How Being Pet Friendly Became a Link Building Opportunity

So, one of the CORE pillars of the newest direction we are building links is by asking clients a LOT of questions that we know attach to legitimate link building opps. What I continue to tell all people is to think of what kind of questions can you ask your clients that when they answer them will give you opportunities to get high quality long term value links.

You can see my presentation slides here on how we are changing our linkbuilding process:

Recently we found that one of our clients was twittering from their dog’s perspective. The opportunist in me kicked in when Rachael one of our SEO’s mentioned this to our team and asked for further ideas on how we could turn this into a link building opportunity.

So I fired up my good old Google search engine and started by searching for
twitter dogs
dogs who twitter
twittering dogs
twittering pets
pets who twitter
twitter pets

For starters I found bloggers talking about pets who twitter, giving us an opportunity to contact those bloggers to make sure they see our client’s dog twittering. It also presents an opportunity to comment (ben pei talked about the value of commenting here) – a comment from the dog would probably be most amusing and give us a chance to get our client written about in a later or updated blog post as bloggers talk about dogs who twitter.

Some blogs we found, who could link to the dogs twitter profile:
Dogs Who Twitter 1
Dogs Who Twitter 2
Cats who Twitter
Being a good dog on Twitter

Heck I even found a Flickr group w/ 80 people posting pics of pets in the office, I’ll leave the ideas to those who kill it on using Flickr for link building opportunities like Lisa Barone.

Here’s the NYTimes talking about twittering pets with some links.

That author had to do some research before writing the piece and I wouldn’t be surprised if the research included searching on Google, finding bloggers, reading their blogs and comments on a topic (this is part of the reason why commenting is helpful), and some of that research might have wound up ended up as links in the piece.

So, now I see some bloggers talking about this topic and linking to Twitter profiles, which could be a good thing for our client, right? By leaving comments on these blogs we just might end up in the next long list of dogs who blog.

Some of you may be thinking…these are LOW value links to my twitter profile, not my web site, so will that help in SEO? That is a legit question.
Well in my opinion the future of link building is being everywhere, who cares that the link isn’t back to your site directly, your twitter profile links over to your site right? Its no-followed, but who cares, journalists and bloggers don’t care about no-follows when researching topics and looking for quality posts and comments that may end up in their “followed” blogs.

Part II – The brainstorm continues
I started searching for the words “dog friendly” which brought back a site that showed me dog friendly companies! Ha! Cha-ching!

So now I am seeking out dog friendly company listings and found a bunch of opportunities:

All things Dog friendly – (yeah I know links are redirected and framed – you can advertise here though)
Dog Friendly job search engine
Take your dog to work – sponsorship opportunity for take your dog to work day)
Dog friendly companies – (another framed site which might minimize link value a bit)

Part III – On my continued trek I entered the following searches in Google Blogsearch (

Pet friendly companies
Dog friendly workplaces

Look what came back:
The value of being dog friendly
USA today piece on dogs in the office
Workplaces with dogs

I may have found a couple, which then got me thinking, what about family friendly companies or kid friendly companies, are there lists out there we could index and potentially submit our clients to??? Oh the list could go on and on, but the moral of the blog post is go looking under EVERY stone you may spark new ideas, and find new ways to get links.

Now sure is it very time consuming? Absolutely! But won’t the highest value links be the ones that take some time to figure an angle or pitch to get? They won’t be so easy to attain because they are the high value ones, we should be seeking in addition to the easier to attain links.

As I have mentioned multiple times, if you index sites in delicious while you are working them, now you may end up with 5-6 strong link opportunities that can be re-used. So the next client you get you can ask them if they are pet friendly. If that answer is yes, you already have some sites that might make sense to target.

One very important note is that contacting the same blogger over and over again with link requests (even if they are high value can be a pain, so be careful and don’t use the same e-mail over and over again).

Asking the RIGHT questions of your clients will uncover high quality link opportunities, its not easy and you may spend 10 hours just getting 10 links, but if the subject is broad enough, like pet friendly offices, you’ll be able to apply that across the board.

TIP: Keep in mind this type of linkbuilding takes time, as such you should be supporting this with regular basic link building efforts, however you have to get that internal spidey sense when you just feel like you are wasting time, trust me we’ve wasted a lot of time trying to go after links like these, but that is part of the learning process right?

Oh and here’s a pic of my pup – Coltrane, she visits the office from time to time.