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.
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).
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.
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”:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
Now you can sort “Occurrences” column by descending order to display highest to lowest number of occurrences.
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:
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.
Filter links based on the following link acquisition approaches:
You can quickly determine the linker’s approach by identifying “clues” on the page/site.
Submission-based websites like directories normally have “submit your page” or “submit your site” pages on their navigation menus.
Supplying the webmaster with details about your website/blog is a requirement to get listed on their pages.
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:
Here are a few examples of link-request resource pages.
Non-commerciality of external links
Tip: Use QuixApp lastmod command to check the page’s 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.
Tip: Use inbound/outbound and followed/no-followed overlay features of Mozbar to quickly check links’ attributes and pointing sources.
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.
This could be in a form of sponsored article or a non-paid guest post.
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
Roundups (group interview)
Mentioning the brand to check as 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
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.
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).
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.
by Venchito Tampon Jr
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:
“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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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
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.
I liked the three primary reasons Jon Cooper listed why SEOs and link builders should consider prospecting for relevant blogs/sites:
You need to start prioritizing relevance today as your primary metric in link prospecting.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chris 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
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:
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.
Set the options to display the number of referring domains for each external link.
Check 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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
2. Bullying and Substance Abuse: Who It Affects and Why
Linkable audience: People concerned about bullying in schools.
3. Degrees for Mental Health and Addiction Professionals
Linkable audience: Job seekers in the mental health and addiction niche
4. LGBTQ+ and Addiction
You may notice that these audiences served by resource curators (not necessarily bloggers/journalists, etc..) fall into one of these categories:
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.
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..).
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.
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).
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.
Its best feature, “Buzzmaker” allows you to view or save details of a specific prospect, which are useful basically when personalizing your pitches.
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:
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.
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).
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).
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.
Domain Authority of Moz is probably the most common metric used by SEOs and link builders to gauge the site or page’s authority.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Website: Citation Labs
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.
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.
If you’re an agency working on enterprise blogger outreach campaigns, it is best to use SEMRush for link qualification efforts.
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.
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.
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.
Website: Broken Link Building
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.
Tried manually plugging in a domain into SEMRush tool? Do this with ease using this bookmarket.
Boomerang is a great email outreach tool that keeps you on the loop both with responsive and non-responsive contacts.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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).
Website: Ninja Outreach
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.
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.
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.
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.
Website: Embed Code Generator
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.
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
If you are handling several content management accounts, Wordable aids you with uploading content from Google Docs straight to WordPress accounts.
Not 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.
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 (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.
Menial tasks can eat some of your time. In link building, qualifying thousands of prospects using certain metrics can easily be outsourced.
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
When Google releases its real-time update of Penguin, many webmasters have started to take link-audit as part of their regular internal execution.
Using 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.
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.
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
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.
Install 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
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.
Website: Open Site Explorer
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.
As a company who loves building backlinks, it’s a must to do for us to come up with new innovative link building tips, not for the sake of posting something new here on the blog, but for keeping continuous improvements on how to get backlinks to our clients.
Here is a list of link building tips for 2017 that may not be new to some link developers, but you’ll actually find a different angle that is worth considering to generate more results for your own process
You might have used “list-type” of queries to find backlink sources. However, the problem with some directory sites listing “top industry blogs” is that they are outdated and often include bloggers’ other websites (private blog network) – when overlooked, this might actually lead you to low-quality backlink prospects.
Instead of getting quick backlink sources from “top x” blog prospecting, you can look for author’s personal recommendation of websites by using simple Google searches like “personal [industry] blogs I recommended”. With this, you’ll find an updated and topically-relevant list pages of recommended blogs. This is actually part of personalizing search queries for a targeted link prospecting approach.
Adding a few lines to your email like, “I stumbled upon a list of personal recommended blogs from domain.com and saw that you’re part of it” could make outreach significantly more effective. When you are giving people an idea where you got their contacts, you are instantly building connections with them.
Using footprints to make backlink research easier has been a common practice in the internet marketing space. If you typically prospect with “guest post-related queries”, it becomes less hassle to find blogs that are accepting contributed content pieces.
Of course, do this sparingly if you don’t want search engines to detect backlinks with only one keyword in place – i.e. “guest post finance”.
That’s not to say that footprints aren’t of good use for link builders. The best practice is actually using them as a backlink qualifier.
For example, you probably have seen blogger attributions at the footer section of every website (“powered by blogger” or “powered by wordpress”). Websites with this type of attribution are personally developed by sole bloggers or those who are at their newbie blogging phase – not with company sites, they’ll likely remove this default attribution and replace it with something else, “Designed by [Web Company” or “Copyright 2017”.
If you’re seeking blog opportunities, you can use CMS attribution to separate blogs from company sites – giving you better response and link acquisition results.
When you send pitches to webmasters and get automated responses, it’s fairly easy to ignore them and proceed to another prospect in the list. However, if you spend time finding these potential backlinks, it would be best to reconnect again and build bridges to them.
For this reason, you can check the exact date the person is likely to return to work – 100% of the time, this is visible in their automated emails (see the email above).
Schedule follow-up emails at return dates, and use the same value proposition you’ve initially pitched.
Marketers talk about using Twitter solely for content promotion all the time. However, on a link building perspective, you can actually use this social platform to prospect for blogs that aren’t just giving you social shares, but also qualified backlinks.
Start your Google search with query, site:twitter.com inurl:lists inurl:members inurl:finance “finance blogger” and prioritize Twitter lists that are labeled with recommended experts, influencers, top bloggers and titles alike, so you would spend less time qualifying linking websites from Twitter profiles in lists based on link metrics.
This works more efficiently if you can automate this link prospecting process using URL Profiler. You can check out this step by step guide to scrape Twitter lists to for bulk prospecting.
James Norquay introduced me to this idea of generating content ideas through the use of Facebook page. A simple trick like asking a relevant question to thousands of followers (if the client happens to maintain this growth) can ease the difficulty of brainstorming a content theme that resonates a target audience.
Having said that, this is a powerful workflow a content marketer can repeatedly execute, not only for content creation, but also for increasing the chances of promoting the content. If you aggregate answers from followers, you can effortlessly ask them to share the content piece, once published.
Facebook allows for more content visibility when people get nudged for every comment that is added to the post, as it pushes back to the timeline every time – giving some feedback to every answer, i.e. saying thank you also provides extra nudge.
Generating backlinks from web communities is tough. If your main strategy is creating individual profiles from each of these community sites and inserting backlinks to your brand, you’re missing out huge potential equities you could derived from them.
The best 2017 link building practice is to impress members with contributed content, interesting questions and immediate submission of 10x content. If you repeatedly do this, you’ll create a flywheel effect that builds an impressive online presence, which will eventually result to backlinks.
One pro tip here is to observe Ask Me Anything-like opportunities and become the first one to grab it – while moderators qualify based on expertise, there is a higher probability to be included in their line-up of AMA experts if you become the first to pitch them.
This strategy works for us at SharpRocket, as we’re able to build high-quality backlinks from Reddit (DA70) and Inbound.org (DA90). Not a surprise – this drives converting visitors to our sites who became our current clients today.
Content matters, but it’s not actually the king – value proposition is. What keep pages ranked for a long time is their ability to satisfy users with information they’re looking for.
When you stumble a keyword with high search volume, but with high content gap from any ranking pages, you have spotted a goldmine there. This tip is actually inspired by Dan Shure’s post on Twitter – that is executable when targeting informational searches with nothing to compete in the SERPs.
