Announcer: [00:00:00] EDGE of the Web, on the road at SMX.

Erin: [00:00:04] We had a great time at SMX West in San Jose this year. We were able to sit down with some thought leaders in the digital marketing space. Very special thank you to Third Door Media, who opened the door, friends of the web to come out to the conference this year. We’re able to catch up to Patrick Stox, product advisor, technical SEO, and brand ambassador for Ahrefs, sponsor of Edge of the Web podcast. Give it a watch and listen.

Announcer: [00:00:27] You’re weekly digital marketing trends, with industry trend setting guests, you’re listening and watching Edge of the Web, winners of best podcast from the Content Marketing Institute for 2017. Hear and see more at

Now, here’s your house, Erin Sparks.

Erin: [00:00:49] So we’re having a great time at SMX, ah, talking to a lot of digital marketers and we wanted to actually grab a hold of Patrick Stox, he’s actually the product advisor brand ambassador and technical SEO for Ahrefs. Patrick, thanks so much for joining us.

Patrick: [00:01:03] Ah, thanks for having me.

Erin: [00:01:04] More than welcome. So, so, we have a special relationship with Ahrefs. Ahrefs has actually a sponsor for Edge of the Web, and we wanted to really kinda have a moment and just talk about the product and really ask you to unpack some of the new things that are happening with Ahrefs as well as give us, ah, ah, a larger perspective of what this tool can be used for for digital marketing.

Patrick: [00:01:25] It can be used for pretty much everything. I would say the strengths obviously are within the linked data. Ah, but keyword research will hopefully have a new content tool pretty soon.

Erin: [00:01:37] Really?

Patrick: [00:01:38] That’s, that’s exciting.

Erin: [00:01:39] Can you talk about that much?

Patrick: [00:01:40] Probably not.

Erin: [00:01:41] [laughing]  so that’s one of the cool things about Ahrefs, is that, it, it does have a really good kinda knowledge research tool, so we can actually deep dive into different key concepts and different key words. Um, it’s got a, probably one of the best link research tools from a, from a digital marketing SEO platform around. So let’s just, let’s pivot and focus just on the link research tool. Give us an understanding of some of the key components of, of the link analysis that it’s got.

Patrick: [00:02:12] I mean we’re just crawling the web, but at a really massive scale.

Erin: [00:02:16] How many pages do you crawl?

Patrick: [00:02:19] Ha, you’d have to check our big data page. I don’t know the numbers. It’s, it’s increasing all the time.

Erin: [00:02:23] It is huge, absolutely.

Patrick: [00:02:25] And I’d say one of the advantages we have over the other tools that are similar is that we actually do craw with javascript enabled for many of the pages.

Erin: [00:02:32] Absolutely.

Patrick: [00:02:33] So anyone using any of the javascript frameworks or, or inserting links that way, like, we’re pretty much the only one that’s gonna pick it up besides Google.

Erin: [00:02:42] Besides Google and even some of the other applications out there, you actually have to enable that javascript to actually parse through and you do this natively.

Patrick: [00:02:50] But that’s for their site auditors, the link indexes, no one, no none else does it.

Erin: [00:02:54] Oh. Okay. There’s the big difference right there. You’re right.

Patrick: [00:02:57] Yeah.

Erin: [00:02:57] So, we all know, from an SEO standpoint, links are incredibly valuable. Um, you have one, one tool in particular, the link intersected tool and, and I don’t know, I don’t know how you guys feel about it at Ahrefs, but we love it. As, as a great comparative tool, a competitive comparison tool, um, can you tell, tell our listeners and tell everybody here, how valuable that particular tool is.

Patrick: [00:03:22] Yeah. It’s, it’s gonna tell you basically here’s all the links that top sites have that you maybe don’t have, like, links that are potentially ah, allowing them to rank, I would say.

Erin: [00:03:33] It also gives the main stream, I mean, you, you also have your own internal um, scorecard or, or, or metric on domain rating as well as url rating, so, each platform kinda has their own scorecard so to speak, but you break it down deep, deep, deep into each and every one of the pages that are actually linking and passing that value over to the domains. Um, the interesting part about the link intersect tool, what I’ve experienced is the filtering that you have as well.

So, not only just seeing all of the links of, of your competitors that, that you don’t particularly have, that they share, but also you can filter particular keywords, URLS, um, what other filtering tools do they have there.

Patrick: [00:04:15] I honestly don’t know, but I’m sure there’s a lot of filters.

Erin: [00:04:16] That’s okay. I’m, I’m a geek in that. I love going through there because it gives us a, a way to target ah, key opportunities in that link pool because when it comes to it, the link intersect is still, still a group there and if you can actually start grabbing a hold of anchor text and, and url structures, right, it gives us even better strategy.

Patrick: [00:04:39] Yeah. That’s one of the tools ah, I’m personally hoping we expand a little further to allow more sites or, even ah, classify into different niches.

Erin: [00:04:48] Definitely.

Patrick: [00:04:48] You know, for instance, a, a, lawyer who’s what, maybe 40000 lawyers, law firms in the US, if we could say here’s all the sites we know are law firms, here are all the links that, all the ones in the top 10 have, an ordered list by, you know, who’s got what links …

Erin: [00:05:03] Right, right, right.

Patrick: [00:05:04] I would love for us to go that far with the data and I think we can.

Erin: [00:05:10] You guys have been doing a lot of, of, ah, ah, growth on your platform over the course of the last couple of years, especially. Um, you expanded, somewhat recently into site auditing.

Patrick: [00:05:22] Yeah.

Erin: [00:05:23] About two, two years ago, something like that?

Patrick: [00:05:25] Sounds about right.

