App Store Optimization Checklist – ASO Tips

App Store Optimization is a way of ensuring your app meets app store ranking criteria and rises to the top of a search results page. But how does a marketer optimize for better discover-ability in an app store?

To help you boost your app marketing strategy and app store ranking, We have put together a list of 10 best App Store Optimization tips.

1. Understand your customer and your competition

How well do you know your customers and your competition? A well-formed App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy hinges on understanding how your customers use your app, along with a deep view of your competitive landscape.

To start, ask yourself the following:

  • What language do my customers naturally use?
  • How would they describe my app?
  • What are their top reasons for downloading and using my app?
  • What is my competitive advantage?
  • What keywords do my competitors target?
  • How easily can I compete against these apps on the same keywords?
  • Should I target the obvious keywords or the less obvious and less trafficked keywords that better speak to my unique offering and points of differentiation?

Your ASO strategy begins with putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your goal is to improve discovery in app store searches and target those keywords that drive the most traffic. The best way to identify these optimal keywords is consumer research — finding out exactly what search queries brought your customers to your app and the natural language they use to describe it.

It’s equally important to survey your competition to identify which keywords are being targeted by apps similar to yours. You can then determine whether or not it makes sense to target these same keywords or a separate set of keywords unique to your individual value proposition. Similarly, you’ll have to decide if it makes more sense to rank in the top 10 for a few highly competitive keywords or to rank in the top spot for keywords with a lesser search volume. Kick off your research process with a tool like Keyword Explorer.

2. Choose the right app name

Coming up with a unique name for your app isn’t just a matter of branding. For best results with ASO, include relevant keywords within your title, as this text heavily factors into app store search results. In fact, our friends at TUNE recently conducted a study of the top 25 ranking positions and found that apps with a relevant keyword in their title ranked, on average, 10.3% higher than apps without a title keyword.

 

Titles in the App Store can be up to 255 characters, allowing for plenty of keywords or keyword phrases. However, don’t take this as an opportunity to stuff every keyword you can think of into your title; after all, your app’s name is, first and foremost, your first impression to a potential mobile customer. Longer titles, however, will be truncated on a search results or top chart page. Titles are typically truncated after the 23rd character (including spaces) in the App Store and the 30th character in Google Play. App titles for installed apps in a device’s navigation menu or home screen are truncated after 11 and 14 characters, respectively.

To ensure that your app can be clearly identified, keep the actual name short and sweet. You can augment this short title with nonessential keywords after the name, typically preceded by a dash or vertical bar, to associate your app with select keywords.

It’s also important to use only URL-friendly characters in your title, particularly in the App Store. Special characters or symbols will detract from your ASO strategy and cause iTunes to refer to your app’s numeric ID, rather than its name, to scan for relevant keywords.

3. Maximize your keywords

While many of these strategies apply across the board when it comes to the different app stores, the App Store and the Google Play Store have two very different approaches when it comes to ASO keywords.

The App Store

The App Store has a 100-character keyword field. It exclusively uses title and whatever keywords or keyword phrases you include in these 100 characters to determine which search strings your app will show up for. With this in mind, it’s important to use all of the allotted characters and carefully research your keywords to maximize your organic traffic.

Google Play

On the other hand, the Google Play Store takes an approach more similar to modern SEO. Google does away with the specified tags and scans your app’s description to extract relevant keywords. In this scenario, you’re given 4,000 characters to describe it in natural, customer-facing language. Without trying to jam as many keywords into this text as possible at the expense of your messaging strategy, try to sprinkle relevant keywords where they logically make sense. A recent Sensor Tower study showed that the optimal number of times to repeat a keyword in an app store product page is five, at which point you will maximize the likelihood of ranking prominently for that keyword. Additional mentions have little to no effect on ASO and may even turn off potential customers if your description appears intentionally repetitive.

With this in mind, everything consumer-facing in your app’s product page should be designed not for an algorithm but for the customer. If its description is a hodgepodge of contextually irrelevant keywords, that coveted rank will become meaningless, as your wordy description will struggle to entice customers to take the next step and download it. For best results, write for the customer first, and make small edits for keywords next — remember that the ranking algorithms take both keywords and conversion metrics into account.

4. Create a compelling description

With the exception of a few of the aforementioned strategically placed keywords, your app’s description should be targeted toward your customer base, rather than a search engine index. Your description should be viewed as a call-to-action for potential customers. Describe what it does in simple and concise language, list the unique benefits it offers, and compel the reader to download it. You’ve already convinced the app store that your app is relevant to a specific list of keywords, and now it’s time to convince your potential customers that it meets their needs.

We recommend focusing the bulk of your energy on the first three lines of your description to immediately grab your reader’s attention. Given the ever-growing number of apps in the marketplace, customers are sure to have a few — if not several — alternatives to consider when evaluating yours. Make their decision easy by immediately communicating what it does and why they should use it.

Your app’s description, as well as the rest of your product page, should be treated as a living document. As it changes with each new update, so should your description. Each time you submit an update, take the time to reflect the changes in your product page’s description and screenshots to call out new features and accurately portray it.

5. Stand out with a unique icon

As your potential customers browse a nearly endless list of apps, your visual icon is the first impression they’ll have of yours. It’s important to make it count!

When approaching your icon design, it’s important to note that the App Store and Google Play vary in their approach to, and rendering of, app icons. Both stores have preset standards for the ideal size, geometry, and color scheme of app icons, designed to match the rest of the OS.

For iOS icons, the most important thing to note is that icons should be sized to at least 1024×1024 pixels, the dimensions required by the App Store. From here, the Apple OS will resize your icon for any other applications, including app icons (180×180), navigation icons (66×66), and tab bar icons (75×75). Your image must therefore be designed with the meticulous detail of a 1024×1024 icon and the simplicity necessary to still look good scaled down to the smallest size.

Additional resources: iOS 9 Design Guidelines and iOS Icon Sizing Reference Chart

When designing an Android icon, the only difference is that Google Play requires a 512×512 icon, rather than 1024×1024. While not required, Google recommends designing app icons in accordance with its material design guidelines, which details everything from icon anatomy to lighting and shading.

Additional resources: Android Material Design Guidelines and Android Icon Sizing Reference Chart

Regardless of which OS you’re designing for, you need an icon capable of breaking through the clutter. Icons should be clear enough that they immediately convey what your app does, even in its scaled-down form within the apps menu. As such, don’t overcomplicate your icon with unnecessary words or logos that demand extra time from your customers.

To get an idea of what works historically, simply browse the top-rated apps in your category or Google/Apple’s top picks. Across the board, you’ll see a trend toward bright colors, unique shapes, and simple imagery. Few icons use words, and some will incorporate a border or drop shadow to make them pop, regardless of their background. And once again, it’s important to do a little competitive research to ensure that your icon is different enough to avoid having your app confused with a competitor’s.

