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).
There are many benefits guest blogging does for your website (aside from getting a backlink):
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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).
Tip: A sudden drop in the blog’s estimated organic traffic may indicate penalties it received in the past.
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.
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)
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:
It will help if you organise a list of guest blogs together with the following details:
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.
Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach
Blogger Outreach Guide by Ahrefs
Drafting is important in guest blogging as it basically guides you (or the content creator) on structuring the guest post based on:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Personally, I prefer to create a “custom page” to be linked to from a “guest content” (see example below).
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.
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:
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).
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.
Then click save.
You will generate a custom report wherein you can get insights on the following:
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.
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.
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..).
by Venchito Tampon Jr
If you’ve been in the SEO industry for years, then you know how important it is to scale link building to help multiple clients rank in search for their respective keywords.
Given that almost every year, there are new link building strategies being created, the best way to be on top of the game is not to think of new strategies (since mostly they’re just revised version of old ones), but to create scalable processes for your link building campaigns.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through one scalable strategy we’ve tested internally that can give significant results to your website: building .edu links using scholarships.
It’s amazing because we hadn’t spent a single penny yet when we built 14 .edu links in two months’ time.
Want to learn how?
Audience targeting is not only a necessity when executing common link building strategies like broken link building and guest blogging.
In fact, even when you build .edu backlinks, you still have to know your target audience that is highly relevant to your website or your client.
Here’s how to make it simple.
Identify audience of students who’d be interested in your scholarship program.
With our link building company, for example, we focus our scholarship efforts to students majoring in courses related to marketing, business, and advertising because we’ve found them to be more relevant to our website.
This is critical because if you got backlinks from .edu pages that are too far from your industry, it would be less valuable to your website. I’m not saying that generic .edu links aren’t good enough, they are of course, but if you can get a high-quality link from a much more relevant page, that would be better.
Here are a few examples of audiences you can target for scholarships:
It’s very simple to create this type of content.
However, you’ve got to have the important details.
Here is a few information that you need to include in your scholarship page.
1. COMPANY DESCRIPTION
Provide a short description about your company. This is actually where your whole domain will mostly get value from.
Internally link to your homepage or other important pages to pass link juice to these pages.
Here’s a quick example of what I did for our link building company site.
The more specific you are when stating who will be your target applicants, the better you’ll get responses from university and college staff members.
These are necessary details you need to do include in the eligibility section:
See this example:
3. AMOUNT VALUE
The amount of scholarship depends on your budget for your client or your website. But I’d prefer the minimum to be $1000. Any amount lower than that won’t be attractive to educational institutions. I’ve seen $300 scholarship program, not sure how it went.
4. APPLICATION DETAILS
This section should include how your applicants will be able to get the scholarship. This could be a submission of a written or video-based answer to a question related to the industry.
For example, we’ve asked our applicants to submit a short essay or a 4 to 5-minute video answering any of these questions:
What would be your main strategy to market your business online?
What is your number one tip to manage a team of millennials?
Alongside the process of application, you should also state the deadline and award dates.
To make the application much easier, provide a contact form at the end of your page so they can attach and send their requirements right away.
Not all educational websites have relevant scholarship listing opportunities you could get links from.
When finding those link targets, I use two different methods to find opportunities that best fit my scholarship page.
METHOD 1: USING SEARCH ENGINE OPERATORS TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES
Search engine operators are useful to help you seek possible link sources straight from search engines – Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Combining appropriate search operators with proper keywords can filter the right prospects, enabling you to do link research much faster.
I use different search phrases, which I’ve collected and listed down in a spreadsheet to find .edu link sources with scholarship pages.
This is pretty handy as you can hand over this task to a virtual assistant, freelancer or your in-house SEO specialist (thanks to Jayson Bagio!).
What you are looking for in a scholarship page are two things:
With this strategy, you don’t have to worry about domain authority, ahrefs rank or other metrics you are using to qualify link opportunities since most .edu websites are within the range of DA40 to DA90.
You should also make sure that external links point to individual scholarship pages, not just to scholarship search engines or websites solely for scholarships.
METHOD 2: REVERSE ENGINEER A SIMILAR SCHOLARSHIP PAGE
If you are running out of .edu scholarship listing opportunities, another way to expand your link list is to reverse engineer scholarship pages with edu referring pages.
You can use Ahrefs to plug in a similar scholarship page (which you can simply search in Google for the “keyword” “scholarship”).
Scan through the list of backlinks and .edu websites with scholarship listing pages.
Once you’ve exhausted all possible link opportunities from one scholarship page, find another similar page and do the same process again.
Rinse and repeat.
MAKE SURE YOU ORGANIZE EVERYTHING
The key to properly scale this .edu link building strategy is to organize everything.
I use Google Docs spreadsheet for all tasks accompanied in a link building campaign.
Once you find a qualified link opportunity, include it in a Google Spreadsheet with all these required fields:
FINDING CONTACT PERSON
Universities and colleges have several staff members, and the only way to build Edu backlinks is to reach out to the right person.
There are two types of emails we consider for scholarship link building technique:
firstname.lastname@example.org – you can get this email straight from the scholarship listing page
email@example.com – if you can’t find the first email above, look for this one by checking out the admissions and/or finance aid department/section of the website.
firstname.lastname@example.org or contact form – if you can’t see any of those emails above, you can simply send a simple message (email template later) to a generic email or through a contact form, asking for the right person to contact to about your request.