By giving content chances to rank in low-competitive non-commercial keywords, it’s very possible that many publishers and researchers will pick up the page when it gets ranked and use it as a reference to their content works.
If you can create different content pieces that easily rank in search, of course, you earn high-quality editorial backlinks over time – doing less efforts in outreach.
If you’re pitching webmasters with right timing – early morning on peak days of the week, you probably see good results in your outreach response and conversion rates. Even if content can speak for itself, when an email isn’t read on days and hours when people are likely to see it, you potentially lose the likelihood of hitting a link.
Having said that, there’s also one best practice that supports right timing – that is, aligning outreach with high traffic periods.
If your most visited days in your newly published content are Tuesday and Thursday, it would be best to reach out to people where there’s higher probability that the relevant outreach market is ready to link to your page. If you’ve got an access to client’s analytics, track the highest traffic periods and match this up when scheduling emails. You can check out this guide for a complete setup on the blogger outreach process.
When working on a round-up post, it’s pretty easy to start emailing industry influencers with a question – what is your best X strategy in 2017?, then end the email with a straight call-to-action, “mind sharing the post?”. This strategy works for some content marketers, but there’s a higher probability that this may not resonate to verticals who understand what this game is – influencers might answer the question but won’t be enticed to share the curated piece.
However, there’s a more advanced way to come up with round-up posts that are likely to result to shares and high-quality links – which only a few content management teams dare to create…. success stories.
Have you encountered a case study that walks you through the entire process on how to do a thing? This immediately takes you to action, right? and encourages you to share the piece to others even without testing it first.
Combine success stories with a round-up post and you’ll end up with a 10x content that is worthy of social shares and high-quality links.
One best example of this is the annual success stories (2013, 2014 and 2015), produced by the content marketing team at PageOnePower. These linkable assets combine different success stories from top link building experts on areas of content promotion, relationships, publicity and mentions, innovation and creative and business-oriented links.
Success-type curated content is unique, comprehensive and repeatable – there’s unlikely contributions will be the same since they’re based from own experiences. Experts combined into one post make the content also comprehensive – making it repeatable given that there are actually new stories to tell every year.
The ability to construct productive Google search queries will separate success from failure in link prospecting. The more concrete and specific a search query is, the better search-driven pages it would yield – after all, it’s about the quality, not quantity. If you see 5 million results from a particular search query while not being sure if most of them pass your link metrics, then it would make sense to get more particular with your link prospecting keywords to discover high-quality link targets instantly.
In our day-to-day tasks of finding and qualifying blog targets for our clients (an average of 500 each client), we’ve noticed that list-type of content dominate the search results.
If you take a look at them, they are constructed in such a way like this:
The secret to expanding a list of outreach prospects is using above keyword-formats along with the intitle:”1..300” advanced search operator (hat tip to @pointblankseo)– the first and last number serves as the start and end point, respectively. For example, if you’re looking for blog posts with 10 or more photography tips, you can use the search query: intitle:”10..300 tips” “photography”.
Take advantage of this when you have content – product or resource that is perceivably useful to the audience, which is likely be included in a list-type of content.
Like in other areas of digital marketing, maintenance is critically practiced in link acquisition to ensure link values won’t deteriorate. Backlinks could potentially lose their values for many reasons, such as:
When link value depreciates, the overall backlink profile could negatively affect the site’s top ranking pages – pulling them down to lower pages of search results. This often happens when backlinks is a differentiating ranking factor to compete in a certain vertical.
Having said that, lifetime link value considers to be a standard metric when qualifying if a link on a particular page/site can offer long term value to the linking brand.
Making the above reasons opposite are the exact tips to ensure backlinks appreciate in its value:
When you can predict the lifetime link value of a backlink from a particular domain/page, it’s easy to prioritize outreach prospects – looking at the highest return of investment you could get even from a single backlink.
I’ve been using Linkclump for almost a year now, and it’s a guaranteed of big help for link builders trying to expand their link lists in less time. The tool enables you to open links on search results or custom lists in new tabs or new windows – with a simple drag using the right mouse button on the target area.
Linkclump also allows multiple links to be bookmarked or copied to clipboard for immediate or future use. Smart select opens done this way, when combined in several minutes is a huge time saver for bulk link prospecting.
There is still one particular use of Linkclump that others aren’t familiar with, but definitely provides great value – filter links that contain or exclude particular words. For example, if you’re working on a guest blogging campaign – with no particulars on sponsored posts, you can add the words, sponsored post, sponsored, paid post as words to be excluded when manipulating link lists. With this, you won’t open links that contain particular words that aren’t relevant to a link building tactic you’re using – another time-saver tip.
Content reusage, commonly termed as content curation coined by Aleyda Solis, is the process of organizing and presenting outside content in a new, meaningful way either through updating, expanding, reformatting, curating and refocusing a particular content piece.
Utilizing content reusage as part of your entire link acquisition campaign drives significant advantage to determining an outreach market. For example, an outdated content piece with 100+ referring domains linking to it, can be revisited and plugged in to a favorite backlink research tool (Ahrefs, OSE or CognitiveSEO) to see which of the links are obtainable. Once the updated version of the content has been published on your site, it’s easier to build backlinks to the page given that there’s an available and qualified backlink prospects to reach out and to acquire backlinks from.
There is one advantage when competing in non-marketing heavy verticals – some bloggers and webmasters aren’t taught of non-indexing pages to avoid duplication issues and help the website maintain only quality pages as part of the site’s search-driven pages.
While this is unfortunate to some publishers, you can use this to your own advantage by constructing search queries with taxonomies, such as tags and categories.
Based on our internal research, we’ve found out that using the above search queries generate more qualified backlink prospects than using normal searches like how to x in industry – being more specific with keywords when using inurl:tag (i.e. inurl:tag “startup tips”) are more topically relevant than generic tag keywords.
Comment marketing is one of the overlooked and misused link acquisition techniques, primarily because most SEOs don’t see the benefits one can gain from this simple link building trick like setting yourself as an expert in the industry, being invited to become a guest contributor, building relationships with other authority publishers, so on and so forth.
Most importantly, one comment nudge from community-based blogs like this and this can generate hundreds of referral traffic to a site, which may lead to actual assisted conversions without actually spending much time to execute the entire link building tactic.
Be the first one to comment on an authority blog (use RSS feeds plus email to get you notified immediately if there’s a new post that has been published) and make it as part of your regular content efforts with the intent of getting clicks from blog readers (see example above).
Target pages that are likely to rank in search – content assets that are targeted with keywords or content themes instead of plain theories, so when you build a link from these pages, you can constantly send relevant traffic to your site.
Increasing visibility in search results through proper link building while getting leads from referral visits (conversion link building) is hitting two birds with one stone. While this may not always happen, but if you can actually anticipate that links built from a relevant site/page could drive potential customers/clients to your brand, this is something you must prioritize in your link development campaign.
Find and participate on topically-relevant discussions that people are actually searching for when looking for recommended products/services. Here is a list of example Google search queries that you can try:
Another link building trick here is to find commonly-asked questions with commercial intent on AnswerthePublic and utilize them as search queries with combined search operator inurl.
Additionally, if you’re targeting multiple verticals or you’re handling a set of clients with the same target audience (i.e. Australian-focused), you can acquire backlinks from multi-category forum sites like Whirlpool. This type of sites often get visited by people who can easily be converted into customers/clients – so it’s a big win to earn backlinks from them.
