Yes, I copied the title exactly from Mark’s Moz Post. In fact that’s WHY I invited Mark to be a guest on today’s show. He wrote a post on Moz a few weeks ago that caught quite a bit of attention from the SEO community. It was actually a response to a prior post on Moz by Tomas Vaitulevicius. called “The SEO Myth Of Going Viral”.

You see, Mark used to work for the agency Distilled.

And during his time there, he was responsible for content ideas that got over 1,000 linking root domains – those are the most extreme and successful results – but even on average, he received 40-50 links per piece of content.

But is that “success”? Did those links actually cause an attributable increase in rankings, traffic and revenue? Thomas didn’t think so. So that’s what Mark is here to rebut against and discuss.

He reveals exactly how all those links happened (which is great just alone). But even better, although he’s not with Distilled anymore, he followed up with some of his former clients to find out – did the work we do actually help? Did they see results?

And if that’s not enough – he also shares some brilliant content and ideation strategies – so you’ll definitely want to stick around through until the end.

Note, that his personal story and the backstory of Distilled was so interesting, we took a little more time than usual to cover that. So if you’re looking for the just SEO talk, feel free to jump ahead to the 18 minute spot – but it’s all really worth it.


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Mark’s Start

  • “I thought I knew about SEO…”
  • Linkbait?
  • “We created many pieces of content that went viral…”
  • “I’m now a freelance consultant.”

Viral Content

  • “I agreed with a lot of assertions in Tomas’s article…”
  • “How do you test running 10 viral campaigns?”
  • “That could happen but I don’t think it always does…”
  • “Setting expectations of results is one of the hardest parts of my job.”

Link Building

  • “It’s great if you can build links to a piece that’s product focused but most of the time you have to compromise…”
  • Topical relevance
  • What a product is vs. what a product does
  • Looking too brand-ish


  • Generating ideas from variables and data sets
  • Make it visual —> make it human

What about a real example?

  • “What is going to grab a journalist or blogger to write about it first?”
  • Getting an emotional response

Remember the time this music piece went viral?

  • What generated the success of the piece?
  • Uniting data with a story
About Dan Shure

Hi! I'm Dan Shure. I write all of the posts and host all of the podcast episodes you'll find on the Evolving SEO blog. Say hello on Twitter @dan_shure!


  • February 11, 2017 Reply


    I like the long format. I spend a lot of time on design and its easy for me handle both and once. This time around I was programming, not advisable. Anyhow good show, downloading “Made to stick” 🙂 Thanks!

    • February 13, 2017 Reply

      Dan Shure

      Awesome thanks for the feedback 🙂 Enjoy Made To Stick!

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