Link Magnetism – How to Create an Authority Site that Attracts Authority Links

by Jason Acidre on August 20, 2011 · 54 comments · Content, Search, Social


Link MagnetismBuilding links to a website is easy, I’ve done it many times, and for sure, you have tried doing this many times as well. On the other hand, building authority links is a different story, since – more often than not – it requires time, effort, creativity, persistence in execution and plenty of luck to successfully obtain these types of high-caliber links.

To start off, this post will cover tips and situations that were all based on my experience, and is basically a story of how I got 2 authority links, without asking for it.

When you visualize link building in a plain view, you will somehow realize that there are always two plausible options to link acquisition:

  • You create the link from the target website.
  • You inject to them the idea of linking to your site.

And with these 2 options in mind, it naturally comes down to one simple line of attack – creating the opportunity. Through my experience, I realized that you’ll only need to continuously/insistently develop two facets of your campaign in order to attract and acquire authority links to your site (and this strategy will revolve around these 2 aspects):

  • Reputation = content
  • Link assets = relationships

And along the process of building those opportunities, your reputation and link assets, you’ll mostly not notice that you are already gradually becoming a link magnet.

Why? It’s because of the processes that we mostly implement when we’re trying to create those opportunities, wherein we keep on creating great content, nonstop, with the sole intent of acquiring valuable links/citations from highly trusted websites without realizing the small amount of impact each action is able to create, until it all piles up and boom, you’re already a link magnet.

To the both perspectives of human and search engines, a website’s reputation and the relationships that surround its brand speaks a whole lot for itself. With that said, getting high-value links from other authority websites is more viable if they’ll also see that your site is an authority and is worthy of being contextually cited on their site. To put it simpler: you need to become an authority to acquire authority links.

“Link magnetism = building a credible reputation (continuous creation of highly-exceptional content) + building strong link assets (relationships with industry influencers).”

Stage 1: Creating an Authority Website

To create an authority website, you’ll need tons of exceptional content hosted within your domain. That’s why planning your site’s content structure ahead is imperative, given that a well-staged content development strategy (compiling a good content inventory before even launching the site or its marketing campaign) can nurture the site’s brand identity along the process of marketing it.

If your site is continuously providing solid content that can be really useful to its target audience, then it can send massive and obvious signals to your visitors that they should keep on returning and sharing your content. This in turn builds the noise up that can help attract other authority websites to notice you and possibly link to it in the future.

In building your site’s content inventory, it’s important to cover as much topics as you can (which should all be thematically relevant), wherein you can scale the scope of your expertise through the content that you’ll create. Make each of your content serve as your site’s foundation by making them go viral and/or as comprehensive as you can, which you can deliver in content formats such as:

  • Evergreen
  • Extensive tutorials
  • Rich-media content

Having many strong, viral and high-quality contents hosted in your domain, with social proof, can extremely impact the way others see your site, as it can progressively improve your site’s domain authority, your brand’s social authority, and help build a robust following base for your site – which can certainly epitomize your website as an authority.

Viral Content Creation and Promotion

The easiest way to build your site’s reputation and identity within its field/industry is through the uniqueness of all the content that it’s able to offer. If you can consistently create loads of high quality contents, with high potentials of going viral, then the better chances of garnering authority links to your site, through citations or link opportunities that are a product of those combined efforts, given that all the (viral) content that you’ll be creating and promoting will all add up in building your overall reputation.

How to create a viral content:

  • Content strategy development – do an extensive research about the topic and complete all the necessary details/information that your projected content will need in order for it to be comprehensive and competitive. Try to offer the best content about the subject for it to have higher chances of ranking highly on search results. List all the collected information and make an outline of your content (ex. possible title, format, design and information architecture). It’s also important to know your content’s target audience beforehand, as the approach of the content will highly depend on its aimed results (was the content created to generate links, leads, social shares or just for branding purposes?).
  • Keyword research – your content must be keyword-focused, wherein you can use your target keyword(s) on the content’s page title, post title/headline, URL and the content’s body. A content that has immense potentials of going viral and socially popular can certainly rank for its targeted keywords effortlessly. Use Google Keyword Tool to identify good keywords to target for your content.
  • Competitive analysis – observe and examine your competitors’ similar content. You do this by searching your content’s target title on Google, and see the top ranking pages. Extract all the important details of each ranking page, and make sure that you’ll be including those information to yours (this ensures that you’ll be providing the most extensive content related to the subject). You can also identify the weaknesses of each competing page and use them to your own advantage, as this tactic can help you outrank them on search results.
  • Build a contact list – know the people, blogs and/or organizations that might be interested to share your content before actually creating it, as this will make it easier to promote the content once you have launched it. There are several ways in building a list of link prospects for your content, like gathering contact details from sites that already have history of linking to the same type of content that you’ll provide (most probably sites that have linked to your competitors’ similar content and you can use tools like Yahoo Site Explorer to track these links from your competitors), active Twitter users and other known linkers (bloggers) in your industry. You can list all these prospects in an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Execution – create the content in accordance to the strategy you have devised.
  • Content value assessment – gauge the importance, value and marketability of the finish product and if the content will be able to draw actions from its target audience (was it specifically made for beginners, linkers, customers or industry influencers?). The easiest way to measure the value of your content is by determining the rarity of the information it contains, given that a content that offers valuable and hard-to-find information is very linkable, and this can increase the value of your proposition as well as the success rate of your link requests.
  • Editorial analysis – it’s always important to proofread and edit your work before or after publishing it. Update your content each time you find new information that fits your content’s theme and always test the strength of your content’s call to action to make the most out of the traffic it will constantly receive.