Erin: [00:05:25] Yeah. Um, being the, the product advisor, you know, site audits, I mean, they’re huge competitive race inside of, inside of the site auditing a, SASS platforms, right. What, what, what makes Ahrefs different in that space?

Patrick: [00:05:43] If I’m being honest, we don’t quite have all the features that a lot of the other tools have yet. Ah, we’re still pretty new in that space, ah, but there are some very interesting use cases that we have. One, we can handle javascript no problem, lots, lots of the auditors can do that now. Ah, we have a lot of fields you can add to our data though that a lot of people aren’t really using. Um, you know, you can add any of our link metrics, any of our traffic metrics right to the data, create a quick, like overview report.

Erin: [00:06:12] Right.

Patrick: [00:06:12] Ah, we also have the ability, with some of those of fields, to say like, I need to follow all these links and check and see if ah, if you know, if these pages exist and blah, blah, blah, where they end up, check and redirect chains.

Erin: [00:06:25] Right.

Patrick: [00:06:25] Ah, one of the advantages there is we’ll give you the final url ah, all in one column, whereas a lot of the other tools, it’s like step one, go to this field. Step two, this field, step three, this field …

Erin: [00:06:37] Right.

Patrick: [00:06:37] So if you have a bunch of chains, with different links, ah, the data gets really messy and we’re super clean in all that stuff.

Erin: [00:06:44] Now that’s a really important feature. Um, something else I just noticed ah, as I was working with the tool here recently, is you’ve got the filtering agent, again, in, in that space, where you can actually audit branches of content and, and, be able to start creating strategies around those sectional areas and be able to improve that and, and, ultimately, start working in, in piecemeal areas as opposed to the global list of every bloody ah, ah, error, every bloody, warning.

Patrick: [00:07:16] Yeah. That’s another thing I’d say we do really well is that we’re not flagging everything as this is a massive problem. A lot of stuff we throw a warning because even if you fix it, it may not make a change. It may not have an impact. Ah, we’re really working hard to like, let people be able to prioritize better or helping them to prioritize better because especially people that are newer in the field, they don’t know what is going to have an impact, what’s not going to, what Google might already be fixing for them.

Erin: [00:07:39] Right. Right. Um, you also have a to do, to do area in that as well, right? So, kinda like the, the Trello connections, what have you. You can actually designate different tasks, pull them out of the audit and be able to put them in a chronological order to do list as well, right?

Patrick: [00:07:54] Yeah.

Erin: [00:07:55] Okay.

Patrick: [00:07:55] I …

Erin: [00:07:57] I, I, you know, I’m a little …

Patrick: [00:07:59] Yeah. One of the strengths or soon to be strengths, we’ve got a few new reports for this already, but I’m a big tech SEO geek, ah, especially having an extensive past with internationalization. Ah, none of the tools I’ve ever used really have the reports that I need for that. Um, some of the stuff we already have, some of the stuff we’re implementing systems so that we will actually be able to report all the data we need, that I as a technical SEO and lots of other tech SEOs do need for that, that really no one has done yet.

Erin: [00:08:31] Very good. You know, absolutely. That’s that’s a huge feature. Um, so what’s upcoming? Ah, you know, you jumped into this, relatively recently and you have a long history with IBM, you got into Ahrefs for a reason, what’s, what’s upcoming, in, in evolution of the tool?

Patrick: [00:08:47] I don’t think I can talk too much.

Erin: [00:08:49] Aw. Come on.

Patrick: [00:08:49] About this stuff. I will say that my goal, personally is just to make people’s lives easier. A lot of the stuff that we have reports for now, SEOs have to fit into their workflows when really we could go ahead and give them kind of the answer that they need. Um, so I just want to skip to like, here’s a bunch of data, ah, and go right to here’s your answer, here’s what you need to do.

Erin: [00:09:14] It’s getting more and more … ah, I mean, it, it, it has been in the past a very technical tool and you had to know what you were looking at and you guys are truly making much better UX decisions on how to actually communicate to the user ah, so it’s apparent there’s a lot of working going into this, so it’s great to be able to have you on board so you can convey that to us. We may actually even have to have you just let us know On The Edge once in a while, these new features ah, as, as you roll these things out, because we certainly want our listeners to, to know about it. So, so, from a large scope comparing Ahrefs to another, other platforms, are the deep, deep knowledge of, of ah, ah, the, the link attribute in SEO, but why should users use Ahrefs as opposed to other tools that’s out there.

Patrick: [00:10:01] Simply better. Our data’s better, we’re gathering data. I think our use cases is really our strength. Um, you know, you look at a lot of these other tools and yeah, there’s there’s a ton of data and data dumps, ah, but with Ahrefs, like, all the reporting is geared towards something. So you go into rep, a report and basically it’s geared toward a certain task.

Erin: [00:10:23] Yeah. Well it’s a healthy, healthy machine, absolutely. So give, give, all, all our best to the ah, to the powers that be over at Ahrefs and we certainly are looking forward to seeing you in these, in these events in the future.

Patrick: [00:10:37] Yeah. I’m looking forward to being around for a while.

Erin: [00:10:40] So good luck on that long title though. Um, that’s that’s … you’re almost gonna have to have different parts of your week focused on these different [crosstalk 00:10:48]

Patrick: [00:10:48] I’ve never had a title that long, but I love it. I’ve never been a brand ambassador before, but you know what, I, I’d say I’m an Ahrefs fanboy. I have been for years. I’ve used the tool for years, so it’s one of the reasons I joined is like, I just love the tool. I love the company.

Erin: [00:11:02] Absolutely. Absolutely. Well thank you so much sir, appreciate it.

Patrick: [00:11:04] Ah. Thank you.

Erin: [00:11:05] All right. Take care.