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by Mike Essex on 28th March 2012
Linklove is back in its second year, and last year was my favourite conference out of all the ones I attended. So the pressure is on for this year to be even better than before. As with last year, we’ve put together some predictions on what we think the speakers are going to be talking about. We already know the speakers’ names and their track record, and we know the names of their presentations as well, but that’s it. So these predictions might be right or wrong, but it’s fun to try. If you are attending the conference, we hope this gives you a good preview of what to expect, and if you can’t attend, we will have a write-up on the 30th of March with all of the things that we observed on the day.
So let’s start off with Rand Fishkin. His presentation is entitled “Content Versus Link Building.” Now we know that Rand is really familiar with good content. He has the YouMoz section on the SEOmoz blog, and he’s always out and about writing stuff and doing presentations and videos. So he knows how well content can work. But, of course, he also runs Open Site Explorer, which looks at link analysis over time, which means this particular presentation I can only presume will have to end with Rand declaring that both of these are important. After all, you have to have good content to attract links, but if you don’t do any link building outreach for your content, you’ll never get an audience. Personally, I don’t see these as mutually exclusive. So it will be interesting to see whether Rand argues the case that one of these can stand alone, because I personally don’t believe that they can.
Mike King, we’re looking forward to seeing Mike. He’s picked up a lot of accolades over in America, and this will be the first time that he has spoken in the U.K., that I’ll have seen anyway, and he’s going to be looking at quantifying outreach. The problem with most outreach is that you send out a lot of emails and you just track them in Excel or Google Docs. But other than counting what percentage turned into actual links, it’s very hard to know what the return on investment was or whether you made money or lost money as part of your outreach. Mike has built some amazing tools that you can find on the SEOmoz blog and his personal site as well, and maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get a free tool. That would be good, Mike, if you’re going to build one for us. But if not, it would still be really interesting to just understand how Mike tracks the return on investment for his outreach that he does.
Jane Copland, last year she did a presentation at Linklove on various tools, in fact, a tool that they built to do link analysis, and for her presentation on getting golden links, it would certainly be interesting to see more of the same, more of a look ahead to use spreadsheets and data analysis to find out what links are worth going after. But also I’d be curious to hear how Jane does outreach herself and how she keeps track of what links work and how she finds them.
Branko Rihtman is a new speaker for me as well, and he’s going to look at which social sharers get links. Now there are a lot of people that say social media is a waste of time. But actually if you post content on, let’s say, Twitter, it can get scraped and put onto other sites, and then you do get an actual indexable link. Also, social bookmarking sites, Ollie did a good video recently on how they’re the quickest link that you’ll ever get, and I have to agree with that. Social bookmarking, you can get very, very quick links for minimum effort. So I hope Branko also looks at social bookmarking, and it would be nice to see if he brings along any social networks that we aren’t aware of. For example, Pinterest gave you indexable links until a few weeks ago, and more stuff like that would be fantastic.
Moving over here, Wil Reynolds, Wil consistently blows the roof off any place that he talks at. So I know his presentation is going to be good regardless of what it covers, but he is actually looking at something which is right up my alley, which is great – “Building Targets, Relationships and Links.” The presentation I did recently on the psychology of link building, I said don’t build links to websites, build links with people. Try to imagine the person that works there, get their personal email address, speak to them as a person, find out what kind of content they want and what they’re likely to link to. Don’t just send general emails to lots of generic websites addressees. So I’d like to see Wil take a similar look at that and to see how you can make friends, I guess, make friends to get links from, and the approach that he has over at SEER Interactive would be really good to see.
Tom Anthony with the longest presentation title in history, “Panda’s Big Brother and Putting the Love Back Into Links,” which is a clever play on Linklove. Panda’s Big Brother could either refer to the Vince update, sorry the Venice update, which came about after Panda, or also it could be a prediction as to what Google is going to do next. A lot of the link metrics that Google used don’t work anymore. They’ve just declared that they’ve turned one of them off. Nobody knows what that is, but there are certainly people making predictions on that. It is expected that they’re going to look at links in a different way in the next few years absolutely. It would be crazy if they didn’t because the old way of doing things just isn’t working. The second part of that title, “Putting the Love Back Into Links,” Annabel Hodges did a good presentation recently where she said that the old link building methods that people used to use are actually really boring, sitting on directory websites, clicking Submit over and over and over and over, it doesn’t work anymore. It’s just no fun. Who would want to do that for their whole life? I think that there are ways to put more fun into link building. Now we can do outreach and P.R. and talk to influential people and get them on our side and linking to us. That’s more fun. That makes you love link building, and that’s the slant I think Tom will take.
Martin MacDonald’s presentation is a mystery at the moment. I’ve just put a question mark and a black hat. You can make of that what you will. All I will say is there is a poll on Martin’s website right now that says, “Would you rather have a white hat or a black hat presentation,” and black hat is winning about 80 percent. So it’s probably going to go that way. His talk last year looked at how black hat tactics can be used in a white hat ethical way, and I’m going to assume more of the same. There is no way Martin would ever propose anything outlandish that was totally black hat or could damage your site. He always has very practical insights on stuff you can do in an ethical way that’s going to really help your website. So that will be interesting.
Last of all, we’ve got Will Critchlow with “The Critchlow Hierarchy of Needs.” I assume that’s not the order that Will’s going to eat the food on offer at the conference. I think he’s probably channelling Maslow there with his own Hierarchy of Needs. If you don’t know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, essentially it’s a pyramid, and you have to do the things at the bottom before you can do the things at the top. So with link building, Will will probably look at how you have to get lots of basic links and then build them up. At the top, there’ll probably be something like P.R. or outreach with kind of PageRank 8 and 9 websites, like the BBC. They would kind of be your top tier links that you would want to go after. What’s in the middle is what will probably be the most interesting, to see how different types of links sit on Will’s personal analysis. Does he look at certain things like old fashioned directories as being on the bottom, or maybe not even on there at all? It will be really interesting to see the Distilled take on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
So these are the presentations, all eight of them. I think you’ll agree there are some fantastic big names on there, and whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll get a lot of insights from the day. The last one I went to, I think I wrote something like 100 top tips. Since then, I’ve probably actioned about 70 of them, which is a lot of good take-aways that were practical and insightful.
If you can’t make the show, we’re going to be writing everything up on the 30th of March. If you can make it, then come along, come say hi. Koozai Arnold and Koozai Andy will be there. So check them out on Twitter, and come meet some of the Koozai crew. I hope to see lots of you there.
So thanks for watching, and for more information on what we do, visit Koozai.com or any of the profiles below. Thank you.