing to is. So if Andrew has a blog where he talks about different soups and he says, “Here’s an awesome recipe for a potato soup,” with a link pointing to my website, which has the recipe and the anchor text is potato soup.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:08:33):
To Google that’s going to mean a few things. It’s going to mean that Andrew’s page is talking about recipes, is linking out to a resource that is being mentioned or talked about on his page. The anchor text is potato soup or Arsen’s, potato soup or whatever have you. The anchor text helps Google understand that’s what is Andrew is linking to and the third party validation aspect or the authority of it is if Andrew’s site is relevant enough and has enough authority, it’s going to benefit me because Andrew is essentially saying that here is a trusted piece of content on the web that is relevant to this topic. And Google uses that as signals to help it understand which pages are more relevant or answer a query better than other pages. That’s the easy way of explaining that.

Ashley Segura (00:09:31):
Casey, what does Google say about link building? Are they for link building? Are they against it?

Casey Markee (00:09:37):
Very good question. And it’s a pretty interesting answer. Google has really a very clear, publicly stated policy on linking, and I’m going to paste over the citation here in a minute, and it’s been the same for a long time, and this is a direct quote, and they basically say, “Any links intended to manipulate page rank or a site’s ranking in Google in the search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.” Well, then that’s clearly a mouthful. Good times. Let me go ahead and paste all that over here for you today.

Casey Markee (00:10:11):
Google also has one other section specifically covering link-building and that’s in their core webmaster guidelines, and it says as following, “Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you or to a Google employee.” Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” Again, good times, basically what Google has been saying repeatedly said, they do not want you to build links in order to improve your search results, which is pretty hilarious to Google. And again, this is a direct quote from John Mueller.

Casey Markee (00:10:48):
And this was said as recently as just a 2019, “They believe in their finite wisdom that a good link is someone who comes across your website thinks it’s a fantastic resource and recommends it to another person with the link.” So basically passive link building is what they’re looking for. Now is that possible in the world we live in? Because that would require us to pretend that search engines don’t exist or that as you heard Arsen and Andrew talk about that links and link building are not as powerful as they really are.

Casey Markee (00:11:24):
And we can’t pretend sitting here today, talking to you that links do not move the needle on the average website. That’s not been our experience at all, especially it’s never been my experience. I know Arsen does a lot of link building. So what does that leave you if Google is saying, “Well, the only good link is the one that you didn’t ask for.” Well, it leaves you with a quandary.

Casey Markee (00:11:46):
Do you want to just put up great content, maybe promote it a little bit at your end and hope to hell that someone stumbles across it links to it naturally, or do you want to be a little bit more aggressive, so to speak and, and work with people who might be able to facilitate a wider reach on your content or hire a professional who could go out and find opportunities for you to position this content more effectively, or maybe just hire someone who could go out and promote that content more effectively than you.

Casey Markee (00:12:15):
And that’s where everyone runs foul of Google is that I can’t tell you how many of the biggest blockers have been buying links or working with professionals for years to promote their content or to be positioned in the right places to get that content, the promotion and the eyeballs that it needs. It happens, it happens in every niche. There’s nothing bad about that. It’s just… I want you to understand that with good link building, sometimes having the best content is definitely not enough. And I know we’re going to get into that today, but in Google’s eyes, it would… They’re definitely not against link building, but they’re only… They’re literally against every other kind of link building that involve more than some kind of an overt reaction on your part to the link itself.

Ashley Segura (00:13:00):
So then Andrew, can you kind of clarify what a quality link is and if it’s more important, especially in the eyes of Google, as well as users, if the quantity of links is more important than the quality of a link.

Andrew Wilder (00:13:17):
Yes. Absolutely there. I think it’s helpful to think back to the ’90s when Google was founded. The reason Google became so good at search results was because of links. They were the ones who really understood how to analyze links and give them weight and importance and quantify them, not just look at quality. Quantify their quality, I guess. So quality is so important and relevancy is so important. If I have a food blog and I linked to I don’t know, a bunch of dancing clowns on my potato soup recipe, that’s not terribly relevant. Right. So basically that’s, I just described Arsen’s blog, I think. So you really, like one really good quality link is worth so much more than 10 mediocre links. I’m making that number up, but relevancy is key. And then Google is also looking at the quality of the site that’s doing the linking. If, you have Yahoo news homepage.

Andrew Wilder (00:14:21):
If you get on a link on like, or the CNN homepage or something like that, that has so much more authority because it’s such a quality site politics notwithstanding, and Google is going to give that link a lot more importance. Whereas if it’s a link buried in the bottom of some other website, that’s not considered important, it’s… It might be relevant, but it won’t have the same value. So yes, quantity does matter because you want more, more links are better in general, but only if they’re good links. And I want to paste in an article from John Mueller at Google. Where he basically just says, “The total number of backlinks does not matter.” So really, really, really focused on relevancy and quality from quality sites. Can’t stress that enough.

Ashley Segura (00:15:02):
Got it. And you mentioned quality of sites Andrew. Arsen when looking at the quality of a link, a lot of times tools will use things like domain authority or page authority to rate how valuable that link is as in how valuable the website the link is coming from. Are those good metrics to go by domain authority, page authority?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:15:26):
So the short answer is no, even though it’s widely used, the short answer is no. We focus on relevancy. I can care less. If a website that we are doing outreach to, has domain authority of like 45 and another website that we’re doing outreach to how’s domain authority of like 15, but the one that’s 15 is so much more relevant to the topic that I’m covering. I will go after relevancy before domain authority. Domain authority and page authority and then there’s like a few other ones.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:16:09):
They are all metrics that were created by companies like Moz or SEMrush or SCM rush, or Ahrefs. There’s lots of them and that number typically depends on whatever the internal algorithm they build to evaluate those links and the amount of links that they have in their database. Right. So cause they crawl through the web and they pick up… They crowd similarly to Google and pick up links from around the web. So the bigger the database, the more precise the data is. But those metrics and those algorithms can be easily gained. We’ve experimented with this, “experimented with this” and I can, we can artificially inflate the domain authority of any website and that does not… A higher DA does not necessarily translate into a website’s ability to rank.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:17:07):
So I can have a site that has a really decent DA, but if you look at the keywords that it’s ranking, it’s not going to be anything decent. So relevancy trumps authority at any given point I say this very frequently on my calls, my consultation calls with potential clients that I’d rather have, like I said, a link that’s relevant from a lower authority website or that “perceived authority” website than like from a DA, 45 transmission repair shop in Fresno which will, does not make sense if it’s linking to my food blog. Right. So definitely don’t focus on DA. A lot of times that metric is used when you are out there and negotiating and talking to link developers or you’ll see a lot of sites say, “Oh, we sell links that are DA 30 and up.” And all of that. The higher the DA does not really… We haven’t seen a higher DA mean that we’re going to get better rankings.

