Scalable Link Building Tips

4 Scalable Link Building Tips

For the past few years, the debate about quality versus quantity in link building has been subsiding as more SEOs and business owners have gained a deeper understanding that it's the quality of links that matters over quantity.

Given that, some link builders still find it difficult to consistently acquire relevant links on a monthly basis.

But it's certainly possible with the right approach and improvements in processes to provide solid high-quantitative link reports.

Agencies like Citation Labs, based on their 2015 slide presentation, can accommodate a total of 300 resource backlinks every month to their clients.

Our team at SharpRocket is able to supply links ranging from 6 to 30 in volume to each client on a monthly basis.

It may not be a big number to most readers, but using sweat-and-blood approaches in link building, it's the highest quantity that you can achieve with a handful of resources you have.

Scalable link building requires speeding up phases in the area of link qualification, link prospecting and targeted outreach. Subtle changes that you can make to each phase can tremendously impact your campaign's efficiency.

For the past several months, we've noticed and tested a few approaches that if done well, can create success for your next link building campaign.

1. SOURCING MICRO AND MARCO CONTENT FROM INDUSTRY INFLUENCERS

Content creation for external distribution (or guest blogging) is easy to scale if you've got a team of in-house writers or outsourced freelance writers to accommodate your content writing needs.

However, if you're in scarcity of resources, one approach that you can use to facilitate guest blogging is by interviewing industry influencers and using their Q&A content as external assets for distribution.

Initially we start sending outreach emails to productivity publishers who might be interested to accept any of these two content formats:

  • "How-to" [ topic ] interview content
  • Guest post on [ topic ] (that includes a few insights from productivity experts)

The key to make this pitch standout is to highlight that you'll be including insights from industry experts in your guest article. Given that publishers would normally ask for high-quality guest posts (as we always request for outside contributors for our blogs), the approach of emphasizing the credibility and value of your content up-front can improve your chances of getting a response and eventually increase your closing rate.

Then you can throw-in topics of content that they can choose from.

influencer outreach emailTo generate a content idea, you can do a Google search for site:domain.com with any of your targeted keywords or topics (e.g. "personal kanban") and check if these are topics they haven't covered yet.

search results content ideasProviding unique content ideas can increase the chances of letting them buy-in on what you can offer.

Further reading: How to Improve Your Link Outreach Success Rate

When they've chosen a topic to write about, it's time to create the content.

There are two ways on how you can approach content creation: create content with validated insights from influencers or use Q&A content with an influencer and format it as an external asset.

A. Validation To Your Insights

Instead of providing one generic round-up question to your target influencers and compiling them into one big post (just like what you normally read see in most round-up posts), you can ask influencers for insights to questions being discussed in your article draft.

Statements from influencers can serve as a validation to your article points that adds credibility to the overall content.

As an example of this approach, we've looked for productivity bloggers/experts to get their expert opinions on different subjects of productivity.

In my earlier example, the topic that the publisher wanted us to write is "personal kanban" - a personal productivity system.

We had to look for industry bloggers who have personally experienced using such productivity tool in their professional lives.

To speed up the entire blog prospecting process, we chose an authority website that has outside content contributors and that interviews niche influencers on its podcast show (these influencers/contributors were then our target prospects for interviews).

authority website to source links to

industry experts

Using URL Profiler to scrape data from author and podcast pages, we've managed to create a list of 20 industry influencers (who are past and current contributors of LEADx.org's blog section and who became guests in their podcast show).

You can also do this process manually, if you're not a subscriber of URL Profiler.

In estimate, the manual approach will only take you 25 to 30 minutes.

Your next step is to gather contact details of your target interviewees to prepare for the outreach campaign.

As for the outreach, it's important to ensure that your authority bloggers will also benefit from the content partnership you're proposing. Reciprocation in a form of getting a link on a guest post written on a top-notch industry blog can increase the chances of getting positive responses from them.

Here's the exact email template we used for this kind of outreach:

Short interview with you [Name]

Hi [Name],

I'm [Your Name], a blogger and productivity enthusiast. I've found you on one of the podcast episodes of Kevin Kruse at LEADx.org and learned great insights from your conversation with Kevin.

I'm fascinated and wanted to conduct a short interview with you. I'll ask a few questions, compile your answers and use it as a guest content for a top-notch productivity site (not mine).

I greatly appreciate your response in advance.

Thanks,

- [Your Name]

From 20 authority bloggers we pitched for interviews, we managed to get 14 positive responses.

Here are some takeaways why the outreach campaign worked:

  • Used prospects' name and their websites' name.
  • Included the source where we've found them (I've found you one on of the podcast episodes …) - helps strikes a more personal approach on the email.
  • Stated the value proposition to easily catch the interest of the outreach prospect (use it as a guest content for a top-notch productivity site). It helps secure confidence that their answers to questions can reach more audience.
  • Straightforward subject line to get the message across.

You may want to check out this guide on blogger outreach to get more tips on how to effectively craft email copies specifically for blogger outreach campaigns.

Finally, you have to submit your finished content with great insights from niche influencers for content approval.

Then, acquire links:

A link to the influencer's website (for his contribution):

live link oneA link to our website:

link to our website

B. How-to Interview Content

There is another way to maximize interview content besides using it as a validation to your article points - that is, utilizing the entire Q&A content as your guest post.

It is best to format it as a "how-to" article rather than just compiling expert's answers into a Q&A format and submit it directly to your target publisher.

You also have to structure the content in a way that is easy to scan and read, and that emphasizes the "specific topic" you're discussing about.

So the title can be something like, "How to [Topic] with [Influencer's Name]".

how to interview content

2. SCALE BLB PROSPECTING WITH CITATION LABS

For the past several months, I've been using Citation Labs heavily to scale prospecting for resources pages (or links pages) for our broken link building projects.

Disclaimer: I'm not an affiliate marketer of this tool.

Given that broken link building requires tedious work on prospecting especially if you're working on several BLB campaigns, using a tool to prospect thousands of relevant link opportunities is definitely a big help.

Using Citation Labs for a broken link building campaign, we've managed to create a list of 22,000+ job and career-specific link prospects with Domain Authority of 40 and above.

keywords usedcitation labs platform

The list is further qualified to pass the relevance test, which resulted to 400 targeted prospects out of the first 10,000+ unqualified pages (4% qualification rate).

400+ link opportunities

On average, we can qualify 1000 prospects based on relevance within 15 to 25 minutes. So the total time it took us to conduct relevance test for 10,000 pages was 2 1/2 hours to 5 hours.

Assuming you have a newbie link builder and he manually searches for link opportunities, it'd probably take him 3 to 4 hours to find 30 to 40 links pages qualified based on relevance and certain metrics like Domain Authority.

So for 400 qualified prospects, he would consume 40 hours equivalent to 1 week of work.

Notable advantages of utilizing Citation Labs for bulk link prospecting are:

  • Improved efficiency in prospecting - as it requires less hours to manually prospect for link opportunities, so time can be spent on qualifying link targets based on relevance and obtainability.
  • Expand link lists for untapped link opportunities - pages discovered by the tool aren't necessarily ranking for linker-based queries  (inurl:resources "topic").

Besides searching for links pages, Citation Labs can also help link builders to find other type of link opportunities such as review pages, forums and professional organization sites.

other types of link opportunities

3. HIRE VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS FOR MENIAL TASKS

Apparently, outsourcing is a cost-effective strategy that can improve your link building campaign's efficiency. By giving menial tasks to freelancers, it helps you allocate more time on other important activities, which can help elevate individual and team's output and productivity.

Basically, the tasks that you'll be outsourcing are ones that'll only require basic knowledge and skills and can somehow be executed right away even without much deeper training.

Here are a few examples of link building tasks you can outsource to:

  • Contact finding (name, email address, contact forms and social profiles - if email address is not available).
  • Finding important page or site-level details (page tilte, article title)
  • Initial pitching (sending your outreach emails using an email template with only a few tags to replace details with)

As an example, we recently started hiring virtual assistants locally (freelancers who are based here in the Philippines) and from other countries like Bulgaria to help us with bulk link building activities.

Instead of posting online jobs to facilitate hiring, we use Linkedin as a platform to manually search for freelancers who had previously worked for a similar company (either a full SEO service agency or a link building company).

linkedin hiring

The advantage of doing so is we were able to hire freelancers who can deliver more output than someone who just undergo a training process.

We also checked their work histories if they handled previous link building campaigns or any associated tasks like contact finding and daily checking of emails.

Before jumping straight to outsourcing, we created simple step-by-step documents that walks them through the entire process of executing the task to avoid recurring questions we'll then received from them, as they work on each campaign.

We use GDocs to easily share documents to our freelancers.

broken link building processes

This outsourcing approach can certainly improve your campaign's efficiency with the right people and processes.

Further reading on outsourcing:

4. PERSONALIZED EMAIL MERGE

As quoted by Jason Acidre on his SEO blog, "Outreach is probably the most tedious component of our marketing discipline because the activity primarily intends to build relationships."

I couldn't agree more with this statement, as we've done hundreds of outreach campaigns and to only succeed is to put the hardest work in creating the best offer (value prop in emails), in prospecting for highly targeted publishers and in sending email copies that'll mutually benefit both parties.

There's one subtle approach we've tested to improve the efficiency of our outreach campaigns - that is using a personalized email merge tool.

We initially start by installing Yet Another Email Merge to Google Spreadsheet as an add-on tool. It allows us to send 50 emails in every outreach account for free (there's a premium price if you're sending 400 emails a day).

yet another mail merge

Unlike the typical mail merge system that blast off email spams to publishers, this email merge tool allows us to personalize email copies while semi-automating sending off emails and scheduling them at the right time when prospects will likely to open.

schedule emails - draft

Note: When using this approach, it's extremely important to set intervals in outreach, not to trigger Gmail from spamming your account. Instead of sending 400 emails one-time off, you can divide them into 5 or 7 days with intervals if possible, and just send 40 emails a day.

Here are a few advantages that this tool can bring to your outreach campaign:

  • Enables scheduling features for different timezones.
  • Tracks open and response rates as well as how many emails were sent and bounced back (or had errors in sending).
  • Failed messages (bounced back emails or emails with technical errors) can be replaced immediately with secondary emails which streamlines your follow-up or second-pitch processes.
  • One-click away from Google spreadsheet to schedule emails.

email tracking report

The said outreach tool requires a draft email which serves as your outreach copy to send or schedule emails. Using tags ($/Name/$) in your draft email is important to extract data from your spreadsheet and produce personalize emails.

This outreach approach can benefit you in so many ways, such as:

Initial-pitching using successful outreach copies

If you've tested a couple of outreach templates and one of them has successfully earned the highest open, response and closing rates (or even just the highest closing rate), you can use your most effective outreach template as your email copy in Yet Another Email Merge function for your next outreach campaign.

Follow-Ups

It would be more efficient to send short and straightforward follow-up emails using Yet Another Email Merge tool, which only takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete, than manually sending/scheduling all follow-up emails using your outreach accounts.

follow-up email

Considerations When Using Yet Another Email Merge

As you get your hands on to this tool, you may experience a few mishaps that can be avoided if you've taken a note of them.

Semantic Breaks

Ross Hudgens discussed semantic breaks in his outreach best practices post that should be noted carefully if you want to secure positive responses in your outreach campaigns.

A good example of this is when you send an email to a person with a tag, "I saw your post on venchitotampon.com blog" and you're addressing it to the blogger himself, "Venchito Tampon". A normal person would rather say, "on your personal blog" instead of naming the whole domain.

When you start using the tool, you might create a column for Website/Blog Titles that includes all branded names of your target link sources.

If not carefully checked, you might put the whole domain (venchitotampon.com) instead of inserting "personal blog" or "personal website".

Leaving off blanks

The tool requires you to create columns for Names, Email Address and other tags such as, Blog Name and Asset Title to further personalize your email copies.

necessary input

All columns should be filled out with necessary input. Otherwise, you might see an email sent that sounds like a spammy build blast.

My trick here is to input the word "there" to blank cells in the "Names" column for email addresses with no available and visible names.

The final email copy will look like this:

hi-there-email-2

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Local Link Building Tactics

7 Hard-Hitting Local Link Building Tactics for Small and Large Businesses

In the Post-Pigeon era, local links have become more valuable as signals for search engines to assess a site’s local relevance in the organic search results.

In fact, the recent Local Search Ranking Factor study by Moz proves that the two most important local ranking factors are on-site signals and local links.

There are in fact hundreds of articles that share about the different local link building strategies you can use to play in the local scene this 2017 (and beyond).

But regardless of which local link building tactic you use today, there are a few considerations to take while executing each phase in a local link building campaign:

  • Prospecting: The volume of local link prospects isn’t huge enough compared to target sites of large-scale link building campaigns, so putting a lower threshold on metrics like Moz’ DA is necessary to collect a higher volume of local link opportunities.
  • Qualification: Quality can’t be determined solely by Moz’ DA or other link metrics- the referral traffic that local pages can generate should be considered (local professional organization pages for example, that are less DA30 are frequently visited by local users and therefore can refer the most engaged traffic to the site.
  • Outreach: The more localized in context your approach is, the likelihood of increasing responses and link conversions for local outreach campaigns is higher.

With these things in consideration, you can now start implementing a local link building campaign with the right fundamentals in mind.

Below are seven (7) local link building activities that you can immediately use right now which can certainly help impact your business goals:

 

1. UTILIZE JOBS PORTAL FOR QUICK LINK WINS

When building links for our clients, one of the first few questions we ask is, “what's the existing content asset in the client’s website we can use as USP for linker outreach?”.

This question breaks the “content mental block” that is often experienced when strategizing what link acquisition tactics that require content to create in order to acquire high-quality links.

Interestingly, we’ve discovered that there are existing under-utilized pages published on client’s sites that we can use to show/provide to publishers and content creators to get them link to the client’s page.

A great example of this content is “jobs portal”.

A “jobs portal” is a directory/curation of all job positions available in a local area.

Your brand can even curate available positions available for a specific industry  (e.g. “tech startup jobs in New York”).

boston tech jobs

For some local brands that I’ve audited, jobs portal is inherently the first few pages published on their sites which serve as a content hub for their local partners like local professional organizations who are looking for new hires for their teams.

Jobs portal caters specifically to the “job seekers” linkable market which has a lucrative number of links pages.

Link prospecting for this strategy is pretty much the same with how you’ll normally do it for a resource page link building or broken link building strategy, but the difference is just that you are only looking for a local linkable market - “jobs links/resources pages in Boston” for example.

You can start prospecting using Google search with any of the following search queries to collect your initial set of local link opportunities:

  • “job search” “resources” “CITY”
  • employment” inurl:resources “CITY”
  • “job hunting” resources “CITY”
  • inurl:careers “CITY”

Expand your list by reverse engineering other local job portals or other local job board sites.

By checking which pages link to local-relevant job board sites on this page, I was able to collect a few more tens of local links pages.reverse engineer resource pagesOnce you have generated your list of prospects along with their contact details, you can then start engaging them through your outreach campaign.

Spend a few extra minutes to check if there are broken links on a prospect page.

If all links are working, simply request to be included as an additional resource on their links page.

