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The Unfair Advantage of Inbound Marketing


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Rand Fi

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  • 1. The Unfair Advantage of Inbound MarketingHow marketers can use sweat equity instead of $$ to earn outsized returns on their online traffic efforts.
    Download at
    Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-founder, SEOmoz| June 2011
  • 2. makes SOFTWARE!!
    We don’t offer any consulting.
  • 3. Where DoesWeb Traffic Come From?
  • 4. Every Marketer Sees This:
    But That’s Not Reality
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. All the traffic we receive that isn’t the result of paid acquisition or advertising (in SEOmoz’s case – 95%+)
    comes from Inbound Marketing!
  • 7. Inbound Marketing
    Outbound Marketing
    Organic Search Rankings
    Paid Search Ads
    Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter)
    Display Advertising
    Inclusion in Universal Search Results
    Contextual Ad Networks (AdSense)
    Blogs + News Sites
    Buying Email Lists
    Links from Partners + Friends
    Site Sponsorships
    Opt-In Email Newsletters
    Video Ads
    Forums + Discussion Sites
    Demographic Targeting
    Viral Content
    Facebook Ads
    Q+A Answers w/ a Link
    Affiliate Marketing
    User Profiles + Comments
    Viral Content
    For more on Inbound Marketing, check out Brian + Dharmesh’s awesome book:
  • 8. You Must Become a Hub for GreatContent in Your Niche
    Answers on Q+A sites reference its resources
    Referenced by industry blogs
    Site that offers:
    • Unique Research
    • 9. Informed Opinions
    • 10. News/Trend Analysis
    • 11. Multimedia Content
    • 12. Authentic Expert Contributors
    • 13. Quality Discussion/Interaction
    Mentioned in news publications
    Forum discussions link to its pages
    People email links to each other
    Links are Tweeted
    Liked/Shared on Facebook
    Cited at conferences + events
    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.
  • 14. Inbound Marketing Channels
  • 15. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • 16. # of Searches/Day in Google
    Currently, there are more than 3 billion searches/day on Google
    Data via Google’s occasional public statements and some inference (for 2006 + 2009)
  • 17. Robust, Accessible, HTML Text is Key
    Users see a wealth of potential content
    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 ( and browsing as Googlebot.
  • 18. “Good” Content vs. “GREAT” Content
    Satisfies the searcher’s basic information requirements
    Surprises and delights the searcher by being remarkable
    Written by a human and not duplicated elsewhere
    Produced by extraordinary writers/designers/producers
    Long enough to fulfill basic needs of engines for depth/uniqueness
    May leverage video, audio, graphics & photos to convey a unique, shareable experience
    Grammatically correct; free of spelling/punctuation errors
    Produced by extraordinary writers/designers/producers
  • 19. Keyword Research
    Make sure to use “exact” match!
    Visit and start experimenting. You’ll learn amazing things. is a good guide.
  • 20. How to Know What People Want:
    This post - goes into detail about how to leverage this tactic to build great resources people will love.
  • 21. Pages/Sites Need Links to Rank, But Not All Links Are Created Equal
    Post is here – check out - for tons of ways to earn awesome links.
  • 22. Social Signals Influence Rankings
    Bing + Google have said publicly they use Twitter + Facebook for rankings: and Moz’s correlation data suggests they’re telling the truth:
  • 23. 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 connection.
    Check out for more on how search engines and social media are mixing together.
  • 24. Social Media
  • 25. Facebook
    More fans = more people potentially exposed to your content.
    But… You also need to create posts that will show up in “top news” on your fans’ walls. That’s more challenging.
    For some great Facebook-focused marketing tactics, check out
  • 26. Twitter
    It’s not just about the follower count. Your tweets have to count for something and drive actions/awareness.
    I highly recommend which helps show the correlation between activities on Twitter and your ability to have the message spread.
  • 27. LinkedIn
    LinkedIn’s “Groups” are a powerful way to grow your network and spread a message.
    Like Facebook, LinkedIn now has a wall that drives “likes” and comments (as well as traffic).