Link prospecting consumes a lot of hours, three times more than time spent for outreach. So it’s a definite need to use link prospecting tools that filter sites better in less time but still providing relevant pages.
There are a lot of this kind of tools, but one I highly recommend is MillionShort. From the name it derives, it ignores the 1 million most popular websites on the internet, which makes it easier for link builders to find less-authoritative blogs. Needless to say, this is not actually fit for high-level development campaigns, specifically targeting huge online publication sites.
MillionShort has a drop-down list that also provides you the option of removing only the top 100 or the top 100,000. Definitely fit for low to medium-level link development campaigns, the search engine tool helps the entire link prospecting process focused on pages derived from long-tail searches.
When you can predict if backlinks are obtainable from a certain page/site, it’s actually easy to decide whether or not that link prospect is worthy to spend minutes of outreach. While there’s no guarantee of exact percentage of link probability, you can estimate it based on a number of indicators, which are listed below:
Consider the context of a link and purpose of page when qualifying prospects. The page may be exactly relevant to your vertical (gardening to gardening) but only offers to demographic-based visitors. For example, in this particular resource, you’ll have less chances of acquiring a link from it if you have a Texas gardening resource page given that the purpose of the page is to provide research-based information to Georgia gardeners – take note that cities of USA have different gardening and landscaping atmospheres/areas.
Another indicator to look at is link type – determining if link is local, national or general-focused, contextual or site-wide, resource page link or blog link. If you have an AU-focused html page and is itching to get a link, you will immediately reach out to the owner of this resource page and request for a backlink. But you’ll likely end up in failure because the page mostly links out to pdfs and publications sites.
Make sure these considerations become part of metrics so you can save time in your outreach process and most importantly, helps you personalize outreach emails with the right context.
Publishers and content creators often reference co-authors in their content assets by mentioning their social profiles (see image above). These social content can actually earn more backlinks than any page in the website, which is a lost equity if you have many of those but are not pointing to your website.
With the use of link tracking tools (see image below), you can discover pages currently linking to your social profiles. Some social links aren’t convertible into editorial links, such as those that are included in a list-type content (top 50 SEOs to follow on Twitter).
However, there are backlinks that of good use like those that referenced your content, quotes/statements – Brian Dean shared an actionable advice to… and stolen your assets – copied infographic that linked to your social profile, not to your website.
Once you’ve filtered high quality domains that can benefit your site, you can use this email copy to reach out to them:
Hi [Name],I noticed that you mentioned my content about [topic] in one of your blog posts at [SiteName]. I appreciate you linked to my Twitter profile.Just wondering if there’s any chance you can link instead to my profile page in my website. Thank you again,[Your Name],
I noticed that you mentioned my content about [topic] in one of your blog posts at [SiteName]. I appreciate you linked to my Twitter profile.
Just wondering if there’s any chance you can link instead to my profile page in my website.
Thank you again,
The key here is to create a branded page in your website so it’ll be easy for publishers to link to you.
Not all backlinks remain for a long time, some are actually lost or deleted due to webmasters’ preference – either they removed the link in the content or replace it with another content source.
Lost backlinks aren’t easily recovered since the webmaster may actually abandon the site – leaving no rooms for re-engagement. While removed backlinks can still be recovered by doing an outreach to webmasters and asking if they can add back your link or acquire another link from a different page in the same website – both are best ways to get backlinks.
You can start this link building tactic by using Ahrefs to grab websites that removed your backlinks and put them in a list – since these links are normally labeled removed, you can easily identify them in the Ahrefs dashboard.
Once you’re done with the link list, you can get their contact details and reach out to them. A few ways to make your outreach works more effective:
Given that you’ve built previous relationships with these webmasters in your initial pitch, you would get a better response rate compared to pitching cold emails to new outreach prospects.
Guest blogging still works, but how it is practiced differentiates great content marketers from newbies. If you’ve been prospecting in search using the same and only footprints in 2012 (guest post by, sponsored post, etc..), you are missing out a lot of other opportunities that could easily be converted into links.
One way to prospect for guest blogging opportunities is through the use of web mention tools like BrandMentions or Mention to find recently published guest posts that are relevant to your industry.
Finding these link targets makes a lot of difference in your link acquisition results given that they are more receptive to outreach compared to domains gathered through search footprints.
In a content-based link acquisition process, it always start with finding the available resources a client/business have. Whether it’s online or offline, these assets if used extensively, can entice publishers and niche-like content creators to link to your site.
Offline events like trainings and seminars have slide presentations that are ready to be uploaded to Slideshare. If you’ve got a client with these assets, you’re reaching a goldmine others won’t consider in their own link acquisition campaigns.
If you take a look at Rand Fishkin’s Slideshare profile, he had 100 different slide presentations on his account, which if you’ll plug in over to your favorite link building tool, you’ll discover 3,778 total links from 252+ different LRDs – linked by publishers in three different ways:
Export a list of linking sites or create your own and filter them based on quality. Once done, you can brainstorm link building tactics on what to execute for each filtered domain, below are some examples:
The main advantage of these slideshare link opportunities is that they convert better than other asset link sources, as some (event participants) had actually interacted with your client.
If you know a person runs a website but can’t find a particular email address, you’ll likely send a generic outreach email to a generic email address – asking the person if he can forward your email to the right person. You won’t be aware but this type of emails often get deleted instantly. The webmaster may only be using the generic email address for personal conversations.
Additionally, if you are not doing outreach for generic emails and proceed to another prospect on your list, you’ll miss out the link that could be converted through a conversation with the person behind the generic email-ad.
Needless to say, always use the name of the webmaster or publisher as part of your greetings – personalizing your email even for generic email addresses.
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 backlinks.
To learn more about how we can help, take a look at the services we offer.
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:
email@example.com – you can get this email straight from the scholarship listing page
firstname.lastname@example.org – 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.
email@example.com 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:
Backlink research is the most difficult part in link building.
Yes, you heard it right.
If you can’t find tons of link opportunities and qualify them based on your campaign’s metrics, you wouldn’t have backlinks.
The most successful link builders are the ones who are very good at finding backlinks.
In this post, I’ll walk you through how to research for backlink sources by using just one link building tool that I’ve been tested and been helpful for my entire SEO career.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not selling anything (not an affiliate of this web product). In fact, I have some bonus resources for you. Tip: I’m opening my second giveaway today.
Let’s get started.
Ahrefs has been my true friend in finding backlinks opportunities that wouldn’t just come through a normal Google search.
Here are 9 backlink research tactics to build a giant list of thousand link opportunities.
It’s easy to start a link building campaign and go directly find new ones in your way.
However, you miss out knowing about existing linkers to your website who are actually waiting to be engaged with your brand.
The question that pops up is, why would I waste time building relationships with someone who already linked to us?
Getting backlinks from websites that already linked to you is a good signal for search engines that your site is a trusted source of good web information.
It’s a big advantage on your part simply because every time you publish new content on your blog, you’ll have existing linkeraties waiting to reference your post in their future content pieces.
That’s a less costly way than manually finding new link opportunities and cold reaching out to them.
Use the Alerts feature of Ahrefs.
Click into Alerts – Add Alert (orange button placed at the right).
Enter your domain URL.
Mode should be on a domain level.
Choose “New Backlinks” as your Scope since you only want alerts for new backlinks.
Enter your email to which alerts will be sent to.
