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How to Build Great Inbound Links in 2013
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How to Build Great Inbound Links in 2013


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The wrong links can hurt your brand. The right links increase visibility, credibility, traffic, and rankings. Discover the secrets to securing quality inbound links with the very latest best practices …

The wrong links can hurt your brand. The right links increase visibility, credibility, traffic, and rankings. Discover the secrets to securing quality inbound links with the very latest best practices in industrial-strength link building. Join BuzzStream Founder Paul May for a structured approach to link outreach that focuses on building more links in less time with higher quality. Review a sample campaign to see exactly how and why it works. Stop building lists, and start building powerful linking partnerships for increased site authority.

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  • Other requirements:BuzzStream branding and #InboundLinks2013hashtag on every page
  • Link building is often overlooked as an afterthoughtCan be a significant competitive exampleHomeAway2U, etc.If approached with strategy, discipline, creativity, and analysis, it can be a significant differentiator and very difficult to copy.Are you building links? Or are you building competitive advantage? If your competition hires an SEO firm, how easy will it be for them to bang out your links?Ideally, it won’t be easy at all.Shitty house with chain link fence
  • Image for this – Will?So the key to being effective is automate the right things. Don’t be a technical SEO, be a Technical SEO. (This is a reference to breaking bad where Jesse says “When the going get’s tough, you don’t want a criminal lawyer, you want a Criminal, Lawyer.” It may fall flat.)
  • Automation is a key force multiplier.And 100% I don’t mean sending out spam emails like this one.Automate the right things – and do the parts that matter by hand. Your time should be spent doing real marketing, pitching, and coming up with ideas – not pulling metrics, gathering contact information, or
  • Image for This – Will?There are some things that are fine to automate.If you have something specific you want done – like data gathering or research – that requires no judgement and basically can get a spreadsheet filled in, then go ahead and automate it.By contrast, if you need knowledge of the market, or idiomatic english, or subtle pitching and positioning, you should do that by hand.The key thing is to separate the important parts from the unimportant parts.
  • Don’t automate the important parts – like making content, actually engaging with people, and creating the strategy.There’s not an SEO tool in the world that can make a coherent link building strategy for you. (Which is good, because it means marketers will be employed through the forseeable future.) You need to figure out the intersection between what you’re good at, what you can do, and who will care about it and how to bring them together.One word on qualifying, because that falls in a sort of ‘in between’ spot – You can do an initial qualification through numbers, but you will need someone who knows what spam looks like to look at each site, because entirely metrics-based qualifications can be deceiving. Rob Ousbey has this really great term called “Being a PageRank Magpie”, which is someone that operates exclusively on authority metrics – this can get you into trouble very fast, and you’ll find yourself both ignoring good opportunities, and treating bad opportunities as qualified.Automated pitching never works out well. We at BuzzStream don’t think you should send an email unless it’s personalized to the recipient – and I don’t just mean get the names out of a mail merge. There should be a good reason everyone gets you email.Don’t automate content creation – the Google Panda will destroy you, and you’ll ruin the internet for everyone. Some of this is OK – like using tools like infogram or – to make things OK, but don’t go and buy tons of ‘500 word SEO articles’ on eLance.
  • Photo is from here -
  • Sample Campaign – promote this.
  • This is how we create link building strategies.We start by:Identifying target segmentsFinding Link Opportunities in those target segmentsPlanning engagement and outreachRun the campaign – reach outMeasuring our impact and make changes for next time
  • Identifying target segments is about creating a top-level strategy to start finding outreach opportunities.If you’re building a new tool, you can start with something like, “I’ll reach out to SEOs,” or “I’ll reach out to Web Developers”.When you’re promoting content or resources, it will often appeal to multiple segments and have multiple opportunity types.Thinking outside the box here is really important. Try to think laterally – who would find this valuable? How can it be valuable?Photo is here -
  • We start with understanding why our asset is valuable, before we go into who.If I were doing this, I’d try to either use the tool myself, or if it wasn’t live yet, go through the spec and chat with whoever was managing it’s production. Of course it’s a sprinkler system designer, so it first and foremost helps you design your sprinkler system.It’s actually pretty cool – you map out your house and and then you can drag and drop a sprinkler system around. Then it gives you a list of products to buy, and a step by step guide to put it together.
