About Richard Baxter
Richard is founder and CEO of Builtvisible.com: an agency of people who love SEO, search and creating content that communicates ideas and builds brands. He is a veteran digital marketer of 10 years with experience of delivering digital solutions for major clients. Builtvisible has worked with many major companies including Intuit Quickbooks, Telegraph Jobs, Red Bull, Prezzy Box, Icelandair, and Casio.
In his Learn Inbound talk, Richard shares his reasons for why SEO has kept him addicted for over a decade and some of his learnings and insights into the SEO mindset.
- What do you know about the technical history of your site? Change of domains? Staging / dev server address? Subdomains? Find out as much as possible at the start of a project.
- Remember legacy https! Without a valid SSL cert on an old domain, you can’t redirect 301 requests.
- Look for redirect chains. You can use tools like Ayima’s redirect plugin, or Screaming Frog’s desktop tool.
- Chase up unlinked brand mentions. Go deeper by not just looking for brand, but rather look for product mentions, your CEO and other members of staff. You can use Talkwalker, Fresh Web Explorer or Ahrefs Alerts for this.
So this is a presentation about that, a presentation about a mindset, really. You know, how do you apply yourself to SEO as a process to find things to fix, to find things that are going to have an impact on your traffic and your rankings. I always use to tell people, this is a long time ago now, but I always use to tell people the reason why I love organic search is that I love understanding lists of things or understanding why lists of things were ordered in that way. So you know, you look back to organic search results. And I was always fascinated with why one position was ranking higher than the other and what small changes could be made to change that.
I think the joy that I get from that is it's sort of reflecting the sport that I'm into as well. So for those that don't know, I'm a huge motor racing fan. I love Formula One. And one of the things that I love most about this sport is it's not the drivers, it's not celebrities, it's the engineering. I just think that's amazing that these guys will spend millions of pounds just to find one-tenth of a second on their lap time. That's insane but that's what they do and that's what they do to win.
I think that's a really, really remarkable thing. When I was researching this presentation, I came across a story from James Claire on a guy called Dave Brailsford who's the Team Sky manager for the cycle team. And I don't know if anybody in this room is into professional cycling. It's a really interesting sport. These guys push and push and push for the smallest of gains. And that was Dave Brailsford's methodology with Team Sky. He took over them in 2010 with the goal of getting them to win the Tour de France which is deeply competitive, fiercely competitive place to be. And his methodology was pretty simple, and it was called the aggregation of marginal gains. Let's focus on the 1%. Let's focus on those small optimizations. Let's identify where our weaknesses are. Let's learn what we need to understand to able to improve them and then let's execute. Let's improve them.
And over time, your performance improves, obviously. Team Sky one, I think in 2012, that was a year ahead of plan and it was using this methodology. And what stands out most, I mean, have a look at this blog post. I think it's really, really interesting. But what stands out most to me is that James drew this chart. And obviously, it shows, first of all, how you can improve if you put the effort in, if you push yourself to find those marginal gains. But also, compared to your competition, it can show how you can decline if you're not doing this sort of stuff. And my real takeaway is the earlier you do it, the bigger the net effect can be with those optimizations.
So that's my presentation. I want to talk to you today about quick wins; things that we can change reasonably easily that I know will make a difference. The reason why I say I know is that actually nearly all of this presentation is about the SEO that I do on builtvisible.com. I still do our marketing. I love doing it like I said. And it's a good way for me to keep my senior team on their toes. And also, I've spent a lot of time teaching our juniors how to do this kind of thing.
So my presentation is a bit of a brain dump. I'm going to give you sort of a methodology. I'm going to give you some questions to take away and answer. And I'll tell you what I think the answers are. If you take one thing away from this presentation it's this; that I think the performance of your SEO, your organic search channel, is hidden in your understanding of the history of your website.
So you think about, you know, for the agency guys in this room, you take over a new account, obviously you don't know anything about the site that you've just taken over, but you're probably dealing with an in-house SEO manager or an in-house marketer that has only been in that company for two years. So what's that company been up for the 10 to 15 years prior that they've probably had a website? You know, have they rebranded? Have they changed their domain names? There's so much that you can learn just from looking at the history. Questions like this, what do you know about the domain portfolio that's associated with brands that you're working with? So I mentioned rebrand earlier on. Like, how many times have you changed your own domain name or how many times have you seen a client that you work with change their domain name while you've been working with them? It happens.
