10 SEO Experts haven’t the complete answer but this is needed to be an SEO (maybe)

Something I’ve been reasoning about since a long time is who can truly call themselves an SEO specialist, nowadays. I do not think it’s a sterile question for two different reasons, at least. The first one is that, not being a regulated profession, anyone can feel entitled to declare they are SEO specialists. I have earned a degree in Electronics Engineering and to be allowed to use the title of Engineer I had to take a further certification exam after my graduation. I’m entitled to claim I’m an Engineer. But on my LinkedIn profile or on my resume I say I’m an SEO specialist, since this is my actual job and the one I’ve chosen to do.
Secondly, the ease with which many people claim to be SEO specialists creates conditions to deteriorate our industry, affecting the perception of what really an SEO does, often causing damage to customers and surely to the market.
Moreover, the field is so wide that even when able to reach results, one might not be an SEO specialist yet. I mean: being able to fire up GSA Search Engine Ranker and rank a site for some keywords: is it enough?
Ranking 100 static sites and never having touched an e-commerce? Or just working on personal projects to earn money without having done any consulting job? And so on…
So my question to the pros involved in this interview is: who do you think can really call themselves SEO’s? Which are the technical skills but also the soft skills that are required, desirable and a nice plus, to deserve this title?

I’ve asked this question to a few people whose opinion I was interested in. Are you curious about their answers? Let’s start.
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Disavow tool: can black hat means speed up recovery from an algorithmic link penalty?

I’m writing this post because I’ve been recently asked why a site is still penalized a long time after having submitted a disavow file, and I’ve thought maybe some public considerations are better than a private answer.

First of all, however, let me say I’m not the maximum authority regarding algorithmic link based penalties or filters (well, I’m not the maximum authority regarding anything, to be honest) and everything I’m going to say is just based on common sense.

But let’s back to the problem: most of the webmasters that have used the disavow tool report not having seen any visible effects after several weeks or months. Given they haven’t done any mistakes, their problem is the tool doesn’t work as an On/Off switch. When a file is uploaded it simply tells Google to ignore some links in the incoming link graph, by applying a “nofollow” tag to them. Then, each of those links still remains “followed” until Google doesn’t recrawl the page cointaining it. This is clearly stated in the Disavow Tool Documentation:
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The first (brief) guide to Dropped Link Building

More than year has passed since I published my (quite appreciated) First guide to Hacked Link Building and I definitely think it’s time to return on the topic to give it a new spin.
Those who’ve read my previous post should already know that I named Hacked link building the process to find hacked websites and ask webmasters linking to them to change those links, just like you would do in Broken Link Building: the only difference is you’re haunting for hacked pages instead of expired ones. As Jon Cooper pointed out on Google+, there are many opportunities behind the idea of “broken”, and today I’m showing you how to apply the same concept to expired websites that have been re-registered to be re-focused, redirected or left parked.
When a sites with some good links expires, in fact, chances are that someone will use it for SEO or domaining purposes and these three situations are quite frequent when the owner changes:

1) The domain still hosts a website but its topic is now totally different.
2) The domain redirects to another one in a totally different niche.
3) The domain is left parked.

In each case, webmasters linking to that domain because of its previous content would probably like to change their links now that the content is different or absent…

Here, I want to give credits to Anthony Nelson for having cited this opportunity in his guide to broken link building from noob to novice, but since he didn’t go into details I’ll add something concrete to show you how to quickly find these easy link building opportunities.

I’ll name this strategy and process Dropped Link Building.

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6 SEOs I thank for 2013 (and you might follow for 2014)

Another year has passed and many blogs are already publishing their predictions for 2014. Like last december, instead, I just want to say thanks to a few people that have added value to my SEO 2013. Last year I named 14 awesome SEOs; I’m now adding 6 more. It’s a little number, I know, but this isn’t a tweetbait post and the people I cited in 2013 are still among my favourite ones.
I suggest considering checking out their blogs and following them on Twitter.
Here are the names, in no particular order.
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How to get your Twitter followers in Excel for free (without using Twitter API)

A couple days ago I needed getting a complete list of people following a Twitter account and I couldn’t find a quick solution.
First of all, I tried Scraper for Chrome, but since Twitter uses infinite scroll, on a very long list (mine is not) it would have needed too much time and steps.
I checked Followerwonk, and even if I could check the list I couldn’t export it without a Pro plan.
I thought of building an Excel Scraper using Twitter API, but I discovered information isn’t available easily since v1.1 requires authentication to send GET requests from a client. And I didn’t want to build an app (nor I’m able to do it, probably).
So I had to do put a few things together to achieve my goal.
At the end of the day I built a little Excel file that basically scrapes Followerwonk. This is not that great, I know, but the little detail to highlight is it handles paginated results without requiring any further inputs besides the first page URL.

