SEO Guerilla Marketing

Some people are simply geniuses.

And like watching Olympians do their thing, it brings a smile to your face just to see them in action.

Matt Inman is an SEO genius. He is the former CTO of SEOmoz.org.

Matt built the free dating site Mingle2 in 66.5 hours! He designed, coded, and launched within 66.5 hours! And as impressive as this is, his SEO work on Mingle2 is even more impressive.

With zero marketing budget, Matt now ranks #2 on Google for ‘free online dating’! That may be the second most competitive keyword phrase next to ‘cheap V1agra.’ And he didn’t get these results with his mom clicking a Mingle2 link one million times. His strategy generated nearly 250,000 links in four months and garnered the attention of MSNBC.com, USAToday.com, & Digg.com.

Matt used SEO guerrilla marketing.

His particular strategy for this project was to create various different online quizzes—the kind that your best friends like to do and post their results to when they learn exactly what kind of sexy cartoon character they are. Matt’s quizzes included topics such as:

The Caffeine Click Test. How caffeinated are you?
The Blog & Website Cuss-O-Meter. How often do you cuss on your blog?
How many 90-year-olds could you take in a fight?
How many cannibals could your body feed?
How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?

SEO guerilla marketing quizzes

SEO guerilla marketing quiz

Obviously, these quizzes have absolutely nothing to do with ‘free dating sites.’ But that is not the point of guerilla marketing. In guerilla marketing, the three goals are:

1.) Get people looking
2.) Get people talking
3.) Get other people looking

Once you get them looking, then you can pitch them or lead them to your site.

Matt set up these quizzes so that users take the full quiz. But just before viewing their results, they are shown a conversion page reading, “This quiz was created by Mingle2” and encouraging them to sign up.

If users don’t want to sign up, they can click a small link at the bottom right that reads, ‘continue to results.’ After all, if someone doesn’t want to register, they’re not going to. You may as well let them view their results since you don’t want them angry toward your brand. Besides, it’s not like these quiz results really mean anything anyway.

SEO quiz conversion page

Yet, this conversion page is NOT the real genius of Matt’s marketing strategy.

In the quiz results, Matt displays code that users can copy and display their results within their blogs. Bloggers eat this up. And what Matt loves, is that within each quizzes’ code is, you guessed it, a link back to the Mingle2 website

SEO quiz results

Matt sets the link’s anchor text to whatever particular keywords he wants Mingle2 to rank well for within search engine results. For instance:

<a href=”http://mingle2.com”> Free Dating Sites </a>

The end product:

How Many 90 Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight?

Created by Mingle2 – Free Dating Sites

He could also use the phrase ‘free online dating’ in some of these quizzes. Then when Google sees thousands of links with ‘free online dating’ anchor text, it determines that http://mingle2.com must be particularly relevant result to display. So Mingle2.com moves higher in result engine ranks for this keyword phrase. In this case, Matt’s work was so effective, that Mingle2.com now ranks #2 for this phrase!

SEO guerilla marketing, then, has one more goal beyond the three for traditional guerilla marketing, and that is:

4.) Get a link back to your business site, LOTS of them

A incoming link may sound simplistic, but they are the predominant measure by which Google determines ranking within results for any given phrases. The hundreds of thousands of links that Matt generated for Mingle2 are the reason that Mingle2 ranks so highly.

Matt worked smart. Instead of working to build links one by one to his site or buying advertising, Matt used his particular skill set to allow others to build links for him.

The takeaway: When it comes to link building, remember: There may be more than one way for you to skin a cat. But each takes too much of your time. It’s much more effective to create an opportunity for millions of others to each skin a cat for you.

Now that’s thinking like a billionaire. Hat tip to Matt!

Tip! Grab Market Samurai’s free download for backlink anchor text and PR analysis if you want to see how many links your competitors have built and what anchor text they are receiving. There’s a coupon *inside* of the free trial for $50 off, if you want it.

Update! Learn from Matt’s mistake: Google laid the smack down on some of Matt’s quizzes and the site he first promoted with them (the precursor to Mingle2) after Matt used his same quizzes to cross promote a site for a cash advance & payday loan company. Google’s Matt Cutts chimed in the comments section here about the situation. The conclusion is that for this to work, the quizzes or other link bait that you create need to be closely related content-wise to the website that you link to. Otherwise, Google doesn’t think these quizzes add any value for users. So the strategy still works as long as (1) each quiz promotes one, and only one, website of (2) related content with (3) an exposed link, not hidden with javascript, flash, etc (as Matt did correctly with the exposed links in his quizzes and as is shown in the example above).

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