Becoming a Master Linkbaiter – Getting Authoritative Online Mentions

Paul Marek of, corresponding live from Search Engine Strategies Toronto ’09.

Session – Track: Corporateville
Beyond Linkbait: Getting Authoritative Online Mentions

This session featuring a panel with moderator Kevin Newcomb, Managing Editor of Search Engine Watch and speakers Greg Jarboe, President & Co-Founder of SEO-PR and Mike McDerment, CEO & Co-founder of FreshBooks was a little disappointing. It was more of a “look what we did, maybe you can too” discussion than an informative how-to session, although there were a few good tidbits that the newbie or pro online marketer could use.

Here’s a brief recap of some of those valuable nuggets…

From Mike McDerment:

  • make love with your customers using social media
  • getting links is about engaging people
  • create extraordinary experiences for your users (FreshBooks has a “4E” mantra: “Execute on Extraordinary Experiences Everyday”)
  • create continuous extraordinary experiences

Mike gives examples of how they sent a box of Triscuits crackers to someone in Fiji who commented on the FreshBooks blog complaining how he couldn’t get Triscuits in his country. The person turned out to be a blogger, who wrote a post about the “extraordinary experience”, which created follow up posts on several other blogs. He also tells how they offer free dinners WITH their customers to get to know them. Now that’s extraordinary! FreshBook’s company policy: “We are a service, not a technology. Experiences are our business. Relationships are our currency.”

Mike also offers a few other good tips for getting authoritative mentions (links);

  • go the extra mile for your customers/users
  • social media lets you stay in tune with your customers
  • do interesting and fun things for your users/customers
  • social media is “digitization of word-of-mouth” advertising
  • design for people, not search engines
  • don’t be paranoid about going “community”
  • be open and authentic
  • word-of-mouth is the best advertising – the web is a word-of-mouth machine
  • be creative and fun with your customers, and use the new online word-of-mouth tools

From Greg Jarboe;

  • too often we get hung up on obtaining links using “conventional” methods, such as link requests, exchanges, submissions, etc…
  • creativity + humanity = links
  • the Linkbait test – Will it work again next year?
  • have a great story to tell, others will spread the word
  • use SEO PLUS PR to get authoritative online mentions
  • create relationships with authoritative bloggers
    • know them before you pitch – do not hard sell when getting to know bloggers, offer your help & expertise
    • maintain the relationships
  • blogs are more powerful at “spreading the word” than traditional media
  • people put more trust in word-of-mouth than they do PR or traditional marketing