Rel=”Author” May be Gone, But Agent Rank Lives On

When I first wrote the post below, studies on authorship and its influence on CTR were mainstream; Eric Schmidt unveiled his ideas on author profiles and how he believed they would affect future rankings; and Panda made its third appearance in 45 days, adding more reason for marketers to jump on the content bandwagon.

With this whirlwind of activity, and the glittery photos in results, it was hard not to promote authorship and think that this was the answer to past patents referring Agent Rank; however, the photos were not the point behind Agent Rank. And, at this point, even though rel=author is longer a thing, the idea that Google would alter rankings based on an author’s authority is still alive and believe that Google is in the process of finding a more efficient way of gathering Agent Rank signals – possibly from the knowledge graph, knowledge vault and structured data.

On a side note, I would also doubt the recent theories that Google enacted rel=author as a means of mass link building – but wouldn’t be opposed to them considering a rel=author or rel=me link nofollow.

Contine reading

SEO Skills You Need if You Want to Level Up in the Industry

In recent years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to run the entire SEO team for a 1400+ employee company that is rooted in search marketing and entrepreneurship. With this being the case, it’s also left me continually thinking about the attributes and qualities of the leaders around me that have made them so successful – a few who have been in the digital marketing industry since before 1997.

More importantly, I’ve repeatedly considered not just the qualities, but what it takes to obtain that skill and “level up” in a notoriously competitive industry.
Contine reading

Quality Link Building Strategies with Example Pitches

As an industry, our position on what makes a quality link has changed over the years, specifically in the past year, and most tactics have followed suit. This shifting paradigm can easily be attributed to the Panda and Penguin updates and refreshes, which have placed a strong emphasis on valuable content and natural, quality link signals.

With this push towards the complete removal of manipulative practices, in addition to scare tactics on any form of guest posting, SEOs are left with a smaller tool set of tactics that work to produce link signals that are beneficial to a site.

In short, the gap between the links that actually work to increase authority and what Google says works is closing. And, if updates continue on this track, those opting for quick and easy links are going to find themselves in trouble.

Contine reading

Prospecting for Links Like a Pro

Guest blogging, while becoming overplayed, is still a great way to build relevant links from authority websites within a niche. Every site, from the one-man show to the enterprise level news blog, is in need of content, and many will jump on the opportunity to add content to their site, as long as it is unique, thought-provoking or relevant to their readers.

Although finding and identifying link opportunities – while matching unique, thoughtful topics to go with each guest post prospect – isn’t the most difficult part of link building, it is one of the most time-consuming.

In this post, I’ll be going over the surprisingly simple to the mind-blowing gems of discovering new link opportunities.
Contine reading

Getting Out of the Guest Blogging Bubble

Guest blogging is the most widely known tactic to legitimately build links from authority websites; however, while guest posting has its benefits, it also has its negative connotations.

As inbound marketers, we need to not just get ahead of the curve, but stay ahead. What I mean is that smart – or scared – webmasters will soon quit accepting low-value works, yielding to columnists over one and done hits.

Take State of Search for example. To preserve quality, Bas van den Beld has eliminated guest post requests in general, opting only for guest posts from people that they approach, and not the other way around, which can be chalked up to spam tactics and pitches that have polluted the industry as a whole.

So, as more sites take on practices like State of Search, where will that leave the rest of the SEO industry that leans too heavily on guest blogging?

Contine reading

Incentivizing Link Building to Promote Results

A few weeks ago, Derek Halpern over at Social Triggers, wrote a great piece on persuading people you don’t know to help you, aka getting links.

In short, Derek used the incentives brought to light in the popular book Freakonomics – economic, social and moral – then translated them into ways your outreach emails can provide value and increase responses.

Similar to Derek, I’m a fan of the thought process behind the Freakonomics’ incentives and use them for all facets of link building.

One of the most effective areas of these incentives falls on link builders themselves.
Contine reading

Why Google Modifies Your Title Tags

Google Webmaster Central describes the site title, or title tag, as a quick representation of the content of a result and its relevance to a specific query.

Sounds basic right? However, one thing you may not know, or dealt with, is the fact that Google reserves the right to alter a title tag if they feel it isn’t the best representation of a page.

Over a year ago, Pierre Far – a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst – explained that algorithms will generate multiple alternative titles so that pages aren’t constrained to having the same static title tag for every search query.

The basic thought behind this to increase click-through ratios by displaying a “better,” more concise title tag or change the tag for semantic terms allowing users to easily recognize a relevant page. Yes, anyone who has ever written a PPC ad can tell you that a relevant, concise ad leads to an improved CTR, but what happens when the title isn’t a “better” choice for the user, or when it makes a site look incompetent?

Contine reading

Moving Past Duplicate Content to Provide Unique Value

It’s not breaking news to hear that search engines filter out duplicate or thin results. Yes, almost 12 percent of sites – a number directly from Google – were caught off guard with the first Panda algorithm; however, low-quality content isn’t what caught these sites by surprise.

What surprised webmasters was the fact that a gap started to close between what Google said happens and what actually happens.

This initial shock should have been expected. I mean, think about Google’s purpose – provide relevant content that people will want to read and share. If their search engine is promoting duplicate or thin results, then what are the odds that a user switches to a competitor? Very high.
Contine reading

Google Removes “Not Selected” Feature from Webmaster Tools

Last July, Google added a new feature to Webmaster Tools – Index Status. This feature helped webmasters better understand their site’s indexing, including what I considered as the most important feature, showing the pages that the algorithm overlooked.

As of yesterday, it seems that this feature has been turned off. Not Selected was a popular tool amongst technical SEOs that provided the benefit of knowing the exact moment a duplicate content issue or indexing issue occurred.
Contine reading

Google’s “Ten things” Philosophy and the Connection with SEO

SEO is one of the fastest growing industries on the market today – it’s also one of the most exciting. With SEO, changes occur on a daily basis, accumulating to over 500 algorithm improvements each year; however, if you can understand the root of why search quality teams would be making so many drastic improvements, you can better understand how to prepare and what to expect in the future.

To do this, I tore a page out of Google’s book with their Ten things we know to be true, or company philosophy.

Reading through this I found some very interesting topics and correlations between the search giant and SEO – go figure, right? – some upfront, some buried.
Contine reading