Then set frequency either daily or weekly depending on how many times you’d like to receive email alerts. I recommend you choose daily alerts, so you can reach out to that new linker right after you received an alert for a new backlink.
Linker outreach is a continuous process.
If content is excellent, it’ll earn organic backlinks over time.
But what if?
You have just created content asset but don’t get any attraction at all.
What you need to do is look at your other publishers’ similar content and reverse engineer their newly earned backlinks.
The advantage here is that linkers of your content competitors are more receptive to initial pitches than those whose content has been published years or months ago.
Publishers who have just posted their articles are still looking for additional resources/references to add to their own content, which makes it more comprehensive.
Here’s good news for you:
You can semi-automate this process using our tool for today.
You can create alerts to receive an email if a backlink is built/earned by that similar content piece.
Go to Ahrefs Alerts – Backlinks
Click the “add alert” button at the right.
Enter the URL of your content competitor’s content
Choose URL as your mode.
Enter your email for Recipients.
Click daily or weekly depending on your frequency preference.
You lose backlinks.
This happens, whether you like it or not.
Whether a webmaster deletes a page linking to your site and/or haven’t redirected a non-existing page to a new one, you loss a backlink.
It could also be that you have a 404 page and you’re not aware that it earned/built backlinks in the past.
You can’t redirect because there’s no new similar page or simply just forgot redirection.
You can actually reclaim those broken backlinks, reach out to those past linkers and let them add a link to your other relevant page.
Enter your domain URL in the Dashboard or Site Explorer then click Explore.
See Backlinks section then click Broken. It will direct you into the list of broken links and your linking pages in the Anchor and backlink column.
You have two options here:
Broken link building has become popular for two reasons:
It adds value to the webmaster fixing his resource page for online users.
You get a backlink pointing to your own page.
If you want to scale broken link building, you need a tool to check if there are any broken links found on the page.
That can be your value proposition when reaching out to the webmaster, saying I found a broken resource on your page, would you want to fix it?
Plug in the URL of the content and choose URL in the drop down menu, then click “Explore”.
Go to Outgoing Links section and click Broken links.
If there are no results, that means there are no broken links on the page. Take note I found it useful in some cases, so I use LinkMiner instead.
I’ve seen most content marketers have this common process of finding similar content to reach out to for links.
This simple process is mostly time-consuming.
You can actually semi-automate this entire process by using Ahrefs.
Go to Content Explorer, type in your target keyword or niche topic, then click “Explore”.
Publish: it should be all time.
Language: I prefer English, if you’re looking for English language sites.
Highlight unlinked domains: click this button and enter your domain to highlight pages that haven’t linked to your webpage.
Relevance: Sort it by traffic, so you can see first high-traffic websites.
Using Google searches to find guest blogging or content distribution opportunities would still require filtering using metrics you prefer (DA, SEMRush traffic, TF, CF, etc..)
If you do searches for “guest post by” “author’s name” or “written by” “author’s name” plus any other similar terms, Google will give you results of different types and not all of them are entirely guest posts, some could be “business profiles”, citations, so on and so forth.
Ahrefs has its advanced option of seeking for industry blogs that you can reach out to for content placement.
Go to Content Explorer.
Type in author:name
Replace name with a popular guest blogger or an industry content contributor.
Sort websites by Traffic, if you’re aiming to build exposure to websites that already market themselves (with good traffic in other words).
This is optional. Click Highlight unlinked domains, then add your domain to only see websites that you haven’t acquired backlinks yet.
Glen Allsopp shared this “around” search operator in his post about advanced link building, which all link builders can use to increase their link prospect rate.
Quite interesting because I’ve been building backlinks for years, but haven’t discovered that yet.
Anyway, the idea with using around search operator is to find link prospects that includes two words that are in close proximity but are not together. For example, submit and “guest post” in this search query are not together but both are in close proximity not more than 4 words apart.
Ahrefs allows you to do this.
Type in your target keywords or keyphrase.
For example, if you are looking for branded mention opportunities in your industry, you can try using “BRAND” “keyword”~5. For example, “ahrefs” “link building”~5. Then choose “Title” in the drop down menu.
This gives you results that have the “keyword “health” and with words “submit article” that are 4 words apart from each other.
I’ve seen most competitor link analysis fail for two reasons:
One is that link builders don’t know how to identify the right competitors. They only like to dig into links pointing to top sites like Forbes and Huffingting Post, then analyze how those links were built. Sites like these are authority in all industries and that’s enough for them to rank and be linked to heavily by publishers.
They are not your competitors, if you are still starting to build your own brand, find those who are ranking on similar content but haven’t much gained higher authority rate. Know if both of you are targeting the same audience in the same buyer’s journey. Look at their SEMRush traffic and total domain referring domains.
Know if it’s realistic to compete with them.
Second reason why competitor link analysis fail is because some think that creating a list of backlink opportunities of all competitors is the starting and end points of the process.
There’s a reason why it is called link analysis, because obviously you want to analyze how those links were built and/or earned. What content type is linkable in nature in your industry? How do the audience resonated with the piece and why did it go viral, if it did?
These are just a few questions you should ask yourself before you get your hands dirty with link building.
Once you’ve identified who your real competitors are.
Go to Ahrefs, click into Tools and choose “Link Intersect” in the drop down menu.
Include all your competitors’ domains in blank sections under “Show me who is linking to all of the below targets”. You can use the plus button if you have more than three competitors.
Then click “Show link opportunities” button.
This is what results look like.
I can go forward to acquire same links and mentions from top websites that all linked to my competitors. For example, I can then create a WarriorForum profile and start answering questions there and posting relevant threads with referential links to my relevant content.
What I simply like about Ahrefs is its ability to scale processes. If you’re working in an agency, you know it is vital to get all things done as soon as possible to bring in more results for each client’s link building campaign that you handle.
The batch analysis feature of Ahrefs can help you generate multiple backlink repots at once by simply entering a list of domains or URLs you’d like to reverse engineer pointing backlinks to.
If you are trying to see how your website performs in terms of link acquisition compared to your competitor sites, you can use batch analysis to quickly see the gap between your site’s backlink performance and from your competitors.
You can get some insights on different things, such as:
If you are executing broken link building at scale, batch link analysis is very useful in identifying which broken page can be recreated or upgraded to another version of the content.
By inserting all URLs of broken pages you’ve found in your list and sorting them from highest to lowest referring domains, you’ll then see which broken page has acquired the highest number of backlinks.
See if that page is feasible to be recreated, use all resources to get it published on your site and reach out to those who have linked to the piece.
How do you use Ahrefs for your daily or weekly link building use?
Or maybe you have a question on how to implement any of the backlink research tactics 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.
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?
There are two phases that we always keep improving at SharpRocket: link research and outreach. Changes we made on the process aren’t intended for additional link building tactics, but to yield big improvements for our clients’ link development campaigns.
I’ve written a post last year about link building 2015 tactics, which I guess would need another remake for 2016.
Link builders and inbound marketers in general should understand that they don’t need additional link building strategies for 2016 but should be observant and creative for small tweaks to their existing process to make it work effective for their campaigns.
Without further ado, let’s go with 13 link building tips for 2016 and beyond.
As link building evolves, old-fashioned spammers turned into manual email outreachers also changed the way they construct email copies. They don’t look like spammers now but if you’ve been receiving several emails from them, there it seems a spamming hint.
