Stalking for Links: Wil Reynolds

Part 5 of my Blow by Blow account of Link Love London covers Wil Reynolds much talked about presentation on Stalking. Yes… Stalking.

Wil Reynolds - Stalking

Stalking. How you land the links you want

Wil Reynolds – Seer Interactive @wilreynolds

Reading the post conference buzz, this has to be the most talked about session. Wil’s presentation on Stalking was certainly one of the most entertaining ones, but it also outlined a great way of greasing the wheels of outreach. I’ll give an overview of the presentation below, together with all the relevant links. The slide deck of this presentation can also be viewed online here.


  • Stop begging for links
  • Go big: ID influential “marks” who are not following you
  • Set your goals
  • JFDI
  • This technique is so easy that Wil is planning to give the same presentation every year until we all start implementing it
  • The basic technique is to create a “stalkers dashboard” giving you an at a glance look at opportunities to outreach to your Marks

Find the hidden RSS feeds

  • Lots of sites give RSS feeds without making it obvious that they have them
  • RSS-Everywhere is a chrome extension that shows you when RSS feeds are present. Get it here
  • iGoogle lets you create a dashboard of the RSS feeds you are following
  • Together they are a stalking dashboard

Filling up your stalkers dashoard

  • Twitter: You need to find the twitter id first – this tool gives you them. Then visit < just change that number to the one the first tool gave you. If you are interested – that one is Wil’s ;)
  • Google News: My notes suggested that RSS-Everywhere would spot these. That didn’t work for me though. However if you search from Google News then scroll to the bottom of the page there is an RSS link that does work.
  • Blogs: Blogs give up feeds. Easy. I’d personally add that many blogs also give a different feed for each author. Just visit the author page and let rss-everywhere do its thing. The Seer Interactive blog certainly does… guess who’s I’m stalking.
  • Google+: RSS Feeds available thanks to this tool. You do need to register to use this and it is a bit more bother than the others, but it isn’t too painful.
  • Quora: Just visit their profile page and use RSS-Everywhere
  • Gmail: Sorry – no idea. I couldn’t read my notes!

 Using it

  • Who are they following? Be more like them – or at least emphasise the bits that are
  • Find out who they are following using free follower export gdocs (you will need to register an API key for this)
  • Export the bios in to TagCrowd to easily see the common keywords of who they are following
  • Set up alerts for when they tweet that they will be in your area – buy them coffee!
  • .. or use IFTT maybe have it text you when they ask a question using KW you know about

Taking the concept further

  • Pull RSS feeds in to excel for analysis. Combine with Niels Bosma SEOTools for Excel for insights
  • Look out for journalists asking questions – probably means they’re researching a story. Be there for them
  • Stalker tip : When you don’t know the answer, retweet the question
  • Find authors for a publication using Mozenda to crawl for details
  • Use vlookup to compare your followers with who target follows – any common ground?
  • Who do they follow that I know well? Look them up on facebook and scan the faces


For the presentation Wil was stalking @dharmesh, known to many as being co-creator of By Link Love London Dharmesh was already following Wil on google+, but Wil still wanted him on Twitter.  I understand that now is the case. So is this a sneaky was of conning people in to following you so that you can hit them up for a link?  I suspect many will use it that way, but it isn’t how Wil seems to see it.

The idea is to be helpful as a means of making contact. Whilst the presentation talks about stalking, the idea is more about making it easier to be aware of when opportunities arise.  There are elements of this that I can see us using.  RSS-everywhere is already on my browser and I’m finding it pretty useful for a number of reasons. It really is quite amazing how many feeds there are out there.  I can see the techniques, especially if combined with alerts, being useful for putting opportunities in front of niche writers in particular. This is something that we will be exploring, although I can’t see me personally taking anythign to the lengths that Wil went to.  Well that is, unless I decide to complete my Wil Reynolds stalking dashboard.


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