Let me explain…

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Earn your degree in Internal Linking Surgery

Something I often notice when it comes to link building is how poor are internal linking strategies of most of the sites that go after external links. I mean, external links are definitely more powerful than internal ones, but completely forgetting of optimizing the latter equals missing a big zero cost opportunity. Then, an easy advice is: before spending hours and money chasing links from other sites, try add a few of them on your own domain.
It’s not rocket science and a number of posts about internal linking already exist out there.
But I’m the kind of guy that likes doing stuff within a strategy, and one can do better than putting links on their own pages wherever possible.

So today I’m showing how to:

  • Quickly find the right pages in which adding an internal link;
  • Fastly check if a link already exists in them;
  • Easily define how to choose the most effective anchor text in each of them.

Are you interested? Let’s go.
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How to link to your Twitter profile (one year later)

One year – more or less – has passed since I published a post on Moz (formerly in which I discussed how Twitter’s SEO problems were impacting online reputation management; while I think I’ve posted some better stuff on my own blog (ie. here), that article still remains the one people mostly contact me about and just a few days ago I’ve been asked via email if I had had any occasions to check if Twitter’s issues had been solved. Seeing the topic still attracts interest, I’ve thought a follow up post would have been useful, being Twitter’s SEO still a mess.

Canonical URL one year ago

In 2012, looking at the canonical URL Twitter specified, in fact, I suggested to link to your profile by choosing the URL with:

  • https
  • non-www
  • no “at” sign (@)
  • minuscule letters
  • no slash at the end
  • no hashbang (/#!/)

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How to get links (and more) from your hotlinked images

A few days ago, a friend of mine told me has an image on one of his websites hotlinked in a numbers of forums and blogs, and he asked me if he could get any benefits from it. I’ve thought a little about the situation, and at the end I’ve decided to share my conclusions in a post.
So, this is how you can benefit from having your images hotlinked on other websites. I hope you’ll enjoy the reading.
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Win your Oscar at getting easy links

A lot of time has passed since my last post, but I hope it’s been worth waiting: you should know I don’t write if I haven’t any good ideas to share, and I think the one I’m going to explain you is an interesting one.
Anyway, I don’t want to waste your time and I’ll go straight to the point so you can judge.
Every SEOer knows that an easy way to get links with little effort is to acquire domains that actually have incoming links and redirect them to your site.
And nowadays every SEOer knows that this might easily turn into something dangerous, in this post-Penguin world.
But in my opinion playing the redirect game in a safe and effective way is still possible if you get the right domains and you point them to a similar website (or page). Nothing new here. Besides the fact that I’m going to share with you the real domainers goldmine so that you will not scratch your head asking yourself where the hell you have to look to find these right domains, when you’ll need one.
Because, of course, even if you’re not very into domaining, finding expiring/ed domains is not that difficult. But finding good ones usually requires a lot of time and it’s not easy to have relevancy and links at the same time.
Here’s where I’m helping.
Let me ask you: have you ever thought of an industry in which every year lots of domain are registered and lots expire; an industry that might fit almost every need?
Are you saying film? Yes. You’re right!
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Getting links by crystalizing those virtually existing ones

If you read this blog, you probably know I don’t write frequently as I’m strongly convinced it’s better to post less and say something (hopefully) interesting that to regurgitate concepts already covered by others better than me.
So, when I decide it’s passed too much time since my last post, I force myself to think to something different to write about.
Last month I challenged myself (and not only) to find a kind of link that’s not on Jon Cooper’s Link Building strategies list.

If you know that monster piece, you should understand is not that easy to win the bet. And I admit I’ve had a hard time trying to find the right key to approach the problem. I didn’t want to focus on a different way to get a link. I wanted to write of a different type of link, and this was even more difficult to achieve. I blamed myself after a week I hadn’t found anything.
Then I started re-thinking about the entire concept of link.
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