A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to Distilled’s last LinkLove.
It was the last in the line of this popular annual conference, because the link building of days gone by is dead. The term “link building” is just an ugly term with a bad reputation (see Nicola's post from 2012 and Jon's from 2008) and the reality is that the nature of building links is changing. Thankfully, across the SEO industry, the focus is finally moving from the number of links which point to a website to the quality of those links. From getting links from sites, to getting links from people. Which is why much of the day focused on how to extend your reach to people and how to create content that people want to link to.
The first talk of the day was by Wil Reynolds. Even though he had the hard task of getting everyone engaged at 9am on a Friday morning, I think he did a good job of getting everyone’s attention and getting us tuned and ready for the rest of the day (mainly by swearing. A lot.)
His talk was about ‘There Is No Link Building Finish Line’. As digital marketers often, when we get a link, a mention or a subscription we stop, have a party, do a little dance, have some cake and go "right, let’s move on, what’s the next project or next link?". In reality it’s not a party, it’s a marriage, there’s a future that needs some thought and planning. So in reality, you should be thinking about your work as ever constant, as if there is no finish line. "But how do I do this?" I hear you cry.
Aim for a nudge
Wil mentioned how he had recently been reading ‘Nudge’ by Richard Thaler which works to improve your decision making and also, led to a new approach to his out of office reply.
When Wil took some time off to help his wife’s charity, he added a little nudge in his out of office message about what he was doing and why he was unavailable. This led to a $1k donation to his wife’s charity, just because he put a link in his out of office reply.
Top Tip: When someone signs up for a newsletter on your site, instead of just a thank you message, include a link to your latest blog article? Or you could ask them to check out your other social media channels. Nudge.
‘@’ mention = nudge
Wil showed an example of how he had tweeted Rackspace about a five year old post he liked from their site. This led to Rackspace asking Wil to guest post on their blog. So, even recycling content from the past as long as it's relevant – can get you a link from a business like Rackspace.
Top Tip: If you have partners, work with brands or are using particular software, blog about them, comment, review or tweet about them. It might just get you a link from the Holy Grail:
Give it away, give it away, give it away now.
Question: What can you do today to build trust and momentum to build a link later on? Answer: Give good, free advice and help people out.
By giving away tips and strategies you’re building trust, and the more people you help, the more people will help you... as long as you remember to nudge them.
An example Wil gave was on the Crayola website, looking at the free printables section. They get loads of downloads but that’s where it ends. They could however, nudge parents to upload their kid’s pictures to win ‘picture of the week’ which will get parents sharing those pictures and get links.
Lastly, use tools to find connections between people, what they like, where they’re from and work out how you can work with them. We've not checked all of these yet, but Jon's very, very excited about the first one.
- Use Full Contact’s API to find the social information of your newsletter subscribers then segment your list to find new link opportunities.
- Run linkfromdomain:domain.com in Bing and then run the results through SEOQuake and then Screaming Frog to find the sites that get the high quality links and then try to get links from them.
- Use regex in Followerwonk to get really specific details e.g. location etc. So if you are looking to find cheese bloggers in London, this can help to show all the people in your area. Once you’ve found them, why not go and talk to them (or follow them.)
- Companies will have people working for them that are on Google+, find the ones you want to target and drop them in Gplusdata to see who follows them. Extend your circle and talk to those people too.
- Put your URL into Google+ ripples so you can see who the bigger influencers are, allowing you to find people who are likely to push your content.
- Similarly, use Twtrland to see how many tweets and retweets you’re getting, figure out whether or not you should follow someone, or find new ways of searching the Twitter graph.
- You can use scraper for Chrome to extract peoples Twitter handles.
- Use Get Little Bird to find people that may not be influential yet but will be the influencers of the future.
Next in the instalment of LinkLove titbits, I’ll be writing about zombies and dissecting your brain to write eye catching headlines, so stay tuned!