6. Include screenshots and videos

Like icons, screenshots in your description may not have a direct effect on search rankings, but they do drive downloads. Images convey more about what it actually is and bring your descriptive text to life, allowing potential customers to visualize using your app before they make the download.

While you can upload up to five screenshots for an iOS app and up to eight for an Android app, only your first 2–3 screenshots will show in the gallery on page load. Take special care in ensuring that these screenshots speak to your biggest customer benefits and are strong enough to convince the reader to browse your additional screenshots or download it.

While the app stores prefer images that are representative of the customer’s experience in your app, you can technically upload any graphic into the screenshot field — including concept or character art. Commonly, publishers will blend graphic design with their screenshots to incorporate a text overlay describing key elements or new features. For example, Candy Crush Saga adds a graphic overlay to its screenshots to promote its new update.

Whatever your approach, your screenshots should show off your app’s most pivotal features, latest updates, and the pages on which your customers will spend most of their time. Skip the pretty splash pages and show the customer what they can expect during everyday use. For best results, A/B test different screenshot sets to determine which screenshots drive the most downloads.

7. Localize your app listing

When it comes to global marketing, a “one-size-fits-all” approach simply won’t cut it. Today, only 31% of app revenue is generated by North American consumers. And of those consumers outside the English-speaking world, 72% prefer to use their native language when shopping, even if they’re fluent in English. These two statistics speak to the massive opportunity available to app publishers. That is, those app publishers who are able to tap into this market by catering to the unique preferences of its customer segments.

In other words, if your audience goes beyond the English-speaking world, consider adapting your brand communication and language to the wants and needs of each audience segment.

At the most basic level, speak to your customers in the language they use at home. There are myriad solutions for low-cost translation or localization services that can translate your app’s title, keywords, description, and screenshots to the languages of your largest segments.

Both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store allow you to localize your listing to make both discoverability and readability easier for customers in different countries. By doing so, you can increase both adoption and conversion, as more customers find your app using keywords in their language and as more customer download it after seeing a welcoming product page in their language. Together, these two effects can add up to as much as a 767% increase in downloads.

For example, Clash of Clans publisher Supercell translated its app description and screenshots to capture the Chinese market:

8. Increase traffic with outside promotion

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that on-page optimization is just one tool in your mobile marketing kit. And this is where your SEO knowledge really comes in. It is widely believed that both Google and Apple factor in your app’s total page visits and product page backlinks when determining your search and overall ranks.

Simply put, the more traffic you drive to your listing, the higher it will rank in search results. To drive traffic, build an online presence around your app with social media and content, soliciting press and reviews, and investing in online advertising.

For many publishers, app indexing has proven the most effective strategy for driving traffic to an app’s product page. A relatively new concept, app indexing is the process of making Android or iOS app content searchable and linkable from a web or mobile web search. Customers who see you indexed in a search result can click on your link and be deep-linked to either it’s product page (if they don’t have it installed) or to the page in your app from which that content is indexed (if they have it installed). Indexing, therefore, helps with both re-engagement and acquisition by promoting your content in new channels.

App indexing allows you to drive downloads and app store traffic directly from a search engine results page.

App indexing has quickly shaken up the world of search, with 40% of searches now returning app indexed results. The world is going mobile, and those apps ahead of the curve in ASO and app indexing trends will be those that nab market share from traditionally web-dominated search results. (For more ways to move beyond the app store with your marketing strategy, check out our guide The 2016 Guide to App Marketing Channels.)

Additional resources: How to Get Your App Content Indexed by Google

9. Update frequently

Mobile customers are looking for apps that are constantly improving, with regular updates based on customer feedback. Apps that are frequently updated are seen, by both the app store and the customer, to be of a higher value and more customer-centric. Consequently, app updates highly correspond to better reviews as each new and improved version of the app should naturally receive higher ratings than the version before.

Of course, releasing the update is only half the battle. The next step is to encourage existing customers to download the update. To help sell your next update, try these three strategies:

  1. Entice customers within your app (such as a note prompted at login, a push notification, or an update link prominently displayed in the main navigation) notifying them of the new update and what improvements they have to look forward to.
  2. Update the app description and the “What’s New” field in your app store product page to outline new/improved features with a compelling call-to-action.
  3. Maintain a large volume of five-star reviews for your app, and especially its latest version. Our 2015 Consumer Survey revealed that one-third of existing customers check an app’s ratings before downloading an update. Maintain a positive rating for an easy win.

To come up with a general recommendation for update frequency, we scoured the 500 top-ranked apps and found that the average update frequency was between 30 and 40 days. Keep in mind, however, that each time you update an iOS app, your ratings reset — and with that, your rank temporarily plummets. As a result, frequently updated iOS apps experience slightly higher app store rank volatility, while frequently updated Android apps experience reduced volatility.

10. Encourage ratings and feedback

Last but certainly not least, a consistent flow of positive reviews serves as the highest possible validation of your app’s quality and one of the highest determinants of rank. In our analysis of the 500 top-ranked apps posted last year on the Moz blog, we found the highest correlation between ratings (both average rating and rating count) and ranks than any of the other factors we tested. Across the board, apps with a large volume of positive ratings dominate the top charts.

We also found that rating volume almost always trumps rating sentiment when it comes to determining rank. The app stores are looking to recognize apps that have the largest fan community — and the best proxy for determining that is the rating count.

The apps with the highest rating counts are those that keep their customers engaged and proactively solicit customer feedback to shape their product roadmap and future updates. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that app store ratings provide just a myopic view of customer satisfaction. Typically, only your vocal minority — those who either love or hate your app — will take the time to write a review. In reality, most of your customers lie somewhere between these two extremes and require that extra engagement or prompt to give their feedback. With intelligent rating prompts, you can boost your rating — and ultimately, your rank — by prompting only those customers most likely to give you a 5-star review.

Wrapping it up

Backed by an understanding of the data and science behind app store ranking algorithms and these top tips for App Store Optimization, you’re well on your way to a bullet-proof ASO strategy. With careful measurement and a little trial and error, you’ll soon catapult past your competitors in the app store top charts.

Of course, App Store Optimization is an ongoing process, thanks both to the continually evolving ranking algorithms and to the competitive nature of the app stores. A successful ASO strategy requires a keen eye, a penchant for analytics, and regular check-ins. Manage this, and your investment will pay off many times over.

See you on the top charts!

