The #1 *Secret* ART Used By Top SEOs to Gather Links In Bunches!
Linkbaiting – posting content that attracts attention and links – is not a secret strategy. However, the ART of linkbaiting sure seems to be. In any case, it’s an art worth mastering because:
- Link Bait can be used as an extremely powerful form of viral marketing.
- Getting Links is the most expedient path to the top of the search results.
- Best of all, it’s a strategy Google tacitly approves of.
In today’s world of SEO, you just won’t find a better one-two-three Kung Fu punch! Nor is there any faster way to gain an (unfair?) advantage over your competition! But, before we get to the “ART” part, let’s spread out the canvas and look at the broad strokes.
6 Key Characteristics of an ARTful LinkBait Strategist
ARTful Linkbait Strategists do some or all of the following…
- They distill multiple sources of information into Condensed, Cumulative Reports – thus creating Valuable Resources. In some cases they develop the ability to generate these resources internally. In other cases they outsource the tasks. Either way, they post valuable lists, reports, or tools that are 100% informational, highly useful, streamlined, and easy to link to – all while presenting the material from their own perspective.Some of the best linkbait resources are simply lists and how-to guides. In our report: How to Use del.icio.us to Quickly Build Amazing Content-Rich Articles that Attract Links Like a Magnet! we discussed the details of creating such resources. This report is a step-by-step guide to dominating the search results and we highly recommend you read and act on it, if you haven’t already.
It isn’t necessary that your linkbait be “amazing” to get links. But it must look comprehensive and be useful. Make a list of topics your customers are interested in and start cranking out articles that are loosely focused within your niche having titles like…
- 100 Tools and Resources for…
- 50 Tips to…
- 100+ Resources to Help You…
- 75 Online Resources for…
- 30+ Simple Things You Can Do to…
- 25 Ways to…
Be sure to mine sites like Delicious and Digg for ideas on article topics that people will link to. If your target topic area doesn’t participate on Digg or other newer social networks, consider mining forums. Look at the posts that have the highest number of page views and replies, and how frequently questions get asked about a certain topic. That’s a clue into the mind of the forum participants and an opportunity to solve a problem with a link bait answer. Ideally, we suggest you crank out one of these articles on a weekly basis.
At its simplest, an article can be “100 Resources for…” followed by a list of 100 sites, tools, and articles you’ve found online related to that topic, with a short summary of each. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn how many people tend to link to such articles and resource lists.
- They systematically monitor the News. They watch for relevant stories that they can chime in on. By lending their expertise to the topic in a timely manner, they present a voice on the subject that tends to gather links.As an example, let’s suppose that we sell remote controlled model airplanes. It’s pretty simple to monitor Google News for key phrases like remote controlled aircraft and, on a weekly basis, we can review news stories within our niche and then write about what is topically hot. Here’s one story that caught my eye…
Stanford’s “autonomous” helicopters teach themselves to fly
Stanford Report – The aircraft, brightly painted Stanford red, is an off-the-shelf radio control helicopter, with instrumentation added by the researchers…
Any one of a number of slants could be employed while slicing and dicing this story. For instance, how will this effect the sport of remote controlled aircraft for the hobbyist if, in fact, the flying can be done by a computer that learns? …you get the idea.
- They’re constantly looking for opportunities to present a Contrary Perspective on a controversial topic. They argue a position that contradicts prevailing wisdom.One controversial perspective could be that the price of gas hasn’t actually risen much at all. Instead, it’s the dollar that’s fallen evidenced by the price increases across a broad range of commodities which might include homes, gold, imported foods, and so forth. The fact that the federal reserve has kept the interest rates so low for so long, and that they’ve been paying the government’s bills with printed money, could be used to support the premise.
If you are a commodities broker or financial services specialist, this could be a contrary perspective for you to write about within this currently hot and controversial topic.
- They intelligently harness the power of Fear. This is my least favorite strategy (blush), however there are certain industries that lend themselves to this style of social promotion. Topics like personal privacy, ID theft, radar detectors, child care, insurance and so forth have successfully harnessed the ‘power of fear’ to promote their goods and services since their beginnings.Once again, the News Feeds are an excellent source for stories that can be re-reported in the light of an “expert’s” opinion (like yours).
- They employ the universal language of Humor. Ok, if the iPhone in the blender didn’t seem funny to you, then maybe you could take the Jeff Foxworthy approach:
- If you cringe whenever you see a site listed as ‘Untitled‘ in the search results above your listing, then you might be an SEO.
- If your response to your spouse’s inquiry regarding your son’s whereabouts is: ‘he’s 404‘ …then you might be an SEO.
- If you’ve ever spoken in terms of having to ‘301 redirect‘ your focus from one task to another, then you might be an SEO
- And, in every case…They develop their social networks – This one was too big for a single bullet point, so read on..
Baiting the Linkbait Hook
It’s not enough just to publish your linkbait – you’ve got to get it seen by the people who are most likely to link to it. That’s where social media comes in. StumbleUpon is particularly effective for generating significant traffic to your articles.
Other social media sites such as Delicious, Mixx, Propeller and Digg work well too.
In any case, it isn’t realistic to expect your content to leap to the top of the social media sites UNLESS you become, and remain, actively involved. That means regularly submitting and voting on stories and building a network of social media friends.
We go into extensive detail on building a friends list in our StumbleUpon report. We highly recommend you study that report closely – while bearing in mind that all major social media sites have their own version of the friends system. Most importantly…
Understanding how “friends” networks operate
is critical to your social media success.
Another characteristic of ARTful linkbaiters is their disciplined approach to staying involved. At least a few hours each week are dedicated to maintaining their social media profiles whether done personally or delegated to company personnel.
We know of at least one instance where an ARTful linkbaiter invested the time to identify the active users within her niche. Then, once her relationship was established, she contacted one of those power users directly and hired him to submit content on behalf of her company.
If you go this route, be sure to frame your offer delicately because some people are easily offended. It’s entirely possible they may report you to the social media site. In such a case there’s a chance your site could get blocked from that social media site. But, generally, if you spend some time on the site interacting with, and getting to know the people, you can get a pretty good feel for which users might be open to this kind of arrangement.
By the way, we’ve found that advertising for social media experts via traditional outsourcing sites like Elance or RentaCoder has always been a bust. So your best bet is to hire/train someone in-house with your second choice being the ‘hire an outside social networker‘ route. You may also find talented social media marketers via Jobs in Social Media, a site which we haven’t yet used, but looks potentially useful.
Here are some great example sites doing all the right things to become link magnets…
- Techmeme’s Leaderboard – This lists the sources most frequently posted to Techmeme. Seems simple enough but this is a link magnet! Once Techmeme added this resource, all the sites that appear on this list have linked to the page at one time or another. Some of the sites have multiple high page rank links pointed here. Techmeme provided a simple way for sites referenced on this list to show instant credibility.
- Vimeo – Similar to YouTube, this is a simple online video sharing site. They cleverly set it up so that once the player is embedded, Vimeo instantly gets 3 links back to their site. In return the user gets an great player, that is easy use and reliable. This widget/tool strategy is a solid one that is used by countless highly successful sites.
- OK Cupid’s Blog – This is a highly creative blog that accompanies a online dating site. It has content that is very unique and compelling on one of the all time hottest topics – understanding the opposite sex! This blog is accomplishing being both “linkbait” and a “link magnet” and standing out from the mob of online dating sites.
The LinkBait Magic at work…
You should bear in mind that, while your linkbait pages will see an immediate boost, improved rankings for your main landing and product pages won’t happen right away. But if you consistently apply the strategies outlined in this report, your home page and product pages will also rise in the rankings. Here’s how…
- First, any link you get to any page on your site will help all pages on your site rank better. That’s because these additional links increase the overall link authority of your site.
- Second, by linking these linkbait pages to your main product pages, the link juice flows from the sites linking to you, through the linkbait page, and to your product pages.
It’s realistic to anticipate that each linkbait content you create (if well done and properly promoted) will typically average somewhere between 10-100 natural links from other blogs and Web sites. You’ll also get a bundle of links from the social media sites where you promoted your content since every user that voted will have a link to your content in their profile.
And, even though links from social media sites themselves tend to be nofollowed, they will still provide a small rankings boost – especially in Yahoo and Bing since neither of these engines recognize nofollow links as well as Google does.
Consistency and Persistence within your Social Network is Essential
By faithfully creating some form of interesting link-worthy content on your site every week or so and promoting it to a large network of social media friends, you’ll be (from the search engine point of view) continually building natural, unrequested links to your site’s content pages. This is far-and-away the single best strategy for ranking at the top of the search results.
You’ll often see increased search engine traffic right from the very first article you create and promote. And, even though Google says they don’t use the traffic data from the Google Toolbar to determine rankings, nearly every time we’ve created an article and gotten a surge of traffic from social media, that article ranked well and pulled in Google search traffic almost immediately. (go figure!)
So what’s the big secret?
Well, the sites that started LinkBaiting a year ago have significantly higher rankings today. And, if that’s you, then you know the secret. As with any strategy, you have to actually do it. And, since the hardest part is getting started, then I suggest you click yourself over to Google News right now, enter your keywords, grab a story and begin writing your ‘Editorial Opinion’ on that story today.
Tomorrow you can post it on your site and then begin building your social network of friends (if you haven’t already done so). Then, shake, repeat, and blend the different strategies as you develop your ART – this time next year, you’ll have experienced the secret – and be the one who’s smiling BIGtime
Optimizing Press Releases
5 Top Sites to Submit Your Optimized Press Release
By now you’ve learned why optimizing a press release for the search engines is important, how to optimize the release for both SEO and SMO maximum visibility and what the benefits of this optimization can mean for your business. Now comes the last step—the actual distribution of the press release.
There are literally dozens of both paid and free sites that will distribute a press release online these days. We’re going to look at the top 5, which control over 95% of the 2000+ releases distributed daily.
- Business Wire — A Berkshire-Hathaway company in business since 1961, Business Wire is the largest newswire dissemination service in the United States. Its ability to target your release is quite impressive and it has the latest in SMO bells and whistles (through a partnership with PR Web).Targeting can be either by industry, geographic locale or a key demographic. Membership is required (at $200 per year), and releases are priced higher than most other services at between $500-$600 per release. Often this higher price also gets you exposure to the bigger media outlets.
- Market Wire — A close second in market share to Business Wire, Market Wire has over 3,000 corporate clients and distributes releases to over 60,000 journalists daily. Market Wire is also the exclusive provider for press releases to the NASDAQ and NASDAQ-listed companies.If you’re in the finance arena, Market Wire is probably the best choice for you. Market Wire has traditional SEO capabilities and has now improved their SMO features considerably. Membership is required (at $200 per year), and also starts at around $500 per release.
- GlobeNewswire (formally, Prime Newswire)— Known for its large distribution network and its focus on finance and stock-related news and companies, GlobeNewswire has had a lot of industry firsts. These firsts include a free online clipping service, an online customer service center, and delivery of daily news alerts via HTML email. No membership is required. However, a full SEO/SMO optimized wire release is expensive here and requires a $250 upgrade on top of their normal $550 distributed target release for a total of $800.
- PR Newswire — This service averages over 1.9 million views on its Web sites each month. PR Newswire distributes between 700-800 press releases a day and among its many SEO friendly tools is a nice account-level keyword density analyzer that automatically flags your release for suggested optimization changes.PR Newswire requires a membership fee of $195, and $400 per release which includes 30-day tracking, a clipping service and a full suite of SEO/SMO and multimedia customization features.
- PR Web: This site is definitely the most user-friendly of private press release distribution sites, used by over 40,000 organizations internationally, and our personal favorite. As this sample release from their site shows, they have integrated practically every SEO/SMO optimization widget possible within their releases. PR Web offers four categories of releases ranging from their standard $80 basic visibility package all the way up to their premium visibility package which runs $360 per release.
So which Paid Press Release Service Should You Use?
We recommend PRWeb as your first choice in SEO and SMR press release distribution.
The recent declaration from Google aside, we still feel there is substantial value in the continued use of press releases. Although their link building power has clearly been diminished, their ability to generate NEW press mentions and social media signals are both still invaluable. Finally, remember to optimize your press releases both for the search engines and the social media networks and you will more effectively reach both your target audience and those news professionals looking for hot, viral content.