4 Reasons to Consider a Domain Name Change for Your Startup

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By: Robert Bruce

Related: 12 Domain-Name Debacles: ‘Hillary Potter’ for President and More

That’s now so much the case that, these days, the best keyword domains in .COM are sold out, and that’s why I believe that new top-level domains (TLDs, meaning the last part of the website name, like .COM) are going to be the digital real estate of the future.

I’m not a domain investor myself, but, after spending 10 years in internet marketing working for companies like Expedia, the travel company, and Partner Fusion, a leading marketing and technology incubator, I’ve seen many signs pointing to the value of new exact-match domains.

For instance, a recent study found that choosing a relevant domain extension can potentially help a website rank well for specific keywords, resulting in dollars saved on paid marketing.

Ultimately, whether domains end in .COM, .INFO,.FORSALE, or .LIVE, they all stand on equal ground when it comes to SEO performance. I have to believe that Google’s search results will always value high-quality domain names because of someone like me. Specifically, I’m investing a lot in a domain name and am also likely to invest in developing a high-quality website that will be relevant to users.

The startup I’m currently building aims to modernize real estate marketing, and is scheduled to launch this summer. To position myself in the market, I opted for the exact-match domains www.homes.forsale and www.houses.forsale. They weren’t cheap, either: I worked with Name.com and purchased the domains for $90,000.

But I’m hardly alone in paying a premium for an exact-match new domain; others are being sold for five or six figures each, including<a “=”” data-cke-saved-href=”http://www.video.games/&#8221; href=”http://www.video.games/&#8221; id=”E247″ is=”qowt-hyperlink” qowt-eid=”E247″ target=”_blank”> www.video.games for $183,000, and www.personalinjury.attorney for $60,000. Companies like Stream.Live have even gone through a complete rebranding, with StreamLive spending $20,000 on its new .LIVE domain. These figures come from the domain company Rightside, which recently released a snapshot of many of its $10,000-plus “Platinum Domain” sales.

Our expectations of the online user experience are changing as we get savvier about navigating to exactly the things we want; and relevant TLDs are going to be a big part of that. People will see my Houses.forsale domain name and say, “Oh, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.” Of course, you can always pay for online advertising and search-engine placement, but we exact-match domain owners will have a huge advantage over the competition.

Related: How to Find the Perfect Domain Name, Create Infographics and More

The reason: A high-quality, exact-match domain means we won’t have to pay to get as many clicks. We saw some early evidence of this when one of our pages accidentally got indexed by a search engine while it was still in development. Within a day, we already had a potential client find us organically!

What I don’t think people realize is that there’s an entire world out there of domain investing going on behind the scenes; and it’s been going on for 30 years, back to the time when the first .COMs started popping up.

The most perceptive of those early domain investors made millions merely by identifying the highest-quality domains. And there’s still a tremendous opportunity to invest in TLDs, as the world moves beyond .COM. That said, I’m not just looking to buy low and sell high, although that option has been tempting. I feel that building-out a business on top of a brandable domain is where the real value is right now, and the right domain name can represent a huge amount of the equity in your particular business.

Overall, brandable new domains confer some amazing advantages to successful businesses, including:

1. Flexibility in choosing a name

The pool of short, memorable .COM domains is shrinking rapidly, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t secure an amazing name for your business. Overnight, new domains have increased the availability of possible names a hundredfold.

2. More memorable names

The potential uses for meaningful new domains, like .FORSALE, .SOCIAL, and .MARKET, are virtually limitless. Every word in your domain can and should be relevant to your brand.

3. Increased web traffic

When you use meaningful, relevant terms in a domain, people will be more engaged with your brand. That’s going to help drive more traffic to your site, and href=”http://rightside.news/free-seo-report&#8221; id=”E408″ is=”qowt-hyperlink” qowt-eid=”E408″ target=”_blank”> will boost your search result rankings.

