Revealing your Competitor’s FULL External Relevance Profile – One of my best kept secrets

Most SEOs know that winning the battle for top search terms is in the links. They regularly check the back links of top rankings sites to get a clear picture of the “external relevance profile” of those sites. From this they learn:

  1. How many incoming links the site has

  2. The source of such links

  3. The anchor text of those incoming links

If you are familiar with Google Webmaster Central you know that you’ve got almost everything you need when you pull up the external links report, including all the incoming links and link text that Googlebot is aware of. The problem is that this data is available only for your own site, not for competitive analysis of your rivals. Also, most sites competing for top terms have thousands of links, yet competitive link analysis tools are currently limited to just a thousand results.

There are a couple of ways around these problems. I’m going to share one of my most closely guarded SEO tricks… Warning, this requires a little programming! Read more

Are your paid links passing the test?

As Google continues its propaganda to discourage the buying and selling of text links for SEO purposes, many sites will lose their ability to pass PageRank and Anchor Text. Many sellers will still want to sell such links, and link buyers will need to find ways to determine if the links pass link juice or not.

The first obvious step would be to do a back link check on your site to see if the new links you purchased are showing up in the results. Unfortunately, Google’s link command is extremely limited and is not very useful for link analysis or link research. A better alternative is to use Yahoo Site Explorer’s link command. Of course, the fact that Yahoo counts some links doesn’t necessarily mean that Google does too.

Enter Google’s Webmaster Central, which can provide a comprehensive list of your incoming links. The list really is fresh and very accurate. The only problem is that it includes links with ‘no-follow,’ and if Google is including those it is safe to assume it includes all links whether they pass PageRank and Anchor Text or not. Clearly, this is not very useful for our purposes. Read more

Long tail vs fat head optimization strategies – Part 2

bigheadsnake1.pngIn my previous post, I explored how to assess the competitive level of your keywords and I shared my strategy for optimizing non-competitive keywords. As promised, here is my strategy for optimizing highly competitive ones.

As this is a rather dense topic I will split it in two. This post will explain how to use link analysis to understand your competitor’s rank, and the following post will explain how to leverage that information in your own link-building efforts.

Not all links are created equal

At the moment, we need lots of links to our sites. My strategy is to study the link structure of my chosen web authority carefully, as well as their incoming link text in order to build a similar relevance profile for my site. If I can get similar links and anchor texts, chances are that I will be ranking right next to my competitor.

Unfortunately just getting links to your site is not enough; you need to look for the right links. No link is measured exactly the same. As I explained before, the more pages that match for a targeted query, the more the search engine needs to know about those pages to rank them properly. It is very important to understand this concept. It is the single most important reason why on-page optimization is not enough to compete for very popular keywords.

Just like on-page metrics, there are several metrics search engines use to evaluate links. Before you set out to perform link analysis and build links, there are some basic principles you need to learn. Read more