Secrets of SearchLove NYC: Community, Tools, and Takeaways [VIDEO]

By Gary Magnone

Last week, Monique and I had the privilege of attending SearchLove, Distilled’s search marketing conference in New York City. In between the awesome Halloween party complete with burlesque dancers, playing tourists in Times Square, and hitting a Russian vodka bar with the Image Freedom guys, we actually got to learn some really awesome stuff! Day 1 highlights included some advanced Facebook integration with Mat Clayton, building community with Rand Fishkin, a look at the past, present, and future of linkbait with Rob Millard, and Wil Reynolds dropping knowledge on content-based link building. Believe it or not, Day 2 got even better, with Michael King’s tips on targeting humans, Rhea Drysdale’s reputation management expertise, Tom Critchlow giving the lowdown on big business SEO, and Rob Ousbey showing how he built Distilled’s in-house link building team. The show closed out with the infamous Rand Fishkin/Will Critchlow head-to-head battle to the death, which involved each of them performing on-the-fly site reviews, then presenting their findings to the site-owners and the audience.

Somehow, in between all that awesomeness, we got a chance to catch up with three guys who are doing some really cool stuff in SEO, John Doherty at Distilled, Wil Reynolds at SEER Interactive, and Michael King at Publicis Modem. I had Monique lay on the charm, and luckily we were able to squeeze a few tips out of each of them. Check them out:

What’s 1 tip you have for building community?
John’s advice was to go out of your way to do helpful things for people—especially influencers—and they’ll take notice and help you back. The key is to continue to engage with them, continue offering value, and the relationship will increasingly get stronger.

Wil’s advice was when you see a couple people showing interest in you or your brand, to treat them like gold. By offering help and providing value to your community, word of mouth can naturally spread, and that small community can grow bigger and more engaged over time.

Michael’s advice was to leverage gamification to keep members engaged with the community and to incentivize the sharing of community content. He used the SEOmoz Community as a great example, citing how the contributions of members like himself and Gianluca have turned into things like free conference passes and speaking engagements.

What’s 1 SEO tool that you think is underrated?
John mentioned Citation Labs’ new link building tools that have recently been released like the prospect finder and the contact finder, which help scale the link prospecting process to help compile hundreds of link prospects in just minutes.

Wil mentioned SEER Interactive’s own brand new tool, the Commenter Export WordPress Plugin, which is a tool that exports all the URLs left by blog commenters on your blog and can sort them by things like mozTrust and mozRank. The premise is instead of trying to find a list of new influential blogs to get links from, start by working on sites that have already shown they dig your brand and are more likely to link to you.

Michael mentioned a couple of the tools in the SEOmoz Labs, like the Competitive Link Research Tool, which identifies sites that your competitors are getting links from but you aren’t and Blogscape, which is a tool that helps you monitor the fresh web, like RSS, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, and more for your target keywords.

What’s 1 takewaway from SearchLove that you’re most excited about?
John was most excited about the Broken Link Checker WordPress Plugin that Wil mentioned during his presentation. Within 2 minutes of him talking about it, John had it up and installed on his personal SEO site. The brilliance of the tool is that it alerts you whenever you have a link on your website that leads to a broken URL, that way you can help out whoever’s webpage it is that’s broken, and you can also make sure your site is in tip top shape and providing the optimial user experience.

Wil was most excited about Matt Clayton’s tip to use the fb:admin meta tag to get demographic data from your site visitors if they’re logged into their Facebook account. Wil, being the super link builder that he is, got really excited thinking about how to use the tag on landing pages and link bait for his clients in order to customize the content and maximize conversions.

Michael was excited about a few different things talked about at SearchLove, such as Tout, a tool that helps manage email outreach by organizing personas, saving templates, and providing conversion tracking for your emails sent. He also liked Amplicate, which is a really interesting tool that collects consumer sentiment from across the social web and aggregates it into a searchable database, which is really useful for social listening and persona development.

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