The terribly loud and somewhat annoying Sage Lewis hosted the session on authoritative links. Sally Falkow with Expansion Plus opened the session with a quote from Matt Cutts “Thematic incoming links from ‘Authority Sites’ carry more weight than on-the-page optimization.” The definition of an authoritative site includes: strong-themed content with a high page count and fresh content. Falkow’s approach to securing authoritative links is to target media sites via public relations efforts (news, press releases, etc.). One example of SEM PR was HerRoom.com’s bounce test videos of women jogging on treadmills with various bras. Falkow took on the project, looking for a news angle, and found an scientific expert that has studied the damage on breast tissue based on various types of sports and support bras. The resulting podcast interview with the expert generated a ton of media interest (Science Daily, USA Today, MSNBC, etc.). The resulting impact on search results was significant (from off the charts to #14 in a few weeks). Sally left us with a parting though: Press Rooms are not just for the media anymore…they’re also for customers. It’s good to keep abreast of the latest link development strategies.
Next up, Chris Boggs with BRULANT spent 2 slides too many promoting his company, before getting into the heart of the presentation on linkbaiting. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my binoculars to view his teensy font-laded presentation, so I had to extrapolate a bit. In terms of the reasoning for linkbaiting, Boggs reminds us that the long-term value of social media links are still in question, can become stale, can be confusing to clients. Boggs recommended revisiting old-school tactics like link monitoring (looking out for negative inbound linking) and reciprocal linking (which may not be completely dead), directories (BestoftheWeb has deep link strength) and off-site linkbait (Linkerati opportunities like video and image searches). Additional recommendations include link remediation, link requests, directory submissions, press releases, article syndication, site sponsorships and more. When asked about the no follow tags now prevalent in social media sites, Boggs reiterated that it’s about visibility and direct traffic, not just the link juice.
Last but not least, Lee Odden with TopRank Online Marketing covered media and blogger relations. He broke down the differences between push and pull, where push is includes wire service, networking, pitching and RSS and pull involves press releases, news room, social media and coverage. When it comes to blogger relations, critical success factors include relevance and relationships. The Dos include: your homework…make the pitch relevant. Use tools like MyEdcals and Cision as well as Technorati and blogrolls to research the blogosphere. Bloggers are looking for reliable sources and timely information: getting the scoop. The next Do is to make it easy: shape the story for the readers, offer up an abstract, high res images, video and presentations. Don’t forget to publicize your publicity: highlight coverage (link love), archive media coverage and offer RSS feeds. Don’t be sloppy or spammy with impersonal broadcast pitches. Don’t be a one trick pony: once you gain coverage, keep coming back (building the relationship) in order to become a trusted, consistent source. Don’t be arrogant: never assume a journalist is obligated to cover your company, yet don’t treat bloggers as second-rate citizens either. Don’t ignore multiple promotion channels (wire service, images, videos, RSS, Twitter, blog, networking and bookmarking sites, etc.). Don’t forget to say thank you to bloggers after receiving coverage (they’re human too). When asked about commenting on blogs and articles, Odden confirmed it’s a fine idea. In all, the session offered both validation and new insights.