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How to develop ROI-driven Inbound Marketing Campaigns

Inbound marketing has proven itself to be very effective in terms of helping small to enterprise-level brands reach business-related goals.

This marketing process involves a series of data-driven key initiatives. But the one key component that makes any form of marketing campaign actionable and successful is making certain that every action is goal-oriented.

goal-setting

Aligning methods/tactics to the business’ targets is crucial from start to end. Because this assures that every initiative will have impact (whether it’s big or small) to the business’ long-term goals – and this is the bottom line of what we’re doing.

It’s imperative to have a deeper grasp of what your client or your own business aims to achieve, as this makes it easier to determine which marketing channels to tap and take advantage of.

methods

There are several online marketing practices that are within the inbound marketing realm, and there are also ton of ways to make certain that each approach will be result-driven.

Will this action help us achieve our goals?

Keyword Research, Content Strategy & Consumer Insights

The best way to optimize for searchers and search engines is to be able to provide the information (in great detail and presentation) that your target audience are specifically searching for.

As I’ve mentioned on one of my recent blog posts (on how I win in search and content marketing), it all boils down to understanding what your target audience wants, needs and obviously seek for.

And again, goal setting plays a big role in SEO as well as in building a solid content strategy. Determine how your content will contribute to your organization and consider them as brand assets that can help:

  • Build authority and strengthen brand presence.
  • Generate leads and/or close sales.
  • Nurture potential customers and retain existing customers.

Start with FAQs. Because this is what your target market will continuously search for. Focus your content strategy on topic areas that have greater demand and likeliness to convert readers.

People search for answers. And it’s our job to make it easier for them to find the solutions.

There are many ways to identify and understand what a business’ target consumers may need in terms of information:

  • Getting more search query and content ideas by using keyword research tools.
  • Using Consumer Surveys to get actual insights from your target audience.
  • Studying popular communities (forums, social groups, blogs) in your industry and taking note of the most commonly discussed topics.
  • Using social listening tools, like Topsy, to gather topic ideas that are shareable and have strong social traction.

Integrating consumer insights with your SEO and content marketing will allow you to drive more targeted traffic to your site.

Another advantage is that it’ll be easier to tailor your content assets’ CTAs and special offerings based on what your target consumers need and will most likely convert to.

For more extensive tips on this area, you can also check Heidi Cohen’s checklist for content planning.

Authority Building

Establishing your brand as an authority or expert in your field can heavily influence how people interact with your brand – which often leads to better search visibility (since Google favour brands) and better conversions.

Aside from helping improve brand equity, being an authority may also have an indirect, but positive impact on a brand’s market and mind share.

That’s why investing on building a strong online brand presence is very important these days, as it can be an unfair advantage for a business competing for online-driven customers.

So what are the steps that companies can take to build themselves as an authority in their online space?

Content development

Being consistent in pushing out – not just great content – but content that will certainly be useful and compelling to your audience is the most fundamental step to becoming an authority on the web.

I’ve mentioned this as well on a post I’ve written few weeks ago – that the other key to winning in content marketing is to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ content campaigns.

As these insights will help you build a robust content strategy, which are based on your competitors’ flaws and efficiencies.

Focus on USP

Aim to become a top player in a niche in your industry. Because it will be easier to expand and target a wider audience once you’ve already proven your brand to be an authority.

Getting more coverage for your content and press mentions for your brand (through online/offline activations) will also be a lot easier if your unique value proposition stands out from the rest of your competition.

Strategic content partnerships

Build relationships and establish partnerships with other known publications in your industry. Identify sites where your target audience are, and make your brand more visible on these channels through:

  • Actively participating on their communities’ discussions (blogs, forums, etc…).
  • Regularly contributing content to absorb more readers back to your site (guest columns).
  • Inviting their authors to contribute content to your site as well.

These partnerships can be a powerful asset that can constantly bring more targeted traffic to your site, and improve social proof (that can build trust and brand perception). Think Distilled and Moz.

rand+wil

Social

Identify industry influencers that you want your brand to be associated with (use Followerwonk). Then build alliances to improve or semi-automate your content distribution – and to attract more social shares and followers as well.

For instance, if you look at Link Club, it’s a group that’s comprised of thought-leaders in the SEO industry who specialize in link building. Each individual is helping out each other to get their own personal brands out in the open.

This type of partnership/content collaboration is definitely beneficial to everyone who’s part of the alliance (which can help in terms of branding, lead generation and in discovering more business opportunities).

Email marketing and list building

The more you’re driving targeted traffic to your site through search and authority building (via content, strategic partnerships, link development, social media, etc…), the more it will be important for your organization to have a stronger grip of your continuously growing audience.

And this is where email marketing comes in. Since this is a channel that you have full control of. A robust email list can give your business the capacity to draw visitors (who’re already aware of who you are) whenever you need it, which also have higher chances of converting.

The key to building a strong email list starts with building the right traffic to your site, because they have the reasons to sign-up – which will make it easier for you to grow your list.

Kristi Hines recently wrote an exceptional post on how to effectively build an e-mail list. The post breaks down the most important aspects of list building, which includes:

  • Placing opt-in forms in high-traffic areas of the site
  • Integrating your mailing list with other platforms.
  • Offering specials to subscribers

Other email marketing resources that you might also want to check out:

Analytics – measure, analyse and improve

Understanding the data and results of your inbound marketing efforts is very important, as this gives you insights on how you can scale and how you can make your campaign more efficient.

Data simply guides your campaigns’ actions and it allows you to discover more opportunities that you might haven’t optimized your site for yet.

Several metrics that you should be taking a closer look at in Google Analytics, which can help improve your overall marketing initiatives:

  • Top content assets with high engagement rate and conversions (Content > Site Content > Landing Pages).

landing page

  • Top traffic sources – including each source’s engagement rate (avg. visit duration, % new visits and bounce rates) and conversion data.

traffic sources

  • Top conversion paths (Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths) – to determine which areas of your campaign are driving more conversions to the site.

conversion paths

Once you have measured your campaign’s results and have analysed your data, you can then come up with the necessary actions to further improve your results from a conversion standpoint.

Some samples of areas that you can analyze and then optimize through Analytics’ data are:

  • Assisted conversions – which can help you know which sites are sending you traffic with high conversions, and take advantage of them (ex. contributing more content to them to get more traffic or building 2nd-tier links to linking pages sending high volume of traffic/conversions).

assisted conversions

  • Identifying most effective channels – for instance, if your SEO efforts are driving more targeted traffic and conversions (basing if your site has already increased its ranking power), you can create more landing pages that can target other industry terms and long-tail keywords.Same approach may also apply with content and social, where you can create more content assets based on your campaign’s past successful/failed assets (and on which channels they have been effective in terms of promotion).

effective channels

Determine which methods are working and are able to bring you results. Do more of them.

