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June 8, 2010

SEO & Social Media Track: Show Me The Links: Real Life Link Building

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This is a guest liveblog post by Dana Lookadoo. Dana is an SEO Consultant with a focus on search engine optimization and audience engagement. Dana has been involved in Internet Marketing since 1999 and co-founded two Web firms and an SEO agency prior to rebranding to Yo! Yo! SEO – Word-of-Mouth SEO. She has worked with fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses and takes a collaborative educational approach to search marketing consulting. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

SMX

Opening commentary…This live blogging thing means you can’t tweet. Oh…

Session opened with a sponsorship pitch by Text Link Ads:

  • How many buy links and admit it? No hands.
  • How many buy links and don’t admit it? A few hands and laughs.
  • There are a lot of hypocrites out here. <stunned no one coughed>

Paid links are not the way to solve your link obstacles. Use them intelligently and as a portion of your link building portfolio.

Text Link Ads guy then offered that the panel could then rip him apart. <Interestingly, no mentioned paid links later.>

Danny notes it’s time to think differently about links rather than to think about Digging stuff.

First up, Roger Montii, @martinibuster.

Notes he does “White Label Link Development.” He’s talking strategies. They use 8 or 9 link campaigns, some of which are:

1. Target Searching

Target sites that link to relevant resources:
allintitle: “relevant keyword” resources site:.org

  • Good way to find sites that are resources to businesses.
  • Likes to limit it to dot org or limit to dot edu.
  • if search returns more than a 1,000 responses. Yahoo! will only show 1,000, and you’ll be missing things. Add more keywords to work that result down to better find hidden opportunities.

2. Backlink Trolling

  • A productive technique is to troll for sponsor or advertising opportunities and cherry pick the best. I don’t advocate relying on poaching the backlinks of competitors.
  • Saying that these links are relevant for this phrase.
  • He finds it’s best to get the sites that don’t link to competitors.
  • Cultivate your own set of backlinks to testify to your relevance.
  • linkdomain:relatedsite.com – site:relatedsite.com “sponsors”
    • mine .us when looking for links
    • “our sponsors” “advertisers

3. Association Memberships

Doesn’t need to be exact match. Look for sideways related, accounting stuff.

4. Paid Links

  • Carries risk
  • Evaluate risk tolerance before attempting to negotiate paid links
  • Reputation management issues away if you solicit paid links in a non-discrete manner.

5. Broken Link Campaign

  • Flame-outs, get free links:
  • Go to archive.org and find names of companies not important any more. do backlink research to find who is still linking to these sites.

6. General Sponsorship Campaign

  • “sponsors” “your keywords” site:.edu
  • expand types of links and don’t forget .ca

7. Free Links

Find organizations and bloggers who are publishing articles. Bloggers are often flattered when you approach them and mention you are interested writing an article and interviewing or writing about such and such product

At end of session… just got Roger Monti’s card, it say’s “Shaking things up.” http://martinibuster.com

Next is Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures, @ArnieK.

“I actually didn’t know you could be links.” <laugh>

Link Building Work & examples (13:04 left) [Oh dear, Dana's already counting down! Stay strong! —Virginia]

  • 50% is Content Development and Promotion
  • 20% is Blog Post and Article Placement
  • 10% is Basic Link Development (directories, comments, engage on blogs related in their industry) – engage not to drop links but visibility, answer sites
  • 20% is Target Link Requests

There is no easy cheap way to get links, no magic bullet.

Examples of targeted link requests case studies:

1. Pirate Costume Link

Have fun and be creative:

  • #1 competitor back link in Open Site Explorer
  • Link builder emailed “Ahoy Webwench, I like yer site…”
  • Rejected – Cheesy costumes
  • Said if she changed her mind, there was rum in it for her. Link received on PR5, PR7. Page has 257 backlinks

2. Targeted Email Request

  • Example 1: Do research before every request and find person to contact. Link builder researched person, joked with him, found out he likes to judge Miss America pageants. Link builder joked with him, saying they wanted to hire to predict future Miss America pageants. Relationship built.
    • Got a link!
    • Client wrote content on PR 4 page, used targeted keyword, by getting to know the owner on that site before ever contacting him.
  • Example 2: Link builder uses Firefox plugin to check for broken links, contacts them, informs them, then mentions “by the way, we may have an additional resource to the page.”
    • By helping webmaster out, pointing out flaws, got a PR5 link

3. Content Dev & Promotion

  • Approached SayCampusLife.com branded Twitter account.
  • Worked with client to develop a blog post. Write content on site and bargained that client would tweet it out to their large following.
  • Developed 20 backlinks to this page. Retweeted by .edu players

4. April Fool’s Day Prank

  • Vertical Measures wrote a prank post about Google starting an SEO agency on April Fool’s Day. There was hope the story would get attention. However …
  • Newswire picked it up and posted the story as fact. In other words, a reporter turned the Google SEO Agency prank into a news story.
  • End result they have 800 combined links to both posts (http://www.verticalmeasures.com/search-optimization/google-seo-agency-google-seo-2010/ & http://www.verticalmeasures.com/link-bait/an-april-fools-joke-27-days-later-2010/) and Matt Cutts tweeted about it because multiple people tweeted him.
  • TIP: It pays to follow the backlinks and see what someone is saying about you.

