Do You Have An “Unnatural” Link Profile? (Announcing Market Samurai’s new “Referring Domains” data)

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Most folks know that inbound links to your website (when combined with on-site optimisation) are the key drivers of ranking, especially for high value keywords. Most of us also know that not all links are equal and that links from high authority sites carry a lot more power (or ‘juice’ as we like to call it).

What you may not be aware of is that along with the number and quality of links, there’s a third criteria you should also consider; and thanks to our awesome data partners at Majestic SEO, we’re proud to announce the addition of the “Referring Domains” data within Market Samurai’s SEO Competition module. The web 2.0 ranker reseller services take a holistic view to white labeled search engine optimization services for our customers. We don’t just place a few links or flip a few gigs each month like some of our competitors that offer a reseller SEO program.

Many Links, One Referring Domain

What are Referring Domains?

It’s pretty simple actually. Each different website that links to a website as a whole, or a specific page on your site is considered a different referring domain.

So if you have 100 links pointing to a page and 90 come from one website and 10 from a second, you’ll have a referring domain count of two (because only two different websites link to a given page on your website).

You’d expect to get a low referring domain count when you’ve focused your link building efforts on a single source website.

Why should I care about how many referring domains a page has?

It’s clear that the number of different referring domains pointing to your site is an important ranking factor for Google. In fact, Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz fame writes: “In our analysis of correlation data, no single metric has a more positive a correlation with high rankings than the number of linking root domains.”

Note: This citation from Rand is now almost two years old and if you read his later posts, he now also places significant emphasis on links from social media (a finding we can verify from our link building campaigns).

I think it’s easy enough to imagine why search engines would use the number of unique referring domains as a ranking factor. It’s not to hard to manipulate one or a few sites and gain a high volume of links, but it’s tougher to gain links from a variety of sources (especially respected ones).

It seems to me that engines like Google are looking for sites that are gaining link popularity in way that looks ‘natural’ and referrals from a variety of sites is an indicator of this.

Can I measure the Referring Domain count for specific Pages and Domains?

Market Samurai now offers two ways to measure a referring domain count:
1. Referring Domains to Page (RDP) – a count of the number of referring domains to a specific page.
2. Referring Domains to Domain (RDD) – a count of the number of referring domains to the domain as a whole.

I did a quick survey of 10 random keyword phrases based on the objects in my office (for the curious, I used Dog Training, Curtain Tassels, Flat Screen Monitor Reviews, Winnie the Pooh, Brother Printer, Lifespan of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Apple Power Adaptor, Burgundy Women’s Purse, Boot Cut Levi Jeans and Vanilla Ice Cream – and yes, the stuff around here is quite random!).

Interestingly, I observed that the RDP count (Referring Domains to the Page) fluctuated wildly. In fact RDP was often zero and generally showed little correlation to ranking.

RDD (Referring Domains to the Domain) however, was a far better indicator. Whilst it wasn’t the case that the search result with the highest RDD always had the highest ranking (on page optimisation is still critical), it was the case that even for the more obscure phrases, that in almost every case, the minimum RDD count to get on the front page was in the thousands.

It would appear from this sample set of phrases that you simply must have a spread of links from a number of different domains to be ‘in the game’ on medium to high competition phrases. The only exception to this rule was the ‘special case’ search result listings like Google images, maps etc.

Where can I see the Referring Domain counts in Market Samurai?

To see the referring domain count for a given page, simply go to the SEO Competition tab and tick the checkbox to enable “Referring Domains – Domains (RDD)” and “Referring Domains – Page (RDP)”. Here’s an example:

Referring Domains Example

For the super curious, it’s also worth getting a Majestic SEO account (a free account will do fine). You can then click on the little arrow next to the referring domain count on the SEO Competition tab. Majestic will then show a page showing how the referring domain count has grown over time (which is both cool that they know that info and I’d suggest also a gradual growth in links is also an indication of “natural” link growth).

How does this help? What should I do if I’m struggling to rank for a target keyword?

Before you worry about having a low referring domain count, my advice is get back to basics. Firstly, I check that your “on site” structure is right, for example, confirm that the keyword you wish to rank for is in the title tag on the page you wish to rank . Also check that the page has plenty of links pointing to it from other pages on your site. Finally, ensure that these links within your site include the target keyword in the anchor text.

Beyond the basics, you’ll basically need more links. If your domain as a whole has a low referring domain count, then I’d go for a general mix of links to both your domain and your target page from a variety of sources. If your domain already has a wide range of referring domains already, then I’d run a more focused link building program to the page you’re working on specifically.