What also happens is that IT managers or network managers or SEO managers forget that actually their company owns a whole portfolio of domain names. And some of them might have links. So quite often we don't know how to find out more about this portfolio or even if it exists and it's such an easy problem to solve. You go to a tool like the main tools and do "who is" search on the domain that you're working with. And you just grab the administrative email, the support email, anything that you can find up here. And then you go to a tool like Whoisology which is free which is why I like it, and you paste in that email into the search bar and then here you go. It gives you all of the domains that are also associated with the "who is." So immediately, you know, you find that you're not just working with one side. You've got a decent snapshot of the history of that site. And in here, this is actually us.
So in here, there are at least four domain names that have been part of my history of learning SEO, or part of the history of my own brand as it's evolved. And so, yeah, there's already some really, really good stuff that we can work within that.
So also this is the technical history of your site. So think about the domain portfolio but think about the technical history too. In particular, you know, I mentioned the change of domains, but what do you know about the development environment that the technical team is working with? What do you know about the staging server? Are there sub domains associated with this domain that you've not really found out about yet? I mean, if you sit down with the network people, most of the companies that, well certainly, that we've worked with, most of them can't really tell you the answers to this types of questions. You have to go and find them yourself particularly subdomains.
So what you do is you find this stuff. You find the domain portfolio. You find all of these subdomains. And we'll talk about how to manage those in a moment. But I wouldn't be telling you this if I didn't think it was worth knowing. I learned a really, really valuable lesson which was this. We rebranded from seogadget.co.uk to seogadget.com and then eventually builtvisible.com. So there's redirection history in our domain name portfolio. I didn't think it mattered to do anything more than just a 301 redirect. So you 301 from one domain to the next, walk away as if that's okay. Actually, that's not okay. 301s just don't really carry the same kind of punch that they used to. Like, they pass less link equity. I think that we know that but I didn't realize how much of an impact it can have. So here is the search metrics visibility chart for seogadget.com. And this is where seogadget.com was ranking at the time. It's all data but it's still useful while there was a seogadget.co.uk redirect to .com.
Where the chart goes up into the right, that's when we filled out the change of address form in Google Webmaster Tools. What happened was we just let seogadget.co.uk fall out of validation. So basically, there was no domain name that was verified in Google Webmaster Tools called seogadget.co.uk. So we hadn't done the change of address of course. When we did that, this happened. It went up into the right. This little chart here, it's tiny because the date range that you see along this axis is matched up to this date range here so you can see that as soon as we filled out change of address for the old domain as well as the 301 redirect, visibility went up. But also, we got more search impressions for the target domain. That's why I tell my guys to do this. You know, you need to just investigate your domain portfolio and you need to work out what's verified. Most of the time it's not, it gets forgotten because way back, we just had the HTML file to verify, not the DNSA records, the DNS TXT records and so on and so forth. So, even if it's redirecting, you can verify it, you should, and that's why.
So subdomains. Fortunately, Google Webmaster Tools now allows you to do a change of address for subdomains that aren't just www. So if you've got something like, I don't know tools or marketing; your domain, you can fill out a change of address in Google Webmaster Tools as well. But sometimes, we have subdomains that you can't just get rid of, you can't redirect them out because they're quite important but they do appear in the index and they do have a negative impact on your rankings if they're duplicating your content. We tried loads of different things. I mean, if you can't redirect them out, maybe you can sometimes just rail canonical them if you can't validate them in Webmaster tool. I've always felt though that the right thing to do is if it's a development server, it's just set the robots.txt to disallow and just remove it if you can with Google Webmaster Tools. The alternative is to set it to like 410 or something like that if you want to bin it and you can't do any of this stuff. But anyway, I always think like, you know, if you can't redirect them, just remove particularly if it's duplicating your content because this stuff has a really big impact and it's so easy to fix.
