Chapter 5 - External Link Profile benchmarking and Reputation Management

Quality backlinks from relevant sources are the lifeblood of your SEO campaign. Once you’ve established solid technical foundations and have invested in producing quality content then what else can you do other than promote your content organically via PR, social and ads, and/or if you want to risk it then via paid link campaigns.

It’s worth noting at this juncture, in Google’s Search Quality guidelines the reputation of the website itself has a bearing on the PQ rating;

“You must also look for reputation information about the website. We need to find out what outside, independent sources say about the website. When there is disagreement between what the website says about itself and what reputable independent sources say about the website, we’ll trust the independent sources.”

So tackle link building in a couple of stages:

Stage 1 - Get your house in-order

Before you even worry about what others are saying about you, ensure you are consistently describing your company, your contact details and what you do on your website and any external reputable sources that you can control, for example:

  • Your website(s) – Tip 1 – Use Schema markup to help search engines understand you better
  • Products on your website – if you are an eCommerce website then you’ll know that product reviews have a big influence on your sales. Include Product rating schema in your pages.
  • Industry awards and accreditations, customer testimonials – adding these to your sites to add to your perceived Expertise, Authority and Trust is good – it’s even better if you can get these sites to link to you.
  • Google Places
  • LinkedIn Page(s)
  • Twitter profile
  • Facebook pages
  • Instagram profile
  • Other social media accounts
  • Local business directories, Better Business Bureau, local chambers of commerce and industry associations or affiliations consistently describe and link to your company.
  • Business directories like Crunchbase or others specific to your industry
  • Review websites like TrustPilot, Reevoo (these will vary by country)
  • G2 Crowd, Capterra, Software Advice (for software companies)
  • Sites that Google may use as reference points for building its Knowledge Graph include Crunchbase, Google Books, IMDB and any other specialist data sources such as a registry of dentists/doctors. Jason has written a full list on his site Kalicube.

Ensure that your website and each article or post makes it clear who (what individual, company, business, foundation, etc.) created the website or the content on the page.

Watch our Tea Time SEO session here:

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Stage 2 - Manage your online reputation

Hopefully, you won’t have disgruntled customers denigrating your company on any of the platforms in Stage 1 or worse still creating dedicated [yourwebsite]sucks.com types of sites to try and spite you. If you have, then you need some professional help beyond the scope of this guide.

However, many of the sites mentioned in Stage 1 are important in helping create a positive image of your business. So manage your reputation on these sites.

Get your customer support people to ask happy clients for a review on one of these sites and rotate this until you get good coverage and a solid rating and reputation across all of them.

If you are not sure which sites are the most important for your niche, then you can research them for free in the Authoritas SEO Visibility Tool. Discover which sites are ranking well in the SERPs for your related keywords and target them.

Here’s an example of software review sites that we analysed for our own internal marketing.

This shows us that G2.com is the most visible website in the UK for software reviews in general.

You can then filter this view to only look at their Visibility for relevant keywords and in our example we found that leading review sites like Capterra and G2 ranked in the top few places for very relevant keywords.

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It then becomes essential to manage (and even consider advertising) on these software comparison review sites as they may help your overall SEO visibility but more importantly they can bring you relevant buyers.

Can we help?

If you are looking for an easy way to automate much of the advice given in this guide, then please book a call with one of our platform experts to explore whether we have what you need.

Stage 3 - Compare your Link Profile to the page with your competing pages

Many tools such as Authoritas allow you to analyse your backlink profile at a domain level.

However, this can be far more useful and informative if you look at your individual key landing pages and compare the relevance and Authority of your landing pages to your competition.

At Authoritas we have always recommended Majestic link data – but whichever link data you use, try and assess topical relevance as well as domain or page authority metrics (whether you prefer Majestic or Moz or your own in-house metris).

Figure 1 – Quality and Relevancy Matrix

With the Authoritas platform you can define a list of relevant terms and when we re-crawl the backlinks we get from Majestic to your site we add an additional layer of value helping you to see whether the links are from relevant or influential sites.

If you also add competing pages to the link analysis section then you should be able to download the data and produce a simple scatter graph in a platform of your choice (Excel, Google Data Studio, Tableau, PowerBI, etc) which will give you a good indication of how you fare against the competition.

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Figure 2 – Comparative Link Velocity

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It’s also important to monitor the rate at which you are comparing links to your competitors.

You can do this automatically in the Authoritas dashboard.

Stage 4 - Build Quality Links

Now that you have identified the gaps between you and your competitors and the velocity at which your competitors are gaining or losing links, all you need to do is build more quality links than your competitors.

How to do exactly this will be the subject of another complete ultimate guide in the series.

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