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The Unfair Advantage of Inbound Marketing


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Rand Fi

Published in: Technology, Design
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The Unfair Advantage of Inbound Marketing

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