  • This is a test from Paddy MooganIf you can’t find 10 people that will care in 10 minutes with just google -
  • So we ask ourselves, “Who would like this? Who would see this and be interested?”Well as I think about sprinklers, I think about:People that do landscapingContractorsPeople involved with gardeningTurf Management (the academic discipline concerned with stadiums, golf courses, and other lawns – yes, it’s a real thing) Then I think, so why would people install sprinklers? To water their plants, of course, but also to increase the value of their home.So I could look at home improvement and house flipping sites. I could also look at DIY sites, because this teaches you how to make it yourself.Finally, it is a web app – and there are lots of web app directories. If I need some more links in the distant future or just want to maintain some velocity, I can go hit up those. But those aren’t going to drive meaningful traffic, because, well, they just don’t. I actually want people USING my tool and telling their friends about it, in addition to linking to it.
  • I also need to look at these opportunities and segments through the eyes of a search engine – what do these actual links look like? What sort of opportunities are there at a granular level?
  • Prospecting Queries – Most of you are probably at least vaguely familiar with prospecting queries
  • The next popular link analysis opportunity is Backlink analysis. The simple version of this is simply going through your competitor’s backlinks and looking for opportunities.The more intense version is selecting N competitors/companies in an adjacent space, and looking for co-citational links. You can do a ‘light’ version of this with 4 or 5 sites and Excel, or you can go full hog with multiple link sources across 20+ sites with MySQL. Like most things in link building, fancier analysis techniques don’t necessarily lead to increasing returns – there’s a point of diminishing returns.
  • You can also use social search to find opportunities. This is looking through Twitter, Google Plus, etc. for both influencers with websites, and for phrases like ‘Guest Post’.
  • Email list + Full Contact + Profile URL Scraping = List of websites of people that like your brand and want to hear from you. You can remove the people that have already linked to you, and you’re in a great place to begin reaching out to those people. If you have a big list, you’ll want to gather the relevant metrics for each of those sites – you can use a script to call the Open Site Explorer or the MajesticSEO API, or you can use a tool like BuzzStream that automatically pulls the influence data.
  • Try to figure out who cares. Ask yourself, not only, “Who would find this valuable,” but “Who’s audience would find this valuable.”In the world of product marketing, there’s a old stalwart called a positioning statement…(Paul explains positioning statement)
  • What do they like, how do they talk, get in their headThink and talk like they do, use their language
  • You’ll want to put segment your opportunities by vertical (mommy blogger, green blogger, what have you), as well as by influence
  • Don’t be this person.Nothing is good about this email.They clearly didn’t look at my site, and are offering me something I don’t care about.
  • So how can you create good outreach emails?Great ones have four elements:PersonalizedPositionedPersuasiveCall to Action (aka ‘Make the Ask’)If you can’t make it all of these things, you probably shouldn’t send the email.
  • This needs a graphic or otherwise better presentation
  • If the blogger has already mentioned your brand (perhaps negatively), it will substantially effect how you do outreach.Do a search for your brand and see if they’ve mentioned you. You can also do this for competitors, product names, or industry keywords.
  • Probably need to talk through an example on this one.
  • This is an email from our friend Peter Attia. In this case, he was promoting a tool to real estate agents on behalf of a shipping cmopany. As you can see, he:Plays to the commonality of being in Austin and being local - personalized- Shows the benefit of the tool (redacted here), with the statement for both the user and the site owner – “Without taking users off of your site” - positionedPete offers implementation help and a demo – makes it easy“For a limited time we’er offering local Austin companies” – scarcity - persuasiveAnd calls to action – “Would this be something X could benefit from?”Understand that your tool might appeal to multiple audiences.Sell benefits, not features.Consider social seeding and asking for shares as well as links – if enough people find your tool useful, you’ll get links by just getting it in front of people.
