Link Building and Content Promotion in 2016: An Interview with Casey Markee

The CEO of AuthorityLabs, Chase Granberry, and Melissa Fach had a great talk with Casey Markee of Media Wyse, a San Diego-based SEO consultancy, about Link Building, content, SEO and how businesses can market themselves. Casey is a well-known speaker, trainer and author with the SEO community. The information Casey unleashed was outstanding and abundant!

So, let’s jump in and check out out all the tips Casey offered.

Content

“The #1 thing everyone is doing for link building is the content angle – link earning, a term I use more and more.  My goal to get them to embrace the fact there are 2 million blog posts being published everyday. If your content isn’t great you have no chance standing out. Content publishing, promotion & quality guest posting needs to be a corner stone of your link building strategy.”  

FOCUS: Anything that is pull marketing based and linkable assets and provides value to audience.

“I do a lot of consulting with the food community today. I have done audits on 80+ food blogs. It is a niche focus and you see the same patterns over and over. There are only so many ways you can have a banana pie recipe. How do you get your food blog to stand-out when competing with millions of others? You have to go beyond just publishing recipes. Many are focusing on evergreen resources or long-form guides, such as “the ultimate guide to soups” or “a complete guide to…” whatever.”

A Great Tool

“One of the best resources is a tool called Answer the Public. It is like Google Suggest on steroids. You go in and look at a root keyword phrase and it will pull in dozens of questions into venn diagrams – great for creating complete resources – specifically focused questions. Make sure you ask and answer as many of these questions as possible and you will have great content for your audience.”

“This is what Google is doing, we see them generating featured answer snippets at the top at  Position Zero – providing a resource that provides user value and answers questions. Think about the answer box –this coveted spot. What is Google putting there? Check Pete Meyers presentation at SearchFest (now Engage). It was on dominating position zero, this is where you want to be. Less than 20% of sites are generating the snippets, of those it is less than 1% of all queries. It isn’t a lot of traffic.”

Content Inventories for Business

“Again, in the recent Moz State of Link Building survey, #1 was content publishing, promotion and guest posting. One working with clients the first thing I am going to ask is if they have done a content inventory.  Is there anything we can use, repurpose, create evergreen content/guides, basically expand its reach? This is the first step for link building because people typically are not sure what they have.”

Tools to Use

“Two tools I use a lot are WebCEO and URL Profiler to pull out all the Google Console information because I know it is direct Google generated traffic. If I do an audit I will connect and download all the posts through URL Profile and all the Top Pages via Google Search Console organized via click totals. I run a report and it will line up, typically for the last 2 months, all the Google Console info by URL and I can see immediately the top 10-100 posts, average rankings and recorded Google clicks.

I can also see pages and pages and pages of posts with no traffic. I look at those posts and specifically look at them on the website. I then put them in buckets/categories – seasonal recipes, posts that are not ranking competitively, posts not bringing traffic, etc. I then export this info and send to client and ask them to look at them. Is there something that can be updated with photos, updated content or expand the steps? If they are not generating traffic we have to figure out what is it about these posts what can we do to improve? There might be other metrics on the page like site speed or conversion issues.”

Content Suggestions for Clients

“Sites do not have to publish new resources every week. If you’re having a hard time just cut your publication schedule and use the Top Pages data I have discussed to pull out content you can update and republish for the immediate future. This will allow you to share things your current audience hasn’t seen.

Traffic tends to change over 6 months, so posts from 6 months ago will most likely not have been viewed from new traffic hitting the site. So, it is like publishing anew with a new set of eyeballs.”

Focus on Virtual assets – email marketing – sign up and get a free guide or ebook.

What People Miss

Most people don’t know about link-building. People wonder why their pages are not doing as well as large sites. They replicate the bigger sites, with large images above the fold, and they don’t offer the fastest site speeds.  The smaller sites have to do all the little things SEO wise – optimize graphics, above the fold content and good site speed to hope to rank. Google wants you to give the user what they want.

Always ask yourself “What is the way to give the quickest access to what people are looking for from my content and site pages?”

Things You Should Do

  1. Consider creating resource pages. A Moz report stated that resource pages and links list pages pay off in a big way. For example, Internet Marketing Ninjas kills it on resource pages and they do a fantastic job providing great information while having a designated gate keeper. This is how you want to get links, a human decision, not a link directory.
  2. Use Google site operators to find resource pages for each project – create distribution lists and use a tool like Scrape Box to find submission pages – reach out individually.
  3. Use unlinked mentions and brand mentions tools –  BuzzSumo, Mentions.com, BrandMentions.com Moz Fresh Explorer – If you find a brand mention with no link contact them and ask them for a link. Thank them for the shout out, but ask if they could update the link – be polite. BrandMentions.com will allow you to set-up a template so you can reach out to people fast. Send out through Gmail.
  4. Best way to generate links is to be helpful. Find threads and participate, go to Quora or go to help forums on industry sites. Contribute where you can and make yourself available. I get a ton of business participating in the Moz forums, over at SEOChat.com and at Food Blogger Pro.
  5. Small to medium businesses – create social profiles for brand identity. Put in some initial work and create a content publishing schedule for the main social media channels. Know where your customers are going to be and focus your efforts there. Do some persona research and start publishing. Put in the time, it will take some time to get success.
  6. Digital PR – really what the main focus of link building is – link earning. HARO, interviews, write-ups from conferences, guest posts, quote submissions – all result in links. So start-out by looking at sources like HARO – what are ways I can contribute my expertise? They can all lead to links.
  7. Check out the State of Link Building Report by Moz, because it breaks down specific things everyone is doing today, there are many things to replicate and is also great reading.
  8. Influencer outreach. Get on their radar and connect with them. An established social Identity will help you with influencers. Twitter chats help with influencer rankings and reaching people in your audience. Influencer metrics – check Klout, Followerwonk, Buzzstream – find influencers in your industry.
  9. Create trust with your content and social rep – will help with links.

