Link Training Workshop Feedback

Last month I ran the Link Building and Reputation Workshop at SES – a four hour session the day after the Search Engine Strategies conference with a much smaller group. It’s my fourth SES workshop now and I have to admit to being petrified before each session. The group was incredibly diverse and the demands and skill levels very different. I am therefore pretty pleased with the feedback survey that I just received from Incisive Media:

Feedback Survey Results

What is your overall evaluation of this workshop? 4.00

How would you rate the workshop leaders in terms of knowledge and presentation style? 4.14

Please rate the workshop leaders’ effectiveness (e.g. rapport with group, methods and models used). 3.86

What parts of the training were most interesting and useful to you?
1. The reputation
2. Quality of links
3. One to one input from Dixon on issues specifically relevant to me
4. Link audit tools

Please enter any additional comments about this workshop.
1. It was really interesting. It was possible to speak about our business case. May be the first part in the internal linking could have been more developed.
2. The workshop was a bit too technical for my knowledge
3. Dixon did a good job of generating content to satisfy a broad range of user levels, and took the time to find out our respective levels. I think as the industry matures you will find it increasingly difficult to speak to the broader range of abilities and may need different training levels. Dixon provided me with some fabulous one to one advice which will pay for the cost of the training alone.

I am very grateful to those that wanted to put “1” or “2” for politely not responding and I also hope that the marking was out of 5, bot 10 (otherwise I’m going to get very embarrassed). For my part – I’d like to say thanks to everyone on the course for participating and joining in.

If you would like training, the SES training sessions are well worth a look. They are run all over the world. If you have a larger corporate group, Feel free to ask what training Receptional can offer.


Proving a page passes PageRank and other secrets

I came up with an interesting finding today, whilst testing whether having a link on a Google Profile passes PageRank. Writing it up prematurely, I am going to end up tainting the experiment, but since I inadvertently spotted something interesting, I decided to stop anyway and tell the world. So this post:

  • Shows you how to tell whether a page really passes page rank
  • Shows you why I think Google Profiles don’t pass PageRank (even though they are not nofollow) and
  • Shows an error in Google’s algorithm…. clear as day.

How to tell if a page really passes PageRank

Well first… I don’t believe in Page Rank. What I am actually testing is whether a link from page A to page B actually influences the ranking of page B in the SERPS. If you think that’s the same as green fairy dust, then please go back a few steps.

My test was to put some unique anchor text on page A that did not appear at all on page B. Most people trying to check or claim a page passes any authority or relevance tend to completely ignore this important part of such a claim. If the anchor text has any similarity with the content on the landing page, then you have screwed up your test, because there could easily be (and probably are) other factors affecting whether the landing page shows on a search engine for that term. Below is my test in pictures.

Why I think Google Profiles don’t pass PageRank

I did the above test on a Google profile… My own google Profile. I used the unique text:  “I live in Harlington with Marie and my two kids and I have just taken on an allotment.” The profile went live in late November. Now in THEORY, that link is not “NoFollowed” so if Google finds it, then it should take some authyority from it’s parent domain (which is!) and then in do couse, the landing page would show in the Google results for either the phrase “I live in Harlington with Marie and my two kids and I have just taken on an allotment.” or just “just take out an allotment”… even though these words do not appear on page B right? Of course, just because Google doesn’t put “NoFollow” tags in its own links, doesn’t mean the links are “DoFollow”. Anyway… Heres what has happened with the test so far.

Day 1: Google hadn’t indexed anything. So no screenshot to show you.

6th January the result was like this:


Very cool… seems to have cached the page, and its cache made it into Google’s SEPS before the original post! However… no sign of the landing Google profile or the landing page yet.

Jan 15th the result was like this:


Google has found Page A (The Google Profile) and has indexed it… and to be fair has given it more relevence than the Cache, even though Google iondexed the Compete’s page before its own.

Feb 1st the result was like this:


Google managed to kick Compete out of the results altogether. But the Landing Page (page B) is still not appearing for either of my test search phrases. Now that I have published this post, my test must stop, because I have other links to the landing page. But a new test continues, I suppose, to see if THIS page passes anchor text link juice to the landing page. But I stopped the test, because the test already found two new things:

An error in Google’s algorithm…

Look closer at the above image. Is it my eyes, or does it say “No results found for ‘I live in Harlington with Marie and my two kids and I have just taken on an allotment.’ and then… right underneath it… show a page with EXACTLY that result. Syntax correct… match case correct… everything correct. So the Hazard symbol lies.

Here’s another bonus secret for reading to the end…

Most people think that Google will call the first page it indexes with duplicate content the authoritative version. However, Google clearly indexed compete’s version first… some days later, it indexed my profile… then some days later again it dumped

So that debunks the theory that the first call on content wins.

Much to think about there. Can you add to my findings?

A Blog Link is worth 5X a Comment Link

Today I managed to work out that for every link that you get in a blog post, you’ll get 478% more conversions than getting a list in the comments following a blog post. I love taking a set or list of data and being able to use it to deduce something new.

Funnily enough, I got the research data after Kevin Gibbons listed 10 UK Search Marketing People You Should Know (on Twiitter). Almost immediately, Rishil added a few other names in the comments. (Rishil is my new best friend for mentioning me). I saw the post pretty early on, before it got well and truly Sphunn and figuring that it would go hot I went through everyone’s twiiter profile to see how many followers they had. Then – just now – I went through the same list 24 hours later and recorded their new follower count. With the exception of one “outlier” listed at the bottom, I could see the difference in sign-ups between those listed in the main post and those listed in the comments. On average – over the 24 hour period – the main posters increased their followers by 43, whilst those in the comments increased their followers by 9. So the post links were nearly 5 times more valuable in terms of “conversions” than the comment links.

Whilst the way of generating this data is a little “off the wall” I think it stands up reasonably well as a way to measure. On its own you couldn’t call it scientific, because during that time people may have followed for other reasons, but that back ground noise will only server to up 478% a little – so rounding still end up with a five times increase.

So now you know – something to tell your clients. Getting cited in a blog post is five times more valuable than being cited in a blog comment – given that the citations are similar in context.

Top UK Search Bloggers on Twitter

Twitter Name Listed Follower Increase Blog URL 52 46 46 49 41 41 [fixed] 35 46 29
      Average Increase 43  
Listed in comments: by 8 13 12 6 6
        Average Increase 9  

(List via 10 UK Search Marketing People You Should Know.)

Notes on the analysis:

Excluded from data analysis: who increased by 418 followers, but with 17,513 followers he kinda skewed results! Jim… while I am here… that’s WAY too many.