There are few people that have helped shape the SEO industry more than Rand Fishkin, the CEO of SEOmoz. Not only does he give out a ton of awesome, actionable tactics & strategies on the SEOmoz blog, but he’s also one of the bright minds behind Open Site Explorer, one of the most popular link building tools out there.
That’s why I’m excited to share with you a few answers he gave me to some questions I had about link building and a few other SEO related subjects.
Building a content marketing platform – a blog, a web content series, a highly-subscribed-to article resource, etc. is a huge, huge potential win. However, if you can’t invest in content for your own site, another option is to use the power of already-powerful publishing sources. Guest authoring amazing work can get you in front of tens of thousands of readers at popular blogs, news sites, etc. but you’ll have to be willing to do exceptional work. Attracting links naturally is not easy, but it is incredibly worthwhile.
Hmm… Yeah, I’m seriously doubting the methodology there. We have access to a lot of link data from sources like Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, and will see as low as 40% (particularly for newer sites or those who link build from far-off, less well-traveled parts of the web), and as high as 90%. I’d be particularly wary of comparisons using Majestic’s historic indices, as these have link data that may not have existed on the web for many, many months, and given the web’s natural rate of churn, this will make “all links” look far, far inflated to an actual count an engine might see.
All that said, we do have plans to launch an index in the next 3-4 weeks that’s ~3X the size of our largest index to date, and if our members are happy with that expanded data (and don’t find these far corners of the web too spammy and thin in content to be useful), we’ll maintain those sizes going forward.
We’d love to 🙂 The challenge is with processing. Other link indices, like Majestic, don’t need to run link-graph calculations like MozRank (our version of Google’s PageRank), MozTrust, Domain Authority, Page Authority, etc. Thus, they can continually update a static database. This is a great tactic to keep costs low and to have a huge index that can stay relatively fresh. However, it means you can’t do things like predictive metrics against Google’s rankings using machine-learning-based algos, or mimic other search-engine calculations (like PageRank or TrustRank).
Sometime this year, we hope to reach 3-week or possibly 2-week freshness, but it’s a massive data-crunching and cost challenge. Running processing and serving of Linkscape on Amazon’s EC2 in January alone cost us ~$300,000 and took almost the entire month. Doing it twice as fast would cost more than twice as much given our current code and infrastructure, so we need to work out some of those issues before we can cut down the processing time.
I thought Bill Slawski’s post covered some potential items in expert fashion: http://www.seobythesea.com/2012/03/12-google-link-analysis-methods/. Unfortunately, I’ve neither seen nor “felt” any changes in the SERPs that would justify a particular hypothesis yet.
I wrote a post on this last summer: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-responsibilities-of-seo-have-been-upgraded. My feeling is that a modern SEO can be a specialist and succeed, but it will likely be in a narrow and/or tactical fashion. That’s not to say specialist tacticians aren’t fantastic sometimes, just that a modern marketing department needs to approach SEO holistically and that means having areas of strength around design, development, content, social, outreach, analytics, CRO and community along with the classics of keyword research, on-page optimization and link building.
Right now it’s really participation on the “incoming” page. There aren’t quite enough great submissions coming in yet (though thankfully, people do seem to only be submitting pretty good stuff and very little spam/crap), nor are there enough folks voting up the quality links. That said, it’s been cruising along organically without a lot of input or direction from Dharmesh and I, which is great. I think that means the marketing community was ready for something like this and has embraced/made it their own.
I’m not sure if I totally agree with that statement. I’ve seen many folks who say things like “I’m responsible for a lot more than just SEO. This title doesn’t fit me fully anymore,” and that’s different than saying “I’m replacing my ‘SEO’ title with ‘director of inbound marketing’ tomorrow.” My opinion is more that as marketers engaging in SEO have evolved to encompass a wider array of channels, their titles are changing. SEO is still SEO – still means what it always did and still has a critical place in the marketing mix for every company on the web.
As far as SEOmoz goes, we rolled out some light social media monitoring tools last December but are actually planning to focus intensely on our Linkscape index – growing the depth, breadth and freshness as I noted above, as well as some new SEO/search-focused features in the software. In the longer-term, you’ll see us re-invest in social, content and broader marketing analytics to help keep up with the needs of our customers.