When all details had been filled up, you are now ready to do outreach.
This is the exact email template that I used to reach out to .edu contact persons.
Scholarship for [ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE ] students
Hello [ NAME ],
I noticed that you provide a list of private scholarship for students.
I’m sending you a message to let you know that my company offers one (1) [ AMOUNT] scholarship to [ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE ] students that major in [ INDUSTRY ] courses.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have so that I can send more information about our scholarship.
If it’s not you who directly manages scholarships, can you forward me to the right person, please? I’d greatly appreciate that.
[ YOUR NAME ]
When you send pitches to these people, you’ll most receive three types of responses.
If you receive this positive response, you just have to send all the details of your scholarship to them either via email or via a form which they will provide.
Once your scholarship is posted, they will give you a heads-up. If you don’t receive a reply, make sure you are monitoring new backlinks to your site so you can see if you’ve got a backlink from one scholarship page. Pro tip: use Monitor Backlinks to ease this process.
Anchor texts on Edu backlinks are diversified: some are naked URLs, others are exact scholarship titles.
If you can only offer less than $1000 or $500, some Edu sites won’t include yours in their scholarship listings, since they have a certain threshold they consider.
Another case is when financial/admission departments restrict scholarship listings to one or two districts or local-based scholarships only. See the response below.
A few more things:
WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY
The title of this post says, “Without Spending A Penny.”
That’s true because I’ll only spend some money ($500 in my case) on the scholarship award date. I would have received the returns on the efforts before the money is spent. For a $500 budget for 14 links, that already amounts to $35 per 1 Edu backlink.
I want you to execute this scholarship link building strategy. For our giveaway, here are exclusive bonuses just for you:
Link exchange or reciprocal linking is a link building strategy wherein 2 different websites on a similar niche or industry give a link or links to each other’s webpage.
Though this practice has been abused for many years, e.g. a webmaster tries to rank for terms like “car insurance Australia” will find other webmasters in a same/different industry who would be interested to do link exchanges. The approach is to link to another website with exact match anchor text (another webmaster is trying to rank for) and get a link from that other website (for a target keyword he is trying to rank for as well).
Google itself instructed SEOs and webmasters about this approach of trying to manipulate Google search rankings.
“ Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking. “
Does that mean, link exchange isn’t effective anymore these days?
I’m sure many SEOs and bloggers will disagree with me that thematic link exchange still works up to this date.
Thematic link exchange is a relationship-based link building strategy that involves intentional or unintentional linking and getting a link to and from another webmaster in the same industry who isn’t a direct competitor of the business.
Here are four thematic link exchange methods that works pretty well in most industries, especially those that are sitting in very competitive ones.
Link exchange often occurs in an unintentional way. For example, I’ve been blogging for many years now with my first blog and here at SharpRocket.
I’ve built relationships with industry friends who also blog about SEO and link building. By acknowledging their work through linking to their content assets that serve as additional references or resources in my existing posts, it’s an added value initiated to build trust which strengthens the opened relationship with them.
For instance, I linked to Rohit Palit’s post on tiered link building. After a few months, he gave me a backlink pointing to my content creation and promotion guide in his article about increasing the domain authority of a website.
We’re not direct competitors, as he is not accepting sole link building services as his website client offering.
But here’s another case where one of my direct competitors linked to me.
PageOnePower is a link building company that has been in the industry since 2010, they blog about the same topic I’m passionate about.
Here are a few backlinks I gave to PageOnePower.
Relationships take time to get some returns. Guys from PageOnePower have give contextual backlinks to DigitalPhilippines many times. These are backlinks not built through manual outreach, but simply because they’ve known our brand, we have already given them and have established an authority in the link building scene. These backlinks are naturally earned.
Here is another example of how relationships can be effective for link exchanges. It is a conversation between Rohit Palit and Patrick Coombe.
Both have provided value to each other, as they’ve been commenting on each other’s blogs many times (see image above).
If you’re wondering how you can start building relationships with other industry bloggers, here are a few tips you can apply:
Guest posting is still one of the mainstream link building method these days because it’s pretty scalable and can really help skyrocket one website’s traffic even in just a short period of time. Combined with other link building tactics, it is a robust link building strategy one can ever wish to implement and see results for themselves.
However, there’s one problem I’ve seen with a lot of guest posting enquiries these days — they aren’t giving any value. Even if the content they intend to provide is relevant to my blog, I won’t see that as high value.
Content swap is the solution. It is a link acquisition process where both bloggers will provide high value content to each other, both with the goal of bringing exposure to a new reading audience for both sides.
This is very helpful when building links to websites in difficult industries like legal.
You can actualize this process by prospecting for list of local opportunities, where most legal industries focus on local marketing/branding.
You can try Google searches for “Miami” “legal” for example, then find any company websites that have recent blog updates so you’ll know if they are publishing content on a regular basis. Make sure that you don’t include link prospects that are not in direct competition with you – it’ll be close to impossible to get links from them.
Once you have a list of local industry bloggers, it’s time to reach out to them.
Here’s a template that I used for content swap outreach.
