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SES 2007 – Link Baiting & Viral Search Success

  • By calcoastwebdesign
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  • 22 Aug 2007

Day 3
Track 2: Link Baiting & Viral Search Success

Panel Members:
Chris Boggs of Razorfish
Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide
Rebecca Kelley of SEOmoz.org

Cameron Olthuis of Advantage Consulting Services

Quick Tip: Give people what they want and if its good enough, or high quality, people will take it.
First up, Rebecca with How to Be a Successful Master Baiter. 🙂

Link Baiting is having content on your site designed to specifically bait a link. This can be anything like lists, tools, content, downloads, etc.

It brings traffic, gets out your brand, and often times gets a link.

Viral worthy content + link savvy audience = link love.

What are Linkerati?
These are blogger, journalists, and others that are more link savvy.

Why do you want them on your side? Because they can spread your bait quickly therefore increasing backlinks and brand exposure therefore increasing search rankings and traffic therefore increasing your conversions and sales and ROI!

Let’s identify opportunities:

– Go to social media and social news sites. Look for content submitted that is related to your industry. See if any sites have made it and are successful. Get an idea of what was successful – or wasn’t.

– Discover big players in your field. Research blogs, forums, and communities. Look for trends to focus on when launching.

Then leverage your community after launching.

Targeted audiences that are most related your industry.
If you have amusing or unique item, perhaps Boing Boing or Fark is best for you.
If you have a geeky gadget or techie tool, perhaps Digg or Sphinn is best for you.

For more information on Social Media Sites. See upcoming blog on SMO: Social Media Optimization.

Designing a successful content piece…

1. Select focus – see what’s popular with target audience. Do they want a funny cartoon or a top 10 list?

2. Meld together your brand and target your keywords. That’s the point, you want the right back linking text, or anchor text to validate what your site is about.

3. Usability is key! – Make it user-friendly. A site with poor site architecture will not encourage users to link to you or tell others about a site that is frustrating to navigate!

4. Target your Linkarati’s emotions. Here are “the emotions that make us link”:
a. anger
b. confusion
c. thoughtful
d. sharing
e. pride
f. shame
g. envy
h. excitement
i. surprise
j. disappointment

5. HUMOR works!

6. DON’T FORGET VANITY. If you stroke their ego, they will link to you.

The Launch Process:

Pre launch PR – Ask opinions b4 launching your piece. Technorati and others who were involved in the before process tend to take interest and spread work if they had something to do with it.

Once launched, make sure you are on top of traffic and managing your site.

Don’t forget to receive ongoing value. Take advantage and post something right after that.

Link bait isn’t a quick fix. Need to take advantage of traffic and new users!

Next speaker up…Cameron Olthuis with more on Link Bait & Viral Search Success.

Kinds of bait:
1. Informational – Guide, how to, top 10
2. Controversy – Jason Calcani blogs about SEO being BS and releases in tech world.
3. Humor – Images, video, games, etc.
4. News – Breaking stories. If you’re the source, most will link back to you as the original source.
5. Tools – Calculators, downloads, etc.

Benefits:
1. Links – duh! Link exchange is very time consuming. Get 100s at a time rather than 1 at a time.
2. Link Profile – This makes your linking profile look all natural.
3. Traffic – Digg, del.icio.us, etc., drive lots of it!
4. Branding – Users will begin to perceive you as the authority on that topic or industry. The more you say, the more they trust and look to you as expert.
5. Bookmarks – It provides extra back links and allows people to revisit your site quickly and easily for increased future traffic!
6. Media Publicity – Good channel to get in front of big news site! CNN and NewsJournal have been known to pick up the big stories!

Case Study:
There is a drug rehab center client. This is a typically boring subject. What to do? What kind of link bait can I offer?

First, they look through community to see what the social media networks liked and what storied they already enjoyed!

Google it! or Type in “drugs” in del.icio.us. See what users on Digg have to say about it.

When articles returned they consisted of such topics as
– Get Rid Of A Stuffy Nose Without Drugs
– Drug Dealers vs. Geeks
– This Is Your Mac On Drugs
– Spiders on Drugs

and much, much more!

Turns out, Digg’s users apparently like to smoke pot as many of them have “dug it” or given their vote as a top article.

Next they brainstormed with employees, family, friends, customers, etc.

Then they created the content. They called it “A Guide to Identifying and Recognizing Illegal Drugs.”

Quick Tip: Keep it short. They don’t spend a lot of time on site. Keep it friendly to SCAN! Have an intro paragraph, picture, description, commonly found, effects, dictionary, etc.

Now Submit!

Key to Promotion:
1. Power Account – be a big user! Provide value to the community. Don’t just promote yourself. You may need to link to competitors or at least people in your industry.
2. Good titles and descriptions. People need to remember you and find you again later.
3. Submit to proper category. People going through it aren’t looking for anything outside so people in that category aren’t going to “digg it”!
4. Target proper sites. Digg, Del.icio.us, Netscape, etc., a lot of times isn’t going to be tailored. You may have to check out Sphinn, Boing Boing, etc.

Untraditional Ideas:
1. Flash Games
2. Viral Videos
3. Mashups – 2 technologies together
4. Images
5. Widgets
6. Tools

Next up was Jennifer Laycock with Search Engine Guide.

Viral Marketing is more about just that…marketing. It’s about word of mouth. Its more about building brand and driving traffic to your site.

What is the reason it works so well?

Its a dynamic atmosphere with people talking online. With new social media community, people are building trusted relationships with people they will never meet. These people are selling them something but its viewed differently than traditional sales.

You’re not establishing your campaign and searching for placement. Spend more on the campaign.

Needs to appeal to their (your readers – not necessarily clients) passion!
WHICH IN RETURNS CREATES CREDIBITLY.

It creates a rapid response rate. With email and blogs it spreads instantly!

How do you do it?
1. Ask yourself questions.
– What sparks passion in my clients? Go into social sites for poplar items and go into blogs to see what they are talking about. Find trigger points to play on them.
– What hasn’t been done before? Think Subserviant Chicken.
– How will it benefit your users?
– Will your audience risk their own reputation on it?

Quick Tip: Use other resources. It’s like getting adspace without buying an ad.
Some examples – widgets and a blog quiz!

You don’t always have to come up with an idea. Take advantage of something that falls in your lap. Be ready to act when it presents itself.

Here is Jennifer Laycock’s Making Viral Marketing Work For You… Be ready to Act.
AKA – The Story of “The Other White Milk.”

She reminds us to prepare the right story , use a lengthy humorous and informational post with a buzz worthy hook and call to action. It should be easy to spread in bookmark social networks if you plant the seed.

The results …Traffic spike , branding spike (name and blogs name coming in when searching websites keywords from visitors), topical blog spike, sales spike and community spike.

Now up for some viral venting…Chris Bogs the SEO team runner of Brulant.

See what he has to say right now at SEORoundTable

Digg, Digg, Digg! You’re sure to hear it once every 3 breaths around geek territory. Chris Boggs reminds us not to be reliable on Digg! There are still plenty of ways to build links.

He covered…

1. Best practices
2. free directories
3. Quid Pro Quo – link negotiating and buying
4. Link baiting – valuable content in exchange for a link
5. Getting links in Mat Cutts blog! LOL!

Link Baiting Research:
1. Yahoo Site Explorer – free tool to do backlink and other research on sites. How to research for links? Type in url. Results that show are pages that are linking to the site entered. Be sure to select “inlinks tab”. These are all the links pointing to you. Now select “Except from this domain.” Add “the entire site,” not just the homepage. You don’t want all your links pointing to the homepage!

Quick Tip: Link bait is a great way to increase deep linking, or the indexing of page snot on the highest part of our website architecture.

If you are always providing link bait to target your audience, you will run out of options of content. How many degrees of separation can you map? If I’m a high blood pressure health education site, then what’s related to high blood pressure? Go to 6 degrees of separation. I.E. – heart attack, exercise, etc.

How does this help for link baiting?

Once mapped, you will be able to find out what is buzz worthy.

Participate in communities discussing the issues. Don’t just go in and spam. They will hate you!
Create “ubiquitous” link bait which will drive traffic from a variety of sites (and look natural.)

Then, look for blog evangelists to give link love. These are the well respected bloggers in social media communities. The popular kids if you will.

Here are some fun examples of link bait:

22 Worst Place Names In The World
Search Engine Smackdown – Get questions and battle another guy! Danny Sullivan is the referee.

My new idea, integrate Matt Cutts video with Dane Cooks voice aaaaaand….viola! Matt Cutts talking about having nothing fight about jelly and blogs.

Still have remaining questions? Want more?

Check out…

Chris Boggs’ Link Baiting –An Integral Part of Holistic Link Building
or
Jennifer Laycock’s Give Them Something to Talk About
or
Rebecca Kelley’s How to Be a Successful Master Baiter
or
Cameron Olthuis’ Linkbait & Viral Search Success

Posted By: Angela Collins
Cal Coast Web Design

COMMENTS
ANGIE WEEKS NAKED - click here....how's that for link bait?

I think that some of the articles Derek Beisner emails to us would be excellent link bait, especially because everyone's screaming about the mortgage industry lately.

I know Angela had some other great ideas for our clients. I liked your "what's your purseanality" for Sue Boyd too. I see all of our friends passing that around :)
How to Be a Successful Master Baiter? LOL Well it would seem to be common sense that having great content is going to bait links for your site but this is interesting information. Of course this involves more research (a recurring theme with SEO)

Finding out what is popular with your audience should be and is key and makes total sense. Forget link baiting, without doing this kind of research your website is doomed. Melding together your brand and targeting your keywords is also crucial, as you want to make sure the right things are linking to you.

I really like Linkarati's emotions list. Again these are things you would probably know in the back of your mind but until you see it spelled out, you just don’t think about it. These were really interesting because I’ve linked using all of these emotions. Humor and ego stroking go a long way in any walk of life even on the Internet so another great point made here.

When I blog on my personal page I usually blog about news, more specifically TV, gaming and movie news so having news listed as a type of link bait is valid here. I’ve had many people link to my blog because of what I choose to write about so it does work. I also include a lot of humor in my blogs and this seems to help too.
I think this goes back to finding unique ways to differtiate yourself from competitors. While its true that you will have much of the same content - the way it's presented makes such an impact. I think having great links is a good way to get people invested in your product or service. The pursonality for SUe Boyd is genius - I haven't seen it, but the title alone means I would click.

The same goes for any client - what do people want when they come to your site? What will set you apart form competitors. If you can figure that out, and make useful and fun links from that info - your hitting the mark.

I will try to incorporate this more in our blogs - instead of just linking keywords, I will start using more catchy titles for links - I think this will help dirve traffic.
Thanks Heidi. I encourage you to include catchy titles in your linking as long as they DO include a keyword. We are optimizing to not only get the click but to make sure we first come up for those terms which is why we include the term in the linking text. Your thinking on the right track though!