#LinkLive London 2013: Key Takeaways

Posted by Steve Lock on 15 March 2013

Part of me was really sad to hear this was going to be the last LinkLove ever, although I would bet at least a hundred quid this is reincarnated as a content marketing event *snore* (Distilled - I hope this doesn’t happen!). Anyways, it was still sad as it’s probably my favourite conference and I’ve been lucky enough to go to loads over the years.

The speaker line up was really strong including Wil Reynolds, Rand Fishkin, Will Critchlow, Ian Lurie, Richard Baxter, Lyndon Antclif, Hannah Smith, Ade Lewis and Claire Stokoe. There was clearly a ton of drinking going on last night, but I’m still confident it’s going to be awesome...

Duncan Morris (Distilled): Introduction

Image Credit: Foliovision

  • Fresh Web Explorer: freshwebexplorer.seomoz.org
  • Find mentions excluding your own domain.
  • Look for citations for leads and link opportunities.
  • Visualise mentions over time versus different terms.

Wil Reynolds (Seer Interactive): No finish line... EVER (image: http://www.affiliatesummit.com/)

Image Credit: Foliovision

  • What would you do if getting the link isn't the end, but the beginning?
  • Clients that are into publishing high quality content to educate their customers are a godsend.
  • Nudges are important, when signing up to a newsletter or engaging on social networks they are signs of trust and opportunities to build relationships and cross promote other content.
  • SEER does #RCS like buying books for its employees and sharing this on social networks, this led to building relationships with Zappo’s because they do the same thing.
  • Builiding relationships is the first step to building links.
  • Reaching out to brands and companies you work with that you love. Wil Reynolds tweeted about Rackspace because he loves them, this resulted in them asking for a guest post.
  • Feeding back to Basecamp on how their new features lead to a really strong testimonial link.
  • Sharing stuff they do at SEER has got them links from the likes of Google from sharing AdWords advice.
  • Wil wants to build a booth to help people like @garyvee, helping people means they are more likely to help you (and give you links that will probably come later).
  • Focus on being awesome and building relationships, not building links.
  • Encouraging users to upload images leads to social engagement and improvements in conversion. Conversions are better than links, the conference should be called Revenue-love.
  • Wil recommends Google suggest for brainstorming and discovery keywords such as “when did company”, “how to convince your wife” and “how to convince”. Great for content and link baiting ideas.
  • Look at who your link targets link out too - linkfromdomain:domain.com, download from SEO Quake (scraping Google SERP’s for queries) then run through Screaming Frog for link prospects. (I recommend also looking at Xenu to scrape outbound links by domain).
  • Looking at people who the White House link to with queries like linkfromdomain:whitehouse.gov intitle:software in Bing gives you lists of good companies doing good things.
  • Followerwonk supports regex e.g. location philidephia|philly and company microsoft|ibm
  • Google Ripples - use to research a URL and then search for influencers that can be seen with the big circles, these are the influencers you need to connect to.
  • twtrland.com and scrape similar plug in to find influencers friends and who they talk to.
  • Little Bird is a SEER beta tool for looking at emerging influencers by topic.
  • Build relationships with emerging influencers and listeners (these people can often be journalists). 

Lyndon Antcliff (Linkbait Coaching): How do I get them to link?







Image Credit: 123 People

  • Attitude versus knowledge.
  • Psychology and theory are important, some people are naturals and don’t need to learn the process.
  • Most people find difficult and need to practice.
  • Link bait sounds weird, always use content marketing for clients.
  • Practice leads to a better attitude, link baiting is turning into publishing.
  • Content publishing is ancient.
  • Producing content for people is becoming essential, not producing content for Google.
  • People link to people, not websites linking to websites.
  • POMP (Pyschographic Mass Publishing)
  • Pyschographic - how people get an emotional, engaged response.
  • Build Pyschographic profiles of who you want to link to you.
  • You could only need one link from a “tribe” leader like Stephen Fry, this could lead to many more links.
  • Social signals help propel content and get more links.
  • Tabloid mindset helps to scale link baiting.
  • Primal brain is ancient and wired to keeping you alive, with survival instincts. Responds to fear, danger, death, sex, greed etc.
  • Primal brand controls hormones and loves headlines.
  • Sub-conscious brain is emotional, irrational e.g. impulse buying (or linking). It can perform 11 million processes at once.
  • Conscious brain is what we think our brains are. It can only do 40 processes at once, deals with auditory and visual input. What interests this brain? Likely to be visual.
  • How do you link bait the brain?:
  • Primal brain likes a headline
  • Body content for the sub-conscious
  • Let the conscious brain think it is making the decisions
  • Think like the Economist and write like the Sun newspaper.
  • Link baiting headlines:
  • 10 ways to stop cannabalistic serial killers in their tracks
  • 10 locks that keep out flesh eating zombies
  • How to stop serial murderers breaking into your house and eating you
  • Link bait the news:
  • Fits any niche
  • A way to scale link bait
  • There is always news
  • Cost of going to Mars in 100 years 30k people would have been. Link baiting can get links from the high authority sites by targeting topics everyone is talking about.
  • Don’t be the junkie, be the dealer.
  • Lyndon got a pay day loan link from Wired through a Mars story.

Hannah Smith (Distilled): 23,787 ways to build links (sustainable ways to build links)

Image Credit: Distilled 

  • Type links into Fiverr and you get 23,787 results (that will probably get you slapped by Penguin).
  • Zemanta puts content in front of bloggers as they are blogging, effective and builds editorial links. One case study gained 200+ links in twelve months, pulls in links and its easy, costing on average $14 per link. They are good quality links and the payment is for impressions not links. It really helps campaigns as you get a constant flow of links each month.
  • Make all your images embeddable and Paddy Moogan’s tool can generate embed codes for you paddymoogan.com/embeddemo.
  • Creative commons licenses on Flickr where you need to link back to your website to use.
  • Image Raider runs reports using reverse image search that is perfect for infographics, reach out to people that are stealing your media.
  • Reverse image search has led to the best success rates on any campaign at Distilled 16 out of 17 emails generated links off the back of a PR stunt. Asking for image credits is easier than links. The lesson is to stop talking like an SEO.
  • Be careful not to build links for your video hosting platform. Phil Nottingham has a video embed generator that you can use instead of building links to YouTube and Vimeo. Find tools to report on video embeds.
  • Target communities, the easiest way is to buy advertising and make sure the adverts are nofollow. This makes the communities more open and accessible. You’ll get traffic and can develop linking opportunities potentially as a result.
  • PR coverage, but no links? Generate people pages, these are the easiest way to build links if your site is commercial or difficult to get links to such as a pay day loan client.
  • Rapportive is great for contact details and finding people, it’s great for following up on PR activity.
  • Following up on emails is really important, Boomerang is the easiest way to do this in Gmail. It’s excellent for scheduling emails and reminders. John Doherty has blogged about this and other Gmail tips on SEOmoz.
  • Simply Business is a great example of content marketing. Be prepared to build great content for guest posts as a follow up for top-tier sites.
  • Write for people when you use their tools e.g. WordPress and Camtasia.
  • Stop talking and behaving like an SEO. Don’t behave like a one night stand, follow up and become a contributor for the best sites.
  • Use all of your wins to publish as case studies, works great if your clients generate the content too.
  • Get great data and visualise it, like the Michelin star restaurants data that can be downloaded by the Guardian. It was visualised by Distilled and got DA 100 links.
  • Charity activities can generate great links like Innocent smoothies bottles with hats, it gets links, but they didn’t do this for links.
  • Doing great things that attracts links, when not trying to get links gets great results. Building really useful tools and content will get links anyway.
  • Open source software directories can be very authoritative such as CNET and Sourceforge. Open source technology can help you get links.
  • Leverage your existing assets, clean your link profiles and do awesome stuff that gets links.

Ian Lurie (Portent): Enterprise Link Spam Analysis

Image Credit: Videopress

  • Get links from GWT, Majestic, SEOmoz you need all of the links.
  • Put them into Excel with an extension like the SEO Gadget extension.
  • Look at URL’s, very spammy URL’s can be spotted without visiting the sites.
  • Look at title tags, look for bad grammar and spam signals.
  • Cleaning link profiles is like cleaning a cat's litter tray for the fussiest cat in the world (Google).
  • Learning machine learning can give you a little insight into how Google is working.
  • Machine learning in 60 seconds:
  • Start with a question.
  • The answer is a classification.
  • Put a training set together (the data is really important, the most fundamental part). Steve recommends going to Quora.
  • Put the training data through an algorithm.
  • Generate classifications or answers to the question is it spam?
  • Ian used Python, NLTK, scikit-learn, logical regression and looked at similar factors to Google such as readability measures.
  • Ian’s tool can be tested here: isitspam.portent.com
  • Clean up your backlink profiles now.
  • You need to futureproof SEO by looking at links that could harm you in the future.
  • Machine learning and data processing is becoming easier and incredibly popular for marketing.
  • Machine learning is easy to understand, but hard to build tools.
  • Ian’s slides and references are available here: http://bitly.com/bundles/portentint/x

Richard Baxter (SEO Gadget): Build agile tools and actionable link reports with API’s

Image Credit: Foliovision

  • Talk designed to learn how to build tools with API’s (really glad I don’t have a hangover like 90% of the audience ;-)
  • Wipmania.com is one of the easiest API’s to use.
  • Richard showed live examples of using concatenate to build API requests in Excel with =DownloadString.
  • Sharedcount.com is a great API which aggregates several social API’s in a JSON format.
  • =JsonPathOnURL helps to parse JSON for specific data and works well with Sharedcount.com to get social metrics on a URL easily.
  • The Links API Extension for Excel from SEO Gadget is designed to help get data into Excel really easily and supports SEOmoz, Majestic SEO and Ahrefs (soon).
  • You need to understand how the flags and response fields work to use the SEOmoz API, Richard has values to make it easy to pull of the free data from the SEOmoz API.
  • Building tools in Excel / Google Docs is amazing for prototyping tools without spending too much resource.
  • Using lists is great for making API calls easier to manipulate e.g. changing domain_to_domain to page_to_domain.
  • Richard will be making examples available and gave examples of using Majestic data too.

Morning Session Q&A 

  • Look for examples of things people are looking for like “the history of...” then reach out to people that are looking for it.
  • Recommended books for psychology:
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness [Paperback]
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion [Paperback]
  • Put awesome tools and content on pages where you want links, such as building tools on your homepage e.g. site speed test.
  • Directories aren’t necessarily spam, but as a tactic with a lot of them it becomes a manipulative linking practice in Google’s eyes.
  • Download everything from all link sources and reverse sort, SEO’s need development resource to build their own tools.
  • Recommended coding book: Mining the Social Web - Analyzing Data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Other Social Media Sites
  • Open source SEER tools in Google Docs: http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/seer-open-sources-everything
  • Programmable Web is the best resource for API’s.
  • Know what you are good at and stick to it, don’t get distracted.
  • Traditional marketing is becoming really important in SEO.
  • Build a marketing agency and not an SEO agency, its now shifting toward people.

Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz): How to transform your CEO into a link building, social sharing machine

Image Credit: iLoveSEO

  • Set the vision, live, breathe and spread the core values.
  • Become the brands chief evangelist.
  • Companies without brand evangelists - this can be a signal of poor marketing.
  • Nobody knows the business better than the CEO.
  • The CEO often has the best reach, this can be shown looking at Facebook CEO mentions versus any other position there.
  • The CEO has the most authority and can determine the companies messaging and direction.
  • Great leaders are often great marketers like Obama.
  • Awesome CEO marketers:
  • The Richard Branson - leverages his position for great marketing.
  • Ben Huh - Cheezburger
  • The Daniel Morrill - builds a great social presence
  • Ray from Ginza Metrics - comment marketing from the CEO
  • The Jeremy Stoppelman - Yelp
  • Chris Lindland - Betabrand.com
  • Options - you can delegate, pay for marketing and celebrities or decide not to make inbound marketing a major channel.
  • Tips for CEO marketers:
  • 1. Understand your funnel.
  • 2. Be a proactive contributor.
  • 3. Leverage the press wisely e.g. paid paid vacations.
  • 4. Empower your marketing team with developers that just work on internal marketing.
  • 5. Get good at content. Get really good at one.
  • 6. Recognise marketing accomplishments the way you would other major milestones.
  • 7. Optimise your online bio (with links and vary the anchor text, always keeping updated).
  • 8. Leverage favours and ask for shares, links and guest posting.
  • 9. Use the CEO’s contacts.
  • 10. Embrace authenticity and storytelling behind brands e.g. Louis CK promo video on HBO “it’s not a big deal”.

Ade Lewis (Teapot Creative): Small business SEO for £350 per month

Image Credit: Distilled

  • You need to be opportunist and say yes to anything you can.
  • You also need to be really good at one thing at least.
  • Know your clients business, visit them, have a cup of tea with them.
  • Educate your clients, explain why you are doing what you are doing and that it can take time.
  • Be realistic with what you can achieve.
  • Build a great website, your site needs to deserve to be on the first page of Google.
  • Building a site that looks good makes a lot of things easier.
  • On page SEO is the cheapest way to improve a site.
  • Distilled U, SEOmoz On Page Tool, mod_pagespeed and local SEO can provide quick wins.
  • Local SEO can enable sites to rank for really competitive terms.
  • Adding a blog can be a high ROI activity for small businesses. Focus the blog on content your customers are interested in.
  • Fix broken links and orphaned pages there are examples of fixing pages that had links from The Telegraph and Guardian.
  • Easy links - ask your clients for a list of contacts and outreach to them. Many people miss this step.
  • Outreach send a nice email with content. Really streamlined prospecting and there is a free tool Ade has given away: www.teapotseo.co.uk/prospector-tool (requires server). Guest Post Blitz mode runs a very advanced query for guest posting opportunities. Works with the SEOmoz API.
  • Outsourcing guide: http://www.mattbeswick.co.uk/outsourcing-guide/
  • Matt Beswick recommends “double researching” and only contacting people that two outsourced workers recommend to validate. This exercise can be as cheap as £33.
  • Ade recommends BuzzStream.
  • Ade focuses on 23-30 emails, in batches of ten emails. They pitch content ideas then get TextBroker to write articles for approx. £8.
  • The TextBroker tip is to use 4 star writers then add to favourites and build teams.
  • Allow writers freedom to increase quality of the content.
  • Leverage existing links.
  • Niche directories are also used with great caution and only a handful.
  • Make sure you are an asset to your clients business and they know that you are.

Claire Stockoe (MediaWorks): Out of 5 million infographics only 1.3% give you an orgasm in 0.3 milliseconds








Image Credit: Distilled

  • Infographic 101 - a visualisation of data.
  • You must find the data, it can be really hard.
  • Florence Nightingale even published an infographic! It’s true and it’s here: http://www.coolinfographics.com/blog/2009/11/25/florence-nightingale-causes-of-mortality-infographic-from-18.html
  • Infographics process:
  • Clients needs
  • Research
  • Select topic
  • Gather data
  • Plan a narrative
  • Sketch ideas
  • Edit
  • Design
  • Test and gather feedback
  • Finish
  • Hosting
  • Well researched, presented and placed as the three main factors.
  • Training and timelines are more evergreen, the links and distribution can go for many months after publishing.
  • Testing ideas on social networks before launch can work really well to tweak and iterate the final version.
  • How to dress like James Bond worked really well, getting the data right is the most important part.
  • Make sure you have 3 targets e.g. James Bond appeals to film fans, 007 fans and fashion bloggers.
  • Hit the top sites first e.g. Mashable.
  • Outreach via Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn works really well.
  • Take time to build relationships.
  • Gorkana PR database for journalists, then collaborate and work together on content. Create content for the journalists.
  • Seasonal infographics are much easier to get placement.
  • How to make an infographic:
  • Header should tell you what the infographic is.
  • There needs to be a hook that annoys or engages e.g. men versus women.
  • Paths are good for walking you through the graphic.
  • Be arty and actually draw things.
  • Use icons over text.
  • Colour pallette, don’t use too many. Colourlovers.com is good resource.
  • References and creative commons. Use references as people can get annoyed if you don’t. Creative commons means legally people should link to your infographics.
  • Know where you want the infographic to be placed.

Will Critchlow: The future of link building


  • Link building is a terrible name, we do so much more.
  • Good to Great and the flywheel concept should be applied to building websites that generate links and traction.
  • Everyone hates SEO’s and especially link builders.
  • We break directories, we ruined commenting and destroyed forums.
  • Ugly infographics on Pinterest, we are close to destroying them too.
  • Ad agencies are better at creative than us, artists are better than us too.
  • Case study: Snow Fall from the New York Times.
  • Stop worrying about hosting on IP’s and start worrying about users.
  • Stop worrying about nofollow and linking C-blocks.
  • Start worrying about how many journalists you know instead.
  • Stop saying link juice.
  • Start worrying about links you acquire that drive traffic.
  • Hire the Right Type of VP Marketing — Or You’ll Just End Up With a Bunch of Blue Pens with Your Logo On Them: http://saastr.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/hire-the-right-type-of-vp-marketing-or-youll-end-up-with-a-bunch-of-blue-pens/
  • Technical skills for marketers: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/every-marketer-should-be-technical
  • Focusing on earning attention, not links.
  • Will gave access to an analytics setup for finding your best traffic.
  • Entrepreneurial Design: http://www.distilled.net/blog/distilled/how-to-learn-entrepreneurial-marketing/
  • Make yourself feel uncomfortable.
  • Full stack marketer, design a full digital strategy and execute it. These will be the best marketers.
  • Spidering Hacks: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596005771.do
  • Try to make something and sell it online as a challenge.
  • The best marketers are a mix of creative, technical and extroverts i.e. traditional sales and marketing skills.
  • Full stack is the intersection between content, fame and technology.
  • Do your homework tasks in Will’s slides and email him!



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