Look At Everything With Link Building Eyes

I’ve been attending SEO and marketing conferences since 2002 and have amassed a huge pile of totes and backpacks as a result.


I use them all the time, mostly for groceries but I also haul around library books, gym clothes and gardening tools in them.  Not too long ago a woman stopped me in the grocery store and asked about the SEO totes I had piled in the front of my cart, she recognized one since she had attended the same show earlier in the year. Small world!


 I know I’m not the only one using my conference totes and backpacks at home, my friends do the same:

Chris and Kaitlin

Christine Churchill and daughter Kaitlin. Tote in Kaitlin's lap is from the first SES conference Christine attended in 1999.

I’ve seen Christine use her backpacks around her ranch, she has them in the barn, in the horse trailer, in the shed, in her pickup and hanging from her saddle horn.  She definitely horses around with her totes!  (I’m here all week) 

Mat  uses his conference backpacks to leave home:

Mat Siltala bought luggage to match his SMX backpack. OK, not really but they do match!


Simon needs multiple backpacks  to carry around his stuff:


Simon Heseltine, AOL Bagman


If you’re saying “Yo Debra, enough with the cutesy images, where’s the link building spiel “, have no fear.  Besides having a little fun, I wanted to show how simple ideas and everyday items can be used to attract links.

Link To An Authority

While I used the images above as a giggle and intro to this post, I picked the bags because of the companies they represent.  Each comes from a well known and authoritative SEO/SEM conference,  I linked to them for a couple of reasons: 

  • They help reinforce my credibility as a professional.  I have been speaking at SMX and SES for a long time and appreciate the fact they keep asking me back so I do whatever I can to help promote and support both shows. My totes post may be corny but the sentiment behind it is heartfelt both personally and algorithmically.  Sentiment analysis and the way it is being used to influence rank deserves another post but I’ll  leave you with a link for later reading. 
  • Boosts my relevance factor.  Linking to the authoritative SEO conference sites helps establish where I belong topically and ties my site into the link graph.  Relevance is a major component of link popularity, by linking out I help reinforce my position topically and associate my content and anchors with terms used throughout the industry.
If you’re creating linkbait or content in general, find a way to incorporate the authorities in your industry.  Look to link to people/sites with strong Facebook , Twitter and/or G+ profiles as well as sites ranking well, the definition for “authority”  is changing.   

Use Images As Link Magnets  

I am frequently asked to share “advanced” linking building techniques, I always reply “there is no such thing as advanced link building.  I really feel that way, “advanced” is usually associated with ” more technical” or “less frequently discussed” which makes a tactic seem more advanced.   Using images falls into the “less frequently” category and by their nature, can be a little more technical depending on how you use them.  Here’s a couple ideas to try:

  • Make Your Own “Flickr”.  I do this quite a bit with images taken from client’s ecommerce sites, it is a great tactic for a B2B or retail site light in the written content department.  Create an image library on your website, add all your product images plus any other, publish your reprint requirements and promote to your users, through your niche forums and via press release.  You have a new channel, pimp it! A free image source is always well received, point your releases to the trade journals in your industry for added punch.   
  • Optimize your images.  If the images are not yours, get permission from the people who own them, this is a big deal for both legal and marketing reasons.  Hover over the pictures on this post and you’ll see they are tagged and hyperlinked.  This is just good SEO as well as being polite, Google Image is still the second largest search platform in their stable.
  •  Make an image video.  If you don’t have the time or resources to create a video, use your images to make one.  Search on the term “image to video” and you will find lots of companies with software or services to do it for you. Develop channels at all the video sites and promote as you would images.  Include a written transcript of each video and add them to your site so you benefit from the new content.

If I really wanted to stretch the tote idea I could ask Mat to create an infographic for me but there are only so many hours in the day 🙂 Point is, one little idea can be pulled and stretched into a lot of different linking techniques if you just look at everything with Betty Davis link building eyes.

Before you leave… If you are headed to SMX West in February and SES New York in March, please come by the Linking Bootcamps and say hello. My sessions are not for the faint of heart, I roll hard and fast jamming a ton of tips, techniques, and tools in the hour I have.  You will walk away with a great outline of tactics to use.

Christine and I are moderating each other’s sessions at SMX again,  she does a wicked smart keyword research and copywriting for search session so be sure to come by!

Thanks and see you soon!