How to promote your viral content:            

  • Get social shares from your personal network.
  • Request links from your list of link prospects (from sites that might be interested to share and link to your content).
  • Reverse engineer links from your competitors’ similar content.
  • Promote the content through your externally distributed content such as whitepapers, press releases, guest blogs and interviews.
  • Participate on relevant discussions and link back to the content to serve as the comprehensive resource of your answers (on forum threads, Q&A sites and blog discussions).
  • Use Stumbleupon ads, as they can probably have thousands of cerebral users who are really into your industry.    
  • Buy sponsored tweets from influential people in your industry – you can check out Buysellads.com for this form service.
  • Offer incentives, like contest prizes, embeddable widgets, free sample products or paid review.   
  • Link out to authoritative brands in your industry to leverage the content’s social visibility, since they are more likely to share your content if it mentions their brands. Target brands that have strong following on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and try to be in contact before launching the content.
  • Create a newsworthy angle for your viral content and pitch your story (using your viral content as its resource) to news websites or online publications. You can also join Helpareporter.com to pitch your story.
  • Maximize your content’s call to action by making it easy for future visitors to link to it or to share the content on various social networks.
  • Continuously promote your content by internally and contextually linking to it from your new blog posts or web pages.
  • Highlight the content on your site’s major traffic entries or landing pages (pages that have high search engine traffic).

For a more in-depth guide on how to promote a viral content, you can check out my old post about getting natural editorial links.

If you can rinse and repeat these content marketing strategies in your site’s future content, like repeating the process 10 or 20 more times, then building a strong reputable site (driven by content) will be very achievable in a matter of months. And that reputation alone can get you more subscribers, followers and natural links (can make you a link magnet), without the need of requesting for them take actions, in which you will be able to semi-automate the process of link acquisition and social sharing every time you publish new content.

Stage 2: Influence Marketing

Influence marketing is a marketing tactic/perspective that necessitates actions and processes that aim to compel a specific set of entities in a certain industry, instead of targeting its real market. These entities are most likely the ones that already have a strong following base or are seen to be somehow influential in the field based on their content and social reputation.

In my case, I’ve created most of my content with the slight intent and objective of exemplifying my expertise to industry influencers, treating them as my primary audience. Then I tried to build connections with them through:

  • Knowing the type of content that they are more likely to read and share to their audience.
  • Interacting with them through social networks and by following their blogs and starting conversations through remarkable comments.
  • Bringing the discussions back to my site and letting them see the relevance and uncommonness of the content I provide.
  • Linking out to them from a highly-linkable content that I have created, as this will increase the chances of them sharing or linking back to the content.

If your content is capable of captivating experts or influencers in your industry, then it can most probably set bigger impact and influence to your real target audience, given that a site that is being constantly vouched by reputable individuals or organizations can easily create more linking opportunities, as people are more to trust the information that the site is sharing.

“Influence marketing, in its simplest form, is creating highly exceptional content and letting other experts know about it and to be influenced by it.” For more in-depth guide, you can check out my old post about 1-2 Punch Marketing.

Stage 3: Branding

In my opinion, creating a strong brand presence to a website is the most vital process of online marketing. A site’s brand name should be the most important keyword of the campaign, as this is the area that gives the distinct identity to a business that’s certainly capable of separating it from its competitors.

