Link building

Would you buy a link for the Price of a Mars Bar?

Can a link, retailing at 55p be both profitable for the link builder and effective for the linked to?

A while back I came across a link building scheme that was effectively selling links for 90c, or about 55p. Which is the price of a Mars bar.

As I offer a link building service I was left scratching my head over how they did it whilst keep it effective and making a profit.

Consider one link being built every ten minutes

(they stated all this on the site)
By hand
Do follow
Correct anchor text

6 links per hour
30 links per 5 hours = one day
600 links built over 20 days = one month

Retailing at 90c per link
= $540
Costs = $320
Profit = $180

Worker gets $360

This does not take in to account links which are rejected.

To hire a full time worker you would have to outsource to a country where $360 a month is a decent wage. They do exist, but running a team offshore raises other issues.

The only place which fits the criteria are forum links, not the signature links, but within a snippet of text. Could this be performed within the 10 minutes? Probably could be, but you would have to have a team process where each member concentrates on a specific task.

Tasks would be:

  • Researching forums
  • Opening accounts
  • Opening email accounts
  • Seeding the account
  • Writing link text and posting link
  • Entry into spreadsheet and saved in Dropbox
  • Indexing of links
  • Report to client

It could be done, whether or not a link from a forum is worth the effort is worth it is another thing. And you would only know this if you tested it. And if this did work you would hardly blog or comment about it.

My thinking is that it is cost effective, rather a binary yes/no work/not work.

The problem is the effort involved in setting up this kind of thing is not worth it if you only have one site. It really only works if someone else sets up the service for others to buy and then creates efficiencies of scale which make it worthwhile, and would probably need quite a few clients.

It’s interesting though isn’t it?

Link building

What is Content Based Link building all about?

What an awful label, “content based link building”. Doesn’t exactly fire you up to run to your keyboard and bash out ass achingly good linkbait does it?

Labels are interesting, within them you can find out lots of stuff.

What I specialise in has many labels, linkbait, content, magnetic content, etc.

None of which really capture the essesnce of what we do.

At the recent SASCON conference people asked what I did and I told them I produced content such as “13 Kittens on Crack go on Holiday to Holland”. How can you put a label on that?

The interesting thing is there is quite a strict process to creating linkbait, highly creative people tend to have patterns of behaviour which allows them to tap into their creative resevoir. Sometimes the headlines seem like they were thought up in minutes, but the reality is a casual headline which works has usually been crafted for hours if not days.

I am still shocked when people are surprised I work on a specific headline for days, I am sure most bloggers take about 30 secs. It is possible to come up with a great headline for 30 secs, but you will probably find that your sub-conscious as been mulling it over for years.

So, back to the question, What is content based link building all about?

Most of it seems to be about mediocrity, most content is medocre. I guess by pure definition that would be the case, if everything was exceptional then it would become average.

The important thing to focus on then, is successful content based link building. This is not that hard to backward engineer.

  • Look at the niche
  • Identify the content with most links
  • Deconstruct content
  • Analyse backlinks to identify patterns

The data you need to end up with is, why did these people link to this content? It’s difficult to be definitive and some of the gaps must be filled in by instinct and guess work. But you will notice certain interesting things:

  • 80% of the links come from 20% of the linkers
  • The links are given by real people, not machines
  • Human contact increases the chance of a link
  • Linkers may not agree with the content

We can divulge a lot more information from the why did these people link to this content question. And this data can help shape your own link building strategy within the specific niche.

But is content based linkbuilding all about relationships? I don’t think it’s “all” about that, there is a whole lot more to it, but it is a very important part of the mix.

Link building

Link Bait Ideas

How do you come up with a link bait idea? Ideas sometimes seem to come from nowhere, making the creative process seem like a magical, mystical thing.

Creativity does not exist in a vacuum and ideas do not come out of nothing. Good ideas are preceded by hard toil, time spent studying, thinking, testing, mulling over. Sometimes you may have been thinking about an idea for years.

One of the things I help people with at Magentic Web Content is to come up with fresh, innovative, effective ideas for their linkbait. Sometimes the ideas spark fresh thoughts in the reader and they are able to go off in an even more original direction. It helps to have a spark.

Here are some examples of the kind of link bait ideas I come up with:

Who Spends the most on web advertising?