Couple of weeks ago, we did a test with a new client. They came to us with a problem. The problem is that their login page has been duplicated millions of times in Google's index. And what happens is...they're a file sharing service. So whenever you share a file with a friend, it sends you the link. But if you're not a logged in user on the link, then it redirects you via 302 to the login and then once you've logged in, you go through to the file. So Google was discovering all of these URLs but getting stopped at the login because there's like an individual session ID on the login page. It's duplicating it millions of millions of times. We found actually that this is quite a nice solution to that. If you just need to bin some content, X robot in this server had a response which doesn't get talked about very often in the SEO industry. There's a little line that ends up in the server header response that just says x-robots tag, no index, no follow. This is the code that you'd need to play with something like that in Wordpress. This code is actually on our site and it's helping us remove affiliate link, an outlink that we've got indexed. But that works really, really well if you can't get access to a page or if it's a redirect or a 302. So there are always lots of different things that we can do to fix this.
I came across this presentation from Jon Henshaw at BrightonSEO last week. And it's absolutely to the point of, you know, you need manage things like index subdomains where you're rankings can get cannibalized by similar content when it's hosted on a subdomain. So what happens; what they found was happening in the data set was that Google swapping between your preferred domain and the duplicate copy, and that can happen on partner domains or if you've got lots of different domains in your network or like if you're a big shopping network, that can happen too. This is the type of thing that happens. Actually, what we find is that the net effect is that you end up ranking less. So that's the best evidence I think I can find for having one canonical version of your content and just managing this problem as well as you can.
It gets quite bad. This is a hosting company in the U.K. They're quite well known. And you think that, you know, actually, if you've got your own development server URLs locked down or if you really had a good look at this and you think you've got all of your duplicate content managed well, not necessarily. Your own hosting company might be leaking your content without you realizing. If you do this query in Google just like asterisk gridhost.co.uk, this is their clients' content. This is people paying to host websites with them that don't know that their content is being duplicated. And these aren't domains under their control. These are domains that are under the host company's control. And that kind of thing, I think, is not even the host's fault really. It's your fault. If you look in the control panel of this particular hosting company, there's an index setting. You can remove that content just with a single checkbox and point to this type of an issue that's precisely what causes your problem. And you don't even know why sometimes which is a real nightmare.
So there's a whole bunch of different things that are a little bit harder to test but I feel a lot like they make quite a difference too, stuff like when you're managing lots of redirects from different domains, I think you should redirect from the same IP as the target host. And I also think that when you're managing a network of domains, you should set the who is records to be the same. Just don't change all of those things in one go. There's definitely something in that but it's very, very hard to test. And you should deal with the errors at the source, where they're actually being caused. I'll explain what I mean by that in a moment, but yeah.
So something we came across recently, about a month ago purely by mistake is the importance of host-like location on your search engine rankings. So I was on holiday. I went away for a week. And while I was on holiday, I decided to upgrade our hosting to PHP 5.5 because that's what you do when you're on holiday, isn't it? And yeah, so I contacted the host. And we host with WP Engine who are great. Contacted them and explained why I wanted to upgrade to PHP 5.5. And what they do is they just give you a new IP address. They move all of your content over to a new location. They map so all requests from the old IP are going to the new one and they wait for you to update your DNS A records. So I received the new IP address. I updated that in DNS. I went back to sleep. Of course, I was on holiday, wake up the next day and check my rankings because that's what you do when you're on holiday and this happened.
That's where I changed the IP and then it tanked. And I'm giving away the cause of the problem. But what had happened was I was hosting a new U.K. data center. The new IP address they gave me was in the U.S. And that was the impact of moving to the U.S. on a U.K. targeted website. When I switched it back, it popped back up again. This is by the way a visibility score of our top 200 search terms, pretty commercially, really important to us to attract. So, okay, well, if I change it back to the U.K., the visibility returns. So that's good. And I thought, why not just repeat that so I can write a blog post about it because, you know, I'm on holiday and that's what you do, isn't it? You write blog posts about SEO. When I changed it back to the U.S. here, it dropped and I've missed out an arrow but you can see what happens, it tanks. You'll notice that there's a tiny drop off between that, but marginally, it's really weird. There's just that extra little bit. But the value of this, it's about 20%. I mean it's a significant percentage of visibility. There's traffic to be had there. We work with a big retailer. And when we learned this, we also learned to actually, you know, to them, we're talking about millions of pounds and additional potential sales. I mean, that's quite a significant thing for us to have learned. And it's the best practice that everybody talks about but nobody ever actually ever does it and that's what I quite like about this test. I'll come on to why I think that is a little bit lower than everything else in a little bit. But, yeah, check your host location. Oh yeah, search metrics correlated with that as well. It fluctuated pretty wildly which is quite validating.