How can I get links from a broad range of sources?

Building links is a topic I could (and probably should) devote a lengthy series of separate blog posts to, because there are an almost limitless array of ways you can build links.

Here’s a short (and very incomplete) list of the link building approaches I like at the moment:

1. Article Syndication – Syndicating articles to build links is still very much a staple for SEO’ers around the world. There are ways to leverage your efforts here to increase the ‘spread’ of the articles you write that can significantly increase the value from a single article and we’ll likely have more to say on this over coming months.

2. Get Social – taking the content you’re writing and pushing it out through social channels will get you links. You can both simply republish or promote content on your social media profiles and you can intentionally invite people to push the ‘like’ button etc. In recent blog posts where I ‘asked’ people to press the Facebook like button I got 10x the number of “likes” as when I didn’t.

The direct links you’ll create via Social Media will likely be ‘no-follow’ (and so not worth much) but it seems your presence on these properties is being watched by Google anyway. Plus, the flow on effect of being profiled in Social Media will gain you links both from relationships you’ll create and even from the scrapers that take this stuff and republish it.

3. RSS Feed Submission – This is a little techy, but it’s a lovely ‘do once, get benefits for life’ type deal. Here are the steps involved:

a. Create an RSS feed of your content in an Abstract form (e.g. publish only part of each content item or article). Be sure to include a link back to the full article in your feed.

b. Then take this abstract RSS feed and submit it to RSS Feed Directories like (just do a search for “RSS Feed Directory” and you’ll find plenty of similar sites).

c. These RSS feed directories will then republish your content and include your link back to the original source. So every time you publish content you get an instant backlink.

Again, this is a little techy, so perhaps worthy of a full post on it’s own, but I’ve found this approach particularly helpful for large sites with lots of pages that aren’t being fully indexed by search engines. Remember, if a page isn’t indexed, it won’t drive any organic search traffic.

4. Forums – Find a handful of the big, high profile forums in your industry and get involved. Make sure you fill out your forum profile completely and put a link your signature file. Then, participate in the forum. Don’t spam the other members, but instead, help them out.

If you stick around for a while (or even better do some research at sites like Yahoo Answers), you’ll find that the same topics and questions get raised over and over again.

A great tactic is to prepare a list of common questions with answers and then watch the forums to see when these common questions get asked (an RSS feed is often available on forums which makes it easy to watch new posts being entered).

You can then swoop in each time there’s a question you can answer. Note, it’s best to put each response in slightly different words to avoid annoying users of the forum. It’s also OK, to say “here’s a short answer, I’ve written a longer post on my blog about it….” and then link back to your blog.

5. Being good at what you do – OK, so this isn’t really a link building strategy as much as a ‘how do to life’ strategy. In general, if you do good work, people will link to you. Particularly if you do good work and get in the habit of asking those you work with to give you link you’ll get some.

We aim to sell a good product and has attracted over 2.3 million links without any formal ‘link building’.

6. Publishing content on your site – Again, not a traditional link building suggestion, but internal links are valuable. It’s simple maths that a site with 1000 pages has more internal link ‘juice’ to share than the site with 20 pages (you’ll also pick up a stack of long tail traffic by publishing lots of content).

Building more content on your site is a killer traffic strategy.

In addition to the above there are many other link strategies you can follow including Social Bookmarking (great for helping pages get indexed), directory submissions, begging (e.g. ask those you do business with to link to you), competitive research, where you use tools like Market Samurai’s link profile report to see what links your competitors have and see if the link source will link to you and much more.

So take a look now in Market Samurai and see what kind of referring domain profile you have.



P.S. Like the post? I’d love you to share the love with a Facebook ‘like’ below.

P.P.S. For everyone following the Conversion series blog posts, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten! The final post in the series will be out soon!

Ben has written 10 post(s) for Noble Samurai

118 Responses to “Do You Have An “Unnatural” Link Profile? (Announcing Market Samurai’s new “Referring Domains” data)”

  1. That’s great data to have included, Ben. Looking forward to checking it out.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Ben, I’ll have to check out these new functions across my site portfolio to see if the link mix stands up to scrutiny!

  3. I’ve been waiting for these features in MS. You guys had done a really great job. Can’t wait to check it out!

  4. Hi Ben,

    Question about the abstract feed suggestion; if I go to Feedage and try to create an RSS feed, it seems to want me to enter the blog article page url – no opportunity to post an abstract and link to the main blog article as you suggest. can you provide a little more info about the process you are suggesting?