For a marketing site.
Analysis of the companies and brands who spend the most money on advertising on the web. Difficult to make it 100% accurate, but an interesting discussion starter. You could look at those who waste money on the web, or which website is the most useless to advertise on. When was the last time you clicked on a banner? But ask the question, are you the target?

Most Powerful Home Speaker System in the World

For a gadget site.
I am sure it has been done before so worth a research, remember, if it has worked once it has proved itself and the same elements will probably work again.
Figure out the way to decide what is the most powerful speaker, as HiFi geeks will probably take you to task on your claims. But, this is good, having people argue with you and not agree does not mean they will not link. Polarising opinion is sometimes the best way to get people to link. What you are doing in effect is creating a platform for the discussion to take place, people may not be linking to your content but the resulting discussion.

Announce Payday loans as an attack on the Working Class

For a financial site.
As the credit crunch takes hold (not sure what you call it in the USA) more and more people are seeking unconventional ways to raise cash. Payday loans give you cash against your future wages, problem is it has a crippling interest rate and tend to be targeted at vulnerable groups of society. Taking an ethical stand against such practices you can attract the attention of linkers that wouldn’t normally link to a financial site.
You can highlight some of the horror stories that people find themselves in and talk of large men with baseball bats turning up at the door at 6am.
The purpose is to offer a different look at a competitive market. Most sites do the, “Payday loans are great”, type story as they want to attract people who will click on the ads. But you want links, so go for the social ethical crowd and start a conversation that will be worth linking to.
If you can get pro and anti groups discussing on the same page you have hit payday gold.

Why ergonomic furniture is rubbish.

For a furniture or office furniture site or a saving money site
I end up reading a lot of adverts regarding ergonomic furniture, as if that’s the best kind of furniture. I am equipping a new office at the moment and notice the stuff. I think it’s a load of crap and I suspect others do too, give me a second hand ?20 desk and a decent chair and I am sorted. Detail how expensive this ergonomic stuff is and what does it actually mean. As far as I can tell it means furniture with rounded corners.
Make this piece highly opinionated and point out how expensive some of this stuff is. I would totally advise an office furniture linkbait client to do this, but I know they never would because they do not understand linkbait. But, it can be used to shock people into linking to your site, “maverick furniture website reveals shocking truth of furniture scam”. What the site does then is explain why they think the range which they are carrying is worth every penny.

Why you should never pay more than ?30 for a desk
Imagine that as a headline on an office furniture blog? If you have a website that is about furniture design, or about advising people how to save money setting up their businesses, your link worth radar will be beeping. It presents a negative view point which is very juicy to link to but the body of the content should take the reader from a negative start to a positive finish. Positive in the sense that the business running this furniture blog is so cool and on the side of the consumer it is willing to present information which seemingly harms it and benefits the consumer.

View it in the sense of a narrative, look how a Hollywood disaster movie is framed, the marketing is always about how awful and dire the situation is, but then ends upbeat as the little white, blonde girl and dog are saved.

Try looking at your linkbait creation as telling a story.

Best American Cities to get Shot in.

For a tourist site or medical
I lived in DC for six months and on the first night, 8 people were shot dead. Coming from a country where a stabbing can make national news I expected uproar, I don’t even think the local news covered it. Sometimes I think it takes an outsider to point out that things are kinda crazy.

That aside, the amount of people getting shot dead in America varies from city to city. But the interesting thing to point out is that being shot in a city where gunshot wounds are more common may mean you get treated by a more experienced surgeon for that type of wound. I had read somewhere that the US military sent their surgeons to such hospitals to get training in treating gunshot wounds.

So, the more gunshot wounds a hospital treats, the better your treatment can potentially be. It would be interesting to grab data on the top ten hospitals who treat the most gunshots per capita. This kind of research and presentation of statistical data, if backed up proper referencing of sources can bring you all sorts of attention from journalists and news organisations who may link to you.

Take readily available statistical data, reshape and reframe it, give it an attention grabbing headline and you may have a nice bit of linkbait on your hands.

The headlines in the above examples are not what you would end up with. It’s possible you can come up with better by spending more time thinking about it. I came up with the headlines whilst writing this post, so they have not been through the grist mill yet.

Maybe these ideas spark different ideas that you can use. Ideas are all around, you just have to be able to spot them. Once you have adopted the linkbaiters frame of mind it becomes natural.