  • This is an example pitch Matt Gratt, who works at BuzzStream, did for a post on theFutureBuzz, Adam Singer’s blog. Guest blogging best practices:Find a fit between your site’s topic, and the blog’s topic, and guest blog on that. Don’t try to force your topic on the blog.Come up with ideas for guest posts before you pitch – usually at least three or four.Understand and read the blog before you pitch them.No banal compliments – make sure the blogger can tell you’ve read the blog – reference something specific.You can see:It’s personalized – it references recent posts, and it makes absolutely certain Adam knows Matt reads his blog It’s positioned – there’s a clear fit between the topics and theFutureBuzz, and each idea is fleshed out in a short ‘elevator pitch’ summaryIt’s persuasive – Social proof – “The last post I did got more than 200 RTs”It calls to action – “Let me know which one sounds the best and I’ll send over an outline.”
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  • Transcript

    • 1. Inbound Links 2013Generating Quality & Authority Paul May BuzzStream For Market Motive 2/26/2013 #InboundLinks2013
    • 2. About Paul May & BuzzStreamPaul May is the CEO and co-founder ofBuzzStream, the CRM for link building.Used by companies likeDistilled,, SEERInteractive, Bankrate, andmore, BuzzStream automates the time-sucking parts of link building, like findingcontact information, metrics, and SERPscraping.With BuzzStream, link building teamsspend their time building links, notbuilding spreadsheets.Sign Up Here for a 2 Week Free Trial ofBuzzStream for Link Building #InboundLinks2013
    • 3. Are you building links or building competitive advantage?Link strategy can be a strong moat against competition – not a chain link fence around yoursite. #InboundLinks2013
    • 4. Keys to Effective Link Development –Automate the Repetitive –Do the Important Parts by Hand –Develop a Strategy and Structure based on Influencer Personas –Create a Process and Execute It –Nail it, Optimize It, and Scale It #InboundLinks2013
    • 5. When Automation Goes WrongPlease don’t automate everything – that leads tobad emails like this: #InboundLinks2013
    • 6. Automate It!Finding Contact Information – Emails, Phone Numbers, Twitter IDs, Social AccountsSite-Specific Research – What do they think of my products? My competitors?Finding Metrics – PageRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority, Etc.Prospecting Data Collection – Collecting Data from Search Engines – Backlink Analysis #InboundLinks2013
    • 7. Don’t Automate TheseStrategy – Market to People, Not KeywordsQualifying – Don’t be a ‘PageRank Magpie’Pitching & Follow-Up – Don’t send the same email to everyoneContent Creation – Don’t spam the web #InboundLinks2013
    • 8. How to Promote a Web App for Designing Sprinkler SystemsEXAMPLE CAMPAIGN
    • 9. The Sprinkler System DesignerHOW WOULD YOU GET LINKS FOR THIS?
    • 10. Identify Target Segments Measure Find Linkand Adapt Opportunities Execute Plan Your Campaign Engagement #InboundLinks2013
    • 11. Start Building Your Campaign Strategy byIDENTIFYING TARGET SEGMENTS
    • 12. Understanding Our Asset and Its ValueIt’s Compelling Because It Designs a SprinklerSystem.Users get a parts list, an assembly guide, andinstallation instructions.Additionally, it’s : – Easy to use – Free #InboundLinks2013
    • 13. Can You Find 10 in 10?Can you find 10 people in 10 minutes who will care about yourcontent/project/asset? If you can’t, rethink your strategy.(10 in 10 test was originally developed by Paddy Moogan.) #InboundLinks2013
    • 14. Let’s start with the obvious…By interest:• Landscaping• Gardening• DIYBy opportunity type:• Resource pages• Product announcements #InboundLinks2013
    • 15. …and then expand using “chunking”Chunk up:• What is this an example of?• What is this part of?• What is the intention/purpose?Chunk down:• What is an example/type of this?• What is a component of this?• What/who/where specifically? #InboundLinks2013
    • 16. Use Google Trends for ideas #InboundLinks2013
    • 17. …and Library of Congress/Dewey Decimal Classifications #InboundLinks2013