Related: The Psychology Behind Choosing a Killer Domain Name

4. Reduced online marketing costs

Because new domains drive organic web traffic to your site, you’ll be less reliant on expensive search engine placement and other online ads.

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Want to Get Ahead at Work? Be Selfish!

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By: Rohan Ayyar

Humans are social animals, we’re taught. Nearly a third of the world’s population is hooked onto social media. Looking at pictures of “cute” babies and animals shared by friends and family on Facebook is quite an addicting drug.

Everyone wants to be part of this warm, fuzzy and ADD-affected world of sharing — and an ever-increasing number of “social” apps fulfill (and feed) their wishes by allowing them to broadcast their “visual stories” to random people who’re connected to them, or even just happen to be around. Naturally, one expects a familial, co-operative approach to life to be the most rewarding one.

Related: Be Self-Aware, Be Selfless, and Then Be Selfish

Ah, but that’s where we’re wrong. No doubt, we were taught as kids to share our toys and be kind to others. Yet, that seems to be advice for an older, less innocent age.

Kindness equals weakness in groups.

New research suggests that these very ideals of sharing, brotherhood and co-operation could be holding us back from achieving our true potential at the workplace. It appears that nice guys do finish last at the workplace.

Seemingly, it takes a certain cold, calculating mindset to succeed in the corporate rat race. A joint study by researchers from the Kellog School of Management, Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University found experimentally that in group settings, people who were selfish were seen as being more dominant, and by extension more attractive, as leaders than those who were generous and kind. Though generous people are popular in groups, on a subconscious level we equate kindness to weakness. Conversely, people who exhibit selfish behavior are seen as aggressive, alpha personalities, clearing their path to leadership positions.

Related: How to Be the Nice Guy Who Never Finishes Last

When being selfish, group size matters. So do rewards.

More research published by Alexander Stewart and Joshua Plotkin from the University of Pennsylvania offers a mathematical explanation for how co-operation and selfishness arise in groups. Using a variation on the game Prisoners’ Dilemma, they found that in small groups, cooperative behavior offers the best payoffs. However, beyond a certain group size, the tendency towards selfishness becomes predominant and continues as the groups get larger.

The researchers also found that when players are given the option of deciding their own risk–reward ratios they tended towards more selfish behavior.

This mirrors everyday life, when people not only have the choice of co-operating with their peers at work, they also have the option of regulating how much help they’ll offer or how much time they’ll devote to someone else’s pet project. When people have the option of choosing how much they’ll risk for others, they tend to behave selfishly and opt out of being “team players.”

Don’t expect reciprocal generosity at the workplace.

Now, we are wired to think that people are inherently nice to those who are nice to them, based on Robert Cialdini’s famed Principle of Reciprocity.

However, Peter Belmi and Jeffrey Pfeffer of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who carried out five experiments to determine the effect of generosity on people, discovered something very interesting. People were more likely to reciprocate generous behavior towards friends and acquaintances; when it came to co-workers and strangers, not so much.

They also found that the mere thought of one’s workplace made people more calculating and selfish in their behavior. The researchers concluded that in spite of social conditioning to the contrary, being selfish is actually a necessity in today’s workplace. Employees who act selflessly and count on their co-workers and organization to do right by them are more often than not, disappointed.

Related: 7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Worrying About Nice

Look out for yourself.

So does that mean the only way to get ahead is by being mean to the people who work with us? For those of us who battle with the urge to be nice to people with the equally primal urge to stay ahead of the pack, here are a few pointers—

Learn to say No: Too many of us suffer from a chronic inability to say No to people. What this means is we’re overstretched doing things that are not vital to our existence and left feeling used and taken advantage of. Now that you know that scientifically, our co-workers are hardwired to give us the short end of the stick at the first opportunity, it’s OK to stand up for yourself and say the big N.O. every now and then. When helping someone out means your own work will suffer, simply turn them down with a gracious apology.