<Fingers are getting tired… Virginia, thinking about your wrists at this point. > [And I'm feeling for yours right back atcha… —Virginia]

Chris Bennett, 97th Floor, @chrisbennet steps up next. He’s not talking about Ripoff Report today or Digg or link bait. Focus is on case studies:

Shows slide that he’s going to talk about infographic that got >29,000 backlinks. <got our attention>

Why do infographics work?

  • You can take lots of boring data and condense it.
  • It becomes sharable. People may put it on their blog.
  • Works in the social sphere.

PICT of STD industry – big red circles in the south showed high STD rates <stay away>

EXAMPLE: Where Does the Money Go? This infograph got links through social. It was insane.

Example of Obama’s Stimulus Plan and broke it down graphically, went well and got picked up all over the place.

If you took all this data and broke down in a Word doc, it wouldn’t work.

EXAMPLE: Client, mosey.com, <I think> thought they were boring. They back up data. Broke down what a “petabytes” is into gigabytes, something most of  us know better.

The great thing about graphics is that they go viral.

Commercial domains still play in the social space?

He talked about the following tips where they can play without getting banned. If concerned, email the sites (Digg, Facebook) and ask, “hey, do you think this domain would be okay to promote?” They are pretty open to working with you, answering questions.

He teased us that coming this summer, there will be big changes this summer regarding social news sites… <tease>

OK, back to commercial domains playing in social…

1. Set up viral content rich hubs, ie visualeconomics.com.

If your domain doesn’t work, set up a separate domain.

2. “Guest Virals” (sounds like he’s talking more STDs … Then he goes to drink from Danny Sullivan’s water.)

  • Create infographics for other sites.
  • Contacts other companies to offer infographic content, large companies, offers them lots of traffic. Get link from them.
  • Give them the traffic with the high bounce rates and get the exposure.
  • Embed code on their site to have others link back to your site.

3. Create relationships with those linking to you.

  • Notify them the next time you create good content.
  • Create “Guest Virals” on their behalf.
  • Open up conversation.
  • Be a buddy to them.

Why “hope” about Digg going viral when you have a large Rolodex?

Danny says he should have title session, “Link Building is Relationship Building.”

Our next presenter is Gill Reich from Answers.com, @GilR.

<This guy talks fast……>

1. Tell people they are great. Create You Rock! Badges

  • As soon as excepted to speak at SMX Advanced, put badge on site.
  • Live blogging, last year saw Lisa Barone and Barry Schwartz and talked about how great they are as livebloggers.
  • Have Chutzpah and create authority badges.
  • Important to create relationships. It doesn’t get your message on their site but sets you as one who creates expertise.

2. Get message on their site strategy:

  • Answers.com – answer questions. Guy who participates got his site to #1 by answer on Answers.com and Yahoo.com.
  • People are looking for best answers. Get voted up. Leverage the SEO power of a stronger site.
    EXAMPLE: Gill was able to rank for his thoughts on SEOmoz when not able to do so on his own site. <reminder to self, write a YouMoz post>

3. Enlightened self-interest is OK

<hmmm…note to read article “Enlightened self-interest and the Social Web.> He knows it’s true, because he read it on his own blog. See Managing Greatness blog.

4. Comment and Join the Conversation

Get links by building relationships.

  • It’s important to get involved in events of your industry.
  • Rather than chasing the user experience as Matt Cutts said earlier, chase the community.
  • Forget what the engines are trying to figure out but focus on what others think about you, relationships again.

5. Common Enemies

  • It’s OK to write about something that makes enemies if the community is also against that purpose.
  • He wrote a post about Jason Calacanis and posted the post. He later got a link from Aaron Wall’s post about Jason and Mahalo.

QUOTE: “Anger is like gasoline. You can use it to blow stuff up, or you can use it to move yourself forward.” ~Derek Powazek

6. Help People

You can play on the dark side and on the anger approach or you can build people up and help people.

Example: Charity Widgets. Make it easy to link to you with widgets.