  5. Nice article, will make sure i spread my backlinks.

  6. Great article on links. The link juice you are teaching is is the name of the game so valuable to SEO marketing and internet marketing. Getting higher ranking is the name of the game. Thanks again

  7. Love it Ben. Great stuff as always from the Noble Samurai group.

  8. Great stuff Ben. Regarding RSS feeds a lot of people don’t know much about Yahoo pipes, but it’s a pretty awesome way of creating a mix of feeds from multiple websites.

  9. Thanks for your informative post Ben. The RSS section is a worthy topic for a post on its own but its great to see a summary here.

  10. Very useful article, Ben. Informative, structured and not pushy. Respect!

  11. Ben it is true that domain authority is important. And domain refferals are important too.

    But sitewide links are still really efective – much more effective than links from just home page in test results.

    Also if RDD was the only thing that is important then there would be no chance for small sites to get ranked for anything.

    But lucky we it is just one of the factors – so still domains with as little as 10 inbound links may rank for low competition keywords.

    What exacly did you saw? Ranking ~ RDD. If so please give me just 2 examples

  12. Very nice addition to your product. Wonderful ancillary link building information. Much appreciated as always. Thanks Ben!!

  13. I liked number 5 of your article. “Being good at what you do”. It should go without saying…but the sad truth is it needs to be said time and again. With all the gurus telling people how easy this stuff is, folks believe they can slap together a crappy affiliate blog and make coin. That is so far from the truth.

    Thanks for your good work Ben.


  14. This additional info will greatly benefit me as I am working my way from the 2nd to the first page in a high-medium competitive niche. And the internal linking is something I plan to exploit even more. Thanks.

  15. For #3, doesn’t RSS Bomber do the trick? At least for WP sites.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Jason

    I’m interested you mention that. I’ve not used RSS Bomber, but will be playing with it after hearing about it from Dan Raine, so I’ll look at it when I post in more detail on RSS.

    Cheers, B

    Sameh replied:

    Jason, thanks for the tip! It looks good.

  16. This is great information. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Awesome stuff, you guys are simply amazing. Market Samurai gets better and better every single day.

  18. Great post. It’s always nice to hear even some of the more obvious methods for reinforcement.

    Also, keep up the great work continuing to improve Market Samurai!


  19. Thanks for the awesome link building tips. I like your RSS tips and have done plenty RSS feed submissions but never fully graped maximizing the benefits of RSS feeds. I agree that it is a post in itself… or maybe even a whole course. I like the new RDD and RDP collumns in Market Samurai too.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Michael

    I’ve got a few other posts to publish first, but yep, I think an RSS post is certainly called for.

    Cheers, B

  20. I love the way you bring everything down to bite-size chunks that make sense!

  21. 21

    Yes, a lot more info about good link building strategies, tactics, methods and tools is always a winner with me. Please keep it coming…

  22. Great info.
    There are a lot of websites selling you backlink services.
    They promises thousands backlinks for couple bucks. What about buying the backlinks from them? Does it worth to do this?

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Mostly they’re rubbish. I’m more of a fan of syndicating your content out there. I’m especially wary of link rental schemes.

    With that said, I have our sourced link building a dozen or so times with good success, but the link builders basically follow the strategies in this blog post anyway – e.g. they syndicate content they write. The problem with out-sourced link builders is generally their content is very bland so it gets no viral spread, where as what you write (assuming you’re a content expert) is typically going to spread more, and grow in value over time (so your efforts will build in value over time).

    Hope this helps, Ben

  23. This was very helpful to me in learning what link strategies are good to put into place. I especially appreciate the tip of when you should focus on page linking versus domain linking. As I have a lot of pages, I need to focus on more page linking at this time to build traffic. Thank you Ben.

  24. Thanks for the post, Ben. Those are my top ways to get quality links as well. Cheers :)

  25. Hi Ben, now you have just clarified what has been bogging me. When I updated my copy of the market samurai, I saw the RDP and RDD and didn’t understand their importance. Now I know. I think your blog has just confirmed one of the old sayings “not to put your eggs in one basket”. So don’t get your links from one source is what I think you are trying to say.