Prioritize your goals: There’s nothing wrong in putting your own goals above those of others, especially at the workplace. This doesn’t mean you forgo teamwork as a work principle, it just means tackling your individual tasks first and with most vigor before taking on group tasks that depend on multiple individuals.

Put aside time for self-improvement: Read more, take a course, learn a new skill, join a theatre group – you can do any of these and more to bring fresh perspectives to your workplace. The more you hone your skill sets as a professional, the more valuable you’ll become to your organization. No one wants the burnt out yes-man to be their new Vice President. The violin virtuoso who is a great manager and can code in his sleep is definitely a more attractive choice.

Keep an eye out for opportunities: Be your own champion. You do this by offering to take on new initiatives or jumping for new opportunities that will enhance your track record and open new doors. Don’t wait for a new responsibility to be entrusted to you; ask for it and your enterprising behavior will be remembered when the appraisal season comes around.

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Does corporate storytelling work? Some mega-brands say no.

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By Mark Schaefer

With much flourish, Coca-Cola announced in 2011 that it would be moving from “creative excellence to content excellence.” It made an epic, two-part animated video on their strategy, explaining that they would be creating such amazing content that it could not be contained.

Shortly after this announcement, the company launched a magazine-style site called Coca-Cola Journey. This is what it looked like:

corporate storytelling

This thing has spirit, it has soul, it has lots and lots of stories. Check out that navigation bar folks: SPORTS, FOOD, ENTERTAINMENT, HEALTH.

Does that sound like a soft drink company website? This content site was populated by professional journalists and Coca-Cola Journey represented bold and unconventional corporate storytelling at its best.

I’d also like to direct your attention to the item in the upper right corner of the screenshot. This was a post by blogger and entrepreneur Adam Kleinberg disagreeing with Coke’s marketing strategy. Kleinberg told me that he blogged about this topic on his own and then Coke invited him to post the dissenting opinion on the front page of their corporate site.

Huh? A negative post about the company on their own site? Unheard of! Clearly Coke was investing heavily in “the story.”

This is what the Coca-Cola Journey looks like today:

corporate storytelling

Well darn.

This looks like a regular old corporate website. The sports section is gone … in fact all those cool sections are gone — and the guys in suits are back. This site is so … boring. Where is the storytelling? What happened?

In a Digiday post, associate editor Shareen Pathak reported that the big factor in Journey’s storytelling failure was Facebook. First, organic traffic to the Journey site declined precipitously because more people were viewing content on Facebook instead of clicking to websites (I reported on this rise of the newsfeed in an earlier post). The other factor is that with Coke’s buying power, it could create promoted content on social sites more cost-effectively then feeding their own publishing beast with original content.

So, they stopped. Is Coca-Cola still a brand publisher? Well, unless you count press releases, not so much.

The end of a corporate storytelling era

“Journey” is just one in a long line of ambitious corporate storytelling ventures that did not pan out.

Another example is Newell Brands‘ Sharpie pen division. Beginning in 2009, Sharpie hosted one of the most beloved and creative content sites in the world. They pioneered user-generated content, featuring entertaining customer stories that ranged from home decorating to high fashion … all with Sharpie pens. Yes, this company found a way to create an excited and engaged community dedicated to pens!

The Sharpie blog has not been updated since 2013. The amazing content team was disbanded and the social media accounts were mothballed about the same time.

I reached out to the company for comment but they would not respond to my request. One former team member told me “I weep when I think about the lost Sharpie opportunity. I weep when I think about the fans — we were so connected to them.”

Sharpie had done everything right with an epic content marketing program … and then abruptly ended years of value they had built in storytelling and passionate fans. What’s going on here?

The best content marketing case study … is over

And then there was the biggest blow of all.

One of the most celebrated content marketing case studies in history starred Fiskars scissors. The awesome Brains On Fire Agency created a global community scrapbookers for the Fiskars brand, driven by a user-generated blog, case studies, and craft projects.

