Tough Love: Link Building For The Real World

Last regular session of the day and then it’s the Matt Cutts show. Are you excited? I’m excited about how I’m losing feeling in my fingertips. It sort of tingles.

I expect this to be a popular session since everyone is obsessed with links. And because Ross Hudgens is adorable.

Moderator: Elisabeth Osmeloski, Managing Editor, Search Engine Land

Q&A Moderator: Bob Tripathi, Founder & Chief Marketer, Instant E-Training, Inc.


Justin Briggs, SEO Consultant, Distilled @justinrbriggs
Eric Enge, President, Stone Temple Consulting @stonetemple
Ross Hudgens, SEO Manager, Full Beaker, Inc. @rosshudgens
Roger Montti, Owner, MartiniBuster @martinibuster
Conrad Saam, Director of Marketing, Avvo @conradsaam

Link building session panel
That’s a good looking panel, right?

Justin Briggs starts us off by talking about link building effectiveness.

Infographics aren’t dead. They feel outdated but they’re still great for earning links. Do it.

Get your content out — use stumbleupon which is a great way of spurring Facebook and Twitter sharing.

Skip the social

  • do manual outreach
  • incentivize the embed
  • guest post
    • -the embed is the post
    • chop up the image and repurpose
    • additional research and write a great post

Use branded high value link to increase blue of high leverage lower value link building tactics. [I missed a giant chunk there. Check Lisa’s post.]

Ross Hudgens is the next up.

He’s talking about building links with location relevance.

Each website has several nearby locations that can attract links: country, state, home city, nearest big city, districts of nearby city, etc.

Three best type of links for these searches are blog links, directory links and forum/comment links.

Location often requires additional hustle to obtain links.

  • Do a personal tour
  • supply free products/samples
  • use location as a selling point
  • create a “best website in [location]” widget
  • do guest blogs
  • create a local outreach program
  • Host/support a philanthropic event
  • sponsor local events (search for sponsorships and use Google alerts for future notifications – once a week is his suggestion)

Utilize price anchoring for local sponsorships. Offer something dramatically lower than suggested sponsorship and they will often counter with a lowered cost because of the psychological fear of losing your support otherwise.

Sponsor ship

Roger Montti is the next up. He’s going to talk about email link requests. No one is going to open an email with the subject line “Link Request”. That’s totally the homeless guy of emails.

Pre-campaign prep

1. Content!

-author credentials, author bios, author accomplishments

– authoritative sites/peers where content has been syndicated or guest posted. In order to guest post, you need to already have guest posts.

2. Media

– news – as seen on TV, use press releases. Use the positive feelings

3. Awards and certifications

– demonstrates industry recognitions

4. Associations

not just for links

tells potential link partner you’re one of them

5. About Us

Site validation – BBB, Linked in, etc

Use email scripts that allow you to scale up.

  • Advertise template
  • Sponsor template
  • Broken link, etc
  • Website feedback

Put it all together.

Put it together

Conrad Saam is next up. He suggests using your journalism buddies who are dying for stories, any stories.

Interest level of your story: Update- monthly, Minor Events-quarterly, Major Events-annually, Rare – once in a lifetime.

Give them an exclusive.

Or do an embargo.

For Update level – connect to small bloggers

Minor – High profile exclusive

Major – Widespread, use an embargo

PR Story Ideas

  • Mine your data (TripAdvisor’s most disgusting hotels)
  • Write stories for the press (Do all the work, give them the credit)
  • Embrace controversy
  • Annoy people who hate you
  • No bad PR in SEO

Eric Enge wraps it up for us.

Credibility is everything. Build trust and leverage relationships. Produce content that is the best result for them.

Establish authority and sell it.

It really depends on producing kickass content.

You are an authority: Assume it, sell it, then deliver.

Stop believing in your limitations

Find the golden links

be willing to invest big to win big

Establish and sell your authority

Stop thinking manipulation and start thinking excellence.


Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.

See Susan's author page for links to connect on social media.

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