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Ongoing observations by End Point people

End Point SEO with Linkscape

Linkscape was released in October of 2008 and is SEOmoz's collection of index data from the web that currently contains 36 billion URLs over 225 million domains. You must have a pro membership to access advanced reporting, but without a pro membership you can access basic data such as mozRank (SEOmoz's own logarithmic metric for page popularity) for the url, number of links to a url, number of domains to a url, and mozRank for the domain.

For example, I ran a basic report on www.google.com and found:
- The mozRank of http://www.google.com/ is 9.36 out of 10
- There are ~96.8 million links to http://www.google.com/
- There are ~1.6 million domains linking to http://www.google.com/

More interesting data on www.facebook.com:
- The mozRank of http://www.facebook.com/ is 7.40 out of 10
- There are 0.9 million links to http://www.facebook.com/
- There are 60,000 domains linking to http://www.facebook.com/

Because I haven't given justice to describing Linkscape, please read more about Linkscape, or see Linkscape Comic for visual enhancements.

Case Study
In an effort to examine and improve End Point's search engine performance, I pulled together some snippets of data from Linkscape for End Point and End Point's blog after getting a pro membership.

www.endpoint.com:
- The mozRank of http://www.endpoint.com/ is 5.24 out of 10
- There are 24,084 links to http://www.endpoint.com/
- There are 189 domains linking to http://www.endpoint.com/

Top 5 most common anchor text phrases to www.endpoint.com:
- "End Point Corporation" from 86 links over 36 domains
- BLANK from 16 links over 4 domains
- "DESIGNED BY END POINT CORPORATION" from 10 links over 1 domain
- "End Point Corp." FROM 18 links over 5 domains
- "Endpoint" from 19 links over 2 domains

blog.endpoint.com:
- The mozRank of http://blog.endpoint.com/ is 4.88 out of 10
- There are 220 links to http://blog.endpoint.com/
- There are 8 domains linking to http://blog.endpoint.com

Top 5 most common anchor text phrases to blog.endpoint.com:
- "Blog" from 10 links over 1 domain
- "End Point blog" from 31 links over 4 domains
- "Home" from 10 links over 1 domain
- "End Point blog" - http blog.endpoint.com from 1 link over 1 domain
- "Jon Jensen" from 7 links over 1 domain

Here are a few points I'd like to mention as an initial reaction to the data:

#1:
The End Point site was registered in October of 1995 and the blog was registered July of 2008. And the mozRank (~popularity) of the blog has built up considerably in less than a year. Why? Linkscape reports that the top most important links to blog.endpoint.com come from www.endpoint.com, so in the short time that the blog has been in existence, much of the value has passed from www.endpoint.com. The remainder of the links to blog.endpoint.com come from sites like osnews.com, cryptography.mesogunus.com, blogenius.com, and perl.coding-school.com.

On the other hand, www.endpoint.com has many external links passed from client websites spread over 189 domains.

This emphasizes the fact that having high popularity external links can significantly influence page popularity (www.endpoint.com passing to blog.endpoint.com in this case).

When explaining this to a fellow End Pointer (Jon), he also commented, "based on [the data], if nothing external changes, it's pretty much impossible for the blog to overtake www.endpoint.com in ranking" - another good point to realize. We can continue to work on improving www.endpoint.com's popularity and it will continue to pass along value to blog.endpoint.com.

#2:
Google Analytics shows that traffic to www.endpoint.com is lacking in terms related to services that End Point provides, such as "ecommerce", "postgres", and "interchange". The Linkscape reports can help explain why. Linkscape provides a list of the 50 most common anchor text phrases to a url derived from the 3,000 most important links to that url. Out of the 50 most common anchor text phrases, more than half of them contain some variant of "End Point Corporation" and less than 5 of them contain terms related to the services that we offer. Although this is not surprising, it highlights an opportunity for End Point to consider targeting service related keywords. We may not have direct control over all of our external links, but we can request to enhance the existing anchor text or alt text of images.

#3:
Linkscape also points out where anchor text is blank or lacking in relevant keywords. Some examples of these include images without alt text, anchor text like 'work', 'at work', 'my employer', or 'open this site in another window'. Again, we may not have complete control over external link anchor text, but we can try to address the missed opportunity for passing link value through relevant anchor text such as in these examples.

Conclusion:
Ultimately, End Point does not have control over all external links or anchor text in external links. However, we will try to address some of the issues mentioned and revisit the data in a couple of months (Linkscape data is refreshed monthly) in hopes of improving our search engine performance. SEOmoz and Linkscape provides tons (!) of other data related to a wide variety of search engine optimization topics. I'm very excited to have access to this tool and hope to provide more snippets of data in the future.

Learn more about End Point's technical SEO services.

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