The company was able to cite a dramatic increase in awareness, audience, brand loyalty, and sales due to the energetic content site. If there was ever an iconic content marketing case study, this was it … and yet, remarkably the whole thing has been dismantled, piece by piece.

Spike Jones, who was part of the original team, blogged about the effort’s demise in 2014:

The beginning of the end goes something like this: the internal champion of the program left the company to pursue other opportunities. And when that happened, things began to change. The program began to be dismantled. The structure of the program – especially the role of the lead ambassadors, devolved from four, to one, who is now more of a community manager instead of a true lead ambassador. Originally, the leads were encouraged to talk about anything that was going on in their lives. Now? It’s all about crafting and products, causing it to blend in to the noise.

The biggest blow to the program came last year, when the decision was made to move away from the dedicated online community platform to just a blog (with no comments) and a Facebook page. So gone are the threaded forums with members issuing fun challenges to one another or doing random acts of crafting. Gone are the thousands of uploaded images of beautiful crafts that capture amazing memories of the members lives. Gone is the assigning of your unique Fiskateer number or the special one-of-a-kind pair of scissors that you receive in the mail and cherish as a member.

To be honest, everything that made the program special is no more.

Sad … but not unusual. Another example of culture killing a great content program occurred a few years ago at a giant telecom I was assisting. This company was a perfect case study for content marketing done right. They built an internal content program patiently and organically. They had state of the art technology, the understanding and support of marketing leadership, an expanding audience, and “hockey stick” metrics.

After a corporate reorganization, the department was re-assigned to a new VP and within six weeks the entire program was killed. The new leader grew up in the era of ads and couldn’t understand what was even happening in the program. One of the biggest companies on earth turned its back on content marketing.

The lessons going forward

There’s a tendency in our field to market to marketers.  We gush enthusiastically for content, for social media, for brand publishing, for community, for squishy stuff like “engagement.” Maybe we’re even afraid not to play along and gush.

But as you’ve seen today, sometimes even the biggest and most successful brands who are throwing everything at their “story” can’t make it work. Is it any wonder you’re having trouble doing this for your company, non-profit, or university?

Is brand storytelling just a bad idea?

No.

Marketing has always been about storytelling to some degree. But I think there are some themes from these examples that can be instructive moving forward:

1. Don’t think like a publisher

How many times have you heard a marketing guru say that every company has to think like a publisher today? Here is the definition of publisher: “a person or company whose business is the publishing of books, periodicals, engravings, computer software, etc.

Unless you really are a publisher, your business isn’t about publishing content. It’s about your business.

We see how Coke drank the Kool-Aid (actually that’s a funny image) and they really did try to be a publisher. But in this case, it didn’t work because who wants to come to Coke for the latest news on sports, entertainment, or fashion? Leave that to ESPN and Vogue. Coke needs to be about Coke, which is more than enough.

My advice is, don’t think like a publisher. Think like a marketer.

2. Don’t get stuck

Nobody really wants to come to your website any more unless you’re an eCommerce titan … and even then, people are probably flicking around on their smart devices getting the best deal with only a dim recognition of the site they’re on, let alone your “story.”

The world has changed a lot in the past two years. If you’re still doing the same content marketing you did 24 months ago, you need to look up and see the new world.

People want content in a newsfeed. The inbound marketing model where scintillating content attracts customers to your site like a magnet is becoming increasingly mythical.

3. Corporate culture is a bitch

Most people don’t know this but I have a graduate degree in organizational development. So I look at consulting assignments from a holistic perspective. When I work on a marketing strategy, I consider the company’s history, politics, and bureaucracy as well as the competitive environment.

But even I was surprised when the new telecomm VP destroyed years of content success in a matter of days. Just goes to show that if the leader doesn’t get it, it doesn’t get done. There is no such thing as a grassroots cultural change. Embracing a content strategy has to come from the top, every time.

