Distilled’s Linklove 2012 – Essential take aways

Distilled’s Linklove 2012 – Essential take aways

23rd April 2012

This is a guestpost by David Sottimano who’s a lead SEO Consultant for Distilled London, responsible for managing large scale SEO projects for top UK corporations. You can find him speaking at international conferences or blogging for SEOmoz, Distilled and other high quality sites like this 😉

If you didn’t manage to make it to either Boston or London Linklove 2012, shame on you – but don’t worry as I’m going to give you the goods right here in this post and it’s important to note this is strictly my interpretation of the presentations. If you want the full recaps, check out the Distilled London & Boston recaps.

For your reading pleasure, I’m going to break this down into major sections that your ADD can skip through as it pleases – or use the anchor links below:

The future of link building – or is it link building?

How to figure out where you are and where you should go

Research like a boss

Roll up your sleeves and build links

Tools to make your life easier


The future of link building – or is it link building? Back to top


In light of recent events, this topic has become much more relevant now that Matt Cutts and the Google webspam team are killing thousands of sites. We all knew this day was coming, and it’s finally come. Rand has been preaching about long-lasting link building strategies that will pass any web spam test for some time now, but now it’s more important than ever.

I won’t say create good content, because (like you) – hearing something over and over makes me cringe.  I’ve always been an advocate for creating things that matter, make me feel something, relieve boredom, make me money and lets me show off in front of friends – but I didn’t realize from a business perspective that it actually costs less to do content marketing. Oh and if you think you have a boring product, check out what these guys are doing.

Link building will always be around, but it seems like social “verification” is the way forward. Even if you don’t believe it, you can only benefit by investing in content marketing & social strategies because it will still drive traffic to your site. I for one, do not ever want to rely solely on Google – simply because they can flick a switch and crush you overnight.

Proof.  Got a G+ account? Cool, log in and navigate to this URL for me please https://www.google.com/s2/u/0/search/social?hl=en Yeah, that’s right – they know where you eat breakfast too. Hat tip to Rand for showing us that little beauty.

Theory:  Tom Anthony explained the traditional link graph and the concept of social/authorship verification. Using rel=author was never about the vanity, it’s about giving Google another weapon against spam.

Recommended reading:

Rand’s deck http://www.slideshare.net/randfish/f-link-building-content-marketing-ftw

Tom’s deck http://www.slideshare.net/TomAnthony/putting-the-love-back-into-links

Tool to help you out: http://www.tomanthony.co.uk/tools/author-crawler/ Free & open source.  Have a play with it.  If you can’t figure it out, bug him on Twitter.

How to figure out where you are and where you should go Back to top

We know we need to create good content, market it, create jaw-dropping viral videos – but you’ve heard this so many times you might even consider killing animals if it would help make it stop. In Will Critchlow’s session, he demonstrated a method of pin-pointing what’s holding your link building campaigns back from greatness.

Maybe you’re an industry content leader and your design just needs an upgrade, or maybe you’re not getting links because nobody in the company promotes it – or even have social accounts!?

I want you to try this,  because I’ve done it and it has saved me so many headaches. Here’s the actual form you need to send to clients / employees and here is the back end for you spreadsheet junkies.

Once you have enough responses, copy them into this excel spreadsheet and follow the simple instructions. You’ll end up with output that is an aggregation of several factors that can help you determine what’s preventing you being awesome.

Real life example 

This would be the robot output: From Red to Green = bad to good. Content & Permission are problem areas.

Human output: In this scenario we can see that content & permission are the problems that are holding this particular website back in their link building campaign.

What is defined as content?

– Editorial content
– News content
– Commercial content
– Video content
– Image / other visual content
– Interactive content
– User-generated content

What is defined as permission?

– Commercial email lists (product releases etc)
– Content-based email lists (newsletters etc)
– Company-level social media following
– Individual social media followings throughout the company
– Relationships with major influencers in your industry
– Relationships with major global influencers (journalists, politicians, celebrities)
– Traffic / blog subscribers
– Community / evangelists

Ok – can you tell how powerful this is? Why not give this to your new clients, or hand it out internally to see where you need to improve.

