23,787 Ways to Build Links in 30 Minutes #LinkLove

23,787 Ways to Build Links in 30 Minutes #LinkLove

15th March 2013

The third session of the day, is from Distilled’s very own Hannah Smith who gave the audience some great tips on how to build links.

What has changed, is that link building  has got real, you cannot get away from it.  Hannah spoke about “Sustainable ways to building links”, lots of tips.  It is worth doing, but it is hard.

Hannah is jealous of Rand, he builds links in his sleep, writes a blog post, hits and go to sleep.  This does not work for everyone.

How can you feel like a Rand?

1) Get a blog

  • Get a blog
  • Good content
  • Use Zemanta

Zemanta  allows you to put content in front of bloggers who are writing about your topic.  As a blogger you decide which posts you want to link to.  This is not enough by itself, but Hannah’s clients have some nice links coming in.  On average, it is $14 a link and these are good links.

2) Have you got photos/images on your site?

Instead of people stealing your photos, make them embeddable.  You can get an image credit. Also upload photos to Flickr and license under “creative commons”.  Put a little comment in the flickr comment box describing the image.

Make sure you are getting the links for your images.  Find out who is using your images from reverse image search or via image raider.

 3) STOP talking like an SEO

Speak the language that others are using. The PR company that Distilled was working with on a client, covered a story really well with an image for the client’s product.  Lots of companies are good at getting PR but not really links.  In this particular case, anyone who used the client’s image, Paddy asked to have an image credit for it.

4) Creating Video

You can work really hard and make a great video, but you may be building links to the video hosting company.  Once you have a video on YouTube, people are embedding the video which is on YouTube.  Go to Video statistics to see where your video has been embedded. Phil Nottingham has built the video embed link generator where your site gets the credit for the video traffic.

5) Want to work with existing communities?

Go and interact with others in the community.  You can buy advertising, but make sure the links are no follow.  There is no SEO, but you want the traffic. Later on, once you have paid for advertising, the community may be more open to you taking part in forums and discussions and you can be a part of that community.

6) Getting PR coverage but no links?

Some people do not want to link to a salesy and overly promotional home page.  If this is happening, create a people page.  People will be more happy to link to this page with profiles of the employees of that company.

  • No visible contact details?

You can still get people’s email.  Rapportive is a great plugin for Gmail where you can get people’s email address.

  • You must follow up

You need to give people a nudge, they are busy.  Another great tool to us is boomerang.  There are scheduled reminders.  What is great about boomerang is that the email is sent back to you if you have not heard back from that contact.

7) Got Great content?

Great content produces out-sized returns.  Distilled does a lot of business for this small business.  Distilled sent one email to Life Hacker and got a link back. But it is rare that this happens.

Great content gets you top-tier guest posts.  You need to add more value, create great content, then contact those people, then create the post for that site.

You do not want to guest post, you want a byline. – Stop talking like an SEO

Don’t write once and move on, become a regular contributor.   You never write to them, call them.  Talk about your case study as well.  Everything that is on Content Marketing institute goes on Business2Community.

Hannah Smith Penguin

A quick fix

Want to do data viz, but you don’t have great data?  The Guardian have and publish data.  Distilled built an infographic based on the data the Guardian has on their site and let them know.

Result:  The Guardian linked to the client’s site.

Think about the bigger picture.  Hannah wants us to do work that gets links instead of doing work for links.

Don’t just do work for the sake a link

A few case studies:


Every year Innocent do the “Big Knit”.  For every Innocent drink with hat that is sold, they donate 25 pence to Age UK.  They do this to give something back and also smoothies with little hats on sell really well.  Innocent do not sell the smoothies with hats (which their customers make for them) for links.  They are answering their customers’ needs and giving back to the community.

Result:  Innocence gets links.


This site has a lot of reviews for consumer goods.  They recognise there are two types of people:

1) People that enjoy reading reviews

2) People that want others to tell them what to buy (based on the reviews)

This was not for links, this is answering a genuine need for a customer.  They have 101 linking root domains.


Salesforce wanted to reach customers before they realise they need you.  They set up the Mini Guide for Social Customer Service and they got 132 linking root domains, because it is a good guide.


  • Fully leverage existing assets
  • Create new assets to leverage – eg if starting to write content, think of the ways to get links
  • Make sure you claim the links you earned
  • Stop talking and behaving like an SEO
  • The future – gets links instead of getting stuff for links


Written By
Jo Juliana Turnbull is the organiser of Search London and the founder of SEO Jo Blogs, which provides practical advice and tips for those in SEO.
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