“I’ve been reading your site, www.domain.com” for quite some time”
“I’m an avid fan of your blog, www.domain.com”
“I noticed you’re interested in [industry]” (but they’re coming up with guest blog ideas that aren’t relevant to my niche).
All of these introductory messages indicate false sincerity. It means that you want to please other people by saying things nice to them (i.e. being a fan of their blog) without doing them actually (i.e. reading or even subscribing to their blogs) – well, all boils down to a lie.
Avoid these introductions to your email. It won’t personalize your copy simply by using them.
Here are some useful personalization tips to increase email and response rates:
Do you have common issues that result to some inefficiency in your current link building process? Problems like which email should be prioritized (if there are multiple emails listed in a contact us page), differentiating a company website from a blog (when training new link builders) or simply identifying if a page/site is high quality or not (based on certain campaigns’ metrics).
Questions regarding these issues could be answered through creating a checklist. Checklist for link building helps you answer work-related questions of your link builders (especially for new ones) without the need to routinely provide them with answers.
Samples of checklists that we’ve been using internally for scalability are:
Broken link building is known in the search marketing industry as one of the effective link building techniques in all time. Pros like Jon Cooper and Garrett French who mastered this art very well provide actionable link building guides to help you create linkable assets and properly do outreach campaigns.
The basic process of broken link building goes like this:
There is another way to do broken link building and we’d like to call it – inverted broken link building.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to do it:
Step 1: Find broken pages in your industry (you can find broken links in your existing list of resource pages – use LinkMiner to check for broken link opportunities).
Step 2: Dive into Archive.org to see their visible recent content. You can also look at the number of available pages/sites linking to those broken pages to see if there is a high link potential on a specific topic.
Step 3: When done brainstorming for a topic that is highly linkable (with available linkable audience).Create 10x content on that content idea and ensure that it is better than information contained in broken pages (when they were lived).
Step 4: Find existing linkers to broken pages and list their contact details in a spreadsheet/document.
Step 5: Reach out to them and let them know of those broken links. Recommend replacing those defunct links with link to your content piece and/or suggest your page for additional resource listing.
In outreach, there are seemingly “no” messages that could actually be turned into real links. However, you’ve got to understand why these messages are going to routes of lost link opportunities then take creative actions to make your outreach to them works.
Case 1: Relevant domain, irrelevant resource
How to solve this issue:
Case 2: No capacity to update the page
Case 3: Not at this time
Figure out when the pages were updated last. This is a very cool trick to personalize your pitch as you can simply add this info (i.e. The page hasn’t been updated for [months] or since [date]). This allows your outreach to stand out among other emails.
Knowing the last modification date is also a pretty cool way to know if there’s a high link opportunity
Pages haven’t been updated for years may not be the best link opportunities).
To see the last modification date of pages, you can use Archive.org (example).
Though modifications could be in forms of page designs, text editing and other minor changes in the pages, still considering it could give you an idea of whether or not the page is constantly being updated.
Outbrain’s recent study shows that adding brackets to post titles bump CTR by 38%. This is a little cool trick when you’re creating content for your clients as you’ll get more traffic to your website, but have you tried using it for outreach emails?
Headlines with bracketed clarifications (e.g., [photos], [interview], etc..) performed 38% better than headlines without clarifications, which only means that readers would likely to read a page if they have a clear picture of what the headline/content is all about.
Here are a few reasons why bracketing would work for emails’ subject lines:
Reclaiming links from someone who have used your brand’s content, whether an image, video, or simply a quote from your presentation is a pretty good way to pass additional link equity from external websites to your page/content.
Doing this manually would take too much time. However, you can scale this link reclamation process for all your clients or for a single brand with high reputation/authority in the industry – as they would normally have acquired branded link opportunities (unfortunately, unlinked).
Chris Dyson of TripleSEO recently published a link building tutorial on scaling link reclamation. I won’t go deeper to this but would like to share some more tips to make this strategy work more effective:
Aside from using ImageRaider or other automated reverse image tools, you can use inurl:/tag “brand/product/service name” to find more unlinked branded mentions – tags are basically used by bloggers to help visitors find more pages relevant to the page they are already viewing.
Look pages that haven’t linked to your content but have use it otherwise (i.e. an infographic posted on someone’s blog without a credit to your brand). You can use the allintitle: search operator to find these link opportunities.
For instance, my infographic about blog promotion, which was published 2 years ago, earned high quality backlinks from the blogging community (forums, infographic lists, news sites, etc..) as well as unlinked use of image content on some other blogs.
Using allintitle search, I’ve found out that there are 300+ blogs that have mentioned and/or linked to my content. Note: Make sure you have distinct content title so whenever you use allintitle search, you won’t get results that have no mentions of your brand.
There are many incredible insights we could draw from link profile analysis besides mining for link opportunities – though this is one of the main usage of third party link building tools like Ahrefs.
There are still other benefits of an in-depth link profiling, such as:
If you’ve been doing link building for years, then you pretty know much about reclaiming unlinked brand mentions from linking sites of your brand. This could be in a form of image credit, infographic reference, persona inclusion or simply a mention of the brand name.
I’d like to share the idea of “phrase mention monitoring”, which is somewhat similar to link reclamation.
This is how it works:
Link opportunities aren’t easily discovered through manual search. Using every link target as a source for another target site is an effective way to build a list of potential linkers with less work.
Utilize networks and relationships for additional blog prospecting by asking your publishers with built relationships if they know someone who would be interested for the same kind of content value you gave to them.
In our own data testing, we’ve found out 20% referrals from our existing list of link targets, so you’ll get 3 additional link prospects out of 15 publishers whom you’ve asked for referrals.
A few things to keep in mind when asking for referrals in outreach:
At Sharprocket, we always come up with new tricks/tips that we use to improve our link research for our client campaigns, one of which is observing URLs of existing resource pages in the lists and search results.
For instance, in the language literacy space, ESL or English as a secondary language is frequently mentioned in literacy and writing niches.
By using this as the exact URL term, we can come up with resource pages specific for ESL literacy.
Examples of search phrases are:
One common issue that we encounter as a link building team when pitching prospects for the first time (initial outreach) is getting failed delivery notifications from the server. This doesn’t impacts heavily to our campaign if we’re only reaching out to less than 50 publishers. But if we are pitching to 400+ people individually (which we did to one of our clients), we don’t want to miss some link opportunities.
What we do is we use My-addr to validate email addresses (seeing if these email are still functioning). This helps us avoid up-front any possible failed messages when doing initial pitch and we can just come back with secondary emails to move forward.
The tool isn’t perfect in terms of accuracy. I’ve tested this for 16 failed messages that we received in our inbox. It resulted to 2 OK emails and 14 FAILED emails (~12% inaccuracy rate).
My addr is cheap, it only costs $0.500 per 1000 emails (I’m not affiliate of this product, but if you want to improve your outreach process, then you may want to test this out).
This link building strategy originally came from John-Henry Scherck which is basically a process of getting links from bloggers, content creators and publishers who may have linked to mis-spellings of your domain name.
How to actually do this:
Step 1: Find possible typos of your domain name using this domain typo generator. Just put in your domain, click “Generate Typos” and it will give you different variations of mis-spellings.
Step 2: Grab links pointing to those domain variations using Ahrefs Batch Analysis. The tool will help you generate multiple backlink reports of those mis-spelled domains.
Step 3: Reach out to publishers of these links and let them know about mis-spelled domains/urls. You can ask them to change the URL, so it would point to the right domain of your brand.