Subject: Content swap for your legal blog, NAME
Hi [ NAME ],
My name is Tiffanny Chappels, an immigration lawyer and legal blogger based in Miami.
I came across your website and really like what you recently published. I would like both of our blogs to grow website traffic and would like to know if you’d be interested for a content exchange – I write for your blog, you write for mine.
I’d love to write a post for your blog related to child custody or family law.
If it needs to be in a conversational tone, I’d be happy to do that.
Let me know if your thoughts.
All the best,
A few things why this pitch works:
Another ethical backlink exchange strategy that works is content partnership, originally discussed by Jason Acidre on his SEO blog.
I’ve found that this is not scalable to all industries, especially in niches where there are no active bloggers.
But the key to make this link building method work is making yourself familiar with the brand you’re reaching out to. After all, you want a partnership that can generate consistent results for both ends.
The difference with this link building technique compared to content swap is that you can offer different types/formats of content based on each party’s needs, options such as:
Conducting a back to back interview. See this example at SEO Hacker and Kaiserthesage.
Inviting your content partner to write a guest blog on your site and writing a content for them as well (see this guest post at GotchSEO and Webris).
Offering an exclusive write-up or promotion/sponsored post on his site and in exchange, making him as your media partner. I wrote a promotional post for my previous startup workshop for Tycoon, in return, I added him as my media partner for my book.
For the outreach phase, here is an example pitch Jason sent to one of his content partners. You can make variations of it based on the value proposition you’d like to provide to your targeted content partners.
The value of this thematic link exchange strategy is far more beneficial than a single link you’ll get from the typical link exchange, because this content partnership can help generate leads for both parties (of course they shouldn’t be competing with each other), referral traffic, expanded branded exposure/influence and additional following for both social accounts.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Do you have a thematic link exchange strategy that works for you?
Or maybe you have a question on how to implement any of the tactics in our above list?
Either way, leave a quick comment below.
I’ll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.
This is an anchor text guide for beginners and advanced practitioners of SEO and link building. If you want to skip the first few sections and go to the meat part of it, you can click here to go to the anchor text optimization best practices section.
Cool bonus: Download a free PDF version of this guide. The PDF version contains all the tips, links and resources found here. .
Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link.
To make things simple, let’s say I want to rank for the term, “link building” and I’m publishing a post for another link building blog with a link to my page.
If I’d use these types of anchor text, here’s what the link with each type of anchor text looks like.
Exact match anchors – the anchor text is the target keyword you’re trying to rank for.
I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about link building that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.
Partial match anchors – the anchor text contains the target keyword or keyphrase you’re trying to rank for.
I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about actionable link building tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.
Branded anchors – the anchor text is the name of the brand.
Naked URLs anchors – the anchor text is not a word or phrase but the URL of the page or domain itself.
I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about actionable link building tips. See it here: http://sharprocket.com.ph/link-building
Descriptive anchors – the anchor text is a description of what the page or URL is all about, it may or may not include the target keyword.
This post at SharpRocket explains what link building is all about and 101 link building tips that includes the exact step by step processes to apply each of those tips.
Generic anchors – the anchor text is a generic phrase that does not include the target keyword.
I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about link building that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website. If you want to check it out, click here.
LSI anchors – the anchor text is a synonym or related word or phrase of the target keyword you’re trying to rank for.
I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about off-page SEO that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.
Image anchors – the anchor text is the alt text of the image.
Before the Google Penguin update, websites can build massive article directory and guest post links with ~100% exact match anchor texts. This was not a problem for SEOs as they can literally automate everything, from prospecting link opportunities to putting these links into their desired pages, not considering the relevance between linking pages.
Private blog networks wasn’t a big option for link builders at that time too, since the usual massive spammy link building tactics is already enough in getting ranking results for websites.
But then Google Penguin came in 2012, which affect websites in different industries. As you can see in the image below, it shows a few statistics of niche websites that were hit back then.
Anchor text usage on all inbound links is one factor Google considers in determining if a page should be penalized and be demoted in its organic rankings.
Aggressive anchor text or too much usage of exact match anchor text on all inbound links for a certain page isn’t a normal activity to think about. Websites with all backlinks that have more than 50% exact match anchor texts, “payday loans” for example is questionable to be natural in its backlinking method.
Google’s Gary Ilyes has been tweeted/asked questions on Penguiin 4.0 since its launched last September 23, 2016. One point he made is how Google Penguin targets a specific page. He clarified that it’s not just about the link, but rather the “source site” where the link comes from is what they also considers.
Questionable or penalized websites have much more risks to give to you when acquiring links.
To ensure you’re only building high-quality sites, you should check out the site’s organic traffic data if the linking site has a history of organic drop. This organic drop is a possible sign of Google penalty/ies.
SEMRush can aid you with this task, so be sure to have someone checking the site’s estimated organic data.
Granular attack of Penguin to pages need to be demoted in its rankings isn’t any more new to the SEO community (in Penguin 2.0, it seemed to be on page-level and keyword-level concerns already). The only thing that becomes clearer here is the word, “more”, which we should all consider as we work on the website’s link acquisition campaigns.
It’s just that Google is taking on account page-to-page or a few website parts as its consideration for penalties. In that sense, you shouldn’t be confident enough to think that spammy link building tactics you are doing right now won’t have a negative effect to your website’s health in the future.