    I tried to diversify my link building efforts but it is a bit tricky because of my niche. I am therefore considering going into some other niches. I don’t want to put my eggs in one basket.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Even if your niche is small, you can get a diversity of links by ‘content bridging’ – e.g. publishing and syndicating new content to 3rd party websites that’s ‘vaguely related’ to what you do, with a link back to your site. Remember, the source of the link doesn’t have to be related to you. Your focus is to get lots of links and where possible have the right ‘anchor text’ (e.g. the words in the text). I’ve not yet seen a niche where this can’t be applied. Hope this helps. Cheers Ben

  26. Great article. I really like using MArket Samuarai and have been for many months. I think the adding RDP and RDD can be very helpful in the near future. I am wondering if backlinks from Facebook pages are considered to be coming from the same doamin.

    Keep the articles coming – I have always found the more you share that the monre work comes back to you.

  27. This is a great article with some super advices, as always ben thank you

  28. This is fabulous! I can’t wait to try this out. I am amazed at how powerful a tool Market Samurai can be. Keep up the great work!

  29. Great post, you covered a lot here. Dont give away all our secrets though!

    RDD is definately important but as Mike says so too are sitewide links. But better 10 unique domain links than 10 links from one domain.

    Have you guys considered creating a Noble Samurai certification?

    I want to hire an SEO contractor but would only consider an SEO with Samurai training now I’ve seen and used it myself as i would want them to use the samurai software and follow your methodology.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey James

    It’s not on our roadmap at present – but you’ve certainly got me thinking :-)

    Cheers, B

  30. Great post. It has a great mixture of reminders of stuff I know and some new tips. Although I don’t do this “indiscriminately” I took the time to “like” it. One of the takeways for me was to remember to ask people to like your post. Maybe I’m too shy, but you posed the question very well.

  31. I’ve had good success getting to page one of search results across a variety of niches – and sometimes marveled as to how my little or young sites could even get or stay there.

    Only recently, I started analyzing the RDD and particularly RDP and BLP correlation as a clue to high rankings. In the midst of far, far more authoritative and aged domains with bazillions of links, LINKS TO PAGE(s) is proving to be a critical sneaky ‘back door’ to success.

    So keep building those deep links to inner pages, kids. Do it from the diversest (is that a word?) palette of sources and types as you can. Monitor the columns closely in MarketSamurai – and you’ll see how the Little Guy can tiptoe amongst the Giants…

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Love it – Go the little guy!!

  32. Hey thanks for some of your link building strategies. Now, I need to go back into MS and checkout my links and see where I can improve.

  33. Thanks Ben .. it’s just like building your own house! You wouldn’t just want 2main support beams..and just like Japan ..the buildings (or sites) that survived were those whose owners had invested time and effort in their homes over many years ensuring they had a solid foundation .. it also spreads our risk if any one SEO method should get targeted by Google ..we have good solid links elsewhere to weather the storm and maintain ranking. Love being reminded of these important concepts. Thanks.

  34. interesting, so many details and nice to know that i can internally link too!

  35. Great article Ben. I have been noticing the RDD and RDP column’s in Market Samurai for the past few days.

    I don’t know if perhaps I didn’t notice before, or if this is has been a “recent” change, but I am really enjoying your posts and videos on various parts of the SEO game. Thank you.

  36. Learned a lot from your post. I really like the 2 new RDD and RDP columns. A great way to check out my links and how to improve on it. Thanks.

  37. I was waiting for this article like this, thank’s a lot Ben

  38. This information is much appreciated. I am currently building backlinks to two membership sites and it is pretty tedious work even with good software so any advice which makes it easier is like gold to me.

  39. Following the suggestions in the Market Samurai training video, one criteria for selecting keywords was the 5 factors PR,BLP,YAH, Title and URL in the SEO Competition module. This presumably lead me to low or moderately competitive keywords. Now when I add RDD, I find that where at least some of the top 10 sites weren’t all that competitive on the other factors, they are all red with 1000′s of referring domains for RDD. In many instances these sites only have a handful of BLP links, but their RDD links are much greater (eg.13900 RDD vs 7 BLP.) On the other hand my site has more BLP links than RDD links (18 vs 6). Does this mean I should change how I am selecting keywords and the ones I have are going to be too hard to top even though there is a fair amount of green and orange in the SEO Competition matrix for the other 5 factors?

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Bob

    Your’s is a very good question and made me think “should RDD be part of my regular keyword research process?”, because at this point its not. I’m still doing my research for new keywords using quite basic metrics of traffic, competition, and value / relevance.

