So today I’m going to talk about link building. How many people here do SEO? Just raise your hands. Ok, cool. How many people do link building? Or have done link building the past? Cool, okay. How many people hate waiting for SEO to kick in? Hopefully everybody because it takes forever, its like years nowadays. So you can, you know, you can do some growth hacks to help convert your traffic better. Do other things, new traffic sources to get traffic to your website. But, I like the old-school SEO way. I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I’ve done a lot of different link building tactics and surprisingly some of the ones I’m going to mention I’ve done for years and they still work.
But, first my name is Sujan Patel. I run Web Profits U.S. a joint venture with the Web Profits team here based in Sydney I run the U.S. office we do a lot of growth marketing, SEO, we do mostly SEO because that’s our bread and butter.
That’s my background. We do that through content and whatnot. But Aaron’s going to go over a lot more content marketing stuff. I’m going to focus on the link building. So first and foremost the single best link building strategy or tactic I’ve had ever is relationships. It’s the long game. It’s building relationships with people that are also doing cool stuff – wiritng, content, whatnot. And these relationships it’s not about like hey can help me out it’s about just building real relationships, being people’s friends. Why? Because you help your friends out and let’s face it if you’re in a very competitive industry you know all the top guys, you know all the influencers in the space. They’re going to probably promote you more than the other guys and it’s not about that short-term, like, ‘hey can you help me’ it’s more of how can you keep giving so you don’t have to ask for help.
I don’t really build links anymore. I just go on slack all day. Aaron actually you’re here too. (laughter) So this is just a slack group I’m in with a bunch of people who write for publications. What are they looking for? They’re looking for credible sources of information, so they ping me, actually they ping this group and and I respond when I can. I respond with some information and then they quote me. I’m in like 10 other slack groups too. So very similar. There’s a lot of things that happen behind the scenes because people want to work with people they like and it’s all about that relationship. So, let me move on because I don’t want to keep this for too long here. But, there’s a lot of that happening. The second thing is, and this is kind of vibing off the first thing, is find the influencers and content creators in your space and then build a relationship with them.
What I mean by that is figure out a way, or an excuse to connect with somebody.
The easiest way I found is start a podcast or blog and start interviewing popular people or credible people in your space. So if you want to be – if you’re in the small business space – go find all the people that are crushing it in the small business space and go interview them. Ask them questions. This is just an excuse, to be honest, it’s just an excuse to talk to them, to get a hold of them, for them to remember you, to have an add value to them. Over time you can, you know, invite them to coffee, you can send them swag, like seriously if you mail me swag or your t-shirt for company, a hoodie, whatever, I’m gonna be shocked because I don’t get mail that’s not spam, right? I usually get just crap mail and I throw it away.
Or checks. That’s good mail. But the other thing you can do is hire people that are these influencers.
Hire them to write for your blog. So if you know a lot of the content creators and you’re trying to build your own blog up just hire them because the next time they write for their other publications they’re going to remember you. So I like to do that and another thing I like to do is guest post. This is pretty old but it’s still really, really effective. I’m not talking about the author bio link crap, I’m talking about building guest post topics around your industry and and playing the long game.
Again if you’re trying to become a SEO Hero hopefully you’ve at least invested into two, three, four years of your business because it’s gonna be awhile before you get those results. And guest post is a great way to kind of build credibility. The other thing it does is actually drives traffic. Most of the traffic on my sites actually come from a lot of our guest posts. That’s just because we write content, and Aaron will talk a lot more about this, but we write content that circles our industry.
So if we’re writing – if you look at our web profits blog – we just created an article on customer advocacy. There’s no secret that the next two months I’m focusing on writing more about customer advocacy and things that naturally link back to this article, content themes that are kind of around that.
Now, if you want to guest post don’t go the ‘hey I want to write for Entrepreneur’ ‘I want to write for Forbes’ that’s not gonna work, who’s going to like instantly write for these places. We’re the bottom-up approach. Start at the crappiest blogs or the best blogs you can get away with with your credibility, your author, you have to be you know, you have to be a legit author to write for these large publications, but you can work your way up pretty quickly. All you need is a couple wins at each publication, each size and then kind of move up. A lot of people say, ‘I’m in a niche industry, I don’t have any blogs in my industry.’ Bullshit.
This is a hundred knitting blogs.