I’ve found it helpful to add subtle changes to email copies to emphasize the local relevance of the jobs portal or any other local content pieces I’m building links to. I usually add lines for:

  • The best section on the resource page to add the client’s local content
  • Who is the target audience of the content?
  • A few recommendations for the content that serves as a social proof

 

email outreach jobs resource pages

With proper execution, we were able to acquire links:

resource page link first example

resource page link second example

2. CREATE LOCALIZED VISUAL DATA

Visual data link building (infographic-based link building) is getting more saturated, as more brands try to pick up on it. But with the right audience targeting along with accurate data and impressive design, visual data can still prove its effectiveness in getting high-value links especially if it’s been massively promoted through different content distribution channels.

One way to get started with this approach is to find a local piece of content created by other publishers who had an extensive research on a particular subject matter and transform it into a visual asset.

To give you an example, recently we’ve been looking for a piece of content that we could well turn into an infographic.

By searching for available public data on different trusted sites, we’ve found a research study on teen dating, abuse & bullying with respondents based in  New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

nacjd public data source website

Side note: here are a few public data sites you can source information from for your visual assets:

We’ve checked if the public data is still relevant in the current year, as we want to get the most recent study as much as possible (the latest we consider is 2016).

One way that helped us assess the relevance and credibility of a public data piece is by looking at the version history section. For example, the research study we considered was initially published in 2012 but it has been updated for 2016 (indicated in the version history section).

Then we strategize how the public data content can be turned into an infographic without cursing the target audience with knowledge.

Given that the research study has two sections: teen dating & abuse and teen bullying, we’ve decided to choose teen dating & abuse and keep the latter for future content references.

concised research study

The hardest part of visual data link building is content creation.

As an agency, there are two ways to attack this: outsource to a freelancer or hire an in-house graphic designer.

We chose the latter simply because it’s time and cost-efficient.

Produced the visual data (partial image below):

teen dating infographic

Then we’ve spent most of our hours looking for potential link partners or content publishers who’ll be interested in the content piece we produced.

We begin prospecting using the following local-centric queries in Google search:

You can also use Reverse Image Search or Tineye to find and track any local-based infographics for local bloggers and publishers who distributed these pieces on their blogs.

If in case you’ve been running out of prospects, you can tap other industries and look for local publishers who still cater to targeted audience of your content.

In our case, we tapped local legal publishers with injury/sexual harassment category on their sections.

sexual harassment injury blog

As for the outreach, make it easier for your local prospects to know the interesting fact on your visual data. It is best to state some numbers and your target audience to build the context relevance and credibility of your content piece.

visual link building outreachYou can test the two-blogger outreach process to initially capture your prospects’ interests then eventually sending the link pointing to your visual data (or attaching it in your email conversation) if they’ve positively respond to your initial pitch.

3. REALIZE OPPORTUNITY IN “NEW TO AN AREA” PAGES

For local link building, what I’ve found to be most quantitative (high amount) in links/resource pages are those that cater to audiences who are relocating/living to a new area or city.

Typically, these are pages that provides lists of resources/references that a person who’s new to an area would definitely find.

Here are some examples of local “new to an area” topics:

  • Quality schools in [City] or finding the right schools
  • Local laws in [City]
  • Tourist information, local attractions or things to do in [City]
  • How to get here
  • Volunteer listings in [City]
  • Moving and relocation in [City]
  • internet & cable
  • my neighbourhood

If you are marketing a brick and mortar business, a local attraction, a local professional organization, or a utility company (i.e. internet cable), it’s best to get your initial set of links from this type of resource pages.

things to do in city pages

You can start prospecting by using “page-level” qualifier queries (which I highly recommend if you’re looking for “new to an area” topical pages) through Google search.

If you're prospecting for "things to do in [City]" pages, here are the following search queries that you can use:

  • inurl:"things to do" [City]
  • intitle:"things to do" [City]
  • inurl:links activities in [City]

An above approach is an alternate option to the basic link prospecting queries for resource page link building (i.e. using inurl:resources OR inurl:links “keyword”).  It expands your search for link opportunities that don’t necessarily have the title tag or URL qualifiers (intitle and inurl).

The next step is to reach out to webmasters of these links pages and offer your website to be included as an additional resource on the page.

I’ve found it helpful to prepare short lines/description to be added to the links page along with your link. It can help take away webmasters’ burden of thinking what texts to add, that describes your brand/website (e.g. best description of your local attraction).

area to pages link building outreach

If you’ve executed properly, you’ll definitely get a link.

attraction resource pages

4. GET RESOURCE LINKS FROM SUMMER/OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING [CITY] PAGES

Summer housing/off-campus housing pages are resource lists of available housing options for both students and interns in a local area.

This type of webpages can positively generate exposure to brands they’re linking out to as well as provide possible leads for brands’ services since the purpose of the page is focused on recommending rental offerings currently available in the area.

The closest vertical that can benefit from generating high-quality links from summer housing [city] pages, obviously, is real estate, particularly local apartments brands, housing and rental services companies.

National brands with apartment rentals in different cities can also take advantage of this link acquisition technique by acquiring links from summer housing resource pages available in cities they cater offerings to. The more cities they’re marketing to, the better they could take advantage of this local link building tactic.

national apartments

You can start this link approach by creating a list of targeted link prospects from Google search results - using any of the following search terms:

  • “Off-campus” housing [city] “resources”
  • “Student housing” [city] “resources”
  • “Internship housing” [city] “resources”

Populate your list by checking broken domains for any inbound links from summer housing pages. A simple plug to your favorite link checker tool can help quickly assess the number of unique referring domains pointing to these dead websites.

For example, this extinct site that is used to be an apartment rental site has a 75+ unique referring domains that includes solid .edu sites links pages. A quick look on it can reveal tens of potential summer housing pages that can be added to a link list.

ahrefs summer housing reverse engineering links

Then craft email copies you can use for your local outreach that are straightforward and easy to personalize.

Finally, acquire the link:summer housing link

5. SERVE FSQ WITH LOCAL CONTENT 

Creating content that’s really hard to do and that is better than its competitors is definitely one of the best ways, not just to stand out as an authority publisher in the industry but also to acquire high-quality in-content links from other content publishers on the web.

In addition to that, making sure that the content piece has well-served its audience by providing their needs through the useful information found on the page can increase the chances of building as well as earning backlinks from highly relevant sites.

For local content creation, here are topics that are frequently searched (FSQ or frequently search queries) by local audience and linked to by local publishers:

  • Street occupancy and moving permits
  • [city] neighborhoods
  • Helpful moving tips or things to do before you move
  • Resources for landlords & tenants
  • Homeowner resources
  • Voter registration
  • Address change

The main key to succeed in creating local content is to be succinct while being so much helpful in providing the details that the local audience needs.

Coming up with a guide that sums up all of the items mentioned above for people who’re looking for direct information is an extremely useful content asset that has high chances of earning links from local content creators.

moving resource example 1

moving resource example 2

moving resource example 3moving resource example 4

 

6. SEED ANSWERS TO LONG TAIL ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

Conversation marketing is a highly effective brand building tool for local business owners, marketers and/or those who’re in agency that market local clients - who don’t have a huge budget to spend to build a strong brand presence online.

While it’s certainly time-consuming, the amount of effort put into value-added conversations can invaluably bring momentum and exponential growth of links as well as drive referral traffic and potential leads for the business.

One of the best ways to start this approach is by joining online communities where your local target audience are participating and looking for direct information.

For example, if you’re promoting a local attraction site, answering questions on StreetAdvisor can be an initial jump to your conversation marketing efforts.

seed forum link building

Below are some ways that you can do to leverage and scale conversation marketing for your local business:

  • Do Google searches for direct questions that people are seeking to find local businesses and/or attractions (e.g. best [product/service] in [city/area]) and spot on local and niche-specific forums that are currently ranking in the first two or three pages in search results  - these online pages still receive a few tens/hundred of organic traffic and may bring valuable traffic to your website.
  • Choose an in-house team member who has a strong knowledge on the product/service you’re offering and let him/her spend 20 to 30 minutes daily, participating in local online discussions.

You can check out this post by Jason Acidre to learn more on how to use conversation marketing effectively for your local brand.

7. LEVERAGE REDDIT FOR LOCAL PROMOTION

Reddit is a community news aggregator site that has its own ranking algorithm to decide which referring link deserves to be placed on the front page for a specific subreddit.

If you’re launching a local content that contains a compelling story/data and design-driven images, such as infographics, then Reddit is definitely a place that you can utilize to put more eyeballs on your content (increasing the amount of traffic you’re getting).

You can start by identifying specific subreddits that are relevant to your local brand. Do a Google search for site:reddit.com “keyword” OR “city,” manually check each subreddit and see if they cater to the audience with the same demographics you’re targeting.

Create a list relevant subreddits along with their current number of subscribers and online users (photo credit: Siegemedia).

siegemedia reddit promotion

It is best to take a few minutes checking referring links placed on the front page of each subreddit to assess content types (images/videos/data) that best resonate the subreddit audience. You can add a column for Notes or Remarks in your spreadsheet to mark content formats/types.

Once you have the Reddit data to base your content upon, you can now produce niche-specific content pieces that are context fit to those local subreddits.

You may want to check out this comprehensive post on creating content by building traffic source backward from Reddit.

The next step is to customize social buttons on your content by adding a Reddit button, for example, to make it easier for Reddit users to upvote your content.

Another approach that you can make to increase the likelihood of ranking your story on the front Reddit pages is by reaching out to like-minded individuals in your industry or sharing your subreddit link in an online group of marketers to get more upvotes for your client’s content piece.

inbounders facebook group

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How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

Who are linkeratis?

Linkeratis are web users who have the capacity to link to a certain website (the destination page) from a domain/page (the linking source) where they have an access to.

Linkeratis (coined by Rand Fishkin), also known as linkers, genuinely link to a content in two ways:

  • Active - they constantly search for new references/resources to include in their resource page.
  • Passive - they wait for other people’s suggestions of recently published linkable assets that might serve as additional citations for their content works.

In this post, I’ll be sharing actionable tips on how you can identify and find active and passive linkeratis (linkers) as well as how you can approach them effectively to build or earn links (with a few given examples).

How to Find Linkeratis

1. Leverage Link Neighborhood

In scaling link prospecting, it should be a vital part of your process to constantly look for untapped sources of link opportunities regardless of the difficulty and depth level of the niche you’re working in.

Given that if you take serious efforts to dig into new link sources, it would help speed up your collection of high-quality link targets in your industry - reducing the time you have to spend in finding hundreds of link opportunities.

One way to scale link prospecting is by leveraging link neighborhoods.

Link neighbourhoods are surrounding external links on a given page where your primary link target has been found.

For example, in this resource page that I’ve prospected for a broken link building campaign for a finance client, I’ve seen that there is a Payment Processing section that includes SaAs payment gateway/processing tools (Stripe, Braintree, Square and NMI).

digital marketer payment processing section

While these websites are non-competitors of my client from content and direct product competition perspectives, there might be relevant opportunities if I start reverse engineering their inbound links.

I chose Stripe, a SaAs online payment platform among the tools listed as it has a Domain Authority (DA) of 84.

stripe domain authority

It is best to check the website’s Domain Authority or Page Authority to quickly assess and sense if there are possible linking pages before spending time to reverse engineer all of them for any pointing links, because checking low-DA sites for links may not reveal a handful of opportunities, in most cases.

Also, I do consider industry tools and products to reverse engineer on, as they normally can acquire links from resource pages given their utility as the context for linking (i.e. Resources for Entrepreneurs).

Checking all links pointing to Stripe, we were able to gather 25~ qualified resources pages that are potential outreach prospects.

With 3 to 5~ conversion rate in our broken link building service, we are able to acquire resource backlinks, including this link from a resource page (which is exactly a page linking to Stripe).

In addition, if you want more efficiently, you can also assess the page’s number of potential linking pages. The best tool to use is LinkMiner chrome extension. It has an option to quickly see the page’s number of linking root domains (LRDs).

linkminer unique referring domains

Although the data is based on Ahrefs API that you have to setup if you’re a subscriber of the tool, that little change that you’ll add to your link prospecting process is highly worth of your time.

2. Tap Exclusive Linkable Markets

Linkable markets can be separated into two divisions: inclusive and exclusive.

Inclusive markets are more receptive to outreach emails than exclusive markets, as they’re less often being pitched by bloggers and outside publishers (on average, they may only receive ~10 emails a day). These are low to mid-tier bloggers who aren’t yet at the pedestal of their industries, but already have a good number of blog audience and social following.

Meanwhile, exclusive markets constantly receive an estimate of ~100 outreach emails a day (even more to some publishers) that (the act of pitching) unintentionally pushes them to only respond to quality emails. 

Examples of exclusive linkable markets are news writers, journalists and high-tier bloggers.

While there are a lot of opportunities in the inclusive linkable market to capitalize on, it’s also essential to spend time tapping the exclusive linkable market since this is where most authority links may come from.

To get responses and conversion links from pitching these exclusive markets, you may need to have pre-existing connections with them, or have an interesting story that can capture their attention to cover your brand on their websites.

But there’s one great tool that can help you out in securing link placements from exclusive linkable markets - that is HelpAReporterOut (HARO).

HARO is an email service that benefits both brands and journalists - by providing journalists with sources for upcoming stories and by giving brands branding opportunities for their stories to get covered on relevant high-tier industry blogs and top news sites. 

Lately, I’ve been spending 20 minutes a day to answer queries from publishers and journalists that are all coming from HARO”s daily emails.

helpareporterout email

In answering press requests, it’s imperative to only pick topics that you’re knowledgeable about and/or passionate about like in my case, I only answer queries related to office productivity, link building, time management and teen addiction.

To get you started with the process, I highly recommend that you check out this post by Matthew Barby for insights on how to semi-automate picking relevant HARO press queries and answering them effectively.

For HARO requests you’re not familiar with, you can forward it to your client or hire an expert writer from Upwork (got this tip from Christian Sculthorp) who are knowledgeable on that certain topic of your brand.

haro upwork job

This will ensure that you’ll get a higher positive rate from publishers who’re likely to include your citation/story in their content.

3. Target Big Interest Areas in the Blogosphere

The blogosphere has evolved throughout the years in terms of the number of online enthusiasts from different industries who are building their personal and corporate brands.

Outside of the tech world (where huge blogs are stunning in numbers), there are indoor and outdoor enthusiasts alike travelers, foodies and DIYers who are capable of linking to external recommended resources.

Creating content assets that will serve these big interest areas can give you higher chances of building as well as earning links from the linking enthusiasts.

For a plumbing client for example, you can produce an instructographic targeted to DIYers that shows how to fix a simple plumbing stuff at home.

Brainstorming a little further can give you ideas that it can well serve homeowners in your city. This may be unwise from a conversion perspective (as to who would buy from the market if you teach them DIY guides), but for link acquisition purposes, this is highly practical to target if you consider both quantity and quality.

Moreover, the impact of social shares and natural links garnered from a link bait content can translate to more linking opportunities not only from direct linking enthusiasts but from other industry markets that can generate new leads for the business.

John Doherty, for instance, is a search marketing specialist (founder of Credo) has tapped big interest areas such as travel and productivity, since these topics aligns to his interests and passion.

Having that mindset of tapping big interest areas, he was able to acquire editorial links from top-tier sites using HARO.

Here’s a video that explains his process.

If the industry you’re in is too boring from a content marketing and link building perspective, try to come outside of your market and check if there are peripheral interest areas that are close to your niche.

4. Generate Content Ideas from Niche-specific Podcasts

In this age of the web, pretty much everyone is consuming information whether through video or audio, not just entertainment content on a regular basis.