Casey Markee (00:18:11):
And I would just add to that very quickly. And I know we’ve mentioned this previously on these calls, but this is a very popular question that we get from attendees and our clients. You should be using metrics like domain authority and trust rank and trust relevancy and domain rank and all these other vented metrics that are out there for novelty and comparison purposes only. They’re a good way for you to compare links between you and competitors, or it could be a good way for you to compare to kind of how you’re ranking or stack up with other sites, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

Casey Markee (00:18:49):
We get questions all the time about, “Oh my God, I really need to build out my domain rank. I’m only 12, or I’m only 22 or something like that.” And hey, it’ll come. It comes as you naturally accumulate links and authority on your end, by publishing more content, being active, online and alike. It’s not going to magically result in a huge shift. I’ve seen domain 12 sites rank on the first page of Google for keywords as high as 15 to 25,000 sessions a month. No problem. And it’s because bottom line, they had the best content. So don’t think that, that’s necessarily a must have, I mean, clearly the stronger your site, the better, but it’s not ever a deal breaker in many cases.

Ashley Segura (00:19:28):
Okay. That makes sense. So, Andrew, we’ve gone into the backend of what link building is, what links are, but now let’s get into the structural aspect of putting links on posts. Is there such a thing as having too many links on a blog post or a recipe post?

Andrew Wilder (00:19:47):
I’d say yes. I’m going to fall back to something you guys hear me say on every single one of these webinars, think of your users, right? If you flood a blog post with tons of links, then it’s, and it gets in the way of you providing your valuable content on that page. Then it’s probably too many. I mean, if the links are useful to your visitors, like say you’re doing a recipe roundup, and there’s like 50 best potato soup recipes, as long as they don’t all link to Arsen’s food blog, then you’re probably good.

Andrew Wilder (00:20:18):
Because if providing 50 different potato soup recipes and links to all those sites has value for the people that are going to be reading that page, then that’s great. You also want to consider relevancy if it’s 50 random recipes that might not have the same oomph, right. Google is going to see that because it’s not relevant. So I think it’s like, it’s kind of like our answer to how long should a blog post be. Enough to serve your reader and give them useful help and information.

Ashley Segura (00:20:50):
Again, always circling back to the user. And that makes sense. So thinking about the user, Casey, is there a specific strategy of how many links should be laid out on a post from a user perspective? Is it more helpful to have… If you’re going to have links at the top of a post, middle of the post, throughout the posts, how should you formulate that when you’re actually writing the post?

Casey Markee (00:21:14):
That’s a good question. And again, I know this is something that’s very relevant to everyone on the call, but also something that I know many of you have asked us privately about. This is interesting. So per Google, where they position links on a page is irrelevant to Google, this is directly from Google. However, I think everyone on this call will tell you that, that doesn’t really jive with what we’ve seen in practice or with patents that Google has published over the years. There seems to be some preference with regards to where the links are placed on the page. For example, in content links tend to be treated more positively than modular links, which are links that you see in sidebars or on footers, or even on headers. We tend… Google tends to provide a little bit more emphasis, so to speak when we’re linking internally in content.

Casey Markee (00:21:59):
But I think bottom line, all links do count. Google has just publicly said, “Links in footers, links in sidebars don’t count as much as the in content links specifically.” I tend to recommend that when we’re putting links together, that we lay them out naturally from top to bottom. We tend to see that links tend to be counted more when they’re higher in the content. They’re stronger signals to Google than lower links on the page.

Casey Markee (00:22:23):
I did see some advice reasonably that you should avoid links in like the first 100 words of the content. I don’t believe in that at all. I think that, that is some crazy recommendation from some source out there. I’ve seen it pop up on the forums quite a bit recently. I don’t agree with that at all. You link internally or you link externally when it makes sense to your users, if you have related links that makes the sense to users and it fits within the content at that time, regardless of whether it’s at the top of the page or the bottom we link accordingly.

Casey Markee (00:22:54):
I hear some advice that well, Casey, “I don’t like to put links higher on my page because maybe the user will go off to another recipe before they finished the existing recipe I’m on.” Well, there’s some validity to that, but I also think that it’s extremely misplaced. If you can link naturally to a sauce or something else, that’s going to add contextual relevancy to the user as they’re continuing down your page, I would do it every time. If, I’ve got a… I’m making this prime rib and I have an accompanying [nashua 00:23:22], I’m going to mention that I have the accompany [nashua 00:23:24] right there at the top of the post.

Casey Markee (00:23:25):
Usually in many cases I might link to it twice in the post. There used to be some debate, whether or not Google would count a link that we’ve linked to multiple times in a post. Recently, John Mueller had a tweet where he said, we just don’t care. We’re going to count all the links. Some links might be more valuable than others even Google. He really said it was so funny. We can’t even tell you which links on the page we’re really going to count. Okay. So algorithmically, I really want you to start thinking about, “I want to put this post together in a way that makes sense to the users. I want to link internally when it makes sense. I want to link from the top to the bottom of the post. I want to link in my recipe card if it makes sense.”