So I mentioned addressing arrows at source. What I mean by that is I don't know if you've ever seen some strange looking pages like 404s appearing in Google Webmaster Tools, like page.html or something.cfm, evidence of a legacy website, like a legacy technical architecture that you've probably never seen before, you've never worked with before. You can't really explain why it's there. What tends to happen in Webmaster tool, see, it's almost every time, is that these types of arrows here, look, like URL parameters that I don't recognize for our main site are actually being caused elsewhere. It's actually being caused by like a subdomain redirect or like a different domain being redirected to our site.
The reason why I think that you should always verify your domain with Google Webmaster Tools even if it's a legacy one, is that you'll always get more data from the source URL, from the legacy URL than you do in the redirected to. So while you find maybe, I don't know, a couple of hundred errors here on builtvisible.com, you find a few thousand there that Google Webmaster tool is just isn't reporting on. Like the data is not necessarily always very complete. And you have to manage your way around that.
Now, this was a real gotcha. So this, while I was changing my IP location for builtvisible.com, we've got secure sites. I mean, we've got a legacy of secure sites, actually. Like, seogadget.co.uk used to be a secure site, so did seogadget.com. And I've always been reluctant, really, to move over to secure, within secure content like with basic static content because working with SSL was a massive pain in the ass. I don't know if you've come across this, but yeah, I hate it. It's a real ball ache. So what happens is that you have to keep an eye on secure. If you're redirecting this old domain to something else, people always forget to keep that SSL certificate valid. They forget to update it. What I think happened, well, what I know happened when we changed the IP location; we didn't update the IP address that the SSL certificate was associated with. So we were getting these kinds of errors. I don't know if you've ever seen these things. So I think that if you've got an invalid SSL certificate and there's like a link relationship between two pages that you're not getting link juice being passed basically. It's as bad as a 404, that's my current theory.
Which lead us to a really, really interesting conversation internally which is, there's a big market in broken link building. We spend a lot of time calling websites looking for broken links. We don't spend any time looking for invalid SSL certificates. We think that actually if you do some outreach and say, "Well, the site that you're linking to has an invalid SSL cert. It might be dangerous for your users. It might pass viruses." You could make a lot of stuff up. We're pretty sure that you could get a link realigned pretty easily that way, right? So, yeah, I like that.
And if you're new to this, if this is something that you've done much often in the past, that's okay. To me, this is a lot of fun. I mean, you can tell I love to kill time in a very unique way. But if you go to Google, just do stuff like this. You know, have a look at your domain with a site operator. Ignore the minus. That's just a hyphen in my PowerPoint presentation. Just go site, your domain, and then play around with some advanced operators. Like, take out the www.subdomain in the query and have a look at what you've got left. And the question that you need to ask yourself is, "Does this look right?" The number of pages that Google's indexed in that search result does that feel right compared to the size of the site that you're working with? All kinds of strange things happen around here. You can get like... I've seen sites with wwwwww.yourdomain.com indexed. And www1, I mean, like, have a play with that and have a look at what's left. Just with that basic one query, I'm almost guaranteeing that you'll find some nonsense that Google found that you didn't know about that you need to fix and it makes a difference. It doesn't just make a difference to SEO, it makes a difference commercially, I think.
One of our competitors in the U.K; their development server with all of the work that they're doing for all of their clients at the moment is indexed in Google. It's telling us exactly who they're working with, we can see the content they're developing, and we can see the technology we're working with. There's probably hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of unlaunched content that's already indexed in Google that we could... I mean if we were bad, we're not bad, but if we were bad, we could take that and launch it ourselves or somebody could. You know, there's really black hat SEOs. And they could get all the credit for that because they've leaked this stuff in Google. So that's really stupid because they're an SEO agency.
So anyway, that's domain management. And the experience of that process is going to be different for all of you. But there's definitely a mindset there. And the mindset is just to have a look. And ask yourself if it feels right, validate it, redirect it, or make a decision to consolidate it all into one domain.