The idea that time is a valuable asset allows people to consume content while acting on other things (i.e. while driving) to make every second/minute productive.

Podcasting for example, is becoming mainstream, as everyone in every specific niche is starting to build their own personal brands to capture as many audio listeners as possible who might be potential customers or clients in the near future.

If you’re stuck with what content topics/themes to create for a specific industry, checking or listening to the latest industry podcast series, where those so much valuable information in store can be extremely helpful in generating niche-specific content ideas for your brand.

For example, this Inside the Mind of Teens and Tweens podcast (searched from Podcast Addict) has 118 podcast episodes (current number of items in Itunes) that are educational in nature with targeted audience composed of teachers, parents and counselors. itunes podcast teen

If you’re in the neuroscience space, you can generate some content topics here that can be brainstormed and picked for a linkable content asset.

You can research in-depth if there’s linkability in keywords found on these episode topics to ensure if there’d enough linking sites to market your content to.

Grab and check some and assess if there are considerable linkable markets by checking each ranking page’s unique referring domains.

For instance, the “sexual health” keyword (derived from one of the episodes above) has hundreds of linking opportunities to most of the ranking pages for that search term.

sexual health google search

If you’re taking linkable content creation campaigns for clients, that approach is a good practice to take on to semi-automate content brainstorming process for their websites.

How to Pursue Linkeratis

The next step after completing your initial list of link prospects is to strategize how you will approach them. It’s vital to know how they behave as linkers to customize your pitch way better so you can stand out among all the pitches they’ve been receiving multiple times a day.

Here are some actionable ways to improve your outreach pitches 5% better to see greater link acquisition results:

1. Identify Who Handles and Controls Pages

If you are doing large-scale link outreach campaigns, you probably have stumbled across many websites where the webmaster doesn’t have the authority/decision to update the page. Some of which are only capable of fixing errors on any page of the entire website but they have to put in another person in the email conversation to decide whether or not your link can be included in their resource page.

Linkeratis in most .edu websites are ones the who strictly decides which resources to include in their pages - that means that it’s not a guarantee that you’ll acquire a link unless they’ve seen your content piece as a valuable reference for their audience.

Asking the person up-front (like saying "Can you forward this to the right contact person?") if you’re not sure whether the email you’re pitching to will respond is a subtle tactic to consider when doing initial pitch.

Emails such as services@domainname.edu may connect you to a career service representative or admission department staff of an .edu site but not to the tech/admin person who handles the resource page you want to get a link from.

Meanwhile, if you receive responses that let you forward your resource suggestions to a certain person, it is best to create another message with a subject line where you got his email.

For example, I’ve received this response from a .gov agency staff that I pitched which she (the person I emailed with) includes an email of the right person to contact to.

Below is an example of a little addition to the common approach of forwarding the email but it’s one effective way to let link granters (the ones who update resource pages  know where you actually got their emails.

forward email government backlinkBy doing so, we’ve acquired a .gov (DA89) link (not bad for a quick content suggestion email).

gov resource backlink

B. Provide Shared Mission and Interest in Outreach

Knowing the value proposition of your content up-front is an important step to better position your email in front of your potential link targets.

But more than just sharing your content’s value proposition to your outreach prospects, it’s also imperative to define your shared mission with them. 

For example, this resource page in the small business sectors covers different recommended tools and resources that obviously, acts as a source of information for startup entrepreneurs.

small business resources page

Besides checking the relevance fit of our content’s client to their resource page, it’s our own way of simply adding how the content that can best help their audience within the same context of their mission.

shared mission outreach email

These simple addition texts to your email can really help position your content’s utility to the audience (being targeted by the resource page) and thus, increases the likelihood of getting a contextual link.

For industry blogs, it’s a good idea to compliment their recent article or website only if it’s authentic to say that their blog is well-designed, for example, or if they have said great insights for a particular topic in their latest blog post.

Saying compliments for the sake of getting responses and links is way less effective than making outreach emails plain and straightforward as possible.

C. Include Outright Content Suggestion in Link Outreach

Little tweaks in an outreach template can make or break the success of an outreach campaign. Far more if these small changes are predicated to actions made by the linkeratis themselves. 

For example, you may have come across resource pages that mention their willingness to accept content suggestions for their links pages outright or to email them for any defunct links that visitors see in order for webmasters to fix them by simply removing these links and replacing with new relevant and/or updated resources. outright mention emailIf you remind them in your outreach pitches that those links were actually stated in their resource page (and they let you tell them to do so), they’ll more likely be positive to your pitch.

While it’s not a guarantee to acquire a link then, it’s a differentiator to several link request emails they are receiving to get a link from that specific page.

D. Drive Curiosity with Refined Outreach Process

With the inbox flood industry bloggers and publishers are experiencing on a daily basis, outreach pitches need to be refined over time to land more coverage from target blogs/sites.

Quality assurance on email templates for any contextual errors and adding/changing tags for personalisation can close the gap between good and great outreach pitches.

But besides these basics (must-have) of outreach, learning the psychology of conversations to secure positive responses can tremendously bring better link results.

SiegeMedia’s outreach team, for example, was able to increase outreach placement rates by 63% by refining their outreach process - which was inspired by Brian Dean’s outreach strategy on providing custom intros for guestographics.

The refined outreach method of SiegeMedia looks like this:

1. A pitch is sent to the recipient, explaining in 100 words or less what the piece of content is and why we thought they’d be interested. This pitch does not include the link to view, rather says if they’re interested to let us know and we’ll forward along.

2. If response is positive, we then forward them the link to the content. In addition, we offer to write a custom intro to support the post if needed.

3. If there’s no response after forwarding the link, we follow up with the blogger if they’ve gone silent after 3-7 business days.

It’s one way to seek for new outreach tactics but it’s a better way to keep and improve older techniques that can also be applicable not just to one specific content asset (infographics for example) but also to other content formats that might obtain the same or even better results.

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @venchito14.


How to FuturePoof Your Links by Determining Lifetime Link Value

How to FuturePoof Your Links By Determining Lifetime Link Value

As defined by Wikipedia, life-time value (LTV) is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.

This business concept enables entrepreneurs and marketers assess payback of advertising spent in promoting a product/service.

Replicating this same principle to link building campaigns can enable us to future proof links by considering their long-term effect on the pages they’ve linked to.

What is lifetime link value?

Lifetime link value is a self-evaluated prediction of the entire value of a backlink target to assess its potential impact to its destination pages. (coined by Ross Hudgens).

The great thing about using lifetime link value is that it can serve as a basis in determining the worthiness of getting a link from a page/site through its potential referred traffic, branding and assisted conversions, and by considering the resources you’ve put into place to acquire the same link (cost for content, time for prospecting/outreach, etc..).

There’s no absolute metric to measure individual lifetime link value of backlinks. However, knowing what makes one link more valuable than the other (because not all links are equal) can help you set standards in qualifying link targets and in prioritizing outreach based on which sets of link prospects can potentially bring long-term results for your campaign.

Link Value Factors

Search engines use a wide range of factors to determine how much weight each link on a page may pass along.

The Reasonable Surfer model, which was discussed by Bill Slawski in his 2010 post covered these three determinant sets of link value:

    • features associated with links
    • the pages these links had been placed
    • pages being linked to

In detail, examples of each link determinant set are stated below.

Examples of features associated with a link might include:

1. Font size of anchor text associated with the link;

2. The position of the link (measured, for example, in a HTML list, in running text, above or below the first screenful viewed on an 800 X 600 browser display, side (top, bottom, left, right) of document, in a footer, in a sidebar, etc.);

3. If the link is in a list, the position of the link in the list;

4. Font color and/or other attributes of the link (e.g., italics, gray, same color as background, etc.);

5. Number of words in anchor text of a link;

6. Actual words in the anchor text of a link;

7. How commercial the anchor text associated with a link might be;

8. Type of link (e.g., text link, image link);

9. If the link is an image link, what the aspect ratio of the image might be;

10. The context of a few words before and/or after the link;

11. A topical cluster with which the anchor text of the link is associated;

12. Whether the link leads somewhere on the same host or domain;

13. If the link leads to somewhere on the same domain,

• Whether the link URL is shorter than the referring URL; and/or

• Whether the link URL embeds another URL (e.g., for server-side redirection)

Examples of features associated with a source document (the page being linked to) might include:

1. The URL of the source document (or a portion of the URL of the source document);

2. A web site associated with the source document;

3. A number of links in the source document;

4. The presence of other words in the source document;

5. The presence of other words in a heading of the source document;

6. A topical cluster with which the source document is associated; and/or

7. A degree to which a topical cluster associated with the source document matches a topical cluster associated with anchor text of a link.

Examples of features associated with a target document might include:

1. The URL of the target document (or a portion of the URL of the target document);

2. A web site associated with the target document;

3. Whether the URL of the target document is on the same host as the URL of the source document;

4. Whether the URL of the target document is associated with the same domain as the URL of the source document;

5. Words in the URL of the target document; and/or

6. The length of the URL of the target document.

In the continuation patent (deeply discussed by Bill Slawski in his 2016 post), user behaviour on the page seems to be emphasized more as an important factor of link valuation. A link with high probability of being clicked on a page carries more weight than other links on the same page with no actions by users.

Further Reading:

Visible Determinants of Lifetime Link Value

Evaluating links on a naked-eye standpoint is feasible given that there are visible clues that can be found on potential linking pages.

While some determinants provided below may require first-hand analysis on websites’ backlink profiles, it will only take less than 2 minutes of your time to generally evaluate a website/page for a link opportunity.

1. Topical Relevance

Relevance, no doubt, should be the primary factor when evaluating the value of a link target. In fact, the majority of top link builders/SEOs in this latest round-up post prefers a highly-relevant link but low authoritative link than a high-authority link with lower relevance, considering all other metrics being equal.

I’m fortunate enough to participate in the group discussion by sharing my insights on the topic:

“I strongly believe that relevant links have a bigger impact on the algorithm. More so, authority is pretty subjective, as metrics available on SEO tools out there can be flawed; how users/website visitors look at sites is mostly based on the relevance and utility of the information they’ve found on a given page.

“Also, in terms of scalability, you’re likely to get a bigger list of highly relevant link prospects, sitting in a very specific niche, than finding only high-authority sites with your choice of metric. Plus, if you’ve been reaching out to a webmaster, it makes more sense for them to give you a link if they think you’re highly relevant to their sites.”

Lifetime link value goes up when a certain page is highly relevant to your website. Meanwhile, if it’s a link off-topic to the destination page, its LLV certainly goes down.

One approach that you can use to determine the thematic relevance of a page is by using Majestic Backlink Analyzer.

The tool allows you to get an overview of the topical trust flow of a site.

majestic topical trust flow

Use this approach only for certain sites that you’re unsure of with relevance requirements.

Another tactical approach you can use for topical relevance is by checking the site’s list of categories. For generic blogs like travel, some of which have second-level deep categories like medications/insurance, you might find good link opportunities to acquire links from on a page-to-page relevance basis.

category - travel

However, for niches with large linkable market audience, it isn’t a good idea to obtain a link from a domain with no category fit.

2. Evergreen Linking Source

The timeliness of a topic can either recede or raise a backlink’s lifetime link value.

An evergreen content idea like “how to tie your shoes” for example is less likely to become extinct than a marketing technique in SnapChat (who knows there’ll be another set of social media sites and new tactics to effectively use them?).

While trends can be taken advantage of for new linking opportunities, acquiring a link from an evergreen page can result to better ROI. It can help continuously drive traffic to your content as long as people can find the information on the linking page relevant and useful.

Given that the source page can improve its visibility by itself, getting in-content links directly to your content from publishers who are looking for references for their works (in addition to to the evergreen content they’ve seen) is also highly possible.

addiction resource page

3. Link velocity

Domains that market themselves are great opportunities to build links from, as they continuously bring new visitors from organic channel (when they happened to rank for several industry keywords) which will then drive secondary traffic to your content.

Link velocity can be a visible determinant of the page’s marketability.

Link velocity describe the speed of link growth to a page or domain. Link velocity can be measured in new links per month or new linking root domains per month (LinkResearchTools).

Pages with steadier link velocity slopes tends to have a better LTV.

link velocity slope

Similar to evergreen linking topics, they have the leverage of acquiring new visitors and potential customers from being able to rank for organic keywords. Given that they’ve been getting inbound links over time, they also have the tendency of improving its current search rankings - which can increase its lifetime link value.

For example, this page where I’ve acquired a backlink is getting consistent amount of links (see its link velocity graph).

scalable link building post link velocity graphThis has allowed me to semi-automate leads coming from the page itself (even after 1 year of being published).

scalable link building post feb 2017

4. Temporal Links

Temporary links obtained through a “link renting” approach (similar to renting a house) have the lowest lifetime link value. Their value is predicated on the period of time the link remains sustained by the fees of the link buyer.

This type of links depreciates its link value, which can negatively affects the rankings of the content being linked to.

Imagine if a page is ranking within the top 3-5 spots for a target keyword and after a few months, 6 out of 10 of its temporal links have been removed by bloggers - this can certainly affects the page’s ranking.

While this hasn’t been proven by any study, the point in bringing this up is that temporal links can do more harm than good in the long run. Resources consumed for this type of links can be better off spent to links with high LTV.

4. Frequency of Updates

Determining the page’s frequency to updates or maintenance can help better assess its lifetime link value.

frequency of updates

Static pages like resource pages with no updates since 2013 collects broken external links over time and is less likely being receptive to link request outreach pitches (some webmaster even planned to remove these pages).

Though these sites linking to 404s won’t be demoted by Google (as Gary Illyes answered Jennifer’s question), they are still perceived to provide a sub-optimal user experience. If you’re checking links on a resource page and find that most of them are broken, you wouldn’t take a chance to visit another link on the same page, even if it’s working in the first place.

No-longer-updated pages have low lifetime link value, as there are less likely to drive new visitors to their destination pages (their external links). Search engines won’t even try to rank these pages as they no longer updates information which are essential factor for search engines to decide which page deserve to rank for in search.

5. Link Neighbourhood

Checking the page’s link neighbourhood (other external links placed within the target page) is an imperative part of the link qualification process as it helps you better assess a backlink’s LTV.

A blog’s page with five commercial off-topic links is a low valued link neighborhood you certainly won’t get clicks from.

link neighborhood

Check external links on the page and see if they’re mostly linking to commercial pages that aren’t thematically relevant to the content.

As a link building company, it has been part of our protocol not to acquire a link from a blog page with more than five external links and/or with a direct competitor link, unless the context of the page is a pure recommendation of services/products (i.e. top 25 productivity tools).

6. Indexability and Ranking Potentials

Indexability is fairly obvious, if a page isn’t indexed by search engines, it won’t certainly be found by target users. But there are potential link acquisition targets that are great opportunities on a naked eye view (well-designed and can potentially drive site traffic), but aren’t indexed by search engines in the first place.

To check if the site is actually indexed at the current time, you can use the command, site:domain.com and see if its pages are on search results (homepage should be at the #1 spot).

site domain command

But more than that, target pages should at least rank in the first page for long-tail and/or low competitive keywords. The title tag of the homepage may not be worth assessing for in terms of rankings, as they may not be in the ranking positions yet. But going through its URL (target page), you should expect it to be visible in the first page of search results given that it’s targeting less competitive keyword than the homepage.

