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If there is just one piece of jargon that has destroyed the SEO industry's understanding of PageRank, it's got to be "link juice."
Never have two words uttered is succession created so many misconceptions.
(In shame, I have to admit I've probably used this evil incantation at some point in the past.)
Here's the truth: PageRank is counterintuitive, so counterintuitive that most people who try to "sculpt it," one way or another, will end up shooting themselves in the foot. And I'm not saying that because I believe they're going to get penalized. I'm saying that because they simply don't understand how PageRank works.
Here's what made me want to write this post.
I was just reading through Brandon Buttars' post on categories and tags over at Avalaunch Media. In general, I agree with his advice. But he said something that made me stop and think:
Each page of your site starts with 100% of the page’s total link value and that value is divided among the links on the page. To get the most out of the links on your page you want to minimize the link bleeding. Link bleeding refers to link value being sent to worthless pages like your contact page, about page, etc. Every link on the page decreases the total value passed through each link, so less links adds more value to each link.
What Brandon is saying is true on the micro-scale. Unlike later ranking factors, Google has always been very upfront about how the (original) PageRank algorithm works. Each page passes about 85% of its PageRank forward, to the pages it links to. That PageRank is divided equally between the links. So, if it links to two pages, the PageRank is split in half. If it links to a third page, the PageRank is split into thirds, meaning each page gets less PageRank.
The knee-jerk reaction, then, is to assume that if you put more links on the pages of your site, you're going to end up "bleeding link juice" at the expense of other pages on your site.
Is that always true?
No, it turns out, it isn't always true.
Well, it sort of is, and it sort of isn't. It depends. But I can show you how it works, and I can prove it with math.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about content marketing - one common flaw I’ve picked up on where content strategy is concerned - it’s that way too many businesses hammer out articles and media without any clear idea of their reasons for doing so.
Sure, they know they want to bring more traffic to their site. But they haven’t really given it much thought aside from that. That, my friends, is a very serious problem.
“Why does your business have content?” asks Florida Trend’s Ron Stein. “Most businesses say they use content to drive people to their website because it’s simply the best way to do that. Solid content will help get your website noticed, yet driving eyeballs to your site is just one piece of an effective marketing program.” (more…)
By now you've probably heard the news: Google is working on an algorithm, not yet incorporated into the search engine, that would allow them to score web sources based on their trustworthiness.
That is, all else being equal, if one webpage or site has a reputation for producing factually accurate information, it will be more likely to show up in search results.
Google published a paper on the algorithm, which they call Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT), at arXive.org.
While the news that Google plans to rank sites based on facts has certainly made the rounds, I haven't seen much in-depth discussion of how the algorithm works. Aside from Aaron Bradely's thoughtful post, I haven't seen any discussions that seem to be inspired by the paper itself, as opposed to the New Scientist article and the spin-offs it has inspired.
With that in mind, I thought I'd go ahead and give the paper a read, and summarize what I came back with. What follows is going to be a bit technical, but I shouldn't have to apologize for that in an industry that uses the name "optimization" in its title. That said, I like to think I've kept things informal enough for the relative layman to understand what I'm getting at.
For more depth, there's always the paper itself.
Let's get started. (more…)
It seems so easy on paper.
Put together an infographic detailing a bunch of awesome facts related to your industry or brand, and you’ll pull in a ton of traffic to your site.
People will share it, talk about it, and ultimately trace it back to you.
Well, here’s the thing. If infographics were super easy to do, then everybody would be doing them. They wouldn’t be valuable for a brand: the web would be inundated with an overwhelming tide of insightful, high-quality infographics.
As it is, it’s inundated with infographics of an entirely different quality: poorly-designed messes that are misleading, salesy, and just plain boring.
If you know what you’re doing, you can ensure your own infographics don’t fall into this camp. That’s what we’ll be talking about today.
How can you make sure your infographics are just plain awesome? (more…)
The following instructions apply if you are trying to get included in a rich answer box for a "how to" style query. It's up to Google whether or not they choose to display an answer box, but if they do, the rules below seem to apply under most circumstances. See my evidence listed after the instructions.
Hey there, folks! Today, we’re going to talk about reputation management and brand awareness. See, the days when a brand could generate a positive image of itself solely through advertising are long behind us.
Thanks in large part to social media, brand recognition is now only the tip of the iceberg. Today’s users are more empowered than they’ve ever been, able to directly impact a business’s chances of success through words alone. As a result of this shift, brands now need to pay attention to the conversations consumers are having across digital channels - they need to examine comments, read reviews, and respond to negative feedback.
“The landscape in which brands now operate has changed beyond recognition,” writes B2B Marketing’s Toby Southgate. “A brand’s reputation, once the healthy product of a successful strategy, can now be driven and developed completely by its customers, prospects, and other external audiences.” (more…)
Am I the only one who thinks these Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangouts are doing more harm than good?
Unlike the carefully-planned, carefully-worded webmaster videos of old, the hangout format just keeps leading us down a familiar path:
Let’s say you’re an inbound marketing firm. Your business is lead generation - which means that having a sound strategy for the capture of leads is integral to your success. Unfortunately, this is precisely where so many businesses run into trouble.
See, lead generation is among the most misunderstood marketing principles on the web. Way too many marketers make the mistaken assumption that there can be a one-size-fits all strategy; that they can easily capture leads for their brand simply by aping what someone else is doing. This, in turn, leads to a whole lot of wasted marketing dollars and wasted time.
The truth is that, when you’re setting out to generate leads, the type of customer you target matters every bit as much as your industry and brand. An inbound marketing firm that primarily deals with other businesses is going to capture leads in a different way than one that works with regular consumers, even if there are similarities. One Bird’s Chris Hokansson put it best, I think:
“B2B marketing and B2C marketing are like two different dog breeds,” he explains. “Sure, there’s a big difference between a German Shepherd and a poodle, but at the end of the day, they’re both dogs.”
“B2B and B2C marketing are both about people,” continues Hokansson. “But just as you wouldn’t handle a pit bull the same as you would a basset hound, B2B and B2C marketing demand different approaches.” (more…)
If you’re running your own business, you’re going to face a bunch of hurdles before you get off and running. But small businesses are becoming more prevalent and some of them can hold their own against large corporations. With so many new brands popping up, you need to stick out from all of the rest. An essential part of your marketing plan should be to establish your company’s personal brand.
If I mention a name like Buzzfeed, most people will not only recognize the name, but they’ll recognize the type of audience they cater to. That website makes me think of fast journalism, reaction gifs and pictures, and relatable pop culture references. It also makes me think of “clickbait,” but let’s not go there. The point is, they’ve branded themselves to be instantly recognizable and we as consumers know what to expect when going to their website.
Here are a few tips to help you create a successful personal brand for your company.
So. Google has been quiet so far in 2015. Who wants to take odds on how long that's going to last? While there wasn't a ton of 'news' from the SEO industry this month (which is a good thing), there was no lack of great content for our first roundup of the year. You can check out articles on mobile and UX, which are only becoming a bigger part of the SEO equation, or our response to a Rand Fishkin article on Moz. The nice part about finding great content marketing content is that the subject matter demands a constant flow of more content, so you know we have you covered there. And finally, with many businesses still still figuring out how to harness the power of social, we rounded up a number of posts that offer guidance on doing just that. After all the recent snow around the country, we're sure you'll have some time to sit by the fire and catch up on what you missed from January. If you're looking for the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy! (more…)