Ref: Moz

Tips For a Successful Facebook Business Page [Infographic]

Millions of businesses have flocked to Facebook to promote their brand, services – just this week, The Social Network announced that it now has over 3 million active advertisers. Facebook company Pages are an easy, cost-effective way to get your name out there – but with so many brands flooding people’s News Feeds, how can you make your Page stand out? Brands need to offer followers more than self-promotional content. People want beautiful, compelling pictures, content variety, and feedback when they have a comment or concern. Brands need to be attuned to what prospective and current customers like and don’t like. And they need the right balance of posts – in fact, if a brand shares too much, too often, they increase their chances of losing followers. To build your follower base and help you better engage with your customers, check out the infographic below. It offers wise tips to build, expand, and manage your company Facebook Page.

Facebook Business Page Tips

Ref: Quill

Tips For Creating The Most Killer Viral Gallery Content

Boom! You created the world’s next big viral content site. You have a great name, solid content, and enough server bandwidth to support the entire population of North America viewing your site concurrently. However, you don’t know how to structure your content pages for maximum user engagement.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and while we don’t know how accurate that statement is, we do know that content featuring impactful images garners at least 30% more shares on social media than those without images. Gallery or slideshow pages are a great way to display image-driven content and provide a significant uplift in page views per user.
Here are 6 tips for optimizing your gallery pages for maximum performance.

1. Is the slideshow format effective for your content?

While galleries give your users a sense of control, they also require continuous interaction with the page. Before you turn your content into a slideshow, ask yourself these questions:
  • When is it effective to use a gallery?
  • Does your content feature instructions with clear steps?
  • Do you have an image for each concept?
  • Do you have more than 4 items but less than 20?
  • Will breaking up the content improve readability?
If you can’t answer those questions with a “yes,” the slideshow format may not be appropriate for your content.

2. Create interesting titles that encourage clicks.

Keep in mind that, for the user, navigating through your gallery content can be a pretty big time commitment. To keep them clicking through, you need to create an irresistible title. By creating an impactful and relevant title, your audience will be drawn to work their way through your content. Here are a few methods to consider:
Benefits are always a plus
  • 10 Decorating Secrets for a Feng Shui Apartment
  • 8 Ways to Find Your Inner Peace in a Chaotic World
Curiosity is also very effective
  • Hollywood’s 10 Most Physically Fit Actors
  • 14 Incredible Uses for Paperclips

Keeping your audience engaged and diving deeper into your site is key to optimizing page views. Interesting titles are way more likely to grab their attention than your standard title.

pageviews

3. Create compelling content!!!

Above all else, your content must be compelling! You can’t just slap a photo on a page and expect to hold your audience’s attention for long. The goal is to get the user to navigate your entire slideshow to optimize for page views. Establish your quality from the beginning – make sure that every slide has solid content, period.

4. Mobile is the future, so don’t neglect the small screen!

eMarketer reports that in 2017, mobile ad spend is projected to blow past display, posting $35.62 billion in ad spending compared to the desktop’s $27.21 billion. OPA also reports that mobile ads in native format drive 4X higher click-through rates than mobile banner ads and are viewed 53% more frequently by consumers.
What I’m getting at is mobile is where it’s at! Make sure that your site is properly optimized for mobile. Larger font sizes and navigation buttons are key to increasing readability and user engagement. If your users can’t access your content on mobile, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.

5. For increased monetization, keep it short. 

In our experience, we’ve found that the sweet spot for proper monetization is between 4 – 10 page views per user. Only 30% of users complete a gallery session longer than 10 slides. Experiment with multiple layouts, and try adding more than one image per slide. Find what works for your audience and roll with it, just don’t over-do it.

6. Don’t forget the sponsored content!

Our team at Revcontent takes pride in our reputation as the performance leader in the native advertising space. We live performance, eat it, sleep it- it’s what drives us every single day. So, trust me when I say that galleries are the perfect place to monetize with sponsored content. There are a few specific locations that work best for sponsored content placement. Take a look:
End of Slideshow:
End of slideshow placements are some of the highest performing placements that you can put your page. Why? Because it provides your audience with a one-stop shop for the next intriguing piece of content for them to feast on. Lower ad impressions but killer click-through rates.
Interstitial:
If you have to create a long gallery because your content is just too great to abbreviate, consider adding sponsored content to break it up. This is a great way to monetize the click since many people click off of the page before completing a gallery session anyway. These placements are particularly effective on mobile.
Below Content or Side Rail:
If your primary goal is monetization, sponsored content below the gallery and side rail placements will be your most effective placements for revenue generation. Ad visibility is at its highest in those placements and almost assures a high level of engagement.
Galleries are a phenomenal way to make your content stand out. Successful implementation and revenue potential rely purely on user experience, compelling content, and proper sponsored content placements. With the right format, you are well on your way toward taking over the digital universe.

Why PageRank or Domain Authority Shouldn’t be First Metric in Link Building

Invariably, we encounter clients who think that PageRank, or Domain Authority, should be treated as the north star of link building.

True, there’s value in measuring and assessing these two metrics before chasing a link, but it certainly shouldn’t be concern numero uno.

There have been plenty of articles, posts, and even rants about why PageRank is a lousy metric to chase. And they do a remarkably great job breaking down the issues and faults with a PR centric view.

Domain Authority, the metric from Moz, is better, but still relies on the same approach – perceived authority through an algorithm. True, it updates faster, reports more detailed information, and I trust it more than the PR toolbar, but still I don’t believe it’s the metric we should be chasing.

The problem with using a PR/DA centric approach is that they overlook:

        • Relevance
        • Community engagement
        • Traffic
        • Up-and-coming sites
        • Potentially beneficial relationships
        • Small niche authority
        • Diversity

What’s more, PR can over-inflate:

        • Domain age
        • Spammy tactics (unless it’s caught)
        • Temporary penalties

And yet monthly we have clients requesting we use a PR/DA first approach. Client education is naturally part of the job, and since we’ve had the conversation so many times I thought I’d share our thoughts on focusing too intensely on PR or DA.

Does that mean we ignore PR/DA completely in our link building efforts? Absolutely not. But it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the first measure of success. In fact, when we’re judging link quality here at Page One Power, the DA/PR only accounts for 15% of the overall value we assign to a link.

So, what is the first metric we judge when building links? Simple: relevance.

Relevance

Relevance

Relevance is far and away the most important metric to measure when beginning a link building campaign.

Why relevance? Four reasons:

        1. To build future-proof, natural links
        2. For the betterment of mankind, and the web
        3. An ex-member of Google’s search quality team referred to relevance as the new PageRank
        4. Relevant links can actually drive traffic, whereas irrelevant links never will

But what is relevance? How can we even begin to determine whether something is ‘relevant’ to our client’s site?

Determining Relevance

Relevance is definitely hard to attach a specific value to, on a scale from 1-10. How relevant is something? How do you qualify completely relevant, mostly relevant, somewhat relevant, and irrelevant?