SharpRocket is a team of link building specialists who love building high quality links.
To learn more about how we can help you, take a look at the services we offer.
Off-page SEO hasn’t been all about links. We have social data, brand signals (linked or unlinked mentions), citations, reviews and sentiments that search engines can use in evaluating relevance, trust, popularity and authority of a website/page.
For link building in 2016 and beyond, the ability to understand these external website concepts and to use effective off-page SEO techniques can help you with in influencing a website’s ranking power.
Before we get straight to the practical part of this off-page SEO guide, here are some valuable insights about off-page SEO from top link building experts.
Free PDF: Download a free PDF version of this guide. PDF contains all sections and resources listed here.
Off-Page SEO refers to link building and all related activities & actions focused on growing our Website popularity, happening outside of it, and therefore the name.
Aleyda Solis, Founder of Orainti
Off page SEO to me is any kind of optimisation that takes place away from the site itself. Generation of signals from third party websites to tell Google that the thing you are optimising deserves to rank. The main part of this is obviously link building but increasingly can incorporate other things like social.
James Agate, Founder of Skyrocket Digital
Off Page SEO means doing anything from an external point of view to assist with SEO efforts. This could mean link acquisition, building mentions, using a PR agency, building your brand off site to have a positive impact on your websites SEO.
James Norquay, Founder of Prosperity Media
Using these principles as solid foundation, let me walk you through the 21 off-page SEO techniques you can immediately use right now for your website.
Websites that linked to a content or resource similar to an asset page published on your site are more receptive to outreach than any other link prospects primarily because of their linking history. When they had linked to a particular page, they are likely be interested to its similar resource and consider it for a possible linking opportunity.
Topical relevancy and higher link acquisition rates are some few notable advantages when you reached out to said link prospects.
Given this, here is how you can find these high-quality backlink sources:
STEP 1: Enter niche-specific keywords (related to your content) in Skyrocket’s Similar Content. This tool will automatically generate high-quality prospects that are linking to the top ranking pages for searched keywords.
STEP 2: Export domains and list them in a Spreadsheet or you can plug them to your favorite outreach tool.
STEP 3: Reach out to webmasters and publishers of those potential linking sites and ask if they’ll be interested to look at your content piece. Here is one example of an email template that you can use, which is actually for follow-up purposes.
Hello [ NAME ],
I contacted you a few weeks ago to share a resource that I thought you may find of interest, and you informed me about your upcoming blog/site update. I was wondering if you’ve been successful in the update and had a chance to review my message; a copy of which is provided below for reference.
We’ve launched a really detailed guide to [ TOPIC ] and I thought you might be interested in seeing it – [ URL ]
If you are still updating this page – [ URL ] then perhaps our guide might make a useful addition.
Please let me know if you have any questions. And if this isn’t for you or you’d rather I didn’t get in touch in future please let me know and I’ll be sure not to send you any other messages.
– [Your Name]
The ability to scale content assets without sacrificing qualify differentiates average content marketers from excellent ones. A year ago, Ross Hudgens shared one strategy on how to create incredible content assets at a low cost. It is with the use of content templates.
Content templates are simple formats of successful content assets from other verticals or other brands that can potentially be replicated to your own content marketing campaigns. Two good examples of these content templates are these posts by Hubspot about habits for hyper-productive people and habits for content marketers.
The Hubspot’s content marketing team found this “habit-type” content template to be a good blog post framework. People simply want to emulate habits that make other people successful in whatever field they belong. Thus when you publish content like this, it easily gets traction from many people – acquiring multiple social shares and earning referential links from publishers.
How to find content templates that are likely to earn links naturally?
STEP 1: Find popular content-producing sites in your industry and use Buzzsumo to look for their most-shared content pieces.
STEP 2: Take note all possible content formats and list them down in a Spreadsheet.
STEP 3: Create content pillars based on your preferred content formats. This would require testing but when you see results from first published content, you can replicate this to every sub-niches in your vertical (check out my definitive guide on blogger outreach) .
Though Google doesn’t count outbound links as a direct ranking factor, knowing how to properly link to relevant sources externally is still a best practice in the search industry. External linking to credible resources and useful content produced by influencers helps an initial boost of promotion to your content piece. Maximizing this strategy is a sure way to put more eyeballs to your asset.
How to execute this properly?
STEP 1: Search for influencers in your niche whom you can easily connect with. You can use Buzzstream or a simple Google search to discover this kind of people.
STEP 2: When starting to create content, try to find relevant blog posts of influencers. You can use the search phrase, site:domain.com “keyword” or site:domain.com intitle:”keyword”. The latter search strings are more useful because it provides the most targeted results – finding pages that discuss the whole topic, not just including your keyword in one paragraph.
STEP 3: Once you publish your content, reach out to these influencers using direct email outreach. Results from this are either social shares or contextual links from publishers. Even if you got one social share from an influencer, this can be worth a hundred of traffic to your site.
Hi [ NAME ],
I saw your website and found that you linked to one blog post about [ TOPIC ].
Just thought that you might find my definitive guide on [ TOPIC ] also useful. It is a rich content that contains an [ DESCRIBE YOUR CONTENT ]. [ URL ]
Kind regards, [ YOUR NAME ]
If you’re aiming to capture small segments of your target market, one way you need to invest in is creating micro sites. This method can enable your brand to build high quality links your competitors can’t easily copy, as well as give your site more opportunities to attract potential clients/customers.
One good example of this branding strategy is how Aleyda created two micro sites that provides a lot of value to the SEO community – All SEO Guidelines and The Marketer Toolbox.
Both of these sites target segmented audiences, the first one helps SEO practitioners (both in-house and agency-level) while the second one focuses more on marketers and tool creators.
Now, how can you identify your specific market segment and create a micro site out of it? Below are a few steps to get you started, but if you want to take the whole process, you can check out this posts by and this guide by..
STEP 1: Go to your Google Analytics data. Look at the top performing posts with high conversion rates.
STEP 2: Determine what market segments you can tap that isn’t going too far from your main content theme. For example, in my case, I can create micro sites for link building tools and templates/checklists for link acquisition given that I’m currently offering link building services.
STEP 3: Once you choose an overall theme for your micro-site, buy your own domain name and hosting. In terms of the site’s content development, you can produce scalable content pillars like round-ups on an actionable topic, interview series and user-generated content.
Guest blogging has been an effective off-page SEO technique for many startup marketers building their own brands from scratch. What makes this more effective is the ability to craft solid content that isn’t a carbon copy of another piece or a revision of a blog post published on one popular blog.
The challenge in guest blogging is really writing an expertly-written content that won’t just acquire a single link but will potentially get second-tier links from blogs linking to the contributed piece.
One way to be able to do this is using interviews as guest entries for other websites. Given that answers from industry experts are most likely to be actionable, helpful and experience-based, they can be considered as solid content for guest blogging. Here is how you can execute this process:
STEP 1: Find publishers and book authors using Google search or influencer prospecting tools.
STEP 2: Reach out to these niche experts and do an interview with them. Below is an email copy you can use:
Hey [ NAME ],
I hope you’re doing well.
Just want to tell you that, [ WEBMASTER NAME ] who manages the [ SITE NAME ], gave me an opportunity to guest post at [ URL ] and am planning to do a short written interview with some of the below bloggers and I was requesting if you can be one of them.
If so, I’ve attached a short written interview that you can use to share your tips or ideas.
