The power of podcasting: How to boost your reputation and search engine rankings

If you’re in the digital marketing industry, you know podcasts are HOT. Whether you’ve started your own or are a regular podcast listener, podcasting is a medium all digital marketers should pay attention to.
According to Edison Research, 58 percent of listeners spend one to five hours each week listening to podcasts.

Surprised at the high number? You shouldn’t be. We live in a very busy and hectic world. People are using every minute they can to multitask and learn so they stay competitive.
Listening to podcasts allows people to learn and catch up on things they’re interested in while sitting on the couch, working out, driving or on the go.
Here are some other podcast statistics from Edison Research that deserve your attention.
• An estimated 42 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly.

• The average person listens to five podcasts a week:

• 85 percent of listeners listen to all (or most of) a podcast:

• Both men and women are listening to

Search Engine Land Source

Stop! Think twice before using nofollow attributes on your website

Recently, a number of major websites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. and Huffington Post started using nofollow attributes on their outbound links.
This trend puzzles me. If you can’t trust the people adding links to their articles, they shouldn’t be writing for you in the first place.
Even more disturbing is the fact that search engine optimization specialists (SEOs) seem to misunderstand how to use nofollow attributes and tend to overuse them.
Here’s how they work:

There’s a big difference between using nofollow for an entire page through the head section or the HTTP Header and using the nofollow attribute on specific links.
I can’t think of a single case where I would want to use nofollow at a page level and kill the flow of all signals to other pages, even mine. And yet, I understand nofollow is being used at page level on many websites.
You may consider using nofollow attributes on some user-generated content or paid links to avoid an outbound penalty, but nofollowing an

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How to generate links that drive traffic, not just ranking

Many people see link building as a way to drive rankings. But, when done correctly, it can (and should) also drive traffic.
Driving traffic has a lot of benefits beyond the obvious potential increase in leads and sales. More website traffic can provide valuable analytics data about what users are looking for and what confuses them. It can also help grow engagement and potentially referral links on social media as others begin to share our content.
In this column, I’ll explain how to identify sources of links that drive actual traffic and how to evaluate your progress so that you can focus your efforts where they will have the greatest impact.
Identifying link partners
In order to find good sources for traffic-driving links, there are a few ways you can go: competitor research, rankings and influencers.
First, find the publications driving traffic to your competitors by using tools like SimilarWeb to find their top referral sources. Not only do these tools tell

Search Engine Land Source

Links: To speed or not to speed

When we first started as an agency, our link builders were evenly split into two camps: One would send out a flurry of emails to all sorts of sites and deal with them if they responded. The other would spend a significant amount of time doing due diligence prior to outreach so that anyone who did respond had already been vetted.
I always thought it was a good idea to let each new link builder find his own way, so I didn’t usually express a strong opinion about this divide. I could see the points of view of both sides, too. Why bother doing a lot of work up front if the webmaster wasn’t even going to respond? Why disappoint webmasters who did respond when you couldn’t work with them?
On the whole, I have grown to favor the prior due diligence approach as opposed to casting a wide net. I’m firmly of the opinion that some link-building tasks

Search Engine Land Source

Why real human users are the key to the best links for you

Let me begin by stating that I do not put an enormous emphasis on SEO when I’m training a link builder. Generally speaking, my team of link builders knows the basics of SEO, but they’ve been taught that they can’t rely on metrics alone in order to judge whether a link is going to be good or bad for our clients. My background is in general and technical SEO, but I realized early on that for the work we usually do at my agency, most of what I knew didn’t really apply — at least, not in a very significant way.
Of course, if you’re doing high-level analysis of any sort, you do need to have a great deal of SEO knowledge. The reason I don’t train anyone to do this (on an advanced level) is that I don’t want them to ever lose their ability to think like humans. Though they must run all link-building activities by

Search Engine Land Source

The four pillars of an effective SEO strategy

SEO can be complicated — in many cases, overcomplicated. How many ranking factors are involved in generating strong organic search results? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Two hundred?
A quick search for “SEO ranking factors” will give you all of these answers and myriad others. There is a lot of information out there. And the reality is, while there are likely hundreds of variables working together to determine final placement, much of what is suggested is guesswork. And certainly, not all ranking factors are relevant to every business.
Point being, it is easy to get lost down an algorithmic rabbit hole. It’s information overload out there, and you can spend all your time on a research hamster wheel and achieve very little.
In this article, I want to simplify things and outline the four main areas you should be focusing on with your SEO. Really, when it comes down to it, SEO is actually pretty simple at a strategic level.
The four pillars of

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10 ways to generate links with online influencers

You may be thinking that no one wants to share your content, but the opposite is actually true: Because they post so often, online influencers are always looking for interesting content to share. All you have to do it research, create and position the right content opportunities to influencers so they will want to start working with you.
If you’re not sure what angle your organization should take to work with online influencers, consider the following angles: unique content sharing, product promotion, sponsorships and relationship building.
You’ll also want to be sure you are familiar with the FTC Guidelines surrounding influencer disclosures, as well as Google’s guidelines on the issues.
Produce unique content
Producing fresh content that is engaging and interesting to your target audience is what entices industry influencers to share. In addition to “how-to” posts, consider creating studies and long-form content and developing discussions that push industry issues. Because content is so competitive, it’s crucial to take an angle

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Visually understanding your site structure and external link weight impact

They say a picture is worth a thousand words — and wow, are they correct!
Today, I’m going to illustrate powerful ways to visualize your site structure, specifically as it relates to pages that acquire incoming links; however, we’ll also discuss other applications of this technique using analytics metrics or other third-party data.
There are a number of reasons you would want to do this, among them to provide a visual context to data. As we will see below, visual representations of data can assist in quickly identifying patterns in site structures that may not be evident when viewed as a spreadsheet or as raw data. You can also use these visuals to explain to clients and other stakeholders what’s going on in a site structure.
To build a visual representation of our site structure as it relates to incoming links, we will be:

running Screaming Frog to gather internal page data and link structure.
adding the number of backlinks each page

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3 ways to improve link equity distribution and capture missed opportunities

There’s a lot of talk about link building in the SEO community, and the process can be time-consuming and tedious. As the web demands higher and higher standards for the quality of content, link building is more difficult than ever.
However, few SEOs are discussing how to better utilize what they already have. There seems to be an obsession with constantly building more and more links without first understanding how that equity is currently interacting with the website. Yes, more links may help your website rank better, but your efforts may be in vain if you’re only recouping a small portion of the equity. Much of that work dedicated to link-building efforts would then be wasted.
For many websites, there is a big opportunity to improve upon the link equity that has already been established. The best part about all of this is that these issues can be addressed internally, as opposed to link building which typically requires third-party involvement. Here

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Fake news! How to recognize bad advice in link building and SEO

I like to joke that whenever Moz publishes an article about links, half my clients immediately email me about it. But that’s really not too far from the truth! People with big audiences have a lot of power.
But people can make mistakes — even people with strong expertise in a subject — so you do need to be careful trusting information without backup sources. In my opinion, the best thing about Moz is that in the comments, people will call you out, ask questions and offer alternative points of view.
People will also call you out on social media, but I’ve noticed that it doesn’t always happen with smaller sites that have smaller audiences. If an individual is writing on his or her own blog and just getting started, especially if that blog doesn’t allow comments, the writer can say lots of untrue things and no one will even notice — other than maybe your poor client.
When the

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