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The Marketer’s Guide to Building a Holistic Brand Experience

venchitoThis entry is a guest post by Venchito Tampon, the owner of DigitalPhilippines.net . You can follow him on Twitter: @venchito14.

The finest brands in the world are known for delivering a unique brand experience to their consumers. Those remarkable experiences enable brands to leverage a day-to-day engagement with their audience and consistently build themselves as an authority in their respective industries.

In simplest term, experience creates brand perception.  It is how your customers think and feel about your product/service.

The way you create perceived value to your audience allows you to get the benefits of a good brand experience:

  • It shows your credibility as a company given that your customers are providing you feedbacks/testimonials and are encouraged for word of mouth marketing.
  • It builds a series of touchpoints to let your prospects see your unique value proposition through unbeatable content that reflects your brand’s vision, mission and core values.
  • It increases the chances of acquiring quality voluntary given links and social shares that are considerable factors in getting higher rankings in SERPs, and thus establishes expertise in the field.

Factors that can Improve Brand Experience

Trust

Trust is king. As you get to establish trust between you and your customers, you’re creating a brand magnet that pulls massive number of links, shares and readers to your site.

And this in turn helps brands introduce, educate and upsell a solution to their potential customers.

Create a genuinely useful product that will help people – so that you can build loyalty (and eventually become brand evangelists) that can help spread your cause.

Luke Summerfield emphasized in his blog post the failure of traditional marketing in today’s businesses and how marketers should adapt the modern business thinking.  This includes the culture of fostering inspiration and creativity to employees and customers. This only means that you need to provide a link and share-worthy content that is tailored to your customers and influencers in the industry.

Identify how your competitors are successfully creating and promoting their brand assets. Do a better copy and ask industry influencers if they’ll be interested to share your page to maximize its potential of gaining traffic and conversion.

Create meaningful conversations with your customers by answering questions posted on Q&A sites like Quora, forum threads and Facebook groups. You can use Facebook Graph Search to find influential groups in your industry.

You can start by typing a keyword in the Facebook Graph search bar.

graph search

Click on groups named after your “keyword”. Find the groups where your target influencers are members of.

graph search2

Use the refined features of Facebook graph to specifically target groups. Join groups where your influencers are actively sharing their insights. Build your own identity by helping others as well.

graph search3

Take this as your advantage in understanding your customers’ behavior and identifying their needs (which can also help in building a solid and targeted content strategy).

Transparency

Be transparent to your audience by giving actual results generated by your services/products (case studies or through the discussions you’re participating on).

Providing data-driven content is one of the best ways to becoming a transparent brand these days – which also helps in building trust and bridging the gap between the consumers and the brand.

Don’t ignore bad comments/complaints. Use Google Alerts and Social Mention to identify good and bad reviews about your company. Answer promptly to your customer’s complaints.

Reach out to unsatisfied customers and ask them what problems they have encountered in using your product /services. Help them to solve it.

Make client/customer testimonials, case studies and social proof more visible on your website. If you’re confident in providing the best to your customers, ask if they can write a short testimony about your effectiveness as a brand.

testimonials

Consistency

Be consistent and keep your brand messaging in line with the brand’s core values when spreading information through various marketing channels (content, social, email, etc…).

It’s also best to align everyone within the company with the company’s overall branding strategy.

This may include personal branding, wherein employees can individually demonstrate the brand’s identity through their own social profiles (as this can also scale your brand’s ability to network and build relationships within your industry).

twitter

Be sure that your message is clear and simple. Don’t over self-promote. Follow the 80/20 rule of social sharing – where 80 percent is from the content that other brands publish, while the 20 percent is from your end.

Brand Ambassadors

The unique personality of your brand includes the feelings and desires you invoke to your customers. You can follow this simple business blogging guide and learn how to build a large number of readers and get them engaged with your brand.

Rand Fishkin, Jason Acidre and Neil Patel are prominent personalities in SEO, while Kristi Hines and Michael Stelzner get the top spots in social media. You remember people based on how they get you involved in their blogs.

Your writing voice and style of your content reflect the core values of your brand and the brand (as a whole) becomes more memorable as you consistently deliver value to your audience.

Build your professional identity in the behind-the-scenes interactions (emails, community discussions, offline events and social networks).

If you’re in a boring industry, there are still ways to make it fun and engaging. Offer free webinars, contests and/or offline events such as conferences and meet ups. Since these initiatives can generate positive emotional experiences for your audience/customers.

Another advantage of having brand personas is that it can make the brand more approachable and transparent to its market.

Sharing photos of the company’s location/office, its employees and the working environment can definitely shape the brand’s identity (which also impacts trust and credibility).

company pictures

Social Media

Applying social media branding in your marketing campaigns is vital to any business building their online presence nowadays. Given that search engines are also using social signals as a factor to identify which sites deserve to be on the top of SERPs.

Several reasons why you need to start optimizing your social media both for search and branding (to specifically maximize its potential to reach your business goals).

  • It taps real-time customers by listening and participating to their conversations (related to your product/brand), since feedbacks/comments are fast in social media.
  • It attracts more links/shares by sharing your content on all social platforms, particularly if your brand is connected with industry influencers that have strong social following.
  • It goes beyond the usual kind of relationship with your customers, seeing that you’re starting out to build relationships with them that can last a lifetime.

It’s also important to integrate your content marketing efforts with social media. This can be done by making social sharing buttons visible in your site’s content and by encouraging readers to follow you on social networks.

Create Facebook events and Google Hangouts and join social communities to increase the chances of being visible throughout the web, where you can demonstrate your expertise on a particular subject matter.

Writing a weekly/monthly round-up post that features the most useful and topically relevant content you found on the web can also be a great way to connect with other publishers in your online space (and to also reach and absorb their followers).

You can also check out trending topics by using Topsy, Social Mentions, Google Trends and Google Alerts. This can help you out in coming up with shareable content ideas.

Let your staff members be involved in sharing your brand on social networks.

benj

Design Interface

User interface is more than just the logo, product or the daily activities of your business. It’s the result that your brand wants to accomplish. Offering a positive experience involves the use of the best tools, methods and the capability to answer to your customer’s needs.

Unbeatable content + Compelling design = Positive User Experience

Develop a top-notch user experience by using an interaction design that understands your customers’ needs towards your business.

The brand’s purpose and the passion of your organization should deeply influence how it delivers an effective brand promise to its customers.

It is essential to test your brand assets and how visually appealing they are to create an impressive judgment from your potential customers.

Always remember that a simple yet easy-to-use interface drives more interaction and equates to clarity.

Use Five Second Test to know if your site is providing a memorable experience. NavFlow and ClickTest are good at analyzing your navigation and design engagement as well.

