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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Optimize Your Link Building with Twitter - Point Blank SEO