    I find the RDD measure valuable because, with the exception of mega sites like YouTube or Amazon etc, it tells gives me an indicator of the kind of spread of links the big players in the market have. When I enter a market, this is who I want to play against, so it gives me a measure of how strong they are. Aside from that, seeing RDD counts high across the board of the sites that consistently hold high SERPs confirms my belief that a mix of general link building and targeted link building to a specific page for a specific ranking is healthy.

    Hope this helps.

  40. You guys just keep coming up with the best stuff in my inbox! Keep it up!

  41. Great info- and I can second what you said about no-follow links and that they are “watched by Google anyway,” I can tell you from our experience that you can basically ignore follow, no-follow anymore. We are getting great SEO results without stressing over do-follow links.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Dave

    I agree with your approach. Writing good content & getting it out there will build a solid mix of follow & no follow links. Focusing on the work rather than the outcome of specific link types is the best path forward.

    Regards, Ben

  42. Ben, thanks for the article and new RDD feature – great to have it. It would be nice to add RDD also to Rank Tracker module in addition to BL.

    Do you also consider links from video sharing sites like Youtube valuable?

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Daniel.

    In a word, yes. Whilst they are generally No Follow, they’re great for traffic (YouTube’s audience is huge) and there’s an argument that a good mix of no-follow links makes for a more “natural” link profile anyway.

    Cheers, Ben

  43. Thanks Ben. RSS feeds are still a little confusing for me so I will appreciate anything you can post about this topic.
    Also with regards to internal links. If I want to rank a particular post, do I add links in all my other posts that point to the post I am wanting to rank for, or does this only apply to pages, rather than posts?

  44. Hi Ben,

    Great post, but I do have a question on market syndication. Is that a good idea in mass considering the google panda? Just curious thanks.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Charles

    Good question. Syndication (which by my definition is taking a single piece of content and maximising it’s value by getting it spread as widely as possible) is a core link building process.

    My observation of Panda’s effects were that it dramatically reduced the traffic of sites with large volumes of low quality information. It also hit some sites that, in my view, offer good information ( for example has quite high editorial standards).

    With that said, we’ve tested on this topic extensively and are still found that syndication strategies for link building work very well.



  45. Wow! You did the great job Ben about the importance of link building, looking forward for more informative about market Samurai.

  46. 46
    On July 13th, 2011 at 2:32 pm
    andy newbom said:

    does submitting to things like pingler and linkilicious help with this as well? On the RSS issue i mean?

  47. Cheers Ben. Fantastic and very informative article.
    As many have said above, the whole RSS thing is still a little confusing to me – would love to see a more in depth post on RSS if possible.
    Keep the great content coming!

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for that – I think a full post or two on using RSS for SEO is in order. Watch this space….

    Cheers, Ben.

  48. Just wish I had the time to check it out further straight away. I know I will be using it soon though so thanks!!

  49. Great article. It really makes common sense if you think about it. More diversity in links equals greater credibility.

  50. 50

    I purchased NS quite long time ago and I still dont get it. I followed all tutorials, but Im lost. Now, instead of using NS I started to follow “manual” way through Google Tools etc. Where can I learn to use basic NS. I read many blogs which shows “manual” free way to do it for newbies,but many of them mention that NS makes everything faster. Well…I`m sure it does.

  51. 51

    I think I am too thick for all of this

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Steve

    There’s a few advanced theories in there, but don’t loose heart – this stuff can certainly be learned. Check out the free training videos in the dojo, they’ll steer you in the right direction:


  52. Thanks for the rss tip, I found it really useful. I did submit it to a handful, and I’m now waiting to see the effect over time.

  53. Thanks for the tips, it’s always good to see fresh tips on link building techniques. I’d noticed the referring domains within market samurai and had already checked my sites out to esure a varied quantity.

  54. Thank you for awesome linkbuilding informations, Ben.
    I’m glad to have Market Samurai.

  55. Great info Ben. I did notice the appearence of the extras in the software, but thought I had missed an email update. Looks like an important edition to what is already a must have in the SEO artillary.

  56. That new feature (RDD) is awesome. I used to check majesticseo to get exactly this information as I think it’s really important.

    Just checked the results for my main keyword and my main competitors do have more RDD power.

    By the way: If you do linkbuilding for a wordpress blog of yours you might want to check out these WordPress Backlink Plugins as they can automatically do the job Ben has talked about: bookmark your site, create links from a variety of different domains, etc.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Thanks for that Hendrick

    I’ll check it out too.

