Posted November 25, 2008 2:21 pm by with 9 comments

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After a great London SEO event the night before at the Freemasons Arms, it was somewhat surprising to see such a packed room first thing in the morning. Rob Kerry from Ayima who organised the previous evening’s social event was up bright and breezy moderating this first session of the day. After a light-hearted introduction from Rob, the first person up to present was Lyndon Antcliff.

Lyndon Antcliff –

Lyndon talked the audience through a particularly well-known viral news story he worked on this year. The case study was a ‘13 year old credit card fraud story’. He dissected the story for the audience to help folks understand what makes a piece of content viral and then highlighted the importance of using ‘psychological hooks’.

The story in question managed to get over 1,000 links, 100,000 visitors to the page and reached 30 million people offline through mainstream national media sources, as it was featured as news on Radio 1, The Sun, Metro Newspapers and the Howard Stern Show.

Viral news story screenshot

You can read the story here

Note: The story was originally assumed to be real by the press and media. The legal disclaimer on the page was added afterwards.

Lyndon suggested that the reason the story was such a viral success is that is excited people on a fundamental level and did so in the right context. It was not in fact a single element that made the story viral – it was a combination of psychological hooks.

The art of creating viral news stories to was to sprinkle them with psychological hooks – like fairy dust.

Tom Critchlow – Distilled –

Tom enlightened the crowd with a number of practical outside the box link building tactics that can get results that are essentially ‘white hat’ and should avoid upsetting Google. Here were some of his suggestions.

1. Donate money to charities in return for a link.
2. Find sites that link to expired resource pages/sites relevant to your niche and get them to link to you instead
3. Use forums to create great link bait – find interesting conversations and debates, summarise and create content from it. As long as credit due is given then objections are unlikely from those involved.
4. Look for companies that have gone out of business – contact their link partners to link to your new resource – or even buy the old website and 301.

Find expired pages on Google screenshot

Tom stressed the fact that manual link building is time consuming and labour intensive so SEOs should use intelligent Google queries to get one step ahead.

Tom delivered some great hands-on ideas and I’m sure many of the audience will be able to use in link building campaigns.

Jay Young – LinkFishMedia Inc –

Jay took the crowd into the darker side of link building. Some initial suggestions were (regardless of a link builders gender) to make your link builder profile a female – create a profile page with a picture (ideally of an attractive woman) and this will tend to have a higher conversion rate in securing links.

Darker Side of SEO

Jay advocated using the phone and calling people to get links rather than use email as a more effective direct approach. He suggested when negotiating to go in low on the price (lowball) and to not be afraid to walk away.

Once the link is agreed then he suggested asking the web master to introduce you to other potential link partners. To go down this route it may be necessary to offer an incentive – either referral fee or free product for links.

In order to make link-buying look natural Jay advocated buying most links where cyclically it made sense for that industry, and then buying less in the quiet periods. For example if an industry peaked in the summer months then getting more links during that period would seem natural.

Recommended tools for this research included Google analytics, Google insights and Google trends to determine where these market fluctuations were.

In addition to this Jay suggested SEOs ask for anchor text changes in links every 3- 6 months if it could help seasonal promotions. He warned that it was wise to mention this to the publisher upfront when securing the link.

As well as addressing ‘link bombing’ type techniques some people have been known to use to get a competitive advantage, Jay’s session gave attendees some interesting ‘out of the box’ ideas.

Wiep Knol –

Wipe’s presentation focussed on Link Building during a recession. The consequences of a recession on link building include issues such as campaign budgets falling, time available to work on projects falling – but stress increases and at the same time the creativity required to do a good job link building is the same.

Wiep argued that many bloggers might cut back on posting to focus on ‘real work’ during a recession too. He went on to suggest link builders could look at the option of offering SEO training to in-house teams during a recession as well as picking low hanging fruit. Paid links might be against the rule – but prices can fall during a recession.

In terms of leveraging economic decline Wiep also mentioned monitoring bankruptcies in your industry as a means to find ways to buy websites.

He showed some examples of good search queries to find companies in liquidation and highlighted ways to find other websites in need of content – including unused blog or closed websites.

Finally he told the audience that SEOs could develop recession related content to illustrate key issues – use visuals, highlight industry movers and shakers as well as consider using various widgets.

Wiep’s presentation slides are also available on his website here

  • The viral story about the 13 year old and using his dad credit card to buy hookers is really hilarious actually! 😉

  • Red

    The idea to make your link builder profile female, brilliant!

  • This is the kind of quality article that makes this blog my favorite marketing blog on the net, great job guys.

    Of particular interest to me is the psychological component of marketing. Purchasing is an emotional reaction, not a logical decision. People purchase on emotion and later justify their purchase with logic. The master marketer understands this aspect of human nature and injects emotional words, phrases, and concepts into his sales copy.

    Psychologists attempt to explain the mind and brain in the context of real life. Psychologists study such phenomena as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Marketers attempt to exploit the mind and brain in the context of business and capitalism.

    Marketing is about studying and understanding basic human psychology. If you understand why people do the things they do, the pull of your marketing literature will be triple that of your competitors.

    All people have the same basic goals, dreams, and fears. Your job as a sales letter writer is to tap into basic human desires which will cause your reader to act.

    The great Claude Hopkins’ writes in Scientific Advertising:

    The competent advertising man must understand psychology. The more he knows about if the better. He must learn that certain effects lead to certain reactions, and use that knowledge to increase results and avoid mistakes.

    Human nature is perpetual. In most respects it is the same today as in the time of Caesar. So the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learn about them.

  • I have read the story abt the 13 yr old boy before. Did the story actually originated in

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..How to Build Authority Links (including .edu .gov .mil)

  • Awesome post. I got some great ideas and took some notes just reading this post. The woman profile thing is funny, but interesting. I know you must have pages full of notes after this event.

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  • Some good ideas there, worth looking into – particularly tracking expired websites and their links.

  • Good tips. Wish I could have caught this presentation live.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..ExactFactor: An SEO Tool Review

  • Thanks for sharing the tips. I wish I could present at the presentation to hear and see by my own eyes.