The initial step towards a purposeful design is to start the conversation. You must deliver a clear and concise message that flows smoothly on each page of your site. Start with a clear value statement that will make your users care about your business, product, service and any kind of offerings.

There’s no argument that UX design and content strategy are both vital to provide a better brand experience to your customers.

UX-content

Richard Ingram of Ingserv created this illustration that also shows the importance of the mixed efforts of UX and content strategy. Together with other important elements like platform, information architecture and functionality, the power to build a holistic brand experience is in your hand.

Content and Relationships

Investing in your top of the funnel marketing like blogging and social media is worth the effort since these inbound marketing strategies have higher chances of attracting ready-to-buy customers.

Use branded content like whitepapers, newsletters and ebooks to nurture your customers (which is also a very powerful platform for relationship building).

Create a content development plan that regularly updates your business blog. Because this is a very effective platform where you can inform and educate possible customers.

Guest blogging on other industry-related websites can also help your brand gain exposure to new prospects and in getting them to follow your brand in the long-run.

Build relationships with thought-leaders in your industry to open more opportunities for your brand, knowing that being endorsed by them will bring you more traffic, leads and business (as the endorsement will also establish trust and authority).

Use the demographic profiles of the different types of your audiences to be able to develop content that are tailored to target their needs.

Company size, organizational roles and type of industry they work in are good factors to consider when choosing the writing voice and the method of delivering your message to your audience.

Relationship building is a long term commitment that allows brands to get better insights from their customers. The great thing about this marketing practice is that it also shows how approachable your brand is.

For more tips on content development and relationship building:

Conclusion

People remember experiences. Your brand’s promotional efforts and your product/services itself are the things that really matters most, since these are the things that can mainly influence buying decisions as well as after-the-funnel activities from users/consumers (such as reviewing your product and/or sharing your product to their peers).

The more compelling your brand experience is, the faster you can build brand loyalty and becoming an authority in your niche.

Off-Page SEO in 2013 and beyond

A decade ago, off-site SEO has been all about links. But it’s expected for search to progress, given that there’s a continuous evolution in web usage – which also has an effect on web marketing best practices.

These changes allowed search engines to accumulate far deeper understanding of how people make use of the web, and in turn a better ability for them to assess websites worth and deserving of higher rankings.

Off-site SEO factors have been transforming its filters to become more reliant in data that are outcomes from pure marketing efforts (off-page SEO is pure marketing).

off-page SEO

Links

Links will always be a valuable signal for search engines (and users as well), even though many are still abusing this factor to achieve better search rankings.

Google has been strict with link spam detection for the past few years (Penguin and unnatural link penalties), and will certainly continue with it, since the role of links in helping search engines understand web documents is still crucial.

It’s also helpful as a metric in indicating quality, authority and relevance, making links a strong factor in evaluating the overall importance of a website.

Some of the off-page factors that links can help with in influencing a website/webpage’s ranking power:

  • Topical relevance of linking page/domain and context of the link.
  • Authority and quality of the linking page/domain.
  • Position of the link in the page.
  • Number of unique linking root domains to the site/page.
  • Diversity of link types as well as anchor texts pointing to the site/page.
  • Links’ ability to send click-through visitors.
  • In-content links from verified authors/publishers (authorship).

You can also check out some of my older posts on how you can get more links to your site:

Social Data

Social signals” is another trust and popularity indicator that search engines can use by obtaining available data from known social media networks/websites.

User behaviors, in terms of web usage, have been more exposed in social platforms, which is why this ranking factor has been somehow more relevant in determining popular content, personalities and brands.

Although it’s not applicable to every industry, and not really a factor that Google will most likely focus on, it’s still a signal worth pursuing (diversified traffic sources is always good).

Off-page SEO factors that social signals can help in affecting search rankings:

  • Amount and quality of social shares of the page.
  • Authority of the social users/accounts sharing the content/URL.
  • Site-level social signals (total social shares/mentions the domain has).
  • Following, activity and interactions in the site’s social brand pages.

How to get more social shares:

  • Align content strategy with your social campaigns, by producing more content that will most likely be shared by your target audience.
  • Make social buttons very visible in the site’s pages (serving as a secondary call-to-action).
  • Building a strong following base and growing your network – through consistent content development, curation and interactions.
  • Reaching out and connecting with industry influencers.
  • Using paid social services directing to your shareable content (like sponsored tweets, FB stories, paid discovery on Stumbleupon, Reddit’s sponsored links, etc…).

Michael Martinez also wrote a great piece that also explains how search engines could be using social data in their search ranking algorithms.

Brand Signals

It’s obvious that Google is favoring brands more and more, as they update how they rank webpages in their search results. The answer is simple, because well-established brands are more credible and trusted by people.

“The Internet is fast becoming a cesspool of misinformation… Brands are the answer. – Eric Schmidt”

There are several factors in which search engines can gather data that relates and pertains to the strength of a brand’s presence over the web, such as:

  • Amount of brand (linked or unlinked) mentions from external content sources. Phrase-based indexing helps search engines better understand what a brand is about through co-occurrence.

co-occurrence

  • Brand mentions from authority news sites or having the story of a brand covered by a-list media sites.

brand coverage

  • Have employees listed the company/brand in Linkedin as their employers. It’s another signal that search engines can use to verify if the company/brand is real.

linkedin

  • Branded web properties. This may include your social brand pages as well as branded microniche sites under your brand. Think of Moz’s other niche sites (which they have developed and acquired in the past) like Open Site Explorer, Followerwonk and GetListed.org.
  • Branded search. This is definitely one of the most robust data that search engines can count in determining a brand’s strength and the demand for the information, products or services it provides.

branded search

How to improve your online brand presence:

  • Embrace, implement and be consistent in content marketing.
  • Use social media to push the brand out in your market. Connect and build relationships with other known entities in your industry, as these connections will help you get your brand out to your peers’ networks/followers.
  • Launching a display ad campaign can also help get your brand noticed, especially if they are aimed toward your target audience – which can also improve branded searches.
  • Organize events and other offline marketing efforts (like a t-shirt project), which are all effective in terms of branding.
  • Making sure that your product/service stands out in the market (USP).

SERP Performance

Given that Panda is now being integrated to Google’s search ranking algorithm, the performance of your site/pages’ listings in the search result pages will be more important than ever – as an off-page factor.

The data that they can retrieve through search results help them assess relevance (of the page to the search query), usability as well as the engagement rate of the page.

Some of the viable factors that search engines can use to evaluate a ranking webpage’s SERP performance are:

  • The click-through rate of the page from search results.
  • The duration of time the visitor stayed on the page coming from the search result (long-click).
  • If the site’s listings display rich snippets (for videos, authorship, structured data, in-depth, etc…).