Ahrefs recently studied 3 million searches discovering the average number of keywords a page can rank for. They discovered that a page ranking for 10th, for example, can also rank for other 400~ related keywords.

ahrefs also rank studyContent that are both indexed and ranking for target keywords are high-LTV pages that are worth pursuing for links.

If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @venchito14.


Guide to Checking Competitor Backlinks in easy way

Guide to Checking Competitor Backlinks The Easy Way

What is reverse engineering?

Reverse engineering (on link building terms) is the process of checking what a certain website has created or acquired from other pages outside their web properties (i.e. from another non-owned website).

This approach has been a standard practice in the search marketing space often executed at the initial phase of the link development campaign to get an idea of the types of links acquired by other websites (i.e. competitors).

Reverse engineering starts by identifying who your competitors are. Some link developers fail to get results from the process because they dive in right away to exporting backlink reports to any webpages ranking for their target industry keywords.

Identify the right competitors to ensure that you’ll derive quality insights and reports from your reverse engineering activity.

 

Types of Competitors to Reverse Engineer On

1. Generic Competitors

These are competitors who directly compete with your products or services.

For agencies, it is best to initiate asking your clients who their competitors are, before or at the start of working on their link building campaigns.

In most cases, their competitors are the ones they are competing with for industry head terms (check their head term on the meta title on the site’s homepage).

pet supplies search results generic competitors

When using Ahrefs, it is best to use the domain level feature to only look at all of the links to a competitor’s domain.

There’s also an option to remove links pointing to subdomains (e.g. blog.domain.com) but this would filter out some relevant link opportunities, so I recommend you choose the “domains with subdomains” level.

2. Category Competitors

These are pages competing for secondary keyword terms (categories). For example, if you’re selling incontinence products, these are your category competitors who are competing for the industry term “incontinence supplies":

incontinence supplies category competitors search results

Category competitors also include sub-pages of big content assets, such as www.domain.com/guides or www.domain.com/glosary  with linking chapters or definitions beneath.

Use Prefix level feature of Ahrefs site explorer to see all links pointing to a certain section/category of a competitor’s site (for example, www.domain.com/productcategory).

Maximize the aforementioned link building tool by identifying generic and category competitors with their “Competing Domains” or “Competing pages’ features. It shows sites or pages ranking for similar keywords to your domain.

ahrefs competing domains

Tip: Remove large domains and exact match domains from your lists. These sites may just add noise to your analysis. For the example above, remove sites like nih.gov and cdc.gov. 

3. Content asset-specific competitors

These are information-driven pages that include webpages competing for “content asset” keywords (non-commercial industry terms).

For example, this “substance abuse guide for parents" competes with the following  content pieces:

drug abuse guide for parents

kids health guide

On Checking Competitors Backlinks

1. Use Co-Citation Analysis

One strategy I’ve been using quite often is prioritizing link opportunities based on the number of competitors they’ve linked to.

Coined by Garrett French, co-citation is when a single web page links to two or more related domains.

Co-citation analysis is a process of organizing domains or URLs by the number of outbound links to sites relevant to your content/site (for this discussion to your competitors).

The logic behind is that if a page has linked to three or even five relevant sites, they’re much more likely to add a link to your content than a page that has linked to just one related page.

Here are the different options to execute co-citation analysis on your competitors’ backlinks:

Citation Labs Co-Citation Tool

This web product is freely available for Windows users. Here’s a tutorial video that walks you through the process on how to use it.

Unfortunately, the tool only works for Windows users. For those who are using Mac, proceed to the second option.

Manual Co-Citation Analysis

If you haven’t grabbed a list of all your competitors’ backlinks, you can do so with Ahrefs or MajesticSEO.

It will leave you several CSV files which you want to combine into a big excel spreadsheet.

For Mac users, the “Terminal” tool has the capacity to merge all CSVs into one database.

Go to Applications - Terminal. 

mac terminal

Pull up your Desktop by typing the following command and then pressing your “enter” key button: cd ~/Desktop (make sure all your CSV files is located in the same folder on Desktop). 

Type the command to open the folder on your desktop containing all of your CSV files and press the “enter” button again:

For example, my folder is called “NetAddictionCompetitors” so I type this command: cd NetAddictionCompetitors

Finally, type in the following command to automatically merge all of the CSV files in that folder. 

cat *.csv >merged.csv

net addiction competitors terminal mac

merged csv file terminal

You can read this quick tutorial by Trent of Watchman Advisors

Remove unnecessary columns from the list and only remain the column for “Linking Pages”. 

Next is to transfer it in a Google Spreadsheet.

Then create new columns for “Domains” and “Occurrences”.

Include this formula below to strip off page URL to its root domain.

=IF(ISERROR(FIND("//www.",A2)), MID(A2,FIND(":",A2,4)+3,FIND("/",A2,9)-FIND(":",A2,4)-3), MID(A2,FIND(":",A2,4)+7,FIND("/",A2,9)-FIND(":",A2,4)-7))

Assuming the Linking page is on A2, this would be the formula (to be put into B2 cell).

For the “Occurrences” column, insert this formula to check how many times a certain page URL has occurred in the spreadsheet.

=COUNTIF(B:B,B2)

Now you can sort “Occurrences” column by descending order to display highest to lowest number of occurrences.

occurrences spreadsheet

Resource pages, for example, linking to three or more of your competitors have a higher probability of linking to your content when you pitched for link requests.

Ahrefs’ Link Intersect

For link builders who have a higher subscription plan than Lite plan of Ahrefs, you are authorized to use their link intersect tool.

Simply follow the process shared by Tim Soulo in this tutorial video:

2. Determine Link Approaches of Competitors

The next thing that you can do after getting backlinks from co-citated pages is to analyze how your competitors were able to get links in your industry.

Check link types of their inbound links to assess their previous and current link acquisition strategies.

backlink reports competitors

Filter links based on the following link acquisition approaches:

  • Submission-based (niche-specific and generic directories)
  • Link requests (resource pages on .edu/.gov and other non-commercial pages)
  • Content contribution (guest posts, sponsored posts)
  • Earned media (interviews, references/citations)

You can quickly determine the linker’s approach by identifying “clues” on the page/site.

Submission-based

Submission-based websites like directories normally have “submit your page” or “submit your site” pages on their navigation menus.

submission based directory

Supplying the webmaster with details about your website/blog is a requirement to get listed on their pages.

Link-request

Several factors that may indicate if a linking page (mostly in a form of resource page) has been approached by a link request pitch are:

  • Non-commerciality of external links - information-driven pages normally can be requested to be linked from a resource page.
  • Affiliations - a professional organization may include a website in its resource page if it has been associated/has been part of a certain group.
  • Fresh prospects - resource pages with recently last updated section on the page are more receptive to link requests (and have higher chances of linking).

Here are a few examples of link-request resource pages.

Non-commerciality of external links

non commerciality external linksAffiliations

affiliationsFresh prospects

last modified backlink

Tip: Use QuixApp lastmod command to check the page’s last modified date.

quixapp last modified date

The fastest way to determine if you can obtain a link from a resource page is by checking the closest relevant section on the page and the types of links included in that section.

For example, a video gaming addiction for parents guide can be best fit (highly relevant) in Mental Health and Addiction section.

resource page with mental health section

Tip: Use inbound/outbound and followed/no-followed overlay features of Mozbar to quickly check links’ attributes and pointing sources.

resource page mozbar

Content contribution

This is probably the easiest approach to spotting on given that you only have to check if there is an author’s description with a link to another website (not the guest blog site itself) contextually placed within the blog post or author box.

content contribution author descriptionThis could be in a form of sponsored article or a non-paid guest post.

Earned media

Several things that may indicate if a link of a competitor has been earned organically:

  • Exclusive interviews (e.g. podcast and individual interview).
  • Recommend lists of industry personalities, groups, brands, or tools
  • Serves as a reference for further reading (voluntarily-given)
  • Roundups (group interview)
  • Mentioning the brand to check as additional sources

Exclusive interviews (e.g. podcast and individual interview).

exclusive interview

Recommend lists of industry personalities, groups, brands or tools

industry list

 

Serves as a reference for further reading

referential link

Roundups (group interview)

link roundups

Mentioning the brand to check as additional sources

mention additional sources

While not all links with aforementioned indicators are perfectly naturally earned (i.e. interviews being pitched to a future guest), most of them couldn’t be replicated easily by requesting for links.

Further Reading: How to Build Authority Links through Branding and Content

3. Expand Link Lists with Deeper Analysis on Link Opportunities

Creating a huge list of existing links of your competitors is the first surface level of link opportunities.

Expand your database of link targets by taking a deeper look on their other important link data, such as:

High-performing linkable pages

It is best to determine what formats of content have proven to be effective for your competitors in garnering relevant links.

Sort top pages of your competitor’s site by link growth (best by links feature of Ahrefs) to see what pages have received the highest number of inbound links.

This approach can help you get insights on linkable content formats your competitor has been focusing on - which you can replicate if you’re initiating a new content-based link acquisition strategy for your clients.

For example, WineFolly has consistently found success in obtaining links using infographics in the wine industry.

winefolly top pages

You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel always, particularly for new websites you’re trying to build links to.

Pro tip: Always be on the lookout for broken pages of your competitors with lots of inbound links. Check if you can create a version of the page and do proper outreach to linkers of dead content.

Further reading: How to Build Backlinks Using Your Competitors’ Broken Pages

Recurring backlink sources

Websites that send targeted traffic constantly to a website through recurring backlinks (placed within different linking pages) are strong signals that search engines can use to reward them with better search rankings.

Export link data of competitors and sort it by highest to lowest recurring backlinks (Total Backlinks column).

total backlinks

Repeat this process for all of your competitors to surface regular linkers in your industry that you should start building relationships with.

If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @venchito14.


How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

What are authority links?

Authority links are links found on a webpage with an established trust and authority to drive targeted traffic to a website that can help the brand achieve its business objectives.

Getting these authority links is tough. It requires hard work, creativity and persistence to find, pursue and connect to publishers and industry linkers who are interested in citing or referencing your content as a trusted resource to follow.

Link building is not for the faint-hearted marketers.

After all, if a link can be easily acquired by everyone else, it shouldn’t be called an “authority”.

However, despite its difficulty, online marketers still pursue this type of links as it can positively impact a website in many ways, such as:

  • Sending targeted traffic to your page
  • Generating leads and sales from referred traffic
  • Improving search visibility of your page by making it rank for industry keywords
  • Providing more link opportunities to your content (organically from researchers who can potentially cite you as a credible source of information)
  • Creating brand awareness (as you’ll be linked alongside with influencers and big content creators).

“Authority” is pretty much subjective depending on what factors you consider.

But whether it is relevance or benchmark metrics such as Ahrefs DomainRank, it is important to understand what types of links are deemed to be authoritative. Given that this will be the roots of your link building approaches - your “how” in getting links.

 

Types of Authority Links

Links from .edu and .gov sites

The legitimacy of an educational and governmental institution/organization being able to register a .edu/.gov domain is a way of the Internet preserving the authority and trust of this type of websites.

Although there remains a debate over the true value of .edu and .gov extensions, I strongly believe that what makes these sites authoritative is the information found on their pages. Incorrect, spammy or misleading details may lead to some drastic consequences on its end users (website visitors).

Authority .edu and .gov sites are hard-to-replicate links. Restrictions as to how relevant your page/site is to their own resource page make it more difficult for your competitors to get the same types of links  - unless they’ve created a better version of your content or is associated in the same organization your brand belongs to (e.g. for local professional organizations).

Links from ranking pages for thematic keywords

The most powerful links on the web are the ones that can directly send relevant traffic to your site.

Ranking pages for targeted industry terms are great sources of new traffic from searchers looking for relevant information.

Acquiring links from them can drive consistent visitors to your site (not just one-time off - as what happens to a one-time guest post publishing).

Here are a few tips to getting links from rankings page:

Target relatively new resource pages. They are more receptive to outreach pitches than old links pages that haven’t been updated for year. 

Given that they have just started curating topical resources/references, they are open for resource link requests.

Start your search with queries like, “inurl:resources “keyword” or “inurl:links.html “keyword”. Then set a time to past year/custom range (Tools - Time).

inurl-resources-google-search

Contribute early to new industry publications. Investing early on topically relevant blogs (with high potentials for audience growth) by supplying them with regular content is a great technique to scale your link development efforts.

Because you’ll get higher approval rates as a columnist to contribute to low-authority (with high velocity for growth) publications compared to a high-tier news site in your industry.

Check the blog’s potential for growth using Ahrefs or SEMRush organic data.

semrush-organic-traffic-new-publications

Begin this approach with your typical guest blogging queries. Then do the same process above (set a time to past year/custom range) to filter recently published “write for us” pages.

write for us google search(hat tip to Jason Acidre for this technique)

Further reading: Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

Offer to update a static page. Informational content ranking for highly-searched terms should constantly be updated to satisfy its searchers’ intent, especially if the content requires the timeliness of the information (i.e. 2017 trends/updates).

This is where you can add value to the content creator by helping him update the page with new information and by adding other content formats (visuals, transcripts for video/audio, tables, etc..) - needed to make it 10x better than its competitors.

Links from top-tier news sites

Getting featured on A-spot blogs (media sites) can’t easily be replicated by your competitors because it requires relationships to make it happen.

If you have built connections with existing contributors from top-tier news sites, it’d open opportunities for your brand to be referenced as an authority expert in the industry.

Links coming from them (top-tier news sites) like Forbes is a great way to establish your brand’s authority.

forbes-authority-link

You can also add social proofs to your signature or email pitches when reaching to mid-level or high-tier blogs for content partnerships to build your site’s

Links from topically relevant websites

Consider a prospect page’s relevance to your site above everything else. You’ll find pages hosted on domains with low Moz DA but should be considered as highly valued link prospects since they can pass human’s eye tests - great user experience, satisfying content and with promising search traffic growth (which can be measured using SEMrush/Ahrefs).

See this DA11 finance blog as an example.

financehackersI liked the three primary reasons Jon Cooper listed why SEOs and link builders should consider prospecting for relevant blogs/sites:

  1. Looking at relevance gives you more room for larger pools of link prospects.
  2. Relevant links have a bigger impact on the algorithm.
  3. Webmasters are more likely to award you with a relevant link since it makes sense for their audience.

You need to start prioritizing relevance today as your primary metric in link prospecting.

Links that generate business conversions

Links that are sending qualified conversions to your website are link types and sources you should replicate over time - as they directly affect your online business’ revenue growth.

Aim to get recurring links from these websites to increase more assisted conversions generated in your brand.

On Getting Authority Links

Authority links are hard to get. But if you’ll able to acquire them for your site, it would tremendously impact your site’s search rankings - helping you dominate the market you are competing in.

Authority link development requires either branding and/or content.

Summing them up is a powerful combination for link authority.  

super authority backlinks formula

1. Perceived Branding

There are online businesses that don’t need 10x content to start getting brand awareness and establishing brand authority, as they have built it already using offline marketing platforms, such as advertising on billboards, television ads, and other offline marketing channels.

They have branded searches which enable them to generate leads and sales offline without having to depend purely on organic industry rankings.

If you are a consultant or an agency, getting clients who are widely known in a particular niche is a clear advantage on your end to develop authority links.

Because people are aware of the brand’s name, pitching publications and authority sites (.edu and .gov domains) for guest blogging, resource inclusion and broken link building are much easier to facilitate.