More Google Penguin 4.0 Resources:
I’ve worked with a lot of SEO agencies and digital marketing agencies all over the world, catering 100+ clients throughout my SEO corporate experience and there’s one thing people are still confused about:
Are exact match anchors good for my rankings?
When you answer them “YES” right away, they’ll defend you with their “NO”s and just tell you to use generic anchor texts, like click here and go to this site because they think this is the best anchor text strategy.
Exact match anchor texts aren’t bad all.
In fact, Ryan Stewart had an interesting short case study of how he was able to rank for Miami SEO after he published a guest post on Ahrefs with the exact match anchor text: “Miami SEO”.
You don’t have to think about the anchor text distribution percentage in your backlink profile – say 3 percent or 5 percent.
You can test for yourself building one or two backlinks to your page with an exact match anchor text.
Don’t be afraid. Your site won’t get penalized with 1 or 2 backlinks. After all, if you have hundreds or thousands of backlinks, those 2 exact match anchor text links accounts to less than 1%.
Check how the site will react to those two backlinks and see what movements your page will take you (e.g. from position 40 to position 12). You’ll then also see how tight the competition is for the target keyword you’re trying to rank for.
It’s so easy to be stuck with the idea of anchor text ratios. While having to run other SEO activities like technical audit, content creation and outreach, you still have to think about how to establish a natural backlink profile.
Instead of getting a headache with that issue, focus on link type. After all, why do you need to create a list of anchor texts with exact/estimate percentage if you’re aiming for a natural link profile.
That itself is unnatural.
A natural link profile is composed of backlinks with different link types.
Here are some examples of different link types.
1. Community-based link
2. Referential link
3. Blog comment link
Don’t focus too much on anchor text diversity, but ensure that you are getting a variety of backlink types for your website.
Note: There’s one exception here, I’ve seen websites that focus only on contextual (both earned and built) and resource types of links and they didn’t acquired directory or citation links, but are still dominating SERPs. But if you’re into local SEO, it’s a must to combine those contextual and resource links with local-centric profiles/association/directory links.
But if your site is plainly getting directory and citation links, with a few to zero contextual backlinks, that looks unnatural.
If you are still thinking what anchor text strategy to use for your link building campaign, let me give you one simple tip.
If you are reaching out to bloggers in your industry (assuming it is a linker outreach approach), let them choose what anchor texts to use.
As a matter of fact, they wouldn’t tell you what anchor texts they choose. They’d only give you a heads-up if they have linked to your page and you’ll see the anchor texts for yourself.
Most of the time, backlinks built using linker outreach method are in descriptive anchor texts. The advantage of that type of anchor text is that they encourage clicks from users.
While links can help increase rankings, their other purpose is to drive referral traffic.
Letting bloggers choose how and in what section of the linking pages they’ll add anchor texts with backlinks to your webpage has an effect to the number of visitors those referring sites will drive back to your site. Backlinks placed on the higher position of the content have high chances of more clicks.
One good example of this is the number of conversions (email subs) I’ve got from my guest post on GotchSEO. That post itself drove 100+ impression with 60+ converted email subscribers. That backlink is aimed to be clicked given that it was placed under the bonuses section.
In cases where you have a control over anchor text usage, i.e. content distribution on other blogs, it’s imperative to understand LSI and Co-occurrence as part of your overall anchor text strategy.
Co-occurrence s the frequency and proximity of similar keywords across one context in a content. These are topically relevant keywords but not exactly the same with your ranking keyword.
Instead of frequently using your ranking keyword as your anchor text to be exact match, what you can do is to place your target keyword near descriptive anchor texts.
One good example of this are co-occurrences within links to Kaiserthesage. Here are a few examples:
Google understands the relevance of a link without having to use exact match anchor texts all the time. Adding co-occurrences to linking pages can help search engines fully identify the context theme of your website with its linking webpages.
When a linkable asset has been ranking for several long tail keywords, it’d be strategic too find untapped keywords your content isn’t primarily catering to.
These are keywords you tend to rank (or had some impressions on SERPs) because your content has been highly perceived by search engines as worthy to rank for pages 3 or so.. (may not be visible on the first two SERPs pages).
The advantage when monitoring new keywords is that you’ll be able to upgrade your own content to cater new audiences or be more desirable to rank for newly found organic ranking keywords by adding some topical sections to your piece.
What’s the implication of this to your anchor text link strategy?
If you’ve added a new section in your content piece to service to those new organic keywords, it’d be additional anchor texts to use for internal and external manual link building. This will add more trust and authority to your content and help it dominate searches for those newly found organic keywords.
There is no such activity of finding new ranking keywords to add to your current list of target anchor texts, as you don’t want to use them all for exact match link strategy.
However, when trying to add descriptive anchor texts to internal linking pages and to manually build linking pages (i.e. guest posts), you have to know what keyphrases are thematically relevant to your target keyword. Thus, it’d be easy for you to write robust content with LSI keywords and strategically do co-occurrences on links.
Two simple ways to find related search phrases of your target keywords.
First, do a straight Google search for the exact keyword or keyphrase you’re trying to rank for. You can try two different searches, one is with quotes, second is without. See at the bottom of search pages related search phrases Google provides based on the keyword you entered.
