Link Building with Content

The Advanced
Guide to SEO

Chapter 07

By Neil Patel
Sujan Patel

I bet you've heard time and time again by now, how important "quality content" is to attracting links, shares and of course traffic. This section spells out some step by step actions you can take to create your own amazing content — and also how to incorporate the right techniques into that content so it performs even better.

First up, a step by step approach to creating a "top" list to attract links.

Create a "Top" List and Get Links

Although this strategy isn't terribly new, there's also not many resources detailing how to do this quickly.

To refresh, this technique basically involves building a piece of content — that's a list of the "top 10, top 20 etc.." of something involving your niche. Examples across the web are:

Notice all of those resources have a good amount of back-links. But not all top lists do. What are they doing right that others are not?

If you have a good sized follower list, first you're going to find those that you know or are closely connected to with websites you could include on the list.

Then, you'll filter further by choosing blogs by social strength (not website strength).

Who you already know + social strength = content success.

Use Simply Measured to Export and Analyze Twitter Followers

  1. Go to:
  2. Enter the Twitter username you want to analyze
  3. Run the report, and "pay with a tweet" (to run it for free). Note: you do not have to "pay with a tweet" the same account you are analyzing.
  4. When your results are ready, download the spreadsheet for excel - this is where the fun begins!

First, we're going to filter your list of followers by the topic you want to create the list about. Let's say you're doing a top 10 food bloggers list.

Create a Top List and Get Links #1

Set your filter:

Create a Top List and Get Links #2

The results are pretty good!

Create a Top List and Get Links #3

Then we're just going to pull those into either a Google Doc or another spreadsheet to mix with other bloggers.

At this point you can sort by followers and add a "follows me" column since we're going to be mixing in non-followers.

Create a Top List and Get Links #4

Next, we're going to grab some more prominent bloggers from Followerwonk.

Use ______ blogger in quotes. "Blogger" instead of "blog" means you'll likely get more people (rather than companies). Quotes means they will have had to call themselves a blogger on that topic. Not just someone who blogs and happens to like food.

For example:

Create a Top List and Get Links #5

You may need to broaden your search, but definitely start with it more specific like that.

Then, using either the scrape for Chrome plugin or a pro followerwonk account — extract the data and add it to your spreadsheet

look for people with about 10,000-20,000 followers. They'll be the easiest to get attention from and still carry good social weight.

Create a Top List and Get Links #6

Now with your mix, you can choose a list of 10-20 people to feature in a "Top Food Bloggers" list. Some of them will already be following you - they'll be so complimented they'll definitely share the content and link to it. This will help drive shares and links so the higher level influencers see it.


Create a Series - Don't just do this once! You'll get more attention by doing these list annually, quarterly or even monthly!

Let bloggers know ahead of time - Send them a quick tweet or email to let them approve the list before it publishes. If they know about it ahead of time they'll be more likely to share when it does go live.

Build Links with PDFs

This tutorial assumes you know the basics of creating a PDF — so I'll show you a huge checklist of things you should do — but the specific process and order can be up to you!

Write valuable, well structured copy and use a keyword strategy!
Using images: create an Alt Tag

Use keywords in the filename

Just like a properly optimized URL, the filename of your PDF matters. Use a keyword rich (an useful for the user) filename. Separate words with hyphens (-).

Optimize Your Meta Data

Also like a normal webpage, metadata is an important optimization step. You'll either need the full version of Adobe Reader or this free PDF editor for Windows

Optimize the following areas:

this turns into the title tag of the webpage.
this will label the document with the author, and PDFs will often get grouped by author
this is often used by Google as the description in the SERPs. This may also be influenced by the first few sentences in your document.
use 5-10 keywords here.

Use links in your document

Just like regular SEO - use some internal links within your PDF.

Watch The File Size

Pagespeed is more important everyday. If you're using Adobe Reader to create your PDF — go to PDF Optimizer > Advanced > right-size.

