Distilled London Link Building Conference 2011 - Round Up

Couldn't make Link Love 2011? Don't be sad. Here's a round up of my notes from the conference - hopefully this will cheer you up a little. I will be seeing you at our next event though, right? You can sign up for Pro Boston now!

Pitfalls, Mistakes and Traps for the Unwary - Wil Reynolds

Wil has made mistakes when it comes to link building, but because he's an awesome guy he's here to share those mistakes with us so (hopefully at least) we don't go making them for ourselves. He's enthusiastic, entertaining and super-knowledgeable - and it's only 9am!

Key Takeaways

  1. Make sure you understand black hat tactics, but keep your own stuff Daz white. There's often stuff you can learn from black hats, and you may be able to find white hat applications - but keep it clean and play nice, mkay?
  2. Don't over-optimise your anchor text. Brand to keyword-rich anchor proportions vary by industry - check out what the competition are doing and try to keep your link profile in the same ballpark. When in doubt, fewer keyword-rich anchors probably isn't a bad shout.
  3. "If you build it, they will come" is double-dumb. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
  4. Links from big media sites may not be all that - he saw rankings drop after getting high profile media links.

Getting Actions from Competitor Research - Jane Copland

Jane, who clearly lives and breathes SEO, is here to talk competitor research and link network detection. I feel a little bit 007 (but possibly I've over-done the caffeine).

Key Takeaways

  1. Don't try and replicate someone else's backlinks. It doesn't work. Sometimes old links which look pretty crappy may work, but if you get a brand new link on the same crappy site, it may have no effect or, worse, a negative effect.
  2. Don't try and build your own link network (it's very hard, very expensive and very risky as it's likely you'll be discovered and all your hard work will be for nowt).
  3. Don't give up. Just because a particular site's got seemingly excellent backlinks doesn't mean you can't compete - you can.

Where to get the Old "Linkbait on Digg" Effect - Russ Jones

Remember Slashdot? It was like Digg before Digg (blurry youngsters). Anywho, Russ is here to let us know how to get some link love now Digg is dead.

Key Takeaways

  1. You'll need real time analytics when running with the social sharing crowd - so you can see where the traffic is coming from and participate in the discussion. Russ recommends Clicky.
  2. Get busy on the relevant discussion boards in your niche - that's where this stuff incubates - it's also a great source of inspiration for future link bait.
  3. Follow up! Check to see who is linking to the social media sites rather than your original content - make contact and ask them to link to your original instead. On many social sites these links die pretty quickly, so it's far better for sites to link to your original in any case.

How to Structure a Major Link Building Project - Tom Critchlow

Tom shares his strategy for SEOmoz - holy case study Batman!

Key Takeaways

  1. Widgets / badges / ego bait work, just don't be spamtastic about it.
  2. The language you use on your site will affect the anchor text people use to link to you. Call a section SEO Q&A - people will probably link with the anchor SEO Q&A... But that might not be the most searched for term. SEO Forum has much higher search volume.
  3. Be honest with yourself. Do your pages deserve to rank? If not, create something kick-ass awesome which does e.g. - rather than providing a single article for a core term, instead create a resource page with links to a number of articles, plus a guide, cheat sheets etc.

Myths and Case Studies of Outreach Success - Paddy Moogan

Paddy sets out to debunk some of the more pervasive outreach myths and shares some real life case studies.

Key Takeaways

  1. Get key stakeholders on board. Link building outreach is time-consuming, but you'll need to invest the time in order to get the results you want.
  2. Benchmark where you are right now, so you can easily demonstrate the effect of your outreach.
  3. Always have a back up plan. Add some press releases, guest posting, directories etc into the mix - don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

The Future of Link Building - Rand Fishkin

Rand reviews some of the new ranking signals coming into play and lets us in on his vision of the future of link building...

Key Takeaways

  1. Increasingly, 'brands' seem to be ranking better than 'non-brands' - the answer? Look like a brand!
  2. Build robust 'about us' pages and include real contact details, bricks and mortar addresses, etc.
  3. Get citations from great sites
  4. File patents / fund research
  5. Host / sponsor events
  6. Get your brand name in your press release headlines
  7. Create authentic social profiles
  8. Invest in great design

Lessons from the Dark Side - Martin MacDonald

Martin talks us through the importance of understanding black hat tactics and why you shouldn't use them on client or brand sites, and then gives us some white hat ideas we can use.

Key Takeaways

  1. Never stop testing. EVER.
  2. Want your affiliate links to 'count'? - run your own affiliate platform.
  3. When building widgets / badges serve your links and anchor text from the cloud.

Scaling White Hat Link Building - Will Critchlow

There's a common misconception that white hat tactics can't be scalable - but with a little thought they sure can be.

Key Takeaways

  1. What are the most linked to pages on the interwebz? The General Public License and the Creative Commons License. The lesson? Create something people *need* to link to as well as want to link to.
  2. Scale your relationships - look at CRM systems to help you manage and build relationships and (perhaps more importantly) allow others in your company to add to the pool of contacts.
  3. Build relationships with good freelance writers to help you scale good content. Plus, think about what else you can scale - headline writing, editing, research etc, etc.

Want more #linklove? Check out these posts from our attendees:

John Doherty

Andy Morley

Mike Essex

Tom Harari

Still want more? Sign up to buy the video!

Thanks once again to our awesome speakers, attendees, and of course our own Lynsey Little, who organised the event and even forfeited her birthday drinks - that's commitment to the cause! Hope to see you all at our next event...



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