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SEO Strategies for Large Websites - Link Building
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Earlier today I attended a Search Marketing Now Webcast on SEO Strategies for Large Web Sites: Using Content to Build Links and to Drive Traffic. Featured speakers were Vanessa Fox, Features Editor, Search Engine Land and Rupali Shah, Senior SEO Consultant, 24/7 Real Media.

Vanessa spoke about link building and viral marketing and how you can use the content on your site to promote your site. She discussed traditional link building vs. viral link building. She mentioned that when link building anchor text is crucial. Authoritative links are definitely more valuable and relevant links are most useful.

Traditional link building consists of directories, press releases and such. Viral link building is more community based (consider sites like DIGG and such). A great strategy is to do both. Viral link building has lots of potential but it tends to convert at a lower rate and is cyclical.

Viral Link Building
  • Social media sites (DIGG, HUGG)
  • Social Networking (communities)
  • Viral Marketing (word of mouth, people emailing around links and information exchange)
Viral Marketing Steps
  1. Start with your audience (your actual target audience who you may be marketing to as well as the influencers who can reach your target audience)
  2. Pinpoint social media and social networking sites that are specific to your audience. A-class bloggers can influence your actual target audience.
  3. Create content that is of interest and relevant to your audience.
  4. Create "hooks" back to your site. Calls to action to your site.
Examples of viral content includes things such as Top 10 Lists, How To's, Videos, Quizzes, easlily scannable text, topical events. Ensure that this content is easily accessible. Vanessa mentioned to think beyond page views, create content that entices "web stickiness" and increases the time spent on your site.

With regards to social networking try to become an expert in a community, be sure to comment in the forums and such. Participation is important. Using Facebook news feeds for posting blog links is an example of how you can leverage social networking.

Rupali went on to discuss link baiting. She illustrated examples that they have used for clients with success. She mentioned that link bait content is content that is used to improve the quality of the content on your site. It should be useful, important, newsworthy, topical and can at times be humorous or controversial.

Some types of link bait to consider using include:
  • Tools
  • How To's
  • Top 10 Lists
  • Videos
  • Topical Articles
  • Analytical Reports
  • White Papers
  • Announcements

When planning out and developing your link bait content, Rupali suggested that you should brainstorm the concept for the content. Your industry knowledge may provide a competitive advantage for you. Look for information gaps in your industry. Be the first to address these gaps. Thought leadership is a great way to create linkbait.

So where can you find ideas for linkbait content? Use Google Suggest to search for a topic. Type in something like "how to choose", "how to improve", or industry specific terms. In addition, look at industry news sites to see what the current buzz is about. Using MSN adCenter Labs you can also use the keyword funnel to find link topics. People who search for mortgage rates may in fact be looking for mortgage calculators. Calculators are great forms of linkbait.

The key to linkbaiting is to ensure that your content is informative and relevant. The quality of your content will determine the success of your link bait. Strive to provide value.

Marketing Your Linkbait

  • Make your content easy to share - DIGG, reddit. del.ico.us, YouTube, nice sites, niche directories.
  • Communicate Your Linkbait to your existing network - newsletters, email signitures etc.
  • Publish a Press Release to announce important content/information
  • Incorporate Offline Marketing - brochures, ads, events to communicate your online tools, calculators etc. Add links to the linkbait.
  • Provide Support and Content Details - people may have feedback to share on your linkbait.
  • Keep Your Content Alive - leave the linkbait content on your site. Make it easy for users to access. There is nothing worse than a broken link to linkbait content.

Rupali went on to discuss a case study as to how they used video tutorials as linkbait content for an online education site. They promoted the video through YouTube, press releases, newsletters and a video sitemap. The goal was not only to generate more links to the site, but also to use as a lead gen tool via registration process to view some of the content. The results were that the link popularity shot up by 1000 links. Organic traffic to the site shot up and memberships increased.

Issues with Link Baiting for Large Corporate Business

  • Website Structure / CMS Restrictions
  • Time and Resources
  • Bottom line vs. creative strategy
  • Convincing Upper Management


  • Create a sub-site, sub-domain or microsite
  • Hire an SEO and PR form
  • Brainstorm with SEO consultant or manager
  • Collect examples of successful campaigns / case studies

Vanessa addressed a question about content behind a login. Search engines will not index this content and will most likely abandon at the login page. Links to this content are pretty much irrelevant. At least make some of this content available outside of the password. At least 25% or you will risk high abandonment rates.

I posed a question with regards to blended search results in terms of whether links to items such as video or blogs carry more weight than links to traditional webpages. I did not receive a response to this. It poses an interesting scenario though doesn't it? Is a link to a webpage the same as a link to a video?

Overall it was an interesting webcast that dealt with some of the fundamentals of link building that truly can be used for any size of busainess not just large corporations.

The end of the presentation mentioned a couple of upcoming Search Related Conferences that you may want to check out: SMX West in Santa Clara in February and SMX Social Media in Long Beach California in April.

Labels: , ,

posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 15, 2008  
  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    You raise an interesting question re: links to video etc.

    One would think that with the rise of a blended SERPs page that a video would have as good a chance of ranking for a given term. Therefore the factors which go into ranking that video should be the same or similar to the factors used to influence a web pages ranking.

    That being said links to videos should help influence rankings. That would be an interesting experiment.

    If this is the case, then what types of links? IE if it's favorited many times (as sites like Youtube allow) would it rise in the rankings? or would you need "regular" links? Would embedding the video in a web page count as links?

    All kinds of interesting questions...

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