Second, just type in your keyword and wait for Google to suggest more specific/relevant search phrases. You’ll find out that some of them aren’t included in your keyword list from Google Keyword Planner or other common keyword research tools you use. They don’t need to always have high search volume to decide whether or not they are good to target for content pieces.
Watch this video from Ryan Stewart on how he was able to drive thousands of organic visits to his eCommerce blog without solely relying on keyword research tools. He was able to gather new topics even from Instagram observation.
If you ask me, where is this going to? The answer is adding more keyphrases for your anchor text link strategy to be used for LSI keywords for internal and external content assets and to be better at co-occurrences on backlinks.
I’ve been discussing how to find new organic keywords ranking in your content, plainly because these are useful for you to upgrade your content to its next version (or to 10x content if it hasn’t achieve yet).
While you can simply just focus on your content’s search performance alone, you’d want to try seeing new organic keywords of similar content pieces, which is normally produced by your competitors.
The only difference of this process, which I’d like to label as “Content Gap Monitoring” with the typical, “content gap analysis” is that you’re doing it regularly – as if part of your monthly SEO or content marketing activity.
SEO agencies that want to test this process out doesn’t have to worry about the time it’ll consume to run the entire process, as it is scalable through the use of Ahrefs, as our primary content gap monitoring tool.
First step is to find similar competing content, only choose content assets that are specifically ranking for your target keyword. If you’ve done a robust competitor keyword research analysis as your first SEO initiatives, you can skip this part already.
Second step is to monitor new organic keywords of competing similar content assets. Go to Ahrefs, then click into Alerts – New Keywords.
Click add alert button at the right section.
Choose URL as its mode, so you’ll only receive list of new organic keywords that specific page has been acquiring, not the whole domain. For volume, the default, “All” is good so you can also see low volume keywords.
For email frequency, it’s your decision whether to receive those organic keyword-centric emails weekly or monthly, but I highly recommend you go with weekly, to upgrade your existing content for potential ranking keywords as sooner as possible.
With the recent Google Penguin update (most SEOs believe that it is indeed real-time), our activity to continuously monitor our site’s incoming links and make sure there aren’t any negative SEO isn’t anymore a tedious task for us (SEOs/link builders).
If you have read posts on Google Penguin’s specific effects on SEO activities, there’s no need to take some serious efforts in removing existing bad/toxic links to your website, as Google tends to devalue them anyway. So if site has been receiving new low-quality links from a Negative SEO attack for example, the efforts now shouldn’t be focused on removing those types of links, but on continuously acquiring new high-quality backlinks for your site (this posts of mine on how to get backlinks and actionable link building tips will help you a lot).
What’s the implication of this to my anchor text diversification?
In cases where those incoming toxic links are on exact match anchor texts, you don’t have to focus your efforts on removing them from your backlink profile, but in driving new high-quality backlinks to your site. Since websites are dealt on a granular basis, those bad links won’t be affecting your site as a whole, only on parts where it should be affected.
Nonetheless, link audit is still a must. Google states that bad links are simply being devalued, the possibility of needing to disavow more links is unlikely. However, if you have a lot of unnatural links and never disavowed them, you need to disavow them. It may be the reason why you’re still not recovering from the penalty.
You still have to do some ground work of disavowing bad links. But keep in mind that while doing it, the focus shouldn’t just be there, but more on helping your site continuously acquire good links to boost your site’s health over time.
If it’s actually real time, your site can easily get recovered (and some have proven this to happen to some fully/partially-recovered sites) and there’s a lot more work now to be put into a higher-level link acquisition.
Other posts on link audit (which I highly suggest need to be updated) talks about managing existing exact anchor text links by converting them into branded links.
In my own experience, filtering your exact match anchor texts based on their quality should be every one’s link builders/SEOs’ first initiative.
Don’t spend time converting low-quality exact match anchor texts to branded links, as these will be devalued (if it’s negative SEO attack) or if they’ve been built by your past SEOs (do link audit and link removal/link disavow).
What you have to focus now is checking on only existing high-quality exact match anchor text links. These links shouldn’t just be any type, i.e. directory or any massive link types, but only editorial links that are manually built, i.e. guest posts.
Whether or not these high-quality exact match links are affecting parts of your website, you should still be converting them into branded links (as possible as you can), by manually reaching out to webmasters where you’ve contributed guest posts in the past. Ask them if they are capable of changing those exact match to branded types of links. This should help some parts of your site not to be negatively affected by real-time Penguin.
How do you diversity your backlinks’ anchor texts?
Or maybe you have a question on how to implement any of the insights in our above list?
Either way, leave a comment quick below.
I’ll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.
So if you have a question, insight or new tactic, leave a comment right now.
Link reclamation is the process of identifying and fixing broken links on your website and getting links from other publishers who mentioned your brand or content but didn’t linked to your site. This is perhaps the most effective link building tactic that can drive initial set of links to your website with ease – it won’t require new published content, you utilize your existing web assets for link reclamation (website, images, text, article, etc..).
Let’s also see how other link building experts define link reclamation.
Link reclamation is the process of fixing broken links on your company website and other websites that link to yours.
