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Hey everyone! Welcome to today’s #SEERQandA session focused on Link Building! Please use this thread to ask any questions regarding link building and a member from our team will respond as soon as possible with our answers. Don’t forget to use the + symbol to direct or answer any responses! Ready...set...go!
Pamela Bey's profile photoCleo Kirkland's profile photoShahbaz Ahmed's profile photoJayson Bagio's profile photo
What tools do you use outside of +SEOmoz for link building? Have you built in house systems for maintaining relationships?
Talk about Link prospecting tools... Ontolo v. Buzzstream, etc. Any thoughts, recommends, etc.?
What techniques do you guys use to scale the transition from prospecting to outreach? (i.e. finding contacts, categorizing prospects, organizing prospect data, etc.).
What tools do you use to inform clients of work you are performing ie basecamp ??
+Sean Dawes - I am a HUGE fan of +Majestic SEO after one day I realized that SEOmoz was missing links from our site to Distilled, I thought we would have been "good enough" to be deep crawled by SEOmoz, so I would constantly remind people - a lot of sites links are missing from SEOmoz.
+Drew Allen We try to find the best elements of each (usually the free parts), then integrate them into our linkbuilding / content process. For instance, we use Ontolo's Link Reviewer:, and Buzz Stream's title, description, keyword extractor: Raven and Authority Labs are great for tracking rankings / links.

Does that help? Usually we try to use parts of tool suites to solve specific problems. Do you have a problem that you would like to solve with tools?
Hey +David Konigsberg Thanks for asking... basecamp is the KEY for us, the ability to keep everything in one holding tank is key. But there are significant reports we have internally that we have built ourselves to pull from GA (especially) to help us speed up understanding our linking efforts. WE do also use +Raven Tools a decent amount. We used to use Harvest to track time, and I think I'll want to move to toggl at some point in the future - link building can be such a black box / timesuck that without some kind of tool to connect time spent with outcomes you can be flying blind for AGES and not know people are working hard but not getting links.
Thanks +Wil Reynolds for the response. Yea should have wrote besides them as well haha. I am more interested if you have found tools on the market do not cut it at all times and you end up building your own in house tools.
What strategy does SEER use for creating "passive" link bait that insures success, without crossing fingers and hoping for links? What do you do differently vs when doing manual outreach/linkbuilding?
+Sean Dawes some of the tools we are working on right now are going to be mind blowing. We got so sick of having so many tools that +Chris Le has been working on something internally to help us - we plan on sharing a LOT of it with everyone, expect a presentation on it coming to the #searchchurch soon - hope you can make it.
+Sean Dawes There are plenty of tools that I use for prospecting, most of them are used to just speed up a process that I can do manually. Some to note are the Check My Links plugin for checking for broken links, the Linkclump plugin for opening multiple links on the go, Ontolo for query building, some bookmarklets (see: - all of these just help to do linkbuilding faster.

For relationship management we do keep running Google docs for past webmasters that we've worked with as well as using Harvest. And for managing relationships on our own Boomerang for gmail does a great job of making sure emails don't slip out of your inbox.
+Abbott Shea Could you elaborate on what you do with Harvest when you said this: "For relationship management we do keep running Google docs for past webmasters that we've worked with as well as using Harvest."
+Sean Dawes Personally, I've used Google Docs and its importxml to scrape directories, then learn more about each URL by overlaying AlchemyAPI, Moz metrics, etc. That's just one of many examples of how I use Google Docs to build unique tools for research / linkbuilding. But definitely look for +Chris Le . He's going to blow some minds with what he's developing...
Do you work with any publishers/media companies? How do you tailor your services to this segment versus a more traditional SEO client in eCommerce?
Thanks +Ethan Lyon. I'm with you on that principle of combination... I guess, on a larger scale... I'm in an odd in house-ish position, and they already have paid accounts with Majestic, Raven, SEOmoz, Authority Labs, and Ontolo. To be honest, it's just overwhelming... too much data... I don't even have time to fully use all the tools, let alone really study each report and purge/merge all the overlapping data to try to find a medium, (3 diff. sets of SERP figures, 3 differing lists of inbound links, etc.). I want to simplify, without losing some very important service, that I may be overlooking among each suite's toolset. Thoughts?
+Jordan Godbey - we have a few of those queued up +Adam Melson pioneered our scholarship link building, which we have a great process on that we know will build links from quality sites. I think everyone needs to have a few like that, right? We ask clients about 80 questions to start off every project, everything from do they have pets in the office to how they recruit interns, each one has a connection to a way that we are 50-95% sure we can get links from it.
+Drew Allen Just wanted to let you know on one important feature of Buzz Stream. We can track links with Buzz Stream. If there was a link removed from a directory or a guest blog or any other places then it notifies us saying that the link has been removed. Eventually you will have thousands of links coming to the page let alone website, so how do you track them? I hope this helps.
+Jordan Godbey Look at what your competitors are doing first and foremost. Build link bait around things that have gotten them links in the past is a good way to make something that you are confident will work and also having examples of where competitors have built something similar and gotten links is a good way to get clients to see the potential in it. I think from there you create a strategy where you tier out who you reach out to and how, i.e higher quality prospects might get personalized emails vs the lower quality prospects where you might send template emails out to. Hope that helps!
Do you have dedicated link builders at +SEER Interactive or is it part of an employee's tasks for the clients they manage? If its a task about what % of time do you recommend someone spend on link building for an individual client. Just assume 100% of their time is spent on 1 client for this question's sake. Curious more on time management.
What I want to ask is, and I want to get everyone involved here. There have been arguments/discussions going on about as Google is getting more social the power of links will eventually die down.

