The Unfair Advantage of Inbound Marketing
How marketers can use sweat equity instead of $$ to earn outsized returns on
their online traffic efforts.
Download at http://bit.ly/mozinbound
Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-founder, SEOmoz | June 2011
We don’t offer any consulting.
Every Marketer Sees This:
But That’s Not Reality
Referring + Other = 50% of our traffic? But this chart is
basically saying Twitter, Facebook, blogs, feed readers and
every non-search site that sends traffic is exactly the same.
All the traffic we receive that isn’t the result of paid
acquisition or advertising (in SEOmoz’s case – 95%+)
comes from Inbound Marketing!
Organic Search Rankings
Paid Search Ads
Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter)
Inclusion in Universal Search Results
Contextual Ad Networks (AdSense)
Blogs + News Sites
Buying Email Lists
Links from Partners + Friends
Opt-In Email Newsletters
Forums + Discussion Sites
Q+A Answers w/ a Link
User Profiles + Comments
For more on Inbound Marketing, check out Brian + Dharmesh’s awesome book:
You Must Become a Hub for Great
Answers on Q+A
Content in Your Niche
Site that offers:
• Unique Research
link to its pages
• Informed Opinions
• News/Trend Analysis
• Multimedia Content
Links are Tweeted
• Authentic Expert Contributors
• Quality Discussion/Interaction
links to each
Cited at conferences
Sometimes, a single piece of content or just a few, can yield these results but, more
often, it takes dozens to hundreds of attempts to become a resource hub.
# of Searches/Day in Google
Currently, there are more
than 3 billion searches/day
Data via Google’s occasional public statements and some inference (for 2006 + 2009)
Robust, Accessible, HTML Text is Key
Users see a wealth of
Google sees a small number
of words that don’t tell
much of a content story.
You can see what Google sees by using the “cached snapshot” functionality from their search
results, or by using the Mozbar (http://www.seomoz.org/seo-toolbar) and browsing as Googlebot.
“Good” Content vs. “GREAT” Content
Satisfies the searcher’s basic
Surprises and delights the
searcher by being remarkable
Written by a human and not
Produced by extraordinary
Long enough to fulfill basic
needs of engines for
video, audio, graphics &
photos to convey a
unique, shareable experience
Produced by extraordinary
Grammatically correct; free of
Make sure to use
Visit https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and start experimenting. You’ll learn
amazing things. http://www.seomoz.org/article/keyword-research-guide is a good guide.
How to Know What People Want:
This post - http://www.seomoz.org/blog/great-content-for-seo-simpler-than-you-ever-imagined
goes into detail about how to leverage this tactic to build great resources people will love.
Pages/Sites Need Links to Rank, But Not All
Links Are Created Equal
Post is here – http://www.seomoz.org/blog/10-illustrations-on-search-engines-valuation-of-links
and check out http://www.seomoz.org/blog/category/4 - for tons of ways to earn awesome links.
Social Signals Influence Rankings
Bing + Google have said publicly they use Twitter + Facebook for rankings: http://searchengineland.com/whatsocial-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389 and Moz’s correlation data suggests they’re telling the truth:
Social Data’s Directly in the SERPs, Too!
Geraldine’s blog is
awesome, but it would
never rank on page #1
for this query without
the power of the social
Check out http://www.slideshare.net/randfish/merging-of-search-social-wappow for more on how
search engines and social media are mixing together.
More fans = more people
potentially exposed to
But… You also need to
create posts that will
show up in “top news” on
your fans’ walls. That’s
For some great Facebook-focused marketing tactics, check out http://www.seomoz.org/blog/4facebook-marketing-tactics-you-might-not-know-about
It’s not just about the
follower count. Your
tweets have to count for
something and drive
I highly recommend http://www.slideshare.net/danzarrella/the-science-of-re-tweets which helps
show the correlation between activities on Twitter and your ability to have the message spread.
are a powerful way
to grow your
network and spread
Like Facebook, LinkedIn now has
a wall that drives “likes” and
comments (as well as traffic).
Good advice on LinkedIn profiles here - http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/optimize-your-linkedinprofile-for-best-results-howto (also, don’t miss the comments which discuss how the links work).
Reddit’s grown to be in the top 100
most visited sites on the web, and
even smaller subreddits can send
remarkable traffic (and result in
The travel subreddit has nearly 19K registered subscribers - http://www.reddit.com/r/travel - and
thousands more browsing. Full list of subreddits, sorted by # of subs here: http://metareddit.com/
StumbleUpon reaches more than 15
million active monthly users, and drives
massive amounts of outbound traffic.
Two great activities on http://www.stumbleupon.com for beginners: #1) Discover content that
people share in your niche. #2) Find great stuff to share/tweet that will earn you more followers.