You can’t get more niche than knitting, right? I don’t know about you guys, I don’t understand how there’s 100 blogs around it, but there is. So stop complaining and just Google it. Google “top your keyword blogs”. If you don’t find anything and you don’t find a list take a step back and go back like if you’re in scheduling software, which I used to work for a company that did scheduling software, We targeted small business owners so we just typed in small business blogs and there’s hundreds if not thousands of those to go after. Number four is create really really good content An ebook, you can call it epic content, that’s my name for it, 10x content Rand Fishkin kind of dubbed that. Brian Dean has the back link, like skyscraper technique.
All that stuff works, it does work if you put in the time. If you create something epic, something so good, first of all when you promote it it’s not going to be like a big ask to get the link. Over time after you start doing a bit of promotion people are going to find out about it and they’re going to start naturally linking to it.
So I found that the first four or five kind of links I get are really hard earned links, I put a lot of time into it, But I fast forward a year and I end up just getting 20, 30, 40 more links to it without doing anything and that’s just from kind of starting that fly wheel with epic content.
We do this. I also own a handful of SAS companies. We do this with all of our SAS companies. I just launched this tool called Mailshake the other day. And I launched this big epic post called Email Outreach Playbook. And we’re going to do the whole gamut of promotion. We actually do this at launch – their companies – because what I found is it’s a good excuse to get people to talk about our companies too. So I’m using content to essentially get people to link to it share it whatnot, but they also, you know, they’re like, ‘Oh what is this tool? I’m going to find out more and I might talk about it.’ So it helps us actually get sales too.
Number five – this is kind of a gray area one but I do all the time. Buy expired domains. Go on GoDaddy go on there’s a handful of – domain companies that list out their expired domains. Run that through like old-school page rank checker. Kind of still works there double check links or first filter through keywords that are related to your industry and then manually check.
Usually when you – everyday they do a purge of what’s coming up on the expiration the next, I think three days look for your keyword.
You’re going to find probably 5 or 10 domains. Manually check to see if any of them have links. If they do, prop up a microsite in fact go take that ebook hopefully you’ve made by now and put it on that microsite and just focus all of your attention on marketing that microsite and that ebook. Over time you can 301 redirect it back to your main domain or your main company and move it over to a trailing slash ebook or whatever you’re going to create. You could also just 301 redirect it directly to your site. I don’t recommend doing that too often because you can’t get away with this strategy 100 times over this is something you can probably do 10, 15 times and be okay. The other thing I like about expired domains is that if you put an ebook or something really good on it you can actually get double listings and so I usually try to get multiple listings on the search results using, you know, answering questions on Quora and things like that, but also ranking some ancillary domains.
Number six is conduct an industry survey or study. This works all the time. if you look at companies like G2 Crowd GetApp, Capterra these guys are all software directories but they do such a good job of marketing and you look at this every quarter they publish a survey, well they conduct a survey, and then they publish a study.
You need – technically you need, you know, statistical significance to publish a study so don’t ask 5 people, go ask 500, that’s also another reason to go reach out to people and say I’m doing this study blah blah blah. When you’re done with it submit a press release, go reach out to all those people, hit up all the people that were writing last year’s study, and boom you are done. The other thing you can do with these studies is go find a partner to publish the study already.
So pitch the study or survey before you even do it. So the reason this works really well is because you’re saying ‘I’m gonna go do this awesome thing, will you be willing to publish it? I’ll do all the hard work you just publish the results.’ For you, you get the credibility of publishing on the larger publication or wherever that may be again I’ve done this with Forbes, INC. and a lot of other places where I published my content on their site and I actually get the yes before I do any of the work.
And over time you can make this an annual quarterly thing and over time people come to you and want to publish that study.
The press release really really helps because it adds credibility. The press release on its own doesn’t do shit but with this it works well. Alright this is kind of a hack for buying links. I’ll be honest. So like to buy advertisements on the top blogs. So, again I go back to good old Google and I type in top small business blogs, whatever, any type of keyword there I’m just looking for top blogs, top bloggers I’m also looking for ancillary keywords off of my main search, so like for example, small business I’m going to look at the suggested results and see what other keywords I can go after and find those blogs, and what – who’s ranking for those keywords. I’ll reach out to them and say, ‘hey I’ve got this ebook can I buy an advertisement on your blog post?’ Pick one blog post that’s actually ranking and link back to it.
What you end up getting is an image link, you end up getting traffic, you end up building a relationship going back to link building tactic number one with cool people.
And again you get traffic, a bit of SEO value and I think it’s the kind of white hat or gray hat area of a building links and still you know essentially buying links but a credible way because again you’re promoting this awesome piece of content and if you have an awesome piece of content it’s not spam, it’s not something you know shady or anything you’re just promoting something good and again you’re going to probably get natural links to it as well. Number eight is just monitor your brand mentions. You probably get some if you’re a real company and you’re doing other types of marketing besides SEO, you probably get brand mentions. Use BuzzSumo, use Brand24 and literally just set up triggers for your brand name, your domain name your CEO’s name, your name, whatever, you’re gonna get references.
I like these two services particularly because they catch things really really quickly. Brand24 is great for catching Facebook, Twitter, forums and a lot of miscellaneous content like video. So when Neil gets mentioned in all these videos Brand24 picks it up.
BuzzSumo usually gets the rest with all the blogs and all these other places and it goes straight to your email so every day you get emails saying ‘Hey, you got mentioned here, here, here, here.’ All you have to do is say, ‘Hey, thank you for mentioning me. Would you mind linking to my website?’ It’s not a hard ask, it practically works every time.
So check it out.
Find and pitch people in the industry that are publishing newsletters. In the growth hacking industry how many people are publishing newsletters and curating good content? There’s guys like Hiten Shah, GrowthHackers.com has their newsletter, Inbound has their group newsletter. There’s hundreds of people who have newsletters and even companies like FreshDesk, invoicing software, or boring finance stuff, they publish a small business newsletter and it might not be called a newsletter it might just be able weekend recap or whatever, but what they’re doing essentially is sharing with their audience some really good links. Easy way to get links but also traffic and then that traffic you get in front of other people’s audiences and you keep producing good content and again consistent content marketing and you keep getting featured in this.
We had a client – we just published one article and all we did we didn’t do any link building or any promotion all we did was buy some Facebook ads to make sure we had some shares and social proof and we hit up all the newsletters around referral marketing and we got featured in three.
Those three generated 50 customers and that was the quickest easiest way to essentially get customers for them.
And so they were super happy but then we also got links and things like that. Alright just as I talk to you about watching your own brand watch your competitors brand. Add your competitors to BuzzSumo and Brand24. Yes, you can do it with Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer all the old-school SEO tools which are awesome by the way, but with BuzzSumo and Brand24 what I like about them is they get it when it happens so when somebody links your competitor, mentions your competitor, shoot them an email right away. You’re more likely to get a response at the very least or an yes if you do it immediately or at least in a timely fashion. Whereas the old school way of Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer through Moz, you wouldn’t see those links right away, And the last thing I want to leave you with is my very favorite tactic.
I used to do this in a lot of lead-gen industries, is sponsor local events.
I would sponsor sports teams, college clubs, like clubs at universities and create scholarship programs. It works pretty well – scholarships works pretty well still if you do a legitimate way meaning you do a press release, you kind of do other things to make it look like a real marketing campaign. But College clubs – here’s an example: I had this site in the insurance space, we sold car insurance or we were a lead gen-site for car insurance and so we hit up all the clubs at all the universities who had car clubs, right? If you’re into cars, cool. You might have a club at your University. And there was probably about 50 or 60 universities that we reached out to that had car clubs and we’d just sponsor them all.
We got all these nice .edu links, in fact, some of the clubs we’d actually sponsor their shirts and spent like $500 buying them t-shirts. So they’re wearing our like spammy little domain – it’s like freeinsurancequotes.org or .net it was something really ghetto, but it worked. And we ranked, and we made tons of money, but it was through sponsoring college clubs.
Now you can do this with chess, the small business club, the entrepreneurship, millennials, whatever, they all exist. You can also go to other companies like GE, Google, they have car clubs too, so I can get a link from freaking Google by sponsoring their Track Day. And so it’s really really easy and hey if Google links to me it must be good, right? Outside of the search result.
So it works really really well. Give it a try. These 11 tips and tactics do work. Again, its SEO it’s going to take time, a lot of hard work, and a bit of patience Thanks guys. (applause).
Source – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agYSyVVhtYk