Recently I watched the Sagan Series, an outstanding set of videos created by Reid Gower, and if you haven’t seen at least the first video, then you need to check it out below.
In the first video, it talks about the always-evident frontier (as well as many other awesome, interesting things), and how no matter how far you go, the frontier will always exist. In the beginning, it was rivers and mountains. 600 years ago, it was oceans. Today, it’s space. In the future, there will always be one, no matter how far we travel and how much we discover.
After watching this series multiple times, it got me thinking about how I can apply this to my daily link building efforts, and I came to this conclusion:
No one wanted to be the second person to walk on the Moon; they wanted to be the first. That’s why Neil Armstrong is so famous. This is the same idea in link building: if you’re not the first person to tap into a link prospect, then you won’t get the same rewards as the first person.
For example, take resource & links pages. If you’re dead link building like I’ve been telling you, then you’ve come across pages with tons of broken links, and pages with no broken links. The pages with lots of broken links means you have an opportunity to get a link. If you’re the second link builder to get there, chances are the first one has already contacted the webmaster, had the broken links cleaned up, and got a link in return. Being second doesn’t pay.
Let’s look at blog commenting. Although it’s one of the scummier link building strategies out there, it still works for other things like driving traffic. If you’re just monitoring twitter & your competitor’s backlinks, you might come across a few awesome posts with over 100+ comments, meaning if you dropped a comment now it would have little to no value. If you were the first person to comment on that post, you’d not only have a link higher up on the page (although nofollow), but you’d also drive a decent amount of traffic to your blog.
Although something easier said than done, being one of the first people to build a relationship with a blogger who becomes extremely influential in the future reaps enormous rewards. Just imagine if you were an SEO who had a relationship with Aaron Wall, Rand Fishkin, or Danny Sullivan when they first began blogging!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you need to stop copying and start doing something new & unique. In link building, this means not depending on your competitor’s backlink profile to be 100% of your link building campaign. Rather, it should be a nice addition to a larger campaign. Don’t get me wrong; if you aren’t looking at your competitors backlinks than you shouldn’t label yourself a link builder, but as I’ve said, don’t invest all of your link building efforts to just this. Try and look for new prospects that your competitors haven’t gotten links from, or find new bloggers with great content that don’t have the online presence that other industry influencers have.
Here’s a few quick tips to find things before others do.
If you’re looking to find bloggers that could yield amazing exposure in the future, then try and find people commenting, tweeting, & sharing great content in your industry. This is as easy as making a list of people who tweeted a certain post or commented on it. Once you’ve made a list of all these bloggers, go to each one’s blog and start by reading a few of their most popular posts & leaving comments on them. If you come across great post after great post, then you’ve found someone worth building a relationship with. If they’re a medium level blogger, then they’d be ecstatic just to have you shoot an email over saying how much you like their content. If you already have influence & they know who you are, a great relationship is 10x easier to create. As you know, link building is about relationships, because people give links.
Are you yet to sit down & spend 2-3 hours messing around with advanced search queries? If so, then it’s time to get started. One great, free tool I use is SoloSEO’s link search tool. Type in your keyword, and the tool gives you a long list of search queries. By installing either SEOquake for Firefox or the Mozbar for Firefox/Chrome, you can see some awesome stats right underneath each search result. With these statistics you can easily search through potential link prosects and find the ones that are most valuable.
Being the first to comment on a post that goes viral is something as valuable as a link from a guest post in terms of traffic, so this should consistently be one of your everyday tasks. I use Feedly to read RSS feeds from a mobile device, so from the minute a post goes live on a popular blog, I can see that on my phone. Once I see this, I immediately go the post, skim it, then add some helpful insight as a comment. Just like in the SERPs, the first comment gets the most clicks through, but 2nd, 3rd, and 4th aren’t too bad either (although exponentially less).
Do you have an awesome technique to find link prospects, people, or popular posts before others do? Please let me know in the comments below!