How to improve your site’s search listings performance (for CTR and long-click):

  • Optimize meta tags (title tags and meta descriptions) for users and clicks. Make these areas more appealing and enticing to searchers.
  • Make sure that the title of the page is accurate and matches with its content – this can help improve visitor engagement and in making search-driven visitors stay longer on the site.
  • Deindex poor-content, duplicates and pages that won’t be useful to searchers.
  • Implement authorship or publisher markup.

authorship

video snippet

Relationships

Relationship is a strong indicator of trust. The people and brands that you’re associated with speak a lot about your own brand. And which is why social connectivity is a good off-page signal for search engines in determining a brand/content’s value.

social graph

Few ways that this factor may be used by search engines to identify brands with authoritative relationships:

  • Having multiple links/mentions from industry peers from their content.
  • Connectivity on various social networks.
  • Blogroll links.
  • Reciprocity of links (in-content mentions, social sharing, etc…) from the two domains/brands.

On how to build strong online relationships, you can check out some of my old posts that tackle this aspect of online marketing:

Authorship

Building a solid author portfolio doesn’t just occur within your site, as you can also improve authorship through establishing yourself as an expert author on other industry-related sites (and by also implementing the rel=”author” tag on your content contributions).

contributor to

How to prepare for and improve your AuthorRank:

  • Regularly contribute content to or become a columnist on high-domain authority publications in your industry (and implement authorship markup).
  • Grow your network and build authority on Google+.
  • Associate yourself with other reputable authors and publishers in your industry’s online space (getting your brand or works mentioned by them may have a direct impact to your AuthorRank scores in the future).

Information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. – Eric Schmidt

Reviews and Sentiments

People’s sentiments about the brand’s site/products/services are also one of the most significant data that search engines can draw to assess credibility, popularity and market value.

Google is already using sentiment analysis within their algorithm, which is why getting more voluntary and authentic user reviews of your brand will more likely affect your site’s overall ranking power.

How to get more reviews for your site, product and/or services (I’ve already shared the following three pointers on a post I’ve written few months ago):

  • Blogger outreach on a personal level – to actually get experiential reviews. Dan Cristo wrote an excellent post on how to get more reviews of your products 2 years ago, and you might want to check that one out.
  • Create an affiliate program or a referral commission system to attract more bloggers in reviewing your product or services. Offer this as a value proposition when reaching out to bloggers (give higher commission rates to authority bloggers in your industry).
  • Provide great products and services, or be exceptionally great with customer service (think Zappos). This can extremely help you get voluntary online reviews of your products/services. You can also offer freebies (promo codes, discounts, etc…) to customers who own blogs or have strong following on social networks. That might also increase the chances of getting links from them.
  • Consistently provide actionable and useful content to build a strong readership. Avid readers (especially if they’re active online) will almost always recommend your works and share positive things about your brand.

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Citations

Building citations is a practice that is more known for Local SEO – as it mainly helps in improving a site’s search rankings in a certain location.

Since citations mostly include NAP (business name, business address and phone number), it can then be a strong indicator that the business is real – given that it has the necessary details wherein people can actually find their office/stores.

How to build citations (below is a list of the top local business directories, which was originally curated by Andrew Shotland):

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

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How I get quick wins in SEO and Content Marketing

I’m not really used to writing shorter blog posts – and I’m also guessing that most of you already know that I always write long-form content and comprehensive tutorials related to online marketing.

So I’m going to try something new, well not that new, since I’ve written some posts in the past that are just 500+ words in length – although, there’s something that I would want to test on this one.

Anyway, there’s this one question that seems to be asked to me more and more for the past 2 years of being a consultant:

“How do I get quick wins in SEO and content marketing for me and/or for my clients”?

organic search results

My answer is quite simple, I believe that the real key to any effective and result-driven online marketing campaign (whether it’s relying on search or content marketing) is through a solid research phase.

This stage usually includes the following areas to have a sustainable content strategy for both search and social campaigns:

  • Keywords
  • Audience
  • Competitors
  • Methodology

Although, I mostly look out for two things:

  • Understanding what your target audience really needs and seeks for, and then being able to provide those needs.
  • Determining what your competitors have, and basing your methodologies on what appears to be their weaker spots.

By having insights from these 2 research processes – knowing your audience and the strengths as well as weaknesses of your competitors – it’ll be easier for you to come up with the unexpected hooks that you can use for your content.

These are the information and the ideas that you can provide that your competitors aren’t covering yet, and might somehow be needed by your target audience.

Content is an investment

Content is a brand asset that can help you scale your marketing and lead generation. Because a single content can alter how your business will perform in the future.

One blog post can drive you hundreds of leads/sales in its lifetime, so what more if you have dozens or hundreds of this type of high-performing content.

Perhaps, that’s the reason why my main approach when it comes to content marketing only revolves around 3 primary elements:

  • Comprehensive
  • Actionable
  • Evergreen

And how do I come up with a content that’s comprehensive, actionable and evergreen? Back to step 1, I try to understand my audience and I study my competitors’ existing assets.

Surefire Formulas?

With formulas, that’s where I’m not sure. But mindset, there is. Our profession requires lots of complex processes. But I love to simplify things, not just to make it easier for me, but to also make it damn easier for my team.

My principle in SEO is very simple, as you only have to optimize for two things:

seo

And same thing applies in content marketing:

content

The truth is, it’s really easy to promote (great) content when you’re sure and confident about it. And don’t forget to reach out to those who’re really interested about the subject of your content.

Because at the end of the day, search and content marketing will always be a battle of who stands out the best.

Special thanks to: Myles Vives and Benj Arriola. We were supposed to do a video about this topic earlier, but might do it another time.

Also, if you want me to write a longer and more detailed version of this post, please let me know in the comment sections. I would be happy to write one (but not sure when, as I also have 2 big posts coming out this month – off-page SEO in 2013 and beyond and a comprehensive guide to content promotion).

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

The True Value of Link Building in Post-Penguin Era

trusted links

There has been a lot of talk around the industry that the ROI in link building is diminishing. Mainly because of the constant algorithmic updates (particularly Penguin) that strongly impact this marketing platform, as well as with the shift that Google wants to take on in revolutionizing its search.

However, I’m still one of those who won’t really believe that link building will soon be over as an effective medium that can help websites/brands earn more and win over their competitions on the web.

Let’s recap several advantages of link building and why it wouldn’t likely be extinct:

  • It can drive referral traffic, especially if the links are contextual and placed on high-traffic and thematically relevant pages/content.
  • Links and brand mentions help businesses become more authoritative and visible to their target audience (link building is more efficient as a branding tool).
  • Links help sites (and web documents) in getting found and discovered, not just by search crawlers, but also by users.
  • Links can also increase a website’s conversions.
  • Link building still directly impacts a site’s ability to rank on search results.