Participating in the Blogosphere
Using http://www.google.com/reader, you can see how many GG Reader users subscribe + average # of
posts/week. Those with fewer than 50 subscribers and 1 post/week often are too tiny to be worthwhile.
The “Long Tail” of Social
http://tumblr.com + http://hunch.com + http://del.icio.us + http://etsy.com + http://wikipedia.org +
http://www.newsvine.com + http://care2.com and 100s of other social sites can potentially provide value for
sites/marketers who participate; there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore.
Blog Readership is Up, But to Fewer Blogs
Data via http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx and
http://www.slideshare.net/DianeRayfield/social-medias-shocking-statistics. See also Hubspot’s awesome slide
Great Blogs Rock.
Mediocre Blogs are Useless.
Research for this statement via PEW Internet & Captain Obvious
Every two years, we put out http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors but leave the
URL the same, so it continues to accrue great link/social/sharing signals.
Research + White Papers
Stats for launch day of
Startup Genome project’s
Research like http://startupgenome.cc/ gets tweeted, shared and cited, meaning you earn
links, traffic + all sorts of good inbound marketing metrics.
After producing what is, admittedly, an awesome graphic - http://www.paralegal.net/judge-judy/ Paralegal.net rose to page one in Google (and got bjillions of drive-by visits, too).
Multimedia + Interactive
The Nissan Leaf http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/index site uses HTML5 to its full
capability, and it’s pretty as heck, too.
Links to other web
These (http://www.seomoz.org/users/profile/) emulate the success of places like
LinkedIn, Quora, Stackoverflow and others. They’ve increased participation and traffic to the
When users contribute content (as with http://artistmarketplace.moleskine.com/en) they’re
invested in the promotion and success of their work, and thus, your site!
An Incentive to Share
These “spoonback” were key
to Urbanspoon’s growth (now
ahead of Citysearch in traffic!)
Because Yelp + Citysearch had taken the “badges” angle for local businesses, http://urbanspoon.com incented
foodie bloggers to link to the site by featuring those bloggers’ posts + content on the site.
The genius game-like badges, points and progress at http://stackoverflow.com has helped make it
one of the most successful sites in the Q+A world.
I use email to subscribe to http://www.avc.com/ and am 1 of 100K+ who read Fred’s posts on a
daily basis. That’s a powerful inbound channel!
The Moz Top 10 http://www.seomoz.org/moztop10 attracts lots of readers, who then consume
and share content. One big key to success – don’t just promote your own material.
BTW: Write down that email
address; it’s a good one to have.
Deal sites like http://groupon.com have had huge success. Private models like http://gilt.com and
http://appsumo.com run interesting variants that also work well.
Blog Content Feeds
On average, this many
people actually read a
post via feed
Feeds aren’t just useful for subscribers. They “ping” search engines, enable easy syndication and
can be used by lots of content aggregators that send traffic, too.
Anything with Regular Updates
Etsy makes it possible to
subscribe to a feed of
anyone’s shop on the site!
I was actually tempted to subscribe. http://www.etsy.com/shop/ThisYearsGirl has some awesome
I did a brief, 4-minute presentation at the Seattle 2.0 Awards - http://www.geekwire.com/2011/seomozceo-rand-fishkin-googles-panda-update that promoted our hiring + growth (focused on that audience’s
values rather than trying to sell to them)
Our webinars http://www.seomoz.org/webinars attract 500-1,000 attendees and earn lots of tweets, blog posts
and links. Hubspot’s get 10K+ attendees http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-webinars/
I put many of my presentation on http://slideshare.net where they earn thousands of additional
Don’t be a honey
badger. Care about
YouTube actually ranks as the second largest “search property” in the US, behind only Google:
The “Long Tail” of Video Sites
Long tail of video
sites get 50% of all
Self-Hosted Video Content
At SEOmoz, we use http://www.wistia.com who submits our video XML sitemaps to Google for us
Google Local / Maps / Places
Fox Sports Grill? I’m
sorry Google, but that
is not barbecue.
To register, go to http://www.google.com/placesforbusiness. Also check out
http://www.davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml for great local ranking tips.
Yelp’s results quality is much higher than Google’s and their interface is better, too. Impressive stats as well http://officialblog.yelp.com/2011/02/via-yelp-mobile-yelpers-call-a-local-business-every-other-second.html
http://foursquare.com has pretty awesome stats for local businesses participating with them.
Mobile Subscriptions + Tatango
http://www.tatango.com/ makes it possible for locally-focused sites to have cellphone “text lists”
the same way web companies have email lists. It’s powerful stuff for local businesses.
