Garrett French Talks Link Building at SEO Meetup

by Stacey Alexander on October 26, 2010

in Search

Because Being Awesome Isn’t Enough

Garrett French is Co-Founder and Chief Marketer of Ontolo.com.

“Welcome to the October Link Building Extravaganza”

How do I get more links?

How do I get people to link to me?

If you can get half a dozen kick ass links, it’ll make all the difference for you. – Phil Buckley

Linkability Analysis: Identify what “linkable” looks like in your market

Linkable = what attracts links. This is different for every market. Who is a linking audience in a given market? Target them when you’re designing a campaign.

What is linkable in your market? Look at your competitors. What pages on their sites are getting the most links? What have they published (tool, contest, etc) that has attracted so many links? Gives you a sense of what gets people to link to in your market. How do you do this? There are great tools that will list pages on a given URL by number of inbound links:

Don’t just focus on your known competitors. Think also about SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) competitors. Look at your own site in these tools as well to see what is already getting links. Optimize these pages.

Identifiy what is linkable, and also what is tweetable.

Identify who links, why they link, and the types of sites and pages they’re linking.

Linkability Inventory: Identify your organization’s linkable resources and assets

It’s important to know what the market thinks is linkable, but think about what you know about your website or your organization.

Identify all the assets in your site and organization that you think will attract links. Examples of assets: existing linkable resources/pages on your site, free tools that push your brand, PDF or other lead gen materials, and existing tweetable content. Examples of resources: developers, writers, designers, experts, thought leaders, goods or services you can donate, PR team or social media team.

If you have a small site, bank on your personal expertise.

Link Prospecting: Find prospects in line with your linkable resources and assets

When you’re developing a link prospecting query ask: what is the textual element of a link prospect? Example: Insurance “Guest Post”. This way you can find places that you can get your organization’s name published. Experiment with quotes. The prospects are out there; just keep plugging away at it.

You’ll be surprised at what is linkable in your market. Then you’ll be able to build some prospecting queries to find more prospects that are interested in linking to your assets.

The main queries are just the beginning. You’ll find new keywords as you’re looking, which is why querying by hand is so important. It can lead you to more prospects. Narrow down prospects by using operators like intitle: and inURL: in your query.

Linkbait Co-citation Analysis for Link Building: Occurs when you find multiple highly linked pages from competitors. Pull the backlinks to those pages, and look for who is consistently linking to most. Go there first.

Link Acquisition: Engage your linking audience and earn some links!

You don’t always do this (like when submitting links to directories), but link building outreach increases your chances of getting links.

Example: Create questions for prospects. When they respond, get an interview. Tell other prospects about the interviews. This helps people promote themselves, and says to your audience that you’re here to help the industry. Focus on publishing experts – experts that blog or guest post, etc. – because they can link back to you. This sort of campaign takes more time and is painstaking, but the results are fantastic.

Link Valuation – What is a Valuable Link?

There’s more value that you can get from a link than just SEO.

Ontolo is 89th in SERP, but we business is booming because we get links from the right places. With all this thought leadership we’ve done and push to think about link building differently, the target traffic we do get converts.

A link is valuable if:

  1. The link reaches the target audience – people you would pay to be in front of.
  2. The link flows “brand juice” to your site. Because you were mentioned in this article, site, etc. there is brand lift. It’s braggable.
  3. The link funnels visitors toward some sort of conversion.
  4. The link is on a marketed, shared and trusted page. Will it go out in a newsletter? Does it get a lot of Twitter push?
  5. The link is followed.

Quality of links is more important than quantity of links.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan Siem October 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Really great recap, Stacey. Wish I could have been there. I like that you (so, Garret, I presume) pointed out that link acquisition means EARNING links. Earning links can be hard work, but it’s worth it. Earn them by providing great, linkable content and by building relationships. Thanks for the recap.

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Janet M. Kennedy October 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

Thanks for the excellent summary. The one thing I learned is I don’t want to do this for a living. This is worth hiring a vendor to handle. It is not that hard but very time consuming.

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Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard October 27, 2010 at 8:56 am

I like the final thoughts… Too often people are so concerned with getting 20,000 links that they forget about the actual value of the traffic that’s coming through those very links. Nice write up Stacey – thanks for the live blog!

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Jeff Tippett October 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

Regretted not being able to attend last night (daddy duty). Kudos to Media Two and Stacey for taking the time to post a summary of the meetup. Great resources here. I’ve sent a link to this post to our entire team. Again, thanks.

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Phil Buckley October 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

Great live blogging Stacey! I wish more people could have seen Garrett, he’s such a genuine speaker. I love that he’s 100% open and willing to share everything he’s learned the hard way so that we don’t have to go through the painful part.

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