Content Marketing

How to Qualify Your Link Prospects…

Finding link prospects isn’t the hardest part of link building… Qualifying your link prospects is. Read this article: A Guide To Qualifying Link Prospects For Relevance, Value & Potentiality and download the Ontolo link qualification worksheet >>

This article was fun to write: it provides useful, unique information, it clearly illustrates a core proficiency of my link prospecting company and includes a downloadable worksheet for link building! Ben and I will work at putting prizes inside of all of our publications πŸ™‚

This is my first publication in the prestigious Search Engine Land, and I’m very proud to be amongst the ranks of my link building heroes.

20 Link Building KPIs + 55 Link Opportunity Qualifiers + Link Prospect Segmentation

My link building strategy work continues with Ontolo, the large scale link building company I joined as co-founder. My work for the last few weeks has focused on the earlier stages of link building campaigns – setting goals and KPIs and qualifying massive sets of link prospect urls (think in the 100-250k range).

Though we work at a massive scale, any link builder will find useful concepts and strategies to apply on any scale of link building project.

3 Goals and 20 KPIs for Large Scale Link Building Campaigns
Setting clear goals enables you to focus your efforts on influencing search rank, your market’s media (including social), or both. Consider these link building goals as you go about setting your own…

55 Link Opportunity Qualifiers Within Large Scale Link Prospect Data Sets
Once you have identified your goals and KPIs and created your list of 100-250,000 targeted, rank-influencing link prospects (we crawl to build our large scale link prospect lists) you must further analyze them to identify those that will help you meet your link building goals. Remember, the criteria you set for qualifying link prospects must follow from your goals…

Use Link Prospect Segmentation to Create Content, Conversations and High Rankings
The data produced by large-scale link building research can provide invaluable content strategy insight. By identifying and targeting agenda-based segments within your link prospect list you can drastically improve your link acquisition rates. Further, you set the stage for long term conversation-based relationships with these segments that provide value far beyond influencing the search rankings…

So get the Ontolo blog rss feed already πŸ˜‰

The 22 Best Link Building Posts of 2008

It was VERY exciting to check my stats this morning and see that I’m getting traffic from a SEMMY NOMINATION for this article I wrote: A Guide to Getting Maximum Link Value from Your Content back in May.

2009 SEMMY Nominee

There are 21 other contenders in the link building category, and some writers (Rand Fishkin, Rae Hoffman, the esteemed Wiep Knol) received multiple content nominations. Now that I’m writing regularly about large scale link building tactics for Ontolo I hope I’ll have 6-8 articles nominated in 2010 πŸ˜‰
Read the rest of this entry »

Link Acquisition Tips + Finding Links that Influence Rankings AND Purchase Decisions

Part of my work as co-founder at Ontolo is crystalizing the tactics that Ben Wills and I use during our large-scale link building efforts. I’m doing this in weekly posts at the Ontolo blog. Here are some recent posts that will pretty much blow your mind πŸ˜‰

8 Purchase Influence Indicators for Links that Influence Rankings AND Purchase Decisions
When qualifying link prospects you inevitably find a segment of people who influence purchase decisions as well as the search engine rankings. Their ability to sway opinions – and search rankings – within your market makes them a highly valuable link target.

12 Powerful Offers that Build Links in Your Link Acquisition Phase
This list of 12 link exchange offers provides a starting point for strategically aligning your offers with the segments you’ll find in your link prospect list. It’s ordered by our assessment of resource expenditure, from least to greatest.

Link Request Rejections: 6 Ways to Grow from No
During the acquisition phase of your link building project you will receive many rejections. Because the majority of your rejections will occur through non-response, it’s vital that you grow any written β€œno” you receive by email into an opportunity to educate yourself. These written rejections represent an opportunity for you to improve your site’s content, your future link building efforts and to better connect yourself to your media space influencers.

3 New Link Building Request Strategy Posts

…at the Ontolo blog…

I wrote these based on my work in large-scale link building with Ben Wills, who I’ve joined as a co-founder at Ontolo.

12 Ways to Maximize Your Link Acquisition Efforts

5 Questions that Increase Your Link Request Conversions

Your Link Request Email is Unsolicited Criticism

I’ll be writing at the Ontolo blog regularly regarding large-scale link building strategies.

Also, please take the Link Building Style quiz >> It’s working now. Please tell me your stye πŸ˜€

Quiz: What’s Your Link Building Style?

I created and posted this quiz on my blog using is in open beta right now so sign up and build a quiz for your blog πŸ™‚ I wrote this quiz for an upcoming article for Search Marketing Standard.

As someone interested in link building quizzes you may also enjoy the quiz: What SEO Hat do You Wear?

