30 Second Intro
Hey guys and gals. I know the title is a bit blunt but…I have been teaching seo in some form or another for years. In that time I have seen the death of public Page Rank as a metric. That metric haunted the industry for far too long after its demise and that was troubling to me. I do understand though, people get busy, client work piles up, links need built, people need managed…It can be near impossible to keep up with changes. It does not help when influencers in the industry are behind on times as well.
This brings me to present day metrics. I am going to tear them apart and let you guys know what really matters to rank your sites in 2017 and beyond.
So, before I completely tear mainstream metrics to pieces I want to give credit where credit is due. I am a nice guy, ya know?
Most of the metrics a lot of SEOs use every day (Moz DA/PA and Majestic TF/CF) are fairly accurate when it comes to identifying authoritative sites. Running larger sites through these tools will more likely than not return numbers that are indicative of the domains overall power and the popularity of the site. This does not mean that every site with great metrics is an authority site but every real authority site I have come across has great metrics.
As you can see the trusty Majestic metrics are showing a trust and citation flow for Wikipedia that we would expect. Super authoritative site. Super high metrics.
MOZ seems to agree that Wikipedia is a powerful site.
They can also be great for bulk sorting lots of domains. So if you are building a guest post list of sites to reach out to, donation links target list, resource list targets, etc. Then I guess sorting by some type of benchmark metric can be helpful.
This pretty much sums up the good of these metrics. It was challenging to come out with two positive points but I didn’t want to start the post just slamming two successful companies and what they built…Not right away! hehe.
The problem with mainstream metrics is two fold. First, they are not good indicators of power as a standalone domain. Not consistently anyway. What I mean is if Google ranks a site really well in their search engine then that should theoretically be a powerful site. Maybe not everyone sees this as true but it makes logical sense. If a site outranks “authority sites” like Amazon, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. then it should at least have favorable metrics, right?
(There are patents that also explicitly state that the better their position in the serps the more Google rewards links from that site…Food for thought)
So, I wanted to check the metrics of a site ranking in a super competitive space, competing with Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, etc. I also did not want to manipulate the data to favor my argument by using some obscure micro niche that gets little to no search volume. Thus, we used a more competitive site that’s ranking and here are some of the search volumes and trends, just to articulate how crazy these terms are.
Sorry for the poor picture quality. I digress…
Fairly competitive terms. Lots of search volume. I did not want to pull data from the local serps as we could dig into some low competition areas and niches thus creating a flawed data set. I wanted to make sure this serp was a true representation of one that would take a fairly powerful domain and an intelligent seo strategy to rank.
Here is a site ranking, and not just ranking but crushing the serps, for these respective terms.
A lot of people who register domains for SEO purposes (jump starting new money sites with expired domains, PBNs, etc.) would pass right over this domain. A domain which arguably does 7-8 figures per year in sales. I base this quick estimate on the fact that the products on their site cost from $800-3,000.00 and with their positions in the serps they could easily capture several million per year in sales. Lots of variables there but regardless… it is a beast of a site.
The trust flow is below what most people would buy. The citation and trust flow differential is at a ratio which most people would label as spam. The backlinks/referring domains ratio doesnt look great. The anchor text…goes against every stated rule in almost any seo training on the planet. Check it out.
Ill breakdown the pie chart for you quickly
61% – Exact match keyword over 100k searches per month
26% – URL
9% – Plural version of the aforementioned exact match keyword
4% – Brand name
How many of you would pass on this domain because of the anchor text alone? I understand this is not directly tied to metrics but I am just reinforcing the fact that many people would pass on this domain if they saw it in the wild. The referring domains are interesting as well. This domain breaks every rule most seos live by from a metrics and general analysis perspective.
We can conclude from this that metrics have 0 correlation with rankings and in this case the overall power of the domain. Also, while I am only presenting one piece of data to you guys I have seen this over the span of hundreds of serps. Check for yourselves if you wish.
So metrics not being able to determine what Google sees as valuable and rankable (if that were a word) is not really a big deal. When mapping out a seo strategy I don’t think many people take into consideration the metrics of sites competing with them in the serps. Touche’
People do consider metrics when link building however and that is the most dangerous time to do it. That ladies and gentlemen is where the ugly comes in.
There are two main things I consider when looking at a target to place a link. Whether it be a domain I want to register for a PBN, a site I want to guest post on, buying sponsored posts, etc. These are the grand pappys of link metrics and they are…
Referring Domains and Backlinks
Let’s cut the BS…there is a ton of verbiage woven into Google patents that suggest a lot of different variables are taken into consideration when deciding where in the serps to rank a website. It can be overwhelming to traverse what seems like an infinite amount of pages pertaining to patents and deciphering what can sometimes be cryptic text.
The most basic principles of Google were founded on a large scale hypertextual, self scaling ecosystem, built on the concept of crawling links. The most basic way to grade or rate the significance of a web page dates back to the simple formula r(A)=n. Links were graded based on the number of links, until sophisticated engines like Google started implementing contingencies and variables.
Fast forward to 2017. Backlinks still rule. There are other factors of course. Some publicly written on the wall. Others are whispered around seo communities, theorizing on the “maybes” and “what ifs”. That is awesome, but go build a powerful link right now. Drip 5-10 links in over the next few weeks and see what happens.
You have to have an extreme issue if you do not see positive serp movement. Your on page has to be jacked, major technical site issues dragging down your quality score or maybe the sites that linked to you were penalized. Maybe your site is stuck in an algorithmic filter?
The variables are endless. Assuming there are no quality issues you will see a jump in rankings.
The gist of that spiel was to explain that no matter the layers of complexity that Google adds with their process of grading website’s outbound links, and assigning different qualities to those links based on certain circumstances, links push rankings.
Sorry to be too simplistic but if links push rankings then more links equals more power. We know that though. Referring domains and backlinks. That is still the core offsite metric that pushes rankings for Google. Not what some third part company has to say about the power of a website.
Of course every link is not created equal in the eyes of the Big G. Links on pages and sites that have a lot of inbound links will pass more link juice than one that has only a few, and even a less if none. We know this. We all understand the basic concept of link juice and how it flows through hyperlinks. SO…why have we allowed our judgement to be clouded by metrics from third party companies?
Next time you are looking for links, domains, etc. check out those with the most referring domains and ignore the metrics. You will uncover a goldmine of serp crushing opportunity.
“What about niche relevance?”
Absolutely. This is going to require an entirely separate post as this is not as one dimensional as “the site has to be in the same niche as the content you link to.” Never has. Probably never will.
“Why do you guys sell links based on metrics if metrics suck?”
Great question! We are at a point where the market is evolving but not quite sophisticated to the point where we are confident selling based on referring domains only. We will keep them for our private stock until you guys are ready. 🙂
Keep in mind, the referring domains to our sites are much more than your typical PBN where the minimum is like 8-15. We do not sell junk like that. Most of the links we place are on sites with ~50 referring domains. Plenty are more. 25 is the absolute minimum. Period.
We build a lot of sites to push our rankings. We rank a lot of sites. My posts are general findings and observations. There are very few definitive “laws” of seo. Always test and challenge what you hear and read. I am just sharing what works for us. If you guys and gals have any input I would love to chat and geek out about some seo. Thanks for reading!