Does WMT ‘Crawl Representative URL’ Transfer Link Equity?

This is a case I encountered recently, and I struggled with for a while. To keep things quick – I was working with a fairly baroque faceted navigation which had attracted a substantial amount of external links to category URLs containing tracking parameters.

The canonical tag was holding everything together link equity wise, but the crawl inefficiency was staggeringly bad. While we could use robots.txt directives, this would likely kill the site’s organic performance – no crawl, no canonical, no value passing external links. read more

Fun With Unnatural Outbound Links Penalties

On March 20th, 2014 (hint), I received the following message for one of my sites:

Unnatural outbound links. Excellent. To be clear, this domain does have outbound links that were probably placed with the intent of manipulating PageRank. It’s irredeemably bad, a running joke. Google did the right thing penalising it. I’ve been waiting for this.


Well, I’ve never seen an outbound link penalty before, and I’d like to see if I can shift the penalty using a technique that probably shouldn’t work. read more

Ecommerce Linkbuilding Through Product Mentions

This method works best with anyone who sells uniquely named products. It can work for people drop shipping, and affiliates with decent deals. What we aim to do with this method is fairly simple. In an ideal world, we would be able to find people talking about having purchased a product your client sells from your client. As it’s not an ideal world, we’re going to settle for “web pages that have mentioned both a product your client sells and your client”.


Get a complete list of products your client sells. You should be able to get this either from your client or by scraping using something like Screaming Frog. read more

Preventing Tiered Link Spam

Tiered linkbuilding works. In short – there are links to your website (either self-created or organic), and using automated means you build links to these links to increase their power, hedge risk to your own domain, and rank. It’s easy to do, and very scalable (and Google hates it). Unfortunately it tends to not be too healthy for the domains linking to you. The domains you are using to launder your links take the brunt of the risk, without their knowledge. Last year I produced some recommendations for a Web 2.0 property being used as a Tier 1 site in tiered linkbuilding. read more

Link Audits with Rank Cracker

Matthew Woodward recently released his free tool “Rank Cracker“. Instead of using the software for it’s proscribed purpose of making it easier to replicate competitor link profiles, I’m suggesting you consider trying it for link audits.

Let’s say you’re doing a link audit for someone who’s been hit for less-than-clean link building. Automated tools are frowned upon. Rank Cracker is supposed to identify links that can be built with automated tools. This is good. read more

Page Anchors and Content Marketing

This post is about the “white hat ethical content marketing” technique that’s a shade lighter than the old “oh, did we accidentally 301 that to a valuable page?” switcheroo. Many sites do this already, and some agencies recommend it for their clients (and I have mixed feelings about this). Currently I wouldn’t say it’s risky, but you shouldn’t listen to me.

“Link Anchors” (not anchor text), are those things that let you jump around annoyingly like this. People often use them to divide longform articles into more manageable chapters. This makes sense. It’s believed that Google only values up to the hash symbol when assessing links to a page. read more