by Jim September 11, 2019
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dixon Jones this week from Majestic. Majestic is a leading link-mapping tool that you can use to glean information to get ahead of the competition. They are launching a new product and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at its features.
What I learned
- Majestic have increased their data centre to deliver something new to market
- Majestic is an invaluable SEO tool
- Why links are still viewed with suspicion
- The difference between internal and external links
- How do we know if a link is good quality?
- What makes Majestic’s new product so good.
Welcome how are you?
So I’m sitting here with Dixon Jones and this is the second time
we’ve met recently the last time was yesterday.
Yeah well that happens.
Thanks to Skype audio. That conversation we had could have gone on
for another hour or so anyway, and from it I’ve had a lot of questions
overnight and I’ve had a lot of questions from staff and why don’t you
tell us first about yourself what you do and then we’ll get into some
of the stuff that you’re doing.
All right. So for those who don’t know me I’m best known for
bringing Majestic to the market. The link tool. So it’s a backlink
ruler now I did that for about 10 years and then a couple of years ago
I started moving back from that so I’m no longer involved in it day to
day but I’m still an ambassador, brand ambassador at conferences and
that kind of thing. I haven’t been to the office all week but actually
they dragged me up to the office last week to show me what they were
working on and it kind of blew me away and if you like I’ll show it to
you. I just saw truckloads of computers arriving at the office where
they’re making computers and stuff to do it. They’ve increased the data
center and everything to bring something new to the backlink stuff,
which is pretty exciting actually.
It’s going to sound like an editorial because you’re so excited
about it! But it’s a very useful tool and one that needs to be talked
about and one certainly that I think a lot of SEOs are gonna be upset
about because I’ve already had this sneak peek. So I don’t know if you
can share your screen now but I think it’ll be good to have a look at
it and just get right into it and discuss it, because it opens up a lot
of questions and I’m sure there’ll be people challenging it.
Before I open up the screen, you know you make the very valid
point that you know people are somewhat suspicious of links or some
people are suspicious of links, and I think the reason for it has been
that although the tools like ourselves and Ahrefs and Moz and lately
SEMrush have all been collecting and recording backlinks to web pages.
They’ve done two things relatively badly. I mean the first is not
really understood that a link on a web page can be an internal link or
an external link, and if it’s an external link to another website, okay
that’s just one of a hundred links on the page and if there’s 100 other
links on the page even if those other hundred are internal links that’s
gonna have an impact on the link.
Can you just explain the impact on the link? Because what you’re
talking about there is essentially not the density.
I come to link density because that’s an interesting idea. The
original thing was PaidRank course, so if we just forget random surfer
models and other bits and pieces but we will talk about that as well if
you want. The original PageRank algorithm sat there and said right,
you’ve got this page and it’s worth this, we’re going to give it a
dampening factor of point one five and then we’re going to divide the
rest by all the other links and then pass that score to other pages on
the web. So wherever those pages link to, whether they’re internal or
external. So if you had a hundred other page links on the page that
would make a big difference to how much of the power it would give to
the link to your website, if you see what I mean. So that’s one part of
it. The other part of it is that I think that Google for a long time
you know they came out with a patent called the random surfer patent
and they’ve started to say quite a long time back things like you know
if you’ve got it in the navigation that’s a different kind of thing,
we’re in the footer that’s a different kind of thing to if it’s in the
context of the page, and a reasonable surfer will not click on all the
links with the same kind of value. But then you’ve got to say well in
that case how do we create a formula that works out how people are
clicking on pages and whether a link is good or not and that’s really
where the stuff comes in you know. I think we’ve now cracked it and I
think you can just see it visually on the screen, you don’t have to
argue whether they’re right or wrong. There’s been a huge increase so
let me show the screen here. I’ll show the viewers what it is that has
changed and I think it’s kind of changed the way in which we look at
links because I’ve taken R U OK? Which is a big charity in Australia
Yep, mental health.
Okay, so what Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMrush and Moz sort of tend to
do is have a list of backlink information. So this is ours, it’s got
yellow.com, Black Dog Institute, Man Shed, and these are the links that
are going from other websites in the world to ruok.org.au. Okay? And so
you know it says something about the strength of the page and stuff and
we did have some internal information so this page on yellow.com has a
total of 90 links on the page of which you know 69 are internal and 21
are external. So we had some information about all of that, but the
problem was you didn’t know much about the other links, you didn’t know
where it was on the page so – what Majestic has done and this is what
took truckloads of computers is they’ve changed that list to this
thing, which is called link context and so they’ve changed the whole
look. So it’s the same list, yellow.com, Black Dog Institute, Man Shed,
Sensis.com, but this layout after about you know a couple of minutes of
figuring out what on earth we’re showing here totally changes the way
that you look at the links. So the first thing is that we now have the
link in context literally, so we’re seeing what text is around the
link, so you know this is where the page is. The bidding green is what
you’re looking for, so the anchor text for this particular link is R U
OK? and it’s surrounded with a bunch of text. So this has what we’re
calling a zero link density, in other words the percentage of content
that surrounds the anchor text or the primary anchor text and link, how
much of that is links? And the answer is zero because there are no
other links immediately around the page. If I go to another one for
example where we’ve got a 76 link density, and we got the link here and
around you can see these dotted lines, hopefully comes through on the
screen, are all the other links. So this one has links all around it so
it’s just surrounded by links. So the Australian Men’s Shed Association
clearly now you can see from the URL this is just a supporters page,
it’s just a list of links and it’s going to make a big difference to
the context of R U OK?’s link in that picture. So you know that for a
start turns it into something really powerful and if you want to you
can see the actual mark-up underneath there that we called to get that.