Will’s full presentation can be found here and contains a full step-by-step explanation of how you can achieve results by shipping the minimum viable product (experimentation).

Research & report like a boss Back to top

There’s regular analysis & reporting, and then there’s researching & reporting like a boss. Distilled’s conferences are intentionally advanced and 2 presentations that defined advanced were given by Branko Rhitman and Justin Briggs.

In the interest of brevity – if you’re interested in:

How to prune out the “selfish” Twitter users that mostly tweet their own stuff and are probably doing it as an act of self-promotion and will find little interest in tweeting your linkable content, but on the other hand, might make good targets of ego-bait…

Go read Branko’s step by step post 

If you’re interested in:

“How the link builder with better reporting will strategically kick your ass”…

I’ve embedded Justin’s deck because it’s that good – you might need to replay it a few times to wrap your head around the concepts, but it’s worth it.
[slideshare id=12257082&doc=link-reporting-justin-briggs-120402081157-phpapp02]

Roll up your sleeves and build links Back to top

I love watching Martin MacDonald present, mainly because he’s just talking about something he loves – and it shows. The guy lives and breathes SEO and understands what it’s like on the ground level where we constantly pound the pavement for links.

A clever tactic was to hijack communities – now don’t get ahead of yourselves here, this is nowhere near manipulative or against terms of service. He found a conversation on Twitter, got involved, wrote a blog post and gained tons of traffic and links from the BBC. I’m not kidding, and he outlined the entire process in detail in his presentation deck.

Sometimes you just have to go over and above to form relationships, by being creative/creepy. Wil Reynolds shows us how he managed to get a link from a person who seemed untouchable – full deck here.

Process & tools to make your life easier Back to top

John Doherty defines hustle, and this is his set of preferred tools & link building process. I’d say if you’ve got a link from Wired.com to your personal blog, you’re probably someone we should listen to. Here’s the TL;DR version:

What (am I ranking for, do I need?)

– Find the keywords driving traffic, then run then through a free tool like Rankerizer
– KeywordSpy
– Use this Excel spreadsheet and pull in Analytics data using Excellent Analytics
– SearchMetrics (paid) This is an incredible tool for me, gives you landscape data in a flash

Rank Trackers are a dime a dozen, but the best ones and the ones I recommend are:

– AuthorityLabs
– RavenTools
– SEOmoz Campaigns

Who’s going to link to it? (Link Prospecting)

Advanced Google queries plus Linkclump. Set your Advanced Settings (found on this page) to 50 to speed it up.
– Citation Labs Link Prospector

To find sites interested in content, you need a combination of advanced operators and tools. Here are my recommendations:

– Ontolo’s Linkbuilding Query Generator V2
– Blogdash or Blogger Linkup to find sites accepting guest posts
– Author search bookmarklet for ideas and sites accepting guest blogs
– Neils Bosma’s SEO Tools for sorting through link metrics, domain information and tons more

Find influencers:

– Followerwonk
– Alltop
– Topsy Experts

Contact details:

– Citation Labs (paid)
– Buzzstream’s Contact Finder (free)

Why are people going to link to you?

You need content – use the following tools to get content ideas:

– SEOgadget’s Content Strategy Generator V2
– Quora scraper
– Ontolo Content Idea Generator


– Engag.io

– Rapportive
– Buzzstream
– Streak as a Gmail linkbuilding CRM. Read more about it here.

To scale outreach without lifting a finger:

– Zemanta

Follow up:

– FollowupCC (free to an extent, then paid)
– Boomerang for Gmail (free to an extent, then paid)

There are quite a few speakers I’ve left out, however they were all fantastic. All of the speaker’s slide decks are available online – click here for London, click here for Boston.

We’d love to see you at at SearchLove San Francisco.


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