I met Eric Enge author for Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch at SEMPO Atlanta Presents Post Panda/Penguin Link Building. The SEO presenters at this SEMPO Atlanta event revealed link building tactics and strategies they use and best practices moving forward. Audience questions answered by the panel followed. My notes from the event, as well as Q&A are below.
Today’s Link Building Tactics:
Content Marketing and Relationship Building (Social Networking)
Overview: Erin Everhart from 352 Media opened up with her process of using social networks to build relationships with link providers. Loren Baker from Blue Glass Interactive spoke next on the evolution of SEO link building from link exchange and directories to present content marketing. Eric Enge spoke last, revealing his success in the SEO industry via the same networking used to build links and traffic.
Here are my notes from the event…
(Disclaimer: Q&A and all other indications of what people said are paraphrased)
SEMPO Atlanta Presents Post Panda/Penguin Link Building
Search for people, not websites. Find the influencer and establish a relationship. 1, 2, 3 step on opening up the relationship. Follow on Twitter, Tweet a question about something they wrote. [At this point, hearing some familiar stuff, I got distracted by Cory Jaccino, sitting next to me who was sharing a few of his own linkbuilding ideas. Cory says – cross reference your contacts with a friend and use a tag team approach. Introduce your contacts/friends to your partner who needs a link and he does the same. Then I thought, why not expand it out. Sounds like it could become a linkbuilding software or opt-in paid linkbuilding network – sounds spammy – ohhhh no. But seriously, if its just based on networking among people, its not really a link farm and wouldn’t get flagged unless you overused it. Anyway back to the presenter….] Reach out via facebook or Linkedin. Email is not recommended, but at least use their name in the subject, keep it short. Follow up afterward.
Basic explanation of Penguin & Panda crack down on links from thin content. Social mentions of your brand provides social proof around your brand. Good links come from sites with
- Rich content
- High social engagement
- Large audiences
Evaluating Link Targets
Old link evaluation metrics are less important.
- Think audience potential over age
- If the link cant send you traffic, you probably don’t want it
- Is the site a hub? Do people rely on it to get their info/news?
Look for metrics related to engagement
- Overall traffic (check alexa believe it or not?
- (check for bullet on slidershare)
- (check for bullet on slideshare)
If google can tell a site has a real person behind it, there is more authority than a PageRank 7 site no one reads. A real person who provides thought in their niche, that shares their content socially, and has comments is a better link prospect.
- Rel=author can help google determine authentic content and the links contained therin
- Author trust can flow through the content they create, establishing valuable links
- Obvious SERP visibility benefit
- Great content builds your brand audience.
- Great content drives traffic and brand exposure in tandem with high value links
- Great content is highly shareable
- Link bait
- Like, tweet, pin, stumble – social sharing buttons
- Links generated from content marketing initiaibes are nearly always
- Freely givn contextual and relevant
- Lang lasting
- Crowd-source your inbound links
- Use a variety of content mediums and topics to sculpt anchor text naturally
Make your content valuable
- Great content in tandem with publishers. Work together and involve them as partners.
- Think about audiences of potencial publishers. They may differ from your target audience. Find commonalities.
- Add value for publishers. Make them look good. Give them more than they give you.
Case study – Coca Cola
- Post on mashable – it spread across different sites
- Resulted in links to mashable post, links to website, links to service pages.
- All anchor text links look bad
- Domain & brand links look, with a few anchor text looks natural
Synergy – blog shared on Google+, drives shares & links. Get influencers to share your blog on Google+ to boost with their bigger, more diverse audience reach. Reaching one influencer who has much higher trust yields more links, because people feel safer linking.
Create trust in one relationship – but don’t ignore others, or you look weird, not trustworthy.
Likelihood to share formula = share rate = …
Create impressions. If a potential linker learns about you from several sources, they are more likely to link.
Higher value = higher effot
- 1 on 1
Reach linkers by multiple channels.
Case study – jump on the opportunity as soon as it opens
- Went to SES, sat in the front row where Matt Cuts spoke (every conference for 2 straight years)
- First person to speak to him, prepared with a meaningful question that stands out.
- Rand Fishkin published post asking someone to try a project – Eric commented write away voluntaring
- Volunteer to write for Search Engine Watch when Danny Sullivan left.
Case Study – Kiss Metrics
- Guest posts on high authority sites
- Blog with good content
- Guest post on other sites 3-4 times a week.
- Allow other people to guest post on your blog, because writer will share it
Q&A: SEO Link Building
Are there any other tactics outside relationship building?
- Eric – They may lower the value of infographics in the future, but I will continue to use it, as well as video and other assets.
- Loren Baker – funny viral videos can obtain high visibility very fast and are cheap to make
- Erin – you can go viral in your industry
What if you are in a not so sexy b2b industry? How can you publish exciting content for SEO link building?
- Eric – work your niche, find influencers in your industry
- Loren – speak to your audience, taking photos instagrams of people on turbine manufacturing line made interesting content .
- Erin – find the fun in your industry, create fun videos and have people come to you instead of you going to them.
How can you get social engagement and build content on a small budget?
- Eric – high school kids, college kids work hard cheap and bring creativity and imagination
- Loren – Put up an ad early in the season for interns. Bring on young people and maybe you’ll find the next superstar
How do you hire a good SEO expert when you’re a new company with a little SEO knowledge?
- Eric – no easy way to answer that. Last time we hired, we used a recruiting firm.
- Erin – go to events. Don’t poach other people’s employees, but there are usually lots of people in the industry looking for work.
C level people look for accountability. How do you turn social marketing into valuable sellable service?
- Eric – measure the change in non-brand organic search traffic and measure revenue/leads, etc.
- Erin – know how much a conversion is before you sign up with them
- Loren – demo how competitors rank for calls to action used in the client’s collateral (DRTV, direct mail, etc) to show relationship between SEO and other marketing channels.