Casey Markee (00:24:02):
So if, I have a… Under my notes section, if I’m going to have something that’s accompanying this, like again, the [ajiu 00:24:08] is a great example. I’ll link to the ajiu in my recipe card from the notes section. It’s not a problem. If you have equipment that you want to put in your recipe card that links out externally maybe it’s an Amazon link, totally fine. Personal preference and because I see this so many times, I do not necessarily recommend those big Amazon product links in cards. And I know they’re easy to add for cards like tasty and create. I think they look terrible. I think they take up too much space. I think that they’re slow. I would rather, if you’re going to use Amazon links in a recipe card, stick with the straight links. Use an equipment section, link four or five times that way. That’s fine.

Casey Markee (00:24:47):
I think the bottom line, when we’re talking about specific strategy on how links should be laid out is we just want to ensure that all pages on the site can be reached from a link that is on a findable page. So this brings us again to the topic of orphaned content. I know many of you have heard us talk about orphaned content. It’s why I recommend that we upgrade to [use 00:25:06] premium whenever we can, or we use the orphaned page finder that is within SCM rush, which tells us which pages on our site, lack links from any other pages, because we want to make sure that everything is as linked as we can.

Casey Markee (00:25:20):
We want to make sure that all links are close to each other when we can. With regards to how you should lay out your links top to bottom, if you want to have a related link section above your recipe card, great. But I would never have just that and not have in content links because in content links tend to be viewed as a little bit more conceptually and contextually accurate and relevant to Google.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:25:44):
Right.

Casey Markee (00:25:44):
So I think naturally, And I know, I think arson has a little bit of feedback on this stuff.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:25:48):
So I just wanted to chime in, because you’re essentially explaining the reasonable surfer model, right. Which, is something that Google put together. And that’s a way for Google to understand which links should be weighted over other links or more heavily. Right? So that model basically says that, “Reasonably, a user is most likely, more likely to click on links that are within the body of the content than links that are in the footer or in the sidebar.” Right. So if, you want to prioritize internal linking this is a smart kind of an approach to it. And also internal linking greatly improves with breadcrumbs. Don’t have breadcrumbs get them in there.

Casey Markee (00:26:30):
Yeah. That’s a top of the very top of the post. We want to have, that’s why I recommend that we turn the breadcrumbs on always as a default. I still see a lot of users not doing that. And just to kind of reiterate this specifically, and I know we talked about links on a page previously, I would always be very weary of anyone that says, “You need to have this many internal links, or you need to have this many external links on a page.” Because, that’s not how it works. Okay. I know again, I know a lot of you have taken courses out there and they tell you, you should have this many internal links or you should have, make sure that you have one authoritative link out on your site. We’re going to talk a little bit about that later and some of these questions, but I just think that that kind of stuff is very rigid. It’s nonsensical.

Casey Markee (00:27:09):
Google has never said any of that. We link when it makes sense to our users. We link internally when we can do so to related content. If you have related recipes, I’m all for that. I tend to always recommend that we have all the linking done above the recipe card whenever possible. There’s no reason to include stuff like that below the recipe card. People don’t see it. That’s just a barrier between the end of the recipe card and your comments. Don’t need to do that. Link naturally from top to bottom. Understand that Google tends to emphasize links on the top of the page and that first 100 to 200 words specifically on the page, very important. So don’t be afraid to put some links in there. That’ll help you.

Ashley Segura (00:27:50):
Andrew, with internal linking. So we just talked about how to structure the links on the actual blog post, but say some of those links in that blog posts are internal links, which is linking to other pages on your site, in that post. Are there any specific steps to follow or things to make sure that you don’t do when it comes to linking to other pages on your site?

Andrew Wilder (00:28:10):
Yes. And actually, I don’t even have to say it depends this time, which I’m so excited. Yeah. So there’s some technical things you should absolutely make sure you’re doing with your internal links. The first one and the most important is, do not tag it as no-follow. So when you add a link, you can make it rel=”nofollow”. If you want… For specific reasons, you do not want to do that in your internal links because that’s telling Google, “Hey, don’t give this link any weight.” So you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you do that. So make sure you’re not accidentally tagging your links with no follow. You want to also then make sure the link is relevant. So if, your link… If you’re writing your blog posts about, Oh, I need to pick up a different food, a Guinness stew which I think is on the stove right now.

Andrew Wilder (00:28:54):
You don’t want to be linking to things that are totally random and unrelated to that. Like if you then linked to gluten-free chocolate chip cookies or something like… You’re also kind of weakening that bond. So you want to make sure your links have meaning to your visitors. And then while you do that use good anchor text. So instead of saying for more recipes, click here and making click here, the relevant text, say, if you have a name of a dessert, you want the name of the dessert to be the link. Google still gives the actual text that’s linked the most weight. Text around it also has a lot of weight. Google understands context now, way more than it did in like 2002. But it’s still very relevant.

Andrew Wilder (00:29:36):
Bonus tip. That’s also really important for accessibility. If you use click here a lot and someone’s using a screen meter, they’re not going to have the context of what they’re getting to when they click on it. So it’s a win-win and it also is more readable. So break yourself out of the habit of saying, “Click here or get this now, or click this link.” Anything generic it’s kind of like using vague pronouns when you do that. You want to make sure you’re using good anchor text. Another thing, this is a usability thing. Don’t open links, internal links in new tabs or new windows. It’s nothing more annoying than you click on a link and it opens to a new tab and suddenly you found like there are 10 tabs open on the same site. It makes it really hard to navigate the site.

Andrew Wilder (00:30:17):
And it also breaks the back button. So when you open a new tab, if somebody is in a new tab, they can’t click back to get where they were. The back button is still the most used button or link in on the web. So don’t break that functionality for people. And then the other part is just to think about the sitewide links. I know we were talking about how Google doesn’t give them as much weight because it knows they’re sitewide links, but they’re still very strong signals, right? If you have featured posts in your sidebar on every page in your site, that’s saying to Google, “Hey, this content is important on my site. This is my best content.” So you want to be methodical about that. And also there’s a potential, got you. If you’re doing a site redesign.

Andrew Wilder (00:30:55):
We’ve seen a lot of people, they change their links sitewide because they changed their footer links or they changed their menu at the same time and then their traffic tanks and they don’t know why. And they blame the theme change when really it may not have been the theme. It may have been like, you just changed thousands of ranking signals or thousands of clues to Google. You just like totally wiped that out in one fell swoop. You can also improve your signals with that change too. So it can go both ways, but that’s something to watch for. But yeah, if I had to pick one thing though, make sure you do not tag them. No follow that’s the most important.