    • 18. Chunking: an example• Home improvement• Agriculture management• Land management• Architectural designGardening Landscaping Farming Organic Sustainable OrganicGardening landscaping Farming #InboundLinks2013
    • 19. #InboundLinks2013
    • 20. #InboundLinks2013
    • 21. Identify Target Segments & OpportunitiesPrimary Segment – Gardening Sites – Contractors & Landscapers – DIY SitesSecondary Opportunities – Home Improvement Sites – House Flipping Sites – Turf Management Schools & ProgramsTertiary Opportunities – Free Web App Lists and Directories – Farming Resource Pages #InboundLinks2013
    • 22. Now that you have a list of segments to look for,FIND LINK OPPORTUNITIES
    • 23. What are Good Opportunities?For SEO – Addition to Resource & Tools Pages • Typically will drive more SEO value for site structure reasons – Getting Featured in a Post or full “How To” article • Will typically drive more engaged sign-upsFor Audience Development – Inclusion in Email Newsletter – Share on Social #InboundLinks2013
    • 24. What Do Opportunities Look Like?Resource Pages – Find via backlink analysis and prospecting queriesSites that review online tools – Find via lists, prospecting queries, and social searchSites with permission marketing assets – Find via lists, social search, and asking customers #InboundLinks2013
    • 25. Finding OpportunitiesProspecting QueriesUsing Google to find footprints of linkopportunities. #InboundLinks2013
    • 26. Craft Prospecting QueriesResource Pages on Gardening Blogs – gardening inurl:resources – gardening inurl:linksFind Gardening Sites that Review Software – reviews of gardening software – Reviews of gardening appsKeep improving and adding to your queries asyou find new things #InboundLinks2013
    • 27. Prospecting Query ResourcesTo craft prospecting queries, check out:Beginner’s Guide to Link Prospecting UsingGoogle21 Link Builders Share Advanced Queries9 Actionable Tips for Link ProspectingBuzzStream’s Link Building Query Generator #InboundLinks2013
    • 28. Backlink Analysis #InboundLinks2013
    • 29. Backlink Analysis ResourcesTo learn more about backlink analysis, try:Finding Great Opportunities with OSEMajestic SEO – Open Site Explorer Shootout9 Steps to Suck Your Competitors Link Profile Dry #InboundLinks2013
    • 30. Social Prospecting #InboundLinks2013
    • 31. Social Prospecting ResourcesWant Guest Post Links? Find Them Via TwitterFind Authority Guest Blog Opportunities onTwitterBuilding Links with BuzzStream & FollowerWonk #InboundLinks2013
    • 32. With Email Lists #InboundLinks2013
    • 33. Make a Plan to Reach the InfluencersPLAN YOUR ENGAGEMENT
    • 34. For (Target Audience) that (Needs/Cares About),(Linkable Asset) is a (Thing) that provides (Benefit). #InboundLinks2013
    • 35. Creating PersonasWhy does this person run their blog?Why are they interested in the sprinkler systemdesign app?How would they describe it?What would they find valuable about it? #InboundLinks2013
    • 36. Example Persona: Gardening BloggerWhy Blog? To share, maybe sell ads. (Most have adsense).Because they like gardening and want to communicate withothers about it.Why Interested in Sprinklers? Sprinklers water plants.How Would They Describe It? With this tool, you can see howmuch a sprinkler system and how it would work, withouttalking to a pushy sales rep.Why would their audience find it valuable? Now you candesign a system to water your plants without leaving yourhouse. #InboundLinks2013
    • 37. Example Persona: House Flipping BloggerWhy Blogs? To make money, sell house flipping info products, buildbrand, get distribution on house flipping info to make houses easier tosell.Why interested in sprinklers? Get accurate estimates on how much itwould cost to put in a system; design them; prototype them.How would they describe it? This app lets you chart out a value-improving sprinkler system, and generates a parts list and costestimates.Why would their audience find it valuable? Great sprinkler systemsimprove the value of the property, and thus their profit. #InboundLinks2013
