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09 Jun 2010

Link Building Tools Interview with Taylor Pratt

TaylorPrattThis week I got to interview Taylor Pratt, Product Marketing Manager at Raven Internet Marketing Tools, a multi-user Web-based application for managing SEO and social media campaigns. Prior to joining Raven, Pratt was a Senior Search Specialist at nFusion where he specialized in search engine optimization (SEO), conversion and Web analytics, and promotes the use of conversion-focused, analytics-based SEO. The tools at Raven are some of my personal favorites, I feel very lucky to have gotten his take on some of my burning link building questions.

Elise Redlin-Cook: In the past, and it could be years ago or even just yesterday, what link are you most proud of acquiring for your site or a clients site?

Taylor Pratt: About 2-3 years ago, when I had just started my own personal site and started blogging about SEO, I wrote an article that had gotten me my first link from Search Engine Land. I was pretty proud of myself for getting that after only blogging for about a month and not having a presence in the industry at the time. I was also able to get a link from an interview I did with Inc which was super exciting.

Elise: What specific tools are in your link building arsenal to help you acquire links for a client who is just getting started?

Taylor: Before I started at Raven I worked at an agency called nFusion. We were actually pretty heavy users of Raven because of how much time it saved us with regards to managing our link building campaigns. It eliminated our need to record everything we were doing in Excel, and made it easier to collaborate on our link building efforts. Outside of Raven, the top tool I used was fantastic copywriters. Having them available really went a long way in making link building that much easier. I’ve always found sites like Elance to be a great way to find copywriters.

Elise: Do you employ competitive analysis in your link building strategy for clients?

Taylor: Absolutely. 25 x 25 twitter iconCompetitive research is a great way to lay the groundwork for your link building efforts. It helps give you insight into what is working both in terms of making their site rank, and in terms of obtaining links. By looking at what content they have on their site that is attracting those links, you can learn a lot about what topics and writing style work best.

Elise: What are your views on no-follow vs. do-follow links?link-manager-for-link-building-with-Raven-SEO-Tools

Taylor: I won’t avoid any link that will send me targeted traffic. That is my goal: conversions.25 x 25 twitter icon I don’t focus on whether or not it will send me traffic from the search engines, as long as a link is sending me the types of visitors that will convert I don’t care if they are no-followed or not. 

Elise: I like that approach. So, how have your link building techniques changed over the years as the search industry has evolved?

Taylor Pratt: I think what has changed the most is the way you are able to spread your linkable content. Having watched it evolve from emails and forums to a larger variety of social networks has been exciting. If anything it helps improve the efficiency of my link building efforts as it’s much easier to get your content in front of your target audience. Social networks have also made it easier to identify new sites and blogs to work with to build inbound links from. 

Elise: Have you made any big updates to your tools or released any new products that you’d like to talk about?

Taylor: Our latest tools, Site Finder and Backlink Explorer, have us really excited. We’ve integrated MajesticSEO and even SEOmoz’s mozRank and Page Authority to create a link building research tool that does most of the heavy lifting for you. With these tools you can enter in a keyword you are targeting and we’ll scan the top ten organic Google results for that keyword and find all of the inbound links to those ranking domains. We take it one step further by using a combination of ranking factors to determine how valuable a link from one of those returned domains would be to your site. It’s a great way to quickly research your competitors and efficiently manage your link building efforts.

Elise:  Do you have any exciting projects that your involved in right now that you’d like to discuss?

Taylor: We actually have a lot of enhancements to our feature set for Enterprise clients that we’re working on right now. We’re creating better access rights and limits, as well as aggregate reporting. We have a couple of other awesome projects in place, but I have to keep those under wraps for now :)

Elise: Darn it! As an enterprise customer I was on the edge of my seat! Well, I guess we will just have to wait like the rest of your customers.
 
In my opinion, this was another fantastic interview. Do you have anything to add to the conversation?