ThinkVisibility 2011 – It’s all about the links

This is a guest post from Claire Carlile, who had the not so dubious pleasure of attending ThinkVis this March.

Last weekend heralded the 5th ThinkVisibility, and my second visit to Leeds for this 1 day event that popped my SEO conference cherry last September. I was expecting some engaging presentations, to meet with friends old and new, and of course a modicum of debauchery. I was not disappointed.

Being of a linkbuilding persuasion one presentation in particular stood out for me, my takeaways from this detailed below.

Paddy Moogan: Let’s talk about links baby

Paddy starts by outlining his session:

  • site reviews with link suggestions
  • generic tips
  • plus some fun (shadier stuff).

Unfortunately he asked us not to blog the ‘fun stuff’ – you’ll have to pay up for a ticket to ThinkVisibility yourself for this ;)

SITE: Thefoodplace.co.uk
Restaurant review website

OVERVIEW:
Conduct a backlink analysis – always do this first, what type of links do you need?
Site has lots of sidebar / site wide links with 12.000 links from 383 domains, not very varied.
Needs more domain diversity.

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Use link bait and ego bait.

  • start with easy wins, for example ‘top 10 restaurants in Leeds’, ‘Top 10 restaurants in London’ etc
  • get people to come to your site and see that they are listed – shortlist the ones with websites that are likely to link to you.
  • run a survey on your website and then get people to vote on which of the top 10 is the best, that way the restaurants themselves will encourage their customers and community to visit your site – extra traffic plus links. Use poll daddy.

Using twitter for links (the easy way)
You need a reasonable following on twitter.
using twitter for links

  • Check which followers have websites; you can go through these people manually, or find all your followers and csv export them using friendorfollow.com.
  • Find their website URLs using qwerly.com , which allows you to do this without logging into twitter.

This can take a long time, but a solution can be offered by scraping ;)

Paddy talks about how to do this. Now, Paddy is not the type of chap that needs to take a humility pill, and post presentation he flagged up this post on getting links from your twitter friends that describes the process in a succinct fashion.

  • Reach out to them and ask for a link
  • Launch link bait targeted at them via twitter

This is a great way to grab link targets really quickly and easily – the list is ‘pre qualified’ in the sense that they’re already following you on twitter, and you already have a relationship with them.

NB You’ll probably want to weed your competitors out of this data (please don’t ask for links, as a slap round the face often offends)

no links given

Other ideas

  • Feature the restaurants in a newsletter
  • Promote their special offers
  • Review them on the blog

Site: Smartcatlearning.com
Children’s dyslexia test

OVERVIEW:
Current situation – not much domain diversity, but some good strong links

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Identify opportunities

  • Schools
  • Parent groups
  • Mummy bloggers (the internet is crawling with them)

mummy bloggers

I’m not sure this is the type of blogger we’re looking for….

How to find them?
start with the basics (seriously): search for “list of mummy bloggers”
when you find a good one click on ‘similar’ link in the SERPs

Use Followerwonk.com . Performs a search in twitter bios, identifies those with ‘mummy blogger’ in bio, and also gives lots if useful data including real name, location, and number of tweets, friends and followers.

SITE: Shopsafe.co.uk
Retailer reviews and vouchers

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Ego bait
awards for websites
give badges to winners
do across every category

Hit wise do this very successfully.

Blue sky idea – become a review aggregator
Encourage customers to leave more reviews
act as an independent review site
let retailers use reviews on their own site, in exchange for a link

Extra Tip
Implement microformats for shop reviews – reported 14% uplift in CTR from SERPS because of rich snippets (don’t quote that!)

SITE: acornprinting.co.uk
Offers t shirt printing


LINKBUILDING IDEAS:

Identify USPs:

  • Fair-trade supplier

Use advanced search operators to identify prospects:

  • get link targets from fair-trade.org.uk website. For example, get a list of local campaign groups, they likely be easier to target and more likely to link out.
  • think carefully about their existing customers – who do they supply? Charities and universities would of course make great link targets.
  • be careful – don’t overdo the anchor text optimisation – stick to targeting branded terms

Link bait
i.e. Guinness world record for the most t shirts worn at one time – they could see if they could break the world record, with their own branded t shirts

SITE: gifts4men.com
Erm, they supply gifts for men. Doh.

LINKBUILDING IDEAS:
Competitions are always a corker for easy wins.

    use
  • competitionhunter.com – Paddy can give you a list of links from competition sites if you email him (list of 20)

Guest blogging

  • find targets and do outreach first….find the link targets, contact them, get the content, get it approved etc
  • let them know you have 4 or 5 ideas, give them the overview, if they say nothing works for them ask them what type of stuff they would like? Then you can write for them specifically, they feel special / valued and are more likely to run your copy and links
  • when you have the contact and the person says ‘yes’ – get it produced (use oDesk, textbroker etc)
  • add links to the top of the article, try and keep it at the top if you can. Higher CTR, but also Matt Cutts at pubcon gave a big hint about how google views links in bios. Position of the link on the page is v. valuable.

Pro tip for agencies

  • Find top 10 generic sites and come back to them again and again with different clients, keep a data base of these sites

Top tips for e commerce sites

  • Safebuy.org.uk: you can submit to multiple categories and get a link from each, pricey but worth it
  • Get links to product pages by making a screen cast of the product, embed code in the bottom (sounds painful), people can use it on their sites and will create deep links to your product pages. Adfd HTML wrapper to your product page

General tips

  • If you’re a new start up get a link from Smarta.com in their ‘60 second start up’ posts
  • Links from journalists – use journalisttweets.com to identify journos on twitter in your area, and by niche

That’s it, phew! The other stuff was so top secret, if I told you Paddy would make me suck sick through a sweaty sock. So I’m not gonna.

See Paddy’s preso slides, and harass him on twitter.