What is the downside of asking questions that will get links?
1. Where did you attend high school/college/graduate school?
The types of links I’ll be looking for are:
a. Alumni spotlights b. Alumni updates c. Alumni donations d. Entrepreneurial classes/marketing classes to offer an appearance in person or via skype e. Regional alumni websites f. Events to sponsor on campus
2. Who owes you a favor in or out of your industry?
Straight up, seeing who they can ask for a link. It may be a buddy who has a blogroll without them in it, an old interview that has no link, a complementary business with a testimonial section, or something I’m not thinking of.
3. Where do they volunteer time & what is their favorite charity?
a. Find sponsors & donation sections of these charity sites & see if they’ll donate for a link. b. Donate on behalf of your client during the holidays instead of sending a cheesy gift. c. Is there a story to pitch to a local blogger or news station about the president or the company working with a charity? You’re not good at SEO if you’re not willing to do some PR.
4. What previous business did they work at or help start?
a. Can they get a link from them? b. Were they in the position long enough that they can still be considered an authority on that subject (could have guest posts in 2 verticals)? c. Did someone interview them while they were at that company who would be willing to interview them at the current company?
5. Can you provide me with your LinkedIn login info?
a. What influential people are they already connected to? b. What are the possibilities for a guest post with someone on there?
6. What clubs did you belong to in college & what is your favorite sports team?
Find out how to sponsor a fraternity, sorority or club team. You say the funds might not be there to pay (shudder) for a sponsorship? What about paying for t-shirts, stickers, whatever it is to get a link there. T-shirts sound like a lot of money, but for a 25 person sorority, it's around $200.
7. Is public acknowledgement of employee successes & contributions to the company important?
If the answer is no, you probably have a terrible job. Here’s the linkbait: Do a press release on an entry level employee or anyone who doesn’t have a title starting with a capital C, V, or manager. Praise them for the job they do. Highlight any activities out of work that help make them a great person. Something like this hasn’t crossed my radar, but I would 100% link to a press release about a warehouse worker who recently received a raise or promotion.
It could be gain tons of links, it might flop without testing this idea yet. Has this been done and I’ve missed it?
8. Can you identify your ethnic background and religious affiliations? Have you ever served in the military?
a. If they’re Christian, find Christian blogs/business blogs interested in an interview or guest post. If they’re Polish, find blogs specific to Polish businessmen & businesswomen. If they’re an atheist, find an angle to pitch at atheist sites. There’s almost always an angle that’s there or that can be created. b. We have a client right now where we found the VP of marketing was in the army AND a former superintendent of a school district. His linkability just shot up big time as soon as we catch him for 5 minutes (Wil covers the idea of only needing 5 minutes for linking).
9. Can we talk for less than ten minutes about what you love about your industry and how you handle work and time with your family?
a. Google voice record it, you now have two guest posts; one for an industry site and one for a family site. b. Even if you can’t find a link for this content, you at least know what drives & motivates the president.
I won't believe it if there are no links to get after you ask these questions. Even if there's only 2-3, you've taken the time to find easy linking opportunities and you also know a TON more about the person who is making decisions.