It takes time, effort and consistency to efficiently develop a site’s brand, seeing as it will require processes that will need strategic planning:

  • Investing on a visually attracting web design, as it’s one of the strongest indications of longevity and is also the area that’s capable of sending massive brand signals to site visitors.
  • Building noise to your site externally using inbound marketing techniques (like guest blogging, viral content marketing, etc…) to let the big players in your field notice your brand.
  • Disseminating your brand’s identity through efficient and ethical link building, wherein you can focus on using your brand name as anchor texts when building highly-visible links (through content and community discussions).
  • Improving brand mentions by making your brand highly perceptible within your territory, such as inclusion of your brand name on each of your site’s page titles (so whenever people socially share or link back to your content externally, it will include the site’s name), as well as on your externally distributed content such as free whitepapers, infographics, guest blogs, press releases and externally hosted videos.

Brand data – such as branded search and amount of external brand mentions – are now heavily used by search engines to determine the authoritativeness of a website, as they can base sitelinks and trusted pages to be displayed on their search results through these metrics. Having a strong brand can improve your inner pages’ search rankings, as search engines are more likely to trust and return web pages as results when they are hosted by a recognized authority site.

Stage 4: Becoming a Link Magnet

Having the first 3 phases laid out – an authority website that hosts exceptional contents, influential people in the field supporting your cause and a strong brand that’s recognized by search engines – shapes a link magnet.

In this section, I will only discuss how I managed to attract and acquire authority links through some examples. But first, here are some of the ways how I identify a potential source of an authority link:

  • Have fast crawl rates, which can usually be measured through the site’s homepage PageRank.
  • Have a strong brand and following base, which can produce massive social signals.

Example 1: Creating authority and high PR links through reputation

Technorati Post

A few months ago, I was invited by Technorati to be a regular contributor on their business channel. I personally think that the opportunity was molded through the reputation that I have built for myself in the past several months of creating highly-engaging content on this blog. Basically, I was able to attract them through the way I produce content and eventually created that opportunity of obtaining a strong link from them.

Example 2: Attracting authority and high PR links through relationships

KissMetrics Blog

I have been connecting with Kristi Hines of Kikolani for almost over a year now, as I have been following her blog since I started blogging. Being connected with her eventually created a path for my blog to obtain an authority link, seeing that she saw the way how I delivered my content, and perhaps that reason somehow developed how others see my reputation as an SEO and a blogger.

Example 3: Acquiring links from educational sites (.edu)

Edu link

This link is not actually directing to this domain, though I think it’s worthy of being included here, since that cycle of linking is the best way to describe link magnetism and because that .edu page is directing to the article I’ve written for Technorati. The possible reasons why the article got that .edu link could be because of the trustworthiness of Technorati’s reputation and brand as a resource, which actually made it a magnet.

When you achieve those kinds of links, it’s important that you promote those pages as well (by linking to it whenever it’s possible), since it can help build its strength in due course as a link to your site – a link that will be certainly hard for your competitors to replicate.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and you can also follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Image Credit: BlackHoleInAJar

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark @ TheBitBot SEM Blog August 21, 2011 at 4:19 am

Jason,

Your post confirms in my mind the fact that niche or sniper sites are really on the way out.

I pretty much figured that they were anyway, but the methodologies that you spell out here are almost a mathematical proof to that end.

I believe that authority sites will ultimately be the last sites standing, in organic search results, that is.

Mark

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Kaiserthesage August 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Agree. With the way Google is cleaning their search results through constant and drastic algorithm updates, it appears that thinner sites have no place in it. Plus they’re getting smarter in identifying genuinely useful sites, so I guess, affiliate marketers will really have to focus on their larger sites, as these have bigger potentials of getting targeted traffic through organic search.

Thanks for another awesome comment Mark!

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Mike August 21, 2011 at 8:15 am

Congrats on your successes. It’s a perfect example of putting out great content, and getting rewarded with it. I’m sure your business isn’t hurting either ;)

After having been online for 10 years, I am now trying to increase my knowledge of link building and your blog is at the top of my list. I hope you continue to put out this great content.

Would love to make a connection with you at some point.

Cheers,
Mike

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Kaiserthesage August 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Mike,

Thanks for dropping by and for the awesome compliment :) Glad that you’re finding my posts useful. Would really love to work with you in the future (after your site revamp, hopefully).

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Ferdous@Seo Analyst August 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

A wealth of Information. Every time come to your blog expecting 100% and in return I get 200%. 100% bonus from the sources and links you provides.

Great Stuff man keep it up. I owe you lot now, as you are saving me at least 2 hours a week hunting for resources!

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Kaiserthesage August 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thanks man! Never thought that you guys find the links I share useful! Glad I could extend the help, indirectly :D

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Peter August 22, 2011 at 5:00 am

Outreach to others in a similar niche to yourself can help tremendously.

The social signals which Google attempts to gain from social media will eventually become the new ‘backlink’.