I’ve handled sites that heavily relied on SEO/link building alone for the past few months – without the help of content marketing, social media and other traffic/lead generating channels – but were still able to produce tremendous results (bringing us closer to the business’ goals) in a short period of time.

organic search results

traffic overview

Although we all know that it’s always best to have a diversified source of traffic, it’s given that it’s not the way how it works on other niches.

Perhaps that’s why I strongly believe in link building as a very significant process in this age of online marketing. It can still yield results – overwhelming results.

My thoughts on Penguin and the future of link building

What I really love about SEO, as a profession and an industry, is that it continues to challenge its practitioners. While search constantly enhances and evolves itself, it also tests and changes/improves our own views and principles along the process.

Let’s start digging in through few of my observations based on our team’s available data. Although, I’m sure that I’ll be updating many of the things that I’ll be mentioning in this post in the coming weeks.

Possible Google Penguin filters

Matt Cutts mentioned that the new version of Penguin – Penguin 2.0 – goes deeper on to the site’s inner pages (the links pointing to them), as the first Penguin mainly targeted homepages.

Some practitioners argue that this isn’t true, although our data somehow suggests that it is (which will be shared on the latter part of this post).

Below are the factors which I think Google Penguin 2.0 uses in determining a site’s degree of penalization – based on my initial assessment – listed in particular order (according to each factor’s weight).

  • The quality of the link source. It’s easier for them to identify spammy websites or link networks these days (sites with Panda-prone content, contain tons of manipulative links, and have low user-engagement rate).
  • Degree of penalty could be based on the ratio of # of bad vs. good links pointing to the site’s pages.
  • Thematic relevance of the linking domain(s).
  • Amount of links with exact match anchor text pointing to a page (over-optimization), as well as their positions in the linking pages (sitewide, footer, comment section, contextual, etc…). But these might only serve as supporting metrics for the first factor I mentioned.

Ratio of # of Bad vs. Good linking domains

I think that the degree of the penalty from Penguin 2.0 depends on the ratio of bad vs. good links pointing to a certain site, as I’ve seen a couple of the sites we’ve been handling that were mildly hit by the recent Penguin update.

For instance, the site with the stats I’ve shared above was also hit (by 27% loss in search traffic).

penguin 2.0

The site has only a few linking domains to it, since we’ve only focused on getting links from 3 high DA sites (through regular content contribution).

linking domains

Though the problem is that several spammy sites have scraped the content we’ve published on one of the sites we’ve contributed to. So basically, the ratio of good and bad domains linking to the site is around 4:13.

If Penguin has devalued the other domains linking to the site, then this may have caused the slight decrease in search traffic (as the links are no longer passing ranking value to the site).

Another case is from a huge site we’ve been working on for months now that have thousands of great links, but also have a few hundreds of bad ones, specifically from:

  • Scraped content hosted on spammy websites/content farms.
  • Negative SEO.
  • Directory links, articles and social profiles with exact match anchor texts (built by their previous SEO service provider).

links - sample 2

This was slightly affected by the recent Penguin update, with 17% decrease in organic traffic.

penguin 2.0 - 2

The loss in traffic wasn’t that massive knowing that it has thousands of good links. Although, I will still need to observe it in the next few weeks to ensure if Penguin was really the reason behind its gradual loss in traffic (penalties usually have sudden drop and not gradual decline in search traffic).

The last one is from a small blog that I’ve been helping out in the last 4 months. We’ve managed to grow its search traffic by 500% in the first 3 months, but lost 38% of its organic traffic after the Penguin update last May 22, 2013.

penguin 2.0 - 3

The main reason was I didn’t check its historical link data, and just recently found dozens of spammy links pointing to its inner pages (from link networks) – which were built by the SEO he previously hired (early last year) – as I thought that the site was launched September last year.

Here’s a sample:

sample spam link

This site has less than a hundred linking domains, and the ratio of good vs. bad LRDs directing to it is around 20:45.

links - sample 3

I believe that regaining its search traffic is still very doable, so as to the 2 other sites I’ve mentioned above.

In getting their search visibility back, the link development campaign should focus on three things:

  • Build more quality links from trusted and relevant domains (have high DAs) to outnumber the bad links pointing to the site and its pages.
  • Disavow links that you have no control of via Google Webmaster Tools (disavow tool).
  • Try to remove low quality links (obvious spammy links) by contacting webmasters and requesting for link removal.

Diversity is crucial, but not a requirement

To make a site’s link building really diversified, it needs people (real people) to genuinely link to it. This means you need to really get out there and do remarkable things for people to talk about your brand (this is where content, relationships and other awesome stuff come in).

Artificial link building is promotional work, and no one is saying that it’s not allowed. Don’t forget that link building is also a marketing tool that can help your site get found (by your audience and search engines).

So if you’re going to use artificial link building methods (such as guest blogging, linker outreach, forum marketing, etc…), make sure that you can get the most out of them.

Consider these techniques as mediums to get more traffic and potential linkers to your site’s content, rather than just using them to draw signals to manipulate search rankings. Become more visible in few chosen communities where people are most-likely to share or link to your works.

You don’t need hundreds or thousands of unique LRDs

Number of unique linking root domains allows you to become more competitive in terms of having more ranking power in search results – that is what it was before.

But I think many have misinterpreted this, as many have disregarded the quality of the domains that they are trying to get links from (just to make their sites have more LRDs than their competitors).

I’d still choose and recommend having repetitive link acquisitions from a few chosen strong domains (that are entirely relevant to your site) than link dropping on hundreds/thousands.

Because this approach will make your link profile look more authoritative, based on the relationship that it’s building with other high authority domains in its field (think 5 solid contextual links from SEOmoz vs. 50 links from other not-so-popular SEO blogs).

As I’ve mentioned on the first sample website I’ve shared above, it has only 3 solid link source (in which we’ve continuously contributed content to), but the results were far greater than what most would expect.

Monthly link audit is imperative

You’ll never really know if you’re already a victim of negative SEO. Remember my mistake on the third sample site I’ve shared above? I forgot to dig deeper on its historical link data, and see where it got us.

If only I knew that it has dozens of spammy links (built by its previous SEO) before last week’s Penguin update, then I could have suggested earlier (few months back) to have those links removed or disavowed.

Avail link research tools like Open Site Explorer, Cognitive SEO and/or Ahrefs to easily monitor your site’s new and old links.

Another thing to consider in your link audits is measuring the impact of your existing links, and treating them as a part of your site’s assets (particularly those that are continuously sending referred traffic and conversions – as well as linking external pages that are ranking very well in search results).

Make these incoming links more powerful, by building 2nd-tier links to them.

Relevance and Context

Links are far more powerful when they are being clicked by users. It passes more trust and ranking power, based on the usage of the link, as well as the relationship between the linking page and the destination page of the link.