    Cheers, Ben

  57. Hi Ben, Thank you for the advice I am always looking for new ways to build links, and this article has given me some ideas.

  58. Thanks for posting this Ben. I’m just starting SEO and this will be very useful for me later down the line when I start my linking strategy.

    God bless


  59. Fantastic stuff, although surprised that publishing stuff (good quality link-bait) isn’t more of a priority for people!

    As well as the new Referring domains metrics, I also find the Anchor Text Analysis in the SEO Competition module revealing. (It’s revealed when you click the little drop down arrow next to the URL).

    You can often see just how effort has gone into link building on a very small number of domains and having 1000′s of links all the with same anchor text is just gives the whole game away!

    Hendrik @ Best Wordpress Plugins replied:

    True – very true.

    Feature request: The Samurai should indicate how many of the backlinks to that specific url have the keyword as anchor text. To rank well this is really important.

  60. great job with this article about referring domains i have been using ms for a few month is a excellent tool :)

  61. Great post Ben

    Totally agree with the referring domains. However, I would just like to add that the competition may have good backlinks from authority sites but the anchor text is often so varied it is hard for the SE’s to distinguish what to rank it for especially if on page is mediocre at best.

    One of my clients actually wants some help to get ranked for SEO Manchester (yes, an SEO guy asking me for help)

    One of his main competitors has over 1 million referring domains – with over 1.2 million backlinks – that is alot, but he is only no2.

    Why not number 1? On page poor and the anchor text he is using is all over the shop – web design, seo, the url, adwords, ppc, marketing, advertising, online marketing and many more – sure you could argue that this is LSI but I would argue that if they wanted to go for just SEO Manchester I would use LSI for that and then do a separate page for the web design etc…

    Just my 2 pence worth – but thanks for all the great posts

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Yeah, you still see lots of cases where On Page is screwed up and so authority sites get beaten off by little players. The issue is, it’s easy to fix on page factors, it’s hard to get authority!

  62. I love your writing style :) You explain things sooo well in an area that most other people almost always make sound complicated. I will be stopping by more as all this information interests and intrigues me. Hopefully I can implement your wisdom to take on some big players in my niche!

  63. 63

    Aaah great! Was looking online what it means (RDD and RDP), even on the site of Majestic this info is not given!

    So a sidewite link is not recommended?

    Thanks a lot.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Sule

    I still get sitewide links for my web development company ( I don’t think they hurt, but it looks to me that Google has figured out this long ago and doesn’t give the ‘juice’ it would otherwise give for that quantity of links. By rights I should have millions of links due to ‘run of the site’ links, but it’s only been as I’ve done ‘real’ link building that I’ve got the rankings that matter on that site.

    Cheers, Ben

  64. Thanks Ben, Great Stuff, I always get something useful here.

    Now stop reading and go do that RSS Post:)

  65. Dear Ben at Noble Samurai,
    Once again thanks for some good hints and advice.It would be really great to track a set of SEO improvements and optimisations to an “example” site over time. Like this week going to put lots of quality backlinks to site. Next week add lots of internal links etc, and be able to observe an expert gradually ranking the site in a medium competitive niche.

    Obviously we could observe improvements in ranking via using Market Samurai.

    If someone at MS has loads of time maybe you could do it for us fans and wannabe SEO successes.

    Regards Simon

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Simon

    That’s actually and idea I’m playing with for blog posts. E.g. just pick out a dummy site and then apply specific strategies and blog about the outcomes. It’s not perfect because external influences (competition etc) can mess with it, but I think you’re right that it’d be an interesting approach.

    Cheers, B

  66. Is it really good idea to have backlinks from a site that has nothing in common?

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Ahh – this is a can of worms, with lots of different views :-)

    If link building is about publishing content on other sites (which it generally comes down to), then you’ll tend to to get most of your links from either related sites (e.g. niche based forums) or from general sites (e.g. article directories, news sites etc).

    So whilst it’s likely that you’ll get links from related sites, I personally don’t stress about it to much. Limiting my link building activities to related sites I find very restrictive. My ideal link is one from a high authority site with the right anchor text, and if it’s in a related niche then that’s a bonus, but more because the visitor traffic that clicks on the link will be more qualified.

    Cheers, Ben

  67. Ben, I have a question here, what about free blogs from for example,, blogger etc. If a link is coming from a free blog for example, will it be considered as link coming from separate domain. What I mean is, if I have 2 links from 2 free blogs and, will they be considered as 2 domains? Can someone help me?