    Good advice on LinkedIn profiles here - (also, don’t miss the comments which discuss how the links work).
  • 28. Reddit
    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 tweets/FB shares/etc.)
    The travel subreddit has nearly 19K registered subscribers - - and thousands more browsing. Full list of subreddits, sorted by # of subs here:
  • 29. StumbleUpon
    StumbleUpon reaches more than 15 million active monthly users, and drives massive amounts of outbound traffic.
    Two great activities on for beginners: #1) Discover content that people share in your niche. #2) Find great stuff to share/tweet that will earn you more followers.
  • 30. Participating in the Blogosphere
    Using, 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.
  • 31. The “Long Tail” of Social + + + + + + and 100s of other social sites can potentially provide value for sites/marketers who participate; there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore.
  • 32. Content Marketing
  • 33. Blog Readership is Up, But to Fewer Blogs
    Data via and See also Hubspot’s awesome slide deck:
  • 34. Great Blogs Rock.
    Mediocre Blogs are Useless.
    Research for this statement via PEW Internet & Captain Obvious
  • 35. Evergreen Content
    Every two years, we put out but leave the URL the same, so it continues to accrue great link/social/sharing signals.
  • 36. Research + White Papers
    Stats for launch day of Startup Genome project’s research
    Research like gets tweeted, shared and cited, meaning you earn links, traffic + all sorts of good inbound marketing metrics.
  • 37. Infographics
    After producing what is, admittedly, an awesome graphic - - rose to page one in Google (and got bjillions of drive-by visits, too).
  • 38. Multimedia + Interactive
    The Nissan Leaf site uses HTML5 to its full capability, and it’s pretty as heck, too.
  • 39. Fostering Community
  • 40. User Profiles
    Progress Bar
    Highly customizable profile details
    Custom Photo
    Links to other web profiles
    These ( emulate the success of places like LinkedIn, Quora, Stackoverflow and others. They’ve increased participation and traffic to the profiles dramatically.
  • 41. User-Generated Content
    When users contribute content (as with they’re invested in the promotion and success of their work, and thus, your site!
  • 42. 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, incented foodie bloggers to link to the site by featuring those bloggers’ posts + content on the site.
  • 43. Gamification
    The genius game-like badges, points and progress at has helped make it one of the most successful sites in the Q+A world.
  • 44. Email
  • 45. Content Subscriptions
    I use email to subscribe to and am 1 of 100K+ who read Fred’s posts on a daily basis. That’s a powerful inbound channel!
  • 46. Newsletters
    The Moz Top 10 attracts lots of readers, who then consume and share content. One big key to success – don’t just promote your own material.
  • 47. Promotions
    BTW: Write down that email address; it’s a good one to have.
    Deal sites like have had huge success. Private models like and run interesting variants that also work well.
  • 48. RSS + XML Feeds
  • 49. 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.
  • 50. 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. has some awesome stuff!
  • 51. Presentations
  • 52. Live Events
    I did a brief, 4-minute presentation at the Seattle 2.0 Awards - that promoted our hiring + growth (focused on that audience’s values rather than trying to sell to them)
  • 53. Webinars
    Our webinars attract 500-1,000 attendees and earn lots of tweets, blog posts and links. Hubspot’s get 10K+ attendees
  • 54. Online Presentations
    I put many of my presentation on where they earn thousands of additional views.
  • 55. Video
  • 56. YouTube
    Don’t be a honey badger. Care about YouTube’s potential!
    YouTube actually ranks as the second largest “search property” in the US, behind only Google:
  • 57. The “Long Tail” of Video Sites
    Long tail of video sites get 50% of all online video traffic/views!
  • 58. Self-Hosted Video Content
    At SEOmoz, we use who submits our video XML sitemaps to Google for us -
  • 59. Local + Mobile
  • 60. Google Local / Maps / Places
    Fox Sports Grill? I’m sorry Google, but that is not barbecue.
    To register, go to Also check out for great local ranking tips.
  • 61. Yelp
    Yelp’s results quality is much higher than Google’s and their interface is better, too. Impressive stats as well -
  • 62. FourSquare has pretty awesome stats for local businesses participating with them.