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Kaiserthesage August 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Yeah, that’s how it appears these days, as they are somehow relying on social data in determining quality content (basically, when people like it, they should be able to return it immediately to their users).

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Ramone August 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

@Peter: that’s what I keep saying. The social networking becomes ever more important for your business and many people have already realized this and started taking advantage.

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Jonathan @ Breaktheseal August 22, 2011 at 7:43 am

Back on top form man!

Really enjoyed reading this post. Amazing how many sites don’t bother using the brand at the end of their title tag and prefer to just slam another keyword in. Usually repeating an earlier one at that.

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Kaiserthesage August 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Whoa, thanks Jonathan! I was actually inspired by your previous comment!

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Claire August 23, 2011 at 12:47 am

I am really impressed with this article and I find your “create a viral content” is very useful for me. Thanks for sharing this knowledge to us. :)

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Francis from Europe casino August 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Link magnet is putting all efforts together to become ‘An authority’ in your niche.I do concur but it requires a quantum of effort. Modern SEO has plummeted to who you know ( social connection) and the financial power you ‘ve got. Google has knowingly or unknowingly/officially and unofficially categorized SEO into big man SEO and small man SEO.

if you’ve got the cash get links from Yahoo finance and rank well! – that’s SEO

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Jez Villena August 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Jason,

Very informative post. Being new in SEO, this will serves a great tip.

“Become an authority to acquire authority links”, this said it all. Building a reputation by constantly creating good content. Earn trusts, and eventually become a link magnet and achieve authority links.

Impressive. Thank you for sharing.

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Jeff August 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Great job on the post, and congrats on joining buysellads.com. Hopefully at some point my site will be able to join, and take advantage of the advice you discussed in this post. Keep up the good work!

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Shamick@link building August 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

This article is very helpful to me and it is a good thing that you posted step by step what it takes to build authority links good post

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Lyka Ricks August 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I always harvest great information on your blogs. It is very informative and beneficial as always.

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Andrew Walker August 26, 2011 at 1:36 am

As always Jason. You always did a great job in sharing helpful articles. Thanks a lot!

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Stephen Jack @ Compare Prices UK August 26, 2011 at 2:58 am

Hey man! I am working to make road plan through which you can make viral links which is a true way of building links and which are most loved by Google. I also concluded the same thing while researching for the best method to make viral link building. It is only your content through which you can make viral links or it is a good reputation of your business which can help you to create viral links for you

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Kaiserthesage August 26, 2011 at 3:26 am

Thanks for the comment Stephen. Agree, just like what I’ve said, through reputation/content and relationships, you can certainly garner natural and viral links.

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Carol August 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

No doubt, all the strategies and steps you listed will allow to create a successful authority site in any niche. However, it seems to me that in order to execute all those steps, one needs to dedicate ideally 100% of his/her time. So, this won’t be possible for someone working on a regular 9-5 job who has only little time available.

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Kaiserthesage August 26, 2011 at 9:46 am

Yeah, but if you’ll be working with other people (like another link builder and a copywriter) to implement all the tedious tasks, then it’s very doable :)

Thanks for the awesome comment Carol!

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Tom Coleman August 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks for the great content and road map to making a blog a link magnet. If people print this out and follow it daily over time, like a hundred days, they will be well on their way to a successful money making blog.

I look forward to checking back frequently. Thanks again.

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John@ website consulting August 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Hi Jason,

You are very correct in that the best way to go viral is through unique content that is attractive (kind of like your blog here). It seems that so many articles and blog posts all say the same thing, but just in slightly different ways. With you though, your blog has obviously gone viral and you can thank the awesome content that you put out for that!

With the recent Panda update, do you think that Google places even MORE emphasis on trust than they did say, a year ago?

Thanks again!!

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Albin@Sökmotoroptimering August 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Wow, how did you get the change to write for Technorati? That’s huge. I know you’re a really gifted entrepreneur in the Internet Marketing Business but I didn’t know that you were a guest blogger to them. Did you get paid for that? (You don’t have to answer).

Thanks for the tip BTW, sorry for goin’ a little off topic ;)

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JimWatson9 August 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Comprehensive, well researched article – excellent — tweeted & LinkedIn links ot this baby – which kind proves the point of what you are saying :)

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Gilbert August 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Well laid out plan. Some of my observations as i build up 2 sites into authority status:

Google now favors long contents – 500 words or more

On certain keywords, manual inspection of your site and contents occurs before ranking permanently high on search results

Authority sites require daily unique contents and that I think makes all the difference.
Bookmarking from high end sites seems to be back in Google favor.