  68. I’ve known about the importance of RSS but really have basic knowledge on how to use it effectively.

    I look forward to your post on that subject, hopefully in the very near future.

  69. Ben,

    Great point about asking people to “like” your post. I never thought about that and I can see how that could dramatically increase your response.

  70. I’d be very interested if you did a more in depth post on RSS feeds as this is something I’m totally ignorant about.


  71. Thanks again for the great information market sumarai keeps getting better.

    Best wishes.


  72. Thanks for that great post Ben,

    SEO is a very complicated and multifaceted world, where people just starting out in it can easily find it hugely overwhelming. I’m the non-techie half of my partnership, so still learning in a wide variety of areas.

    There are just so many factors involved, but posts like yours highlighting general points of best practice are a god send for knowing which approach to take and where to put the most limited resources of time.

    I hadn’t realised the full power and benefit of the RSS feed, so thanks for pointing that out! Was that a surprise to everyone else?

  73. Thanks Ben
    I’ve been following the links to page more than anything, but RDP and RDD are showing why I’m not getting beyond position 8 to 10. Those above generally do have a better spread of links.
    A really helpful addition to MS.

  74. Ben, great functionality and features, thanks for the post.

    On this subject, I need to create a backlink profile for a client. Generally for that, I use OpenSiteExplorer, Yahoo Explorer, maybe Majestic, etc. However, I had not considered using Market Samurai for this previously.

    You made a reference in your post to “Market Samurai’s link profile report”. Is that a specific report we can find in MS, besides the SEO competition tab and the data there?

    Also – is there any way to very quickly add batches of URLs (i.e. internal pages) for a site, to pull backlink data for?

    Doug@SEO Consulting replied:

    Oops, One Correction to my comment above: I meant to say “…create backlink analysis report” not “profile”

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Doug

    Sorry it’s taken a little while to come back to you on this.

    Firstly, the profile report is a relatively unknown component in the SEO competition tab. Check out the training video here.

    Note, this report isn’t directly printable, but you can export the data. Also, it’s based on Yahoo Site Explorer, which is gradually dying (e.g. getting slower and the data looks to be a little dated). We’re exploring options to replace it with.

    In relation to adding batches of URL’s to pull backlink data for, in the SEO Competition tab, click the add custom URL link and you’ll get the full on page / off page data set (including the various measures of backlinks).



  75. Great Post . Will have to continue on with your suggestions especially the RSS


  76. Thanks for the excellent update as well as the new Referring Domain Count. I use Market Samurai exclusively for my keyword and competition search as well as other features. It’s also good to be reminded of the basics of where to submit and to keep a balance in mind.

  77. I really enjoy all of your posts Ben and I am looking forward, with anticipation, to your series on backlink building. Any idea when that might be?

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hey Grant

    I really just had the thought as I wrote this post. I’ve got a couple of important topics I want to post about first, but after those I expect I’ll come out with a link building series.



  78. VERY USEFUL!! Can’t wait to check this out…

    This is a good metric to show our clients too in our monthly reports becuase we can show BEFORE and AFTER snapshots.

    Great work, as ever – keep it up :-)

  79. Thanks for the info’, Ben. As a newbie to niche marketing i’ve soon come to realise that SEO is a complex animal – quite overwhelming, in fact! Your non-nonsense advice is much appreciated here at the bottom of the ladder!

  80. Hi Ben,
    Thank your for this explanation. Unfortunately ( for me ) I am still not sure how to interpret this information. Could you please clarify a couple of things?

    I am looking at a domain that has RDD of 85,434 but RDP of 0. BLP of 0 . BLD of 5,969,181
    Could you take this example and help me to understand it please. Is this a niche I should go after or not? With this added information on MS I am at a stand still until I know how to determine if the competition is too strong or not. I apologize if this should be obvious, but I hazard a guess that there might be a couple of other MS fans with the same question.

    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Seb

    It’s actually a little tough to give a definitive answer as the above scenario could represent a few different situations, but I’ll give it a go.

    Firstly, in terms of general principles, I still target keywords based on basic competition metrics like SEOC, SEOTC and then when looking at the SEO Competition Tab, I look at on page optimisation (Title Tag mainly), and off page factors being mainly BLD & BLP and page rank. Also remember, the point of keyword research is to find the most likely prospects for content and then ‘get writing’. It’s about increasing your odds by picking keywords you’re best positioned to win on, but you won’t win them all (at least not early on).

