Link Builder’s Guide to SEER Interactive’s SEO Toolbox

SEER Interactive. The Search Church. Chris Le. Wil Reynolds. A trend? Total ballers. These folks are the OG’s, and they proved themselves last week to be even more bad ass than previously foretold. I am a sucker for transparency, and I go weak in the knees when I get to use new tools – especially Google spreadsheets (ImportXML is delicious). So, they were like, “hey, why do we not just share one of our coolest tools ever with the public because we are legit like that?” And they did. What I intend to do here is come up with a list on how a link builder can use the SEER Interactive SEO Toolbox. Spoiler alert: a majority of the toolbox is primarily useful for on-page and Analytics, but some of the efficiency hacks make it useful for everyone so they will be mentioned. Also, note: even though I might say something does not have “practical use,” that means that I would not use it when I am link building; it might work for you in some other capacity.

Press “Make a Copy” Before Collecting $200
Make a copy of the SEO Toolbox here: http://www.seerinteractive.com/seo-toolbox/. Click the big blue “Get Started” button. File > Make a Copy. Name it whatever you want (e.g. Handy Man’s Rad Toolbox, SEO All in One Spreadsheet Toolkit, Yes These Are Real Spreadsheet of Awesome, etc.). When you have your own copy, go to the Settings sheet. In the Settings sheet, you are going to put in all API keys that you need for the document. The instructions on the SEO Toolbox page are more than enough to get what you need here, and, frankly, if you cannot get past finding and putting in API keys, the tool is not for you.

Feature by Feature I Will Be Your Teacher
Google Analytics
What you will find with the Google Analytics function is nearly all reporting hacks. I could not find any practical uses for link building.

Klout
Use this to find Twitter targets for your outreach. What you do is grab a copy of the doc here http://www.johnfdoherty.com/link-prospecting-with-twitter-tools-and-apis/. Go over to Followerwonk and grab a whole load more of influential people. Now that we have extra metrics in Followerwonk, we can cross reference with the Klout metrics. If you would like the extra metrics, you have it, and you can create your own measurement for what types of people you want to target.

Another way you could use the Klout is to use the built-in Google Scraper (see below) and use site:twitter.com with your related keyword. From there just use the Klout function to get maximum exploits.

Majestic
I used the Majestic functions, and I could not even blink before the data was before my eyes. If it is not approaching the speed of light, it is beating sound for sure. At the moment getMajesticBackLinks is acting a little wonky for me so I will come back and fix this paragraph once I have it working. But, if I had to guess at what it will show, it is going to give you a list. Combine your list of Majestic data with Linkscape data and do all of the magical de-duping that you can from there. Pull desired metrics, and reduce your lists even further. Chills. Super chills. I love link building!

GetMajesticindexItemInfo is working perfectly for me though, and it is fantastic. If you ever need the fastest snapshot ever of what a competitor or your client’s site looks like in Majestic, you have it with this function. What I will probably end up doing is building a mini-report out of the function because it is so easy and scalable to use. Basically, the function is going to save you a trip from Majestic and pull all of the linking information about that URL, root domain, or subdomain.

Raven
The Raven functions are nearly all about rankings and grabbing keywords from a page. I could not think up any uses other than a quick scrape for where your Raven data. If you are in a pinch and dying to know what anchor text would be decent for you, you could check rankings in the spreadsheet.

SEOmoz
Holy (insert obscure noun here), Batman! GetLinkscape is here, and you are loving it. There have been other places where you can scrape Linkscape data, but the reason why I think people should do it here is because it is all in one place. You will not have to toy around with too much. GetLinkScape basically grabs it all. As I scream, shout, and prance about later on, you will be able to curate which columns show up so you do not end up pulling obscene amounts of unneeded data. Being able to grab Linkscape data at faster speeds means less time waiting on reports and more time cleaning up your prospect lists. Imagine a world where you throw in a list, and you can instantly apply your qualifying and quantifying rules – you will have much nicer lists.

Twitter
The getTwitterSearch function could be extremely useful if you are building links for a client who publishes fresh content. Say, for example, they published a blog about the meteorite crashing down into Russia soon after it occurred. Pull up a list of people talking about a topic with the getTwitterSearch function, and you might get a list of prospects for your content. You could get clever and use more specific columns like “geo” to find prospects only located in specific areas.

As if the stalking presentation from Wil Reynolds was not enough, we have another way to find out more about our prospects using getTwitterUserLookup. Using getTwitterUserLookup feels like using the Facebook Search Graph. If you need to find some people with exactly what you are looking for, put in as much information and as many columns as you need, and you will finld exactly who you are looking for… the link givers.