    • 38. Planning Your CampaignNow we’ll plan our campaign, segment by segment.Examples:• Gardening – We’ll approach the highest influence gardening sites w/ an exclusive • We’ll do a pitch with a 48 hour follow-up – Then we’ll follow through with general gardening sites and resource directories, citing the high influence coverage as social proof • Because we’re aiming for links here, we’ll go with a 3-day, 7- day, and 2-week follow-up. #InboundLinks2013
    • 39. Segmenting by InfluenceOnce you have bucketed opportunities, segmentby vertical and influencer. From Justin Briggs in Content Based Outreach for Link Building #InboundLinks2013
    • 40. Start Reaching Out and Earning LinksEXECUTE YOUR CAMPAIGN
    • 41. Outreach EmailsABSOLUTELY NOTHING #InboundLinks2013
    • 42. 4 Elements of a Great Outreach EmailGreat emails are: - Personalized - Positioned - Persuasive - Calling to Action (aka ‘Make the Ask’) #InboundLinks2013
    • 43. Email for High-Influence Gardening Blogger #InboundLinks2013
    • 44. Email to a House Flipper Blogger #InboundLinks2013
    • 45. PersonalizedThis is more than getting names right – But getting names right is table stakesYou should understand – What they write about – Why is this blog different than other blogs? – Their specific opinions on topics and your brand – Basic bio info (e.g., kids’ names for parent blogs) #InboundLinks2013
    • 46. Find Out if the Blogger Mentioned Your Brand This also works on product names, competitors, and thought leaders. #InboundLinks2013
    • 47. PositionedHow does your link help accomplish the blogger’sgoals?Understand their goals: – Do they want to make money? – Do they love the topic and want to provide a great resource? – Do they want to be a famous blogger/writer? – Do they want to generate leads for their business?Position your offering re: how it helps them achievetheir goals. #InboundLinks2013
    • 48. PersuasiveRobert Cialdini defined 6 persuasive triggers: – Social Proof – Authority – Liking – Reciprocation – Commitment and Consistency – Scarcity1+ in every message and campaign #InboundLinks2013
    • 49. A Call to ActionIf you don’t ask, you don’t get. Ask for what youwant and ask about next steps. – Consider asking for a share instead of a link – We recommend you stay away from asking for a link, rather something like ‘add the resource’ or ‘share it with your readers’. #InboundLinks2013
    • 50. Dealing with RejectionThe most common rejection is someone justignoring your email – Remember to do follow-ups – Design Your follow-up sequence when you think about your campaign – something like after 3 days, after a week, after 2 weeks, and then endIf you get rejected, try to learn why – Ask for feedback, and you leave the door open for pitching something more up their alley in the future #InboundLinks2013
    • 51. Follow UpsFollow Ups can be more valuable for actuallygetting action than the original message.We recommend you schedule follow-ups withBoomerang (or tasks in BuzzStream).The best follow-ups have new persuasivetriggers (like social proof) or new informationthat wasn’t in the original message. #InboundLinks2013
    • 52. Follow-Up for Gardening Bloggers #InboundLinks2013
    • 53. Example Pitch – Shipping Tool From Pete Attia’s Outreach Letters for Link Building #InboundLinks2013
    • 54. Example Pitch – Guest Blog From Matt Gratt – Led to This Post on theFutureBuzz #InboundLinks2013
    • 55. MeasurementSome measures of success are: – Inbound Links – Mentions/Shares – Inbound Traffic – Permission Marketing Asset Signups (newsletter, Twitter, etc.) – Increased Organic Search Sessions to Site and Page – Ranking IncreasesSuccess measures should align with business goalsof the project, engagement, or campaign. #InboundLinks2013
    • 56. Hope You Enjoyed the WebinarTHANKS FOR LISTENING!
    • 57. Creative Commons AttributionsMany images in this presentation were used under the creativecommons license.Attributions:Slide 2: attributionSlide 2: attributionSlide 7: attributionSlide 10: attributionSlide 12: attributionSlide 21: attributionSlide 27: attributionSlide 32: attributionSlide 39: attributionSlide 55: attribution #InboundLinks2013