Ashley Segura (00:31:28):
Perfect. And Arsen what about external links? Should you have an external link on every post, especially if you have internal links on the post, do you have to have an external link?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:31:39):
Right. So I think Andrew covered that earlier. You should definitely link out if it makes sense. It should not be like a part of your checklist saying that every one of my recipes needs to have X amount of external links, internal links and whatever have you. If it makes sense to link out externally, if you need to provide a reader on more information about the topic that you’re covering, absolutely link out, link to relevant sources. Google talks about that all the time. Internal links are also very important. They have to make sense if it makes sense to internal link. You do… Anchor text. So there is something to be said about anchor text, when it comes to internal linking and you want to make sure that you are, and just like Andrew said, you are being very descriptive with the anchor text. But and I see this frequently, anchor text should not be super long. You should not hyperlink an entire sentence, and I see this in a lot of food blogs. I see hyperlinks of entire sentences. I’ve seen headings hyperlinked internally. Your header…

Casey Markee (00:32:52):
Yeah. And just to just interject on that, I know that Matthew Woodward in the UK, and some others have done studies on that. If you have like a 16 word hyperlink, Google tends to not necessarily process all that.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:33:03):
They’ll just skip over it.

Casey Markee (00:33:04):
It will look strange. They’ll just skip over it. So don’t think that you need to have these really long sentences and others that are hyperlinked. There’s no value there for user or Google.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:33:12):
Right. Especially, and again, because Google still uses the co-citation or the content that surrounds the link to understand the contextuality of the link. So to answer your question, no it’s not required. It’s not necessary, but you should do it to provide a better user experience, better user experience translates into better rankings.

Ashley Segura (00:33:33):
Got you. So those who are a little bit nervous doing external links because technically the user can leave the site shouldn’t necessarily be afraid of that as long as it makes sense with the content and actual experience?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:33:46):
Right? So I mean, think about it this way. If I’m coming to Andrew’s site to read about his Guinness potato soup, right. And he has a link out to I don’t know, where to buy a Guinness glass. My primary, my initial intent is for that recipe, right? So I might click and open in a new tab to look at it later. But if my, again my primary intent is to look at this recipe. I’m not going to exit Andrew’s page. I’m going to come there and I’m going to engage with the recipe.

Ashley Segura (00:34:16):
Okay. That makes sense. Casey, since we’re on the subject of anchor texts, what does Google say about anchor texts and its necessity?

Casey Markee (00:34:28):
Yeah. Unmute myself here. We’ve kind of covered it. And I went ahead and paste it over several days. Several comments about anchor tech, specifically in the chat. So if you want to take a look at that, I’ve also linked over links to the SEO starter guide from Google and other issues, which go into detail about how Google talks about anchor texts. And basically what John Mueller says specifically is that the really strong piece of contextual analysis for them on a link comes from the anchor text of the link. So I’m trying to tell someone where I’m going. If I have a meatloaf recipe and I’m linking to my meatloaf topping, or maybe I have another recipe for a meatloaf glaze, I would make sure that I link meatloaf glace, or I would link something that’s very descriptive for the user. So they know where they’re going specifically.

Casey Markee (00:35:19):
And I’ve mentioned this and it’s already been acknowledged here in the chat. We do not want to use what’s called naked anchor text things like click here, read more. This recipe, this person says, or something like that. We tend to link a resource specifically. So if we state a fact, we kind of link some of the other facts or we link to something like web MD says this, and we would link to web MD, or we would link to what web MD has said specifically, as an example. We want to make sure that we’re looking at understanding that the better that your anchor text is the easier it is for users and Google to navigate your site and understand the relevancy of that link. And that’s what we want to do. So we want to be descriptive with the anchor text, but just to reinforce what Arsen and I were speaking about earlier, don’t write a novel here.

Casey Markee (00:36:08):
Don’t have 12, 16 words of anchor texts there. Have something that’s easy for the user to understand linked to the recipe by name whenever you can. Link to a something when you’re quoting by name externally. If you want to link externally, will it makes sense to the user? Link, a resource or link or highlight some of the points in this resource, you’re trying to link to. I do want to preference one thing here, which is that I have been seeing a lot of questions from bloggers recently about superfluous links on a page. And I’m not sure when we’re going to get to that. So I want to cover it now because it’s kind of related to anchor text. I had someone mention in a podcast I was doing a couple of days ago that… It was a bigger blogger telling everyone within their group, you should always link to the recipe itself within the recipe.

Casey Markee (00:36:55):
And I thought that was strange because Google specifically says that the anchor text on a page should… You should avoid creating unnecessary links that don’t help with the user’s navigation of the site. So if you’re just being told to link to a recipe within the post, I don’t really see any value in that. I don’t really see linking on a post that takes me directly to the post that I’m on. Doesn’t really have any value. And I’m sure that Andrew could chime in on accessibility reasons for that. But I also see that with images, we don’t want to link images as well. I know a lot of people when they insert images, sometimes they’ll mistakenly forget to remove a link to a media file, or they’ll mistakenly forget to remove the link to the post itself.

Casey Markee (00:37:37):
And then you have these clickable links on a post that all go to the same post itself. You have to think usability. There’s no usability for the user on there. And it will also slightly waste your internal crawl budget or your link juice. Everyone say link juice, because our son loves that term. He gets giddy about it every time anyone says link juice. Actually I believe that a puppy dies every time someone says link juice. So we’re going to be very careful about it.

Andrew Wilder (00:38:02):
I’ve got a glass of link juice right here.

Casey Markee (00:38:03):
Link juice, right there, drink up. So understand that…

Arsen Rabinovich (00:38:07):
Its so gross.

Casey Markee (00:38:08):
If it doesn’t make sense, it probably is not necessary. So don’t believe that you need to include a link to the post within the post, and don’t believe that you need to link all of your images.