    I should also say, I’ll publish content on keywords I’m unlikely to rank for (which sounds crazy I know) – because this is often the popular stuff that my audience wants to hear about!

    Back to your question – I typically find that rankings are taken by sites that fall into a few different categories. First there are the mega sites like Amazon or Article directories that have huge RDD and BLD counts and look like monsters, but they’re actually not, because although they’re powerful, they’re also competing on everything (so unless you’re competing with their home page), you can generally feel OK about competing.

    Then there are niche sites that focus specifically on your industry. When I see niche sites that themselves have high RDD and BLD as well as good on page optimisation, I’m a little more cautious, because this represents a specialist site specifically focused on the keyword I want. It doesn’t mean I can’t get it, it just says there will be more work involved.

    Finally, you’ll still see smaller ‘thin’ sites maybe for opportunistic affiliates or small business brochure websites with only a few pages that are basically biting around the edges. Unless these sites have the exact keyword as a domain, then as a more serious player in your market (e.g. publishing content and building links over time) you can expect to beat them.

    I’m not using RDD as part of my regular keyword research for every term, but rather I’m finding examples of online business that I want to be like (e.g. who are the leaders in my field) and asking ‘what kind of backlink profile do they have? ‘.

    The depressing news is that in every market I’m looking at, the niche specific leaders have RDD’s in the thousands or more, so I think it’s fair to say the ‘SEO Goldrush’ is coming to an end, and the era of the dedicated online marketer has come. The good news is, I’m still finding that small players who take their business seriously can become niche leaders, and the work required (which is still very ‘do-able’) is typically rewarded well financially (the Internet is still getting more popular!).

    Cheers, Ben

  81. Very Good information in your article.I especially liked the link building tips.In particular, tips 2 and 3 which I am going to try out as they are new to me.Thanks for the excellent info.

  82. Hi Ben,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write back to me. I really appreciate it and I think I may have some inkling of how to interpret this stuff. I just couldn’t understand how a domain could have RDD in the thousands and 0 BLP and 0 BLD.
    I assume by dedicated online marketer you mean people who do this full time and are concentrating on building up a limited number of sites into large very competitive ones.
    Thanks again


  83. Good post, Ben. I’ve been noticing that a lot of pages with several times as many backlinks are often being beaten out by pages with very few for some of the keyword phrases I’ve been researching. Doing a PR analysis showed that the site with the higher backlink numbers was often getting hundreds of links from the same domain, making them worth very, very little. I’ll definitely be spreading mine around.

  84. Thanks again, these new stats for RDD and RDP will give us additional great insight as to what our competitors are doing as far as their backlink building efforts go. I have been going to Majestic SEO to look at this info – now it is available on the same screen of Market Samurai! WOW!

  85. One of the best and more useful article on the subject!
    Thanks again. :-)

  86. I’ve found Market Samurai to be the most stable and very easy to use compared to a lot of other SEO software out there, cheaper too! Great Job Guys!

  87. I used MS to get my clients hotel ranked in the Big G for keyword phrase that the former marketing guru could never do. It took the last 3 months of last year, but my client booked over 600K more then he did all of last year in just the first two and a half months! :) Thanks guys!

    Ben Stickland replied:

    You need to ask that client for a pay rise :-)

  88. This is a excellent tool to have to make sure you don’t get caught up in anymore of Gs ‘Farmer’ updates when you are not their target.

  89. Thanks Ben for that valuable post about the new additions to Market Samurai. I’ll be checking these additions out shortly and have a play around with them. I must say, I enjoy your style of writing and explaining things. Keep up the good work…Grant

  90. Hi Ben,

    Excellent blog post. Is what you are saying that an unnatural link profile will damage your rankings, or is it just that it won’t help as much?


    Ben Stickland replied:

    Hi Tonny

    Great question – an unnatural link profile won’t help as much, rather than hurt you.



  91. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for your great insight sharing. Actually, I have been really confusing in the past how do this SEO works until I followed your tips which give me more knowledge able to apply to my business. I’m also aware that most of everyone they are focusing on sending backlink to their main domain instead of pages.

    Anyway, look forward for more great tips from you guys.

    Casey H

  92. Wow. I haven’t check MS for so long, probably 3 months. And I have to said, the post is better since it get back to the basic of SEO.

    I like this RDD and RDP. I didn’t see them on the software yesterday because I didn’t look at my setting. heheh.

    Great job guys.

  93. great stuff and allwayes interesting new features you come up with