What are your thoughts on that?
+Jordan Godbey Oops! Sorry, I meant Raven not "Harvest". I can elaborate on that if you would like me to.
What are the best opportunities for small businesses or SEO's that are short on time for prospecting and budget to develop content, etc. when it comes to link building? Does it all come down to strong linkable assets, or are there some low hanging opportunities that are easy for these types to go after.
Thanks for doing this Wil. What are the keys to a successful linkbuilding campaign using awards?
+Saurav Rimal Actually, great question Saurav! Let's not wait until next time for this. :P What are everyone's thoughts about Google becoming more social and if the power of links will eventually die down?
+Tre Jones SO...we do. And its a completely different animal - first off +Mark Lavoritano is a pro at this but he's not on with us today so I'll do my best.

#1 Keywords
Traditional concepts of "what keywords do you want to rank well for" are completely thrown out of the window...well not entirely but partially. Since a lot of what we are trying to do is to increase pageviews - its not about ranking well for one keyword but helping every piece of content rank well for a LOT of keywords. It's often about architecting the "buckets" and how link equity flows to those buckets so each article / piece of content written has the highest likelihood of ranking well.

#2 Training
For our REALLY big publishers, we know we can't tweak every post that goes out. So its about empowering their teams to use the tools to help them write in a way that better connects with what people are seeking (from a theme standpoint) and the keywords they type in from a what words to use in the piece standpoint.

#3 Linkbuilding
Linkbuilding really happens in the buckets, trying to build links to the big "buckets" helps that link juice to flow down to the individual pages. Does that make sense?

#4 Success metrics
Again this isn't about rankings, its about driving pageviews from search engines, so if a client knows value per pageview, of lack of inventory sold (used for in house ads) they can create a value to that, and then determine an ROI for the cost of involving us.

+Jordan Godbey It's a combination. We will review / help build the client's linkable asset, then identify different linking audiences that would be interested in the linkable sset. Once we have our linking audience, we identify their need states and answer why they would want to link to the asset. After we've figured out messaging to each audience, we'll reach out, see the response rate, then identify the most receptive linking audience and do a lot more research to find more people like them and finally, finish up outreach.

However, that doesn't answer all of your question. The above process is very manual and necessary because we are exhausting all of our options. It's not all that scalable though so we in some instances will leverage influencers to promote creative assets. That can mean contests or some other way to get our linkable asset in front of their audiences. That is a lot more scalable but the quality of links is likely not going to be a high as manual outreach because manual outreach is a more controlled environment.

At the end of the day, there's no "sure thing" when you're promoting a linkable asset. Not all linking campaigns are successful so it's important to do a post mortem to identify what went right and what needs to change next time.
Thanks +Wil Reynolds , it's great to hear from an agency that addresses this segment. I'd love to share some of what we're doing internally at Everyday Health when you're in NYC next.
+Jordan Godbey Once you get to a LOT of categories to get more granular, scrolling through the dropdowns is a complete pain, versus typing in what you are working on and it autofills. Same for Client load, once you get to a lot of clients, having to scroll is really painful, its a small difference. Also I think Toggl reporting is stronger.
What are some of the low hanging fruits in link building? Are there any directories/forums that are still useful and if a link is a no-follow do you dismiss it all together or just give it a little less love like a distant nephew?
+Tre Jones I'll be up there for one day for SES NY...if not maybe someday we can do a meetup here are the searchchurch for publishers, who are the3 speakers you'd like to see?
+Mike Wilton Good question. If you don't have the time to create content, it may also be difficult to create a resource and also a means to make sure that resource gets links. I think the best thing you can do is leverage some of those things that your small business does that can get you links and you haven't utilized yet. Relationships on the vendor / client side - you could see if they link out to other businesses like yours. Relationships with freelancers / agencies that you've worked with - you can see if they would be willing to link back to you for a testimonial. Charities that you support - see if they will link back to you for your work / contributions. Things like that.