Andrew Wilder (00:38:19):
Hey Casey, Skylar just mentioned something interesting in the chat. He’s thinking that sometimes people may link to the posts because of so much content theft. So that way, if the post is just completely scraped and copied over, there’s a link back. What do you think about that?

Casey Markee (00:38:32):
Well we have absolute links mostly anyway in your content. So if someone is trying to scrape the whole content, they’re going to scrape all the internal links to your own content in the process. So to me, I think that, I get that, that’s a valid, I guess you could use that as some kind of a reasoning, but to me, I don’t think it’s necessary. Just like linking to the images. If, we want to… There’s plenty of other internal links that you could use there. I would prefer just to have a copyright notice instead and whatever. I don’t think me linking, someone copying a post and possibly linking over a link to that is going to provide you much value or protection from spammers. If they’re really motivated, they’ll just remove it.

Andrew Wilder (00:39:14):
Yeah. They can edit that on the fly pretty easily too.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:39:16):
Yeah. Then you don’t always want links from scraper sites.

Casey Markee (00:39:20):
We want links from scrapers. That’s a natural link profile. It’d be very unnatural for me to have a post aside that didn’t have some scraper links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:39:28):
Some.

Casey Markee (00:39:28):
It’s like, yeah. It’s like people who say, “Hey, you’ve got to provide links to the most important pages on your site. Like your about me page and other pages.” No you don’t. If you started to build in links to those pages, you would create a natural link profile, which would allow you to stand up for all the wrong reasons. But I’ve seen that recommendation as well, online, which is pretty laughable.

Ashley Segura (00:39:51):
First I can look, let’s get a little bit more technical with this or dive even more technical with us. Can you explain what disavowing a link is and if toxic links should be disavowed.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:40:03):
Okay. So toxic is a bad word to use.

Ashley Segura (00:40:10):
Like link juice?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:40:11):
Yes. We should stop it. Okay, so you should not be disavowing links. And we… I think we’ve mentioned this about via like pretty much in every single episode. Do not do anything with the disavow file, unless you a hundred percent know that you need to disavow links. It’s a double-edged sword. If you don’t do it properly, you are more likely to harm your website than to do any good to it. Google is really good at yes. We need to tell Sam Rush to stop telling people their leads are toxic. So Google is really good at really understanding when the link is crap, right? Google is doing a really, really good job, but we can tell that Google is doing a good job because we haven’t seen a wave of link penalties come around in a while, A.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:41:07):
B, when Google finds links that are “toxic” or just like useless or trash links, it just ignores them. Right. Now if you got a manual penalty from Google and your search console says, “We have applied a manual action against your page, a specific page, or a bunch of pages on your website due to link schemes or whatever.” Then you need to do your work. You need to identify those crappy links. You need to do outreach to those places. Try to get them removed. If, you can’t get them removed. That’s when you use the disavow file. That’s when you go in and you use the disavow file and you submit a reconsideration request, or if you’ve been hit with a “filter” during an algorithm update that Google runs, and you notice that you have lost traffic and positions and rankings, and you’ve done all the other work.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:42:10):
You’ve checked everything. You’ve done the audit, you’ve done forensic analysis, you’ve checked which pages were affected, and you’ve quadruple checked everything and things are still, and things are looking good page level wise, then take a look at the backlinks pointing to that page. And you can use all kinds of tools to take a look at them. And if you see that there was an influx of links, and they’re all coming from, I don’t know, Russian Viagra sites, whatever. Then you can go in and try to use a disavow file. And again, you have to because you can disavow a specific page or you can disavow an entire domain. So you definitely want to either work with someone who knows what they’re doing just to make sure that you don’t cause more harm than good. And that’s my story.

Ashley Segura (00:42:57):
And it’s a beautiful story. Taking a step back. What does disavowing a link mean? Tommy is asking inside the chat.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:05):
So disavowing, basically telling a good question. Disavowing is essentially telling Google, “Do not use this link as a part of your evaluation of my website.”

Ashley Segura (00:43:17):
Okay. And Casey can linking to other sites that aren’t necessarily in your niche say you’re Aikido blogger and you link to a vegan pastry blogger. Can that hurt you since it’s not within your niche.

Casey Markee (00:43:34):
No, honestly. I’m not even going to say it depends. I mean, unless you are really going out to link to these really horrible sites that have nothing to do with your content and that provide no real valuable then sure. But even Google has said, John Mueller recently said that, they want you to link out when it makes sense to users. That’s bottom line. It doesn’t matter where you link, if it makes sense to users. So if you’re auditing your backlink profile, just because something is off niche, that’s a waste of your time. And it’s not something that I or anyone else would really recommend. You cutting away some links from a woodworking site, even though you’re a recipe site or from another site, just because it’s not naturally related, it’s not going to provide some magical South for your site.

Casey Markee (00:44:17):
Everyone has unrelated links. I think what would be unnatural would be for you to go into your site and basically eliminate everything that is not directly in your niche, because that’s not how the internet works. People link when it makes sense to them. People link when they find something of interest, that’s always what we want to do. And it just there’s this belief as well, that you can link out too much from a page and it can dilute page rank or lower the changes of that page on the site. But recently, John Mueller had a great tweet on this, where he says pages that have tons of link, others have few, they all rank in search. It’s easy to test. You’ll find 5,000 random URLs to link to and see what happens when the page you’re linking from rain dances have a stronger impact than linking to “unrelated sites”.

Casey Markee (00:45:02):
So that’s something to be aware of is that there isn’t really an issue with random or unrelated links being necessarily bad. Now, if you were to go out and buy links and someone was like, “I’m going to build links into your site and they’re going to be awesome, but Oh, by the way, none of them are going to be niche related.” I would say that you’re probably wasting your money or you’re going to have very limited if any effects for those links. Niche related links of course will help you. But I would say that, if you occasionally get a link from something that’s not related, but it brings in traffic, that’s always the most important thing about links, links that bring in traffic are always the most valuable of links. Doesn’t matter if they’re follow or no-follow off topic or on topic.

