Today on the blog I want to talk about SEO and link earning – more specifically something important to all our clients here at London PR: delivering authority links.

Every online business owner understands that links into their site fuel their optimization in search and help power them up those all-important Google rankings.

Go back a few years and building high quantities of links was every web master’s mission. But thanks to the clever girls and boys at Google the picture has changed somewhat over the past couple of years.

Quantity of links into a site is still important but these days updates to Google’s algorithm have ensured that the quality of those links is King.

An authority link is another way of saying a link of very high quality. There are various measures and metrics you can use to estimate the quality of a link but generally speaking it will come from a site with a high level of credibility and trust – often a site you’ll have already heard of.

Respected news sites such as BBC News, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc are all highly regarded by Google as authority sources of information. It makes sense then that a link from these will have more value than a link from say Dawn’s funky fashion blog (no offence Dawn).

This means that link building is now dead. Today the conversation must be about link earning. You see, you cannot build a link from the BBC, you must earn it.

After all, think about all the sites that are linking across the web into these authority sites. There are millions of sites linking into the BBC, the tricky part is getting the BBC to link to you. It isn’t easy, the Beeb’s charter says it mustn’t promote commercial sites, but it can be done.

Earned links can’t be bought. No money exchanges hands. Instead a link is earned by the high quality of the content. And to create content appealing enough to earn a link from a high value news site you need an SEO team with journalistic skills and knowledge.

Let’s look at the numbers

If we use Majestic SEO’s Trust Flow tool to estimate the value of the sites named above, we see that the BBC for example has a Trust Flow of 94 out of a possible 100. That is an extremely valuable link to earn for your site.

It’s a similar story with the other sites mentioned, The Daily Telegraph’s website domain telegraph.co.uk, has a Trust Flow of 82, Guardian scores 55, Wall Street Journal 79, NY Times, 80. To put these into context most sites on the web have a Trust Flow in single figures. Anything over 20 is viewed as a very desirable link.

When considering the value of authority media links put any prejudice against certain sectors of the press to one side. It isn’t just links from the Beeb and the lofty broadsheets which are valuable. The Daily Mail’s website comes with a Trust Flow of 72 – nice link if you can earn it. And a link from The Sun scores 65. Not to be sniffed at.

Pure SEO agencies struggle to deliver authority media links like these. They don’t have the skills. Most SEO agencies still don’t get link earning. Many are still coming to terms with the move away from the link building model. A few are still busy disavowing the weak links they built in the past which perhaps worked eight years ago but are now actively harming clients.

These SEO agencies can provide content for sure, but content worthy of publication by a serious news outlet? Not so easy. That’s why Google made those updates to its algorithm – to cut the SEO guys out of the loop.

A couple of years ago, when one of Google’s big updates was implemented, we had a flood of enquiries from SEO agencies asking us to white label behind them and deliver content capable of delivering the media links they craved. Some of these agencies were big operations with hundreds of staff.

They had masses of expertise in search but that knowledge had led them to the uncomfortable conclusion that PR was best placed to win the results their clients demanded. PR, not SEO. I imagine it wasn’t great news for someone who’d spent the previous decade building a solely SEO focused agency.

We flirted with a few of these agencies but didn’t get into bed with any of them. In the long term we decided not to offer our services out on a white label basis, but to reserve them purely for our own clients here at London PR.

In today’s online media landscape, it is PR skills which deliver the most value for clients trading primarily on the internet. Specifically, it is highly developed editorial skills which deliver the goods.

An organisation like London PR speaks the same language as the journalists working at online news outlets. Our whole mission is to deliver fantastic results for clients while also satisfying the media’s need for real stories (not the fluff so many agencies churn out).

We are still approached from time to time by SEO agencies trying to outsource the difficult part of their job to us. But since we added SEO underneath our logo those approaches have become noticeably less frequent.

We made that change in response to the requests from our clients to help them earn more of the difficult but valuable links their SEO agencies had failed to deliver.

Take a look at some of our work to see examples including several links earned for clients from the BBC.

ENDS

© London PR 2017