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Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn – Internet Marketing Implications


microsoft-acquires-linkedinSomething interesting happened when Microsoft purchased LinkedIn on Monday, June 13 2016. Twitter stock went up 4%. Apparently, there IS a market for social media platforms, they are desirable. Microsoft just proved there’s a market for them by buying LinkedIn.

I’ll admit I’m a little worried about Twitter. It’s a great platform for marketing! That Twitter has gone so long without being profitable raises the concern that they might not stick around forever. Twitter going up in price based on Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is an oddly semi-related benefit to internet marketers that is the most identifiable benefit to internet marketers.

What can we expect the deal itself to bring, in terms of LinkedIn’s continued utility to the socially-connected working class? Probably no change at all. I cannot see LinkedIn’s no-follow link policy changing. If the policy won’t change, it is still a good idea to re-cap what the current benefits are from working with LinkedIn.

Their links are nofollow. Nofollow links do not convey “link juice” in the traditional pagerank model. However, there are certainly many things that nofollow links do pass along. There are other arguments for nofollow links. Here are an assortment of these arguments:

  • Google likely attributes Author Rank to articles tied to LinkedIn profiles.
  • Google could chose to honor, or not honor, the nofollow link tag on a case-by-case scenario.
  • Diversified link balance between dofollow and nofollow.
  • Links from different Class-C IP addresses.
  • Diversity in links from differing platforms.

linkedin-vs-other-soical-mediaGoogle likely attributes Author Rank to articles tied to LinkedIn profiles. In 2013, Eric Schmidt (executive chairman at Google) wrote a book giving insight to how Google views social media profiles.

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Let that sink in. Google will rank content higher when it is tied to verified online profiles. What type of online profile is more credible, more verifiable than a LinkedIn profile? Google doesn’t give traditional link juice pagerank credit from links coming from LinkedIn profiles, however, they likely give credit for Author Rank, a system Google uses to identify writers online and elevate their articles based on the relevancy and other works from the same author.

matt-cutts-on-nofollow-links

Google could chose to honor, or not honor, the nofollow link tag on a case-by-case scenario. I’m a huge fan of Wikipedia links. In fact, I’ve created successful private blog networks by buying expired domains with a common denominator of having Wikipedia links. Of course, these links are nofollow. Google, however, likely gives a large bonus to links from Wikipedia. I certainly can tell the difference in ability to rank that I receive from building PBNs using expired domains with Wikipedia links.

wikipedia-seoWhy wouldn’t Google use a pristine, information-rich and fairly unspammed source as part of their algorithm? Wikipedia is a clean site with few spammy links. Of course Google uses those links. Are the links on LinkedIn overall legitimate? Certainly. Google could very well decide to use those links for ranking sites.

Diversified link balance between dofollow and nofollow. You don’t win the game of SEO by creating an unbelievable link portfolio. You won’t succeed in SEO if 100% of your links come from Blogger, or if 100% of the content you receive links from are structurally similar, or if the platforms from each linking blog are identical, or if your anchor texts are similar, etc.

These are called footprints. You want to avoid them – as Google uses footprints to expose people trying to manipulate their rankings. If 100% of your incoming links are from dofollow sources, you have an unnatural link profile. You must also get links from nofollow sources if you wish to have a varied healthy portfolio of backlinks to your site.

Links from different Class-C IP addresses. It is a fact that websites which have incoming links from a large variety of different Class-C IP addresses tend to rank better than those that don’t. While you might not gain “link juice” per se, you could still get credit from having a link from yet another individual Class-C IP address. There are numerous structural diversifications like this which could add to the individuality of your site’s links.

Diversity in links from differing platforms. Consider for a moment that you only get links from WordPress blogs. That is a footprint you can avoid by getting links from other types of platforms (such as LinkedIn). I’ll take the “diversity” angle a few steps further. If the content you’re linking from is original and diverse, that could be a ranking factor (number of links from diverse documents). Perhaps it doesn’t pass along raw link juice, but it could pass along contextuality.

I’d like to take a moment and address some articles you might see on the internet claiming that you can get dofollow links from LinkedIn. This isn’t true. I’ve seen the tutorials, and while it would appear (as you’re posting) that you have received do-follow links – in the source code itself, it constructs the links in a very fishy way.

no follow vs do followThe suggestion was that you create a document in Microsoft Word or similar system where you can get a link in the text, copy and paste that into LinkedIn and the result would be a dofollow link. The main test, however, is in Google’s cache itself. By looking at Google’s cache, you can see the final end-result product – what Google actually considers LinkedIn’s funky source code to translate into. These links in Google’s cache are nofollow (even on the examples people gave of do-follow links).

Are LinkedIn links worth it? Absolutely. It is an excellent idea to tie an identity to your website. By linking from LinkedIn to your site – using the same identity (the concept of Author Rank), you’re establishing valuable signals which will help your site to rank better. Take that into consideration with all the other evidences that nofollow links are beneficial for SEO, and you’ll see LinkedIn links are extremely beneficial for your SEO.

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