Internet Marketing

How to justify the quality of your link data

One of the key things to consider when people question the legitimacy of your link data is your source. This is a topic which is often brought up by CTOs, CMOs, and IT Directors during annual budget planning, search marketing strategy review, and annual performance evaluations.

The best way out is to clarify the volume and accuracy (therefore quality)of the data you have access to…and teach people what to use as benchmarks for improvement.

Finding trustworthy sources of SEO advice online isn’t as difficult as it used to be. The bottom line is, most pro SEO’s have alot of respect for…especially the tools…specifically linkscape.  It’s still amazing to me to see this kind of data available on demand – and what makes it truly spectacular for client reporting (and benchmarking) is the simplicity of the visualizations (the linkscape visualizer is my absolute favorite).  Open Site Explorer, the mozbar, and moz labs pretty much gives you the upper hand when it comes to reliable link analysis on the fly – or during the competitive analysis process (sorry yahoo site explorer…you’ve been slacking recently).  But you have to consider the size of the Linkscape index:

Linkscape’s Index (as of February 16th 2010):

9.2 Trillion Links
0.4 Trillion URLs
69 Million Root Domains

…therefore the “completeness” of the data. It’s not to say this data isn’t accurate…because it is…it’s very accurate considering the scope of what we have access to considering Google gives us nothing. Still, there is a significant margin of error if you’re taking ALL the metrics at total face value.

But CMOs like benchmarks…the most reliable benchmarks they can get.

…and on that note, consider the size of the Majestic SEO index:

Majestic SEO’s Index statistics(as of February 7th 2010):

Crawled pages
Unique URLs

That’s a pretty significant difference.

And the data you can mine out of Majestic SEO, including a very accurate picture of your competitor’s top backlinks in addition to a list of referring domains, is pretty compelling stuff.

Majestic SEO is superior to SEOMoz’s linkscape with regards to link data. SEOmoz’s Linkscape  is superior to Majestic SEO with regards to illustrating link metrics in relation to the competition. But that’s not the point at hand.  What I am saying is that in tandem, contrasted, you get similar trends/patterns when it comes to anchor text variation, strongest links, and referring root domains – and that means consistency.  Consistency you can bank on when it comes to justifying your link building initiative to a CMO or CTO who thinks organic spend is a waste of time when PPC brings traffic immediately.

The logic has to be sound, whatever your argument may be, but there’s simply no reason to let someone call you out on link data and not throw the reality of link profile analysis in their face….not with SEOmoz and Majestic SEO on your side.

A really smart client once told me that SEO is “a battle of inches”.  I couldn’t agree more.  And it is all about those  very specific metrics…make no mistake about that.  What you, as an individual SEO, or as a company, have to do to improve those very specific metrics – that depends on your industry and the resources you have at hand.

You’re only as strong as your strongest link…and link building strategy.

Just because someone doesn’t understand what you’re telling them…because they consider SEO (or whatever you do) to be nothing but a bunch of very specific nonsense…remember it’s their job to discredit you and not spend money (to all you CFOs out there).

Don’t let them not deal with the reality of their own business goals – and do the best you can to put egotistical assumptions in their place.

A good dose of quality link metrics to the face usually clears everything up.

But do yourself and your company a favor – make sure you know what you’re talking about…and make sure you’re taking all the search ranking factors into account.

Domain Authority, Page Authority, Link Equity – and resources.

That’s how you justify the quality of your link data.

There is no substitute for experience.

It's time to get your digital marketing on course.

I've been actively optimizing and improving the profitability of web based businesses since 2007, specializing in SEO, PPC, CRO, Web Analytics, and eCommerce… read full bio

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