A couple of great lists I use for linkbuilding: one from +Adam Melson with ideas like the ones I've mentioned above, and one via +Jon Cooper that has a TON of tested linkbuilding strategies. Some that don't require a ton of resources
+Drew Allen Sounds like you have a nasty case of tool glut. I'd back up, put away the tools and think about the problems you need to solve. Start solving them and track what takes you the most time / is the most tedious. I'd recommend taking the time to clock everything you're doing. Once you have data, you can begin seeking tools that help solve those time sinks.

It's like the first time I went into Google Analytics. I lost a month of my life mindlessly wandering around without solving any problems. Hope that helps.
+Adam Melson thanks for the response. Def agree with your comments and I know my question probably had multiple variables which could take an answer in various directions (all depends on clients site and where they lack most). Just did not know if you suggested having some people strictly on links and some just manage technical onsite.

Love the comment on working off of people's strengths. Its so important to realize although everyone should be experienced for a team to work successfully you leverage the areas you can and then provide support on the skills that are secondary in nature to that individual.
+Abbott Shea - Great info. LOVE the 35 local link opportunities post. I share that one a lot already with clients and team members as a resource for thinking about link opportunities. Thanks for the response!
+Matt Satell we have not used a TON of awards, so maybe someone else here can chime in. I did hear from someone at some conference that actually giving PHYSICAL awards, like a plaque or something more tongue in cheek like a small wagon or something significantly increased the number of links / mentions.
+Wil Reynolds, I'm not sure who speakers would be. I'm most interested in discussion and networking opportunities among publisher SEOs who are thinking big scale—how do you organize to move a portfolio of media properties from 10mm monthly SEO visits to 20mm in the next 18 months?
+Saurav Rimal soo this this a big question, but it looks like we got time, so lets get into it. I think its only a matter of time before this is the case. I just don't see it happening this year +Eric Ward thinks its will happen a little more quickly than I do. But it is inevetable that this is coming...and people who prepare now will be greatly rewarded once Google figures out how to value links from social and create a "pagerank for people". My presentation coming up on Friday at #Searchfest is a lot about that topic.
+Milosz Pekala It depends on what type of client you're working with and what assets they have. We view low hanging fruit as taking things they're already doing as a company and turning those into links.

Do they have a Twitter handle? Submit them to Twitter directory sites. What city are they based in? Check for sites that list local businesses in that area. Ask questions about their employees. Where did they go to school? See if their colleges feature alumni spotlights. Are they involved with any charities? Try to get a link on those sites. Are they a start up? There are tons of sites that profile start ups or feature company profiles in general. Do they have any YouTube videos previously made? Transcribe them and use them as submissions to article sites. When we take on a new client, one of the first things we do is ask them tons of questions so we can make sure we're hitting all of these easy opportunities.

Visiting your client's workplace can also be a huge help in spotting some easy linking opportunities you may otherwise miss. Wil has a great story of when he went to a client's warehouse, saw a pair of dusty size 10 snowboarding boots they couldn't get rid of, sent a few Tweets and found a blogger who was dying for a new pair who agreed to do a review of the product, all within a few minutes.

In terms of nofollowed links, I generally focus my time and efforts on links that I know will pass value. Hope this helps!
+Tre Jones we'll house the networking event - but who are NY/Philly SEO peeps that you think you'd like to connect with on this. There are a few big publishers in philly area (obviously a ton more in NYC) got access to space up there?
+Adam Melson Thanks. You're absolutely right about nofollow links still have a lot of value in the traffic generation alone. I am particularly interested in the "seo" value though. Looking forward to what Allie will have on the low hanging fruit in link building, thank you!
+Matt Satell Awards -- depending on your space -- are not as effective as they used to be. If you're trying to duplicate an awards strategy of one of your competitors, they likely reached out to the same people you're going to reach out to so the question then becomes, how many awards to these bloggers need? They start to catch on and either don't respond or removed the award badge (coming from personal experience).

That doesn't mean it won't work. To Wil's point, legitimizing awards is becoming increasingly important. Getting an award badge from a lead gen site isn't all that amazing. Getting a physical award is much more appealing and legitimate. Getting an award from an organization (could be a trade org you start) is even better! So I think -- anecdotally -- that bloggers are starting to catch on to lazy awards strategies but think there's an opportunity for clients that want to go the extra mile.

You should definitely hit up @fontanaRJ for more insight. Really smart dude when it comes to awards.
+Wil Reynolds We could host 75-100 people in our boardroom. Shall we take this discussion to email? I'm
+Joseph Chambers welcome! I'll let someone else grab the ecommerce question, but I don't have linkbuilding tips that I don't give away...much like how we come here to help educate people, we share all of it. ALL the time. So do I have a few things up my sleeve that I plan on sharing at conferences coming up :) Once I do they are in the wild :)
Hi, in a seminar Will mentioned a way to grab some useful links. you make your industry related blog make some good content gather good content then grab some good link and BOOM BOOM! redirect it to your site.

My question is that. suppose I have two website A and B. I exchange some links with B website from other webmasters. I am saying exchange and then I redirect them to website A. Does it count as cloak or spam ?

if it is a spam so what sort of plenty site A and B will face ?
+Adam Melson Thank you for answering mate. I couldn't agree more with you. And I particularly loved the word 'share' there. Sharing is a huge part of SEO whether it is via link building or social media.
Hi all,
Do you have an excel plugin that uses SEOMoz's API to find a domain's anchor text match percentage? If so, would you mind sharing? I know the updated version of Niels's SEOTools has this functionality (without the SEOMoz API), but you have to buy the pro version of SEOlytics. #pricy
What types of links will Google go after next to reduce manipulation? Are guest blog links safe from devaluation?
How much do you guys worry about anchor text? Eric Ward says he's never bothered. How impactful do you think it still is?
Thank you everyone for your participation in today's Link Building round of Q&A! If you haven't done so already, please add us to your circles so we can add you into ours for future updates on the bi-weekly #SEERQandA's. We'll be answering the rest of the questions we've received before 1:00pm, and until next time, be safe out there and keep on building those links! :) --The SEER team
Matt, we got links for a client from the NYtimes, Oprah, Elle, Vogue, Shape and playboy all in about 3-4 weeks....NO LIFT...I'd love to see an example of someone ranking well without anchor text links on something remotely competitive
+Cleo Kirkland we do not - we do everying like that in Gdocs. Neils tool is baller though, was just using it this morning.
+Shahbaz Ahmed Good long as you are doing it for the "right" reasons that is fine. I see tons of reasons why building links to one site and eventually redirecting it would be fine. If you do it purely to deceive someone its bad. I feel like +Matt Cutts saying that but its true. If I am doing outreach for site A and promoting it (linking, email, social whatever) and someone comes along and buys my site, they could keep it up or redirect it. (This happens with corporate mergers all the time). But if I am building l;inks to a site I have set up just to get links from someone so I can 301 redirect it later w/o them knowing that is crappy and shady if you ask me.
Clients keep asking about how many links you can build for them. Giving numbers is like embracing artificial link building, 20 Directory Submissions, 10 Article Submissions, 50 Social bookmarks etc. You are obliged to provide such numbers, just to prove to them that they are paying for their money's worth. Many people are still stuck with this concept of link building. Even how much I wanted to tell them about infographics, guest posting and giveaways - they still demand for numbers, how do I respond on people who ask for such numbers? Any tip on creating a scalable link building product that we SEO can offer on customers? Tagging +Wil Reynolds and +Ethan Lyon :)
I am of the same mindset as Chris Le already pointed out. Pay attention to your (or your workers) workflow and see what you (or they) have to spend the most time on, then build tools that make their lives far easier, and as a result their work more productive. Most everyone already has a way of doing things their own way, but finding small ways of speeding up various parts of the process is the key to being able to effectively double your production.
Big thanks for +Chris Le and +Ethan Lyon for the helpful insight. I've been whittling down to just SEOmoz for onsite SEO, link history, and competitive analysis. Then l use some basic ontolo functions for link-prospects. BuzzStream looks to be a simpler interface than Ontolo, and is cheaper, both of which are strong arguments... I feel like I almost stumbled onto any usable data with Ontolo... I'm sure it's powerful, just need a lot of training to use it effectively I think.
+Jordan Godbey sorry. I wish this was threaded. I just seen your question! if we were to search for austin real estate "1 of 1" in i.e.

Then we will get forums that are talking about "austin real estate" which is our keyword of course -- we're looking for forum threads that only have 1 page that excludes i.e. why we have -inurl:

I only checked back here because I seen +SEER Interactive asked me about it on twitter. I wish I seen it sooner.
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