Granted, not all the questions (or answers) on http://answers.yahoo.com are of exceptional
quality, but due to very high traffic, participation can yield solid results.
The StackOverflow Q+A platform is one of the most engaging, attracts high quality folks and offers
lots of connection/marketin opportunity. See list of sites here - http://stackexchange.com/sites
Quora’s audience tends
to be startup-y, techy and
If you haven’t yet started contributing on http://www.quora.com, the Google social
integration is a great excuse
Truer works were
The platform at http://namesake.com is quite impressive and some of the contributors equally so.
Whether it achieves critical mass remains to be seen.
The “Long Tail” of Discussion Sites
Public Relations, Guest Authoring
and Comment Marketing
Guest Blogging + Writing
Guest blogging (or contributing content to any type of publisher) is a great way to build your brand
and earn links. Tools like http://myblogguest.com/ can help make the process easier.
Direct Connections to Journalists
HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com/) is a popular service that lets you get contacted when
relevant reporters/journalists need sources.
Classic Public Relations
If you’re seeking a PR firm, http://prfirms.org/ can help, but it pays to get references. PR is a field
where a few firms have the right connections and the rest can’t help nearly as much.
This post has a list of recommendations for blog commenting as a marketing tactic:
Check out some interesting and useful ways to customize Google Analytics via
Via https://analytics.postrank.com/ - PostRank will measure the social sharing activity on any
URL in a feed, so you can see what content works (and doesn’t) on the social web
Survey Monkey is inexpensive, scalable and accurate. It’s less beautiful than other platforms, but
far more flexible – http://www.surveymonkey.com
I know I’m biased, but it’s really useful for tracking and improving SEO stuff
http://www.mailchimp.com is perfect for most small-medium businesses, but once you get over
100K susbcribers, it doesn’t work quite as well. Great analytics, deliverability + reporting, though!
http://trunk.ly keeps track of all the links I share on Facebook/Twitter/my Blog/etc. without any
effort on my part. It then builds a searchable index so I never forget/lose a link.
Place Facebook’s Insights widget on your website + see demographic data about your site’s visitors, just like you can w/
your Facebook fans. http://www.facebook.com/insights. Learn more about Insights here http://www.seomoz.org/blog/4-facebook-marketing-tactics-you-might-not-know-about
Comments left here appear
on Facebook + replies to
those are posted here!
You can find developer info for how to add FB comments here:
Wistia Video Analytics
Problem w/ video is it’s hard to measure engagement w/ traditional analytics that show only
pageviews. http://www.wistia.com fixes that in an elegant way.
Bit.ly PRO for Short URL Tracking
If you use shortened URLs on Facebook + Twitter, http://bit.ly can help track and segment out
the portion of the traffic that’s direct vs. referral (but hidden due to desktop/mobile apps)
These folks have tons of
followers; we should
connect with them!
A terrific tool to research high-value targets on Twitter: http://followerwonk.com/
Open Site Explorer
See who links to who on the web, and how important those links are via
Using http://getlisted.org, I can see which local data sources may not have my business included
(or may have inaccurate information). Fixing/including can help w/ local rankings + traffic.
Via http://feedburner.com – though it hasn’t been updated in a long time, it’s still the best
free software for monitoring feed activity and growth.
Google Alerts / Blogscape
Using http://www.google.com/alerts, I can set up daily email notifications of word mentions.
http://www.seomoz.org/labs offers several options to track fresh web notifications as well.
http://www.summify.com sends me a daily digest of the most tweeted/shared things from the
people I follow. Oftentimes, it’s really useful stuff that I’m glad not to miss.
MozBar for Firefox
Firefox 4 compatible, the Mozbar - http://www.seomoz.org/seo-toolbar - combines nearly every
feature I’ve ever wanted in a toolbar into one (and it has a pretty aesthetic, which I appreciate)
http://www.wistia.com not only has great analytics on videos, but also automatically creates video
XML sitemaps so Google can show our rich snippets for video directly in the SERPs.
http://knowem.com checks the availability of a username across dozens of social sites
automatically and provides direct links to register them.
Unbounce’s Landing Page Platform
Using http://unbounce.com/ allows us to create hosted versions of landing pages to test
without needing to bug our dev/engineering team.
Step #1: Discover
Find inbound marketing paths that look promising and make a list.
Invest a few days/hours building authentic value in that niche/sector.
Step #3: Measure
Use your web analytics to track primary + second-order impact
Step #4: Repeat
Throw out low ROI projects; repeat high ROI ones.
Download at http://bit.ly/mozinbound
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Rand on the Web
• Twitter: @randfish
• Blog: www.seomoz.org/blog
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org