London SMX Advanced: Link Building Outside Of The Box

Links still rule as a major factor in helping pages rank well. You know all the obvious link building tips such as directories and forums…This session goes off the beaten path with ideas on how to find important, trusted and relevant linking opportunities you might be overlooking.

Moderator: Rob Kerry (RK), Head of Search, Ayima Search Marketing

Q&A Moderator: Gary Beal (GB), Managing Director, Vanguard SEO


  • Andrew Girdwood (AG), Head of Strategy, bigmouthmedia
  • Dixon Jones (DJ), Marketing Director, Majestic-12 LTD
  • Kelvin Newman (KN), Creative Director, SiteVisibility
  • John Straw (JS), CEO, Linkdex

(The below are Tim’s notes from the “Link Building Outside Of The Box” session at SMX Advanced.  They have been posted during the session and will be tidied up later – more SMX coverage here)

Blog Partner Logo

Andrew Girdwood

(Edinburgh’s own!)

Deeply concerned that SEO industry and link building industry in particular is tearing SEO world apart.  Thinks “Link Development” is a better term.

  • The Inconvenient Truth of Link Building – value of links has changed as a result of low quality/no quality rot.  Industry needs to become more professional
  • Pretend we are Google reviewing a link? Can you answer yes to the following:
    • Is it on a trusted site?
    • Is the rate of growth for links to site natural?
    • Does it look natural?
  • Zemanta (wordpress plugin) suggests related links.  Can pay to be included?
  • Outbrain scans blog post – again
  • Facebook like button – not SEO friendly but…(In contradiction to this mornings suggestion that Facebook like not significant, could a Hilltop effect be happening here)
  • Use Google Reader “More Like This” tool for finding sites
  • Yahoo Pipes – Use it to work out what you should be blogging about it next.  Speed is so important.
  • PuSH Bot – get content published quickly
  • Monitor press release sites to see what the news is about to be.
  • Advanced video searches to find videos to put in blog posts as soon as poss.
  • Influencing people to link to you is the future.
  • Question: Do you think Google sees difference between bought link and the suggested wordpress? AG: different as paying to encourage people to link to you, not to buy the link

Dixon Jones

  • Majestic SEO Free Tools
    • See top 5 sites in vertical and see how links have been built up over time is a good way to assess size of SEO
    • Referring domains more useful than number of bank links
  • Truth is that it is difficult to see what a site is about just by anchor text in a spreadsheet.  But cutting and pasting into TagCrowd  allows easy visualisation
  • Link Reclamation: If site has been around for a while, redeveloped etc, then good to find links you used to have.  Can get them from log files or tools such as Majestic 🙂  Free Link Juice
  • Finding Golden Links
    • Start with search phrase and competitor
    • Check their internal link themes first to gauge how important external links are
    • Isolate the external links to the ranking page (as oppossed to home page) – likely to find most influential links
  • Question: Is there better correlation between domains or shiny IPs?  If you have a lot of links from same class C IP address, chances are it is a signal.

Kelvin Newman

17 ways to get Links from University and Government Sites


  1. Reach out to bloggers – lot of high quality blogs on .ac and .gov domains.  Take the approach of interacting etc
  2. Offer a student discount and ask to be mentioned (Student Union)
  3. Give the University some good press (they will tend to highlight positive coverage) – look at research that is relevant to sector and quote it.
  4. Participate in a Scheme – e.g. under graduate interns, do a case study so they feature it on their pages.
  5. Sponsor a student event – typically costs peanuts.
  6. Deliver a careers talk – approach careers service
  7. Advertise a job – careers service again
  8. Become a case study for the business school.
  9. Get boycotted! (Engage with them if it happens)


  1. Launch a community site
  2. Set up a charitable website (how can you leverage CSR?)
  3. Business Directories on government sites
  4. Put on an event – the more local the better (make contacting local govmt part of the process)
  5. Start a campaign (that the council agrees with)
  6. If you have a job website, governments (job centers etc) may link to it.  You could develop your site’s careers section
  7. Run for parliament
  8. You  have to ask Kelvin for the seventeenth one?

Question: Are universities savvy to link approaches? Yes! You’re link building plan needs to be integral part of your marketing plan, not and add on

John Straw

[Turns out that this presentation was a soft launch for InfluenceFinder]

How do you handle massive lists of potential link partners and boil that down to the best ones?

Working with e-Consultancy site.  Whatever tool you use the number of links to E-Consultancy is a large, unmanageable list – 8000+ domains.  Narrowed it down

  • Find bloggers as good link targets.  Used a decision tree to identify blogs with 94% accuracy.  Reduced it to 2723 blogs.  Then filtered by publishing frequency.  Very high volume publishers were considered to not be good targets as either very difficult to get links (e.g. The Times) or spam.  Equally those publishing infrequently not likely to be that influential.  So identified daily updaters.  This reduced the list to a manageable number of people to develop relationships with.  Substantial time savings to be had.


  • Pages that return 404, where do you redirect to? DJ: In most cases there will be a natural page to redirect link to.  Typically redirect to home page as last resort.
  • How does the influencer tool measure influence? Currently doesn’t look at Twitter
  • The Salmon Protocol for syndicated content for combining comments across website?  Caused quite a lot of confusion which reverted back to the quality vs quantity debate.
  • How is Lindex influencer tool different to Adgooroo? Has a larger web map.  Layers in lots of data sources to make better e.g. LinkedIn data.  Data strategy is exceedingly rich and deep.
  • Top Tips: Build Relationships, Build Relationships, Invest in PR People, The harder the link is to get, will often have highest benefit.

Reportive plugin for Gmail will find peoples Twitter profiles etc.

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