Tough Love: Link Building For The Real World

June 7, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hang in there folks! Two more sessions left to go and they’re two awesome ones.  First we’re gonna talk about every SEO’s favorite topic – links.  Leading us in the discussions are Justin Briggs, Eric Enge, Ross Hudgens, Roger Montti, and Conrad Saam.  Look alive, friends, look alive.

Elisabeth Osmoloski is moderating and says screw the advanced link building, most people can’t get the basics right. Heh. Word.

Up first is Justin Briggs.  He says infographics are not dead and if you’re not using them, you should be. They’re great for brand authority and targeted anchor text.  Get your content out. They use a lot of paid stumbleupon paid advertising. If you haven’t done this type of promotion, you should because they wouldn’t have gotten links from Mashable, MSN, Stumbleupon (the site itself), etc.

Sometimes infographics don’t go well.  That can happen for a lot of reasons. Link bait is hard. Right now 3/4 of his linkbait pieces are successful. You have to promote them and go for the links.

  • Do manual outreach.
  • Incentivize the embed.
  • Guest post: The embed is in the post, chop up the images and repurpose, add additional research and write a great post.

Use FollowerWonk to search Twitter bios and help you with blogger outreach. If you’re doing a lot of outreach, Tout can help you customize and organize your emails.

Increase Link Valuation: Use branded high value linkes to increase value of high leverage lower value link building techniques.

Justin RAN through that presentation, but it was really awesome. Nicely, done.

Next up is Ross Hudgens.

Each Web site has several neraby locations that can attract links. When finding links based on locational relevance, geographic proximity > content relevance. Each nearby location can be used as a variable for a search query. The bigger the population, the more relevant results you’ll find. The three best link types for these types of searches are blog links, directory links and forum/comment links.

Location often requires additional hustle to obtain links.

  • Invite webmasters to your offices for a personal tour
  • Supply freee product/samples at lower costs.
  • Send personal, customized pitches using location as sell point.
  • Create a Best Website in LOCATION Widget
  • Guest post about regional issues and relate it back to your business.
  • Create a local outreach program – invite local webmasters to lunch/coffee to talk about area issues/how you can help them. Procure a link/business contact by developing a relationship.
  • Host/Support a philanthropic event and then contact ever regional blogger to help promote the event hosted by you.

Sponsor local events – location relevance allows for hundreds more natural, inexpensive sponsorship opportunities than are available elsewhere. Create a Google Alert for [LOCATION sponsorship] to look for opportunities.

Utilize price anchoring when pitching local sponsorships. This sets a psychological anchor when pitching a price. By providing a $ willing amount you’re willing to pay for something up front, in the first email, the seller is anchored to that price and is pressured toward agreeing to that number, or a slightly higher number, because they often fear you will decline a higher price. Set the price far below what you’re willing to pay.

Next up is Roger Montti.

Nothing is more basic than the email approach. He rarely opens up the emails he gets for link requests.  One of the worst mistakes people to do is to mess up the subject line.  If you put “link request” in the subject line, he sees a homeless scroungy guy hitting him up and he just hits delete to get it away from him.

Pre-Campaign Preparation

Inspire Trust

  • Content: Author credentials, author bios, author accomplishments. Mention authoritative sites/peers where content has been syndicated or guest posted.
  • News: As seen on TV effect = positive feelings. Get something in the news.
  • Awards & Certifications: Demonstrates industry recognition and ability.
  • Associations: Not just for links, tells potential link partner you are one of them.
  • About Us:

Email Scripts: An email script speeds the process along and allow syou to scale.

  • Advertise template
  • Sponsor template
  • suggest a link
  • broken link template
  • Guest post script

He ran through his presentation, but offer some good tips on how to build the perfect email and put it all together.

Next up is Conrad Saam.

He says not to look down on your PR and journalism friends from college because they can help you get links [As a journalism major, do I get to kick him now?].  Journalists believe their success depends on their ability to break stories. You have to help them make them happen.

Everything coming out of your organization is a potential story.  Interest level of your story

  • Update
  • Minor Event: New hire, etc.
  • Major Events: New product.
  • Rare – Once in a Lifetime events/scandals

Using these tactics can push your story up the food chain. The exclusive is one tactic to use. Give one journalist complete access and help them write their story about you. Good way to feed the media your own dog food. Another tactic – the embargo: Reporters (plural), we’re all going to not write about this until Monday at 9am.

5 PR Story Ideas

  • Using your own data to create stories. Trip Advisor does this every year with their Dirtiest Hotels.
  • Write stories for the press: Most traditional journalists are overworked and don’t have a lot of access.  They create Top Lawyer and Top Doctor lists.
  • Embrace controversy. Find a controversial thing to talk about, take a strong position, and make yourself the person to talk to.
  • Annoy people who hate you.
  • No bad PR in SEO.

Next up is Eric Enge. looks like a good target to get a link from, right? He thought so. He flew to DC to give a day long SEO training class for government Webmasters.  They paid costs and a speaking fee.  Six months later he had 6 links on a pR7 pages on a pR10 Web site not at all about SEO. They trusted him, which made it easier to get good links for clients. – another good target. What they did there was they figured out how to contact someone (it’s on the site), they reached out to them and established they had the authority, and they got three article placements on that site.  You have to create kickass content, but the process of getting the in isn’t that hard. You just have to believe you can do it.

The Washington post – They went looking for opportunities and found that, yes, they link to third-party Web sites. They got a link to a brand new site with no authority. They just assumed they  had the authority, sold them on it, and they got it.


  • Stop believing in your limitations
  • Find the golden links.
  • Be willing to invest big to win big.
  • Establish and sell your authority.
  • Stop thinking manipulation and start thinking excellence.


How do you scale local link building efforts?

Ross: The idea of the local linkbait is pretty scalable. A lot of the link links are one-offs where you’re just gonna knock them off. You also want to develop relationships with these people that you can use in the future.

Are there any additional infographic distribution methods?

Justin: Create good contacts and build those relationships. Launch with particular people first. Sub Reddit’s are really great for niches. Finding other infographics and backtrack their links.

Many tactics are being over used (like infographics), how do you still get value from it?

Elisabeth: We didn’t create the SEO Table Infographic for links, they did it because it was an authoritative piece of content.

Justin: At the end of the day, you still have to produce really great content. Spending time creating something useful or going after people’s emotions is still really effective.

Eric: The key is how you sell the authority.

If there’s really no bad PR in  link building, what d you think of Decor My Eyes?

Conrad: Decor My Eyes was an outlier. Google had to act.

What good tools are there to find local/social links?

Ross: Ontolo

Eric: Take the people who are the stakeholders and brainstorm with the management team and ask them where they think the authoritative figures are in your industry.

Lots of awesome info, wish everyone had more time to talk and share!


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