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SearchLove Boston 2013_Eppie Vojt_Scaling Outreach
 

SearchLove Boston 2013_Eppie Vojt_Scaling Outreach

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  • So first, a few words about me. I’m Eppie Vojt and I work at Red Ventures as a Director of SEO. I’m imminently qualified to give this presentation because I know more than a thing or two about looking like an idiot, evidenced in part by this mustache.I also know a lot about looking like an idiot while scaling outreach. I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years. I’ve sent outreach messages to myself, inadvertently emailed the same webmaster repeatedly due to poor record keeping, inadvertently emailed the same webmaster repeatedly with the identical message from different pen names... Suffice it to say, I know a lot of ways this thing can go wrong. Today, I hope you can learn from my failures, successes, and observations.
  • My hunch is that, prior to that prelude, some of you weren’t exactly looking forward to this presentation... And not just because I’m Rand’s opening act. I’m sure a lot of you hear “link building at scale” and automatically, you think that this is the talk that’s going to get you penalized in 12 months, because scale has become a bit of a dirty word in our industry.It shouldn’t be that way. Scale doesn’t have a negative connotation in the “real world” and it shouldn’t in SEO either. Think about scale in the real world...
  • In the real world, scaling allows us to produce a product of identical (or sometimes superior) quality at greater frequency. Let’s take milk production. Peggy here can provide enough milk for her family by heading out to the barn in the morning and hand-milking the family cow. When we need more milk, we don’t just buy or breed more cows – or employ more milk farmers... we created technology that allowed us to get more milk in less time.
  • Same source, modified improvement to the process, same product (in greater quantity). There’s another way to scale the quantity of milk we get...
  • But it’s decidedly less desirable. Filling each carton of milk half-way with milk and the rest of the way with water lets us double production, right? But we’ve ended up with a fundamentally different product – one that’s diluted and of lesser value.If we only diluted it a small amount, it might go unnoticed... But the further away we get from the original product, the more likely we are to end up displeased.
  • The other alternative, when faced with the problem of not having enough milk is to simply substitute.
  • Scaling isn’t creating a lesser version of something. It’s not watering down your product so that you can gain greater reach. Quite frankly, there’s been a lot of “watered down link building” over the years. We didn’t really care because Google didn’t notice. Google’s still not perfect at this. We can still get away delivering a lesser quality link for a while, but when Google does catch on, the retribution is substantial and long-lasting.
  • I’m not going to tell you that you need to shift your focus to “content strategy,” no offense to anyone else presenting here. Sometimes, you just need links --- even if you’re implementing an amazing content strategy.I don’t think I’m saying anything revolutionary here. As an industry, we’ve all known that a lot of what worked to manipulate Google wasn’t sustainable, but we also knew that it worked. And for a while that was good enough. We kept pushing the envelope to see when Google would stop it.
  • Building real links is hard.
  • Building real links is hard.
  • Every task you perform, you should ask yourself – what’s preventing me from doing this quicker (without sacrificing quality)?
  • We are optimizers – we’re not called search engine rankers. The whole “inbound movement” is largely about taking ownership for performance as it relates to the bottom line, not just 10 (or 7) blue links.Apply that same mentality to outreach. Optimize the crap out of it... Each and every step.Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
  • Content ideation is a different skill than content production, and content production is a vastly different skill than salesmanship. So is data consumption and entry. Where possible, you want the least qualified person capable of doing the job well doing it.
  • “You know that thing you hate doing? You don’t have to do it anymore – just push this button from now on.” Say that to your staff a few times and watch their eyes light up (and productivity increase)
  • Outreach EquationIf you’re managing a team, you can easily start to back this equation out into activity levels. I need X links and I know historic RR, AR, CAR, and PR
  • Outreach Equation
  • Outreach Equation
  • Eventually, you’re going to feel like you’ve run out of internet.
  • Outreach Equation
  • How many of you have ever run across this when trying to prospect for sites? This kind of thing is the bane of the automater’s existence, but it’s actually very good for doing outreach. These people receive fewer
  • Regular expression to nab common contact form obfuscations
  • Outreach Equation
  • Red flag words, obvious paid links, quality of writing, OBL countIt’s outside of the scope of this presentation to run through a full explanation of xpath, but this expression says find all of the links on the page that don’t have a rel attribute or that have a rel attribute that doesn’t have nofollow in it. Once you find those, check to see if any have an ancestor element that has an id or class name containing advert or sponsor, or exactly equaling ads.This won’t catch everything, but it will catch a lot of the VERY obvious paid linking – saving you the time to evaluate them manually.
  • Red flag words, obvious paid links, quality of writing, OBL countIt’s outside of the scope of this presentation to run through a full explanation of xpath, but this expression says find all of the links on the page that don’t have a rel attribute or that have a rel attribute that doesn’t have nofollow in it. Once you find those, check to see if any have an ancestor element that has an id or class name containing advert or sponsor, or exactly equaling ads.This won’t catch everything, but it will catch a lot of the VERY obvious paid linking – saving you the time to evaluate them manually.
  • Red flag words, obvious paid links, quality of writing, OBL countIt’s outside of the scope of this presentation to run through a full explanation of xpath, but this expression says find all of the links on the page that don’t have a rel attribute or that have a rel attribute that doesn’t have nofollow in it. Once you find those, check to see if any have an ancestor element that has an id or class name containing advert or sponsor, or exactly equaling ads.This won’t catch everything, but it will catch a lot of the VERY obvious paid linking – saving you the time to evaluate them manually.
  • The performance of these items is heavily influenced by the quality of your outreach message and the angle of your pitch. We’ll take a look at a few examples that prove this out a bit.
  • Red flag words, obvious paid links, quality of writing, OBL countIt’s outside of the scope of this presentation to run through a full explanation of xpath, but this expression says find all of the links on the page that don’t have a rel attribute or that have a rel attribute that doesn’t have nofollow in it. Once you find those, check to see if any have an ancestor element that has an id or class name containing advert or sponsor, or exactly equaling ads.This won’t catch everything, but it will catch a lot of the VERY obvious paid linking – saving you the time to evaluate them manually.
  • Red flag words, obvious paid links, quality of writing, OBL countIt’s outside of the scope of this presentation to run through a full explanation of xpath, but this expression says find all of the links on the page that don’t have a rel attribute or that have a rel attribute that doesn’t have nofollow in it. Once you find those, check to see if any have an ancestor element that has an id or class name containing advert or sponsor, or exactly equaling ads.This won’t catch everything, but it will catch a lot of the VERY obvious paid linking – saving you the time to evaluate them manually.
  • The performance of these items is heavily influenced by the quality of your outreach message and the angle of your pitch. We’ll take a look at a few examples that prove this out a bit.
  • Here’s the thing about terrible plans – nobody sets out on an endeavor thinking that they’ve just concocted an epically horrible plan. This guy probably thought having his head in that bucket would be absolutely fantastic.
  • Here’s the thing about terrible plans – nobody sets out on an endeavor thinking that they’ve just concocted an epically horrible plan. This guy probably thought having his head in that bucket would be absolutely fantastic. That’s kind of how things started for us on this first campaign.