Google Scraper
Here we go! One of the winners of the bunch for linkl building, and it shines so beautifully to me. The GoogleScraper pulls up 10 pages from the SERPs at a time. You can specify which TLD you would like and where in the SERPs you want to start. You could pull up quite a decently large list if you type in your functions correctly. Once you have that sexy list of prospects, do some quantifying with the data functions you can do with OSE and Majestic! LINK BUILDING, FUCK YEAH!

On-Page Analysis
Not really too much use for link building here. The functions in the toolbox include telling you the text, word count, and code on the page.

Redirection
Need a quick rewrite for your .htaccess file? You can write it out with speed using the createHtaccessredirect function. Not entirely useful for our link building efforts, but it is nice to have around like… a cat.

Utilities
If you use Google spreadsheets and list out a lot of URLs, use the getDomainName function. It works every time and is crazy good because it pulls out easy to read root domains.

If you have subdomains and you want to keep them in a list of URLs, stripURLScheme is another fun hack so that you can maintain the subdomain. Another useful attribute of using stripURLScheme is that it can save a bit of time because text to columns does not always make for nice looking work in Excel.

Arrays and Cells
When you have nasty looking data and everything is in different columns, combineRange is disgustingly powerful. CombineRange pulls data from a table and combines it vertically or horizontally; the function has lots of potential when messing around with huge lists that might not be so attractive.

filterColumns is the MOST important function in the toolbox to use it effectively. Using all of the APIs is so tasty, but, holy shit, do you need all of that data every single time? No, you do not, and, if you think you do, you might be a little mad or get too happy (see: data boner) about the numbers. filterColumns allows you to pick and choose which columns you pull from. For example, if you are using getLinkscape to pull SEOmoz data, you can limit the output to the title, mozrank, and page authority data. You save time and money. Both are as nice as pie. No cake. The cake is a lie.

removeFirstRow is going to be extremely helpful when working within this document because several of the APIs populate the headings. Whenever you do not want a heading to appear, you can use the removeFirstRow function to remove it and combine it more easily with other data.

Hash Calculations
I will be honest in that I do not have the fullest clue about what the hell this even means. After reading up on hash tables, I cannot see any immediate use for it in link building unless I am completely out of the loop.

Put Your Hand On That Wall, Trooper!
Spread your arms, stretch out a bit. Feel good. Fingers back on the keyboard… ready, steady… go, go, go! As with any tool that comes out, your mileage may vary. Take it and use it however you can and will, but I think there are gems in the spreadsheet that are useful for everyday use even if just for the productivity hacks. All credit and gratitute to the Chris Le and the great people at SEER Interactive. We are the lovers of links, and we will do anything to satisfy, Lady/Dude (whatever tickles your fancy) Linkalot.

Calibrating the Juice: Solutions to Scaling Link Building

Calibrating the Juice-Solutions to Scaling Link Building
O, link building, how I love thee but the challenge of scalability… it ails me! And it seems to crucify plenty of other people’s link building efforts as well. I have a few solutions that I think can help a tiny bit and take you farther in getting the juice flowing towards and around your site. There is one certain fact about scaling link building: you are going to work with enough people or on a large enough scale that you are going to most likely compromise some of the quality of your work. Now, let’s crack some codes.

EZ PZ Wins Feel So Good Internally

Everyone loves easy wins, and, hey, everyone’s a winner – yay! Internal links, bro. You need them. You are missing a huge boat if you are not putting in internal links on your site. Good grief, what are you doing without putting anchor text on your blog posts, you fiend?! If someone is reading your post, they might want to read something related to what you have going there and click through to some other pages. Hell, isn’t that why we’re here? The user! All right, let us be real with each other – we are here for the links. Internal links are super sweet because you get to control everything about them. You know where they are going, and you can point them to where you need them with what anchor text.

Sail the Seas of Your Site

It is all too easy to overlook the navigation and footer of the site. If your web team has run out of things to do (very unlikely), check out improvements you can make on the site. There is always something you can change up. Redesigning your navigation to include more or less links could help your site. If you want to emphasize a particular page and it makes sense, that page can get a quick internal sitewide link from your navigation or footer. It might be way down there, but a link is a link is a link (see Boyd Norwood).

0110100 0110000 0110100 Errors

If you have pages that are throwing up 404 errors, fix them as soon as possible if they have links. This is too easy to do not to take care of it. You are going to get link juice out of it, and your site is friendlier to everyone – user and search engine alike. There really is not much more to say about it – DO IT, broheim.