You can hover over these things and see which ones are internal links
and which ones are external links. So that brings it alive without
having to go to the page, without having to look at all the individual
stuff, and also there’s images and stuff in here as well. But the
really clever bit I think is this chart over here. And this chart over
here has totally changed things because what Majestic have done is
they’ve taken the HTML of every single page on the web and they’ve
chunked it, so they’ve put it into 40 different separate chunks, so as
you’re looking at this chart here you’re going down the page so the top
two and a half percent of the HTML has five internal links because the
blue is the internal links. So down here, right down the bottom you’ve
got a few internal links in the bottom two and a half percent of the
page, in the middle there’s some internal links, and this green line
again we’re looking at green says that the link to R U OK? on this page
is right near the top of the page, so immediately on these things you
can see where the link is on the page and how many other links are
around it, so these blue lines are internal, the yellow is external,
and so these charts then make up a fantastic understanding of the link
literally in context so that makes sense. Jim did I explain that ok?
Yeah, sorry I mean the first time through I was like, “What the
hell am I looking at?” But I think what’s important here for me, I
don’t think you’ve told us how you get here, I don’t think you’ve
mentioned how you cut up the page. I thought that was very interesting.
Yeah okay, I probably did but I probably went through it pretty
Well I mean I think that was interesting for me because the way
that you cut up the page into, was it how many chunks? 44 chunks?
40 chunks. So two-and-a-half percent.
Yes. So you’re not necessarily eliminating internal linking as
some part of the value that the link on the page actually has. Whereas
you’re counting that. I guess one of the questions I have about it is
its value in the eyes of the search engine only, really although from a
I think the thing is by doing this we’ve proved to ourselves at
least and hopefully to the rest of the world that it’s actually
possible for a search engine to analyse a webpage in a machine-readable
form where they can sit there and quite easily see the difference
between links that are likely to be in line with the real text and are
likely to be you know in the flow of the user versus those that are
going to be navigational the top and the bottom, and also with it with
the stuff around it being able to see that stuff around it you know,
it’s now a machine-readable bit of information.
The thing I like about it is you can quickly see from my
perspective, because the way I look at the value of links is what value
do they deliver? And you can quickly see just by looking at that
visually that Yellow Pages one is great, that Black Dog Institute one…
That one’s not so great because it’s further down on the page,
78% from the top, its link number 869 on the page.
But that’s a good link right? Like if I wanted the traffic from
that, that’s probably a good link from that site.
You’d think it was, but because it’s so far down the page it’s
not likely to be quite as good as you think. But that said, it is
nicely done with a good sentence and not too much faff around it. It
looks like it’s a whole page on you know wellbeing in the workplace and
then it’s got a resource for you R U OK? But it’s still further down on
the page, it’s nowhere near as good as the Yellow Pages one. And this
is the funny thing right, because as you know I’m not a big fan of
Yellow Pages links, I mean you know they are Yellow Pages links.
Certainly everyone gets traffic from Yellow Pages.
But this one’s a totally different game because if you go to the
yellowpages.com home page you’re gonna see that they are putting the
whole resources of yellow.com. into that.
I’m going to look into the context of what the words around it
are. “When you click to purchase a Yellow Online listing.” When you
just look at it that way that doesn’t read that well.
Well yeah, but you know you’re gonna get a lot of people
clicking on that because you know they kind of want to see more about
that. Let’s look at the URL. This is my lag time looking at Australian
websites from the UK. So here it is. Yellow is proud to sponsor the
partnership R U OK? I mean it’s right there. You’ve got the heading of
yellow.com and then their big sell line is sponsoring R U OK? It’s even
before they sell their product. It’s brilliant! It’s on the home page
as well, so you know it’s a good link. The point is you can’t just redo
a link analysis system to do this. They have to record you know instead
of one file for every web page, it needs 40 separate files for every
web page, really to break this up and understand it. Anyway I’m gonna
come off of my Majestic thing there I will come back to you.
Well that was fascinating Dixon and I hope we can do this again
and people should get out and have a go with the tool and see what they
I hope we can talk about entities and stuff in the future.
Man I’d love to do that. There’s a lot we can talk about there.
Anyway see you soon.
Thanks Jim. Bye.