Also, use "Optimize for fast webview" to have your PDF load one page at a time.

Select The Best Version

Use version 1.5 or lower. Not all users have the most updated version, and you'll risk some people not being able to open it.

Optimize The Reading Order

Build Links with PDFs

The reading order settings with Adobe Reader PDF.

To display and edit the reading order:

  1. Go to Advanced > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document.
  2. Then select Advanced > Accessibility > Touch Up Reading Order

Upload the PDF near the root directory of your site

Keywords towards the front of your URLs will perform the best in search and be easiest for users to remember. This PDF I did on my site QuickSprout is a good example of a short URL:

Link to the PDF from a strong page on your website

This is not only useful for users but will pass stronger authority to your PDF.

Avoid duplicate content

Like any page, be sure your PDF is totally unique content!

Add Your PDF to PDF Directories

Here's a list.

If your PDF is an eBook try these sites:

Link Building With Images

I talked about building links with images a little on my post on SEOmoz: but we're going to go into more depth here.

The post talked about building an image library online and making it easy for people to find and use your images, giving you credit with a link.

But why wait for them to come to you? Here we're going to do the same, but reach out to people who might want your images.

Let's say, for example, you either have access to photos of New York City, or you live in New York and frequently take good quality photos on your phone. You already have a library of photos of NYC offer people who might find them useful (and give you a link!).

This is going to follow a few steps;

  1. Collect your photos and format them
  2. Find people who could use your photos
  3. Narrow to those worth reaching out to
  4. Create your outreach letter and contact them

Collect and format your photos

Use the best quality settings on your camera. A great quality photo begins with the best raw quality possible.

For example, on your iPhone use the HDR settings.

Link Building With Images #1

This will ensure you have the highest quality photo going into your iPhone.

Next — to quickly upload them all to your computer, you can use a service like Bump - you upload photos from your iPhone to your computer simply by "bumping" the spacebar with your phone.

No matter how you upload them, use the highest file size and pixel size possible — the iPhone calls this "actual size".

Stay Organized! As you upload and store photos, categorize them — if photos of a city, I suggest something simple like;

  • /people
  • /architecture
  • /streets
  • /attractions
  • /events
  • /nature

And name your photo files something relevant - like empire-state-building-dusk.jpg

Next: Prep the file and link

Then you want to provide these photos with an easy way for people to link back to you — so use some pre-written HTML.

<img src="empire-state-building-dusk.jpg" alt="photo by Neil Patel of the
	empire state building" title="gorgeous dusk view of the empire state
	-dusk.jpg">Free image</a> courtesy of Neil Patel and 
	<a href="">Quicksprout</a>

This is a really easy way for them to give you credit, and a link, all at once.

Find People Who Need Your Photos

Lots of people and sites might fit your profile;

  • bloggers
  • businesses located in NYC
  • enterprise businesses needing any city photos

But within that, we want to narrow it down more with the following criteria;

  • Single author sites
  • Sites where contact person is readily findable
  • Sites with high PR or DA
  • Sites with strong social metrics
  • Sites with good author authority
  • High number of RSS readers
  • Positive link profiles themselves (you don't want to get a link from bad neighborhoods)

Also — you can start with people you already know. Who do you know who owns or runs a website who wouldn't die for some quality photos?

So — start a spreadsheet following this format;

Link Building With Images #2

(example spreadsheet) with the fields meaning the following;

site you're prospecting
Single Author
Y for single author, N for multi author
email address
SEOmoz domain authority
FB Shares
number of facebook shares on the homepage
G+ circles
number of circles the person or business is in
RSS readers
how many RSS readers the site has (if there's a feed)
Link profile
1 is poor, 2 is good, 3 is very good, 4 is exceptional

As we use the following resources, you're going to fill your spreadsheet with sites and metrics.

So, let's get to actually finding people to reach out to!