It’s easier to entice people into clicking a link when they are relevant to what readers/surfers are seeking for or interested in. Several factors that can increase clicks on links:

  • Position of the link
  • Length of anchor text
  • Traffic of the linking page
  • Context and sentiments of the texts surrounding the link
  • Relevance of the content to the link’s destination page

Building more links that can attract referred traffic can definitely send out more positive signals about your site/brand, which impacts your site’s ability to rank better on search and convert more referred visitors.

AuthorRank

Being a verified author (through authorship markups) and having a strong author portfolio (for AuthorRank) is more important than ever.

trusted links

Verified authorship will amplify the strength of the links you are building and other authors are building for your site, since these citations/mentions are expected by search engines to be more credible and trustworthy – based on the level of trust that other people see in your author profile (from both social and web graph).

Image credit: The Evolution of Search by Tom Anthony

Key takeaways:

  • Start growing your author portfolio both in and out of your site.
  • Build relationships with other authors and publishers in your industry.

Anchor text – partial match, branded links and co-occurrence

I have always believed that the most important role of links (in SEO perspectives) is to mainly absorb and pass domain authority back to your site, for it to have more ranking power (making all of its indexed pages capable of ranking highly on search results).

Using descriptive anchor texts was – and is still – the best way to make search engines understand what the link’s destination page is all about.

Although many have abused this ranking factor in the past to manipulate search rankings (and up until now), Google is still able to use other methodologies to understand links – knowing that this is very important to them.

Some of the most efficient anchor text strategies that can help bring more value to your link development campaign are:

  • Using partial-match anchor texts, rather than exact-match. This approach doesn’t just make your links look natural and diversified, but it also makes your links highly descriptive for both users and search crawlers.
  • Build more branded links to your site, as this can still impact your site’s overall ranking ability, given that this type of link can pass domain authority and trust.
  • Since Google is also applying phrase based indexing in their search algorithms, utilizing co-occurrence (placing generic keywords near linked or unlinked brand mentions) to help search engines determine and understand what your brand is about.

co-occurrence

Link building is about building the right signals – to build trust.

Links are gateways to experience. And most of us know that great experience is what makes brands remarkable and it’s also the main thing that Google would really want to serve to their users.

eric schmidt

Great links begin with great content/experience. And great content/experience over the web wouldn’t be accessible to people without links. That’s why link building will still and always be significant.

Link building is valuable, because it’s a part of a bigger process. SEO, branding, content marketing and traffic/lead generation are far more effective with links!

For more advanced link building tutorials, you may check out some of my other posts:

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How to Increase Conversions through Brand Strengthening

I remember being asked about the single best piece of advice I can give for improving conversions on a group interview on Crazy Egg late last year. Although there are a lot of factors that can really influence site conversions, I chose the one which I believe has the biggest impact – branding.

I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot, but if I have to choose one, I’d definitely say the perceived value and trust built through the middle of the funnel processes. These processes involve content and strong brand indicators that a site builds to promote itself such as highly-informative blog posts, design/presentation/experience, reviews and mentions from other people/sites, and a lot more.

These things have fueled my business, seeing that most of the clients we have acquired through my SEO services page (3% – 5% monthly conversions) are majorly attracted by what they have seen from my content and from what others are saying about my brand.

The truth is, it’s easier to sell things when people (especially your target consumers) are already aware and fascinated by what your brand is putting out on the web (think Amazon, Zappos and Shopify).

Basically, by building a strong online brand presence, you’ll be able to acquire more qualified traffic that can easily be converted into leads and/or sales.

Conversion Optimization is a broad marketing principle, which encompasses different sets of activities (such as A/B, MVT testing, data interpretation, landing page optimization and more). And if you’re more interested to learn about those stuff, here are some useful resources that you might want to check out:

I’ve shared these guides and tutorials upfront, as I won’t be covering any of the topics discussed on those articles on this post. This guide will be more focused on how brand building can improve your site’s ability to convert visitors.

Brand Positioning Factors that Improve Conversions

Building a strong online presence allows brands to easily communicate with their target market, which deeply contributes to how a brand can persuade its audience in using their products/services.

Awareness

Letting your target consumers know how your brand can help solve their problems – through education – is an important aspect of online branding, as it can influence buying decisions and brings them a step closer to your goals.

Differentiation

Brand attributes such as unique value proposition and pricing, can also increase a brand’s chances of getting more interested users/consumers than its competitors. Highlight how your brand is unique or different in your space through your branding activities (on and off the site).

Perceived value

The way how people see or think about your brand or the quality of its products/services can extremely affect your site’s conversions. It also scales your brand’s marketing process, given that it naturally generates endorsements from satisfied users/customers, which then raises your brand’s credibility.

Online Marketing Mediums used for Brand Strengthening

The efforts you do to get your brand out in the open, opens more great opportunities – like brand mentions, links, social shares, endorsements, brand impressions, traffic – which all can help build trust, authority and conversions.

Content Marketing

This marketing platform is probably the best method to educate potential consumers. It’s also one of the best ways to get discovered over the web, seeing that seeking/relaying information is always the first big step.

Another thing to consider is that this marketing practice blends well with search marketing (and as everyone says – “content is king”).

Popular types of content that you can utilize to communicate and engage with your audiences are:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Visuals (infographics, images, interactive landing pages, etc…)
  • Ebooks and other web-based comprehensive learning materials

Creating the content is just a fraction of the entire process, since promoting them makes content marketing whole.  Here are several content promotional techniques you can try implementing for your content:

You can also check out Quicksprout’s advanced guide to content marketing for more extensive tips on content marketing.

Always remember that the more you push out useful and relevant content to your target audience, the more your brand gets stickier to them.

Social Media

Social media marketing is not just about utilizing different social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and many more) to promote your brand.

It should also involve and integrate other online marketing activities – such as content, relationship, and influencer marketing as well as using it as a customer relationship management platform – for it to be really effective as a branding tool.

Use social media to leverage your site’s existing assets and also to build new ones. Some of the significant factors in which social media can bring to your branding efforts are:

  • Constantly grow brand loyalists and followers through content and interactions.
  • Build relationships (with influencers and target audience), which can help produce more endorsements for your brand (ex: using positive mentions to your brand as testimonials).
  • Forcing virality through relationships and following base.
  • Improving your brand’s perceived value through connections and associations.
  • Build trust and improve brand perception when social media is used to address solutions to customer-related issues.

Authority Building

Becoming a leading brand in your space can certainly translate into more conversions/sales, because people already know what you are capable of providing.

There are so many online marketing strategies that you can implement to gradually become the go-to-brand in your industry. Some of the most effective tactics may include the following:

  • Connecting and getting endorsed by other influencers in your field.
  • Getting press coverage (which is very doable if you’re focusing on promoting your brand’s unique selling point).
  • Publishing content regularly on other popular publications in your industry.
  • Getting interview opportunities.

