Posts Tagged ‘link building’

Case Study: How Unique Influence Uses BuzzStream and Citation Labs to Supercharge their Link Building

Ryan Pitylak, CEO of Unique InfluenceRyan Pitylak is the CEO of Unique Influence, a full-service search marketing and digital PR agency. Unique Influence is not only a BuzzStream customer, they also provide content creation and link building services to a number of other BuzzStream customers.  I’ve known Ryan for a long time and I’ve heard great things about their work from our customers, so when he offered to explain how BuzzStream and Citation Labs ties into his processes for link prospecting and relationship management, I jumped at it. 

 

 

Background

75% of a website’s ranking in Google comes from its link profile, according to SEOMoz.  This means that the quantity and authority of the links pointing into your website are critically important to its performance. At Unique Influence, we help our clients increase the number of organic, high quality links from relevant websites across the web.

We build relationships with top quality websites that are:

  • Contextually relevant – Websites that are in the same industry or share the same audience
  • High authority – Websites that have a high number of quality inbound links
  • High quality – Websites that maintain a high level of quality in the content that they post on their site

Two of the key challenges to building high quality links are:

  1. Finding acceptable websites
  2. Contacting the sites in order to establish a relationship

  (more…)

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New Free Link Building Tools!

We’re happy to announce the release of a collection of free link building tools.  Over the last three years, we’ve built a number of tools that we use internally, some to help with customer implementations and some as prototypes for tools we’ve added to the product.  It’s great that these tools have helped our customers, but we haven’t been happy that they’re mostly only available to us.  So, we’re cleaning them up and rolling them out to everyone.  The first four of these are available today and we’ll continue to clean up tools and add them to the collection at a pretty steady pace.

Here’s a quick summary of the first tools we’re rolling out:

Email Research Tool

Last week we announced the release of an email research tool for BuzzStream subscribers that’s designed to reduce the time spent researching email addresses. You just select a list of contacts and BuzzStream automatically conducts 23 different searches for each contact.  The free tool for researching email addresses works in a similar way (although only for one contact at a time). For a closer look at both tools, check out this video.

Oh yeah, one thing before you watch the video…sorry in advance for the audio quality.  It’s bad.  Real bad.  I didn’t have access to our good recording equipment, so now, there are all sorts of fun pops, clicks and ridiculously bad audio edits (all layered over the nasally voice that just drives the ladies crazy :)).

Link Building Query Generator

Enter in some information about your brand, your competition and your keywords and the link building query generator will generate Google and Bing queries to help you find influencers and link opportunities.  What’s really nice is the tool lets you save the Bing searches as an OPML file so you can easily add them to a feed reader or dashboard app (i.e., iGoogle, pageflakes, etc.).

Domain Name Extraction Tool

Great tool to use if you have a list of URLs and you want to extract the domain.  Paste the URLs into the domain name extraction tool and it kicks out a CSV file with the original URLs and the domains.

URL “Theme” Extraction Tool

The idea for this tool came from an Excel for SEOs post that Mike Pantoliano wrote.  One of the things Mike showed in the post was how you can use excel formulas to take a URL and strip out the theme section (e.g.,  turn a URL like http://www.example.com/snowboarding” into “snowboarding”).  We’d already built a lot of tools for URL manipulation, so extending them to do this was easy.  Now, to extract the theme from a set of URLs, rather than writing excel formulas to extract them, just paste in the URLs and you’ll get back a CSV with the “theme” section of the URL.

One last thing.  Big thanks to Jeremy BenckenAnn Smarty and Garrett French for inspiring many of the searches in the link building query generator.  Jeremy started the design of a query generator tool for BuzzStream two years ago and many of the original queries are in the tool.  One of the first collections of queries we found was in a post Ann wrote two and a half years ago.  It was still one of our most valuable resources when putting the tool together.  Garrett has taken things to a whole new level with his link building query posts on the ontolo blog.  And if you haven’t checked out the ontolo query generator, you’re missing out.

We’re just getting started with these, so keep your eyes peeled…lots more tools on the way.

Enjoy!

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Major Product Update: Inline Editing and Customizable Views Are Here!

When it comes to managing relationships with influencers and managing links, people have a love/hate relationship with their spreadsheets.  On the one hand, spreadsheets become impossible to manage as you scale your efforts.  On the other hand, they’re flexible and fast.  So, for us, the trick is building a system that makes it easy for people to scale their efforts without sacrificing any of the speed and flexibility.  With the release of Inline Editing and Customizable Views this week, we think we’ve made a big step towards that goal.

Our customers have played a big role in the development of both of these. They really drove the vision of these as they were being developed.  So thanks to all for your input and insights as BuzzStream continues to evolve. All right, let’s take a closer look.

Inline Editing (See Video)

This is kind of the “2″ of a “1-2 Punch” that includes Customizable Views. We’ve added in-line editing to the list view. This is a huge time saver when having to make a few quick edits on the fly. Instead of clicking into each individual record to edit you can do so from the list view. Just click the record you want to edit and update the the fields you need. This makes doing multiple edits a breeze.

Customizable Views (See Video)

Now you can see your Contacts, Media Outlets, Link Partners and Links how you want. Select the columns you want to see, and move those columns where you want them be. We’ve made it super-easy to customize the “list view” of all your information so you can work with it how you want to. This is our first stab at it and we will be refining as we go.

Other Quick Fixes and Changes

Twitter Messages

Fixed a small bug that was effecting the collection of Tweets between you and your contacts.

Blank BuzzMarker

Our beloved BuzzMarker would show up blank when reaching your Contact or Link Partner limit during BuzzMarking. You will now receive a handy prompt to upgrade your account.

Relationship Stage Updating

The relationship stage was not updating for individual records copied across multiple projects.

Better Delete Messaging

We’ve cleared up some of the messaging in the product to make it more clear when you’re deleting a contact and when you’re just removing it from a project.

Twitter ID’s in the BuzzMarker

Fixed a small issue where “twitter.com/profilename” was being marked as the Twitter ID.

Twitter OAuth Verification Fail Message

You will now get a friendly error message when Twitter fails to link your Twitter account to BuzzStream.

Import Feature Loading Faster

We were experiencing a little lag time after clicking “Import” and the feature opening up. We thought it was a bit annoying, so we fixed it.

Faster Tag Loading

If you have a bunch of Tags things may have slowed down a bit for you when you needed to edit tags in bulk, edit a records’ details or use the BuzzMarker. We put in a fix to speed things up.

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New Release: Twitter OAuth, Media Metrics, Advanced Tagging and Filtering

We’ve been busy implementing some new features that speed up BuzzStream, allow you to better manage/search your tags and show you a more in depth snapshot of your media outlets, influencers, links and link partners.

Again our customers have come up with some great ideas and we listened. All told this release is pretty deep and adds some solid punch to BuzzStream. Let’s take a look.


Tag Manageability

In the past you’ve only been able to view all of your tags as a lump sum across all of your projects. You told us that this can easily become bulky and overwhelming. Now you can easily view and apply your tags by breaking them down to particular projects or a specific user.

Advanced Filtering Updates

We also added “and/or” filtering to Tags, Custom Fields, Link type, Link Partner Type, Media Outlet Type. This addition gives you a powerful parameter to further distill your search results.



Media Outlet Twitter Metrics

Get an accurate and fast snapshot of the potential influence and reach of your media outlets Twitter metrics (Follower, Following and Updates).



Twitter OAuth Support

We’re now supporting OAuth for our Twitter integration.  You can now keep track of Twitter conversations with your influencers without having to input your Twitter credentials into BuzzStream. Twitter handles this for us now.  Just click on the Twitter icon under Settings > Configuration and you can link your Twitter profile to BuzzStream. If you have a BuzzStream account just click here to make the change!



Faster “Bulk” Actions

We’ve sped up the time it takes to apply bulk actions when moving or copying records across projects, deleting records, changing overall rating and editing tags. You should see a substantial improvement in the time it takes for these changes to apply when you are making changes in mass.


Other Quick Fixes and Changes


BuzzBox VCard

With one click your BuzzBox email address is exported as a VCard for easy importing into your email client or address book.

Easily Import Merged Person’s Names

No longer do you need to separate first and last names that live  in the same cell of your spread sheet. Our import feature automatically separates those into two separate fields in your BuzzStream contact profile.

Hide Custom Fields

Use or don’t use all those Custom Fields you’ve created, it’s up to you. We’ve made it possible for you to enable or disable each you create depending your preference.

Import Now Supports Over 50 New Fields Including YouTube and MySpace

We beefed up our import options by adding over 50 new fields that you can import.

Urls in Custom Fields are Now Linkable

Do you have urls as part of a custom field? It’s no longer necessary to cut and paste those into your browser.  We’ve made them clickable from within BuzzStream.

Easier-to-Read Task Notification Emails

We have cleaned them up a bit so you an quickly see what you need to do for the day and get to it.

Added “Notes” to Import

“Notes” are an important part of any imported record and now you can add one note to each record you import to BuzzStream.

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Anatomy of Link Building Pitch Spam

The Bad Pitch Blog is a great place to laugh at the foibles of unwitting PR hacks who send out spammy, untargeted, impersonal pitches to journalists.  I’d love to read a blog like that for link builders.  However, I worry that spammy link pitches are too much the norm in our industry, so the blog could get kind of boring.

Here’s a recent example of something I got.  There are a lot of reasons why this pitch will got straight to the trash, but for fun I thought I’d dissect it:

The Suspicious Sender

The “from” address is “@indiasem.net” but he’s asking for links on 3 websites, so it’s obviously not from the site owner.  Well, that’s ok, I know there are quality folks like Eric Ward who do link building for their clients.  No harm in having an agency, right?  But wait, why doesn’t this guy, Julian Levin, have an email like jlevin@indiasem.net.  It just says “custom@indiasem.net”.  That’s kind of weird.  Sort of makes me think he forgot to replace “custom” with something more personal.  Might some mass mailing software be at work here?

You Had Me at “Dear Webmaster”

Boy, it must be hard to check the About page on a site to see who founded it.  Or maybe search Linkedin.  But no, Julian did not deign himself to either of those steps, going for the ever-effective “Dear Webmaster” opening.  But let’s see what he has to say.  Maybe Julian used the time he saved in not researching who runs the site to draft a really awesome, personalized note…  Ok, so he writes, “I have visited your site and thought it was excellent. I particularly liked content of your site.Your site is professional and offers excellent value to your visitors.” Wow, thanks!.   So you’ve written 3 sentences that state wholly generic platitudes that could obviously be sent to ANY website.  Well, personalization shall go wanting today.

Hey, have you even LOOKED at My Site?

As I read more, the text generally doesn’t make sense (“I noticed that you have linked to other sites and thought my website might be of interest to you and your website visitors” — um, no I don’t have any links on the page you mention (it’s just the URL contains the word “Links” as in “golf links” perhaps an idiom with which you lack familiarity).  Maybe you’re using Google to search “allinurl:links” and spamming every site on the list.  Hey, I’ll bet you never even looked at my page.  You realize of course that my page is specific to a small city in Florida, right?  But yet you don’t mention why you’d want the link there…

Why Again Should I Link to Your Paper Bag Site?

Then Julian writes “Please add links here…”.  Wait all you care about is getting your links to paper sacks, corrugated boxes, and commercial warehousing on some deep-ass page of my site (that you mistakenly stated has other outbound links) without explaining in any way why it makes sense. OK!

Poorly Written Site Descriptions

And then he provides title, URL, description for 3 sites.  Hey Julian, have you ever heard the expression beggars can’t be choosers.  If I do add your links, it’s going to be because I think they add value to my content and make sense for my users.  And btw, the proper grammar is “We specialize,” not “Web specializes” and it’s a little wordy not to mention your punctuation is a disaster.  That’s ok, if I add a link, I’ll probably have to rewrite it (but then again, that’s one more bit of work for me to do now).

A Little Bit ‘O Black Hat

Then comes the quid-pro-quo (“Sites where i shall publish your links”) followed by a list of 5 directory sites (notice the mixed formatting, likely from copying and pasting without paying enough attention).  Oh, I get it this is a pyramid/triangle link swap deal you’re proposing.  Well, let’s have a look.  The first site I go to (SurfGizmo) is flagged by Firefox as a “Reported Attack Site” which means, “Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.”  Sweet.  Good thing it’s been months since you first emailed and Firefox caught this.  If I’d given you the link straightaway, I would probably now have a link from the worst kind of neighborhood.

Offering Link Exchanges from Oversubscribed Pages

So let me get this straight… I’m going to give you 3 links on my site to unrelated content and in exchange you’re going to give me 1 link on 5 crappy sites that are security threats, low/non-existent PR, may or may not be indexed by Google (btw, I’d need to go research this for each site), have hundreds of existing external links, and were obviously created to have loads more (so any links I get from you will diminish in value over time).  How can I refuse!

By the Way, Do You Exist?

And then there’s the question of “Julian Levin”.  Is this a real person?  Well, let me Google that and find out… hmm, lots of Julian Levins, but none who seem to be associated with IndiaSEM.net.  Well, maybe IndiaSEM.net has an “About Us” page with bios of their staff.  Maybe Julian is a straight shooter and I just don’t realize it.  Oh wait, their site has no information just a strange form for “Just Financial Administration.”

Well, I could go on.  But you get the idea.  This is a classic example of spray and pray pitching.  Relevance is an afterthought.  I hate to think  this guy’s clients are paying much for this “service” which frankly could be automated with a robot (and let’s be honest, 95% of the work probably was).  Sadly, even SEO firms with good names are taking the low road.

I’ll post shortly on the right way to pitch a link.  But let me say this, Julian, I think job #1 would be to actually look at the pages where you’re requesting links before you email anyone.

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Hello…anybody home?

Ok, I realize things have been a little quiet here at the BuzzStream blog (understatement).  No we haven’t disappeared, we’ve just been deep in our cave trying to get the first release of the product finished.  We’ve been working insane hours trying to get this release in the can.  The good news is that we’re getting very, very close and we’re really excited about what we’re going to be delivering.  Our version 1 release, which is a set of tools for SEO link building, will be available at the end of February.  We’ll follow that up with our version 2 release, which is a set of tools for social media marketing and public relations.

Over the next few weeks we’ll start opening the BuzzStream curtains a bit more to give you a look at what we’re working on.  We’re looking forward to talking with you about why we started BuzzStream, the problems we’re trying to solve and the tools that we’re building to do this.

If you spend a lot of time building links and you just can’t wait to hear more about what we’re working on, feel free to contact me directly.  You can reach me either on twitter or email.  My twitter ID is paulmay and my email address is paul <at> buzzstream <dot> com.

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Jujitsu Link Building

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.

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