Link Emperor Blog

This SearchMetrics SEO Whitepaper Is Wonderful (My Notes)

September 15, 2014

Searchmetrics just released a fantastic, totally free, fact-filled white paper called:
"SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations 2014 - Google U.S."
That might sound boring, but I read all 83 pages of this darn thing, and it was simply fascinating.
I'm going to summarize here what I found particularly useful, however I really suggest you opt-in to get a free copy of the full study for yourself:
(I am not an affiliate, I don't even know these guys. But I love 'em.)
If you sell SEO services in any capacity, the proof in these charts will help close more sales than you'd believe. I already sent this to our customer support and sales people to study in detail.
NOTE: For the record, this study is full of correlations they've detected, but it's nowhere near guaranteed that these are all ranking factors. Only Google has access to the true algorithm. That said, you are a smart person, and as a smart person I know you will get a lot out of it.
Ok, let's talk about what's inside...
Click-Through Rate's Importance is Literally Off the Chart
Having a great headline is 2x more important for ranking than the next closest factor. Nothing else even compares. Google tests everything, and when searchers are interested in your page, Google will reward you handsomely.
Similarly, if you have an absolutely terrible headline, it will take an absurd amount of link building to get it to stick to the front page. Beware!
Build Long Mega-Pages, Over 975 Words
Whereas we used to be able to rank short, keyword-targeted pages all day long, Google has drastically adjusted what they consider "great content." It's now more important than ever that you include a bunch of topically related information and keywords in your content.
You want your page to be a holistic representation of the keyword and the entire topic that surrounds it (think Wikipedia) rather than just being about the particular keyword itself. This goes hand in hand with the fact that the average word count of a high-ranking page is up to 975 (and that's the average!) 
So if you have a bunch of shorter articles that are each built around a single keyword (the way we used to do it, in little interlinked silos), then you'd likely be better off combining all those articles into a few mega-pages that encompass the entire topic. Those pages can rank for multiple keywords so long as you have your Titles, H2's and Meta Descriptions done properly.
Think about it this way... Google is absolutely in love with ranking Wikipedia pages, so why wouldn't you style your content similarly to how they do it? They put everything related to one topic on a single, often very long page.
(By the way, if you need lots of quality content, I really feel that our writers offer the best value you'll find anywhere. Learn more at
Raw Number of Backlinks is Still the #1 Off-Page Factor
Quality backlinks are obviously important to ranking.
However, I see a lot of SEO's swinging a little too far in the opposite direction since the Penguin hammer came down.
Over the past year, I've heard from so many people "All you need are a couple really good links." Well, this study shows that that's simply not the case. It might get you towards the first page, but it usually won't get you to the top.
Searchmetrics shows, without a doubt, that higher-ranking pages have MORE links than their competitors across the board. Bulk link building is not going anywhere... and if you're trying to rank a page that sits on an authority domain (Amazon, Youtube etc.) it's still practically the Wild West in terms of what automated backlinks can accomplish.
(Side note: You might have noticed that Google+ is ranked above backlinks in correlation, and that is an off-page factor. However, if you read the full study, they go to great lengths to discuss social signals, how complicated of a factor they are to measure, and the fact that Google explicitly came out and said they don't use social signals as a ranking factor. So they're a giant question mark. On top of that, we're seeing great success right now ranking pages without any social whatsoever.)
Nofollow Links Help
This answers an eternal argument. Many people complain about nofollow links, or say they have no value so there's no point in getting them. However, smart SEOs have been continuing to acquire nofollow links practically from the beginning.
Not only does it look unnatural to have 100% followed links, but we've seen multiple case studies demonstrating that nofollow links can help a page rank all by themselves.
Searchmetrics says: "Good ranking pages have a significantly higher proportion of ... no-follow links in their backlink profile"
Press Releases Are Awesome
"Backlinks from News Domains" was one of the most highly correlated factors, tied with "Having New Backlinks" which is obviously important too.
This obviously goes hand in hand with nofollow links being a positive factor, since most press releases are nofollow.
I'm tempted to go off into a tangent related to the new information I've been learning about what happened when PRWeb and some of the other big press release companies got penalized a few months ago. However, I'm going to do that as an entirely separate report in the near future, so stay tuned.
For the time being, I'll simply say that we're getting great results with right now, both in terms of ranking the releases themselves and getting SEO benefits from the backlinks. Join here!
Shoot for a 25% Ratio of Keyworded Anchor Texts
Ever since Penguin, people have been extremely cautious about building anchor-texted backlinks directly to their money site (and for good reason.) However, I've heard all sorts of answers when it comes to the "proper" ratio of anchor-texted links.
As with everything, moderation is key. It'll be tough to rank if you don't put any keywords into your anchors. However, too many can easily set off a penguin penalty.
According to SearchMetrics, the right balance falls somewhere in the 20-30% range. This of course varies by keyword, so if you want to be super-careful, use Majestic SEO to look up the approximate ratios of the other sites ranking in your niche. But based on this study, you generally want to shoot for around 25%. 
Just be careful not to get too high (that goes for you college kids, too!) … if you do, just build a bunch of branded or naked links without anchor text until you get your ratios back into the target zone.
Keyworded Domain Name / URL is No Longer a Factor At All
Anybody who owns a fancy, million-dollar exact match domain took a huge hit this year.
It is, however, still important to have the keyword in the title, H1, body and meta description.
Vary Your Backlinks As Much As Possible (Duh)
There are a number of graphs related to this topic, so I'll just sum them all up here.
  1. Use stop words in your anchor texts
  2. Use multiple words in your anchors.. at least 2
  3. Get some nofollow links
  4. Continuously get fresh, new links every month
  5. Get links from tons of referring domains
  6. Get links from news domains
  7. Link deep into your site (not just to the homepage)
  8. Use lots of branded anchors (yourdomain.tld, yourdomain) -- at least 15% of your total links
Smaller Page File Sizes Rank Better for Mobile Searches
This is especially important for local business websites. Keep your page sizes low.
...and, that's all for now.
P.S. Seriously, get the full Searchmetrics report for yourself here:


Press Releases & Panda 4.0

June 03, 2014


Barry Schwartz recently published a story called "Press Release Sites See Huge Drop In Google Ranking After Panda 4.0" at

Being the owner of a press release distribution service, I’ve already been contacted a few times about his article.

My opinion? -- Barry is absolutely right.

Press Release Sites did get slapped hard and I believe that they will continue to get slapped even harder. 

However, I want to be very clear that both Barry and I said "Press Release SITES," not "Press Releases."

When he talks about Press Release Sites, he's talking about domains like,,, and These are services that sell press release distribution, but have worked to build their own domains into a platform for “gaming” Google.

These Press Release Sites contain no legitimate news, and do no actual reporting.

Yet they were ranking for tons of keywords.

It's very unlikely that anyone ever goes to the homepage of to read through the top stories of the day. Therefore, in my opinion (as well as Google’s), that makes it a Content Farm.

However, Press Releases on actual news websites are still ranking as well as they ever were.

It simply comes down to whether the distribution you’ve purchased is going to real news websites, rather than the Content Farms many marketers have been relying on.

We saw that coming when Matt Cutts tweeted about press releases last year, which is why our goal from the beginning has been to syndicate and distribute Press Releases to the websites of actual news organizations. Websites that run real news stories and have useful homepages that get lots of legitimate traffic. Sites like Yahoo Finance and the biggest ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Affiliates in the country. 

Our releases have been unaffected by this update. They’re on the same domains and featured in the same sections as real news.

If your Press Release strategy currently relies on something like, it's time to adapt.

Learn about our distribution at

Best Regards,

Kevin Bombino, Founder

Press Release Secrets Webinar

April 29, 2014


In case you missed it, by popular demand, here is the replay of Kevin and Bobby’s Press Release Secrets training webinar.

In it they cover ALL the strategies from the Press Release Secrets emails, including:

  • Launch Jacking and how to make the fastest internet money possible...
  • How to write the best titles so you get WAY more clicks.
  • How to rank a Press Release in Google and make sure it keeps ranking for a LONG time…
  • Managing your reputation online easily with press releases...
  • How to make sure your releases stay safe and play by Google's own rules…
  • AND a little demo of Press Advantage so you can see what our other customers are raving about!
  • and more!


Check it out:

Press Advantage Webinar from Link Emperor on Vimeo.


We've Added Support for Local Citations on a Target Level!

February 27, 2014


Today we are proud to announce a new feature:

We now offer you the ability to take advantage of local citations for every target in a campaign, on an individual basis.  They used to only work on a campaign basis, and that caused a few conflicts.

This way, even if your business has multiple locations all within the same Link Emperor campaign, we can now build unique citations to each of those specific URLs.

Local citations are absolutely necessary when it comes to ranking for local keyword terms and in Google places.

To learn more, we have a new 3-minute training video that explains everything in detail!  Watch it here.

As always, we love hearing your new ideas for the service and do our best to support feature requests as they come in.  Don't be scared to ask!  In fact, many of our best features have come from customer input.

If you have a suggestion, please email us at


Karson Kraybill

Case Study: The Power of the ParaSite

January 06, 2014


Whether you've been with us for days, weeks or years, you've no doubt heard us singing the praises of ParaSites.

Beyond their obvious social networking benefits, they've become crucial in today's SEO.

In this case study, we show how a Link Emperor user ranked some ParaSites with outstanding results, and illustrate for you the exact settings they used.

Check it out: