I’m just back from SMX Advanced in Seattle, which was a great conference all about search marketing.  My personal interest was the organic search tract, which covers many methods we used to build ApartmentRatings.com.  And within organic search, the main attraction was link-building especially from a PR and social media perspective. 

I picked up a number of great ideas, and here’s an easy and quick one any entrepreneur can do right now: use Google date search to find your competitors’ newest links (especially on blogs and forums), then jump in and comment.  I call this jujitsu because you use your competitor’s successful marketing efforts against them. 

The key to this strategy is finding blog and forum discussion opportunities quickly and getting involved while the topics are hot.  When you comment, always include your signature with a link back to yourself.

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Go to Google, click Advanced Search, then in the field called “this exact word or phrase” enter a competitor’s domain name with quotes (e.g. “lawyers.com”)
  2. In the field, “Search within a site or domain:” enter “lawyers.com”.
  3. Click on the line marked “Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more” and choose “past 24 hours.” 
  4. Now click the “Advanced Search” button to search. 
  5. As a final step: in the search box, change the search from

    “lawyers.com” site:lawyers.com to
    “lawyers.com” -site:lawyers.com

    That tells Google to exclude any pages from your competitor’s own site and only shows other sites that link to your competitor.   You might also search for pages with include the word “Comment,” which is a good marker for pages that invite user comments, like this:

    “lawyers.com” -site:lawyers.com comments

Now you’re set to find some opportunities to participate in timely, relevant discussions.  This technique may also yield some reporters and webmasters who you can contact to pitch your site.

Jeremy Bencken

Jeremy Bencken co-founded BuzzStream and served as Chairman in our first few years. Before that, he co-founded ApartmentRatings.com, which he grew into the leading global source for ratings and reviews of apartments before selling it to Internet Brands. Currently, Jeremy runs Wordloop, a performance-based content marketing company in Austin, Texas. Jeremy also serves as an advisor to Sparefoot and inHabi, and is a mentor with Capital Factory. You can find Jeremy on Twitter or Google Plus.

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