All posts by Darryl Antonio

About Darryl Antonio

Digitalhound are an award-winning London digital marketing agency with 20+ years of expertise in delivering high performance results for its' clients. Darryl & the team are proven experts in growth-hacking digital campaigns to help businesses grow to their fullest potential while lowering their cost of acquisition. A sought after speaker at high-end Digital Marketing conferences, Darryl is available for private business consultations, seminars and conferences. Call the London team on 020 7873 2476 to arrange a FREE 'no obligation' chat about your business today...

link building services

Is link building still as important for search engine rankings in 2020?

Is link building still an important part of SEO and rankings in 2020?

This is the no. 1 question that we get asked most by new clients and in our website enquiry forms.

And YES, despite controversy, misinformation, hype & fear, this is still an essential part of SEO to rank for important keywords.

Over the last few years literally thousands of companies have sprung up almost overnight offering link building packages.

But are they really what they’re cracked up to be?

This post will help you to determine the quality of your service provider if using an external source.

And more importantly why it may be time to change, if not.

Let’s just take a look at some of the basics first…

1. What is link building?

link building explained

Link building is a process of getting other relevant websites to link back to your site. This gives the impression that they are endorsing your website.

Such endorsements, otherwise commonly known as ‘inbound links’ are considered to be an important ranking signal for search engines.

However, there are many ways of gaining inbound links.

1. Link Quality

Getting higher quality external resources linking back to your page, the more useful your page is perceived as being.

And will potentially merit a higher search position.

‘Bad’ links – i.e. links from ‘spammy sites’ or irrelevant sources are looked at as indications of poor quality.

Thereby diminishing the page’s value & authority in the eyes of the search engines’ and often resulting in ranking penalties.

This is why we strongly advocate that you thoroughly audit your site’s backlink profile as a primary step to take.

This is crucial and should be undertaken before you even consider employing any link building campaign.

By doing this, you’ll be able to eliminate any links that could potentially threaten your current search rankings.

And start with a clean slate to building fresh, high-quality links.

link building still relevant for 2020

2. UNNATURAL LINK CREATION

Creating links primarily for the purpose of manipulating search rankings, can be considered a violation of Google webmaster guidelines.

Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that may violate the guidelines:

1. Text advertisements that pass Page Rank

2. Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank

3. Links with over-optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example:

There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress

4. Low-quality directory or bookmark site links.

5. Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.

(For a full explanation please go to Google help)

3. LINK ATTRACTION

Link building can be confusing, time intensive & frustrating.

However, improving links & social signals is vital for websites that want to be found in the organic search results.

The term ‘link building’ is pretty misleading though, as it’s more about giving your audiences compelling reasons to link back.

This is more accurately ‘link attraction’ rather than ‘link building’!

By understanding your target audience before developing your content marketing strategy, you offer valuable reasons to earn those links.

A good linking strategy will build relationships with your target audiences via the creation of high quality shareable content.

Content can be shared via guest posts, articles, blogs, online magazines, websites, video sharing platforms, podcasts, social media and forums.

Doing this will help to increase referral traffic and maximise the visibility of your brand.

link building services

4. DOMAIN AUTHORITY (DA) & PAGE AUTHORITY (PA)

Ensure that the links you attract are from quality resources by checking their domain authority and page authority.

Domain and page authority scores (1-100) were developed by Moz.com & is designed to predict how well a website will rank in the search results.

Simply visit their site and enter any domain to find the most relevant SEO metrics for that site.

5. Relevant & Fresh

Listed below are 7 quick tips to get you building links naturally, organically and successfully starting with:

1. Analysis – Study the links of the top ranking sites in your niche and go after ones that are most relevant.

2. Content – Look for content articles that are trending in your industry and create a higher quality version.

3. Edu. – Check out the local schools, universities and charities for a resource section that you can add your websites to.

4. Link Roundups – Find blog link roundups in your market sector by doing a search i.e. “keyword” + “link roundup” and pitch them your best content.

5. Broken Links – The Google Chrome browser, has a free extension called ‘Check My Links’ to find sites with broken links.

6. Memes – Humorous memes are easy to produce via free online meme generators and can be an effective way attract links.

7. Slides & videos – Convert articles & posts into interactive content and distribute them out to the top video and slide sharing platforms.

IN CONCLUSION…

Link building is still an essential part of SEO in 2020 to ranking well for your desired keywords.

However, building or attracting the right type of links that will help with your search rankings is a time consuming and undoubtedly tedious task.

Building links has been likened to some sort of ‘dark art’ but, is still a key factor in determining rankings.

There are many ways to build links. Much of it has been written and talked about but the most effective way is when link building occurs naturally when people share your content.

Social media now plays an important role too.