Razvan, Founder of CognitiveSEO and BrandMentions
Reclaiming links is a process that happens when you’ve either lost links and want them back or when you’ve not been properly linked to, such as with a broken link or a non-linked mention. Links can vanish for multiple reasons. Sites get moved, pages get removed, and your link isn’t always foremost in a webmaster’s mind. Keeping an eye on lost links and non-linked mentions is a fantastic way to keep and add to the good links you want in your profile.
Julie Joyce, Founder of LinkFish Media
If you’re asking whether or not link reclamation is the right tactic for your business, the answer is – it depends.
Link reclamation is best utilized by brands who have already established authority in their industries whether through word of mouth marketing, content development, press publication and other branding initiatives. Given that link reclamation requires tracking of existing publishers who mentioned the brand in any form, authoritative brands (i.e. Fortune 500s) that have a set of content followers would more likely benefit from this link building tactic.
For newly established brands, link reclamation isn’t the initial link building technique that could be easily implemented right away, unless they have content assets readily available on their sites that can potentially earn links from time to time.
Coined term is a word or phrase created by a publisher or content creator used to refer to a new thing (an event, strategy, place, tip, etc..). The term has been mentioned a lot of times by other industry publishers in their content pieces – exposing the word/phrase to an existing audience and using it as well in their daily conversations (whether online or offline).
Almost every industry has its own coined term. Whether you are in finance, health and even in search, you’ll notice a lot of words that are mere creation by influencers and by highly respected SEO publishers. In fact, the topic of this post, link reclamation, is just a coined term created by Eric Ward way back in 2004.
So how can you leverage coined term creation in acquiring links?
First, you’ll have to think of something new to contribute to the industry – i.e. a tip or trick that would highly benefit a specific group of audience. It shouldn’t be a copy of another principle, but is unique or a revised or twisted version of a thing.
For instance, Brian Dean coined the term, “Skyscraper Technique” on his SEO blog, Backlinko. It has been used multiple times on other marketing blogs as one of the effective SEO strategies for ranking a website on Google and acquiring consistent traffic from search engines.
Once you created a coined term, it’s time to promote them to your audience. Here are a few ways to get traction to your coined-term-based content:
Finally, if you’ve seen high interest to your coined term from your web community, you can track which publishers and content creators have used your created term in their own content pieces. Tools like BrandMentions and Mentions.net can aid you with this.
Reaching out to webmasters through email outreach and asking them to credit references by linking to the original creator works effectively for most of the link builders out there – 50% or higher is the usual conversion rate.
However, if you nudge potential linkers with pre-acted efforts i.e. distributing their content on content promotion platforms, you’ll receive more responses and more links reclaimed for your brand.
One way to show that you initiate connections with these potential linkers is to actually share their content on social media sites even before you reached out to them via email. Notify these publishers by adding social handles to your social updates to make them aware that you shared the original post.
Putting email postscripts like, “I’ve shared your post on Twitter already, twitter status is here: www.url.com” to your pitch helps build enough trust to get them link to your website.
Not utilizing images for link acquisition is an opportunity lost especially if you have multiple images uploaded on your site (i.e. ecommerce branded product images).
Those images particularly branded images intended for distribution (i.e. infographic), should be monitored regularly to see if there are websites that have already linked to you as their source. However, if they’re linking to the file location (i.e. domain.com/images/photo.png) instead of the page that image is uploaded (i.e. domain.com/blog-post/), then content creators who linked to you this way should be asked to change their destination link.
Monitor file location links using Ahrefs, CognitiveSEO or OSE and ask content creators to change the destination link – from file location link to the linking page.
One of the difficulties when finding pages to reclaim links from, particularly for enterprises, is seeing several pages in search results with the need to further filter out irrelevant pages – i.e. those where content are not owned by you.
For instance, if you are reclaiming links from content creators who uploaded your infographic from their sites but not having link to you as the source, then doing a search for [ blogging ] [infographic ] would reveal branded visuals from other publishers.
At SharpRocket, our main qualifier for exact branded image reclamation is the use of allintitle – advanced search operator. This helps Google drives out pages with page titles that are not similar to the title of the branded content.
One thing to keep in mind, if your visual titles aren’t unique (i.e. it’s the most common keyword others are trying to rank for as well), then there are filtering efforts you still have to do in search results.
Even having unique visual titles, there is a ~10 to ~20% inefficiency here since you’ll also weed out pages from allintitle search but happen to be the pages where your content has been placed on, examples are:
For 90% of the time, using allintitle search operator for image link reclamation helps you easily target pages that used your branded content. And when they haven’t credited you as the source, reach out to them with tested copies and secure those links (sample outreach copies in the latter section of this post).
Short form text is a small piece of content that is worthy of mention on other publishing sites for reference to a certain topic. This varies in many kinds, such as:
Having a few short form texts in your website doesn’t only increase brand exposure but also help you gain editorial links from other publishers who’ll be referencing your small content from their blogs. If fortunately they’ve linked to your site, reach out to them and send a simple “thank you” message. Building a rapport with these content creators would amplify additional links in the future – as they can also refer to your short form text from their content pieces on other blogs (their guest posts).
If in case some publishers didn’t credit you as the source, you can pitch them to reclaim unlinked mentions of your content.