So internal links is not an often discussed topic; it isn't as exciting as content marketing, is it? You know, it's kind of internal links, what should we talk about. But there's so much value to gain from thinking about your internal links. There's a blog post that I want you to read. It's by my colleague, Ollie Mason. And it's called, really rolls off the tongue this I think "Link Equity and Crawl Efficiency Maintenance." What it's about is how much link juice do we lose when we redirect a URL. Like, should we be thinking about managing the asset that is the inbound links that we receive to our domain? Should we be thinking about assets that are internal valuable pages and how other internal valuable pages link to each other? Ollie argues that yes, you should. And he's drawn some interesting charts to explain why. So have a look at that; great bedtime reading.
The one take-away from that blog post is internal 301 redirects are really bad. It's a very self-defeating thing to have going on in your website, very easily fixed. It's a big quick win. I've engineered that problem to see just how bad it could be. And by engineered, I mean I had that problem. I didn't know I had it. So I fixed it and now it looks like I know what I'm talking about. So I'll show you that in a second. But if you just get a tool like Screaming Frog which is a brilliant crawler. All of you should have Screaming Frog even if you're not technical SEOs because you can crawl your site, you can learn much about it. If you crawl with screaming frog, it'll just give you status codes that you can sort by so you can find pages, well, these are URLs that are linked to somewhere that respond with a 301. So find those and work out why that's happening.
Here's why I think you should do it. So this is a historic keyword. We used to rank for HTML5 examples with the blog post that we wrote before HTML5 was just a thing that nobody talked about because it's a long time ago. But at the time, there was a lot of traffic for that keyword and it was good. It was on the seogadget.co.uk domain. So when we migrated to our new brand, what I forgot to do was update all of our internal links in the blog post, the really legacy blog post. There's like 500, or 600 posts in there. So you have to forgive me for having other priorities.
But what had been going on for a long time was... Actually, this is reversed. So down is actually good in this case. This is the visibility score for that one keyword. And for a long, long time, it was just sort of nowhere. I started thinking about our long-tail traffic. I wanted to sort of just get us back on target a little bit after the rebrand, all that kind of thing.
And when I found out about these internal 301 redirect issues, like all the internal links were still pointing to the wrong domain. I fixed the problem. And what happened was this, the ranking for that keyword improved a bit, then it popped back to somewhere else, slightly less bad than where it was before. And then improved a little bit more, and then it just got quite bad again, but then it went back and settled to roughly where it is. And it still sat top of page two or there about. The moral of the story was, well, two things. I mean, first of all, I'd removed all of the category and tag links inside WordPress for some idiotic reason, which didn't help because our internal architecture was badly damaged. But the internal links that we'd had on the site were all via 301. Now, this legacy page had loads of external links but they were all to the old domain names. They were all via the 301. The moral of the story is that a page just won't rank even if it's got lots of links unless it's got internal links. At least that's how I feel about it. And it sounds obvious when you say it out loud but we don't always get the opportunity to actually learn. So the thing that you need to take away from that is just check your site for internal 301s because they're bad.
And also, pages without many internal links, when you think about your historic website. What were you doing five years ago? What pages were you creating? They're not going to be very well linked to anymore. They're going to be right at the bottom of the pile. And we spent time crawling our sites with Screaming Frog and all this stuff. But actually, there are some really useful tools in Google Webmaster Tools that I don't think we're kind enough to those guys, really, often enough; because they've given us some really good things if you know how to use them.
So in Google Webmaster Tools, there's this report called "Internal Links." And if you just sort by pages with the lowest number of internal links, you might just find pages that would probably do quite well if they had a few more internal links. There's some good stuff in there that, yeah, if you just did a bit of internal link building, you know, sort of improving anchor texts and finding relevant keywords to, you know, build that stuff. It has an effect.
And while you're in there, have a look at multiple redirect hops. So I had a client who, oh my God. They had seven redirects from the original page to the production page. Their rankings were so screwed. It was unbelievable. And that's obviously why. I like simple tools, if you're doing a little manual audit, your finding pages internally, just there's a plugin that you can get for Chrome. It's called the Ayima Redirect Checker. Those of you that have done SEO in this room for a while will absolutely know about it and you'll have it installed. And those of you that don't yet, just install it and have a look at the status code. Yeah, it's called the Ayima Redirect Checker whoever asked that question. And if you download this presentation, or speak to me in a bit, I'll give you the link. So yeah, like multiple redirects hops are actually also pretty bad. And what we forget to do is look at our external links, our most valuable external links. Then look at whether or not there's a hop in redirection. You take these hops out; they do have a big impact.
