LinkLove London 2012 – The Best Bits

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LinkLove London 2012 – The Best Bits
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LinkLove London 2012 – The Best Bits

It’s 9am and we await the first of this years speakers at Linklove 2012. Clearly lots will be written about the event so our job is to Distill (no pun intended) the very best bits. The juiciest most actionable stuff shared by some of the best brains in the business. So, here goes….

First off is Rand Fishkin and his Link Building V Content Strategy… (link to Deck)

  • 700,000 ‘notice of unnatural links’ emails  have been sent but the vast majority are to US sites predominately and the impact has not yet really been felt in Europe…yet
  • Google says its not using the facebook open graph but they REALLY do. Check out your social connections in your goggle account – quora, digg, Facebook. Flickr – they monitor it all.
  • Lowest cost of customer acquisition is via organic search. 15 dollars for search. 35 for social. 95 for paid search.
  • Cost of getting customer v how much they can make from each of them is the key metric. Customer acquisition cost ratio as it is known in the investment world . Use this to measure true value of marketing activity. This is how to convince businesses. Bring down the cost of customer acquisition and you win.
  • Content is the key to all channels – search, social, brand visibility. It helps create a brand and this is key for the future of successful search marketing.
  • Is Facebook search coming after their IPO? Zuckerberg desk shot suggests so as he had a FB search bar on his computer and it will be driven by social signals NOT links.
  • Don’t limit yourself to content about what you do. Create content that serves the interests of your clients and customers. Fiskars Scissors blog is a great example.
  • Want to know how to create great content? Watch the dollarshaveclub.com video. They go the SEO wrong BUT they did get it in front of 4 million people, 250,000 have signed up already.
We now welcome Mike King to the stage…to talk about effective outreach…
  • Start with a big data set and filters link prospects into three tiers. Black (do not contact) blue (Wikipedia etc – you’ll never get links from) and then the sites worth chasing.
  • Women are NOT the best link builders. Women get more response but men close better and actually get more links.
  • When you personalise emails for outreach you close 6.52% on average, so find a name!  Rapportive helps with this.
  • Saying hey is better than hello.
  • Saturday and Sunday are the best days to get response from your mails.
  • Use Boomerang to schedule outreach mails to go out at weekends.
  • Send emails at night so they get them first thing in the morning.
  • Keep pressing for those links as persistence pays off.
  • Longer emails work better than short as it suggests greater effort.
  • Reach out with Twitter first and you’re conversion rate soars.
  • Don’t put a phone number in your email. It hurts conversion and can upset spam filters.
  • If you have a logo in your email you do a lot better. Do it as a brand, as part of it or on behalf of – trust is there.
  • Build personas for each niche. Over time. They give you a foothold in the market.
Branko Rihtman followed Mike and shared some great stuff around which links are important…
  • SEO is science but not serious science. It should be seen as a way of collecting data for the sole reason of prodding it and breaking it. Make mistakes and you will learn and discover.
  • Lots of talk about do social signals help influence rank. But few examples of pages ranking for terms JUST with shares.
  • Pinterest pages rank well when they have links AND shares and not so well with just shares.
  • Social signals will not be the new links but trust signals that help maintain longevity of visibility.
  • Don’t be afraid of the API when it comes to collating data. You don’t need to be great at code to use them and the output is invaluable.
  • Niels Bosma’s tools for Excel are amazing for data collation and analysis.
  • +1s perform better in terms of the effectiveness of social outreach over likes, tweets and more. As measured by the number of links per social signal.
  • Grade Twitter accounts by how much they interact with you not just on pure size of audience – quality as opposed to quantity.
  • Find the sweet spot where users don’t tweet too many links but tweet regularly AND have already interacted with you.
Jane Copland refocused the conference around links that matter – those that your competitors don’t have or cannot get…
  • Think differently to build different links. Forget problems or challenges and think opportunities.
  • You need the basic links to match up to your competitors for main domain metrics but once you are close it’s the cool ideas that generate links you can’t buy that help you win.
  • If you want a specific link create an idea that they will buy into with the sole focus being to get it placed with them.
  • Unique ideas around great content or product gets the attention and gains retweets from key accounts and media links that count.
  • One great idea was a piece on wish.co.uk playing on the paid-for-access-to-downing-street news. The site offered pretend access to 250k and Stephen Fry shared it.
  • If you are mentioned somewhere don’t be afraid to mention its ‘as featured in’ on site and or within your outreach message.
  • Even boring spaces can allow you to be creative with ideas. Think about the problem they are trying to solve as a business and brainstorm around it.
Will Reynolds killed it talking around how to build real link building relationships for long term value…
  • Go big with the people you want to target. Build a relationship don’t go for links. Initially.
  • People follow people that add value
  • He then talked through a way of ‘stalking’ your targets via igoogle and the link to his slide deck below explains that step-by-step process.