Another advantage of getting brand mentions from top influencers and publications is that it’s a great trust indicator/seal when placed or showcased within your site (which is a powerful element that can affect conversions).

trust seal

Optimizing for experience and engagement

Offering the best experience possible for your users/visitors is imperative in this age of online marketing. Aside from helping your site perform better in search (as most of Google’s algorithmic updates are based on usage), it can also help make your site become more remarkable to its users.

It’s easier to get endorsements when people are sticking around and getting remarkable experience from your site.

Areas of your site’s pages that you can continuously test to improve experience and visitor engagement are:

  • Call to action
  • Readability
  • Content structure
  • Thematic internal linking
  • Design
  • Accuracy of headlines and meta tags

Improving your site’s engagement rate can definitely increase its conversions, since people are more willing to take the next necessary action.

Other resources that you might find helpful in improving user experience and visitor engagement:

Measuring the impact of your branding efforts

Monitoring and analyzing your marketing activities has been more essential than ever, and that’s the best about doing it online – it’s measurable.

Analytics is a very vital marketing process, because your data gives you better insights on how you can further improve your campaign.

It allows you to easily identify what’s working, so you can do more of it.

There are a lot of ways to determine if your online branding campaign is yielding results, especially when it comes to driving conversions.

But it’s also important that you’ve set up your site’s goals on your Google Analytics account, so you can efficiently measure each branding channel you’re utilizing.

In case you haven’t setup your Goals in Google Analytics, you can check this step-by-step guide from Google.

Monitoring brand mentions/links with conversions

In your Google Analytics dashboard, go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions and then click on “Referral”.

referral-ac

Monitoring social networks that are sending converted traffic

Go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions, and then choose “Social Network”.

social-ac

You can also monitor it by choosing Traffic Sources > Social > Conversions.

social-conversions

Monitoring branded content assets with high conversions

Go to Content > Site Content > Landing Pages. It will then display your site’s top landing pages (that will certainly include your content assets).

Once the list of the pages is displayed, check the upper right corner of the traffic graph, and then click on the “Goal Set”.

goal set

This will show your top landing pages’ conversion data.

content-conversions

Monitoring the conversions of your branded search

The best way to determine the conversions of your branded organic keywords (people using your brand name or product’s name when searching) is to create a Custom Channel Grouping.

To create a Custom Channel Grouping, go to either Assisted Conversions or Top Conversion Paths, choose “Channel Groupings” on the primary dimension tab, and then click on “create a custom Channel Grouping”.

channel grouping

In creating your channel groups, you’ll first need to input a name for your grouping and its label rules, and then to set specific rules. For branded organic keywords, you can just set it to only include keywords coming from organic search and then define the brand terms that people will most likely use in finding your brand.

branded keywords

Whereas for the non-branded search, you can just exclude the branded terms that you’ve defined on the branded organic keywords’ group.

generic keywords

This will make it easier for you to monitor how your branded keywords are performing in terms of conversions.

branded vs generic

Again, these things will give a good direction for your campaigns, as the data that you’ll be able to collate will help you identify the tasks that are bringing you great results.

Identify what’s working, and do more of it!

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How to become an Influencer through Content and Relationship Marketing

Being an influencer has a lot of perks. Aside from being respected in your industry, it also opens a lot of opportunities for business/professional growth.

Prominence or an influential status is very important in online marketing, since it can almost always speed up the process of getting your audience/customers’ trust.

It’s also a viable metric that search engines will eventually use (AuthorRank) in determining sites/brands that genuinely deserve to be more visible on search results.

There are two major factors that helped me grow my brand and my blog’s audience for the past two and a half years (and I’ve also written about it in the past – 1-2 punch marketing):

  • I’ve written dozens of content that are targeted to my prospects/peers’ audience.
  • Built relationships that regularly shared and syndicated my content.

In any road to becoming an influencer, content will always play a very significant role. Content helps brands and individual publishers communicate and build relationships with their readers, other content publishers and other industry influencers.

My experience as a publisher taught me a lot of things, particularly in making me understand several aspects of marketing that can really help a brand make an impact to its audience.

intelligenthq

I found that visual through one of Instant.ly’s most recent posts about the psychology of influence. Although in this post, I’ll be sharing the things that you can do to get to the different areas of influence mentioned on the graph above.

Peers

Your connections speak a lot about your brand. Getting associated with other known entities raises your credibility in your industry, as well as the perceived value that people will see in your personal brand.

Improving your brand’s social proof by connecting with other like-minded people (especially publishers in your niche) and having their trust to vouch for you will help you build a strong reputation.

Identify those who you can help (and of course help you as well) build a better/stronger brand. Make a list of them and start interacting.

Build conversations through participating on their communities’ discussions or through social networking.

Share their works to your own readers/networks as well, to really get their attention – as they’ll definitely reciprocate as soon as they see that you’re providing content that might also be useful to their followers.

Having industry peers will allow you to scale your content’s social sharing and link building processes, given that it can create a subtle cycle of syndicating both parties’ content.

Share Actionable Ideas

Real influencers educate. And the best way to educate is to make people do things for them to actually understand what you’re imparting to them.

Always keep in mind that if you want to compel your readers, you need them to have something to act upon or try doing after taking your advice.

Actionable content is far more engaging than other forms of content, in my opinion, as it exemplifies authority and expertise.

Whether your content is lengthy or concise, what’s really important is to make certain that your readers can take something from it that they’ll be excited to apply.

Unexpected Hook

I believe that there are two ways to become an authority:

  • Be the first to do or come up with something.
  • Be the best one to interpret that something.

Uniqueness, originality and approach are some of the most known factors that shape industry visionaries and influencers.

Offer something that won’t be found anywhere else, because unexpected hooks and a-ha moments make online publishers more remarkable.

Do a content competitive analysis before creating or while drafting your content. You can simply do this through a quick Google search of the working title of your content.

competitive analysis

Determine what’s missing from their content and be sure to have those areas of the subject included on yours. You can also add your own ideas (based on your experience and expertise) to make the content more personalized, unique and compelling.

Make your content more comprehensive than the ones provided by your competitors – that’s one of the best ways to make your content stand out.

Identity and Value Proposition

Having a strong and clear value proposition as a brand and/or an appealing identity will help you become more competitive and remarkable in your industry’s online space.

value proposition

Committing to your brand’s identity and value proposition is also a great way to be consistent in your content marketing and relationship building activities, seeing that you’re already aiming for something that you want your brand to be known for.

Influence other Influencers

If you can influence other influencers, then you can certainly influence almost anyone in your industry (especially their circles and followers).

The key to getting your industry’s key influencers’ attention is to know the kinds of content that they read and learn from – and be able to provide them.

Start by studying their social media activities. Research on what they usually read and share, particularly those that really get them excited.

Knowing these things will make it easier for you to connect with them (since you’re writing about what they are really interested in).