Relevance can be somewhat subjective, but it’s a safe bet that Google has managed to algorithmically defined it. To help make sure we’re staying as relevant as possible we look at several factors:

        1. Domain Relevance
        2. Page Relevance
        3. Link Relevance

Domain Relevance:
This is simply the relevance of the target domain in relation to your (or your client’s) domain. Typically we rate this on a scale from 1-3:

3 points – Completely relevant (same industry)

2 points – Closely relevant (one degree of separation)

1 point – Loosely relevant (there’s a connection, but it’s not immediate)

We never even consider going after a site we consider to be irrelevant.

Page Relevance:
To measure page relevance, we look at a variety of on-page metrics. What’s the title of the page? What’s the URL? What about the content on the page?

Again, we give a sliding 1-3 rating based upon the same concept, and we’ll never attempt to secure a link on a page that we decide is irrelevant.

Link Relevance:
Link relevance is how the link points to our website from the target website.

For example, does the link make logical sense? Is the link relevant to the content it’s surrounded by? Is the anchor text relevant to both the target page and ours? Is the placement on the target page relevant?

We don’t rate link relevance – we always make sure we’re linking in a relevant, helpful manner, or we do not pursue the link.

So, now that relevance has been defined, let’s take a look at our four reasons for pursuing relevance.

1) To build future-proof, natural links

As link builders and online marketers, we want anything we do to have lasting value. There’s real responsibility in working with clients and building links, and that responsibility requires the understanding that we’re representing another company’s business, brand, and often livelihood. This isn’t something to be taken lightly.

Therefore we should all strive to create future-proof, natural links. Links that are wholly relevant, make contextual sense, and that users actually choose to click on.

We work hard to only create relevant links on sites that make sense, linking in an intelligent manner. This helps minimize our Google footprint, ensures we’re working effectively for our client, and that everything we do provides lasting value.

And lasting value is one of the bestselling points of SEO. Creating a cumulative positive effect not just for today, tomorrow, the next month, but for years is something we as SEOs should take pride in. Very few avenues of marketing can claim such a lasting impact.

Creating relevant links is very much a part of that lasting value, guaranteed to continue to move the needle.

2) For the betterment of mankind, and the web

Google has stated over and over and over again that they want to reward those who create great user experiences. Unfortunately, SEO and link building has been tarnished with a reputation of manipulation, muddying the search results, and overall poor user experiences.

And it’s no wonder – our history is full of spammy tactics such as cloaking, article marketing, blog comment spam, and spun articles.

I can honestly say I’ve seen some links that even I was offended by. I once saw a blog comment with a link to a third party vender of military boots that was clearly spam. What made it so horribly offensive is that it was perched in the middle of an obituary, between loving comments left by friends and family of the deceased. Despicable.

Today we’re in the best spot we’ve ever been as an industry. We’re more focused than ever on creating great content, natural links, and helpful user experiences.

By continuing to focus on relevancy first, we can ensure that we continue to create experiences that users actually appreciate.

3) An ex-member of Google’s search quality team referred to relevance as the new PageRank

Although we used relevance as our guiding principle since the founding of Page One Power, it’s always nice to have confirmation.

Relevance simply makes sense when pursuing link building. That a link from a high PR site was always valuable (as it once was) never made much sense – Google was bound to learn and grow beyond such systems.

One thing we can be certain of in this uncertain industry: the continual sophistication and improvement of Google’s algorithms. Google can now ferret out relevance – or lack thereof – for even broad topic websites such as newspapers, entertainment, or even humor.

So although relevance always made common sense, and landing a relevant link from a large site like the NY Times will always be a huge win, you absolutely shouldn’t be pursuing a link simply for the DA/PR of the site.

4) Relevant links can actually drive traffic, whereas irrelevant links never will

As link builders much of what we do centers around driving meaningful traffic to our clients site. Albeit most of this traffic is a result of ranking improvements as opposed to direct traffic, the opportunity for direct traffic is certainly not something we ignore.

The best way of determining a relevant link is asking the question: “If Google didn’t exist, would I want this link?”

If the answer is yes, then odds are you’ve just created a relevant, natural link that has the potential to drive traffic.

Creating good, relevant, natural links is the only way to drive traffic directly through a link. No user is ever going to follow an irrelevant resource link from a website selling dog beds to a website selling computer supplies.

Direct traffic is an outstanding indicator of the strength of a link. If the link is driving traffic, it means:

        • The website has significant enough traffic to send some your way
        • The link is a natural fit for users, relevant to their needs, and they’re engaged enough to click
        • The website will likely continue to improve, thus further increasing the SEO benefit of the link

There’s never a guarantee that a link will drive traffic on its own, but it’s always a great win when it does.

Recap

Relevance should be the first metric used in link building. PageRank and Domain Authority should still be considered, but only as secondary – or even tertiary – factors.

If you solely chase PR or DA, you’ll be missing out on important opportunities. The PageRank toolbar, and even Domain Authority—which is faster to update and generally more reliable—absolutely shouldn’t be the first metric in link building.

To determine relevance, look to the relevance of the domain, the target page, and the link. Pretend you’re operating in a world without Google, and you’ll be creating great links that make sense.

Why bother?

        1. To build future-proof, natural links
        2. For the betterment of mankind, and the web
        3. An ex-member of Google’s search quality team referred to relevance as the new PageRank
        4. Relevant links can actually drive traffic, whereas irrelevant links never will

Relevance should always be the first and foremost concern, and guides our link building principles at Page One Power, helping us build future-proof links that provide lasting value to our clients.

Ref: PageOnePower

Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing with SEO for More Qualified Search Traffic

Content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly. You can eat them on their own, and they are delicious…

But what happens when you combine them? They complement each other, right? That’s why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are so common…the flavors just go so well together.

The sandwich is so popular that you are likely to eat 2,500 of them by the time you are 18.

If you are trying to grow your qualified search traffic, you have to combine your content marketing with your SEO efforts. Running them as separate campaigns isn’t going to provide you with as big of a traffic increase as combining them into one campaign will.

And for you, large companies, this means you may have to restructure your organization so that content marketing and SEO are in one department.

Download this cheat sheet to learn 7 smart ways to combine content marketing with SEO for more qualified search traffic.

Here are 7 smart ways to combine your content marketing with your SEO efforts:

Tactic #1: Create content that even Wikipedia would love to link to

One of the best sources of relevant traffic is Wikipedia. It ranks for almost every search term on Google, and it’s one of the most popular sites on the web.

I didn’t realize the power of Wikipedia until I listened in on a marketing presentation byComedy Central. They were discussing how they grew their traffic, mentioning that Wikipedia is a key part of their traffic acquisition.

How much traffic are they generating from Wikipedia? Over 100,000 visitors a month! That’s insane!