  • The plug in he mentions, once installed, then highlights ALL RSS feeds allowing you to pull in a person’s web interactions into one place.
  • Netvibes (our tip) is a good place to pull those rss’ into as is iGoogle.
  • Look at who they follow and be more like them than you.
  • Stalk publication writers to build a picture of them and look for opportunities to help them.
  • Type in followerwonk ‘writer for’ to find key writers
  • Use Mozenda. It’s a great scraping tool.
  • Dirty Tip – buying followers CAN help establish you as an authority Twitter account. Fake it until you make it.
  • To find out how much people are sharing a persons stuff add a + to the end of their bit.ly URLs. It will show you shares.
  • If you need more followers inboxq.com – send you people asking questions on Twitter. Help them and they will follow.
Tom Anthony followed Wil’s energetic performance with a deck around the question ‘Does Google still love Links?’
  • In the good old days all links were equal. Now that has changed and Google prefilters the page to work out how much it trusts the page.
  • Links are a proportionately diminishing part of the algorithm. In the last 2 years 15% of the algo that was based on link signals has been moved across to other factors.
  • Most websites have a domain authority of 30 to 40.
  • When building links try and diversify to match those sites around you. Don’t stand out too much!
  • Sometimes being the one white hat site can stand out as being the bad guy when looking at link profiles! Can make it tough to work out who the good guys are.
  • Panda sacrificed some level of white hat businesses in order to punish masses of spam. They pruned the web graph and will do so again. It’s a percentage thing. It doesn’t matter to them that a few good guys got hurt as part of it.
  • The recent mass of updates is due to the fact that Google is prepared now to chop out the crap. There is more to come.
  • Google is preparing a link based change the size of which we have yet to see to clean up the web.
  • 20-30,000 domains were deindexed in the last update.
  • The link network deindexing updates will continue now like Panda.
  • Google+ is as much about defending their search territory as it is about a social play.
  • Google plus is also the basis of rel author data collection to help build a picture of who writes what and how good they are.
  • The social graph is separate from the web graph and so it cannot replace links as a fundamental piece of the algo. Author data CAN replace it.
  • Authortrust rank is much harder to spam.
  • Create authors within every business and make sure they are active socially.
Martin Macdonald spoke around scaling and leveraging link building…
  • Go against the flow when looking to build links.
  • Mention the BBC on key forums etc and they will link to you for a week from their online blog.
  • Publish great content on key content systems and you get great links.
  • Build widgets for key content management systems and you’ll scale your link building efforts.
  • Buy the Professional WordPress plugin Development book and it becomes an easy process.
  • Pull back link equity from affiliate sites by adding a # after the main domain of your site and before the affiliate code as this will pass it directly to your domain.
  • You can use rel canonical to control link equity too. Several big guys do so.
Distilled leader Will Critchlow rounded up with a piece on his hierarchy of needs…
  • Start with asking why to find out why something is failing. Ask it 5 times and you get to the root cause
  • Why do you not get links? Often it’s not doing enough of the right things regularly enough. Move quickly.
  • Look for where you are good and become great. If you have a good email list do something great with it.
  • Visitors generate links if the content if good.
  • Look at how many links you get per visitor. First improve that number THEN improve traffic.
  • Benchmark yourselves against a competitor you want to beat but is currently doing it better than you.
  • The Boston Globes big picture articles get links. It’s easy to copy the idea for any business.
  • Pitch the experiment rather than the campaign so you can make it happen. Prove the model and then you can simply keep doing it.
  • Conversion rate win over your competitors is a key competitive advantage as it means you have a greater margin and can invest in more marketing.
  • Pitch the big idea but make the next step easy and small.
  • Segment your content strategy to build authority and reputation on one hand but then to earn links on the other. Like Gawker does.
  • Read The Lean Startup book. Helps you understand how to get big ideas to happen.

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, it was written by Simon Penson, Founder and Managing Director of Zazzle Media.

7 comments
OliverHelm
OliverHelm

So, just double checking - Mike King sugested that telephone numbers in emails are bad?  - Useful to know, as I would have guessed the opposite.  - I tent see people willing to offer a number as more trustworthy.

zazzlemedia
zazzlemedia moderator

We would also like to add a big thankyou to the @distilled guys for what was a great conference. The Wifi situation was a little frustrating but the speakers killed it. Who else went and could you rank the speakers? Here's our attempt:1. Wil Reynolds2. Tom Anthony3. Mike King4. Martin McDonald5. Rand Fishkin6. Neyne!7. Will Critchlow

8. Jane Copland

 

The standard was so high that every one would come top at pretty much any other conference....

alextanner1
alextanner1

 @OliverHelm Probably more accurate to say that, out of the 300k emails he examined, those that contained a telephone number had a lower close rate than those that didn't. The thinking was that the recipients MAY have found it a little creepy to imply that the sender might expect a phone call, but that's just anecdotal - this was quantitative research, not qualitative. But probably best if you ask Mike :-)

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