So you go back to Screaming Frog, which I just love. It's a great tool, and pull down the redirect chain report which is just here under reports after you've called your site. And the data that you can export will tell you whether or not it's found pages with multiple redirects hops internally. And, you know, I think that's a really, really impactful thing to go and find and fix. I really do. I found this.
So this is, let me look. We've got this page here. Those of you that know about this, we write a lot about schema.org and micro data, structured markup and it's all really, really exciting stuff. And the old version of the page used to live here. But then we moved it here. In my redirect hop report, you know, it's showing a few different redirects hops. And I was like, "What on earth is wrong with this URL?" I couldn't see it. But eventually, I found it. I don't know if you can see it too. But this had disappeared from that somehow and it was just loosing us rankings. It was losing us a little bit of link equity. And the reason why is that a page has been manually moved. And there's this little checkbox that you get in the SEO plugin for WordPress which removes stop words from your URLS and then WordPress automatically 301 redirects the URLs. So it's really annoying little problems like that.
The point of this, because, you know, most of you won't have these problems, but that's what you should be asking yourself. If you find something technically quite interesting, you need to ask yourself why that's an issue. The reason why we ask ourselves why is because this could be an issue affecting us at scale and we've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.
So anyway, it helped me find problems like this, like, my legacy links, my really oldest links. Actually, I did have an out scale problem. This plugin was removing my stop words. So I was introducing legacy redirects where I didn't need to. And links from Oracles are really, really powerful thing to have. So why would I want to waste that asset? I wouldn't.
I think Kieran mentioned earlier on about using Ahrefs. I say Ahrefs, Kieran. You said… what was it? I think its Ahrefs. But anyway, if you go into, it's called the "Top Pages Report" in Ahrefs and it gives you your top links to your pages. These are the pages that you really should be managing, particularly with things like your internal links. So if you've got a link to your page, just make sure that you're going back and linking to any other relevant content because that really, really helps the internal architecture of your site, really helps your long-tail rankings, in my opinion. I think it's a job worth doing.
While you're in there as well, while you're checking these pages, I've got an extension called the Check My Links extension for Chrome. It'll just dig out any broken links that you've got in the content while you're working on a page. I'm a big believer in just managing legacy blog posts, managing content, keeping it up-to-date, and making sure you're improving your internal link structure, making sure that you're not linking to any 404s. And for sure, if it's an old website, you wouldn't believe how many domains have been dropped and then bought by, I don't know, Chinese porn sites or something like that and like the shit that you're linking to is weird and not what you originally meant to link to at all. And I think actually, your outbound links say a lot about the quality of your website too. So this is why we check and its manual stuff. It's manual labor but its high impact and it's worth doing. I mean, somebody asked me how much time they should be spending doing this, I'm going to spend half an hour talking to you about it. I think this is two or three days' work a month. I mean, in our project plans at the agency, we always have quick wins SEO sort of time set aside on a monthly basis on each of our clients because that's how important I think it is.
Anyway, send these to your external links. People link to the funniest things. They really do. So first of all, we forget that our old domains have links and actually that's an asset that we should reclaim. And I'm a big believer in having a look, you know, unique clients, let's find out if they've rebranded. Let's find out if they've changed their TLD. Let's find out what people we're linking to in the old days and let's realign them.
Some of the problems that we find, people make up subdomains for you and link to the wrong place. It's really interesting. Like, I found 45 referring root domains just because people were linking to the www. version of our site that never existed. So you realign them. You find out who those people are and you just drop them an email. One minute. Thank you. You drop them an email and say, "Look, could you just link to this resource instead of that," so you're not losing any of that link equity, you know, that whole link equity maintenance issue. Let's not lose that previous link juice. Why would we want to do that?
Kieran mentioned it. They've got a great report called "Top Pages" in site explorer. You can sort by server header response so you can find pages that are linked to the currently 404 because you're wasting your link equity that way.
So I really believe in the power of your best links, something that a lot of SEOs don't think of is somebody is linking to you, why not promote their content as well. So Kieran was saying push that via social media, build links to people that link to as well. That's a really powerful thing to do. Don't build bad links to them; just build good links to them. Tweet them and just promote them. I just think that's a really powerful thing to do.