What’s even more interesting is that they noticed that the pages with links from Wikipedia tend to generate more backlinks from other sites as well.

So, how can you get more links from Wikipedia? Well, the easiest way to do it is through Wikipedia broken-link building.

Wikipedia actually notes when links are dead as this gives editors a chance to find a replacement.

This is what you have to do to find these links in Google:

site:wikipedia.org insert keyword “dead link”

wikipedia dead link search

Next, click on a search result and find the phrase “dead link” on the page.

wikipedia dead link

You can then take that URL, put it into Archive.org and create a similar page on your site, assuming it is related to your business and your visitors would find value in the content.

Once you have created a similar page, you can go back to the Wikipedia entry and click the “edit” button on the top right.

edit wikipedia dead link

When editing, make sure you create a user account and edit other articles first. Wikipedia doesn’t want its users to just add links to their own sites. It wants its users to edit other entries as well and continue to provide value to the community.

If you want to get really advanced, take the URL of the broken link and place that URL intoAhrefs to get a full list of sites that are linking to the dead page. You can then hit each of them up, asking them to replace the dead link with the link to your site.

broken dead link building

If you want to get the most out of this strategy, focus on creating pages that are highly relevant from a keyword and visitor perspective. It’s easy to get greedy with broken-link building, but the last thing you want to do is put up a hundred irrelevant pages just to get extra links.

Tactic #2: Write content based on keyword data

You shouldn’t be blogging for the sake of it. You should be blogging based on what your visitors want to read as well as what keywords you want to target.

It doesn’t matter that most of your search data is “not provided”. You can actually figure out what keywords are driving you traffic by using data from these 3 Google Analytics reports.

3 google analytics report

Once you have a list of keywords you are targeting, you can write content around them, assuming the topics also benefit your visitors.

I’ve used this strategy myself on Quick Sprout. Analytics showed that Instagram-related keywords produced sticky users, so I decided to write a blog post that discussed Instagram marketing.

Within 30 days of releasing the blog post, I started to rank for Instagram-related keywords, and my overall traffic went up by 120,000 visitors a month.

instagram traffic

The key to obtaining large volumes of traffic successfully with this model is to cross-reference the keywords you are writing content on with Google Trends. For example, I will only write on topics that are trending up and to the right. If you write on topics that are dying down, you will see that those pages will continually get less and less traffic.

instagram traffic trend

You won’t get these kind of results all the time, but if you use this tactic enough, you will see big wins.

Just make sure you don’t keyword-stuff when using this tactic as it will hurt your rankings.

Tactic #3: Create quality content before you aim for large quantities

When Google was in its infancy, you could throw up any kind of content and get thousands of visitors to your site. Eventually, they got smart, and their algorithm was able to figure out how to rank high quality content and not show low quality content.

For this reason, you should focus on writing high quality content that is in-depth. Why? Because an average content length for a web page that ranks on page 1 of Google is at least 2,000 words.

word count

Moz also did an analysis to see if word count has a correlation with backlinks as the more backlinks a page has, the higher it typically ranks.

Here is a breakdown of the number of blog posts they have written based on word count:

word count moz

And here is a breakdown of how many links those posts received:

link count moz

As you can see, there is a direct correlation between word count and the number of backlinks. For this reason, you should consider writing more in-depth articles as it will help increase your search engine rankings.

Plus, through Google’s In-depth Articles, you can increase your traffic by writing content that is more thorough. We were able to increase our search engine traffic by 13.15% by leveraging the in-depth articles update.

What we found is the increase came to pages that had an average word count of 2,183 words. Blog posts that were under 1,000 words didn’t see an increase in search traffic.

Once you are able to write detailed articles that are high in quality, you can then shift your focus to increasing the quantity. Till then, you should focus on writing more detailed content.

Tactic #4: Don’t forget about FAQs

By using Qualaroo or Survey Monkey you can figure out why your visitors aren’t converting into customers. All you have to do is ask them questions like:

  • What else would you like to see on this page?
  • Is there is a reason why you didn’t convert into a paying customer?
  • What concerns do you have about the product or service?

By asking these and other questions, you can find all of the objections that are causing people to not convert. You can even ask your support team or dig through your support emails to figure out other objections your visitors have.

Once you have a list of concerns or questions your visitors have, consider creating an FAQ section that answers them. Doing this will help you start ranking for long-tail terms related to your product.

This won’t drive you a ton of traffic, but the traffic you do get will be highly relevant search traffic that converts. We use this exact strategy with our Crazy Egg support section, and we are able to drive an extra 4,108 visitors a month to our site. Roughly 82 of those visitors tend to convert into paying customers.

Tactic #5: Target industry blogs for guest-posting opportunities

The more links you have, the higher your rankings will be. By having your content marketing team target industry-related blogs, you will build relevant links that drive relevant traffic.

I’ve guest-posted 61 times on 49 different marketing blogs. In those guest posts, I’ve linked back to internal pages of Quick Sprout when relevant, and I never used rich anchor text. By doing this, I not only increased my referral traffic, but I also saw an uptick in search traffic.

Within 3 months of doing this, I saw an increase in search traffic by 22.7% for the articles I linked to.

If you want to increase your relevant traffic, you should consider the following:

  • Guest-post on relevant sites only.
  • Don’t try to manipulate search engines by linking to your site. Only link to your site when it benefits the readers.
  • Avoid using rich anchor text.

In addition to following those rules, you should first watch this video as it will teach you how to guest-post while staying within Google’s guidelines. Once you watch that video, you shouldwatch this video on pitching bloggers as it will help you get guest posts.

Tactic #6: Focus on indirect conversions

If you only focus your SEO efforts on driving traffic from keywords that convert, you’ll find yourself capping out on how much traffic you can get. By focusing on helping your ideal customers with their problems through your blog, you’ll get traffic from random search terms that are related to your industry, but don’t convert right away.

For example, at KISSmetrics, our ideal customer is an Internet marketer who has a business that does 10 million dollars or more in yearly revenue. Although we are only selling an analytics product, our customers are also spending their time and money on other marketing initiatives like SEO and social media marketing. So, on the KISSmetrics blog, we educate our visitors on topics like “how to steal your competitor’s social media followers”.

By doing this, we get additional 349,335 visitors from Google to our blog each month.

kissmetrics blog traffic

A lot of those visitors are marketers, and they typically don’t convert right away. Usually, after the 3rd visit, these blog readers decide to try out our KISSmetrics product because they like our content. This has allowed our blog to drive anywhere from 49% to 72% of our leads in any given month.

We aren’t the only ones experiencing this either. Moz also receives a large portion of its traffic from its blog content, which causes indirect conversions to its product.

