James Wirth, Director of Strategy and Growth at Citation Labs, sought the answers to critical yet often underlooked questions during a link-building campaign.
Here’s what he found:
As the number of ranking keywords increases, the average rank initially worsens.
When a webpage starts to rank for new keywords, there is a likelihood that its average ranking position might initially worsen. This can be problematic, especially when trying to measure the success of link building efforts. However, according to Wirth, combining the average rank and rank distribution metrics can provide a different perspective. Instead of viewing the drop in rankings as a negative, it can be seen as an improvement in the number of keywords now ranking in top positions (1-3).
Wirth explains that the drop in rankings is only temporary, and the average rank recovers shortly after. Moreover, the new keywords that start ranking will likely improve the website's visibility and traffic. Therefore, continually monitoring the rank distribution of a website's keywords is essential. Doing so can identify new opportunities to optimize and improve the website's performance.
He then explains that CMOs and other C-suite level executives see SEO through a very different lens, and we must change how we speak about our reports. One solution Wirth gives is ROI forecasting.
Next, Wirth talked about the importance of knowing which pages to build links to. He advises conducting a link gap analysis to create a baseline for link building. At Citation Labs, they built a report that looks at different aspects of top competitor backlink profiles, including:
- Keyword data from Semrush
- Moz data
- Page authority
- Links per referring domains
- Organic difficulty score from Semrush
- Referring domains
This report helps them find the best pages to build links to and drive impactful campaigns.
He also talks about helpful content and its impact on money pages— especially YMYL content at the page level. He says that Google Search Quality Guidelines give special scrutiny to YMYL topics, and because money pages are asking for payment, they are likely among the most affected by YMYL content.
What makes content helpful?
“It's uniqueness. It's utility for the intended audience, and whether it meets the needs of the reader’s queries, signals various components of EEAT, or its click data (allegedly)...”
He ends the presentation by urging people to consider their audiences when creating content.
“At its core, audiences predict the most helpful types of expertise based on the stakeholders, goals, and topics that are generated to guide you down the right content development path because helpful content is only helpful when it meets the needs of all stakeholders.”