Optimize Your Link Building with Twitter

by Chris Dyson

This is a guest post by Chris Dyson from Triple SEO.

The pure beauty of using Twitter as a link building tool is the ease by which you can quickly find the thought leaders and key influencers within any niche. Whenever I start working in a new vertical I try to learn more about whom these people are and what type of content are they sharing. A quick search with a service such as Followerwonk, Wefollow.com or even using a Twitter search can reveal a number of influential Twitter accounts we can utilise as a part of our campaigns.

As Mike King succinctly put it in his New SEO Process article on SEOmoz:

“…every successful link building campaign boils down to making news and/or making friends”

But as we all know building relationships and making friends takes a lot of time, so what I’m going to show you in this article is how to take advantage of your pre-existing Twitter relationships to obtain some quick link wins and a tool I like to use to discover who my competitors are talking to.

Obtaining Links from your Existing Twitter Followers

Only recently in the Wil Reynolds interview Jon asked what was the most overlooked link building strategy.

“Simply asking a client … hey, who do you know that could do you a favor if you asked for it, often shows a LOT of opportunity?”

The idea behind this technique is simple you already have a pre-existing relationship with your followers -they already like you and the content that you share. You’ve already invested time and energy in building your following on Twitter and I’m sure you’ve built up lots of karma over the months where you may have re-tweeted your follower’s content or helped them with a query. So this link building tactic is a great way to start to recoup on that investment in time.

I used this tactic with a client recently who had over 700 Twitter followers; of those 65 were bloggers in her niche who she had developed a relationship over several months and not many of them were linking back to her site.

A quick DM to all the bloggers on the list with a time limited special discount code for their readers resulted in 43 new links in a just a few days.

I first stumbled across this technique in the Twitter Link Building article by Ethan Lyon. He runs through some tools and techniques you can use to export your Twitter followers and compare them against an Open Site Explorer link report.

The only problem I had was that Export.ly only allows you the opportunity to export up to 10,000 followers and I knew that the Twitter API in Google Docs would allow me to run reports for large. My limited coding skills only got me so far but then I found this great Twitter Followers Google Doc that does everything for you.

Setting Up the Doc for the First Time

  • Make a Copy of the Spreadsheet and Save in your Google Docs Account
  • Select the Twitter Menu and Click Configure (this authorizes the Scripts to run from your Google Docs Account)
  • Now select Twitter > Configure again you will see this below Pop-up box appear
  • Register for an API key with Twitter at http://dev.twitter.com/apps/new
    • Application Website = You can use any URL
    • Application Type = Browser
    • Callback URL = https://spreadsheets.google.com/macros
    • Default Access type = Read-only

Once you have finished filling in the form and accepting Twitter’s terms and conditions you’ll see a summary page which includes a Consumer Key and Consumer Secret which you need to enter in the spaces provided.

  • When your Consumer Key and Consumer Secret are saved you need to open Tools > Script Editor … and run the ‘authenticate’ function
  • Now Select Tools > Scripts > Script Editor … and from the Script Editor window select Run > aTest.
  • Select Tools > Scripts > Script Editor … and from the Script Editor window select Run > aTest.
  • This should bring up an authorization message box, click on Authorize.
  • In the Twitter Authorization window enter your login details if required and select ‘Allow’
  • Close the Script Editor window and a dialog box in the main spreadsheet should indicate if you have successfully connected to Twitter

I know it seems like a lot to do but it should take no longer than 5 minutes to authorise the accounts and setup the API.

If all is okay you can now select Twitter > Get Followers and Twitter > Get Friends (when these run your sheet may go blank, if so refresh your browser window).

Using your exported list of followers you can now filter them for keywords such as Blog or blogger I also use the Linkscape API to pull in some useful metrics such as mozrank or Domain Authority so I can prioritise my targets. I usually find a quick friendly DM asking for an email address to send them something their readers might like often works well at this stage.

Finding who Influences the Influencer

Another Twitter Link Building technique I like to use is to find out who I, or my client, might already know that has a pre-existing relationship with a Thought Leader. I am quite a visual data person so I like to use Mentionmapp to analyze Twitter networks. Mentionmapp works by looking at an individual’s recent tweets and mapping their mentions and hashtags.

Below is a quick Youtube video so you can see it in action:

As you can see from the video you can easily map out who is talking to who on Twitter and the thickness of the lines represent the number of mentions. Using this visual I can quickly begin to learn about the people my thought leaders are engaging with.