If you’re interested in including screenshots as part of real life example, you’re welcome to do so.
The topic of discussion is [ TOPIC ]
STEP 3: Use their answers as guest content for your target blog. Check out these examples of interview-based guest posts.
Using social media platforms like Twitter for link prospecting is a strategic approach for link builders to find new bloggers and publishers that aren’t yet found through Google search. With this, you can expand your list of outreach targets without actually depending on search engines as your primary source of target domains.
Besides getting additional backlink sources, you’ll also be able to tap influencers that have strong massive reach both in web publishing and social if you try using social media as your main link prospecting tool. In other words, you get more benefits when you do an outreach to them since they won’t only be linking to your content, but they’ll also share your content to their existing followers. This can allow your brand to acquire more backlinks from their followers’ blogs as well.
You can start this by using simple Twitter searches to find bloggers in your industry. However, if you are doing bulk prospecting, you can scale the process by using Listpedia.
Listpedia is a new self-made search and creation Twitter tool that can generate massive Twitter lists relevant to a particular keyword.
Here are three steps on how to use Listpedia for link prospecting:
STEP 1: Go to Listpedia and search for a particular audience you are aiming to reach out to (e.g. personal finance, finance or insurance).
STEP 2: Check each individual Twitter profile in the search results to see if they have their own blogs or websites.
STEP 3: Once you think a particular website passes your link metrics (Ahrefs rank, DA or Trustflow), you can include it to your outreach list, find his email address and send a pitch via email. Below is an email copy you can use:
I saw your profile on Twitter while doing my research, and also saw that you are part of this Twitter list [ URL ].
Just thought that you might find my post about [ DESCRIBE YOUR CONTENT ] really useful. [ YOUR CONTENT URL ]
Have a great weekend!
All the best,
Creating remarkable content may require experiences and case studies from your own brand that gets people into action – after they consume the content. Case studies that take days, weeks or even months is really time-consuming for content creators.
However, there is one way to easily add data-based experience that won’t cost you money. That is, including a data from an influencer/expert you’ve had a relationship with. Since there is a connection involved, the influencer won’t look at it like stealing his ideas as you initiate asking for a permission to use his data.
I did this strategy when I wrote my old post on increase blog traffic where I included an experience-based tip from Roel Manarang – a local-based social media marketing expert. He backed up his claim with a case study of a Facebook strategy, not even shared on his blog, at the time I inserted his technique to my blog post.
Here is how you can use post-preview in your content creation phase:
STEP 1: Identify influencers you had relationships with (grab your list from off page SEO techique 3). Filter the influencer list by expertise these influencers have been known for (i.e. link building, off-page SEO, conversion rate optimization, etc..) and choose those you think can collaborate with you once you create your next content.
STEP 2: Reach out to influencers and ask if they’ll be interested to add some insights to your upcoming post. You can try this email outreach copy below:
Hello [ NAME ],
I know you’re quite busy today. But just a quick heads-up if you’re interested to contribute insights to my upcoming post about [ TOPIC ].
I would like to know if you have any experiences and tips regarding [TELL MORE ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING POST].
Let me know your thoughts.
STEP 3: Include the influencer’s tip to your content and start to promote it to people who might like your link to your post.
Google understands the relevance of a brand towards its connected domains in the industry sphere based on the keywords and context of each content produced in the website. Knowing this, you will create additional content based not only on the industry terms you want to rank for but on keywords you could potentially rank.
This is doable in three steps.
STEP 1: Go to Google Keyword Planner and plug in your homepage in the landing page search. You will then see a list of keywords Google considers to be relevant industry terms of your brand
STEP 2: Choose among the list of keywords which of them you will likely to target for your next content.
STEP 3: Include industry terms when writing your content in order improve LSI relevance of your website.
Engagement marketing involves two sets of groups: those who are part of your networks and those you still need to reach out to – commonly referred as “direct outreach”.
The good thing with direct outreach is that you don’t need to invest a huge amount of money and chunks of hours to start with. There is actually a less-costly way to effectively build relationships with influencers and authors who are part of your direct outreach.
James Norquay from Prosperity Media showed how a set of cupcakes from his client can strengthen relationships built with their brand partners.
Another example of this link relationship building technique is when Larry Kim of Wordstream sent letters of appreciation to customers and to people who became a great part in building his brand.
Want to know how to execute a strategic approach in engagement marketing? Here are actionable tips to start an effective community engagement.
STEP 1: Identify one valuable thing you can offer to your brand followers or potential brand ambassadors.
STEP 2: Think of ways on how to deliver your gift to your list of recipients. It could be through international or local shipping and/or online transfer system if your gift is a virtual product.
STEP 3: Once the gift is released, you can track web and social mentions from influencers using BrandMentions.
The nature of searchers in this age of web usage is leading towards search activities in very niche-targeted search engine sites and community sites, where people would look for answers to their frequent questions from niche community sites instead of going straight to their favorite search engine tool.
Identifying these websites where a portion of your target market hang out can allow you to acquire referential links that your competitors haven’t thought of building for their own sites.
The community-based backlink below is a good example of how powerful branding could help you semi-automate your brand’s link acquisition process. If you look closely at the answer, it is not a result of our marketing work, but from a person who trusted our expertise – Anton Shulke. We actually did a webinar for his website and the benefit becomes mutual in the form of a link pointing to our brand.
How can you leverage branded link acquisition (off-page SEO) in community sites?
STEP 1: Create a list of outreach prospects that include your current brand followers, customers and clients. Your brand followers could be any person you’ve built relationship in the past either through content distribution, exchange of business ideas or as simple as being your co-member in an offline/online niche group.
STEP 2: Look for relevant discussions that can potentially drive highly converting visitors to your site. In my above example, the keyword that I used is best SEO agency in Manila. The trick here is to use the site: search operator plus the keyword – e.g. site:quora.com “best X in Y” to generate targeted discussion pages.
STEP 3: Reach out to your outreach prospects and ask if they can participate in the discussion. If they are your loyal customers/clients, they’ll likely give a recommendation to your brand.
OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES:
Link reclamation is probably one of the first initiatives when doing a strategic off-page SEO campaign for a website that has an established authority in its vertical. It is because there is a higher probability of getting your first set of in-content links simply when you reach out to people who are familiar with your brand and had used your resources in their content works.
In addition to tracking mentions of your content assets, you can also do the same strategy to your competitors’ resources. There are many types of content assets you can actually track to see if there are publishers or bloggers who used your competitor’s content in bloggers’ websites but not crediting their original sources. A few examples are images created by the brand (infographics), mentions of your products, embedded Youtube videos and other content that deserve a credit in a form of links.
How to use competitor-based link reclamation strategy to your own advantage?
STEP 1: Identify the top performing pages of your competitor’s site by using CognitiveSEO and using the number of referring domains and page authority as your performance metrics.
STEP 2: Track upcoming mentions of chosen resource/content of your competitor using BrandMentions. The tool will automatically notify you if there are new mentions, whether they are linked or unlinked on other content distributing sites.
STEP 3: Find a resource of yours that is similar to your competitor’s content. Reach out to the blogger and pitch him showing your related content. You don’t need to ask for a link, it will be automatically given once they perceive your content as valuable.
Reverse image search is an effective off-page SEO practice that helps link building practitioners to find out blogs where the image has been embedded. If the blog is linked to a wrong image source, it is best to ask him for the proper credit.