Tactic #7: Don’t forget to cross-link

Adding content to your site isn’t enough. You have to cross-link your content. When I did consulting for blogs like TechCrunch, Mashable, and Gawker Media, I was able to increase their search traffic because I fixed their on-page issues.

The biggest one tended to be that pages weren’t cross-linked. When you have thousands of pages, and you eventually will, it’s impossible to create a site architecture that ensures all of your pages are indexed. This is why you have to cross-link your pages.

That’s exactly what we did for Mashable: we cross-linked its internal pages. Still to this date, Mashable uses that tactic, and it is the main reason why it ranks on page 1 of Google for terms like “Twitter”.

twitter rank

You too can get similar results as long as you cross-link your pages. Just be careful because if you make the links excessively rich in anchor text, it will hurt you. If Mashable internally linked to that Twitter page by only using the anchor text “Twitter” instead of using different texts for the link such as “click here”, it wouldn’t rank as high as it does now.

Conclusion

Although a good content marketer has a different skill set than a good SEO does, it doesn’t mean they should be working separately. By combining your content marketing efforts with your SEO efforts, you’ll find that you are able to increase your qualified search traffic at a faster pace.

Out of all the techniques mentioned above, my favorite one to leverage is the FAQ section. It’s not hard to do, and it can be used by all businesses. You don’t have to be a programmer either. You can easily create one through this WordPress FAQ plugin.

Ref: QuickSprout

What Is a “Good Link Profile” and How Do You Get One?

You know that good link-backs are an important part of SEO. You know how important it is to work at building strong backlinks. You understand the impact of over-optimized anchor text. You realize the toxic effect of links from spam sites and directory listings. But how important is it, really? And, more to the point, how can you get a link profile that Google loves?

I want to explain the components of a “good link profile” and provide suggestions for how you can improve your link profile.

The importance of a link profile for SEO

In order to stress this point, I want to show you just how important your link profile is.

2013 was a big year in SEO with the rollout of Penguin 2.0, the introduction of Hummingbird, and the announcement, right after the New Year, that social signals are not factored into the search algorithm.

Where do all these changes leave us when it comes to the importance of a link profile?

It’s still really important.

Based on testing, consultation with other industry experts, and careful analysis of existing data, I’ve come up with a visual representation of how important, I think, a website’s link profile is:

link factor

(If you want more detailed information on possible ranking factors, please see the Moz’s list of ranking factors.)

We don’t know for sure, but based on careful study, testing, and experience, I think it’s safe to say that a link profile accounts for the vast majority of a site’s ranking according to Google’s algorithm.

The penalties that Google gives to sites are largely based on the sites’ link profiles. The issues that most directly impact a site’s positive ranking are integrally connected to the link profile of that site.

A link profile is incredibly important, which means we need to be asking the following questions:

What is a good link profile?

and

How do I get one?

What Is a Good Link Profile?

So, let’s answer the first question.

First, let me point out what a good link profile is not. It’s not just backlinks.

Any SEO will tell you that backlinks are the most important element of SEO. Real ranking goes nowhere unless there are backlinks.

However, you can’t simply pore over the backlinks and neglect the larger picture of what’s going on with your link profile. A link profile is more than just backlinks.

Stated another way, backlinks are just one component of the link profile. There is a deeper complexity to the backlink discussion.

So, let’s go through several other things that affect a link profile. What follows is a discussion of the features that characterize a healthy link profile. This is not an exhaustive list.

Big Idea: a good link profile has lots of high authority links and no spammy links.

In other words, there are two overarching qualities to a good link profile:

  1. Lots of high value, high DA, and high authority linkbacks.
  2. No spammy backlinks.

You already knew that. I want to go further and explain some of the less obvious features of a good link profile.

Branded anchor text

When you break down the importance level of the different elements that affect a website’s ranking, it looks like this:

  • Most important factor in a website ranking: Link profile.
  • Most important aspect of a link profile: Quality of backlinks.
  • Most important quality aspect of backlinks: Anchor text.
  • Most important quality of anchor text: Diversity.

Google wants to see in a link profile anchors that display diversity in the form of branded anchor texts.

A branded anchor text is one in which the anchor includes the brand name of the company.

For example, if your company is Better World Electronics, then a branded anchor would be “Better World Electronics,” and it would point to your URL.

Branded anchors may also be diluted or combined with keywords.

  • Diluted: “This company, known as Branded World Electronics, or BWE, is a leading provider of wearable electronic devices.”
  • Combined with keywords: “One device, Better World Electronic’s wearable heart rate monitor, is surprisingly affordable.”

A good link profile can contain a large percentage of such anchors. In some cases, this percentage might be as high as 20% of total anchor texts without any damage being done to the site’s link profile.

Semantically relevant anchor text

Another type of diverse anchor text is “semantically relevant.”

You’re probably familiar with Google’s semantically related keywords. Google may return your website in queries even if those queries do not include your target keyword as long as the content on your website is similar to the keywords that are used in the query.

When you have in your link profile anchors that use such semantically similar keywords, this helps to enrich and diversify the profile.

A semantically relevant anchor may look like this:

  • Your target keyword: “wearable heart rate monitor”
  • Semantically relevant anchor: “smart fitness tracking device”

Your website may have a blog article on the subject of “Wearable Heart Rate Monitors Used for Olympic Marathon Training.” A health website then links to this page, using the anchor “smart fitness tracking device.” This type of semantically relevant anchor text can help enhance a link profile.

Diluted anchor text

I mentioned the word “diluted” above, referring to a branded anchor combined with other words or phrases. This is an important feature of healthy link building.

In the post-Penguin era of link building, optimized anchor texts are bad. Diluted anchor texts are good.

A diluted anchor text is one in which the anchor text has lots of words, some related and some not.

For example, let’s use our fictional example of Better World Electronics, who wants to rank for keywords that have to do with fitness tracking devices, wearable electronics, wearable heart rate monitors, etc.

A nice diluted anchor text linking to its site would look like this: “Want to wear a heart rate monitor while you sleep? Some companies are making this possible.” (Underlined portion is the anchor text.)

That’s a whole sentence worth of anchor text. It doesn’t contain any keywords. And it doesn’t even contain the brand name. But that’s okay. Its dilution makes it a valuable link to have in the link profile as long as all other factors are positive.

The more diverse, random, and diluted an inbound link profile is, the better.

Relevancy of linking site

This component is also known as local/topic-specific popularity. As an algorithmic feature, it was initially developed by Teoma, which is now rebranded and integrated into Ask.com. It is now a standard part of virtually every search engine’s algorithm.

Your site’s backlinks should ideally come from sites with a similar topic. They need to be relevant.