If you are starting out to build your our own brand and don’t have a set of followers yet to spread your short form texts on the web then here are some ways to promote these small pieces of content:
Building short form content assets isn’t scalable. You can’t force your brand to create this type of content if it’s not totally remarkable. Otherwise, it will serve as a plain text in your page without any publishers stealing your content.
The solid gold process for creating remarkable short form texts is to think of something unexpected hook in it – the “amazing thing” that initially captures the interests of majority of industry publishers.
The growing industry of content marketing creates new types of content that helps consumers read, see and digest information easily on the web.
One form of content asset that I noticed became popular and useful these days is GIF-based quick tutorial. It is almost similar to the traditional video tutorials created by startup agencies and bloggers trying to entice customers or clients to purchase their products or services. What only differs is that they are easy to consume as you don’t need to click the play button to watch the full tutorial, it automatically runs even without initiatives from the user.
So how can you maximize the use of GIF-based quick tutorials for link acquisition?
Before anything else, let’s first understand that not all quick tutorial GIFs could get you earn additional links. In most cases, this type of content is actually a portion or one step in a whole definitive guide or resources. Unless, the content can stand on its own – i.e. it doesn’t need other quick tutorials to support its idea, it isn’t a feasible content to be promoted.
How to come up with ideas for useful GIF quick tutorials:
When you are done brainstorming for topic ideas, you can use any of the following tools to create your own GIF quick tutorial:
Once content is published, spend time monitoring publishers who have used your quick tutorial in their own webpages. You can use Tineye to track websites that stole your branded GIF, which you can reach out to reclaim unlinked mentions.
Image optimization is one of the best practices in search marketing as it helps sites’ branded visuals to rank for targeted keywords and absorbs additional search traffic from organic source.
Given that content creators are using search engines to look for high quality images, ranking highly for image search also allows your visuals to be featured on other relevant blogs. – and if they’re not linked to you as the source, you can pitch them and ask for a link.
Here’s a quick checklist of points to complete for each visual:
When building links to new domains of your brand, one tactic that search marketers often overlook is reclaiming links built to old web properties. These are links pointing to hosted sites like WordPress.com and other free platforms or links to old owned domains. You may have started blogging using these old/hosted sites and received several links to it, but sooner have a blog on your own domain or have bought a new one.
The optimal process is to check your old web properties and see if there are other websites (not owned by you) pointing to your old website. Get these links changed by asking existing linkers to link to the right destination pages or you can permanently (301) redirect old pages to their equivalent landing pages in your new website. This is very important since you don’t want to redirect all pages from old site to new site’s homepage only unless it’s relevant and beneficial to do so.
A few more tips to keep in mind when requesting to change links from old domains to new websites:
There are a hundred options of tools on the web that helps link builders track unlinked mentions, identify broken pages in their websites or initiate conversations through email outreach, but here is my own recommended toolset that can assist you in a link reclamation workflow.
This is probably the most accessible tool in the market that supports in-house and agency link builders for tracking existing mentions – whether linked or unlinked. This free tool also allows viewing websites’ data – domain authority, page authority and number of linking root domains, which makes it easy for search marketers to prioritize outreach prospects that might generate the highest link value.
Agency link builders can execute link reclamation at scale by renaming Google sheet with their own labels of clients’ campaigns.
If you are lowering costs on premium SEO tools, then this one might be a good option to add to your link reclamation toolset.
Note: Google is a bit slow returning data in the spreadsheet, but aside from that, the tool works pretty well.
Brandmention’s main value from a link reclamation perspective is sending email notifications whenever a mention of your content has been tracked. It enables you to monitor branded mentions in real time while doing your other marketing tasks. This keeps you on loop for new publishers you can get in touch for content partnerships.
What keeps this tool distinct from other mention tracking products are its notable features – language filtering and location-based sifting. This allows you to prioritize mentions from certain audiences where you could further analyze why and how these mentions had been placed.
If you’re tracking open rates in outreach, MailTrack.io provides a free option to guarantee reporting for that said key performance indicator. If you play in an industry where publishers aren’t responsive in emails, open rates enables you to counteract communication issues. Options might include switching to another subject line that captures immediate interests from recipients or adding more personalization straight to subject lines in order to nudge email opens from prospects.
It also allows you to know when content creators read your emails, giving you a framework for optimal email scheduling times. If you’re using emails for link reclamation outreach, you need to be using MailTrack.io.
Tineye might be the most underrated image reclamation tool that exists on the web. It enables you to track websites that stole your branded visuals – whether it is a logo, infographic or company staff photo and when these publishers haven’t refer to you as their original source, reach out to them and reclaim image-source links.
Additionally, if you are working in an image-heavy space where every section of the content requires photos, you might consider adding Tineye to your link reclamation toolset for image reverse engineering purposes.
Siegemedia’s Embed Code Generator is a simple but powerful tool for distributing visual content to other publishing websites with the full guarantee of linking to you as the original creator.
Aside from its customization features which include image and embed box resize, it enables you to see the preview of embed code straight from the platform itself. The tool gives you lower probability that other industry content creators will not link to you as the main reference for customized images.
Mention.net is the next-best option in terms of uncovering mentions of your brand based on various sources such as social, news, blogs, videos and forums. The difference-maker of this tool is its capability of filtering web mentions using sentiments (neutral, positive and negative). This aids you to easily see negative mentions that you can counteract immediately through proper response.