“; echo $show_quizmarketing; }else{ echo”
What’s Your Link Building Style? – Take the Quiz
This quiz helps to determine your link building style.
Pick the answer that best fits for you!
1. What would you do with 50,000 link prospect URLs in a spread sheet?
Hand them to my team – they know what to do.
Dump them into my link sorter and start up the auto email generator.
Go through the first 50 by hand. Screech in boredom. Go back to writing link bait.
I really wouldn’t know where to start…
2. What’s the first thing you noticed about this quiz? (the backend) – can I build something similar?
The title – man I could write a title WAY better than that!
Do I have a style if I’m just getting started?… can my team use it to build link-worthy quizzes?
3. What portion of link building would you NEVER outsource?
Content creation.
Tool and widget development.
Managing my team.
I would like to outsource LEARNING how to build links…
4. Do you contact your link prospects personally?
Not much – I automate as much as possible.
Absolutely – I’m the master of personalized emails that get links.
Rarely. I do offer guidance to my crew though.
I have not yet contacted a link prospect, or even determined who my link prospects are.
5. Can you create link building widgets?
Nope, but I know all the good ones.
Yep – I design them and my team builds them.
What is a widget exactly?
6. How many programming languages do you know?
Is html a programming language?
As many as it takes to get the job done.
I speak “money.” Most programmers do too.
Zero programming languages – oh crap does link building require programming languages?
7. How valuable to you is a list of 500 urls that link to competitor urls that 404?
Interesting, but I wouldn’t really know where to start with them…
GOLDEN. Let me at them.
Nice – I’ll sort through them and get my team working on requests.
404 – wtf?
8. What tools do you use to find link prospects?
I would use Google to find out what a link prospect is.
Google plus free link research apps.
Google plus my home-built tools plus a smattering of free apps.
Google plus my home-built tools plus free apps plus paid apps plus employees.
9. What is your stance on link bait and social media?
Never touch the stuff myself – too unreliable.
I have accounts at several social media sites and use them to build links to my link bait, er, useful content.
My team includes writers and social media marketers.
I’ve heard people discuss these things.

“; } ?>

a “Cross Channel Creative Conqueror of Conversational Calypso”

I’ve worked with Adam Schultz for over four years now – two as coworkers at WebSourced and then two as a consultant to Bold Interactive, the agency Adam created out of his mountains of talent and deep wells of determination.

Adam called me last Friday – AFTER our 2 hour strategy lunch – to see if I’d gotten his review. I hadn’t and he cursed, and tried to recite it from memory. The longer we talked about it the more he tried to play it down so that my expectations wouldn’t outshine the actual writing.

I think it’s a fine piece of writing. And Adam, thank you for the continued opportunity to work with you and your clients – it truly is a pleasure.

Testimonial from Adam Schultz of Bold Interactive:

Garrett French makes me angry at god for making me a straight man. The love I have for this cross channel creative conqueror of conversational calypso is dwarfed only by the love I feel for my wife and 2 children. The monumental magnitude of his minds-eye has no limit and I am a more engaged and creative marketer for having known him. Should you work with Garrett? Absolutely not. I want him all for myself. If you have a problem with that than YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE A FRIGGIN’ NUMBER COCHISE! Would I work with Garrett again? Oh, I would. . . again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and . . .

Quizzes that JOLT YOU – More Quiz Conversations with Ben

I’m a quiz writing novice – I admit that happily. My best effort thus far (cheapskate woodworker) has resulted in 4 links. Well, make that 5 now that I linked to it πŸ˜‰ They’re solid links from contextually related sites, but that’s a far cry from the 800+ links Matt Inman generated with his most recent velociraptors and bunk beds quiz.

I could survive for 1 minute, 13 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk

Wow, right? Inman’s f-ing crazy with this stuff!

When I mentioned this velociraptor quiz to Ben Wills of Ontolo recently he identified that Inman’s quizzes are jolting. And they involve “you” in the title. I attempted a jolt with my recent “Could Your Workshop Withstand a Zombie Attack?

“Uh-Oh… Work Shop Zombie Attack!”
Zombie Bait
Yikes! You’re a goner. Your shop is not adequately prepared for a zombie apocalypse. The good news is that you can use this as an excuse for more power tools πŸ˜‰

From my conversation with Ben I recognized that I have to get a bit more jolting with my quiz topics. I’ve always worked for them to have some sort of editorial integrity and a contextual relationship to the topic of the site. If I’d created a bun bed quiz it would more have to do with matching styles of bunk beds to personality traits (are you a futon bunk bed or loft bed?). Or maybe something like “do you have the bunk bed personality…”

The power of Inman’s quizzes is – as identified by Ben – that they JOLT you, and they force you to consider yourself in some dangerous situation. I believe there should be a bit more contextual relationship of the quiz to the website, but hey, Inman’s got his finger on the pulse of quiz-result posters.