  • 63. Mobile Subscriptions + Tatango 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.
  • 64. Q+A, Forums + Discussion Sites
  • 65. Yahoo! Answers
    Granted, not all the questions (or answers) on are of exceptional quality, but due to very high traffic, participation can yield solid results.
  • 66. StackExchange
    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 -
  • 67. Quora
    Quora’s audience tends to be startup-y, techy and very well-connected.
    If you haven’t yet started contributing on, the Google social integration is a great excuse 
  • 68. NameSake
    Truer works were never typed.
    The platform at is quite impressive and some of the contributors equally so. Whether it achieves critical mass remains to be seen.
  • 69. The “Long Tail” of Discussion Sites
    Whoa! Cool.
  • 70. Public Relations, Guest Authoring and Comment Marketing
  • 71. 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 can help make the process easier.
  • 72. Direct Connections to Journalists
    HARO ( is a popular service that lets you get contacted when relevant reporters/journalists need sources.
  • 73. Classic Public Relations
    If you’re seeking a PR firm, 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.
  • 74. Comment Marketing
    This post has a list of recommendations for blog commenting as a marketing tactic:
  • 75. Inbound Marketing is
  • 76. Inbound Marketing isAll Connected
  • 77.
  • 78.
  • 79.
  • 80.
  • 81. Original Audience: 250
    Total Reach: 10,000
    Buh.. Zam.
  • 82. Some Favorite Tools
  • 83. Google Analytics
    Check out some interesting and useful ways to customize Google Analytics via
  • 84. PostRank
    Via - 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
  • 85. Survey Monkey
    Survey Monkey is inexpensive, scalable and accurate. It’s less beautiful than other platforms, but far more flexible –
  • 86. SEOmoz PRO
    I know I’m biased, but it’s really useful for tracking and improving SEO stuff 
  • 87. MailChimp 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!
  • 88. 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.
  • 89. FacebookInsights
    Place Facebook’s Insights widget on your website + see demographic data about your site’s visitors, just like you can w/ your Facebook fans. Learn more about Insights here -
  • 90. Facebook Comments
    Comments left here appear on Facebook + replies to those are posted here!
    You can find developer info for how to add FB comments here:
  • 91. Disqus Comments
    Whoa! Cool.
  • 92. WistiaVideo Analytics
    Problem w/ video is it’s hard to measure engagement w/ traditional analytics that show only pageviews. fixes that in an elegant way.
  • 93. PRO for Short URL Tracking
    If you use shortened URLs on Facebook + Twitter, can help track and segment out the portion of the traffic that’s direct vs. referral (but hidden due to desktop/mobile apps)
  • 94. FollowerWonk
    These folks have tons of followers; we should connect with them!
    A terrific tool to research high-value targets on Twitter:
  • 95. Open Site Explorer
    See who links to who on the web, and how important those links are via
  • 96. GetListed
    Using, 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.
  • 97. Feedburner
    Via – though it hasn’t been updated in a long time, it’s still the best free software for monitoring feed activity and growth.
  • 98. Google Alerts / Blogscape
    Using, I can set up daily email notifications of word mentions. offers several options to track fresh web notifications as well.
  • 99. Summify 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.
  • 100. MozBar for Firefox
    Firefox 4 compatible, the Mozbar - - combines nearly every feature I’ve ever wanted in a toolbar into one (and it has a pretty aesthetic, which I appreciate)
  • 101. Wistia 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.
  • 102. KnowEm checks the availability of a username across dozens of social sites automatically and provides direct links to register them.
  • 103. Unbounce’sLanding Page Platform
    Using allows us to create hosted versions of landing pages to test without needing to bug our dev/engineering team.
  • 104. The Inbound Marketing Process
  • 105. Step #1: Discover
    Find inbound marketing paths that look promising and make a list.
    Step #2:Test
    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.
  • 106. Q+A
    Download at
    You can now try SEOmoz PRO Free!
    Rand on the Web
    • Twitter: @randfish
    • 107. Blog:
    • 108. Email: