Guest: @justinrbriggs of @distilled. You can read his full bio here: http://t.co/uCAZUps . He regularly writes about link building on @seomoz and @distilled and guest posts for @raventools and @outspokenmedia.
What’s the process you follow to ensure you get enough traction to successfully launch a piece of link bait?
Linkbait success starts with great content creation. Target audience is defined during creation of content.
Use personas in content creation and outreach – http://t.co/xQfhtQY .
Knowing who’s going to link well in advance can be key. Research prospectives in advance.
Use strategic targeting on high multiplier sites for content seeding vs simply trying to push on Digg/Reddit. Find strong blogs to kick start a campaign and follow up with outreach to niche blogs. Create custom offers to get coverage on strong domains. Use @StumbleUpon Ads to seed content – http://bit.ly/jtLutV . Have used @StumbleUpon Ads to drive social traffic at less than 1 cent a view – http://t.co/09hW2Ae . I like to pre-seed on Tumblr blogs you can submit to. It helps get the linking right, before it spreads. Getting posted to Tumblr, without a link, then getting 700 reblogs, hurts. Lost opprotunity.
Use QDF to rank for high traffic terms. Organic traffic to help seed linkbait – http://t.co/cYtENOM .
If you’re on commercial site, you can launch on 3rd party site (with embed back to home site). Use multiple sites for multiple attempts at social media. A 2nd or 3rd attempt might go hot.
Track past successes, figure out great sites to get on to. Do it again. For example, you might be shocked how much traffic http://t.co/Fzm1Xc4 sends you. And Alltop seems to have lost some effectiveness. And might post you at 9pm on a Sunday.
Keep an eye on your site’s reputation. A bad WOT (Web Of Trust) rating can kill FB traffic – http://t.co/Q5Gw77Z . Bad WOT rating can mean: > 1,500 FB likes & < 100 visits from FB. WOT Firefox addon: http://t.co/oIjAFFk . Check your WOT: http://www.mywot.com/ .
Linkbait doesn’t have to go hot/viral to get lots of great links. Outreach can be highly effective. Remember, even if tactics and platforms change, the psychology of baiting is the same.
@shuey03: What’s an example of a multiplier site?
@justinrbriggs: Something like Mashable, Wired, Alltop. Something that can spread your content.
@shuey03: Are there lots of Tumblr blogs that will take linkbait? or do you create them?
@justinrbriggs: There are some tumblr blogs that let you submit content to them. Helps keep you in control of links.
@Thos003: Multiple sites? So you post the same content and try again? Everything from Tumblr to Stumble?
@justinrbriggs: Like if you submit original post to social and it flops, I’ll try again with another domain that picked it up.
@JadedTLC: More fans less engagement means less feeds – u want every fan engaged. Also check your insights on facebook – your lines should go up as you build fans.
@ashbuckles: What’s an example of a great custom offer to get coverage on strong domains?
@justinrbriggs: Completely customized an infographic to get a post on Wired. Or made Flash version to get on MSN. Or, offered up an interview, exclusive to them about the creation of the linkbait.
@AnnieCushing: What was the secret sauce that got it on Wired?
@justinrbriggs: Had a good story, worked hard to get connection, and bent over backwards to get it done.
How do you approach blogger outreach to make sure you get as many embeds and social shares as possible?
Start top down. Big sites like early shots at content. They’re less likely to cover after it’s gone “hot”. Most people suck at their outreach emails. Don’t suck. Don’t just tell them why they should link/vote/embed, tell them a story. I don’t put embed code in the email, but give the URL to content.
Setup alerts, advanced search queries, and use YSE to track coverage. Follow up if they don’t link directly. Lastly: hustle, get out there and do the work. Good things happen, when they do, capitalize on it.
@Thos003: How do you identify top bloggers?
@justinrbriggs: Usually back tracking old link bait, advance search questions, throw into moz API, and sort by DA. But by top sites, I mean a handful of either top major sites or top niche sites. Usually easy to find.
@shuey03: Do you create a piece of link bait before approaching a top blog?
@justinrbriggs: It depends. I’ll least prospect for. Run parallel often times. Wired for example, we spent over week talking before we launched. Infographic was done, just sitting on it.
@randfish: My fav linkbait shows up in bloggers’ Google Alerts and makes them desire to share it, even w/ no outreach
@justinrbriggs: Def. Some of my best link bait, took like 30 emails to launch. And produced 500 LRD.
@vinceblackham: Starting your outreach email with “I work for an internet marketing firm…” is a good way to fail.
@iamAdrianLazo: Related: if you have a company signature in outreach, do you use a non-marketing title? personal email?
@justinrbriggs: Sometimes I avoid SEO titles. Sometimes not. If I’m emailing from Distilled, I’m transparent. Sometimes depends on the client’s feelings. Or the person’s email I’m using and their title.
@vinceblackham: Either email should work. it’s all in what you say and how promotional you sound. Don’t sell your content to them.
@ChavaRisa: It’s also about numbers. Keep emailing bloggers until you get the one that works.
How should you structure the web page/blog post where the link bait lives?
I cover typical layout in this @seomoz post about infographics – http://t.co/TuxdFcO . When you place infographic on other sites, try to get the image linked. More click-through traffic.
Keep an eye on what OK Trends does – http://t.co/M0PNQaX – awesome stuff, and they test. Scroll down, look at the drop down box. Great example. Click URL, auto selects. Share buttons come down. Trulia did an amazing job with this piece – bit.ly/pWyZN8 (via @RossHudgens).
If you host outside of main site design, don’t isolate it with no internal links. It becomes a PR sink. At @distilled we’ve hired a Flash designer to chop up and make interactive to get links on MSN.
Create infographics with evergreen hooks. Vday infographic = relationships. Octoberfest = just beer. These topics never go old and can be pushed outside of the temporal hook. Turning a highly popular infographic into a poster, with a QR code, and giving them out for free at event. Did this instead of paying $$ to sponser event. Was cheaper and getting a sponser link from event website.
@AnnieCushing: You lost me on what I’m supposed to be looking for on the OK Trends site. Click URL? Drop down box?
@justinrbriggs: Go to a post, scroll to the comments, and it will pull down a box. That box has facebook, easy to copy URL, and it drags down Twitter and FB icons in sidebar. So took infographic, chopped into 3 people, and paid for flash person to make it swap them out. Easy link. Cost $50.
@shuey03: Where are the best places to add internal links if you host outside the main site design? does it matter?
@justinrbriggs: Keeping main navigation in place helps, or relevant sidebar, maybe customized to push link value to right place. You can add links in content, below or above, but easy to look spammy. It’s a bit obvious.
@shuey03: Is it better to add links before or after the launch?
@justinrbriggs: I’d say before, adding after could look manipulative. Depends.
@iamAdrianLazo: Tangent: do you still get a worthwhile response on press releases?
@justinrbriggs: Was first one I did in a while. We got some ok links. Have been testing recently. I’m a fan of having a balanced, robust profile, so the links have their place.
Are there any tools you use to help launch your link bait?
Use Google Web and Blog search with date filters & advance queries to track.
Use Open Site Explorer and Search by Image – http://t.co/bohO4zI to track previous, related linkbait.
Use @toutapp to help scale outreach. And @stumbleupon to help seed.
I will be talking Panda at SMX and (topic not decided) at Search Love in London in Oct.
@SammyQc: Tips to manage lots of different emails for outreach? For each properties?
@justinrbriggs: I personally only manage a handful of clients at a time, so don’t have to manage a lot. But is something I’m going to be working on.
@vinceblackham: Tineye.com is a great tool to check that your infographics get proper link attribution.
@kmullett: Might want to try topsy, icerocket, social mention, for a few other alerts/searches. Unique results.
@shuey03: Any final tips?
@justinrbriggs: I think tactics and tricks come and go. Just be willing to look for new ideas. But end of day, I think it’s hustle. Give away your tactics to force yourself to come up with new ones.