It also allows you to filter results by tags which you can use to sort data according to industries, keywords and content properties.
301 Redirects is a simple and free tool for WordPress users. For introductory link builders without a set of programming skills or access to FTP files, this plugin enables you to permanently redirect links to corresponding webpages.
On a link reclamation perspective, this workflow helps you preserve a smooth flow of link equity through your website by minimizing internal broken pages.
The main course of link reclamation is outreach, which is basically asking publishers who haven’t linked to you as the source, to get them attribute to your content asset by linking to it.
Conversion rates using this workflow normally gets 50% and even goes up to 100% if everything is executed correctly.
To get the best results for your link reclamation outreach, below are a few outreach strategies with examples of email templates that you can test for yourself.
Once you tracked all publishers who’ve mentioned you or grab a certain content asset (but didn’t linked to you), you can reach out to them and ask to give you credits as references.
Being aggressive – i.e. using copyright law or license as the initial paragraph in your pitch that doesn’t sounds polite often decreases response rate. Though this is not the case maybe for publishers whom you’ve built relationships with before as they would normally take time to go to their site’s dashboard and give you links from their pages.
The best practice still is to make your pitch sound that you actually want to spark connections with them and being kind to ask for links from their websites.
Here’s an outreach template for asking links from publishers who haven’t credit you as their references:
Subject: Thanks for mentioning [ SITE/BRAND NAME]Hi [ NAME ],Hope you’re doing great day.I would like to drop a quick message to say thank you for mentioning [ BRAND NAME ] in your post – [URL].I noticed that you hadn’t included details of our brand and was wondering if you would be kind to include a link pointing to our website, so your visitors would see more information about your reference.Thanks againKind regards,[ YOUR NAME ]
Subject: Thanks for mentioning [ SITE/BRAND NAME]
Hope you’re doing great day.
I would like to drop a quick message to say thank you for mentioning [ BRAND NAME ] in your post – [URL].
I noticed that you hadn’t included details of our brand and was wondering if you would be kind to include a link pointing to our website, so your visitors would see more information about your reference.
The request to change destination pages in links pointing to your old properties, sad to say, is often ignored by bloggers and content creators. What we’ve tested that best nudge these publishers to take an action is to give them reasons why doing so is useful for their websites.
Here are a few points that you can add to your pitch that increases the odds to get bloggers change links’ destination pages:
Here’s an email copy to use for email outreach.
Subject: Broken link on [ SITE NAME ]Hi [ NAME ],Hope you’re doing well.It’s [ NAME ] from [ BRAND NAME ]. I noticed that you were linking to one of our old page, which has now been moved.The link is on this page [ URL OF THEIR PAGE ] and is pointing to [ OLD URL ] using the phrase [ ANCHOR TEXT].I’m wondering if you could possibly update the link to [ NEW URL ].Your readers would benefit from this as they can now see the information they are actually looking for.Thanks for your time.Best regards,[ YOUR NAME ]
Subject: Broken link on [ SITE NAME ]
Hope you’re doing well.
It’s [ NAME ] from [ BRAND NAME ]. I noticed that you were linking to one of our old page, which has now been moved.
The link is on this page [ URL OF THEIR PAGE ] and is pointing to [ OLD URL ] using the phrase [ ANCHOR TEXT].
I’m wondering if you could possibly update the link to [ NEW URL ].
Your readers would benefit from this as they can now see the information they are actually looking for.
Thanks for your time.
One of the most obvious but often overlooked strategies in link reclamation is finding publishers who had misspelled your brand or product name in their mentions and asking them for spelling corrections. This process may be useful to a few cases where brand names are spelled incorrectly:
There are still other cases where brand names could be misspelled aside from what’s mentioned – use this tool to generate misspelled variations of your brand name.
Once you’ve identified misspelled mentions, it’s time to reach out to publishers using this email template:
Subject: Could you edit this?Hello [ NAME ],It’s [ YOUR NAME ] from [ SITE NAME ].We noticed that your page [ ENTER POST URL ] is linking to [ SITE NAME ] – thank you so much for the love. Unfortunately, the link is spelled incorrectly and we’d like to ask you for a favor if you could correct this – so your readers could easily find our website.The proper spelling of our website is [ SITE NAME ].Is it possible to update the link?Thank you,[ YOUR NAME ]
Subject: Could you edit this?
Hello [ NAME ],
It’s [ YOUR NAME ] from [ SITE NAME ].
We noticed that your page [ ENTER POST URL ] is linking to [ SITE NAME ] – thank you so much for the love. Unfortunately, the link is spelled incorrectly and we’d like to ask you for a favor if you could correct this – so your readers could easily find our website.
The proper spelling of our website is [ SITE NAME ].
Is it possible to update the link?
Additionally, you can monitor misspelled variation of your brand name with the highest number of mentions using tools like BrandMentions. This workflow, when found to be successful over time, can also be added to your link reclamation process.
There are several other options you can try to get backlinks from other content creators besides aforementioned link reclamation methods.
Want to take your link building to the next level – — but don’t know where to start, and are feeling overwhelmed by this post.
We are here to help you. SharpRocket is a team of link building specialists who love building high quality links.
To learn more about how we can help, take a look at the services we offer.