For example, let’s say you have a site that has to do with online real estate accounting. You receive a backlink from a landscape management company. This link from the landscaping company will not do much to enhance your link profile. If, however, you received a backlink from Realty.com, this would be far more beneficial to your link profile.

Realty has to do with real estate, just like your site does. Landscaping — not so much. You want links from sites in your niche.

Relevancy of surrounding context

Relevancy goes a bit deeper though. A healthy link profile has links with a relevant content, surrounding the anchor.

Let’s go back to the online real estate accounting company and its link from Realty.com. I will contrast two examples of a link:

Example 1: The Realty.com link comes from a page that features an article titled “Best Ways to Stage a Manor House for Real Estate Photography.” The link to your real estate accounting site comes from a paragraph about placing furniture in front of wall vents. This is an irrelevant discussion to your core business and likely to the content on your site. The link, while it will probably help your site, is not the most ideal.

Example 2: The Realty.com link comes from a blog article “Top Ten Online Real Estate Accounting Software Services.” The link to your business is in a paragraph that is about yourbusiness specifically. The anchor is a branded anchor that goes to one of your blog articles. Gold. This is a perfect link.

When a sending link has a surrounding discussion that is closely related to your niche, this increases the value of that link to your profile.

Vicariously compromised linking site

Let me explain what I mean by “vicariously compromised linking site.” It sounds kind of jargony at first.

This happens when you get a link from a site that is, on its own account, not a spam site. This very site, however, links to a spam site and has spam links pointing to it. It is vicariously compromised.

In the algorithm’s eyes, the link you get from that site is in a “bad neighborhood.” This guilt by association lowers the value of the link. It also has toxic links pointing to it. The distributed value of these toxic links is then transferred to your site.

Freshness of links

As time goes on, the power of a link tends to decline. If you have a link from a DA 90 site that is seven years old, it may not be delivering the same amount of value as a DA 80 site that just linked yesterday.

Here is an example. The site beavercreekresortproperties.com has a link from The Denver Post:

denver post

The Denver Post has high domain authority of 89. But the link comes from an article that is several years old:

denver post

While not devaluing the site, this link is no longer providing the same level of value that it did when it first occurred.

This phenomenon is dubbed as Google’s Freshness Factor. We know that a page’s content can get “stale” over time and fall in rank.

Links, like content, also get stale and provide lesser value over time. Here’s how Moz illustrates the influence of value of links from fresh sites:

fresh pages

There is a legion of other factors that influence Google’s Freshness Factor. I recommend Cyrus Shephard’s excellent treatment of the subject.

The fresher the link, the more value it adds.

Co-citation and co-occurrence

Strictly speaking, co-citation is not a link. It does, however, register tangentially in the taxonomy of link profiles. Co-citation, often used interchangeably with the term co-occurrence, is the meremention of site A by site B, even without an actual anchor/link between the two. Value is passed from one to the other as a result of the mention.

For example, let’s say your company Awesome Real Estate Accounting Software is discussed in the New York Times. There is no link, but there’s your company name — Awesome Real Estate Accounting Software. This is a good thing even if there is no link.

It goes a step further though. Sites pass additional co-citation authority when they contain contextual keywords and contextual links to high authority sites. Let’s say that you receive a link from a site, and that site, in turn, is mentioned in co-occurrence by a high-value site. This one-step-removed co-citation may actually improve the value of the link to your site.

Authority of the linking site

This is an obvious one. I’m going to add a brief discussion on nofollow though.

When your site receives a link from a high authority site, your site gets major value.

In order to be truly effectual, the link should be a followed link rather than a link with the tag “nofollow.” A nofollow link still has some value, but it’s not the value that contributes to the link profile.

When Google comes across a link to your site with the nofollow tag, here’s what it does:

In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.

You can find out if a link is “nofollow” by going to a page source code and looking at the link’s href tag.

Wikipedia, as a rule, nofollows all links. Here’s its page on Google, with the link to a page in Google.com:

nofollow

Thus, the Wikipedia link doesn’t pass any rank or value to Google. (Not that it really needed it anyway.)

The depth of the linked page

The deeper the link goes into a website’s structure, the more valuable it is in a link profile.

It’s a fact of linking: most links your site receives point to your homepage — the first level in the structure of your website.

However, an over-saturation of links to a homepage will not be as valuable as when those links are balanced by a number of other links going to deep internal pages on the website.

Your deep internal pages need to be strengthened with backlinks. When they receive such backlinks, they enhance the authority of the site as a whole.

This is one of the reasons why you need to have strong content marketing. Content lives on pages that are deep within a site’s structure, providing linkable value for those internal pages.

The diversity of the linked pages

A good link profile will display lots of linked pages. It won’t just have links to one or two pages but will display links to the Homepage, the Blog page, the About Us page, the Contact Page, and other subpages.

The broader the distribution and diversity of linked pages, the stronger the link profile.

No paid links

Paid links are spam, plain and simple.

To see a humorous display of Google’s Knowledge Graph search result on paid links, try Googling “what are paid links.”

Here’s what you might see:

paid links

It’s not really gray. It’s black, especially when those paid links are obvious.

Cutts knows:

The vast majority of the time things are incredibly clear: people are paying money outright for links based on PageRank, flowing the PageRank, trying to get high the rankings. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s abundantly clear that these are links that are being bought and paid and sold and all that sort of stuff.

There are, admittedly, gray areas. Obviously, the algorithm doesn’t know if you buy the link-giver lunch in exchange for the link.

Generally speaking, however, when the algorithm can determine the presence of paid links in your inbound link profile, it will come wielding a penalty hammer.

Number of links to a page

The more links a page receives, the better. A healthy link profile, after all, has lots of link-backs.

But what about getting lots of links from the same site? Do more links from the same site add value?

No.

Google reads one link from a site in much the same way as it reads tons of links from that site. So, if you get a link from hbr.org, that’s awesome.

If you get twenty links from www.hbr.org, does that mean you get twenty times the awesomeness?

Not quite. What you want is lots of links, yes. But you want lots of links from different sites.

Lots of links from the same site won’t hurt your link profile. It just won’t help you.

No article directory links

Great link profiles don’t have spammy directory listings. It is fairly common knowledge in the SEO industry that article directory links are dangerous territory.

Cutts himself recently made the statement again, saying that you shouldn’t use article directories to build links. He even went so far as to discuss it in a video.

Back in the good ol’ days of SEO, it was relatively easy to spawn off a few dozen articles on an article directory site and get a nice SEO kickback. Today, not so much.

I recommend that companies whose link profile is bloated with such links go into the article directory itself and remove the links.

Conclusion

So, how do you get a good link profile? Now that you understand the features of a great inbound link profile, you should have a better idea of what strategy to employ to acquire links.

Here’s my simple advice. Do a darn good job at content marketing.

