Link Building Techniques That Work: ContentJam Recap

I recently spent the day at ContentJam in Chicago.  Designed for people who create or curate content for the web, ContentJam is a one-day conference filled with expert sessions in the SEO, promotions, marketing, content strategy and creation arenas.  In this second post of my Content Creation and Management Series, I’ll be sharing with you my notes from the amazing sessions that I attended and crediting the speakers along the way.  Check out the first post on Content Marketing.  This was the second year of ContentJam, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there is a 2014 ContentJam.  It was an incredible day of learning!

Content Creation and Management:  Link Building, Techniques That Work from session at ContentJam (
Sean McGinnis, @seanmcginnis,

Why Are links are So Important (Still)
  • Page Rank – The core of Google’s success
  • We want to take in to account the number and account of links that link to your site
  • Information retrieval and research
  • Compare it to legal citation and authority – the more valuable the citation the better.  The same goes for links.
  • New York Times versus an child’s blog – which carry’s more weight?
  • You want to link to sites that are more authoritative than you
  • – use it!
  • 2013 search engine ranking factors (just a few)
    • hundred of factors
    • Think of it as 3 legs of a stool:  on site, offsite, and technical aspects
    • Make sure you are using 301 as opposed to 302 redirects
    • Page authority
    • number of google plus 1’s
    • The Top 70 having nothing related to content!
    • #73 has to do with content
    • Offsite optimization is KEY
    • Links matter
    • CLICK HERE – 6 of the top 8 results do not have the words click here anywhere on the page
  • A Link in Nature
    • HTML behind the link
    • Anchor text shapes the follow
    • URL – the link target
    • REL – No Follow (a tag that indicates to search engines that this isn’t a reliable site)
  • Do NOT!
    • solicit links
    • except offers to put generic links on your site.

Specific Link Building Techniques

1.  Create Epic Shit – Stop Blogging Just To Blog!

  • Start thinking big!
  • If you aren’t that committed – don’t do it.
  • Stand out in a crowd

2.  Guest Post Your Heart Out

  • Build a relationship with people who are bigger and better than you
  • Add value to their community
  • ASK!
  • Do not submit same post to 80 blogs.
  • Find specific posts
  • Don’t forget to SEO while guest posting
    • Target related more powerful sites
    • Optimize and tweak – sometimes it may be an additional content as much as original post
    • Track your success with webmaster tools  – make sure that authorship is set up correctly.  (See Sean McGinnis’s post on this subject)

3.  Create an InfoGraphic.  But Not A Sucky One!

4.  Curate A List

  • Takes effort
  • Hard work
  • Make a badge
  • Research
  • Write a paragraph WHY
  • Make it the very best of its kind
  • Don’t forget to promote it
  • Let the people know that they are on your list, people love to talk about themselves

5.  Host An Event

  • Create a hashtag and promote the heck out of it
  • Write a round-up post of their round-up posts and promote the heck out of it
  • Link back to friends that have written round ups
  • Thank you emails
  • Survey attendees
  • Write a post about the survey results and share
  • Share slides (Slideshare, LinkedIN, Your site, Others)
  • Curate pictures (Facebook, Instagram, Flickr)
  • Curate videos
  • Thank you posts

6.  Hold A Contest

  • Example:  Social Media Examiner
  • Study the things they do to promote it
  • Announcement post
  • Nomination post
  • Nomination process
  • Reminder
  • Judgement
  • Winner announcement
  • Social channels
  • Create hashtag
  • Groups –
    • judges
    • nominees
    • winners
    • fans
    • readers of customers
    • followers
  • Create linkable events
  • The bigger your existing fan base – the more link value

7.  Issue A Press Release

  • Still a lot of value
  • Don’t manufacture a press release to get links
  • Make sure you have something important to say
  • Use the channel that already exists when you have newsworthy items to share
  • Your goal is to have a journalist see it, create interest in your business and write a story that also happens to include a link in your site.
  • Don’t spam

8.  Interview An Expert

9.  Use Stock Business Assets Creatively

  • Example:  Lateral About Us page
  • 404 page – be creative
  • Business cards
  • Think outside the box for things that other business take for granted

10.  Curate, Share & Republish

  • Don’t be afraid to be a curator

Bad Things to Avoid While Link Building

  • Spammy links
  • Buying links
  • Links from totally unrelated or irrelevant sites
  • Links that won’t bring any traffic
  • Links from sites that exist just to publish links or crappy content
  • Using the exact same anchor text in every link you acquire
  • Relying on only one tactic.  Try a variety of things and measure the results.
  • Natural and organic

3 Rules of Link Building

  • Building Links as if it won’t help your search results
    • Focus on quality not quantity
    • Don’t do it just for the SEO
  • The value of any link building activity is inversely related to its scalability.
    • You only win by having more SEO than others
    • If its free, cheap and easy it doesn’t work
    • Google created no follow (rel=”nofollow”) because of the comment spam in WordPress blogs.  It says “I don’t trust what’s on the other side of this link”
  • Link from bad sites can hurt you.  Be selective in your link building.
    • Use the disavow tool if necessary
    • Be proactive about monitoring
    • subscription to track who’s linking to you.
    • Google webmaster tools
    • They can see something pop up that you didn’t.  If it’s influencing your ranking, get rid of it
  • Guest Posting
    • Leave the links alone in the body of the content, and link in your bio.  Link to the name of your site.  Anchor text rich in the body of the copy, anchor texted links within your bio.
  • Google crawl:
    • Top to bottom, left to right
    • One link and that counts
  • Awards
    • Genius is in the execution not in the thinking or the idea.  Can I get all 25 of the biggies to participate.  Do I have the platform to do this?

Is your brain overwhelmed yet?  Mine was when I finished this session!  In addition to my notes, I was thrilled to find out that Sean McGinnis put the entire presentation up on SlideShare for a more detailed review.  Take a look:

After reading this post and seeing the presentation slides, how are you going to incorporate link building in to your website or blog?


  1. Wow! Thanks Jen! It was so great having you in that session. Your questions and added insights were most welcome. Hope you learned a thing or two!

    • Jennifer Evers says:

      I laughed, I cried, it was better than CATS.

      Seriously, it was awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. It’s really made a difference with the way I look at content creation!