Redirect the Juice to the Party

When you have a large site, you have probably accumulated links to pages that you might not need any more, or, bless your heart, your content was not evergreen and there is an updated version on the site. Whenever it is applicable, you want to 301 redirect those old, decrepit pages to the youthful, beautiful pages that deserve all the juice in the world. No longer shall we live inside of a network that allows old pages . Do note that if your page has a lot of authority, it does not always make sense to redirect it. Having good, old pages is a great part of a site, but, when you need the juice, squeeze the ball and pull the band around the arm… inject link juice. Too much? Yeah, I am a little tired!

Once Friends, Twice Friends

We have to get into the nitty gritty now; at this point in time, I feel like you have done what you can with onsite SEO to scale and recover as much juice as you can. Everyone has their favorite tools for pulling backlink data for their site. I do not care how you get it, but you get it fast. What we are going to focus on here is cleaner prospecting. Guess what you are going to do with all of that backlink data? Get the contact information by using a program that pulls bulk WhoIs info or the Citation Labs contact finder. Why do these matter? Because you already have a link there! You have already staked your claim on that site. It is always harder to get through the first trial. Going back and asking for some more might not be as bad. Plus, you can show them that you added value to their site by that time. If you did not before, ask yourself how you can improve that. You, sir/madame, already have a good list of prospects in your own backyard.

Gotta Have Booty to Get Booty

How is your linkable asset inventory? Don’t have shit? Your site is probably shit. Create some damn content! Everyone gets it; you are not going to pump out award-winning content every time, but that does not mean you should not try occasionally. Do not think creating a piece of content automatically makes it viral or good. It is so incredibly volatile, and we are at the mercy of the user here. The reason why SEO loves content marketing and promotion so much right now is because, in the end even without links, you end up with a great piece of content that might be linkable to another community down the road, and it could be useful for your users. There are so many wins in creating solid content it is sad to see sites not making it. To do it properly though can be a bit of an art. If you have not been practicing up on your outreach e-mails, this is as good a time as any. Before you even create your content, make sure you know who your community is and some people who might be interested in pushing it for you. Oh, yeah, here is a thought: ask those people before you even make it. It could save you time and money. “Hey, Jack Mehoff, does this infographic about self lubricating oil interest you or your followers?” “Why, yes, it does! I love stroking!” There you have it. Jack is on board with the project, and you are at least creating more avenues of success.

The more people you have on board beforehand the higher the chance your content will succeed. After your content goes live, do everything in your power to make sure it gets in front of the right people at the right time. No sugarcoating and bull shit here – template your e-mails, do whatever you have to do. Use canned responses. Getting it done somewhat okay is better than not doing a damn thing.

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

What the rest boils down to is prospecting by list building. USE ADVANCED SEARCH QUERIES. If you do not know them, you shalt learn them now, and you shalt practice them for eternity (or be lame and use the excellent query generator at Ontolo). You have to become a prospecting master at this point in time. You need to be able to create a list of tens of thousands of prospects. Okay, not too shabby except for the fact that a majority of the list is trash. From there you can use Excel to filter out exactly what you want, and you have a cleaner list. One way I like to clean up lists in Excel is to use conditional formatting and sort by color. If the Excel route is not an option, you still have a backup – ADVANCED SEARCH QUERIES. Your query just blew ass. When you practice using queries enough, you learn the patterns behind the types of links that you want. After seeing repeating words or specific niche-related words, you can include them in your query and specify where it should appear on the page (e.g. title, anchor, etc.). You can clean up lists so well with advanced search queries it is a crime not to use them.

Reaching out to these prospects varies because you could be reaching out to them for hundreds of reasons. Tweak your template or e-mail, whatever, and message it appropriately. Do whatever you can to get the link. So, say, I want to get a guest post on the Bob Loblaw Law Blog. I am going to send a different e-mail to them than I would to the Seymour Butts blog where I want to post a contest. Essentially, you end up basing the e-mail on what you are offering the site owner.

Note: if you do not have a way to open a massive amount of links in your browser at once, Ontolo provides.

One Size Fits All Hats

I will reread this post when I am more awake and probably need to take it down. In the mean time, we can review our link building efforts. Scaling link building is a bitch. I mean, it is a force of nature in itself. With link building, you can do the “normal” stuff for pretty much everybody, but each niche has funny quirks that you need to know about. Agencies need to better understand the industry of their client, and in-house SEOs have no excuse. Get out there and talk to the communities and clients. The links are waiting.