If you have a strong content marketing strategy rather than an explicit link acquisition strategy, then the links will come. They will be stronger, healthier, and more reputable than you could possibly guarantee by engaging in some not-so-sure-if-it’s-gonna-work link building strategy.

Content marketing is SEO, and it’s a very powerful and transformative way of doing it.

A systematic process of getting a good link profile deserves a series of its own. But the answer that you may be expecting isn’t as much a how-to guide to gaining those links as it is a how-to guide to creating and unleashing a killer content marketing program.

Ref: QuickSprout

Domain Authority – Steps To Improve Website Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a website metric developed by Moz. It is one of the most important numbers known to SEOs. The greater your Domain Authority, the more likely you are to have strong traffic and high rank.

Is domain authority something that you can change, or is it unalterable and immovable? I am convinced there are practical things you can do to improve this important number.

But before we go over how you can improve your Domain Authority, there are a few things you need to know:

Domain Authority (DA)

First off, let me share a few key facts about DA. This information will help you better understand exactly how you can move your DA upward:

  1. Domain authority is based on a lot of factors. Primarily, however, these are link profile factors such as how many backward links are pointing to your website and how authoritative those sites are.
  2. It is very difficult to gain a DA number of 100. Sites like Facebook and Google have it, so don’t be disappointed if you never hit 100.
  3. DA is difficult to influence directly. You can’t change your DA score like you can change your meta tags.

improve-domain-authority

How to improve your Domain Authority

Improving your link profile is a crucial issue that is addressed here already.

At the most basic level, to have a good link profile, you have to do two things:

  1. Get rid of bad links.
  2. Gain good links.

Let’s deal with the first one — getting rid of bad links. This is pretty straightforward. You request the removal of these links, and if that fails, you disallow them. Done.

Now, what about the second one — gaining good links? Realistically, you have two options. Option 1 is that you engage the services of an SEO agency that has relationships with websites and writers who can secure high-quality legitimate backlinks. This is a good option, but it is expensive and has risks.

Option 2 is to create a site with high value information that elicits links by virtue of its awesomeness. That, my friends, is content marketing.

What I’ve found is that content marketing is the solution to gaining DA. Although I’m still going to give you a list of things you can do to bump up your DA, I want to emphasize the most important factor: you improve your DA by doing content marketing well.

So, let’s take a closer look at the 5 things you can do to improve your DA:

Step #1: Ensure that your technical SEO is in place

Attending to all the technical aspects of SEO is absolutely important as a foundation. It may be good to optimize your robots.txt or map out a URL structure, but without these important features, you won’t have effective SEO. First things first. Technical SEO comprises the core of a DA-improvement effort.

As Moz explains, to improve your DA, you need to improve your overall SEO, and that includes all the details that SEOs know and love — site structure, navigability, breadcrumbs, URL structure, meta tags, header tags, word count, keywords, alt tags, etc. SEO and content marketing require one another. They actually go together.

Make sure that your SEO is up to par before you go further in the pursuit of higher DA.

Step #2: Create lots of linkable content

Now, we get into something that has a more direct impact upon DA — your content.

In order to have content marketing, you have to have lots and lots of linkable content. What I do is create articles or infographics nearly every day. That’s a lot of output, considering my articles are over 1,000 words, my infographics are big, and my guides exceed 10,000 words.

This is a heck of a lot of content, but I’ve seen it pay off in big ways. Content drives my business.It forms the core of what I do. I would not have the level of success that I now enjoy were it not for the hard work of producing lots and lots of content.

It’s not mere content alone that drives links, of course. It’s top-notch content with power, authority and value. There is no industry so boring that it couldn’t produce engaging content. My resource on content marketing will explain how you can do this.

Step #3: Develop strong internal linking

Often overlooked in the craze over “high quality backlinks” is building of high quality internalbacklinks. I can’t overemphasize the importance of internal linking. (See what I did there? That’s an internal link.)

Internal linking weaves a powerful network within your site that benefits both the user and the search engines that crawl and index your site. A site that lacks internal linking is like a collection of pebbles — disconnected and weak. But a site that has strong internal linking turns those pebbles into concrete — interconnected and unbreakable.

The great thing about having more content is that you’ll have more content to link to. And the more you link internally, the greater your ability to create a dense and powerful site network will be.

Step #4:  Regularly remove toxic backlinks

SEO isn’t all glory and grandeur. There’s the nitty gritty of wading through spreadsheets and performing mind-numbing repetitive work.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. You’ve got to remove your toxic backlinks. Every now and then, you should dig into your link profile, find the spammy links, and get rid of them.

You’ll gain a huge competitive advantage by regularly cleaning your link profile. In my experience, this isn’t something that most webmasters are doing with any regularity. Sure, I see webmasters engage in clean-up with a vengeance, but it’s only after they’ve experienced the slump of an algorithm penalty or the heart-stopping experience of a manual penalty.

Don’t wait till a penalty strikes you to clean up your link profile. Do it now and then continue to do it on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Explaining how to remove toxic backlinks is outside the scope of this article, so let me point you to some resources. This Quick Sprout Traffic University video helps you understand whether you’re at risk for a penalty, and this article on penalty recovery will show you exactly what you need to do to clean up your link profile (even if you haven’t been penalized).

This is the only way you’re going to have a tidy link profile — cleaning it up regularly. You can build the most awesome link-backs the world has ever seen, but if your profile is full of spammy backlinks, you’re not going to experience the success you want from content marketing. Your DA will remain low.

Step #5: Be patient

If you are doing exactly what I’ve explained in the above steps, your DA will rise. One of the factors that doesn’t get a lot of notice in discussions of higher DA is the domain age factor.

Generally speaking, the older the domain, the higher its authority. I examined the link profile of a website and discovered some historic domains. These historic domains had high DA levels.

domain age

To find out the age of a domain, you can use the free Domain Age Tool provided by Webconfs.com.

Domain age doesn’t automatically translate into domain authority, however. If the domain falls into disrepair, maintains outdated SEO techniques, lacks fresh content, or builds up a cruddy link profile, it will lose its DA.

As you pursue content marketing, you will gradually see your DA rise. My point is that it takes time. Be patient. SEO wins don’t happen in a day. They happen over the long haul.

Conclusion

You’ll find plenty of content elsewhere on the web that explains how you should improve your DA. Some of it is pretty good.

But most of it misses the whole point. You can’t simply “improve your DA” by jiggering this and tweaking that. Instead, you must look at the bigger picture of today’s SEO — it’s content marketing. And you can only win in the other areas — domain authority, traffic, organic search results, and ranking — by focusing on your content.

Better content means better everything else. You can improve your domain authority. It’s all about your content.

What factors have you seen that affect your domain authority? 

Ref: QuickSprout