Ways to use perceived authority to get links:

A. Link reclamation

Find publishers who have mentioned your brand or product but haven’t linked to you. You can use BrandMentions to track them.  

Then politely pitch them and ask for link attributions.

This technique has been covered many times, so here’s a guide you can check out that walks you through the entire process.

B. Interview opportunities

Use your branding to cover more interview opportunities wherein you can also obtain authority links to your site.

Make your existing press mentions and features of your brand as social proofs when pitching to industry publishers who’re looking for guests on their show (podcasts). The more credible you are as a brand, the higher the probability they’ll get you (or your client) as a guest for their show.

C. Incentivize social sharing in exchange of linking

If you’ve had a huge fan base in your social accounts, you can start using it as a value proposition when reaching out to bloggers in your space. Ask if they’d be willing to be featured on your social profiles (as long as their content feature provides useful information). In exchange, get an authority link from one of their pages.

D. Speaking gigs for natural linking opportunities

If your client is into public speaking, it’s best to check if you’re getting natural authority links from speaking pages/profiles of event organizers’ websites. There’ll be times where they’ll be linking to broken URLs/domains.

You can also monitor publishers who link to your client’s slide presentations and Slideshare profile and ask if they can cite your client’s website as a source.

ahrefs-slideshare-linksChris Dyson wrote a guide on how to reclaim links from content creators that used your visual assets.

More reading: Using Brand Building Strategies to Improve Link Building

2. Content-based Link Acquisition

If perceived authority is missing in the formula, you can still get authority links by producing 10x content assets.

Smaller brands can win over big brands with an effective strategy to produce more content assets that can attract organic links.

As coined by Rand Fishkin, 10x content simply refers to content that is 10 times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic.

Jason Acidre wrote a great piece on his own 10x content creation process (I advised you to check it out).

Here are a few effective techniques to acquire authority links using content:

A. Broken dead domain link building  

Broken link building is a concept of pointing out broken links to webmasters, with the hopes that they’ll be open for requests to add your link, whether as a direct replacement for a previously broken link or as a new addition unrelated to the broken ones.

Here are some useful resources to get started with broken link building:

Maximize this link building approach further by observing what other similar resource pages have been getting organic links (quietly) in your space. They’ve gotten links you haven’t acquired yet that I’ve found, in most cases, can’t easily be found through Google search.

Track dead content (broken links) on resource pages using LinkMiner.

linkminer checking broken linksSet the options to display the number of referring domains for each external link.

link checking options linkminerCheck if the link is broken and if it does, do research further if it’s just a specific URL or prefix that isn’t working or the whole domain itself.

For instance, this video addiction content that I’ve found on a links page is part of the whole domain that isn’t working.

tech-addiction-domain-dead

Gather resources/links pages pointing to the whole domain, not just to the specific broken content. Because there are other content in the site that gained high-authority links from other linkers as well - which provides you more link opportunities at one hand.

You can filter the results by link type (educational) to quickly extract .edu resource pages. Also, do quick searches for “link” or “resource” on Ahrefs referring domain search bar to easily get the same type of link opportunity (links pages).

ahrefs-filter-edu-links

Reach out to webmasters letting them know of the broken content they’ve linked to from their pages. Then suggest your relevant content as a replacement to their defunct link.

To increase the efficiency of your outreach management work, it’s best to stalk your A-list sole operator webmaster and see if they have social accounts you can pitch to - straight to get their personal email addresses.

twitter-a-list-prospects

I’ve found this effective for personal blogs (with only one webmaster/operator) and for sites with no visible email addresses.

Instead of sending follow-ups to receive a response, you can directly ask them for a contact email they regularly use. Because other webmaster has more than one email address - you may be pitching to one that isn’t working anymore.
Twitter-outreach

Plus, this allows you to see their interest to get help from you in providing errors found (broken links) found on their webpage.  

Then acquire links:

authority-link-resource-pageB. Reverse engineer new content assets with highest link growth

Reverse engineering other people’s content assets has been a standard practice in the link building space.

Since publishers/content creators have linked/shared a competitor’s content (or a website with a similar content of yours), you’ll have better chances of acquiring a link to your content - especially when your content is 10x better than what your competitors have.

Start by finding competitors’ content that are similar to the assets you already have.

But don’t stop from there. Find other non-competing but relevant websites with high-performing industry guides (those that received a substantial amount of high-quality backlinks).

parents-guide-ahrefs-url-linking-domains

Analyze their backlink growth further by checking the page’s link velocity. This approach allows you to get insights on how long have they’ve been building links or have been picking up links organically.

link-velocity

Because if they’ve acquired authority links just recently, their existing linkers are still at the stage of updating their pages/sites. When you reach out to them, you’ll have a higher probability of receiving positive responses.

You might also find other linkable audiences where they’ve been able to secure links that you might as well consider for link prospecting.

C. Linkable market analysis

Linkable audience is a group of resource curators who would benefit from specifically tailored information on a topic.

Starting a link development campaign by identifying linkable markets in the space can give you a better idea if a particular content topic is worthy to pursue for content creation. It is a guarantee on your end that there are audiences willing to link to your content asset, once it’s been created.

There are two ways to assess linkable markets in your industry:

Check the number of unique referring domains to ranking pages for industry terms

You can use Mozbar to see if there are pointing links to pages ranking in search results.

video-game-addiction-keyword-search-results

You may have to analyze further these links to see if they’re coming from legitimate websites/pages.

Intersect existing linkable audiences to your brand’s theme

Garett French created a list of 601+ linkable audiences whom you can serve with your content. If you can intersect your brand’s mission with different linkable markets, you’ll be able to generate more link opportunities for your website.

For example, this drugs rehab site published several pieces of content targeting different linkable audiences.

1. A Substance Guide for Parents

Linkable audience: Parents of teens who are struggling with substance/drugs.

substance-guide-parents-2

substance-guide-parents-1

2. Bullying and Substance Abuse: Who It Affects and Why

Linkable audience: People concerned about bullying in schools.

bullying-substance-guide

3. Degrees for Mental Health and Addiction Professionals

Linkable audience: Job seekers in the mental health and addiction niche

degrees-mental-health-guide

degrees-mental-health-guide-14. LGBTQ+ and Addiction

Linkable audiences:

  • Parents of LGBT teens
  • Parents of LGBT adults

lgbt-addiction

You may notice that these audiences served by resource curators (not necessarily bloggers/journalists, etc..) fall into one of these categories:

  • a person in need, or a person who cares for a person in need
  • a person seeking out information

If your clients have content pieces that are targeted to specific linkable audiences, you’ll have higher chances of acquiring consistent amount of authority links every month.

Further Reading:


The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

For more than a decade, guest blogging has been by far one of the scalable link building tactics used by search marketing agencies, bloggers and business owners to get backlinks for their own websites.

Also known as guest posting, guest blogging is the practice of contributing a content piece to another blog, whether that piece is an article, visual asset like an infographic, video, or any other content formats that will serve the audience of the blog (guest blog).

what is guest blogging

There are many benefits guest blogging does for your website (aside from getting a backlink):

    • Serves as a social proof you can include on your site’s landing pages (e.g. As Seen On or Featured In) or on your outreach emails when reaching out to other industry publishers (e.g. I’ve contributed articles to X, Y, and Z).
    • Increases your brand followers in your social accounts coming from the other blog’s existing audience, which will eventually help amplify your future content assets.
    • Generates assisted conversions (potential customers/clients) to your website.
    • Improves search visibility of target pages for keywords you’re trying to rank for.

In this post, I will share my typical step-by-step guest blogging process from finding guest blog opportunities to tracking results of guest content.

How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

In guest blogging, your first initiative is to identify your market audience.

To help you define it, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

    • Who are the direct consumers of my brand, those who will primarily benefit from my products or services?
    • What are the other industries I can tap onto aside from my primary niche? (Brian Dean referred it as “shoulder niche”).

If you are a marketing consultant, you can ask your clients or get some data from their sales data for you to determine their target audience.

Check if your preferred industries have enough blogs to target for guest posting. You can be in a very defined niche, i.e. snoring, where you might only find a few blogs to pitch guest posts to.

In this case, you can prefer page-to-page relevance over domain-to-domain relevance. Here’s an image to explain what this means:

page to page and domain to domain relevance in guest blogging

Once done, proceed to finding guest blogs.

There are many sources out there that you can use to come up with a list of websites to target for guest blogging. To name a few:

    • Google search (using search queries such as inurl:”write-for-us” “snoring”).
    • Portfolio of industry guest bloggers (“guest post by” “Ryan Stewart” - fastest way of generating a list of guest blogs by checking  blogs where an active guest blogger contributed posts to)
    • Twitter search (using search queries such as “guest post” “snoring”)
    • Contacts of other industry publishers (exchange list of guest blogs with a niche blogger).

Recommend resource: Search Engine Queries Cheatsheet

The best way to save time in guest blog prospecting is to qualify websites as soon as you landed on them.

1. Check estimated organic traffic

You want to contribute content to a blog that markets itself. This ensures that your guest post will have a high lifetime link value - which means that it remains to provide direct benefits to your website even after the first burst of traffic it’ll get once published.

Use SEMRush to get an idea how many organic visits a particular blog gets every month (estimate).

semrush guest blogging qualification

Tip: A sudden drop in the blog’s estimated organic traffic may indicate penalties it received in the past.

2. Review the blog’s engagement status

The average number of quality comments a blog receives for his articles is a good indication of how engaged his readers are with his blog.

See if the blog has a substantial # of comments by simply checking his recent posts.

3. Authority and trust

How authoritative and trustworthy a site isn’t accurately measured by metric tools available in the market such as Moz’ DA and Ahrefs’ Domain Rank.

However, having a benchmark (e.g. DA30+) gives you the scalability you need to quickly qualify blogs as you landed on them.

Tip: Don’t use DA/Ahrefs DR for blog qualification alone. There are a number of blogs with low DA but have a high estimated search traffic (as measured by SEMRush’ SEPrice)

How to Pitch Guest Blogging Ideas

Your next step is to pitch potential publishers with content ideas of your guest posts. Effective guest blogging involves brainstorming for the right content ideas suitable for a guest blog.

Here are a few ways to generate guest post ideas:

    • Topics listed in guest blogging guidelines (do a Google search for site:exampledomain.com guest blog guidelines - ensure their preferred topic ideas is your first priority).
    • Blog’s previous articles (site:exampledomain.com “topic”)
    • Blog’s categories (for page-to-page relevance)
    • FAQfox (most commonly asked questions)
    • Buzzsumo (most shared content in the industry)
    • Ahrefs (most linked-to-content based on the # of unique referring domains)

It will help if you organise a list of guest blogs together with the following details:

    • Domain Name
    • DA/Ahrefs DR
    • SEMRush SEPrice
    • Contact details (name, email address/contact form) - see how to find email addresses guide
    • Guest blogging guidelines link
    • Content idea #1
    • Content idea #2
    • Content idea #3

Pitching Best Practices

Whatever outreach platform you use, it is an effective way to personalise your pitch while being efficient in sending outreach emails.

Always address the blog’s owner with his/her name (e.g. Hi Andy).

Include three content ideas (customized for the blog) in your outreach email.

Provide social proofs such as links to your recent guest posts, more importantly, if you’re trying to pitch to high-tier industry blogs. Write a few sentences how these guest posts did performed (# of comments and social shares they received).

Compliment the guest blog when it’s only applicable such as when the blog has a good webpage design). Be authentic at all times.

Pro Tip: Prioritize your guest blogs based on their authority and trust. You can personalize high-tier guest blogs a little bit more by providing feedback or opinion to one of his recent blog posts.

Further Reading:

Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

Blogger Outreach Guide by Ahrefs

How to Write Guest Posts

Drafting is important in guest blogging as it basically guides you (or the content creator) on structuring the guest post based on:

    • Level of audience the guest blog caters to (beginners, intermediate, advanced)
    • Type of audience they’re writing for
    • Type of content they’re writing about (list post, case study, tutorial, etc..)

The topic idea that has been accepted by the blog owner should be well-written in the format and context of the details listed above.

It is also important to check the blog’s guest blogging guidelines for other important information, such as the tone and person point of view, that must be taken care of while writing the guest post.

There are two ways to succeed in writing a guest post: do-it-yourself or outsource it to a freelance writer.

DIY (Do It Yourself)

If you want to have a full control over the content, it is a great idea to write the guest post by yourself.

One approach you can consider is dividing the guest content creation into three different phases (drafting, researching and final writing).

You can schedule each phase on different days to help you focus only on one task.

Use Trello to manage your tasks. Personally, I create boards for To Do, Doing and Done to streamline my process in content creation.

Tip: Invest in grammar checking tools like Grammarly to semi-automate proofreading and ensure the quality of your guest posts.

Outsource it to a Freelance Writer

For agencies, one option to scale content creation in guest blogging is to hire freelance writers.

Websites like Upwork, Onlinejobs.ph (Filipino writers) and Facebook writing/blogging groups are sources where you can find quality writers.

Another approach that you might want to consider it is reaching out to bloggers and publishers in your industry and ask if they are doing freelance writing. They may charge higher than the usual freelance writer but the quality of writing will best suit for the guest blog.

Editing, Revisions & Final Publishing

Before submitting your guest post, it should be part of your process to check if there are any corrections that must be made to avoid early rejections to your content by publishers.

For the author bio, make sure you include external links pointing to your target page (homepage or a linkable asset you’re trying to increase visibility with).

Request to publishers, if possible to include your author bio at the end of the post instead of placing it in the usual “author bio box”. In my own experience, contextual “author bio” links gives more link value than a link from an “author bio box’.

Tip: Include internal links in your guest posts pointing to a relevant content within the guest blog. Having the webmaster do less work is a big plus.

Some publishers won’t allow you to link to a conversion page (e.g. product page) - in this case, you may include a link to a category page. This is a good approach if you want to flow link equity down to your deeper pages, such as your product pages.

guest post author bio

Another approach that you can text is including a “guest post lead” or “expanded guest post” at the end of your post.

Expanded guest post or “guest post lead” is an extension of your “guest content” that provides more information on the topic not included in your content (e.g. 3 more advanced tips on X, free cheat sheet, data/report or summary that covers the topic in more details, etc..).

Below is an example of an expanded guest post that generates a good number of email subscribers for SharpRocket.

gotchseo 1

gotchseo 2

gotchseo author box

Personally, I prefer to create a “custom page” to be linked to from a “guest content” (see example below).

gotchseo-readers-landing-page

When you have the content ready for submission, it is best it to send your post in HTML aside from directly attaching the document in your email. This eases the work of the publisher to upload the whole content and properly link to certain pages.

How to Promote Your Guest Posts

Publishing your guest posts is only 50% of the battle.

It is best to promote your “guest content” once published on the target blog.

Here are my favorite ways to put more eyeballs to guest posts:

    • Write a “promotional email” sharing your latest guest content and send it to your email subscribers.
    • Get more visibility by distributing your content on different social platforms.
    • Link to it from other external web content assets, like guest posts on other industry blogs.
    • If budget fits, invest in promoting a guest post through Facebook advertising (only when you have secured it on a high-authority blog).

facebook ads promote guest posts

How to Track Results From Guest Blogging

No one succeeds without tracking results of work.

Identify which of your guest posts helps achieve your business objectives. It will be more beneficial for your brand to land more solid links from them (and more brand exposure) by regularly supplying with “guest content”.

Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics (Customization - Custom Reports).

customization - custom reports

Click “Source” and “Landing Page” for Dimensions and “Goal Value” and “Users” for Metrics.

For Filters, click “Source” and type in the domain name for exact value. 

filter - google analytics

Then click save.

save - google analytics

You will generate a custom report wherein you can get insights on the following:

    • Number of users each guest post received for a certain period of time.
    • Which pages (Landing Page) users landed on coming from the guest blog.
    • Business value these referral visits/users generate on your website (depends on your custom goal values). 

If you have setup a custom lead magnet/page on your website where referral users from guest blogs will land on, you can check how many referral visitors have converted into email subscribers.

gotchseo email subscribers

Personally, I use ConvertPlug to create lead magnets and to track the # of new email subscribers these guest content pieces generated.

Tip: It would be a best use of time to only create a custom lead magnet if the guest blog has high potential to drive converting visitors to your website. I suggest you check how many estimated organic visits the guest blog receives on a monthly basis using SEMRush.

Leverage new opportunities from guest posts

To further see the business value of your guest posts, check if there are referring links to your guest posts as well as positive mentions of your brand (right after these guest content have been published).

Reach out to these new linkers for opportunities to collaborate on content (guest post) or get exposure in other ways (podcast interview, getting featured on link roundup, etc..).

TL;DR

    1. Prospect for guest blogging opportunities using search engines (Google), Twitter and/or reverse engineering industry guest bloggers.
    2. Check the blog’s estimated organic traffic using SEMRush.
    3. Check if the blog receives quality comments on his content.
    4. See if the blog has an authority and trust using metrics like Moz’ DA or Ahrefs’ DR.
    5. Pitch bloggers/publishers with three or more customized guest post ideas for their blogs.
    6. Create a draft of the “guest content” based on the chosen topic idea of the webmaster.
    7. Build the content either by doing it yourself (DIY) or outsourcing it to a freelance writer.
    8. Ensure quality of content by checking its information as well as add important details such as author bio, external links to your target page and internal links to guest blog’s relevant content.
    9. Promote your guest content to your email newsletter, social media accounts or on your other guest posts.
    10. Track # of visits and conversions generated from your guest blogging campaign using Google Analytics and conversion monitoring tools like ConvertPlug.

21 effective ways to drive traffic to your website

21 Effective Ways to Drive Traffic To Your Website

21 effective ways to drive traffic to your website

Whether you’re a newbie blogger, business owner or a big brand, you’d always ask the question, “how can I drive (more) traffic to my website?”

There are lots of tricks and strategies scattered on the Internet on how to do that exactly, some aren’t applicable in your industry, others are executable. However, if you’ve tried tweaking them to suit your needs, it might be one of your traffic generation strategies to look over this 2017.

Here are 21 ways on how to drive traffic to your website with steps to execute them right in order to grow your online business this year.

Let’s get started.

1. USE PHOTO ALBUMS FOR FACEBOOK POSTS

I’ve been testing Facebook as one of my top referring sources for my career development blog (still under content development test).

There are tons of content you can actually create that can generate more followers to your page, which will drive good amount of traffic to your blog/site. But what I’ve found out to be most effective are content types that are native in Facebook: videos (with transcripts), how-to album posts and quotes with unexpected hook.

facebook-photo-album

facebook content album

Check out how I increased my Facebook page from 2,500 likes to almost 26,000 followers in 2 months.

facebook page statistics
What’s more amazing is the virality of these single pieces of content that only takes a few hours to create.

There is only one link displayed on the page, evenly placed it on the right side, which means people who’d been through my page, engaged with my content and wanted some more, clicked on the website and read the blog posts.

If you’re not that photo-editing savvy, there is Canva that can help you scale your visual content creation process (20 minutes is what it takes).

Protip: Use Picjumbo.com and Google Image search (tools - usage rights - labeled with reuse for modification) to download non-copyright images, so you don’t have to worry about this issue later on.

2. VIDEO OUTREACH WITH USELOOM

Some industry bloggers receive “guest blogging pitches” almost every day, especially if they’ve had a huge amount of followers/visitors and authority, that people want to absorb a portion of those followers and drive them to their own sites.

This made a lot more difficult for your outreach emails to get opened and to receive a “go” for your guest post topic”.

Standing out among these “guest blogging emails” by providing as much value as you can is the key to get as much as value in return for your brand.

gmail video outreach useloomYou can screen record yourself proposing three or four relevant blog topics customised for the guest blog. Scale the process of video outreach to 30 or 50 guest post prospects using UseLoom, which is a Chrome Extension tool.

3. PUT DESCRIPTION LINKS TO YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEOS

There are approximately 81 million videos uploaded currently on Youtube. That insane number of content is enough to get yourself into the Platform and start producing engaging and informational content.

youtube video description links

How can I drive website traffic from Youtube?

Put a link to your website in the description box of your videos. When someone watches your video and wants to know more about your brand, they can easily click on the link.

4. DO OUTREACH TO BE INCLUDED IN EMAIL ROUNDUPS

Basically, link roundups are pages that includes external links to latest useful resources and content curated by the blogger himself. Its value proposition is helping readers to get updated with the latest trends, tips, and strategies on a particular topic, without the need to scour every single blog and check their latest articles.

If you haven’t got a link from a link roundup in your industry, you’re missing a good opportunity to drive traffic to your website.

email roundup outreach

A simple outreach to these link roundup curators allows you not only to receive referral traffic from their link roundups (if your content has been featured), but also gives you the leverage to build relationships with them, that will soon propel your brand to other sets of targeted audiences.

5. CREATE A COMMUNITY-BUILT FACEBOOK GROUP

If you’ve got the audacity to create a community, creating Facebook groups is for you. Its culture of value exchange can help you generate a certain number of visits for every content you post.

white hat seo facebook group

If you think it’s not for you, then invest in spending 10 to 15 minutes of your day answering questions on a well-built community Facebook group. Here are some examples of answers I shared in the past few days.

You can put a link if it’s something that’s relevant (see example below) or just be direct with your answers.

answer to facebook group question

You won’t get direct traffic instantly by doing so. But with consistent efforts to answer industry Q&As can help you build your brand as a go-to-source of information on a particular topic theme.

6. NEWSJACK CONTENT CREATION

Any industry has its own updates and trends that you can leverage as a new content for your blog.

Because of its luxury of a good amount of searches by people following those topics, you are able to give a boost of targeted traffic to your site.

Start by creating a list of industry influencers. This way, you’ll able to see what trends/topics people are watching out.

twitter influencers list

Then put in the work to create content that doesn’t just announce an industry trend/update but delivers value by sharing your own insights to the topic (that’d would differentiate you from other content publishers in your space).

7. REPURPOSE EXISTING CONTENT TO OTHER CONTENT FORMATS

It’s easy to dive into the new content ideas you’re trying to come up with for your brand, but when you start looking in your content inventory, you’ll start seeing “high-performing assets” that can be repurposed into other content formats.

If it’s a how-to or list type of posts, turn it into a slide presentation then upload to Slideshare. Then, redistribute to other visual directories.

repurpose to other content format

Video content can also be transcribed and publish as an article, let your editor execute the proofreading. Publish it in Medium to gain some traction or use it as a guest post (if relevance fits) to absorb new targeted visitors to your blog.

8. TIME YOUR REDDIT SUBMISSION 

If you’ve got an army of co-redditors, you’re likely to get your content up in Reddit once you submitted a piece of content. Otherwise, the Reddit market will decide if your content is good enough for massive upvotes.

One trick to increase your content’s organic search visibility is to time your posts when most active members of a specific sub-Reddit are online.

reddit submission tool siegemedia

You can do it by checking what day and time is best to submit a content to Reddit. SiegeMedia’s creative Reddit tool allows you to do that and make sure you maximise that micro effort of submitting a post to the platform.

9. IMPROVE CONTENT WITH NEW RANKING KEYWORDS

If you’re producing the content that caters directly to a main topic, you’ve got chances of receiving other ranking opportunities for relevant keywords (within the same topic theme), aside from dominating your main keyword.

If you can find other keywords that are likely to give you boost in organic search visibility, you are increasing your brand equity on main industry topics.

SEMRush allows you to find already ranking keywords of your page, as well as of your competitors and see what they are up to (giving you an insight as to how you can better improve your own content by adding sections (subsections) to target relevant long tail terms.

10. ENGAGE READERS WITH STOCK VISUALS

In this design-heavy generation, using stock photos is imperative to appeal to your target readers. The lazy common way of adding non-stock photos you’ve searched for in Google (worse if they’re copyrighted and can’t be reused) will do more harm than good for your content.

stock photos

The truth is, you won’t get additional traffic simply by adding stock photos (even designing it well if you have the audacity to do so), but letting your current visitors stay on your site allows you to acquire indirect benefits of additional social shares because the overall content is good. This translates to more targeted referral traffic.

I’ve been using the following sites to get stock photos and design them by myself thru Canva:

It only takes five minutes to have a well-designed featured image for one blog post.

Tip: Use the search tool function of Google to filter searched images that don’t have any copyright issues (to ensure you’re not passing over to one’s property).

11. CONNECT TO INSTAGRAM INFLUENCERS

The power of Instagram to absorb new followers is insanely useful in this age where we can create micro-content everyday.

Besides using 10 to 15 hashtags in the description of your photo, you can also tap the power of influencers to provide you with enough discovery for your brand/content.

instagram influencer

DM’ing people to build relationships and offer substantial value to let your brand be discovered on their Instagram profiles allows you to get social traffic straight to your profile and/or to your website.

12. DISTRIBUTE CONTENT TO YOUR EMAIL LIST

I’ve seen a lot of micro-content performing well on distribution nowadays, since the more companies whether in B2B or B2C are publishing content on a daily basis, the higher the competition there is to consumers’ attention.

If you’re strategic enough with your content, you can maximize your own email list asset to drive consistent traffic to your website.

Though marketers ruin the email marketing platform with so much self-promotion ads, there’s still room for engagement and direct traffic we can get from email alone.

content distribution to email list

Maximize your email distribution by providing enough value to them on a regular basis. Build brand equity over time.

13. MAKE 11X CONTENT WITH ADDITIONAL CONTENT FORMATS

10x content has been a common term in the marketing space today. While this could be the era where a lot of publishers are producing long-form content, there would still be a few who don’t see much results from their efforts.

Long form doesn’t mean depth of content. Even if you created 10,000 words-guide that others in your niche have also done, ,but if users are staying enough to consume your content (check your site’s time on page), you still lack value.

content formats

One way to better engage your users in your content is to add other content formats to make it interactive. Images, videos, slides and other media formats that are relevant and caters to the same topic you’re discussing about shouldn’t be hesitated to add to your content.

14. INCREASE SOCIAL REACH WITH PINTEREST

If you’re in the mommy/parenting/health space, there’s a huge opportunity waiting for you in the Pinterest platform.

pinterest analytics

If you practice it right, you can see engaged visitors in Pinterest that can go to your website and start following you.

You can check your top Pin post impressions and find the common topic theme that you can start focusing on in a certain period of time (let’s say for a week). This gives you more room of organic reach opportunities that’ll eventually drive good social traffic to your website.

15. SCALE CONTENT CREATION WITH CONTENT TEMPLATES

If you’re handling several accounts, whether you’re in an agency or an affiliate marketer with many niche websites, you may be having difficulty in scaling your content creation process.

The truth is there’s an easy way to scale the process simply by utilising content templates (common content formats that have been successful in engaging consumers/users).

You can check out this post by Ross Hudgens on 15 content templates that you can use to successful produce content on a scalable manner.

16. HACK UPVOTES IN REDDIT

Building your own tribe of content promoters who are ready to push your content up in specific platforms gives you the luxury to get initial traction for your content.

Though in most cases, you’ll see this happening in the marketing space, other industries are also leveraging this strategy to build mutual value exchange with each other (using each profiles’ social followers to promote mutual content).

reddit upvotes hacking

This requires execution of reaching out to other industry bloggers who aren’t competing with your offerings. Always provide value here as you don’t want to look as an aggressive marketer trying to leverage others’ ability to promote content pieces.

17. DOMINATE WITH QUORA

Building your brand (whether on a personal or business level) is executable in Quora. Like other Q&A sites, your goal is to answer relevant questions that received substantial amount of views every week/month. This allows you to scale the process, as you are able to grow your profile answer views over time, particularly if the topic is most commonly asked for in Quora.

Check the question’s potential reach by looking at the number of followers for that specific question and the top or even the average number views of the top answer. This would give you an idea whether the question is worthy of your effort to answer.

quora question stats

You can also check if the exact question is sitting on the first page of search results when you directly copy and paste it to SERPs. In most cases, this type of questions are consistently attracting new visitors, thus, helps you answer to increase its potential reach.

quora question rank in search

Execute this process daily (choose 3 to 5 recent questions) and become the top industry writer in Quora.

quora most viewed writers
18. SWITCH YOUR CONTENT TO NEW HIGH-VOLUME KEYWORD

David McSweeney of Ahrefs had a case study on how they were able to increase the blog’s traffic by switching keywords to old performing content.

The process is simple:

  • Analyse existing keywords of your content you’re currently been ranking for.
  • If you haven’t seen any main keywords you can potentially switch to potential ranking, conduct keyword research to find out if there are main phrases with higher search volume than your current one.
  • Optimise your content for new keywords by changing the page’s URL, meta title, and other on-page factors.
  • Setup a 301 redirect of your old URL to your new URL (this is extremely important).
  • Use Fetch to Google in Console to force Google to crawl the page.

This works effectively if you’ve got pages that aren’t performing well in search and be instead switch to other relevant keywords that have high organic search count.

19. DO REVERSE GUEST POSTING STRATEGY

If you truly want to maximize your time to acquire high-quality backlinks to your site, you should look for ways to scale the link building process.

One powerful method to build links that requires no outreach and that attracts potential linkers to your website is to do reverse guest posting strategy.

It’s the counter tactic of the common guest blogging technique that allows you to receive pitches from potential guest bloggers.

To start with, you can create “write for us” industry page that contains the following formats:

  • Guest blogging guidelines
  • Industry topic themes accepted
  • Sample approved guest posts (if you have accepted guest articles in the past)

Once done, build internal links to this page by linking to it from your other blog pages. This allows you to bump up the page’s organic rankings. The goal is to dominate the industry key phrase “industry write for us” or industry guest post”. This will then open opportunities to receive guest blogging pitches.

Interact with industry bloggers who pitch you for guest posts and see how you can maximise this opportunity. You can then offer mutual benefits, such as accepting his/her high-quality article to be published on the site while being a guest on his podcast show, if he occasionally does it.

Another value proposition that you can offer is to build a backlink to your other relevant website (Site C) from the guest blogger’s site.

Here’s the scenario: Guest blog (Site B) acquires a backlink from your first site (Site A) through a guest post. You offer to get a backlink from his site (Site B) to your other relevant blog (Site C).

This better works if you have two websites that are thematically relevant to each other (e.g. same health industry).

20. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF QUORA/PINTEREST RANKING PAGES

Top of the funnel keywords with low competition are goldmine opportunities. One way to find them is to use SEMRush to generate industry keywords where Quora and Pinterest pages are ranking in their search results.

Given that these pages of Quora and Pinterest dominate the search, you have the potential to rank in the first page if you’ve created a good content to service the search users for that topic.

