I'm working on an aged site (10 years) with very good traffic and good on-site. But it only has 750 good quality domains linking to it. What would you do outside of on-site to improve rankings and or traffic? Looking for suggestions with relevance to the Recreational Vehicle (RV) or Solar Power niches.
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It doesn't sound like links are the problem.
It's likely not, but we are working on new optimized regular content. I was just thinking that getting a few relevant links could improve on ranking on more difficult keywords, which we are targeting.
Martinez 🎓 » Tesla
Relevant links aren't as important as people believe. A link is relevant to its destination by virtue of its anchor text.
What the search engines think of as "relevant links" is completely different from what the SEO community has come to believe.
With over 700 domains linking to the site, you should be able to achieve a lot through content, structure, and site organization.
Don't use "rel='nofollow'" on any internal links.
Don't use "noindex" on any pages whose links you want the search engines to follow.
Thank you Michael. Are you suggesting we don't do anything for off-site? On-site optimization is a regular effort for us, but having little experience with off-site I would really like to know if it's worth it and what should be done.
Martinez 🎓 » Tesla
If you're not happy with the site's performance – given the current on-site/off-site optimization – then I suggest you focus on the site itself for now.
Of course, I don't know anything about your 750 domains. If you're assessing their quality by SEO metrics rather than your own good discerning judgment, then there's a strong possibility they're not as good as you think.
Most sites never earn more than a handful of links. Any site that earns 750+ links is either very good or depending on link spam.
Having a very good site that earned 700 or 7000 links over the years doesn't guarantee it will rise to the top of all preferred queries. But those links provide a solid foundation upon which to build future success.
So that is why I suggest you concentrate on improving the site and creating the kind of site you yourself would want to link to.
Perhaps a social media campaign would help improve visibility for the site.
Thank you again Michael, I've read diligently some of your posts and you seem to be very knowledgeable on the topic. It's just we really haven't done anything for off-site, those links are natural, which in one way is a very good thing, but on the other I would love to put effort where it can lead to fruitful results. And not doing any off-site just seems to contradict every guideline I've read and some of your own content, if I'm not mistaken.
Martinez 🎓 » Tesla
Natural links are a great resource. So, if you want to earn more links, I guess the next question is: what did the site do to earn them in the first place?
Has the plan diverged at all?
You *COULD* ask people to modify the anchor text of their links. I think that's a risky strategy.
And usually when I see people concentrate on anchor text, they go for money keywords [ex. "best online guide for resources in 2021"] rather than natural anchors [ex. "Michael's site at domain.tld explains how to do this" ].
If you can figure out what attracted those links in the first place, you may be able to replicate that success.
But even if you get the links, if the site isn't set up to serve what the search engineers think should appear at the top of their search results, you'll be climbing a sandy bank, trying to get to the top, as their algorithms change over time.
Understandable, will do my best 🙂
Ammon Johns 🎓
The number of linking domains is something that people who read a lot of blogs, but no actual search patents or papers, tend to worry about. I have to point that out up front simply because it is a very common misconception and 'myth' of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Google calculate all positive aspects of linking at the URL level, not only caring about only the *page* you get a link from, but also where specifically on that page your link is found and in what context.
The only papers from actual search engineers I ever recall mentioning domains were the ones where it was designed to downgrade site-wide links from toolbars or other third-party injections and site-wide boilerplate links. So long as your link profile looks nothing like those specific cases, you really don't have much to worry about.
The quality and the relative importance (or popularity) of the specific page that links to you is what to concentrate on, and never waste time working out if this site/domain is one of only ten that all your links come from. Put it this way, imagine that you were a new research company working on some very important but not especially popular new research. The New York Times runs a series of stories about you, and so do the Financial Times, the BBC, and a couple of other major news portals that cater to the more high-brow news. Do you think, for even one brief instant, that having a few hundred links from those major publications would be hurt because there were only a dozen or so major sites/domains involved?
At the other end of that scale though, if all of your links come from just a handful of low-reputation domains, that's already fixed by the fact they are low value links. Doesn't matter how few domains are involved because the links themselves are on pages with almost now 'importance' (PageRank) to pass anyway. No additional level of 'fix' is needed.
Anyway, beyond explaining why number of linking domains is a bit of a newbie myth, let's answer the real question.
Getting more attention (whether that is in the form of visits or links is the same) is definitely the thing to do. There's literally hundreds of slightly different approaches to this you could take.
One is simply to look at which pages people already tend to find the most link-worthy (your pages with the most links that are not your homepage) and just try to help more people to discover it – ads, social media, whatever gets it the attention, because if you have a page that earns one link out of every 200 interested visitors passing it along to others all by virtue of its value, then all you need is to help more people find it (without sacrificing the quality of interest, of course).
You can also see if any of those most-linked pages have become a little less relevant, or a little less shiny, with the passage of time, and bring them up to date.
While you are examining those older pages that already attracted links, look at the common themes and interests, the patterns that inspired the links. That way you can try to spot any gaps that may be worth creating new content for that may be expected to be similarly 'remarkable'.
That's all at the easy and simple end of attracting links. If you want to push yourself, go for something more audacious. Think hard about who the giants in your industry, or at least the general interest area of your industry, are. What is the biggest news media that covers stories in your market? What kind of stories do their journalists and editors tend to find the most worth covering? Can you create a story like that and dangle it in front of them? Would celebrity endorsement help? If so, what kind of celebrity would be ideal? You may have to work slow and patient to nail one of the really big and audacious plans, but believe me, just one of those paying off is usually worth more than 2 years of the regular small-thinking easy stuff.
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