Changing a corporate culture is no less daunting than walking into France and saying “Hey France, we want you to be Russia now and drink vodka.” Tough to do.

Now please folks, don’t go tweet the world that Schaefer said content marketing is dead. I’m not saying anything is dead. I’m simply encouraging you to rationally consider why some iconic programs are failing, why the new realities of content distribution mean a lot to your business, and why this whole idea of “thinking like a publisher” without considering the end goal is a little crazy.

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5 Wrong Reasons for Becoming an Entrepreneur

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Unlimited vacation? Getting rich? Becoming famous? These may be the benefits, but certainly not the reason for, starting a business.
Jayson DeMers
 1. To get rich

Thanks to the popularization of outlier entrepreneurs who seemed to become overnight billionaires, there’s a common misconception that entrepreneurship is the fast track to getting rich. As the owner of your business, you’ll be entitled to at least a portion of the profits your company makes (and potentially all of it, if there are no other owners). In addition to that, you may draw a salary.

However, that won’t guarantee that your business will be profitable, or will succeed indefinitely. It’s certainly possible to make a good living from your business, but you can’t count on striking it rich — even if you have a good idea.

Being motivated only by money will interfere with your ability to make long-term decisions for your business, and will leave you feeling unsatisfied and stressed if you don’t meet your target numbers.

2. To become famous

It’s true that becoming an entrepreneur has the potential to increase your personal visibility — especially if your marketing strategy relies on media exposure. Look at entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Richard Branson or Elon Musk: Tese are high-profile people who get lots of media attention and have attained celebrity status.

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Consider Becoming an Entrepreneur

However, pursuing business creation and management for the sole sake of gaining popularity for yourself is a bad idea. Relentlessly pursuing more personal branding opportunities is going to take you away from the office, where you’ll be needed. Plus, your idea of successful entrepreneurship will lmost certainly be distorted by survivorship bias.

3. To have unlimited vacation

Yes, it’s true: As an entrepreneur, you’ll get to make your own schedule. You’ll set your own hours, work whatever days you want and take unlimited vacation time, if you want. But, remember, your business’s success will depend on the effort you put in, and the unfortunate reality is that your first business is more likely than not to fail.

If you’re busy traveling six months out of the year, you won’t have enough time invested in your business to help it become successful. If all you can think about is vacation time as a business owner, you’ll be grossly underestimating the amount of work it takes to run that business. Instead, chances are, you won’t have much time for regular days off for at least a year or two.

4. To make other people happy

Some entrepreneurs start businesses because they like the idea of being a positive force in the world, and I respect that. They want to build a great team, take care of their employees, make clients happy and make the world a better place while they’re at it.

Unfortunately, though, this mentality may lead to poor business decisions; for example, you’ll be more likely to keep unproductive workers around (rather than making tough decisions to fire them) because you’ve bonded with them. You’ll keep unprofitable clients because you refuse to move on. And you’ll sacrifice your own profitability for other causes.

You may be willing to make those sacrifices, but your business won’t do anybody any good if it ends up folding. As a business owner, your primary responsibility should be to make the right decisions for your business.

This position will make you feel sort of like a parent, with the business your child. It’s up to you to protect it and nurture it. After all, if you don’t, who will?

5. Because, “Why not?”

You may not have a specific motivation. You may just have an idea and the impression that anyone can become a business owner. At that point, you might also be thinking to yourself, “Why not?” and be building a business for no reason other than the fact that you can. This is a whimsical approach that does have a chance of succeeding, but it’s more likely that you’ll start running into problems you had no idea existed.

Do you have a financial model? Do you know how to scale? Do you know how much capital you need to start or what competitors are out there? Are you psychologically strong enough? Are you familiar with the dark truths of entrepreneurship?

If these motivations represent only a portion of what’s driving you, they probably won’t sabotage your efforts. For example, if you like the idea of becoming rich, but you’re also interested in being your own boss and working with a team of people you get to choose, your monetary motivations aren’t likely to interfere with your happiness or your decision-making.