For instance, I’ve been following Wil Reynolds’ works ever since I started doing SEO (mid 2010). And since my work was heavily influenced by his’, I kind of focused on writing about topics that I know he’s also interested in (hardcore link building and bizdev-SEO).

Eventually, I got really lucky.

Another way is to get to their circles’ radars, to increase the chances of getting them to find your content. We all know that relationship is very important, knowing that it can move your content from one influencer to the next. Continuously grow your network along the process.

SEO

Scale your content marketing efforts by ensuring that your contents are optimized for search. Sharing actionable ideas wouldn’t be as effective if no one can find and consume them.

By integrating SEO to your content strategy, the likelihood of becoming an influencer in your field is higher. Because having good search visibility will allow your content to constantly get new readers and potential followers (especially when your content aims to impress your target audience).

In any industry, being good is not enough, and becoming the best is not necessary. You just really need to stand out.

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44 Creative and Innovative Link Building Experts and Their Strategies

Update: This post was originally published last Sept 3, 2011, which was entitled “26 creative and innovative link building experts and their strategies”. A lot of changes have happened in the link building scene these past several months, which made me decide to update this big list of resources. 

With the constant advancements that occur on various search engines’ algorithms, it is certain that the search and link game will be harder in the days/months/years to come compared to what it was like a decade ago.

Search users’ behaviors tend to grow and change as these developments arise and being employed by search engines, which makes the online marketing space more competitive, especially when it comes to link building.

Many say that link building is tough, well, yes, it is, seeing that the search industry is still in its youth stage and still has immense potentials of growing.

There are also a good percentage of companies all over the world that are still in the juncture of realizing the importance of building a strong web presence for their brands. If this other piece of the pie starts to get involved in the online marketing game, then that might just inundate the web with more sites hungry for links, which clearly means a birth for more spammy linking tactics or a new dawn for more innovative strategies.

Nowadays, in order to be efficient and to truly attain great results from your link building campaigns, you may have to fully require creativity in your strategies for reasons such as:

  • Search algorithms continuously change in order to keep up with their users’ needs.
  • Competition – on any industry – keeps on growing by the day.
  • Web users are getting smarter.

The rules in link building may frequently change, but its essence as an aspect of web marketing will always remain vital, whether it integrate itself to other new developments (like social signals), as it is the most uncomplicated way for search engines to determine websites’ authentic popularity and authority.

Having that said, I decided to list some of the most creative and innovative link builders in the industry that I know, including their works that somehow influenced my views as an SEO, and perhaps to serve as an inspiration in developing your own link building strategies.

Rand Fishkin1. Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO of SEOmoz“white hat SEO evangelist and the face of modern Search”

5. Eric Ward, Link Evangelist at Adgooroo“link building wizard”
Wiep Knol6. Wiep Knol, Founder of Gila Media“creative link marketing expert from the Netherlands”

Tom Critchlow7. Tom Critchlow, Former VP of Operations at Distilled (now works for Google) – “the face of Search’s next generation”

Michael Gray
8. Michael Gray, President of Atlas Web Service and author of Wolf-howl“legendary link ninja”
Todd Malicoat9. Todd Malicoat, author of Stuntdubl“one of the pioneers of link baiting”
Garrett French10. Garrett French, Founder of Citations Lab“content-based link building expert”
Rae Hoffman-Dolan11. Rae Hoffman-Dolan, CEO and Managing Director of MFE Interactive“the link interrogator”
Ross Hudgens12. Ross Hudgens, author of Authentic Marketing“thought-leader on scalable link building”
Napoleon Suarez13. Napoleon Suarez, SEO Consultant at SEER Interactive“out-of-the-box link building specialist”
Ryan Clark14. Ryan Clark, CEO of Linkbuildr“ingenious link development strategies straight from Canada”

Melanie Nathan15. Melanie Nathan, President of CanadianSEO – “link building extraordinaire”

Hugo Guzman16. Hugo Guzman, VP at Zeta Interactive and author of Enterprise Interactive Marketing“corporate-level link building expert”
Justin Briggs17. Justin Briggs, SEO Consultant – “the link building scholar”
John Doherty18. John Doherty, Director of Distilled NY – “the fastest rising pundit on the Search sphere”
Debra Mastaler19. Debra Mastaler, author of Link Spiel“the link guru”
Dan Cristo20. Dan Cristo, Co-founder of Triberr“the serial web entrepreneur and developer”
Tad Chef21. Tadeusz Szewczyk, SEO blogger at SEOptimise and author of SEO 2.0 at Onreact“Global SEO player from Germany”
Kristi Hines22. Kristi Hines, author of Kikolani“leading media curator in the industry”
23. Jennifer Van Iderstyne, Online Marketing Director at Search Slingshot“the link building artist”
Wayne Barker24. Wayne Barker, Online Marketing Consultant at Boom Online – “the link specialist from Nottingham”
Julie Joyce25. Julie Joyce, owner of Link Fish Media“the link specialist”
26. Michael King, Director of Search at iAcquire – “advanced inbound marketing strategist”
richard baxter27. Richard Baxter, CEO at SEOGadget“the link gadget”
jon cooper28. Jon Cooper, Author of Point Blank SEO“the link building prodigy
paddy moogan29. Paddy Moogan, SEO Consultant at Distilled and Author of the Link Building Book“the link wizard”
d7ac2fd6d788d54f55f94f2650fd838d30. John-Henry Scherck, SEO Consultant at SEER Interactive – “the link mechanic”
d4f22u1a2235x2t0l73432. James Agate, Founder of Skyrocket SEO“the guest blogging genius”
de89d42d1f5abc2c1d4dd05c55a1128133. Kane Jamison, Founder of Content Harmony“the data-driven content strategist”
mypic34. Stephanie Chang, SEO Consultant at Distilled – “the link building teacher”
Back Camera35. Ed Fry, General Manager of Inbound.org“the link baiting prodigy”
cyrus shepard36. Cyrus Shepard, SEO and Content Marketing Consultant for SEOmoz – “the content astronaut”
1675b74ff21652c29edde2c7e82f0a3937. Peter Attia, SEO Consultant at Cucumber Nebula – “Any color of hat link building expert”
anthony pensabene38. Anthony Pensabene, Content and SEO Consultant at Skyrocket SEO – “one of the best writers in the industry” 
bill-slawski-1039. Bill Slawski, Author of SEO by the Sea“the link scientist”
michael martinez40. Michael Martinez, Author of SEO Theory“the link theorist”
chris dyson41. Chris Dyson, Author of Triple SEO – “the link MacGyver”
chris gilchrist42. Chris Gilchrist, MD and Founder of Hitreach“wordpress SEO expert from Dundee”
tim grice43. Tim Grice, Head of Search at Branded3“the link wizz”

Some of my Link Building Posts

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Image Credit: Justmathing