Oh My God, It is everywhere! A competitor just released news that is so HUGE that it has everyone talking, from the largest of industry sites all the way down to the smallest of bloggers.
These mega press releases often introduce revolutionary changes to a competitor’s product or service and can even sometime impact a whole industry. From a business standpoint there may have to be some catch up played but from a link building perspective this is a great opportunity to analyze how that industry is covered and linked to from news sites, blogs, forums, etc.
Link Research Step 1: Identifying the Footprints
The footprint of the link building research is based on the common threads that will likely be found in the articles, post and discussions centered on the big news.
Taking just a couple minutes upfront to build this list of initial footprints based on the press release or first couple of articles covering the news can lead to effective and efficient research.
These initial footprints can be a number of things like the title of the press release, the new product or service name, titles of stories covering the news from popular industry sites or something along the lines of “[competitor] shakes up xyz industry”. They can also be based on the perception of the big news like “[competitor]’s new product rocks” or “[competitor]’s new product sucks”, these two are more like found on blogs or in forums than unbiased news sites but can result in finding great link opportunities.
Link Research Step 2: Finding the Sites
This step is pretty straight forward thanks to Google Caffeine and Google’s page discovery through social sharing. You can pretty much count on Google to have an extremely large chunk of pages crawled and indexed that contain the footprints you are searching on.
Considering it is breaking news, queries around the big news or competitors will definitely be queries that deserve freshness.
If you don’t want to just rely on just Google you can always hit Digg or reddit to potentially find additional sites that have covered the big news.
Link Research Step 3: Extracting the Right Info
Now comes the part where you have to evaluate each of the sites as potential link building prospects.
There are lots of ways you can separate out the sites but one key category to keep an eye out for is the content originator. The content originator is the site that is usually a trusted industry news or organization site that has its content syndicated or summarizes on other sites. This is the” best bang for your buck” scenario because if the content originator is including links it means that some (not always all) of the syndication sites will be include links.
Each of the sites that you come across should be categorized in some fashion whether it is a well-known blog, a small blog, a large forum, a small forum and everything in between because at some point in the future this information may come in handy.
While you are at each of these sites you want to take to the time to grab your stand list of link building data for each like:
- Who does the article link to – the competitor, you, other competitors, only internal resources or no one?
- Type of linking text – is it branded or unbranded?
- Number of links in the content and on the whole page
- Moz and Google metrics
- Social metrics
- Contact Information of both the site owner and author (if they are different people)
Taking Action on the Link Research
This research serves many purposes both for short term link gains and long term strategic moves.
The first immediate benefit is to get links based on “riding the coattails” of your competitors big news.In the information that you collected above you should have marked off each site that listed competitors in the article and even mentioned your site as a competitor. What you want to do is reach out to each of these sites that have you listed and are not linking to you and request a link. Also, for sites that have other competitors listed and not you, reach out and ask to be added to the list with a link.
This outreach will lead to some extra links but what it also does is open up the line of communication between you and the content originators in your industry. These connections can often come up big later on when you are the one who has the big news that you want covered.
From a long term perspective I would start with prioritizing some of the link prospects into tiered outreach groups where the first tier would be top content originators, second tier would be well-known industry bloggers, etc. By prioritizing these groups you can prioritize link building outreach as well as organize your social outreach. Getting to know as many of the players who could play a role in your link building efforts down the road before you need them greatly increases your chances of successfully getting a link.