This means not only can I target a piece of content to get the attention of a particular key influencer I can also try to target a few members of their online network who maybe more likely to share my content and in doing so help me to grab their attention. I think that a lot of people forget that the principles of business networking also apply to social networks to so asking a friend for a referral can be a great way to increase your sphere of influence.

If you have any useful Twitter tools you use as part of your link building tool box please leave a comment below.

This post was written by...

Chris Dyson – who has written 1 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Chris Dyson is an SEO Consultant for Roots Web Solutions, and is an experienced SEO blogger. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google+.

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  1. Sam Davis says:

    I have been following Chris’s rise to SEO stardom for the last 12 months and from the posts on his blog over at Roots Web Solutions I have learned a great deal. I am forever in debt because I just can’t keep up with his in-depth knowledge on the subject.

    Always opens my eyes to a link filled world,

    Thank you Chris,

    Sam Davis

  2. Stoked SEO says:

    Great guest post Chris, I’ve not come across the mention map site before. Just having a little play with it at the moment and it’s really good.

    Thanks for the heads up

  3. iWebSquare says:

    I like mentionmapp tool, awesome, helped me to find the hashtags and mentioned of me.

  4. Love Mentionmap, hadn’t seen it before but it’s in my toolkit now. I’m going to give the overall idea/method a whirl with one of my businesses this coming week.

  5. Tudor Davies says:

    Good read. The lines are very much blurred now between social media and link building. That is why it is no longer appropriate to have link builders and social marketers in different departments and in some cases different offices.

  6. Chris Dyson says:

    Thanks for the feedback – I hope you use these tactics to get some great links & social mentions 🙂

  7. Lorenzo says:

    Hey Chris, great post, I learned a lot of good stuff. Just a clarification, where do those 43 links come from? If they come from blogs that are promoting the offer, are they going to be permanent links?

    • Chris Dyson says:

      Hi Lorenzo,

      These links were in blog posts so they still exist. That’s not to say you couldn’t offer an open ended discount code as some mommy bloggers have a “voucher code” page.

      I guess it’s just a case of having something News-worthy e.g. guest blog, press release, product review, infographic & because you have that existing relationship you will get a much better response rate.

  8. TJM says:

    Great post, but do people reader their twitter messages? Arent a lot of them spam these days? It certainly deserver further thought re what you would offer as a discount (for a product) is restricted geographically. Hm.

  9. Rahul Tilloo says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for sharing the technique. I really liked the Mentionmapp app its really cool.

  10. Gino says:

    thanks chris,

    i have steady ur post, and everything what you told i did exacly the same and now i had 38 backlinks in just 3 days..

    now i have pagerank 5 with your help..

    Thanks for that!

  11. Darren says:

    Great article Chris. Thanks.

  12. GREAT article, Chris. I have about 127k twitter followers. Will a list of this size create any issues in when mining for data?

    • Chris says:

      As this is a GDoc running 127k shouldn’t be an issue but you may find it takes several hours to collate that much data.

  13. Alex says:

    Thanks for the great post. It really helps because pretty usually people just just post some stuff in Twitter and tell their boss their working 🙂 Posts like yours really help to understand how to make use of it.

  14. Great post, Chris. Like many of the other commenters, I hadn’t heard of mentionmapp until now. I certainly see how it could come in handy. Frankly, I haven’t really used Twitter for direct link building like this, but it is a great idea. Time to think outside the box a little more.


    • Chris says:

      Hey Joshua, thanks for feedback. I hope you use some of the tips in this post to snag some quick & easy link wins.

  15. Thanks for the article Chris, some great work and insights. Very helpful when discussing the importance of having the right followers (moving in the right circles) with clients

    • Chris says:

      I recommend you watch Wil Reynolds Linklove presentation where he discusses the techniques he used to “stalk” Dharmesh Shah. He drops some great tips on how to build valuable relationships with thought leaders quickly.

  16. Donald lee says:

    Thanks for the article Chris .
    This a article is very useful to the SEO link submission .
    In past have idea about Bookmarking & Directory submission but never idea abut the Link submission so this article is very useful for me

  17. Thank for these good ideas that I will be using on our website!

  18. Gregory says:

    Great article, and a fascinating way to establish the value of followers to a company’s marketing strategy

  19. Ian says:

    Just came across chris’s blog. I think will be reading more of his articles as I
    learn SEO. Good work i hope to learn more.
    gonna check out Mentionmapp, I’ve never heard of it until now.

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  21. I start working in a new vertical I try to learn more about whom these people are and what type of content are they sharing. A quick search with a service.

  22. There’s certainly a great deal to know about this topic. I like all the points you’ve

Optimize Your Link Building with Twitter - Point Blank SEO