So I came across a tool called URL Profiler which is well worth a try. The guys behind it are awesome. And there are just a couple of things you can do. So Kieran mentioned you could very possibly find your competitors best in links and then replicate that if you're replicating some similar content. He said, basically, you find out who's linking to this old piece of content and then, yeah, contact them and say, "Look, we've got something better. Well, I can automate that for you." We have a guide to Google Analytics. I think it's better than these guys. I wonder if the people that link to these guys know that we're here, probably not. So what you do is you just go to Ahrefs. You put in their URL; you download all of their links. And then if you go to URL Profiler, all you have to do, there's a couple of accounts that you have to create, one with this company here called My-addr.com, fill in a couple of checkboxes. Put the link in, put username and password in. And then off it goes and it grabs...if you paste in all of the links pointing to that URL, it grabs all of the contact details for it, the about URL, the email addresses, contact, write for us URLs, the who is email addresses. So suddenly, you can just complete rework that set without having to go to any other web based tools. You've got the data in an Excel spreadsheet. So it's basically like what Kieran was saying but automate it which is just really, really cool.
And I think while you're in there with data like that by the way is a really powerful just to disavow all directory links that you've got pointing to your domains. Every single time we've done that, we've come across domains with hundreds of really spammy article directory-based domains. We just disavow them. Just search in Excel for the word directory and then create a disavow file. You can do it in Ahrefs as well. You just search for a keyword in Ahrefs live directory. It'll show you all your worst directory links. Sort by pages that don't have any external links themselves. You know that can be bad, just disavow them. Certainly, it won't hurt you to disavow them. The file looks like that. It's well worth doing.
Something that everybody forgets to do, like we're putting presentations up from our conferences, we've got a twist of profile, people link to your social profiles, but not you. So you can realign those links and get them pointing to your domain. It's really, really easy to do. I mean, look, this is a blog post about it. We've got something like 95 referring domains that are pointing to our slide share at the moment. I don't know if they're linking to us. So we can find out. There's a filter feature in Screaming Frog. All you have to do is create this filter you go does not contain and just put a little bit of your URL, so Ahrefs builtvisible.com. Click Okay. Grab all of the links that are pointing to your slide share URL or any other social profile that you think have links to your main domain hasn't. And then you just run that filter. You download all of these links from Ahrefs. You put them in Screaming Frog. And then you let Screaming Frog crawl them. And then everything that you get, a URL that links to your social profile but not to you. So they're outreach targets. There's at least 200 easy link opportunities in there. You can make a lot of difference for a particular search result.
I know I'm running out of time so I might skip this. But I wrote a post about starting simple, just finding URLs that have performed very well for you in the past and redeveloping them. So Kieran was saying, find something that's performed well for your competitor, don't have to. Find something well that has performed for you, redevelop it. Pages like this, this started out as a blog post that everybody loved. Once we knew that it had links, once we knew that it had page-views, we invested a bit more money in the design, and the development just to push it a bit further.
Oh, yeah, right. So here's a test that I'm running right now. Reuse old guest posts. So those guest posts that you wrote for people five years ago. If you take those and just do a mild rewrite particularly if one of your old host domains or one of your competitors has changed their domain names, if you just take that content and do a very mild rewrite, you can outrank them for the same query. This has been running for about two months now, and Google's perfectly happy to leave that sat above the original with very very little work to change. So I think that's really, really cool.
If you've done infographics in the last three or four years, dig up the old PSD, find a PSD to HTML service, and have it chopped into a webpage, host it, and promote it. Very little effort involved with that because you've already done the research, you've already done the design. You can put it in a webpage, promote it. We did exactly that with this and it just took off. It was actually more successful than the original infographic. So that was pretty cool.
Yeah, just some more assorted quick wins. I know I'm running out of time. Image Rater, find people that are using your images, email them, ask them to link back to you so we give one from a friend Hannah Smith. Unlink to mention, if you've used tools like talk walk and Alert and Fresh Web Explorer for Moz to find pages that mention you but don't link back which is really easy sort of filter available in that tool. It's super easy. You just drop these people a line and say, "Could you reach out. Could you link back to my client." Works almost every time. And then just a bunch of technical checks. I've just written you a whole list of things that you should do including, obviously, making sure that your site's mobile friendly because that's really been in the SEO news. And I know I've run out of time. So on that note, I'm just going to tell you one thing, be curious, look for things but don't look right, learn how to fix them, fix them, and then have a look at the difference it makes. Just optimize. Thank you very much for listening.