Local SEO

Just because you don’t have a physical location doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of local citations and business directories. Many do-follow links out there.

Submit to places like Local Pages, Open Table, Zaggat, and Powered by Yext directories because they are all do-follow and are an easy way to get links. Not a lot of high value, but they will start you off with a base to get going and create trust with search engines.

Graphics

Infographics are not dead – quality ones pull in the most links in the smallest amount of time possible. Sites like Infographicshowcase.com, loveinfographics.com, infographicholic.com, and coolinfographics.com are all sites that provide a do-follow link for quality infographic submissions – and best of all those links will send traffic.

If I had to choose between a link on lower quality site that will send traffic vs. link on a high quality site what won’t get clicked at all I would prefer the one with traffic.

With a nice plan a solid infographic doesn’t have to take too long to create.

People need to pay attention to broken links and your first visit should ALWAYS be the Crawl Errors section of your Google Search Console. Salvage as many links as possible, Google will respider and you will get a boost. Use tools like the Mylinks Chrome Extension, Xenu Link Sleuth, Brokelinkcheck.com, Scrapebox or Google Search Operators.

Also, learn to leverage search operator searches to see what broken links you have. Find links to you, internal links and outbound links to fix. Who you link out to matters. I believe in linking out to authority sites as much as possible. Also, broken external links is not a positive user experience. Run a site crawl regularly and correct issues.

Run link check tools to ensure all the links work. It is a sign of quality when links work and who knows what Google is evaluating, but we know quality is one of them.

Press Releases

They work, but are limited for link building. Important for brand awareness.

Q&A in Forums

Google is displaying more and more featured answers at Position Zero and are on a tear to give full answers in search results and keep the searcher on Google. Forum signatures get clicks. They are no-follow and offer no SEO benefit, but they are good for branding, creating a funnel and generating business. If there is anyway a strategy will generate business it is worth doing.

Google guidelines – EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness are the big three in the google quality rate guidelines. EAT is always a constant focus for me in link building – will it reflect on my expertise or my clients in an authoritative and trustworthy way? If I can say yes with that link building target or strategy then I move forward.

Paid links always get the “don’t do it”, but everyone is doing it. You just have to understand that there is a risk and if you are going to do it they better send you traffic. Sometimes the only way to get a link on a site that will convert for you is to buy it. You should no-follow it and then see what the return will be. Will it send you business? Will it help you on an expertise or authoritativeness platform? These questions will tell you if there is value.

Two kinds of content are visual and written content.  Visual is harder for people to execute. It is so crowded online today with content, if you can create great visual effectively you will stand out faster. Long-form content is great, but people don’t execute it effectively. It has to be a long-form quality post. Finding and answer the questions of the audience is so important – that’s where a tool like AnswerthePublic.com comes into play.  The audience you have will determine how good the quality is, because if you find out what their needs and desires are and you fulfill those needs and desires with content you are going to have so much more success than a site that isn’t doing this.

Another great tool is HotJar.com. It has heat maps and films user interaction on your site. It allows you to see what your visitors are doing, where are the stopping and going, and their entire path is recorded in a video. How are they navigating content? Do it before and after changes then you can see the difference in how your audience finds info, navigating and converting. Are they stopping at one section of long-form content? Perhaps you need more info on that.

 

About Casey:

casey-headshotCasey Markee is the Founder of digital marketing firm Media Wyse based in San Diego, CA. He is also the Head of FastAnswer support for industry news and SEO training site www.searchenginenews.com. Casey has spoken at dozens of conferences all over the world and is co-author of the Unfair Advantage Guide to Winning the Search Engine Wars found at www.searchenginebook.com. See Casey speak at Pubcon Las Vegas in October and again at State of Search in Dallas in November.

Both of Casey’s Pubcon panels will be on Thursday, October 13:
How We Create Epic Stories
Beyond SEO: Proximity Marketing with Bluetooth Beacons

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker for SEMrush, an EPIC all-in-one tool designed to make life simpler for digital marketers. Ashley is passionate about helping businesses and individuals gain longterm ROI through teaching content marketing and social media tactics. With over 6 years in the digital marketing industry, Ashley brings first hand experience and case studies to inspire marketers around the world to better their strategies using the SEMrush platform and unique marketing tactics. She regularly speaks at workshops and conferences like Pubcon, RetailGlobal, SMS, and more. Ashley is also a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

Filed under: Tips