Who are the Linkerati?

In my comments from digg is Not Social Media Marketing someone asked me, what is a linkerati?

In my arrogance and blinkered vision I expected everyone to know who the linkerati are. But not everyone spends most of their waking day immersed in the murky world of getting eyeballs to websites. Obviously I have to as I am a blogger whose goal is to teach and coach my readers to social media marketing nirvana.

But not everyone knows the jargon and as this is a pretty new industry there are a lot of fresh new faces. So lets get down to basics.

The linkerati is a term coined by Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, and before you say it’s just a made up word, all words are made up. It’s not like when Humans decided to do the “language” thing they were giving a dictionary. If you ever want to get well known within an industry, invent a word which everyone will use describing something everyone is thinking about but can’t put a word to.

Rand gives a nice rundown on what groups of people make up the linkerati. He even had a White Board Friday about it.

Michael Gray continues the discourse and refers to the linkerati as pawns on a board.

“In the end itÂ’s all like a chess game, and the Linkerati are the pawns on the board, much less powerful by comparison to the other pieces. However used together in support roles you can develop stronger more complex strategies, improving your overall position.”

I personally wouldn’t describe them as such. To me the linkerati are the connectors, they are ones who have ultimately created the web. Creating connections to related and sometimes unrelated pieces of information dotted around the web. And thus, they are all powerful and very popular. If you can persuade the linkerati in your sector, you will own that sector.

The linkerati are such that they are constantly in hunting mode, scouring all they can get their hands on to find something worthy of a link. They are desperate to link, it’s what they do, it’s what they are known for. We all have that one blog in our sector where we know we can find interesting links. I find in our world, wiep.net can always be trusted to link to something juicy.

You may think that because the linkerati are a desperate crowd, hungry to link to something, it should be easy to get a link off them. Not so.

They devour tons more content than you and have a much better idea of what’s good and what stinks.

They avoid the mediocre, step over the lukewarm and turn their backs on the average. What they are looking for is the exceptional, the exquisite, the shiny, sparkling things of the web. They love it when they find something brilliant which they can point to.

The linkerati are defined by what they link to. Who and what they link to is how they are perceived.

It’s important to know this because, if you are wanting links from them you have to produce exceptional content. You have to create something which will make people put down their steaming hot mug and coffee and say, “wow”.

If you can’t do that, then get someone who can


  • If you know your sector.
  • If you have the time to invest.
  • If you don’t mind spending days crafting content.
  • If you are willing to spend hours on a headline.
  • If you can spend the time to study your sector
  • If you read this blog every day.

Then maybe you can reach out to the linkerati and save yourself a couple thousand dollars.

There is so much more we could talk about.

  • A deeper analysis into the mindset of the linkerati.
  • Differing levels of content quality per sector.
  • What kind of person becomes a linkerati.
  • How to get the linkerait to love you.
  • Hot words that get the linkerati excited.
  • How to think like a linkerati

Most of this stuff is deeply psychological and is very much about pushing emotional buttons. We could talk about how linking to something is more emotional than rational, but I don’t have time.

Much more, much later I’m afraid.

15 thoughts on “Who are the Linkerati?”

  1. Effective Linkbuilding/baiting is not a button that you can just turn on and get all your staff to do. I think that’s what many new SEM agencies quickly realise, but still sell ‘effective’ linkbuilding services. When what they really should be doing is reading the above bulletpoints, digesting them, practitioning them and then finally selling them!

    Great stuff Lyndon!

  2. I think you are wrong about the exceptional content and Linkerati. The major weight of links and references are to things that are accessible, not exceptional. Pages that amass large amounts of links are often remarkable (comment worthy) content that is not on the high end of the value spectrum.

  3. Carlos if something is remarkable then it’s on the high end of the value spectrum, you seem to be arguing with yourself.

    Go show me some mediocre content that has lots of natural, organic links.

  4. Compaq is a mediocre product, Alienware is a high value product. Compaq has 32x the number of links.

    Many of the comments about Compaq are concerning the quality of product or service. Lots of links, lots of remarks, and squarely in the middle of the quality spectrum. There is a breaking point where the quality of a product, object or content, reduces the likelihood of attention.

    Few people get excited about amazing. They are more likely to tell everyone “the iPod has a cute new color,” because everyone can enjoy being the first to talk about something that everyone already knows about.

  5. @Carlos, I am more interested in content than products. Comparing one product company with another is not the same as comparing content.

    If you can tell me where all the people who get excited about mediocrity live, I have a picture of paint drying to show them, if you are right, they will love it.

  6. It isn’t a group of people, it is a class of behavior. The things that we talk about or link are more likely to be unnecessary interesting information than complicated things.

    For example if you read two news stories one about fish rain in Singapore and another about a heart valve made of Gore-tex you are more likely to share the fish story. Both are remarkable occurrences, but only one is highly transportable.

    Exceptional usually loses to accessible.

  7. @Carlos, well you raise an interesting point, and it’s a factor that if you study communication deep enough you have to address.

    “Dog bitten by Man”, does not make an interesting story, but a human being has been injured. “Man bites dog”, far more newsworthy and yet a dog is less important.

    What I think you are digging into are cultural factors which effect communication and should be taken into account when creating communication. However, most of us do it unconsciously, some of us make better communicators than others.

    Some of of us can get more people to listen to us whilst others cannot. Low rent tabloid newspapers can hardly be called quality and yet they get a large readership. This is because in the tabloid world the stories are of high quality. “Bus found on Moon”, is a high quality tabloid story, although stick it in an encyclopedia and its quality soon drains away.

    Context is everything.

    So your examples of the heart valve and the fish rain can both be considered interesting high quality stories, but only to specific audiences who view it within the expected context.

    Rupert Murdoch has become very wealthy on peddling trash, but it’s quality trash. And if you are a blogger, you are a writer, you are a publisher and the same rules apply.

    Which brings us round to my original point, people are only interested in linking to quality.

  8. Was just putting together a post of my own that compares the differences between SEO and SMM. This post and the two that surround it should be essential reading for anyone planning social media marketing.

    I was really pleased to see you pop-up in my feedreader again… keep up the great work

  9. Great content Lyndon.
    Culture-age-behaviorism-consumer preferences-mass media trends-marketing-networking all important factors when addressing the linkerati.

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