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How to build an SEO strategy to dominate your market

You’re Probably Doing Link-Building Wrong

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Google can be really frustrating sometimes.

If you’ve been in SEO for anytime at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Google’s success and global search market dominance have largely hinged upon its ability to perpetually evolve and provide the best user experience possible.

As a result, SEO is in a constant state of flux.

It’s literally always changing!

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that quality links are the foundation of nearly every successful SEO campaign.

Although many people have been predicting the demise of links as a primary ranking signal for years, link-building is still very much alive and quite well.

According to First Page Sage, links are still the number one ranking signal in Google’s algorithm in 2017.

image5

As they point out,

inbound links have been the primary currency Google uses to determine its level of trust for a website since the search engine established itself in 1998.

It worked for them then, and it still works for them now.

So, yeah… Link-building is kind of a big deal, regardless of what the naysayers may think.

And this means one thing.

You need to have your link-building on lock.

Unfortunately, many link-building campaigns are full of holes due to misconceptions and misunderstandings as to what Google is really looking for.

It can be especially brutal for noobs, who are just getting their feet wet.

Here are some of the most common link-building mistakes SEO marketers make and how to resolve them.

Botching anchor text

The great anchor text debate has raged on for a few years now.

Okay, maybe that sounds overly epic, but employing anchor text is one of the most misunderstood aspects of link-building.

Back in the day, you could often outrank the competition by simply being obnoxious and going crazy with exact match anchor text (the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for.)

But Google quickly discovered that way too many people were gaming the system and launched a counterattack with Penguin in 2012.

 

They tweaked their algorithm, and the sites that went overboard on exact match anchor text were penalized.

Of course, SEO marketers didn’t want to incur the wrath of Matt Cutts and his minions, so they did the only sensible thing.

They went the opposite direction.

Many people ceased to use exact match anchor text altogether.

And I can totally see why.

To be honest, I’m still a little sketched about using exact match anchors.

But here’s the thing. Doing anchor text the right way can be encapsulated in one word: natural.

If it’s natural, you’re good to go.

What exactly do I mean by natural?

You want to make sure you’re diversifying your anchor text and not going overboard with any particular format.

The different types of anchor text

When you break it down, there are six main types of anchor text:

  • Exact match – Like I already explained
  • Partial match – This contains the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for but isn’t exact
  • Branded – The name of your brand
  • Naked URLs – This is the URL exactly how it appears in your browser
  • Generic (also known as junk anchors) – Some examples would be “check this out” or “click here”
  • LSI – This is latent semantic indexing, which is variations of your keyword.

If this still seems a little vague, here are examples provided by Ahrefs:

image1

Speaking of Ahrefs… They performed some extensive research on anchor text fairly recently (mid-2016) to determine its impact on SEO.

There’s a ton of data, which can be a little confusing if you’re not an SEO nerd.

Allow me to give you the key takeaways.

First of all, anchor text continues to play an integral role in link-building, and SEO in general, and is unlikely to change any time soon.

Second, it’s completely true that you need to be careful when using keyword-rich anchor text.

Going overboard can definitely get you penalized.

However, this doesn’t mean you should never use keyword-rich anchor text.

It’s actually okay—as long as you don’t go crazy with it.

Ahrefs suggests “using exact match at around 2 percent and phrase match at around 30 percent.”

And that sounds about right to me.

The bottom line with anchor text is that it needs to be natural.

To achieve that natural effect, you want to use a variety of different formats.

This graph from Search Engine Journal offers their version of ideal anchor text diversity:

image4

It’s usually all right to throw in some keyword-rich anchor text, but you need to be smart about it.

If you follow this formula, you should be good to go, and you can construct hyperlinks—both internal and external—the right way.

For more insight, check out the article from Ahrefs I referenced above.

In my opinion, it’s one of the best currently out there on anchor text.