Casey Markee (00:45:44):
Links that get clicked, links that generate positive metrics are always the most valuable links. But I would say that, I would also add here that linking out to authority sites isn’t really going to help you either. That’s something that, we as SEOs have really tried to confirm over the last several years. Google hasn’t mentioned anything about linking out since they added original statement in 2008. That was a lifetime ago. Gosh, what was the world like in 2008, right. Oh my goodness. That was crazy. I wasn’t lot, half the size I am now. And I think that I wasn’t… My kids were actually still watching, gosh what was it, Paul Patrol still then I don’t know if it was on then or not.

Casey Markee (00:46:31):
But one of the things to think about, we link out when it makes sense to users. Not because some course told us or, “Hey, don’t forget to include an authority link here and there.” So just understand that linking out to sites works both ways. You want to link out when it makes sense to our users, but as a user ourselves, we want to link out as well when we find something of interest. It’s okay, we’ve valued sites and we’ve seen links go everywhere. It’s okay. It’s not going to hurt you. And there’s not some magical formula that you need to lose too much sleep over.

Ashley Segura (00:47:05):
Okay. And Andrew, speaking of getting traffic from links, one strategy was doing roundup posts. Would you say that roundup posts for publishers still help? And if so, what’s the best way to approach roundup posts?

Andrew Wilder (00:47:18):
Yes, I think so. As long as they provide value for your readers. I think you guys are going to start to have to do a shot every time I say that. So I… And Casey and Arsen, you might want to jump in too. One of the things you can do is like WP recipe maker has a roundup feature now. So it provides structure to Google to say, “Hey, I’m giving a round up.” Right. You can do roundups of your own posts as well. But if you’re doing a roundup of like 20 great bobcat recipes, then maybe three of those are yours, but 17 are other people’s. And if they’re high quality and there’s some interesting reason to link to those, I think that’s good. Yeah.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:47:57):
Right. So we’ll talk about different strategies, I guess, today. But all of these types of link building techniques are okay, as long as you don’t overdo it. And as long as they’re not the only thing that you’re doing. So there are certain things that we internally at Top Hat Rank call red flags, right? So red flags in your link building pro… In your link profile is over-saturation of incoming anchor text. So links pointing to your site to your page that have the same anchor text and over-saturating, using the same or using the exact match anchor text to the keyword that you’re trying to rank. Right? So you want to be very mindful of that. The second thing that you want to be mindful of is the same link over and over. That’s the same type of link. That’s a red flag because that doesn’t happen naturally, right?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:48:51):
If you look at sites that have a very strong, organic footprint you’re going to see all kinds of web, all kinds of sites linking back to them, there’s going to be a diversity of stuff. So if you’re overdoing it in your newer blog and you’re overdoing it with these roundups, you’re not helping yourself at all. Now, you’re not going to necessarily get yourself in trouble. You’re just not going to see too much result from it. And then, you have to do things like, diversify them and all of that. So yeah, it’s… You can do all of these things just don’t overdo it. Casey.

Casey Markee (00:49:30):
No comment.

Ashley Segura (00:49:34):
They’re fully covered.

Casey Markee (00:49:36):
Fully covered. We’re good to go.

Ashley Segura (00:49:39):
And Arsen you mentioned talking about strategies. Can you share some of those link building strategies? Let’s get to the nitty gritty of what everyone really wants to know.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:49:46):
Right.

Ashley Segura (00:49:46):
How properly to build great links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:49:51):
Right. So this is one of those like teach to fish, give a fish kind of scenarios or buy a fish. Okay. So right. So there’s a few things that you can do and it all revolves around like being really creative and thinking outside the box. And I can’t tell you all of the tactics that we use inside of Top Hat Rank. But there’s a few things that I’ve seen a few things that we’ve done ourselves that have worked very well. So the first thing you have to do is you have to take a look at like, really understand what your assets are, right. Do you have a strong social presence or do you have like a really powerful blog, right? Or both. An example, if you have a strong social presence is you can do something called ego baiting. Ego baiting is where you offer somebody to promote them as an author or as a nutritionist or a motivational coach or whatever have you. Right.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:56):
And if you have a strong social presence, you can use like Instagram to find somebody who talks. Somebody who has a profile and has a website has a good following, but they’re not like really big yet. And maybe they are like somebody who’s like a health coach or a somebody who helps you with like adjusting your life or for healthy or better living. And they have something they write, “Here’s your recipe or meal plan for healthy living for this week.” Right. So you can do two things with that situation. You can say, “Hey, I noticed that you, that you posted about this on Instagram. It’s not getting too much traction.” You can build a relationship with that person and say, “What I’d like to do is I’d like to cross promote you. I’d like to share your content on my page and in exchange. I’d like for you to do an interview with me on your website.” Right.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:53):
What this does is it helps them. It gets a link to you from them. And it’s not a reciprocal link. You’re not linking out to them and they’re linking back to you. So you’re getting a really good quality link. In that same tone you can do, you can do a reverse of that. So if, you’re like… If, you have… If you don’t have social presence but you’re really good at photography through photography, right. You can take somebody else’s like meal plan and you can create recipes around it. Right. And then do the photography and then reach out to them and say, “Hey, I really enjoyed your post. I created recipes around your meal plan and took really awesome pictures.” We’d love for you to reference them. Right.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:52:34):
So there’s all kinds of tactics that you can apply to get things done. We’ve done things like, when we worked with, we still do, but when we’ve worked with financial institutions, we’ve gone as far as looking at scholarly articles on Google. And these are just like long boring studies that were done about a specific topic and usually are published on like a .edu domain. And what we would do is, we would read through them and we would create an infographic. We would create an asset around it. And then we would reach out, we would publish the infographic on our client’s website with an embed code. An embed code is something that you copy and paste onto your site, which shows the image and provides a link pointing back to you.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:18):
And what we would do is we would create this infographic, and then we would reach out to the author of that study. And would say, “Hey, really enjoyed reading your study. Here is an infographic that we created to help people better understand the overall focus of what you’re talking about, or your findings of the study so that they don’t have to read through the entire like 80 page write up that you did.” And most of the time it’s a response, “Oh, awesome. Thank you so much. This is great.” They take the embed code, they put it in the study and our client has a link pointing back to them. So it’s all about getting creative. It’s all about diversifying. You can do things locally. You can donate money to local charities.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:01):
And then you can look for sites or charities or foundations that are local to you or even national that have a page on their website, where they talk about sponsors and link out to them. We’re grateful to these people. Thank you so much. So there’s all kinds of things that you can do. You can also do your own outreach, but that’s a beast. You really have to know what you’re doing. It will eat up a lot of your time. Building relationships, creating groups to help people out. Getting creative is what’s going to give you the best links.

