Psychology of Link Building – #MancSEO Mini Conference

Psychology of Successful Link Building – Kelvin Newman

Kelvin is the Creative Director at SiteVisibility, where he is responsible for research and development as well as maintaining the web presence of the company’s own website.
He regularly produces popular search and digital marketing whitepapers and has also delivered speaker sessions at leading industry events. He is fast becoming a well recognised and highly respected figure within the search marketing sector.

Psychology of Successful Link Building

Need to consider how to get links from people – NOT websites! People give links from websites.

3 things influence what we choose to do when link building:

Gut Feeling

Does it feel rght.


Do what you’ve done before because you know what works

Rand Fiskin

Do what SEOMoz at alrecommends!

The Candle Problem

Take people into a room, candle, box of matches & box of tacks. Have to fix the candle to the wall & not drip wax on the table.
Solution – use the box the tacks are in to create a shelf.
If you take the tacks of the box they solve the problem faster.

Experiment run again with incentive – makes no difference to the outcome, in fact they took longer to do it…
The more you cash incentivise people – the less creative they become!

For Link Building

Simplified: Don’t just give people money for linking. Be more creative with the requests & incentives.

The Winner Doesn’t Take it All

Trucker A – Trucker B
2 routes to destination with shortcut – there was a gate at each end which would enable you to stop the short cut being taken but would make your journey longer too.. You can be co-operative or work against each other.
Collaboration normally beats competition.

For Link Building

Work together – if you cooperate then you all benefit. Link to competitors, create collaborative relationships.
Question: from Bite Digital on this one asking about examples – from my viewpoint, we link to others even though they may be ‘competition’ & celebrity chefs have been doing it for years!

Comment Ben: Always something we recommend for our business that of our clients (see our blog as an example!)

Subliminal Messages do Work

Took some students, divided into 3 groups at random. Polite, Rude & Random
Had to unscramble words related to their grouping (along with others), they were then told to go down the corridor & tell the interviewer they were finished.
The idea was to see how long it would take them to interrupt the interviewer who was involved in conversation.
Polite group took longer to interrupt than the rude or random (and rude were the quickest to interrupt)

For Link Building

Consider how the intonation of voice in emails & link requests influence people. Be positive!
“agree”, “help”, “favour” – are 3 suggested words

Cognitive Dissonance

Groups of people to do a boring task. “We have 2 groups of people – the control group who is not being influence, the second group were told it was a really exciting task”. Boring tasks such as stacking candle reels.
Surveyed afterwards as to how boring it was. They then have the next group who arrives (the group that were to be told that it’s an exciting task) and get someone from the group to read out the script saying how good it was.
Follow up survey then fund that the people who read out & were paid to read out the positive remarks about the test had better recall & also a more positive view of the test.

For Link Building

It’s about perception – don’t always make it easier. Things that are more difficult to do have better perceived value.

Comment Ben: Not sure if I understood this one!

False Consensus

In this test you will learn something interesting about yourself. Given a sandwich board with “Eat at Joe’s” – was optional.
The people who said yes to it thought that 62% of people would do the task
The people who said no to it thought that 77% of people would NOT so the task

For Link Building

Don’t get fooled into thinking that what you do will be liked or agreed with by other people. You need to connect with people to get the benefit of link baiting ideas.

Groups Form Instantly

In group based tests people within groups will always favour those within the groups (even arbitrary formed groups).

For Link Building

Think about labelling – magazines do it well & give them a nickname – why not consider doing it for your blog. Are you an “Attacatter”?

Social networks do it well – twitarati, facebookers (sure there’s better examples that escape me at the moment!)

Conforming to the Norm

2 groups – one is shown one line, the other group shown a group of 3 lines. One is clearly longer than the others but some people will agree with ‘plants’ within the group

For Link Building

Social Proof. People will confirm to the norm – how about showing the number of feedburner subscribers if it’s large (more people will follow the crowd). Track backs, social bookmarking, Facebook likes etc

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