The Linking World

Getting Listed On 'Answer Engines'

In the light of the recent launches of two so-called 'answer engines' (as opposed to search engines), namely Google Squared and Wolfram/Alpha, we have been in deep thought wondering what effect they may have on link building strategies.

In this article, we take a quick look at them and then investigate how one can write content that is likely to feature in search results delivered by these two intiguing applications.

The Wolfram/Alpha computational knowledge engine is the result of an ongoing ambitious project to perform computations (rather than search the web) to answer questions (or inferred questions) you provide. If you type in a word that fits into one of its numerous topics (mathematics, statistics, physics, etc.) it produces data on that item. Type in more the one word e.g. gold silver, it displays the data in a format for easy comparison of the properties of the items (assuming the items fit into the same category, otherwise it won't know what to do). You can also type in mathematical formulae, peoples names, stocks, place names.

It is highly likely you'll get your website included in Wolfram/Alpha's results because the data is based on their own internal knowledge base. Some of the data in that knowledge base comes from official public or private websites, but most of it is derived from more systematic primary sources.

Somewhat similar is Google Squared, but with the difference that they produce the search results by crawling the web. If you type in one item (don't enter several related items as you can in Wolfram/Alpha), it tries to display a 'square' of items (one item per row) against attributes arranged in columns. You can customise the rows and columns to focus on just the items and attributes of interest. And you can also see which sites it gets its information from. So, for example, if you type mountains, you get (as attributes) country, highest point (oddly it did not provide height by default - I had to add it) and (as standard) image and description. If I type sardines, I get (in addition to image and description), species, size and origin. Google Squared has a long way to go as I got some quite bizarre results for some of my inputs, placing Mount Everest in the USA and providing me with a list of cinematographers when I input washing machines!

Unlike Wolfram/Alpha there is a reasonable chance of getting listed in the results for Google Squared. By at least including an image of the main subject matter, predicting what attributes your readers will be looking for and wanting to do comparisons on, plus ensuring you establish your site as an authority on your topic, it looks like you will meet the criteria for getting listed. So when this search engine really takes off and comes out of the Google labs, people performing these kind of fact finding searches will be finding your website. Moreover, as a result, they are likely to want to link to their findings.


Best of the Web

This month we have picked Design Style Guide as our highly commendable site which we judge to be highly linkworthy (i.e. has the characteristics of a site likely to attract many links). What can we learn from studying this site?.

Design Style Guide focuses on handmade home design products, services and events. The site is artfully put together and we particularly liked the extensive search feature which allows interior designers to rapidly find quality handmade home decor items by colour, style, material, or room. Another linkworthy feature is the fact that merchants who get their products (or services) listed on the site can be sure that when consumers click BUY NOW they will be taken to their own ecommerce website.

Many merchants appear to be listing their items on the site and everything is presented in a consistent and user-friendly way. The links on the left hand side allow you to drill down through the site, starting off with a category, a style or a room. They also have a members area and a well organised resources section.Members are well looked after with a private forum, team blog and features for promoting members' own stores.

What can we learn from Design Style Guide to improve the linkworthiness of our own sites? For those of us with resource sections on our sites, it pays to have a good quality site search so users can delimit searches to particular categories and attributes (price ranges, colour, etc.). Encouraging visitor participation by allowing them to sign-up and become members and then providing them with them with access to forums and team-orientated features is also well worth considering.



(Photo credited to Maulleigh)

LinkEyes News & Tips

We are working hard on improving the link partner search even further, so you get more quality search results and fewer 'no results found' messages. We are also working on the user interface and expect to announce some or all of these changes next month!

The search improvements remain confidential until we release this change, but we are cautiously confident that users will be able to track down even more quality link partners. The user interface will be simplified as well.


What's the buzz? Finding niche trending topics

Key to generating traffic to your website is the practice of determining what the current  trending topics are (getting the latest buzz is another way of putting it), so you can write on content that people will want to link to.  Once you have found out what those trends are, you will need to find a new angle or sub-topic so you are not writing content that is already written. Another possibility is to work your way down the trending topics in order of decreasing popularity until your find a nice trend. In either case, you will need to find niche keywords to use in your title, tag line and main content.


So, what are the good ways of finding those hot topics?

The obvious way is to visit news sites such as Google News, the BBC website etc. but there are some excellent sites dedicated to finding the freshest content. One that stands out is, a real-time search engine that crawls the content on social sharing services such as Twitter, indexing the content in seconds.  Other sites are (for science, research and technology news),, NewsNow and to name just a few. There’s also who specialise in providing insights on how Internet users interact with websites (including providing search-related data).

To find more niche trends just requires a bit of lateral thinking. Taking the example of Jamie Neale who was lost for 12 days in the Blue Mountains,  related subjects which come to mind are safe backpacking, backpacking safety equipment, distress signal accessories. Then I suggest a quick visit to Wordtracker or KeywordCountry to confirm whether any of these keyword phrases represent potentially untapped market niches.

Of course, you will need to be knowledgeable enough in your chosen theme to be able to write some good material – or quickly acquire the knowledge. It may inspire you to start up a new dedicated website and look for products you could sell (e.g. distress signal equipment) or simply hunt around for merchants with affiliate schemes so you can make commissions on selling their merchandise.