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The Professional’s Guide to SEO: Link Building Sneak Preview

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The Professional’s Guide to SEO: Link Building Sneak Preview

We’re developing a brand-new SEO guide for you — The Professional’s Guide to SEO, designed as your next-step resource once you’re comfortable with the baseline provided by the Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

When we think of link building, one of the first people we think of is our friend Paddy Moogan at Aira, the architect of the Beginner’s Guide to Link Building, MozCon alumni speaker, and industry thought leader. That’s why we’re jazzed to announce that the link building chapter of our upcoming Professional’s Guide to SEO is authored by none other than the fine folks at Aira. And today we’re sharing an excerpt of that very chapter.

Dive in for a glimpse at our newest guide, and as always, give us a shout on Twitter if you have any thoughts or recommendations — we love hearing from you!

Link Building & Link Earning Tactics

Measuring link building

In this section, we explore approaches to measuring links and understanding which ones may make the biggest difference to traffic and rankings, along with business outcomes such as revenue.

Once your link building strategy is set and you’re underway, you need to measure your work so that you can understand the effectiveness of what you’re doing and demonstrate its value. There are a few ways that you can measure link building, which we’ll cover below, along with the pros and cons of each one.

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Volume of links

You can use various tools (such as Link Explorer) to measure the volume of links to a domain and then measure this number over time. You can also manually measure the links that you build via your own outreach and record these over time.

The advantage of this measure is that it’s very easy to do and is usually a direct consequence of the work that you are doing. For example, if you engage in a tactic such as broken link building, you can see exactly how many links you were able to build as a result of that work. This will allow you to understand which activities are most worthwhile and effective at generating volumes of links.

There is a downside to this form of measurement. Not all links are created equal, and the raw volume of links isn’t very useful without important context such as the authority and relevance of those links.

One high-quality, authoritative, relevant link could do more for your site than a hundred low-quality links. If you only measure link volume on its own, then the hundred low-quality links may be seen as successful and effective.

Volume of links can be a useful metric as long as you layer it with other context, which we’ll talk about below.

Quality of links

“Quality” is generally quite subjective, but when it comes to link building, there are some good ways to understand and measure the quality of a link. The two core ways are:

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  1. Relevance of a link

  2. Authority of a link

Let’s talk about relevance first.

Link relevance

Relevance isn’t binary. You can’t just look at a link and say off the bat whether it’s relevant or not. For example, imagine you get a link to your website from another in the same industry and which contains content similar to yours. It sounds relevant at the surface, but what if the link is pointing at a piece of content you’ve created that’s on a completely different topic — is that still a relevant link?

What if you somehow get a link from NASA to your coffee beans website? Space exploration isn’t exactly relevant to the grinders and beans that you sell, is it?!

Situations like these make relevance pretty difficult to measure, especially at scale. But it’s possible to do by using your own experience, instincts, and by asking a few basic questions when looking at a link:

  • If the link is on another website, how likely is it that a potential customer for your products would see that link?

  • If the link is to a piece of content that you’ve created, would that content resonate with your ideal customer?

  • If someone at your company who has zero knowledge of SEO and link building saw the link, would they be happy with it?

Questions like these can help you judge whether a link is relevant to your business or not. Despite it not being the most objective measure and hard to scale, factoring relevance into your link building measurement at some point is vital. This is because the more relevant links are, the more likely they are to put you in front of potential customers and to generate real traffic.

Link authority

When it comes to authority, there are many third-party scoring methods that aim to replicate Google PageRank. Domain Authority and Page Authority are proprietary metrics created by Moz. They can give you an approximate idea of how much value a particular link has. It’s not foolproof, and no third-party metric can truly replicate Google PageRank, but they can be good enough to give you a rough idea of how much authority a link has.

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Using third-party metrics is a good thing, but you should always keep in mind that these metrics are not used by Google themselves. This means that they’re naturally limited in their usefulness and, similar to link volume, they shouldn’t be used without context.

Rankings and organic search traffic

Ideally, the link building that you carry out should have a positive effect on your organic search rankings and as a consequence, your traffic as well. As we learned earlier, there are many signals that Google uses to determine organic search rankings, but building the right kinds of links is a strong one and should help you rank better.

However, it can be hard to measure the direct effect of the links you build on organic search rankings and traffic. It’s not as simple as being able to say “we built 10 links and our traffic went up by 20%.” Despite understanding some of the signals, none of us knows exactly how the Google algorithm works and even if we did, every website and industry is different.

Building ten links for a brand-new coffee bean website is likely to have a bigger impact than building 10 links for an established website that sells car insurance.

This makes our lives harder as SEOs, but not impossible. It’s also easier if you’re able to control or at least have some influence over other important areas of SEO, such as technical SEO or content.

The main thing that many of us can do, regardless of how much control we have, is to measure organic search rankings and traffic objectively over time and look for consistent improvement. Check your rankings with tools such as Moz Pro or Google Search Console and use Google Analytics to check traffic.

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Referral traffic

Another way to measure the effectiveness of link building is to look at how much traffic is sent via the links that you’ve built.

It’s easy to get caught up in measurement of rankings and organic traffic and forget that you can generate traffic directly from links, too. This happens when someone sees your link and then clicks on it, resulting in a visit to your website.

Now, not every link that you build will send traffic — and that’s okay. However, one aspect of your approach should include building links that do indeed lead to referral traffic. They may come as a result of launching a great piece of content or building a new, innovative product feature that gets picked up by industry experts.

Setting expectations is important here because, as mentioned, not every link will send lots of traffic. For example, if you get a link on a page because of a great resource that you’ve created, but your link is amongst hundreds of other links on the external website, the chances of someone clicking on yours is significantly reduced.

With that said, it’s a fantastic metric to use and pretty simple if you utilize analytics tools such as Google Analytics.

Want more news about the Professional’s Guide to SEO? Don’t miss any of our future sneak peeks — make sure you’re signed up for Moz Blog email updates!

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.

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Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.

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Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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