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Vernon August 29, 2011 at 1:11 am

Hello Jason,

Its seem your post is very informative because of your real life situation and experience. I have experience that for almost a year but not like you. I been trying to do what i can to be able to move forward. This post is informative and helpful. I think about Panda Update for now, because I think there will be some effect to it.

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The Kalki August 30, 2011 at 2:17 am

Jason! Wow. This post really impressed me. It really has motivated me to get off my a$$ and get to work. This is absolutely going to be my guide over the next six months or so of my life! I’m amazed at all of the good posts you write. With the advent of Google+ and how I think it’s going to start influencing SEO we’re going to have to be completely focused on the viral aspect of our content marketing. It’ll be really mind boggling to see how authoritative we will have to be to get any type of traffic at all. I wonder what will happen to all the spammers. Will they dry up?

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Kaiserthesage August 30, 2011 at 4:11 am

Thanks for the awesome comment! With regards to your question, I’m not really sure, though one thing is for sure, Google is up to eradicate them haha :)

By the way, thanks for adding me on G+. Are you related to Aaron Gillespie (of Underoath and The Almost?) – I’m a fan hahaha.

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Noel Addison@Logo Design Ventura August 30, 2011 at 4:36 am

I agree that building a strong brand presence to a website is the most vital process of online marketing. Branding yourself or your website on the we is a prerequisite to a successful online marketing.

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Felicia @ No Deposit Poker August 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm

As always, your posts are nicely presented and are very informative – no doubt from someone who truly has the experience on what he is writing. I guess you not just talk the talk, but walk it as well. Thanks.

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AstroGremlin@superheros September 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Your Sageness, your advice is indisputable. Describing popularity as “authority” has always sounded odd to me. I get the idea, but according to Alexa there are some porn sites with tremendous “authority.” :) Obviously interesting content is mandatory, especially for return visits. And viral discovery by lots of fans, through whatever means, is, too. It just seems funny to say the link to the Honeybadger YouTube video (which is hilarious by the way!) has “authority.”

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Kya September 9, 2011 at 9:34 am

Great article that involves evrything from how to set up the site to how to brand. Branding is very importat. I brand me, my self, personally via a personal blog. I get like maybe 10 inlinks evry week due to my articles, but its great links. Those 10 links, are like 100 from different sites. If you get my point.

Among this, I get lots of customers. I write good so evryone can understand my article, and then I try to involve personal things. If I for example sell a e-book, I buy it first then write what I think about it..

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alainadrew@appsforiphoneipad September 16, 2011 at 11:05 am

Hi Jason! This is a great article and very informative too. you never failed to amazed me with your blogs… I learned a lot from this content and I will follow these tips especially with your branding technique. Thank you for sharing these ideas. Hope I can read more of your informative blogs.

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Aubrey September 16, 2011 at 11:35 am

What if your blog is in the Vertical market from hell where you are competing with websites that have on-staff reporters and million dollar budgets. The blogs in my market are blog-snobs and only want to include the “big-boys” even though we produce great unique content. I have seen that many of these snobby blogs have a consortium of clogs that they link to and nobody else … how do I crack into that club?

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james September 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back at some point. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!

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Jon Cooper@Point Blank SEO November 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Awesome post Jason. I’ll be using some of these strategies for a client of mine!

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Luisa December 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

Sure to increase the page rank is sufficient to receive links from high PR pages from different sites. Sounds easy enough, but it is very hard to do. This article explain how to get it.

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Alexa January 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

About the second point regarding how to promote your viral content, it is not easy to find webmasters willing to publish a free link pointing to our website. Often this occurs if the link is reciprocated, in my experience.

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Hans@Tandblekning Billigt March 12, 2012 at 9:58 am

Little OT: How did you get the change to write for Technorati? That’s really awesome.

I know you’re a really gifted entrepreneur in the Internet Marketing Business but I didn’t know that you were a guest blogger to them. Did you get paid for that? ;)

Great post by the way, really appriciate posts about link building!

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David June 26, 2013 at 5:27 am

Great post, I have been having problems with creating good links, but after reading this I feel like I can go for it. Thanks a mil

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Shruti August 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Great post! These are all great suggestions to help make your company known as an industry authority, but you are also creating great content to help boost your SEO in the process. One project I have personally worked on and seen success in is to deploy a mini website. It is a great way to reach out and communicate with your audience.

Kindly Regard’s
Shruti

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Victor November 4, 2013 at 4:08 am

Influencers strategies are more and more valuable for PR teams today…

Here you will find a very interesting guide about this subject!

http://www.augure.com/resources/whitepapers/guide-influencers-strategy?goback=%2Egde_3859898_member_5799529206207504386#chapter1

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