Ashley Segura (00:54:35):
And I think it’s definitely important to clarify with your infographic example. There was a mention in the chat about getting those types of emails all the time, but where the differences with that, you’re offering and providing more valuable content versus another email saying, “Hey, I have a valuable blog.”

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:53):
Right. And I wouldn’t want you to email them either. Right? You make that relationship on social. I do this all the time. I will reach out to someone and say, “Hey, really enjoying your profile, check me out. I’m a normal human being. I’m not some like marketer out of a call center trying to build links, right? This is what I’m doing.”

Casey Markee (00:55:14):
Even though, yes.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:14):
I am. Yeah. So I really enjoy what you’re doing. I love your content. I’ve created this asset to help you, right. Would you mind sharing it, but you don’t want to come in with a pitch right away. Right?

Ashley Segura (00:55:25):
Yes.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:25):
Like their posts engage with them and don’t do any of that like robotic. Like six of their posts and six of their pictures in a row. So they notice you. Actually like reach out to them and say, “Hey, this is what I do. This is who I am. I am authority.” Or I have this amazing Instagram account, or I have a very powerful blog with an email list. Here are my assets. Here’s what I want from you. Let’s help each other out. As long as you’re not creating an environment, we’ll take a link for link then you’re good.

Ashley Segura (00:55:55):
Can you share some examples of great content with food lifestyle and DIY bloggers that have pulled in links, maybe help give some more strategy ideas.

Casey Markee (00:56:05):
I can. And I have just pasted over several of those examples in the chat for you guys to make a note of please click over those and visit those today when you get a chance. I’ve pasted some examples from various niches here. The first one that I want you to see is from Sarah at dinner at the zoo, or which is really cool. I think it’s actually, yeah. Dinner at the zoo. She’s a former audit client. She’s done very well with roundups. This is an older roundup that she’s done. It’s on meal prep, recipes. It continues to generate thousands of clicks to her site every month. It’s great. She’s got a 120 link in rig domains to that. 200 plus inbound links. The post is number one in Google for meal prep recipes and she ranks for 2200 keywords.

Casey Markee (00:56:47):
Okay. So when we’re talking about putting these recipes together, it’s never anything dramatic. It’s just that she has leveraged a resource very effectively. It’s linked internally well. It’s picked up extremely good external links and linking root domains. Also, want you to think about things like cooking conversion charts. I know that they’re probably played out right now, but the ones that have done well, have been around for a while. This is Becky over at the cookie rookie. Also, again former client current client. She has a 160 plus linking root domains, 200 inbound links. She ranks for 1600 keywords for this. It’s very, very well put together. Other things like how to posts how to put together a charcuterie board. I love that. Say that 15 times faster. Good times.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:57:31):
Charcuterie.

Casey Markee (00:57:32):
Yeah. Charcuterie. Charcuterie board. And I like my charcuterie boards heavy on the cheese and the meat. Put those vegetables aside. We don’t need any of that stuff. That’s crazy talk, but this is a great post for her. She has a… It ranks for 1400 keywords. It’s one of their top traditional posts 120 linking root domains. Very well put together. So take a look at the structure of these. Take a look at how these are put together. Recently I had a… I was very fortunate to have a full audit with Veena Azimov who is one of the top pastry chefs in the world. I mean, seriously, the woman has forgotten more about sugar than sugar in my life.

Casey Markee (00:58:10):
I mean, she had an audit with me. She’s a spine. She lives in Israel right now. She signed up with RSN. She’s doing some concentrated link building with him. She has some great content and one of them is this cake pricing guide, which I didn’t even think about. But as a Baker, if you’re trying to sell cakes, it’s perfect. It’s a fantastic resource on how you price your cakes. And she… It’s an exhaustive resource. It’s done very well. Pulling in links and Linking root domains. It ranks for about 1100 keywords. Fantastic.

Casey Markee (00:58:42):
And then amazingribs.com, which is a long time client I’ve consulted for. This is a meathead. Probably the top grilling site in the world. Amazing ribs, ranks for tens of thousands of meat, specific queries. It’s crazy with their content. That this one here, everything you’d ever want to know about pork… So it’s a personal favorite of mine. I actually check it every day for pork cuts. It’s good, good recipes there 180 plus Linking root domains. 1000 plus followed inbound links, links from the community table, links from other big media global media sites ranks for 1100 keywords. It’s fantastic.

Casey Markee (00:59:20):
And for those of you on the call who have health or medical content, check out this resource that I pasted over here from Abby’s kitchen. Abby is a well-known registered dietician based in Toronto. She has great, great content. And she has been… She’s always very good at putting together detailed resources and then linking out correctly to support all health claims and how she does that is something we discussed today on the call. I want you to take a look at that example. I’ve pasted over her resource on how to stop stomach cramps, which is like most of the content on her site. It’s well linked. It ranks her a thousand plus keywords, and it’s a very well put together in that she does in content citations as necessary to the national institutes of health resource, researches and all this other stuff.

Casey Markee (01:00:06):
She links out when it makes sense to the national institutes of health for citations on all of her content. And that’s what you have to do. It doesn’t matter if you have experience, we want to link out and support anything that has a health or medical claim at all, because that falls under the your money or your life consideration. When we talk about the concepts of EAT, expertise, authoritativeness, and of course, most importantly, trustworthiness. We want to make sure that all the content that we publish that could have a positive or negative effect on our life or money is fully supported. And Abby does that extremely well. So check those out. And hopefully that will give you a kind of a good overview of the content that on its own with no real promotion from the audience has been well received and continues to pull in links on a regular basis.