The myth of never linking to directories

Ah…directories.

Most SEO marketers cringe at the mere mention of them.

And I totally get it.

I remember back in the mid-2000s, directories were popping up everywhere, and they were a cheap way to get links.

Most had little to no credibility and looked incredibly spammy. And quite frankly, many were.

So, of course, when you ask your average SEO marketer whether or not you should ever get links from directories, most would adamantly say “no!”

But I disagree (sort of).

Now, let me preface this by saying you shouldn’t get links from highly-questionable, spammy, irrelevant directories that have absolutely nothing to do with your niche/industry.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

However, Rand Fishkin of Moz made a really great point in one of his Whiteboard Friday sessions.

He basically said that there’s an ongoing myth that you should never get links from directories.

But this just isn’t the case.

There are plenty of high quality directories that can be very beneficial to your link-building campaign.

Here’s a screenshot of an example he provides about a monthly list of bars in Portland, Oregon:

image2

The point here is that you should definitely take a link like this.

It’s legit and going to help your SEO.

Once again, I’m not condoning getting spammy links from low-quality directories.

But in many cases, the right directories can be quite beneficial.

Just use your best judgment.

Having a “quantity over quality” mindset

If you look at it on paper, it might seem more sensible to get a high volume of so-so links rather than only a handful of high-quality links.

I get it. It’s much easier to grab the low hanging fruit and take the path of least resistance.

But like with many areas of online marketing, you’re much better off opting for quality over quantity.

Just like it makes more sense to create one in-depth, longform, high-quality blog post than three or four mediocre, generic 500-worders, a single high-quality link can be much more valuable than dozens of low-quality links.

Think of it like this.

High-quality links do much more than just improve your link profile and provide you with SEO juice.

They can enhance your brand equity and bring in quality referral traffic as well.

If you’ve had a quantity over quality mindset up until now, it’s time to change it.

Forgetting about social signals

One of the other great SEO debates is just how big of a factor social signals are.

Some people seem to think social signals are a significant ranking factor, while others believe they’re just a waste of time.

I’m in the camp that believes they’re a substantial ranking factor. At least nowadays.

While I’m not saying they’re super high on the totem pole, you definitely don’t want to overlook social signals in your link-building.

In fact, Backlinko includes social signals in a recent list of Google’s 200 ranking factors.

More specifically, they mention the following social signals as having a considerable impact:

  • Number of tweets
  • Authority of Twitter user accounts
  • Number of Facebook likes
  • Facebook shares
  • Authority of Facebook user accounts
  • Pinterest pins
  • Votes on social sharing sites
  • Number of Google+1s
  • Authority of Google+ user accounts
  • Social signal relevancy

You get the idea.

A few years back, Moz broke down the potency of some of the more powerful social signals:

image3

I know it’s a little outdated (2012), but I think this data is still fairly relevant today.

The bottom line here is that you should do everything within your power to maximize your social signals.

This starts with creating epic content that outperforms that of your competitors (see the skyscraper technique).

You should install social media buttons if you haven’t done so already.

This is super easy to do if you’re a WordPress user. Just install a plugin.

Also be sure to ask your audience to share your content.

Sometimes that’s all it takes!

And don’t forget that social signals do much more than just boost your SEO.

They can also have a considerable impact on your brand’s reputation and whether or not readers will stick around and read your content.

Just think about it.

Which brand would you take more seriously?

One with an article with a high volume of social shares like this…

image6

Or an article with only a handful of shares?

I rest my case.

Conclusion

Like it or not, link-building is essentially the lifeblood of SEO.

And I really don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Until Google radically changes its algorithm, links are likely to remain one of the top ranking factors.

But like with many other areas of SEO, what constitutes proper link-building can be a little confusing.

There’s plenty of room for misunderstanding even for the most adept of SEO marketers.

By acknowledging any mistakes you’re making, you can tighten your link-building and make your overall campaign run like a well-oiled machine.

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