For our final webinar of 2015, we rounded up Shari Thurow and Eric Ward to discuss an often neglected topic among link-builders – where in the heck do you put link-worthy assets? A gap exists between the asset and site usability.

Watch the entire webinar, or click on the links in the summary below to hear your favorite parts:

11:48 Site navigation is like a hotel elevator.

18:28 When “bad elevators” happen on the web.

  • Bad information scent loses you customers.
  • Expectancy tests help determine if your site has a good information scent.
  • The #1 reason people abandon websites is because they can’t find the right content.

23:01 Terms & definitions for this webinar (Shari Thurow)

  • 23:55 Ways information can be organized
    • “Content may be king, but context is the kingdom.”
  • 25:52 Information Scent
    • SEO isn’t just for websites; it’s for people.
  • 29:10 Things SEO professionals are concerned with
    • “We need to create link-worthy content assets, optimize them properly, and put them in the right place, so people will link to them.” ~Shari
    • Links are ranking factors.

32:03 Link-worthy content assets (Eric Ward & Garrett French)

“The What, Who and Why”

  • 42:16 – “Why are content assets important?”
    • We rarely go beyond “get links,” and that’s an important extension to consider. What’s the brand/visibility impact?
    • 45:29 – Eric Ward’s Case Study – SEA RAY boats
  • 52:20 – “The Who” – Linker-Valued Audiences
    • In-funnel and out-of-funnel content
    • “Your ‘persona A’ may not be called ‘persona A’ in the marketplace… what is the audience’s mental map of itself?” ~Garrett
  • 56:00 – QUICKIE INTERMISSION : Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I have sex with it? (Most humans think the same way.)
  • 57:57 – Finding link-worthy content assets
    • Look at competitors’ link-worthy assets – are there audiences we’ve overlooked?
      • What’s the most linked to?
      • What’s the most cited document on their site?
      • What’s on their social channels?
      • Where are my competitors able to attract links within their site?
      • BUT… don’t play “keep up with the Jonses.” “This should only be one piece of an overall linking strategy.” ~ Eric
  • 1:09:47 – What makes a URL linkable and sharable?
    • Keep them short & sweet & legible.
    • “If content is truly epic and useful, wouldn’t that content be closer to the domain name?… I’ve seen a bias against URLs that are too long.” ~Eric
    • Frontload your URLs with your most important words.

1:20:30 Where do Sharable Links Live? (Shari Thurow)

Shari’s Recommended Reading: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

(“You’re probably going to know more about architecture by the end of this presentation than most SEOs on the planet.” )

  • 1:23:44 – Five types of website navigation:
    • Global
    • Local
    • Utilities
    • Contextual
    • Supplemental
  • Contextual and Supplemental links will make or break your architecture and site usability. 
  • 1:25:55 – Always put your links in context.
    • “Where am I?”
    • Use in-line text links sparingly, but appropriately.
    • Put programmable links after contextual links.
    • And make sure your links look clickable.
    • Example of CNN doing it wrong: Newt the polar bear and Bill Cosby.
  • 1:34:10 – Don’t use out-of-the-box software placement.
    • People don’t click on tag clouds.
  • 1:35:50 – Don’t silo your digital assets.
  • 1:38:11 – Do use supplemental navigation.
    • Guides are great linkable assets.
      • And make them easy to share!
    • A site index can also be a gold mine.
  • 1:43:13 Don’t use sitemaps as band-aids for Google.
    • XML sitemaps are supplemental navigation. Use Wayfinder sitemaps for humans.

1:44:28 – Key Takeaways from this webinar.

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