Ashley Segura (01:00:54):
Perfect. And Casey on one of the links, the A Baker, the rest of the URL got cut off. So if you don’t mind pasting that in.

Casey Markee (01:01:03):
See that one real quick.

Ashley Segura (01:01:04):
We’re just about out of time. We have one more question and then we’re going to do a couple of Q and A questions. You guys have answered 31 questions already in Q and A, which is absolutely insane and amazing. So attendees, if you haven’t gotten a question into Q and A, get it on over there, we’re going to open that up in just a second. Andrew, last question. You had success building links for your own food blog. Can you kind of share what your strategy was for building links for your food blog?

Andrew Wilder (01:01:30):
Yeah, so I started my own food blog, eating rules in 2010. So I’m a dinosaur in the food blogging space now. And I thought I was late to the party then, which is kind of funny. So about six months into starting my blog, I decided to lead a challenge that I called October Unprocessed, where I tried to get as many people as possible to eat no processed food whatsoever for the entire month. And I had done it with two friends before I started my blog the year before. And I’m like, I’m going to do this with my blog. I’m going to figure out how to do this. And I happened to be at the IFBC conference in Seattle back when we could actually do conferences in person. Side note, IFBC is doing a conference tomorrow virtually, so you guys should check that out.

Andrew Wilder (01:02:11):
So anyway, I’m at the IFBC conference, I meet all these other food bloggers. And so I talk to people about doing this together as a community. And what I ended up doing was leading this 30 day challenge on my site. And I asked other publishers to write guest posts with recipes that I published on my site all about unprocessed food. So it was, this was all 2010. So it’s a little different now, right. But what I ended up doing was getting 30 different articles or that are blog posts and recipes that I posted on my site. And I asked people to do teaser posts on theirs to direct their audience to mine. I also added a graphic for all of them. If there were a contributor, I made a little logo that they can put on their site. And a lot of people put that on their sidebar.

Andrew Wilder (01:02:48):
But at the end of the year, I had like 400 people who had signed the pledge to do it. But it also got a lot of traction on Twitter and the LA Times food blog picked it up. So Renee did a blog post on that. And then the New York times food blog picked it up. So not only did I get links from other bloggers, but I got links from major media. So that, put my blog on the map. It’s harder to do that now. I totally get that, but I wanted to tell this story because it… You have to think creatively, you have to do something that comes from a genuine place and that will excite and interest other people. So if you’re creating great content that counts, right. If you’re creating one of these big roundup things, that’s a huge valuable resource, then you’re going to naturally get links.

Andrew Wilder (01:03:28):
But if there’s any way you can build momentum and get other people involved, that’s really helpful as well. So if’ you approach it from a… Oh, I should mention, I did not set out to build links. Like I was just so excited about this project that I just wanted to do it and I kind of lucked into it. But in retrospect it worked so well because it was sincere. So for all of you guys thinking about building backlinks, I really hope you’ll come from a place of genuine growth and genuine excitement and really providing value to your readers and to the rest of this community. And when that happens, it’s going to circle back on you. So don’t approach it from, “How can I build links.” Because, that’s just going to be really exhausting. So that’s my spiel on that.

Ashley Segura (01:04:10):
Perfect. And a perfect way to end things out. We have… Most, all of the questions in Q and A have been answered. Again, you guys are awesome, but we’ll take this last question and then we will wrap things up from Alana. Straight text links versus linked images. What are your thoughts? Does the link image need an accompanying texts link, open that up to anybody?

Casey Markee (01:04:34):
Yeah. I am actually answering that right now. So I want to go ahead and have you guys answer that so we can see if your answer matches mine, which Elena is going to receive right now.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:04:41):
You don’t need an accompanying text link with your image link. It’s perfectly fine. If it makes sense to link an image, you can also use I think on the image. It’s an alt right?

Casey Markee (01:04:54):
So I’m typing in, don’t listen to Arsen. Okay right there.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:05:01):
You can also add a title to the image link also. So you can do title and you can do an alt.

Andrew Wilder (01:05:06):
So I’m going to jump in because this has big accessibility considerations. So if, you’re… If you’ve got an image that does not have a link right next to it, like if there’s a text lonk next to it and a link and they both link to the same place, that has different accessibility implications than just an image with a link. Your alt text should… You should have all text on every image inside a post. And that should describe the purpose of the image. So if it’s a link, you might want to explain what the link is going to. If it’s an informational image, like a picture of a finished dish, you want to describe the finished dish. There’s lots of stuff about accessibility with that. And I think that’s a huge consideration and I’m going to say accessibility trumps SEO in this case, like you don’t want to try to game the system on SEO and shoot yourself in the foot with accessibility.

Casey Markee (01:05:50):
Yeah. And again, I would just say that, think about your sidebar. Like I know a lot of bloggers have a sidebar and they’ll put links on it. I’m all for that. But sometimes they’ll just have images there and I’m like, “What the heck is that?” I can’t really tell from the image what that dish is. So that’s annoying. So I would always have you, if you’re going to be putting links on your sidebar specific or even links on your foot or some kind of a related links widget have both the image and the link showing what this is.

Casey Markee (01:06:16):
That’s just, I think good for accessibility. I think it’s good for general UX. I think it’s better overall, but that’s really, the only consideration I have. I tend to with image links… Image links are treated a little bit different from Google. An image link by itself honestly, probably not as powerful as the contextual surrounding information is. And the contextual surrounding information would be more brought to home and bare if there’s actually a link to hyperlink as well.

Ashley Segura (01:06:43):
And on that note, we have run out of time. In fact, we ran over, so thank you, everyone who stuck with us. Thank you panelists for answering all of the information about links. Just a couple of notes, both Casey and Andrew are speaking at the food blogger conference tomorrow. It’s virtual. The link is on the chat box, so you guys can definitely join in there. Our next episode is going to be about content optimization and so we will send out details with the recap next week to everybody that registered. So thank you guys so much for joining us. I hope everyone has lots of corn beef and get us today. And thank you.

Casey Markee (01:07:20):
Thanks everyone. Have a [inaudible 01:07:22] day.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:07:21):
Bye everyone.

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