Summary:

  • Make your message “this guy rocks.”
  • Write on sites that want good content.
  • Be part of the community.

He pre-live blogs his own sessions, an advantage over Barry Schwartz and Lisa Barone.

Wrapping this up is Debra Mastaler, Alliance Link – Link Spiel, @debramastaler.

Debra opened about a story about the Queen of England. She saw her live and said she’s actually “hot!” (Glad Debra said she feels for us, since the link builders do this every day.) She’s going to pump us up, like steroids. She’s a “Content Promotion Specialist” – finds media and connects them to content.

1. How to pump up content:
<notes not affilate or monetary association with recommendations>

Tools:

  • Use Dapper.net/open
  • Use RSSmix.com to send juice back into your content.
  • Content sits on commercial sites that do not belong to you.
  • Create RSS feeds of all the content that sites out there and have them link back to you.
  • Put these RSS feeds into the RSS directories
  • Ezines has RSS feeds, so this doesn’t apply to them
  • Plugin: Puts links at footer of RSS feed with a link, Joost de Valk: http://yoast.com/wordpress/rss-footer.
  • Set links to link into internal pages of your site.
  • Media picks up information off the big sites via RSS
    • Example: http://www.cnn.com/services/rss/
    • Set an alert service to the RSS feeds (tools: Watch That Page [http:// www.watchthatpage.com/ ] & Track Engine [http://www.trackengine.com/]).
    • RSS gave her a name of a person and she got the lead, a relationship!
    • Online, public radio is another way of saying “podcast”
  • 2. Content Syndications

    The things that are working online:

    • She’s hitting it out of the park with podcasts and user-generated content. She’s cloning what others are doing and putting it on content syndication services. Gets more links on podcasts than ever before! hmmmm
      • People are getting involved and commenting.
      • Do a podcast and put it on your site.
    • Do a media release, not a press release.
    • Because you have been mining CNN, you now have a bunch of people <more building relationships>
    • Use iTunes to get your pods out. <personal favor, where I listen to SEM Synergy most of the time>

    Look for sites related to “content syndication” and “white paper syndication”

    3. Guest Blogging

    Blogging takes a lot of time. They are interested in guest bloggers. It is unbelievable, she says. DO IT! <hint, hint … It’s worth the tiime.>

    So, if you can string two words together, guest blog.

    Looking for sites in your industry related to guest blogging?

    Ah, you got it, search for sites related to “guest blogging”

    Tool: Michael Jensen  [Solo SEO tool] [http://soloseo.com/tools/linkSearch.html]

    Tip search for guest posts published on a site

    query: site:somesite.com “guest post”

    <wanting to go play with these actionable take aways now…>

    4. Widget Bait – Novelty Basic

    Go to WidgetBox [http://www.widgetbox.com/] to get a widget created.

    What works? News aggregators get links!

    Always put the widget on your site first, never send it away. There are widget galleries where you can list your widget, ah ha, link to your site!

    You can get a widget done for about $50.

    Try Chat Roulette [http://chatroulette.com/] (If that doesn’t work for you, their Twitter http://twitter.com/chatroulette profile says, “Peoples around the world, please! put your camera’s on! enjoy !!!!“

    As if Twitter was not enough of a waste of time for you, try this.

    5. Microsites

    What else?

    Debra’s not excited about link wheels, but she does advocate buying old websites for the use of microsites instead.

    <OK, that was a lot to cover!!!!!>

    Q&A

    What top link building measurement, research and tracking tools do you use?

    Debra runs 300 alert services a day.

    Likes SEOBook hubfinder – find same sites that link to that particular website.

    Looks at all sites linking to the

    LinkInfluencer – new tool and ways of showing authority, pulls out Digg.

    Find the sources that gets on Digg and get your content on those sources.

    Roger doesn’t use tools but likes to find starting points.

    <glad this is almost over…A/C just came on full blast>

    He uses Yahoo! Link explorer

    Gill uses SEOmoz tool set

    Chris Bennett uses SEOmoz and Michael Jensen’s tools

    SEO for Firefox

    Arnie: SEOmoz, Majestic, Raven

    Lots of search operators

    Doing blog interview of link tool vendors.

    OK, that’s it…I have the greatest respect for Virginia Nussey, Susan Esparza and Lisa Barone. Live blogging means you don’t have time to tweet, talk, take pictures. However, sitting in the front at the Press Tables is a nice viewpoint.





    One response to “SEO & Social Media Track: Show Me The Links: Real Life Link Building”

    1. Noel Proulx writes:

      Certainly some interesting information here, the pirate idea was pretty funny and oddly I bet getting someone to laugh would be a good way to get them to link to your site. Thanks for the tips they will certainly be useful



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