SEO Small Business Bootcamp: What Is A C-Block?

By jrosen | November 30th, 2013

SEO | Social Media

Every once in a while, we like to try and break down some of the top SEO tools in the industry. Especially those that help educate our clients on the effectiveness of their past and present Search Engine Optimization efforts. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck out of your interactive agency, education is key. Knowing what tools are out there, how to use them, and partner with your agency rather than totally rely on them to do all the work, will put your marketing strategy in a better position to succeed.

But most importantly, it will bring more traffic to your website. So here is our weekly lesson for anyone who will listen. First, take a few sips of that coffee and ice water to wake yourself up from this past weekend’s Turkey coma. After a few week hiatus, the SEO Bootcamp is back.

Okay, ready?

One simple tool we virtually always use when analyzing SEO efforts, especially in the social media realm, is the Open Site Explorer. It gives key metrics like Domain Authority, Page Authority, Inbound Link strength and Social Metrics, allowing you to compare up to five sites at a time – that’s right – any sites on the interwebs.

Nashville Web Design

So as Allen Willis (our director of digital marketing services) and I were digging deep into a client’s social analytics last week, we noticed a new feature to the Open Site Explorer.

Nashville Interactive Agency

Something called “C-Blocks” caught my eye. After asking Allen what he thought a C-Block was, and getting an adolescent style chuckle out of his reply that reminded me of this blog by our very own Courtenay Rogers, I read the description in the hover, and it all made sense…

SEO Nashville


The Open Site Explorer is all about grading the amount of quality linkbacks sites receive. C-Blocks indicate Link Diversity. Link Diversity is a good thing. We believe that C-Blocks are measured in two ways:

1. Mainly by subject matter and context – In other words, let’s say you’re a Recipe Blog. If Foodie Bloggers represent 99% of your linkbacks, you’re like to have 1-2 C-Blocks. If you have a variety of kinds of sites linking to you (other recipe blogs, photography blogs, foodie bloggers, editorial magazines, restaurant reviews and say product review blogs), then you have at least seven C-Blocks.

2. By Location – This is a hypothesis, but we also believe that Linking C-Blocks, to a certain extent, represent the location (possibly by IP address) of the websites that link to your site. We know that Google Panda and Penguin updates cut down on the validity of link farms, blog networks, and SEO linkback tricks. One of the most obvious ways for Google to sniff out “less-than-legitimate” backlinks is to look for common IP addresses that link to one website. This prevents SEO agencies from setting up 15 websites on one server that all link to one website. Instead of 15 C-Blocks, you’d have one. Make sense?

Another way to measure hypothetical “location,” is by who owns the domain name. For example, if I register 10 sites in my name, and link all 10 of them to one site, I would assume I’d only be given credit for 1 C-Block, not 10.

It’s just cool that has added this statistic into the Open Site Explorer. So, next time you hear the phrase C-Block, don’t laugh it off like that guy who tried to pick up your girl at the bar back in college.

Next Week: We get a ton of questions from clients on Social Metrics (like those highlighted below), especially how those highlighted below are measured. We’ll dig in a little next time. Have a great week.

Page Social Metrics

Paul Hickey is the managing director of Cabedge Design, LLCan Atiba Company – and chief marketing geek for the Atiba Family. He specializes in strategic web design, organic and paid search, brand creation and helping clients and partners accomplish business goals. Paul loves writing and communicating, and helping drive relevant traffic to websites.

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