To start with, plug in quora.com and pinterest.com to SEMRush and search industry/topic theme of your site in the search bar. This will reveal keywords you can potentially target to rank for your brand.

For example, the keyprase “youtube addiction” has a good amount of search volume but a Quora page is ranking on the first top five spots (as of date..).

youtube addiction keyword ranking

If you’re in a counter-addiction space, this is one of the keywords that can give you some good traffic every month.

21. LEVERAGE BIZDEV PARTNERSHIPS IN EMAIL MARKETING

Targeted email newsletters are powerful sources of referral traffic that you can take advantage of in your space.

bizdev partnerships email marketing

If you have establish authority in your niche, you may want to maximise opportunities of getting in touch with bloggers who had a substantial email following, particularly those with high potential of linking out to relevant external blogs (e.g. regular round-ups).

A simple outreach of proposing an exchange value (interviewing the blogger on your blog while getting featured on his/her email release next week) can increase the probability of success of this marketing tactic.

Your Turn…

Do you have other ways to drive traffic to your website?

Leave a quick comment below.

I’ll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.


link building tools softwares

32 Link Building Tools and Softwares

link building tools softwares

If you're looking for highly recommended link building tools and softwares, this guide is for you. Use the "easy links" below to get straight to the tool of your choice.

 

1. Majestic 

Considered to be one of the top analysis tools, Majestic has been effective in telling you whether or not a site you want to get a link from is authoritative or spammy.

It also allows you to see the topical theme of a website, for example, if the site is in the technology niche (see image below). This helps you decide if a certain domain is worth to build links from (both on relevance and trust standpoint).

majestic seo

Website: Majestic

2. Buzzstream

Undoubtedly, SEO and digital agencies are using Buzzstream to streamline their email outreach process. Its feature to “back and next” every website to quality them properly gives more luxury for link builders to stay on the platform and won’t even need to open a new tab.

buzzstream

Its best feature, “Buzzmaker” allows you to view or save details of a specific prospect, which are useful basically when personalizing your pitches.

Website: Buzzstream

3. Ahrefs

I never tried executing link building campaigns without tapping this tool. It has a lot of features that work wonders in your content creation and link prospecting initiatives.

I’ve covered in this post how to use Ahrefs for link acquisition efforts, but here are some features you should try when getting started with it:

Site Explorer (URL/Domain/Prefix)

Speeding up your link prospecting process by exporting direct backlinks to a similar content allows you to exert more efforts on other phases of link acquisition, such as content creation and email outreach.

ahrefs domain

Properly using URL/Domain/Prefix in extracting certain links that should only pertain to either only to specific page, whole domain (with or without subdomains is also included in the options) or prefix (e.g. domain.com/resources).

Content Gap

No time for wild guessing. Check the keywords your content competitors are dominating and see if these topics are something you can do better (or 10x than theirs).

ahrefs content gap

New Backlinks

Are your competitors acquiring new links you haven’t seen yet? These are linkers that you can nudge to link to your page as well.

ahrefs new backlinks

 

Website: Ahrefs

5. Mozbar

Domain Authority of Moz is probably the most common metric used by SEOs and link builders to gauge the site or page’s authority.

mozbar

When prospecting for domains, using Mozbar (install it first in your Chrome Extension) helps you to see the site’s Domain Authority either on the search results itself or clicking the Moz button once you landed on the page.

Website: Mozbar

6. Ontolo

If you’re a solo-man link building team and trying to scale link prospecting process at its best, you can use Ontolo to extract link opportunities straight from the platform.

ontolo

While it’s not guarantee to have all of them used up for email outreach, as you still have to do some qualification, for example in context relevance, to see if these link prospects are actually worth your link building efforts.

Nevertheless, if you have your own web properties and wanted to have a list of hundreds/thousands at hand, Ontolo can help you out.

Website: Ontolo

6. Citation Labs

The value for money, which is in the form of reports, in a Citation Labs platform is incredible. Getting hundreds or thousands of relevant link prospects from the tool itself helps you scale your link prospecting efforts.

For example, if you’re doing guest blogging and resource page link building, you can create custom reports in Citation Labs and it helps you extract pages/domains based on the keywords that you provide.

There are proper ways to use the tool, here are some videos you have to watch to maximize the web product:

broken link building tool citation labs

Website: Citation Labs

7. Inkybee

The output of the blogger prospecting tool of Inkybee is something you can also acquire through manual search. However, its feature to extract your current Twitter followers that have their own websites and blogs provides the luxury to start building relationships with these potential linkers and create your own list of content promoters.
inkybee

Website: Inkybee

8. SEMRush

We’ve incorporated SEMRush in our internal processes as one of our link quality/metrics tool. Its basic graph showing the estimated organic traffic growth (and the SEPrice – see below) allows us to check if a blog or site is worth reaching out to.

semrush

If you’re an agency working on enterprise blogger outreach campaigns, it is best to use SEMRush for link qualification efforts.

Website: SEMRush

9. Buzzsumo

If you just started in content marketing, you must try Buzzsumo because of its hard core features to give you an edge in your content marketing campaigns. Its ability to filter results based on content types, date published and in-depth articles (only shows articles with more than 2000 words) are keys to effectively prospect “best content” in your industry.

buzzsumo search results

Website: Buzzsumo

10. SEOQuake

SEOQuake is a productivity tool for active link prospectors. If you are manually looking for high-trafficked guest blogs, for example, and wanted to scale checking their cost/SEPrice, you can use SEOQuake to see those quality metrics (i.e. SEPrice) straight from the search results. This saves time as you don’t need to copy and paste each prospect blog into SEMRush tool to check the quality of the domain.

seoquake

Website: SEOQuake

11. Broken Link Building

This Broken Link Building tool from Citation Labs allows you to discover hundreds or thousands of links of resource pages within half an hour. Its Keyword Grader is a useful feature to gauge if there are potential link opportunities within the certain topic or keyword theme, which definitely helps you maximize the link prospecting tool.

broken link building tool citation labs

Website: Broken Link Building

12. Javascript Bookmarklets

These are bookmarklets that can save minutes of your day. For example, this SERPs bookmarklet allows you to copy URLs of pages/sites seen in search results and paste them into your spreadsheet.

serps bookmarklet

Tried manually plugging in a domain into SEMRush tool? Do this with ease using this bookmarket.

 

13. Boomerang

Boomerang is a great email outreach tool that keeps you on the loop both with responsive and non-responsive contacts.

boomerang

If you want to be reminded of emails that you should have responded, click its button below the Gmail message platform.

If you don’t hear back from link contacts (bloggers/webmasters), it reminds you after 2 or 3 days, whichever you set.

Website: Boomerang

14. Rapportive

There’s a lot of profile detailing tools that are more updated than Rapportive but I still find it pretty handy for outreach people.

Trying to personalize is heavy if you aren’t able to see straight from Gmail details of people you’re reaching out to. It keeps you away from your screen, by opening new tabs to check out the blog, its about me page, or other details that you need to personalize your pitch.

Rapportive gives you a list of important details about your contact person, helping you to speed up personalization at its best.

Website: Rapportive

15. LinkClump

If you’re giving broken link building a shot, one of your top link building tools should be LinkClump. This aids you to manually find defunct (broken) links on a certain page, which serves as your value proposition in your email outreach.

linkclump

Ask potential linkers to replace one of their broken links with a link to your linkable content. This doesn’t work magic, your content should be good enough to be included in the page (contextual relevance is the key).

Website: LinkClump

16. Authority Spy

I’m a huge fan of influencer marketing as it gives you the ability to reach a larger but very targeted audience. If industry experts have their own followers, you could obtain a portion of their audience and bring them to your own tribe.

Authority Spy makes you see which influencers are worth reaching out to, based on the metrics like number of social followers (Twitter, Facebook, Google) and a net score (Spy score as the tool describes it).

If you can spend most of your time on 20% influencers which can give you 80% output on branding efforts, that’s a huge gain for your marketing campaign.

Website: Authority Spy 

17. MuckRack

I haven’t seen a platform just like MuckRack that can filter lists of journalists and reports based on their respective media outlets and media types. This allows a more targeted approach to being in touch with these content promoters that have high-end exposures.

muckrack

Website: MuckRack

18. Ninja Outreach

Ninja Outreach is a constantly-improving blogger outreach web-based product as it delivers new features to offer a smooth outreach flow. Involving ready-made outreach templates makes it easy for someone to dive into this platform (techy know-how isn’t required).

ninja outreach

Website: Ninja Outreach

19. Pitchbox

Pitchbox streamlines your link prospecting and outreach process (all-in-one place). The ability to discover contacts that are reliable at its best, plus automating follow-ups by scheduling at times strategy are what makes the tool a handy platform for high-scale link acquisition.

If you base decisions on data, Pitchbox also allows proper reporting on all phases of the outreach process.

pitchbox

Website: Pitchbox

20. Remove’em

Getting a sense of which links are toxic that needs to be removed allows you to execute link audit for your site. Remove’em has its “R-score” that allows you to filter sites triple times faster. Adding MajesticSEO OpenApps Key as well enables link metrics to be incorporated in the platform.

remove'em

Website: Remove'em

21. Rmoov

If you are trying to remove links from harmful sites for different clients of yours (after you’ve audited your backlink profiles), it’s so much pain to manually find each contact’s emails and do outreach to them.

Rmoov aids you with that. It does the work to give you the proper contact information. While it isn’t perfect as other tools, it saves you time doing such activity.

Website: Rmoov

22. Siege Media Embed Code Generator

If you don’t have an embed code beneath your infographic, you are missing the opportunity for inbound links.

If the visual content is great (adds value upfront), you will expect publishers and bloggers to republish your infographic on their websites as well. Using this embed code generator ease the pain of creating customized embed codes for each infographic you make.

siegemedia embed code generator

Website: Embed Code Generator

23. Stylist

If you are into search results in your link building times of the day, Stylist allows you to see links visited just recently, so you won’t have to click them again and quality for potential link opportunities. Saves time. More link prospects every hour.

stylist search results

Website: Stylist

24. Google Sheets

If you want to keep things cost-efficient, use Google Spreadsheets to organize your link building campaigns.

It’s accessible and simplest feature to share data with other team members can help new hires to dive into the process instantly.

By using labels/columns to support your needs in terms of link prospecting and outreach, you’ll be able to check all the details and keep everyone on the loop for work.

Website: Google Sheets

25. Wordable

If you are handling several content management accounts, Wordable aids you with uploading content from Google Docs straight to Wordpress accounts.

wordableNot only you’ll maximize your time, but you can now create a content publishing process to be eventually provided to your new hires if you’re an agency. This is one way to scale content-based link acquisition process.

Website: Wordable 

26. HARO

Getting press exposure on top tier sites like Forbes and Huffington Post creates more exposure for your brand. Whether the citation and mention is linked or unlinked (best if you can get links obviously), you can add that specific eposure to your homepage’s social proof section (i.e. “As Featured In”).

help a reporter out

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free PR service that gives you the capacity to reach out to journalists looking for stories related to your industry/brand.

Automating this for proper scaling and for early capture of your stories can save a lot of your time (e.g. using IFTTT).

Matthew Barby detailed a step-by-step process on how to properly use PR services like HARO for acquiring early exposure and editorial links.

Website: HARO

27. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

Menial tasks can eat some of your time. In link building, qualifying thousands of prospects using certain metrics can easily be outsourced.

amazon mechnical turk

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (not a link building tool) can help you outsource tasks on a micro level. For example, if you’re doing broken link building, a huge percentage of your time is spent on reviewing thousands of link prospects, either found manually or using automated tools like Citation Labs. If I’d review it myself, it obviously can eat much of my time, wherein I can just spend $525 to review 5,000 link prospects for example, and get 1500 contact information.

Scalable, especially if you only have a handful of resources (members) in your team.

Website: Amazon's Mechanical Turk

28. LinkResearchTools

When Google releases its real-time update of Penguin, many webmasters have started to take link-audit as part of their regular internal execution.

 

link-detox-2017Using LinkResearchTools gives you the leverage of checking your site’s backlink profile with given own metrics by LRT, such as LRT Power, LRT Trust and LRT Power*Trust,, which then allows you to evaluate the trustworthiness of a particular backlink.

Looking at the backlink profile with the proper context, such as anchor text variation, link types, link status and so on, allows you to better monitor the health of your website.

Website: LinkResearchTools

29. WhiteSpark

Local businesses should take advantage of WhiteSpark as one of the primary local link building tools. If you are having a difficult of finding potential link partners on a local level, the said tool allows you to do that on scale.

The available local submission pages also gives you the capacity to do the task in minutes only, which if you handle multiple accounts is automatically can be delegated or outsourced to a certain person.

Website: WhiteSpark

30. Search Metrics

Aside from SEMRush, we also use SearchMetrics to evaluate a website’s trust and authority. By noticing a sudden drop on a website’s graph of organic traffic, might indicate a penalty caused by spammy link building executions. These would allow us to identify the most suitable sites to target.

Website: Search Metrics

31. URL Profiler

Link qualification is one of the extensive tasks in link building. It takes time but if you can automate it, much better for your team.

URL Profiler solves that problem of trying to search the Moz DA, Ahrefs rank or Majestics’ metrics of each of your link prospects.

url profilerInstall the software, upload your file of backlink targets, then check with metrics you prefer to use (Moz, Ahref, Majestics, etc..). Wait for a few minutes and then done. You’ll get a CSV file of all the target websites with their respective numbers.

Website: URL Profiler

32. Open Site Explorer

I rarely use OSE but if the Mozbar doesn’t function properly, we simply go to Open Site Explorer website and check the site or blog’s Domain Authority manually.

opensiteexplorer

Website: Open Site Explorer

Your Turn…

Do you know any tool that should be added in this post?

Leave a quick comment below.

I’ll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.


link building 2017

How to Improve Link Building Processes in 2017

link building 2017

 

We couldn’t deny the fact that links remain to be a vital part of the search marketing landscape. As Penguin 4.0 comes, businesses and site owners are becoming more careful and critical as to how they would approach link building as a whole, not as a side-hustle project but as a core part of what they do this link building 2017.

When I started my link building company, I knew since then that I’m targeting a huge pie of the market. Brands with in-house SEO team who have insufficient resources to build the right links for their businesses, and SEO agencies who struggle with scaling their link building processes significantly became the large portion of our client base.

Outsourcing is great if you partner with the right company who will drive significant results for your clients’ businesses.

More than one year since we started a link building campaign for a micro-site of a big eCommerce brand.  

november 2015 client engagement

It wouldn’t take too long to see some results, even the six-month link acquisition can do so well.  

august 2016 client

There’s growth in search traffic even in three-month period. .

october 2016 client

We did it again..

october 2016 client 2

We’ve been asked a lot of times if we can drive significant results for a new website. Below is just one example of a website we started link building from scratch.

october 2016 client 3

MINDSET OF LINK BUILDING

I like how Jason Acidre covers having the right mindset as the first attack in link building. If you have a team and they don’t know why they’re building links, it’d largely affect how they’d approach every single aspect of link acquisition.

Six solid reasons why you should build links:

  • For branding
  • For traffic (relevance matters here)
  • For trust/authority (targeting high-tier or A-level sites)
  • For conversions (can your links bring value to pages being linked to)
  • For crawl budget
  • For rankings

Set your team’s agenda properly on the above focus points before diving into the right link building strategies and processes.