As content can be easily shared on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms.

So, try thinking out of the box and be creative when going after those links.

And remember that consistency is the key to successfully attracting and retaining the quality of links that you require.

Therefore, you will need to keep at it and it will pay dividends in the long run.

If however, you do get stuck, lack the time or need some expert input, just contact our link building services team for help and advice.

And don’t forget, you can always ask us anything in the comments section below.

Image Search Rankings – How to rank images in Google…

Image Search Rankings or image SEO what is that all about and why on earth would I want to do that anyway?

Ever heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”?

Now, enter the commercial world…

Where the latest consumer research tells us that images are 1 of the Top 3 most engaging forms of content online!

Therefore, it does make sense to have those images on your website ranking well on Google – Agreed?

So, how to rank your images?

The image search rankings tips listed below should help you to significantly improve your image search rankings.

So, let’s get started with these 6 essential ingredients…

IMAGE SEARCH RANKINGS – HOW TO RANK IMAGES IN GOOGLE

Image search rankings - Google seo
This is the image description

Let’s breakdown each of these elements individually.

1. QUALITY

Using high quality images will naturally produce:

Higher engagement – The better the quality, users will be more likely to save, share with friends and family and return for more.

Better user experience – Research also shows that site visitors tend to stick around for longer.

Higher quality traffic – With site visitors less likely to bounce off your site, length of stay usually means better conversion ratios.

TIP: Make sure to optimise your images so that they load faster as ‘page speed’ is an important ranking factor.

Here are a couple of free tools that you can use to compress your images so that they load faster.

Compressjpg.com & Compressor.io

2. IMAGE PLACEMENT

Relevancy – Images should be relevant for the pages that they are placed on.

Above the fold – Placing your images where users can see them without scrolling does affect bounce rates and ultimately rankings.

Visibility – Images should be placed near relevant text to improve search indexation and visibility.

Image text – Although Google does have optical character recognition (OCR) from a crawl budget standpoint, it is advisable to avoid embedding text in images.

3. IMAGE DESCRIPTION

Titles – When adding images to your pages make sure that the page titles are relevant and include meta tags.

Image alt text – Include your primary keywords here but avoid repeating them over & over again. Instead use LSI driven or contextual keywords.

Context around images – Images should be placed where there is appropriate context surrounding them.

Add structured data – Adding image mark-up data is an important step that will help with better indexation and higher rankings.

4. CAPTIONS

Descriptive – Captions that are well described are better ranked while also being helpful to those that are visually impaired.

Around images – Place your captions above and/or directly below images for better search context.

Use semantic mark-up – Using the (<figcaption>) element to provide more information about the image.
Example =

lions Johannesburg safari
lions Johannesburg safari

5. IMAGE FILE NAMES

Relevancy – Change non-descriptive file names to more relevant descriptive names.

Keywords – Select and use your primary keyword as the file name.

Example = Instead of naming your image [001.jpg] – use something more accurate [NintendoWii.jpg]

Learn more about image search rankings from Google’s very own, John Mueller below:

6. SITEMAPS & HOSTING

Ranking Potency – Boost the ranking potency of your website images by including:

Image sitemap – higher crawlability, higher indexability & higher rankings.

Faster hosting – Install mod_page speed to perform many speed optimizations automatically.

Too many images – Split up large sitemaps with smaller more search engine friendly numbers.

IMAGE SEARCH RANKINGS – RECAP

To rank your images on Google image search follow these guidelines:

  • Use quality images
  • Place them on relevant pages
  • Use appropriate titles, meta tags & mark-up
  • Place descriptive captions around images
  • Select keyword rich file names
  • Create image sitemaps
  • Install Google’s mod_pagespeed

And there you have it…

image seo - how to rank  on image search

All the essential steps and best practices to get your images ranking well on Google, to enjoy higher engagement, better user experience & higher conversions.

Let us know how you get on in the comments below and don’t forget to like & share this post if you found it useful.

And if you get stuck or need any further help with your SEO, please contact our London SEO Agency for help and advice.

A London SEO Agency Marketing Campaign Overview…

Let’s take a closer look behind the scenes at how a London SEO agency maps out a typically successful client marketing campaign.

OVERVIEW:

Google determines search rankings largely on the relevancy of your site content and authority of the external sites that link back to you.

There are also many other additional ranking signals that determine top search rankings such as:

Domain and page-level metrics – mobile friendliness – bounce rates – user journeys – visitor engagement – social media presence etc .

The goal of the SEO expert is therefore to:

a). Optimize your websites focusing on 2 major elements – On PAGE & OFF PAGE.

b). Rank high through quality, in-depth content and to build your authority through quality backlinks and usability.

