London SMX coverage: Link Alchemy: Creative Ways Of Conjuring SEO Gold

In Hot off the Press, Link Building by Louis Venter

Christine Churchill – Key Relevence

Patrick Altoft – Branded 3
Rob Millard – Distilled
Kelvin Newman – Site visibility
Pete Wailes – Strategy Internet marketing


This session was about the age old topic of link building and various panellist’s tips and experiences.

Patrick Altoft – Branded 3

In their experience page rank from social sites does NOT flow throughout the linked-to site and will not carry trust, etc to the rest of the site. The great thing about twitter is many people syndicate their tweets on their websites and sidebars so your link is not only on twitter but also on many other sites. This is great for getting multiple IP’s and TLD’s. In this way you can get loads more links and traffic than you could ever get from dig or delicious.

As an agency we need to be able to guarantee our links i.e. Defensible links. Google is getting better at removing value from links that appear as paid so we need to get better at making all links look natural.

  • A good source of links is to be a provider images so as to get citations and credits. It looks natural when an image is used and credited elsewhere.
  • Linkbuilding via widgets. You can change the XML feed to the widget which allows you to dynamically change link text. At the bottom of the widget you can put text “Click here to get this widget” which encourages it to be spread and also makes it look like it spreads naturally. The initial placements of the widget may be paid but then it spreads.
  • Infographics. All linkbait has been done before – you need to do it better. We need to be able to guarantee coverage and that is done via incentives (Is that paid links?) Ring them up “What can we do for you to make you publish this infographic?”
  • Pre write content Send out a press release and write the story for 30-40 sites to

Rob Millard – Distilled

Rob suggested to forgo the traditional link building via email in favour of blogger outreach. Emails contact often results in you making the link request without trying to build the relationship first. Twitter rocks for outreach. Where as email is seen as a burden that needs to be responded to tweeps love to be contacted through @ and DM. It is also good as the target tweep can look you up and see your credentials. Also really easy to find people because people want to get followers so they publish their @tweep.

There are also various tools that allow you to be selective and find prospective people to contact. is a tool to find tweeps based on keywords. You can also use The downfall is that you don’t know the quality of the potential links so you need to evaluate the sites: This is easily done by pulling the data into a spreadsheet and tabulating the website PR, the number of tweets and the number of follower that your “target” has.

When contacting potential people be nice!

  • Flatter your target. You can use public lists to find targets e.g. Followfriday
  • Otherwise create a private list – stalk your prey and see what they are up to. Then engage with them.
  • Or use Hashtags & Search “guest post” + {keyword} or “Guest blog” + {keyword} or #haro + {keyword}
  • Use Linkedin to find peoples twitter id and contact them that way.
  • Using the phone for outreach is very effective.
  • Go offline – Go to meetups. Check attendees list – perhaps tweet them beforehand to make sure you meet them.
  • Quora – many ceo’s hang out there – opportunity to find people.
  • Blog commenting – when commenting perhaps link to your twitter profile instead of a useless web link. People can quickly see who you are.

Takeaways from this session:

  • Know who you targeting
  • Find people by using tools
  • Be creative how you search
  • Build relationships

Kelvin Newman – Site visibility

What has made a difference to us?

Three things influence out decisions –

  1. Our gut feel
  2. Habit – carry on with what we have always done
  3. What Rand tells us to do! J

We have ignored:

Psychology: Subliminal messages – people do pick up on subtle clues. The words you choose will influence people. E.g. Ask for a favour rather than a link.

Behaviour Economist: Try these three books for a great read. Freakonomics, Nudge (Richard H Thaler) Predictably Irrational (Dan Ariely) also look up Dan on TED video

PR Guru: There are loads of surveys out there. If you do some god surveys you should be able to get links from that. Try “survey + {Keyword}” in Google. First consider “What would be a great survey to write about?”

Session Takeaways:

Surveys work – is a great website to get surveys done cheaply. £35 can survey 250 people. It is really fast – you can get this in 30 min.

Pete Wailes – Strategy Internet marketing

4C & CBEL = Creative Compelling Content Creation & Content Based Engagement Links

You need to be engaging the community to be in the game in the future.

Think Broad to understand what all is affected and then bring it back down to specific resources to find info e.g. Linked in Delicious, Flickr, etc. You will get an idea on what people talk about in that industry. This data mining stage is imperative so you can go about answering questions that people typically need answering. Will the community be interested in this info? What has worked and what has not worked. Then execute.

Go see People shared the site even without being in the industry because the idea is good.

Go after a community that are passionately engaged already. Effectively outsource the link building.

Be remarkable and people will talk about you. The execution needs to be remarkable

Go have a look at Hackernews – remarkable for sparking ideas. Pete got 40,000 words back from the community because he asked a passionate question “What’s wrong with Microsoft?”

Also we have found the # of Facebook shares is the highest correlated metric with higher Google rankings. Not because of Facebook but because of the viral links it generates.

About the Author

Louis Venter