As the co-developer of I also have some concern that there is some importance in measuring for a single result (how much X are you – how much X could you withstand, etc) rather than multiple results. It’s simpler than selecting from a few disparate personality traits – and actually allows for a wider range or results. It’s more direct too, and enables more precise comparisons for folks who have taken the quiz.

My “zombies in the work shop” quiz is leaps and bounds beyond the “what power tool are you” quiz, but I still have a long ways to go, so many thanks to Ben for last night’s phone conversation. I’m going to be working on some “jolting” quizzes with Ben in the near future, and will report our results.

Incidentally if you’d like to experiment with Quiz Marketing for link building and visitor engagement please contact me – we’re having limited, high-touch betas for right now πŸ™‚

More Inman Quiz Link Building Stuff:
Dinosaurs and Bunk Beds and Widgets, Oh My!
Widgetbait Gone Wild (a post by Inman)
Quiz: How Long Could You Survive Chained to Matt Inman? (…awesome on so many levels)

More Quiz Marketing Ruminations:
Extending, Communicating, or Reinforcing Identity: a Thought on Quiz Marketing
Personality target=”_blank”Quiz Marketing for Links, Leads and Consultative Sales
Some Thoughts on How to Write Personality Quizzes for Link Building

Extending, Communicating, or Reinforcing Identity: a Thought on Quiz Marketing

I’ve been talking quiz marketing with Ben Wills of Ontolo. Here’s what he said today that really perked up my ears: “I think that an angle to consider is how the quiz can extend, communicate, or reinforce the person’s identity.”

What this thought did for me was crystalize how I think I’ll write quizzes in the future. First it will be to outline “identities” within a market segment. Secondly to find ways that the quiz’s results, as Ben puts it, “extend, communicate or reinforce the person’s identity.”

This is something I’d been working towards, and grasped intuitively, but Ben’s putting it so plainly helped me to reframe my approach. At least abstractly… the abstract often goes out the window when it comes time for the reality of Making Something Work πŸ˜‰

His point is solid though – if the quiz results don’t resonate in some way with an aspect of the taker’s identity (or desired identity) then there’s no way in hell they’ll be posting their results anywhere. Also… we need to build in badge markup for different sites (MySpace, Facebook, forums, etc…).

>> Update: Jeremy Luebke of Xeru Internet Marketing asked for an example… here’s what I mustered up.

My quiz-making process before Ben’s email:
Think of a fun quiz idea that might get woodworkers to take the quiz (one of my main categories is woodworking).

My first quiz was “what power tool are you…” A personality quiz that didn’t get much traction. Why? Too many questions + the woodworking demographic didn’t seem compelled to identify with their power tools like I thought they would. Especially not from the angle of the Briggs-Meyers personality test I based it on.

My second quiz was “are you a cheapskate woodworker?” Being a cheapskate is a good thing in some market segments, and there’s a “waste-not want-not” mentality that’s strong with most woodworkers. This has gotten a bit more consistent interest. Ben’s email helped me understand rationally what had been kicking around in my subconscious…

My thinking after Ben’s email:
AHA! What are other aspects of my woodworking segment’s “collective personality?” What do woodworkers typically strive for in their work (and therefore their identities…). How do I create quizzes in which the results/badges will give them a totem to show/prove that they are indeed this good aspect?

It’s almost like… how can I reinforce to members of my market segment that they are indeed what they think they are? And then, how can I help them communicate this to others? Finally, the extension part… am I helping them discover some hidden, unknown aspect of themselves?

I spend a great deal of time in woodworking forums, and an increasing amount of time on other woodworking blogs, so I will be reading more closely now in hopes of better grasping what shapes their personalities.

From a link-building perspective my hope is that they are so enamored of the result they got that they are willing to post it. The one “in-the-wild” posting we’ve had for the cheapskate quiz was from a woodworker who got the “Cheapskate” result. There were 3 results total, including “Frugal” and “Quick-Spend”.

Previously I’d thought that I needed to “flatter” the quiz takers with the results. That’s not enough though, and Ben’s email helped me jump that track. Though, as I mentioned earlier, all this is conjecture + theory and that often goes out the window the minute pen hits paper (or fingers hit keyboard, whatever ;).

>>Update 2:
I realize that one aspect of my quiz-writing philosophy has gone largely unwritten… You must create quizzes + results badges within the context of your market. Erm, that means stuff like this eco disaster survival quiz building links for mobile coupons is a no no in my book. I’m not as likely to build links as quickly, nor as widely, but the upside is that I’m creating engaging content for my target demographic.Cheap Kytril
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