Listed below is a breakdown covering each aspect of a standard recommended SEO campaign structure.

1. RESEARCH

Site Audit – Each month an expert team member will spend time in analysing:

  • Web page layout
  • Site content
  • User behaviour patterns
  • Page speed
  • Visitor acquisition
  • Traffic
  • Goal conversions
  • Bounce rates
  • Landing page performance hot spots
  • Calls to action
  • Content shortfalls

Competitor Audit – Study your closest competitors to determine website metrics, market presence, content quality and keywords ranking performance.

Link Profiling – Looking at the number of referring domains – quality of referring domains, link relevancy – link co-citations – number of outbound links – own + competitor.

Keyword Audit – Analyse the keywords being targeted for relevancy, traffic volumes, competitiveness and long term growth.

London SEO agency

2. SEO CAMPAIGN

A monthly campaign will feature each of the following key elements:

Blueprint – Plan detailing keywords, content and links to be targeted for localised search ranking gains.

Content – Topical ideas grouped around both broad and local target keywords.

Creation – A minimum of 2 x 1000-2000 words fully researched high quality,  unique articles.

Marketing – National & localised outreach to selected popular city blogs & media platforms.

PR x 1 – Syndication across a diverse range of media platforms to generate both national and local brand awareness and quality backlinks.

 Blog posts x 4 – Targeting product keywords, news, community events etc.

 Local citations – Reviews, business directory listings, sponsorship, local classifieds.

Structured Data Markup – Highlight reviews, events, people, products, services.

New to SEO? Learn more about it here

3. BUILDING RELEVANCY – Content Planning, Editing and Writing (Content Marketing).

Relevancy is all about your content. In search marketing, you need high quality website content to support your campaign, rank well in the search engines and drive business.

Unique, valuable information and educational content drives traffic because people want to read it, respond to it, and share it!

Using the highly important E.A.T. SEO guidelines, a team of copywriters will craft content that is authoritative, thoroughly researched and customised to meet your specific goals.

The team will then ensure that your pages are written to attract traffic to your site while promoting your brand and delivering your message.

The process includes:

Structuring pages for the web and establishing an ongoing content plan.

Researching and writing pages to support your SEO campaign.

Editing and proofing pages to incorporate feedback.

Adding content on a regular basis is also important. Companies that blog regularly attract 75% more traffic to their websites.

Almost all SEO campaign plans include turnkey monthly blogging services from topic conception through writing and posting with each post being optimised and relevantly customised to suit your industry sector and geographic market.

4. BLOG POSTS

Monthly blogging service with content brainstorming, writing and distribution includes:

Research and topic development

Writing and editing of monthly posts

On-page optimisation of each post

Distribution to target audience platforms

 

Digitalhound - a London SEO Agency

5. BUILDING AUTHORITY

Building a proper backlink profile is now multi-faceted and more intensive than simple link building and requires thorough research, outreach, time to complete, and time to mature.

Authority is based on the quality of backlinks to your site.

Developing a linking profile capable of ranking well in 2020 & beyond means that any links leading back to your website must be of relevance and quality.

A quality backlink requires that it is natural (not forced) and makes sense for your particular website or industry sector.

A diverse link profile is also more valued and a multitude of backlinks from separate sources or domains, are more valued than ones originating from the same location.

6. ANALYSIS

Each month you receive a detailed report on ranking improvements, key performance metrics and consultation on best practices.

Monthly Reports of Rankings & Traffic

Re-Optimisation, as needed

Monthly Consultation & SEO Web Site Audit

7. PARTNERSHIP, CONSULTATION & REPORTING

Internet marketing is a partnership.

Clients who regularly meet with their agency partners and act on their suggestions and ideas do tend to rank higher more quickly.

While an agency might handle 95% of the work themselves, they will also need your input on content and in obtaining some backlinks.

Feedback, assistance where necessary and an ongoing monthly budget are prerequisites to sustaining growth.

Although the client will receive a detailed report each month, it is always recommended to schedule a consultation to review best practices, to discuss and pitch new ideas.

8. FEES

Campaign fees should list in detail every item of work that the agency will be carrying out and should therefore NOT have any other surprise extras!

Fees are usually charged on a fixed hourly rate basis unless otherwise negotiated and are almost always subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.

Expert SEO Solutions

SUMMARY – MUST HAVES

A London SEO agency should have a minimum of 5-7 years experience.

A verifiable track record in helping brand growth.

Competent at audience development and retention strategies.

In-depth SEO knowledge, multi-channel expertise and a varied industry exposure.  

Supply proof of client satisfaction.

Based locally to facilitate monthly meetups.

Need more? Visit this top London SEO Agency now for further help, guidance and a FREE initial consultation.