IMPROVE YOUR EXISTING LINK BUILDING PROCESSES

GUEST BLOGGING

Despite seeing repeated statements by so-called SEO experts that “guest blogging is dead”, you’d still find this link building tactic commonly used in blogging-heavy industries.

Why?

Because the additional benefits that another website’s blog could generate to your brand is invaluable. Imagine starting a new website from scratch – no networks, no email subscribers, no potential customers and no brand followers at all.

Guest blogging makes sense for you to capture a portion (small/large) of the audience of another blog and bring them to your own tribe – email list, potential customer base, etc..

If you’re getting started with guest blogging, you can check out the following resources:

If you are building links for quite some time now, you know that there are improvements that you should make. Here are some tips to make this link building strategy work more effective for you.

Invite guest bloggers to your space

Regardless of your search traffic growth, you can create your own “write for us” page (thanks to Viperchill! for this tip!). It’s a linkbait strategy where you, instead of reaching out to potential linkers, are now attracting them to semi-automate inbound link acquisition for your site.

There are many ways to maximize this opportunity. These include:

  • Build content partnerships with people (take it your advantage if both of you are still in the process of building your own brands). Distribute your content to theirs, as well as let them write posts on your blog.
  • Pass on contacts for more guest blogging opportunities. If he had approached you for that certain purpose, he’d be receptive for new handful of list links. Exchanging contacts of “blogs that accept guest posts” can be an advantage on both sides (remember that not all blog owners accept unsolicited guest post pitches). Tip: introducing him to your own set of guest blog contact can increase his likelihood of getting his post published on that new blog (let him do the same for you).

You can start this by checking if there are active linkers in your industry pursuing guest blogging opportunities.

Go to Ahrefs or SEMRush to check if there’s a good number of search volume for a guest blogging query (e.g. “write for us” “industry).

write for us page health

Note: See this resource for a complete list of link building queries for guest blogging.  

Then create your own “write for us” page and try to rank for that keyphrase by building initial links to it from other internal pages of your website.

By doing this, you’ll soon receive five to ten pitches from active publishers regularly. Get at least two of them to link to you.

These are natural gold mine opportunities that make you earn relevant backlinks for your brand.

Target non-evergreen content on industry blogs

Reach out to industry bloggers and offer to update their old “2016 posts”. Target those “need-to-update posts” (e.g. career resolutions for 2016) and use it as your unique proposition in your pitch. This is a more time-preserving approach than entirely writing new articles for other blogs (like what you do in guest blogging).

career resolutions search query

BROKEN LINK BUILDING

“Link rot” is considered to be “gems” for link builders since webmasters and publishers are always updating “resource pages” on their sites. It becomes an easy access for link builders wanting to acquire resource links pointing to their “10x content”.

I predict that sooner or later, you’ll find a lot of webmasters resisting to replace broken links in their resource pages, since they will get tons of “broken link building pitches” day in and day out. However, this link building tactic still gives way for SEO agencies to scale link acquisition.

Broken link building starts by finding available resource pages (or links pages) in your industry. The more evergreen the niche is, the more you can look for this type of link opportunities. For example, in the addiction space, you’ll find a lot of “addiction resource page” that if you care enough to create content on it, you’ll surely build quality links to your site through broken link building.

If you’re getting started with broken link building, you can check out the following resources:

If you think you’re an advanced link builder, you’ll probably ask this question, “how can I improve broken link building even more?”

Here’s how:

Faster prospecting through reverse engineering

If you’ve hit an industry with huge “resource page” opportunities, there’s no doubt you’ll get hundreds of link targets every hour.

While this may just take time, we’ve found a better way to automate this through this broken link building tool (thanks to Jayson Bagio!).

broken link building spreadsheet

One way to approach resource page prospecting faster is to reverse engineer “similar” resource pages. You don’t have to start over again by using search operators (i.e. “industry” inurl:links) to get those “link gems”.

By using tools like Ahrefs, you can reverse engineer similar resource pages and download results of inbound backlinks in CSV file.

resource page reverse engineering

When done, sort the list to get only the “high Ahrefs rank” resource pages.

If you prefer to do it manually, use the search function of Ahrefs to find “only-resource pages” (terms like “resources” or “links” will filter results to just that link type).

resources filter ahrefs

MORE LINK BUILDING TIPS IN 2017

TARGETED OUTREACH

Unlike guest publishing where it’s a requirement to create new content pieces to get individual links from each industry blog, targeted outreach focuses on the existing pages of the site.

What’s the value here?

Existing pages of website/blog that gets search traffic consistently, because they rank in top positions of search results, are best to acquire links from. Though you won’t come across these pages all the time, but if you take the whole domain and see that it’s getting tons of search traffic using SEMRush SEPrice/data as your basis, you can ensure that links coming from them can drive trust and authority to your brand.

semrush metric targeted outreach

Following the tactic I’ve shared above this post, you can check out if they have non-evergreen content pieces that could possibly be updated to make it a more robust content asset.

If other publishers aren’t willing to accept your pitch, you can still publish it on your own blog anyway and reach out to similar content’s current linkers.

PODCASTS & GUESTS

Podcasting is now becoming a hit in non-English countries like here in the Philippines. A lot of the industry bloggers are pushing their content on this medium.

Besides the awareness it could give to someone’s brand, being a guest on a podcast undoubtedly raises your authority as an expert in the field, brings a lot of subscribers (if you nail it) and links within blog posts (if they happen to republish their episodes on their blog with transcripts, which most podcasters do).

I was on the LionZeal show last year, and it generated good number of leads for my business plus an authority backlink to SharpRocket.

lionzeal show

How did I get that?

It simply started with a simple conversation on Facebook (screenshot below)

fb conversation with daryl

Though it’s not scalable in nature, doing this for a thought-leader type of client or a personal brand you’re doing SEO for can bring massive results for his/her online business (thanks to Dan Shure for this tip).

How to get started?

Go to podcast directories or ITunes and search for “[keyword] podcast”. Check which podcast are getting a lot of subscribers and some good ratings and quality reviews (these are signs of engagement/community in the show).

Listen to the recent episodes of the Podcast and be a fan of it. Get familiar with the program so you can personalize your pitch better.

Because a lot of people are pitching guest blogging proposition, you’d have an edge of being a guest on the show if you could personalize your pitch better (familiarity breeds value).

2017 JACKING

Users are more likely to engage in updated posts and reviews online.

Instead of typing, “link building strategies for 2016”, you’re obviously looking for recently updated articles and search for. “link building strategies for 2017”.

Though some posts are evergreen that it could stand a test of time giving value to its target audience, there are topics you can take advantage early on to drive initial and massive amount of organic visits targeting timely keywords.

This strategy came from Glen Allsopp, where he pointed that there are a lot of ways you can maximize 2017 TERMS JACKING.

For instance, if you’re in the web hosting industry, you can update your 2015 or 2016 page for hosting reviews page and make it solid for 2017.

web hosting 2017 content

To find what queries people are searching for the latest trends/updates, use Google Keyword Planner and Google suggestion box.

You can also add these queries to your keyword (add “2017” as well) to discover timely keyword potentials for content.

  • top
  • greatest
  • fastest
  • newest
  • oldest
  • strangest
  • cheapest
  • most expensive
  • easiest
  • unbelievable
  • weirdest
  • best
  • shortest
  • tallest
  • biggest
  • smallest

How can this help you get more links?

You won’t build initial links as soon as you publish it.

Start by acquiring inbound links to your timely content by reaching out to industry bloggers. Those few initial backlinks can help it hits the first page.

When it does, you’ll start seeing results.

Link earning will come into play.

Researchers and publishers will start to use your page as references for their own content works (finding it a good source)

For example, my “link building 2015” post hits the first page as soon as I published it.

link building 2015 backlinks

It gave me opportunities from content creators in the SEO, blogging and internet marketing space who are looking for references to link to and even just cite it as a validation for their work.

OUTREACH AUTHENTICITY

Outreach specialists should now be authentic with how they conduct their email outreach campaigns. The lack of honesty can make or break someone’s email – either it could be deleted immediately or could be converted into a link.

See some of these examples:

If you’re my big fan, you should know my name.

same topic outreach email

Why is your content comprehensive? Just because you publish a similar content, does it mean I should link to your page?

If you’ve got these kinds of emails, you probably won’t believe even one of them, unless they shared their own opinion about one part of your post (which they would only encounter if they skim/read the entire article).

Linking to, sharing, and writing a similar post won’t construe an obligation on the other side (the linkers).

What most outreach specialists lack is being true to what they say plus showing how their content can provide value to the end users or audience of the linkers.

Always answer, “why should the potential linker care about your content?”.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Scholarship link building has been around for many years, and it has been used extensively by SEOs and link builders who want to scale link acquisition from edu sites.

There’s no doubt that a single edu link can pass authority and link juice to your page, but achieving this is easier said but done.

You’ll mostly see link builders execute this type of link building in the legal space. As they find it hard to build links from domain-to-domain relevant legal blogs, they would resort to creating scholarship programs and promoting it to its respective audience.

For starters in scholarship link building, I’ve covered this link building strategy in this post.

HOW TO IMPROVE LINK BUILDING PROCESSES

Let me first define what a process is (getting this definition from Mr. Processes, Grant Merriel).

”A “process document” or “process” is a written document that is used as a guide to ensure a level of quality is maintained within a product or service delivered to a customer.”

In setting up processes, consider these three important elements:

  • Systems
  • Automation
  • Hiring

If you get these three setup properly, you’re on your way to scaling your business (agency/marketing/in-house).

In this post, I only cover link building processes, but principles can also be applied to other SEO processes.

DOCUMENTATION THRU VIDEOS 

If you are managing a remote team, the difficulty of training your virtual assistants is pretty common.

Either you do everything yourself as the manager, fixing all mistakes of your VAs if they’ve fail to execute your process, or be able to scale your business with the right process documentation.

One way to scale processes is to do video recording yourself while doing every exact phase of link acquisition. For example, you can record yourself as you prospect for potential guest blogging opportunities and qualify them based on certain metrics. Another video is designed for email outreach wherein you show what tools you’re using for sending emails. So on and so forth.

Once done, send it to your virtual assistants. For text-based documentation, you can let one of them create a step by step guide based on what they see in the video. This can help them easily grasp each step without the need to entirely watch the video.

SET JOB SKILLS ABOVE PAR   

While most skills in link building can easily be learned through proper training and experience, if you’re starting to build your own in-house team, it’d be best to put the right people on the bus.

This means that you’ve got to have standards when hiring new (potential) link builders in your team.

For example, you need at least the following skills for link prospectors or outreach specialists:

  • Above average communication skills in writing.
  • Attention to small details (replacing tags in email templates, i.e. { NAME }, and qualifying prospects using certain metrics and deeply understanding domain-to-domain and page-to-page relevance, which is a common sense, btw).

While you can get low hourly prices, averaging $3 to $5 per hour for freelance virtual assistants, it’d still best to hire the best ones. After all, if you’re going for long-term, you will need one of them to lead the remote link prospecting or outreach team.

Set exams as simple as writing an email to a blogger to share one piece of content (give them a case study for example). See how they communicate in native English, so you won’t be having any trouble when qualifying their email templates for outreach.

CREATE A MASTER SPREADSHEET TO MONITOR LINK BUILDING CAMPAIGNS 

If you’re an SEO agency, this is for you.

Organization is the key to scaling your client link building campaigns properly.

You can start by creating a tab for client brief. This will give your link builders proper orientation of each of your clients.

campaign tracker

We complete all the following details in that “Client Brief” tab:

  • Client Name
  • Type (direct client, i.e. business owner/niche blogger, or a client of a marketing agency)
  • Client metrics requirements (depends on the agreement with the client, there should be threshold set by your team for every client).
  • Client industry
  • Client target blogs
  • Client target pages (include all new informational pages/content of the client)
  • Remarks

A few benefits of including above details in your tab:

  • Reduces wastes of time due to “back-and-forth” questions of team members to managers, regarding client metrics and target industries or blogs.
  • Identifies which client should be prioritized first.

Your next tabs should be an overview of each of your month cycle. In our experience, it’s vital to update this tab every day so everyone can keep a loop of what’s happening on their current campaigns, if it’s progressing to outreach or does need more prospecting hours to complete the links.

client tab

Here are column titles we always include in those tabs:

  • Client name
  • Target link prospects (which is computed by dividing the number of target backlinks by the number of average no. of link prospects). It is best if you can track your link acquisition or conversion rate per each client that you’re working on.
  • Campaign duration (how long does it take you to build those links? – Estimated duration.
  • Campaign Status (have we started with prospecting, are we done with outreach, do we need more research or have we sent the report to the client).
  • Research Start Date
  • Research Completion Date
  • Email Start Date
  • Email Completion Date
  • Handled by (Prospected by) – so you can easily delegate campaigns to link prospectors who can do best to those certain clients.
  • Emailed by – who are the outreach specialists assigned?
  • TL (Total links)
  • RL (Remaining links)
  • BL (Built links)
  • Remarks

You can customize this based on your needs. But this sums up all details required for you to monitor your link building campaigns (on a larger view).

CREATE SPREADSHEETS TO TRACK EACH LINK BUILDING CAMPAIGN 

Go with the specifics. Create spreadsheets for each website you’re building links to.

A simple sheet with multiple columns are needed to ensure each of link prospect added is being maximized until they’ve been converted into links.

link building campaign spreadsheet

Here’s what we always include in the columns section:

  • Website
  • DUP (duplicate checker) – Yes if it’s a duplicate of another link prospect, NO - let it be there.
  • Prospected by (if you have multiple link builders working on one campaign, this gives you an idea how many prospects each one is finding daily).
  • SEMRush / DA – depends on which metric do you use
  • Name (contact person)
  • Emails (contact person)
  • Linking from page (if targeting to acquire links from existing pages)
  • Linking to page (target pages on the website building links to).
  • Site Remarks (additional information that aids to personalize outreach further).

If you still want to go deeper with your link prospecting phase, then create another master spreadsheet for “Team Research Reports”

CREATE "TEAM RESEARCH REPORTS" FOR LINK PROSPECTING PROGRESS 

We create team research reports for two main reasons:

  • Track each link prospectors’ productivity (e.g. how many prospects can they find every hour?)
  • Identify new combinations of keywords and advanced search operators (untapped search queries for certain industries).

Each link prospector has their own tab where they have to insert the following details as they go after each search query:

  • Month
  • Status
  • Client URL (they can simply just copy and paste it as they prospect more)
  • Advanced search operator
  • Search term
  • Google query (combination of advanced search op and search term)
  • DUP (to check if google query is a duplicate of previous queries)
  • Time started
  • Page reach (they don’t need to go to page 20 or so if they haven’t found any qualified prospect from page 6 to 8, for example).
  • Time finished
  • Number (#) of prospects
  • Remarks

team research reports

There are a lot of benefits we can obtain from creating this spreadsheet, some of them are:

  • Organizing your “used” link prospecting phrases (search operators + keywords).
  • Helping avoid multiple use of one link prospecting phrase by 2 or 3 link builders (literally saves time!)

As you start with your link building campaign, it’s imperative to document everything and organize your link prospects as you go through the outreach phase and to actual acquisition of links.

YOUR TURN

Much has been covered in this post, but there are still more opportunities, tips, and techniques that we haven’t figured out yet. They will be shared in my next posts. If you have any insights or thoughts to add to this post, leave a quick comment below.

I’ll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.