Putting the Love back into Links : Tom Anthony

I had to take a few days out from writing my blow by blow account of Link Love London (pesky work getting in the way!), but rest assured the final three parts are on their way. Here is the first of them, covering Distilled’s Tom Anthony on Putting the Love back in to Links.

Putting the Love back into Links

Tom Anthony : Distilled @tomanthonyseo

Until I checked out Tom’s twitter stream and website, I hadn’t realised quite how much of his stuff I had not only read, but was using on a regular basis such as his competitor analysis in under 60 seconds . He also has made a handy link profile tool, which is very much like one I was working on other than the fact it works better and is more useful – which sort of makes me hate him a bit. It was only once the speaker line-up for Link Love had been announced that I connected the dots (I think I have profile picture blindness), and made this one of the sessions I was most looking forward to.

Background

  • Google “discovered” links in 1997, but do they still trust them?
  • SEOmoz “search ranking factors” survey shows SEOs thinking that links are still important, but less so
  • There has been unprecedented flux in SERPs recently – something is changing (see SERP weather report)
  • Using tools like link profiler, it looks easy to spot sites with shady link profiles. However acting on those sorts of patterns would cause a lot of collateral damage
  • Change definitely coming though: “turning off a method of link analysis”, blog network de-indexing, webmaster tools warnings etc

Is author rank the next big thing?

  • Things that appear in Google webmaster tools have a habit of becoming important
  • Author information is now in WMT
  • Author integrally tied to google+ and there is lots of incentive for G to make that work
  • Author rank overlays page rank, not replaces
  • Does (Author Rank) x (Page Rank) = Authored Page Rank ??? <- or a more complex thing along these lines
  • Trusted authors will augment links more than lesser known ones

What to do…

  • Become a trusted author
  • Target trusted authors for links
  • Stop thinking about WHERE for links, but WHO [MB: I couldn’t help thinking back to Wil’s stalking at this point]

Finding Trusted Authors – Author Crawler

  • Tom’s Author Crawler [MB: I wasn’t sure whether this was meant to be released as yet, so I have linked to Tom’s tools page rather than the direct download. The tool will no-doubt appear on that page when he is ready]
  • Provide the tool with a domain and it will identify author’s with rel author links to their G+ profiles
  • It will then give you metrics on that author such as their social following, home URL etc

Summing Up

We’ve been talking here about the growing importance of authorship for some time and in particular how it could provide the next quantum leap in link/citation intelligence (Big caveat: IF enough people use google+).  In truth that has been much of the motivation behind starting to blog again and creating Geeky Scribbles as a place to practice that.  Tom’s presentation introduced a seemingly obvious angle on that: Targeting trusted authors.

Targeting trusted authors in infinitely more scalable than scrabbling to gain authority for niche personas. For author rank to be the future (or a significant part of it), requires that either google+gains significant traction outside of the digital marketing industries, or that Google can gain enough intelligence from other networks. However if/when that does happen the strategy of soliciting “expert mentions” could well be the natural successor to guest blogging.

One thought on “Putting the Love back into Links : Tom Anthony

  1. Very interesting stuff. It makes sense though, the whole author thing. Google obviously realised at some point in the last few years that it needs a more reliable way to rank pages than rely on links, because as SEO knows, this whole system has been abused. Authorship could provide a solution.

    After Panda (I read a fair bit about Panda ….) Google was saying “be social”. This connects with authorship. This is what links were once about. People used to link to sites / pages that they found out about through networking, chatting, surfing. Nowadays most links are “built”, never seen by a someone who is interested in the topic, they are there to boost PageRank.

    The future has to be a new system that brings social into SEO – if the people like it, it must be good. I also assume / guess that a social profile needs to be big and trustworthy. Those scary Google tools that show who you are connected with show that up pretty quick. Anyone creating false SM accounts to try to boost SEO will be stung in the future. I have little doubt about that – although it may work this year….

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