Tough Love: Link Building For The Real World – SMX Advanced Recap


Tough Love: Link Building For The Real World
Moderator: Elisabeth Osmeloski, Search Engine Land
Q&A Moderator: Bob Tripathi, Instant E-Training
Justin Briggs, Distilled
Erice Enge, Stone Temple Consulting
Ross Hudgens, Full Beaker, Inc.
Roger Montti, MartiniBuster
Conrad Saam, Avvo


I’ve been looking forward to this session all day. There’s a lot of anticipation in the air—this is going to be good.

Elisabeth gets it started: “Screw the advanced link building. Most of you can’t get the basics right.”


Justin Briggs—SEO, Link Builder, Zombie Lover—is up first.

Infographs aren’t dead. They may seem old, 2009-2010, but are still good for getting a lot of domain authority and other link characteristics. When doing an infograph it is great to get information picked up by Facebook and Twitter but also Stumbleupon.

Skip The Social On Infographs

  • Do manual outreach
  • Incentivize the embed
  • Guest post
  • Embed in the post
  • Chop up the image and repurpose
  • Additional research and write a great post

Justin recommends Follower Wonk to network and reach out to specific niches before beginning infographs. He also scales his outreach by using Tout. Tout measures open rates and CTR.

Wow, Justin is going fast. He just went through 4 slides in 15 seconds!

Use branded high value links to increase value of high leverage, lower value link building tactics. If you’re going to use lower quality links to build with, those links will need some better links to increase their authority.


Ross Hudgens—The Man, Click2Rank friend,Link Builder—is next.

Each website has several nearby locations that can attract links. Each nearby location can be used as a variable for a search query. The bigger the population, the more relevant results you’ll find.

Location often requires additional hustle to obtain links. Invite webmasters to your offices for a personal tour. Supply free products/samples at lower costs. Send personal, customized pitches using location as a selling point. Create a “best website in location” widget. Guest post about regional issues and relate back to your business. Create a local outreach program. Host/support a philanthropic event and then contact every regional blogger to write about it.
Utilize price anchoring when pitching local sponsorships. Price anchoring sets a psychological anchor when pitching a price by providing a dollar amount you’re willing to pay for something up front, in the first email.


Roger Montti—Link Builder, awesome last name, Pony-tail Sporter—talks about the perfect email approach.

What’s the first thing you do when you see the subject line, “link request”? Do you open it? I don’t. I visualize this scrungy homeless guy begging for links. Before you send the email:

  • Inspire Trust
  • Author credentials, author bios, author accomplishments
  • Get guest posts on other sites that they are aware of before asking for a guest post on their site.
  • News, as seen on TV = positive feelings
  • Associations (not just for links) tell potential link partner you are one of them

Roger is running out of time and just sped up 5X.

Pull it all together. Get the email set, prepped, and sent out with a non-spammy subject line.


Conrad Saam—Link Builder, Speaker, Good PowerPoint Images.

Get an understanding of the journalism major. The key to their success in this industry is to break stories. If you can help them break stories you’ll find getting links from news sources is a lot easier. PR can be a huge help in your link building arsenal. Make the stories exclusive. If they know they are the only outlet getting your story, they’ll listen.

PR Story Ideas

  • Use your own data to create stories
  • Write stories for the press
  • Embrace controversy
  • Annoy people who hate you

No Bad PR In SEO

When it comes to link building, there is no such thing as bad PR.


Finally we have Eric Engage—Interviewer of Experts, Moustache Aficionado, link builder.

You want high value links? Pick a good target, right?

How about—nice PageRank (PageRank is a horrible metric by the way). Eric Flew to DC and gave an all-day SEO training seminar to teach government webmasters. Within months they had 6 links on PR 7 pages on a PR 10 web site. Lesson? Credibility is everything.

How about We found out how to contact them, got an email address. We made a great pitch, produced some “kick-ass content”, and got three article placements to date. If you find a good site to get links from go look for the opportunities.

Pitch the content

  • When you pitch your ideas, you are the authority. Sell it, believe it, and bring it.
  • Stop believing in your limitations.
  • Find golden links.
  • Be willing to invest big and win big.
  • Establish and sell yourself as an authority.
  • Stop thinking manipulation and start thinking excellence!


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