How to Create and Promote Linkable Content with Very Limited Time
Guest post by Kieran Flanagan, of SearchBrat SEO Consulting Services.
I wanted to put together an example of how anyone with limited time or resources could generate nice clean links for their site, with nothing more than a little thought and the magic of the Ontolo toolset. To do this, I am using a live example created for this post on 1 of my own sites.
When You Don't Have Access to the Best
For the most part I create link building strategies for large sites and have access to a lot of resources. The focus of this post was to show I can do a variation of this for one of my own sites, where I have less than 10 hours per month to manage all aspects of the site, so the live example was put together especially for this post.
Things do Go Wrong
You never read much in blog posts of when things go wrong, but they do. The site I created the live example on had to be taken down due to issues with hosting. Even now the “shop” is still down until the issue can be resolved. The last 3 weeks have been a nightmare, only saved by Amazon S3 Cloudfront, so please be aware, the whole process described in this post as not been completed as hoped (I will follow up with a results post).
This site (itsnotforgirls.com) is in the fashion sector. Although it's only a new site in terms of my plans for it, we have started to build out a Youtube channel, which gets us a lot of comments but also emails. We noted everybody was interested in what jeans go with what hightops, so I decided to put together a pretty quick “Ultimate Sneaker Guide 2011” with this very advice.
Always think about your hook, it could be funny, interesting, controversial, problem solving, a how to guide, just something that you can promote to relevant users in your market.
There are countless posts on link bait with real world examples. I would build a list of those which can be applied to your market and get ready made templates made up. If like me, you don't get involved in design, a really good resource in this area is vital. Luckily I met David who runs Quixoticmedia last year and get all my design/development from him. We have a bunch of link bait templates, which can be rolled out pretty quickly for any market. I find having a big list of templates really useful and refer to these when brainstorming ideas.
Flicking through my resource list I had a number of “Guides” i.e. (Mobile Apps, Travel Guides etc etc) – I put this one live Sneaker Guide featuring 3 brands I want to rank for (in the UK) and some information on price, where to get them and what jeans to wear.
Link Prospecting with Ontolo
The above hasn't take much out of my 10 hours. Traditionally where time is lost is in prospecting. Luckily Ontolo is like an army of workers pulling in qualified links while I sleep.
a. Setting up your campaign – Link Prospecting Phrases
The most important part of getting Ontolo to work for you is setting it up correctly. This requires you to think a little differently. Luckily I had an hour long call with Garrett, so had a slight advantage :). But the success of your campaign will be determined by how well you complete this step. These phrases are not keywords you are trying to rank for, rather they are phrases that will identify users who may be interested in your content.
Don't worry, Google will tell you what they are:
-> I enter the keyword “mens fashion”
I look for variations of this keyword in the page titles & meta description, for example “mens style”, “mens grooming”, “urban fashion”. These are noted and I then enter these keywords into Google and keep building out my list of link prospect phrases. I then select the best ones for my campaign. If I could recommend one take away from this post, it's this step. You really will find a lot of great phrases by using this process. The outcome for me was:
b. Next – Kick Back / Have a Lemsip
I am writing this with severe man flu, so switched coffee for lemsip. But once the above is done, you can let Ontolo work its magic. The awesome thing about these prospects is they are discovered by Ontolo's own market research, not from analyzing competitors backlinks. This means you will have a host of potential link prospects not yet tapped by competitors. The database is customized to your needs (as chosen above) and it keeps adding 300 to 500 per day – bit of an advantage over your competitor who is mining backlinks trying to work out how a website managed to get 100 links from a blog farm.
c. Now Get Searching
You now have your own custom database for link prospects and can begin putting together queries. For the most part I have been searching blogger comments to find conversations around certain keywords. For example:
i) Basic Search
I enter “mens fashion” in the “Title Tag”, which means it needs to be present in the page title and “sneakers” in the body content. This is targeted for the link type: blog comments:
I am going to choose both contact url and twitter account as information I want returned. The link begging is going to be split between email and twitter, with conversions kept for each. This will give me insights in how best to approach people in this market (how responsive each medium is).
The results are lots and lots of great link prospects returned (hard to show in an image):
I find it really useful to scan through link prospects by looking at the page title. Often this will show if the post retrieved is on topic and the site worth investigating.
ii) Get Advanced
The great thing for me is I used to be a developer so regular expressions formed a large part of the code I wrote. You can put together some cool advanced queries to really segment your data:
This is really up to you but I track results under each query I run, for example:
Now matter how big or small your content, it's important to have a plan for pushing it live. For example, my plan for this content would be:
Monday: PR Release (Webwire.com) | Facebook Push | Youtube Push | Twitter Push
Tuesday: PR Release (PRLog.com) | Facebook Push | Twitter Push
Wednesday: PR Release (OnlinePRNews.com) | Batch A Link Prospects
Thursday: Batch B Link Prospects
Friday: Batch C Link Prospects
This will ensure you get maximum benefit for you content. Obviously with more resources you could do a lot more...
The reason link strategies like blog networks, paid links etc are used so much is ROI. Content lead strategies mean you need to be prepared that not every piece you create will generate a lot of links. But the key is you learn from each one. For example, I may learn Twitter is the best medium in terms of getting a response in this market. I may discover link prospects put together their weekly content on a Monday so I should email them over the weekend (when they are looking for ideas). This kind of market intelligence can only be gained from going out and getting involved in your community.
This piece of content would of been better if I:
a. Had videos submitted from stores for each sneaker, i.e. a video guide
b. Had engaged with bloggers before and during it's construction i.e. bloggers submitted their pick
But I am doing both of these already and the insights captured during this first attempt will ensure a better success rate when I roll out each of those.
I will follow up on Ontolo with results, hopefully the above gives some practical steps you can follow to roll out a similar attempt in your market. Again the above is done with limited resources so really there is no reason anyone couldn't put together something like this for a client.
About the Author:
Kieran Flanagan is currently SEO Manager for EMEA at Salesforce.com. He also provides SEO consulting services on a limited basis at Searchbrat.com and runs a number of his own sites.