Chauncey: Welcome to the Being Found Show. We’re talking about backlinks for your website and everything you need to be done offsite. Chances are this one is only going to apply to people who have established websites or who have taken over websites and so on.

You need to first fix your old backlinks. That means that you clean up your website and you make sure that all your internal linking is fine and functioning so that you don’t have a 404. So that’s a link that goes nowhere when you click it. You clean it up with a 301. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Its says Page 404, and it tends to have something cute.

Your second aspect of cleaning up your old backlinks is to index your site. For sites linking to it, it’s very time to consume, but there might be some quality stuff in there. If you look deep enough into Google Webmaster Tools, you can download a list of all the sites that Google knows is linking to your site. You then take all of those, and you clean them up and just get the domain names. You assess each one of those domain names by running them through a tool to see which ones are really valuable.

There are lots of great tools; MOZ Local is great. For someone looking for domain and page authority, it is a great tool. If you are paying for it as well, you can get a spam rating, and it will tell you which links or sites are spammy which is kind of cool. Then you asses the fact that you may have ten on here that are coming from websites that are high-quality websites. Then you take the domain and search it up to find out where those links are. You can find out what page it’s linking to and redirect it if it is a dead link.

Jake: You mentioned you could identify spammy websites if there is a lot of spam linking to your site. Google will diminish your ranking for that.

Chauncey: Absolutely. Birds of a feather flock together and all those spammy websites, a lot of the time, are part of a personal blog network or they’re part of some sort of link wheel and if you’re too involved with those Google will start to think of you as being part of that spam network. Then you can get a manual penalty and Google has like little penalties. If you’re not doing the right things or you’re not providing the right information you’re going to show up less in search. If Google provides a manual penalty that means that you’ve been flagged by the search engine. A human being has come in and taken a look at your site and said this is shady they’re breaking the rules, you’re out. Then you need to manually fix those problems and write a resubmission request to Google and Google will say Okay you’re back in.

Another thing you need to do to your website before you go on is creating linkable assets. People don’t want to link to a sales page; you don’t want to push them in that direction unless they’re ready to convert. People just don’t want to know. Businesses get so caught up in return on investment in conversion that they’re never moving out to these other tiers of influence.

We had this great conversation the other day that was mindblowing to me in its simplicity where we were talking about project management. Level 1 priority is critical and time sensitive. And then there’s basically 2 3 and 4 and people basically work in level 1 putting out fires and then relaxing for number 4 to come down and never touch 2 and 3. This is from the book that Jake’s been talking about for a month. He’s the world’s slowest audio listener.

Jake: It’s true. I used to do my book tips every Saturday morning all throughout. I haven’t been for a long time, but I’ll throw it in. It is Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I think I’m on habit 3 right now. I highly recommend it.

Chauncey: Let’s get back into creating assets. People don’t really want to see a sales page unless they’re ready to be sold to. Link your assets to sales pages. Save your sales pages for ads and assets that have to do with conversion. Mostly, you need to answer peoples questions. When you break it down like that there are a lot of fraught questions that go through a person’s mind before they make that purchase. If you’re solely focused on making the sale you’re missing all these steps that a person’s mind goes through before they make this.

Jake: So having a page that accurately captures the reason that person is going to the page is important. If someone wants to learn more and the page you guide them to is for someone who wants to buy, that links quality or value is going to diminish because people are going to bounce.

Chauncey: I suffer from this as well. When I am doing work, especially for lower paying clients, our focus is to provide them with some sales. Small and medium businesses are struggling to stay above water. We are sitting at number 1, which is the hard work when we should be pushing for number 2 and 3, which are the crucial little steps in between the process of finding and purchasing. You should probably spend half an hour on 2 and 3, and that is answering some of their questions in an SEO or marketing friendly fashion.

Jake: Doing the important things even when they’re not critical.

Chauncey: Right. So when creating linkable assets make sure that you have something on your site that’s worth linking to. Now there’s a broad range of that, and we’ll get to more of that later. So the first step here that we’re going to talk about is foundational backlinks. When I’m explaining this to people, I tend to describe it as a silver colander. Each website has a colander or a strainer. They are made to hold water, but unfortunately, they are full of little holes. All your On-Site optimization is plugging holes, and all your offsite optimization is pouring in some water. If you have fewer holes and more water flow coming in than your competitor you’re going to win. The point of foundational backlinks is that there are the holes that all your competitors have plugged. So you need to plug these holes, and they’re easy to do. You might as well just plug those holes to level the playing field. Now you can work outside of that.

Foundational backlinks tend to be social media. The first thing you need to do is secure all your social media properties. You don’t have to actively market on these platforms, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. When you’re on there, you can choose which platforms work best for you. A lot of different industries will work better in other areas. Facebook is a giant for some industries but not for others. E-commerce is one that Facebook hasn’t been doing. While in the service industry they are doing pretty well.

Jake: Although I will say that they’ve been on mobile they’ve started showing ad rows or small, personalized ad catalogs.

Chauncey: I’ve noticed while they’re definitely in there for the fight, Facebook is Google’s only serious competitor at this point. So at the minimum, populate these accounts and share some content so that it looks good and at the very minimum here, the social media ones you should be using includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. Those are the ones all your competitors have.  Thank you for listening to this segment of the Being Found Show, to hear the full show listen here: Being Found Show Episode #63 or subscribe to our Podcast.