Some tools to use;

Let's run through an example of using followerwonk. You want to find bloggers who don't have good photos. This is often bloggers who are more focused on the writing — like NOT photographers, artists, graphic designers or people otherwise likely to have the photos covered.

A search like "blogger writer" is great because they blog, but may focus on writing, and therefore be weak on photos.

Link Building With Images #3

Once you get the search you like, you can use the Scraper for Google Chrome plugin to get them into a Google Doc —

Right click on the info you want, and click scrape similar

A window will pop up and you can then send the data over to a new Google Doc

Link Building With Images #4

Using techniques like the above you can gather some pretty good lists fairly quickly. Sort through your metrics to find the best bloggers to reach out to!

Use best practice outreach practices to make your contacts and help them use better photos.

Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3

I haven't seen many people doing this. With some open source code from github you can make a 3D presentation or landing page. Because it's built with HTML5 and CSS3, the content is fully crawlable and indexable.

Here's where you'll find the code.

Download the Code

Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #1

Install on your Server

To install, simply paste the files in whatever directory you want them - either on your local, test, or live server.

Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #2

Create Your Slideshow

To do this, all you need to edit is the index.html file included in the install. It has a pre-built demo slideshow included, which you may borrow code from, or delete and create your own from scratch.

Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #3

Note: when editing code, do not edit anything above the part shown;.

You can see the demo live here -

Everything should be inside an "impress" <div>

Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #4

I will show you some ways to use the functions so you can come up with your own slideshow.

Let's look at all the possible id's classes and parameters for the slideshow.

Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #5

Now for some examples!

  • Example 1 — Simple Text

    <div id="bored" class="step" data-x="-1000" data-y="-1500">
    	<q>Suppose you want to <b>spice up</b> your online presentation or microsite.</q>
    Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #6
  • Example 2 — Include an Image

    <div class="step slide" data-x="1000" data-y="-1500">
    	<q>You can create a <strong>stunning visualization </strong>
    	<br>...and even include images
    	<br><img src="neil.jpg"></q>
    Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #7
  • Example 3 — Scaled Slide Step

    <div id="title" class="step" data-x="0" data-y="0" data-scale="5">
    	<span class="try">then you should try</span>
    	<span class="footnote"><sup>*</sup> no rhyme intended</span>
    Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #8
  • Example 4 — Rotation

    <div id="its" class="step" data-x="850" data-y="3000"
    	data-rotate="90" data-scale="5">
    	<p>This is an example <strong>of rotation </strong> <br/>
    	caught mid turn <br/>
    	by the screen capture software!!<br/>
    	<i>(very slick)</i></p>

    Had to capture it mid turn to give you the idea:

    Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #9
  • Example 5 — Third Dimension: Depth

    <div id="tiny" class="step" data-x="2825" data-y="2325" data-z="-3000" 
    	data-rotate="300" data-scale="1">
    	<p>use <b>some fun</b> 3D elements</p>

    This element looks like it's being zoomed in from far away (notice the big "g" it sits inside of).

    Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #10
  • Example 6 — 3D Tilting

    <div id="its-in-3d" class="step" data-x="6200" data-y="4300"
    	data-z="-100" data-rotate-x="-40" data-rotate-y="10" data-scale="2">
    	<p><span class="have">have</span> <span class="you">you</span>
    	<span class="noticed">noticed</span> <span class="its">it's</span>
    	<span class="in">in</span> <b>3D<sup>*</sup></b>?</p>
    	<span class="footnote">* awesome, right?</span>
    Create a 3D JavaScript Page or Microsite With HTML5 and CSS3 #11

    You can copy the exact examples above, and replace with your own content, or try some layouts of your own.

This section took the idea of creating link worthy content head on. But what about some good ‘ol link building tips and tricks? Don't worry! The next section is filled with fifteen special link building techniques. Apply them to your site and content for some massive improvements to your performance in search.

Well done! You made it through chapter seven! Are you ready for chapter eight:
Link Building Techniques?