LinkLove: 48 tips and 14 tools you should know #LinkLove
The advice was flowing at the LinkLove London conference, and if you haven’t the time to read all my summary posts then the following are the must-read tips and tools talked about at the linkbuilding conference:
- Never believe something works. There is either data to support something or there is not.
- A Panda-style update is coming to links and link profiles in 2012…
- Don’t follow the crowd – target links that your competitors haven’t even thought of yet.
- If you’re mediocre work on everything in your online presence, if you’re good be incredible at just one or two things.
- Discover your weaknesses and what you need to improve.
- Self-assess your efforts on an exponential scale – you’ll get a better idea of where you really stand. Benchmark again aspirations and competitors.
- Make your linkbuilding plans scalable to reduce effort.
- Test the smallest thing with the highest risk factor – experiment and gather data on one small element of your linkbuilding idea now
- Invest and scale opportunities when the evidence backs it up.
- Only measure success against relevant metrics – at the start links isn’t it.
- Have an activity plan (and targets) for linkbuilding or social/community-building activity, with testable assumptions.
- Generally, no SEO tactic compares to great content, no matter what industry or niche you’re in.
- Content generation is the least expensive way to improve performance across the business.
- Focus on what activity will achieve a lower cost-per-customer-acquisition than your competitors.
- Content-based marketing and linkbuilding ‘wins later’ through our sources (like PPC, brand visibility) as well
- Content-based marketing is more enjoyable and enable you to take pride in your work.
- Content-based marketing provides benefits that are more durable and likely to last in a changing online environment.
- Build a good ‘brand’ through content and the effort required to gain links for subsequent content is reduced.
- Become a name or service that customers trust – it will improve click-through, conversion rate, subscription rate…
- Find out what your audience likes and produce content that excites them.
- Focus on what content you/your company are good at producing – play to your strengths.
- Do things differently and bend the rules if the value is there for the investment.
- Even if content doesn’t lead to links, you can still achieve great PR and sales.
- PR guys always need content, so get in their ears.
- Opportunity is everywhere if you approach things differently to the competition.
- Great content still needs great outreach to get the best results.
- Don’t dive straight in to a linkbuilding idea – pitch the experiment the big idea to gather evidence. Little things move forward faster.
- Refine your linkbuilding prospect lists with onsite, authority etc data before manual outreach. Consider how some sites may be ‘scraped’ of their content for additional links.
- In your email outreach: your gender doesn’t matter, say “Hi”, schedule them for the weekend to get best results, make sure the emails are sitting in inboxes in the morning (ready to read before the day gets busy), be persistent, ensure emails are <1,000 characters.
- In your email outreach you need to get to know them better first. Always try to get the person’s name to improve the chance of success (if you haven’t got it don’t just refer to the business/site name – instead send a generic request) and connect with them first through Twitter to significantly improve rate of response.
- Try different Twitter personas for different content niches to stay ‘on topic’.
- Measure the value of the link equity your are building in terms of the costs it would take to achieve the same links through a link broker or the same traffic through PPC.
- Don’t lie in your outreach.
- Mention your previous successes e.g. “We were featured in the Metro”.
social and people
- Social signals in search rankings are rising.
- Find relevant communities to achieve targeted links.
- Prioritise your efforts on the users sharing your content and other relevant content, and the other content they are sharing.
- Use APIs from Topsy, Facebook Open Graph, Twitter, Google+ and MajesticSEO to gather data on social sharing and its quality.
- Trend seems to be that the more +1s content generates the more links it generates.
- Refine your target social users list (with topics, keywords) and the pages/domains, and keep full data for future reference and campaigns.
- Use iGoogle as an information dashboard on your social targets and find out what they’re talking about and where they are.
- Meet people face-to-face if you can.
- ‘Fake it till you make it’ – buying followers can make you look more impressive and more likely to get a follow back.
- rel=”author” markup likely to be central to link trust in the future and part of some AuthorPageRank metric. Ensure you think about the future effects of authorship and social connections upon links.
- Author trust is likely to be harder to spam and blackhat.
- Become a trusted author and target trusted authors for links.
- Build a community to do your linkbuilding for you.
- Haven’t got a community? Hijack someone else’s!
tools you should be using
- Screaming Frog SEO spider – you can use it in list mode to get data for URLs you define (as opposed to just spidering a site)
- SEO Tools for Excel – draws through SEO data into Excel
- OpenSiteExplorer – the default place to go for link data
- Rapp0rtive or RapLeaf – t0 get more information on your link prospects within Gmail
- Boomerang – schedule sending of your outreach emails
- APIs – Topsy, Facebook Open Graph, Twitter, Google+ and MajesticSEO
- iGoogle – use a prospect/social ‘stalking dashboard’
- XML feeds – to gather changing data in useable streams
- IFTT – find out when things are happening on Twitter or further afield
- Mozenda – for data scraping.
- FollowerWonk – great source of social data
- Excel – it’s the most useful tool out there for a hell of a lot of things!
- Link profiler – see where a site’s links cluster
- Kickofflabs and Unbounce – for testing linkbulding ideas and landing pages