Though this off-page SEO technique is mainly used for link reclamation, you actually apply this same strategy to your link prospecting process. How?
STEP 1: Find a competing visual asset in your industry. It could be the infographic you tried to post on your blog that gained massive social shares or a generic image created by an expert in your field. You can use a simple Google image search like “infographic” “industry” to find these popular visual content assets.
STEP 2: Grab URLs of these visual assets and plug in your favorite reverse image tool to find websites that embedded them.
STEP 3: Add those websites in your spreadsheet as your additional backlink prospects. Reach out to them with a unique proposition, not necessarily for the purpose of image link reclamation.
Aligning brand strategy with your off-page SEO process enables you to strongly build relationships not only with like-minded bloggers but with entities in the same vertical. This helps your brand to position itself on the web and on its specific field by being perceived as a credible and trustworthy website by search engines and by target searchers – because links coming from trusted websites are good indicators of a site’s trustworthiness.
One simple branding approach is collaborating with niche influencers and authors for content creation. Given that they had industry experience in web publishing and massive audience following, touching based with them assures the quality of a content asset and a more effective content promotion than doing it alone.
How influencer outreach starts?
STEP 1: Find influencers and authors in your niche who’ll be interested for content partnership. Do a Google search for “guest post by” [ industry ] to search for this kind of personalities.
STEP 2: Identify what kind of mutual benefit you can offer to your outreach prospects. It could be asking them to answer a set of interview questions, to be compiled and published on your blog, or cross-publishing content pieces – i.e. embedding your infographic to his blog in exchange for a guest article on your site. One pro tip here is to actually look at your prospect’s latest articles and see what type of content they usually publish and in conjunction to your content publishing – what type of asset do you want to test out on your website.
STEP 3: Send straightforward pitches with strong value propositions to capture their interests
Targeting high-profile bloggers who are likely to convert into linkers is one main objective of a blogger outreach campaign. But that’s going to be really tough it you don’t know how to find them.
Searching the web for potential linkers is one initiative you can start in your link prospecting process. However, your search phrase (keywords plus search operators) should be very specific as possible to get the most refine results from search engines.
One off page SEO technique to be very specific with search pages as well as to increase response and link acquisition rates in your outreach is to actually use in moment options in Google search. This means that pages that will appear in search results are assured to be published within the past hour or past 24 hours from the moment of search.
How to start with this link prospecting technique:
STEP 1: Do a Google search for your preferred search phrases.
STEP 2: Filter the results by date of publishing (Search – Date – hour or 24 hours).
STEP 3: Gather those pages that are relevant to your niche and put them down in a list. Qualify them based on your link metrics and reach out to them afterwards.
Links has been a top ranking signal in search today and this has been proven many times – see these posts at SEOAuv about link importance and this experiment on Moz on how long links can influence rankings).
Links help websites rank in organic search. This is unarguably true. However, many marketers forget other objectives of links like driving visitors to a linked page. If it does generates visits, acquiring links can also become a very strategic approach to increase followers, subscribers and brand advocates.
If you are distributing content to other blogs – i.e. contributing a guest article or providing answers to interview questions, make sure you only add niche-specific resources to your contributed piece. If the topic is email list building, don’t add any pure on-page article to content unless it is contextually relevant.
State the value of a referenced resource by giving readers a preview of the information the content includes. The best way is to actually use longer strings to describe what the content is all about.
Email newsletters are good sources of information from publishers. These information could either be a curated list of links from top articles of the week or preview of a new blog post posted on hosted blog.
Getting featured in these newsletters is a very powerful branding/marketing strategy, as it allows your brand to distribute its own content massively to a different audience which will also help you increase your existing followers if you absorb active social sharers from other blogs. Eventually, when these followers are fascinated with your blog content, they will eventually be your brand advocates who might be interested in linking to your content assets from their own websites and social profiles.
That’s why identifying newsletters that allows external linking to other relevant sources is a huge advantage for marketers. Exclusive feature in newsletters becomes a profitable off-page technique nowadays.
Follow this simple step-by-step guide to get featured in topical newsletters:
STEP 1: Create a list of blogs that feature top resources in newsletters in a monthly, weekly or daily basis. You can also check out your current list of outreach prospects to find newsletter-featuring websites.
Once you’re done with the list, take note how periodically these blogs send emails to their subscribers by looking at some obvious statements on their available opt-in or landing pages in their websites.
STEP 2: Subscribe to these blogs’ email lists and know what kind of resources these newsletters usually link out to (identify similarities in form, length and theme).
STEP 3: Constantly provide actionable and useful content on your blog to build a strong readership following and to get recommendations to be featured in other blogs’ newsletters. If you are not getting any exclusive email feature after months of content publishing, you can try reaching out to publishers in your earlier contact list and ask if they are interested to see a new useful guide or resource.
Relationship building matters in online marketing as it helps you build a strong following base that is capable of introducing your content to a new readers, who might actually be your potential linkers.
Bloggers, especially those who are professionals, are part of a market segment that has the highest response rate among all online users simply because of their availability and full time access to the web. Building relationships with these bloggers allows you to dominate a particular part in your market segment, given that their followers could also connect with you for different forms of partnership. This is a compounding effect to your branding campaign since you will get a double portion of the market – your target bloggers and their followers as well.
The best way to initiate this off-page SEO technique is to offer an affiliate program or a referral commission system to attract bloggers in reviewing your products or services. Here are some steps you can follow through:
STEP 1: Create a list of bloggers who might be interested to write a review about your product/service or might share some stories and insights with your offering.
STEP 2: Segment your list of bloggers based on their social following base (Twitter followers), authority and their websites’ factors (i.e. referring domains, domain authority, estimated organic traffic in SEMRush). You can also add the format of content they usually produce on their website. If they can produce more than one – i.e. articles and webinars/videos/podcasts, it’s a good sign that they can engage their audience with different content types, which is very important in retaining interests of your target visitors while consuming your product/service review.
STEP 3: Prioritize reaching out to authority bloggers. Offer them a higher commission rate so you can easily entice them to write a review about your offering. You can also make cross-publishing an additional value proposition in your outreach. The idea here is to make the off-page SEO strategy beneficial for both the blogger and your brand. For example, your brand will get an additional following base and potential customers from the product/service review and the blogger will also have an advantage of co-branding himself by publishing an article to your brand’s blog and adding it to his portfolio or about page (as featured in….).
Finding a person’s name and email address is the initial phase in link building outreach. This is where most of your outreach initiatives will depend on given that if you find wrong contact details, obviously your pitches won’t be taken to the right place.
When finding outreach prospect’s personal details, it’s very important to use effective web-based tools such as Clearbit. I personally use Clearbit as an alternative tool for Rapportive because the product is capable of giving you free email address of the person you’re contacting to, not only validating it if it’s actually working.
How to use Clearbit for initial pitch:
STEP 1: Install Clearbit to your Gmail Chrome Extension.
STEP 2: Click “Connect” link at the upper right side of Gmail and choose “find an email”.
STEP 3: Type in the homepage URL of the site you’re extracting email address from. The tool will automatically provide names of people working for the company and/or are included in the website. Choose the person you’d like to connect with.
Link prospecting is the initial phase in link building where you’ll start to find possible link targets from verticals that are relevant to your website. This is also where your entire link acquisition campaign will depend on, as this initiates the process and helps you identify what particular methods you’ll be performing to acquire links from your target backlink prospects.
Creativity matters in link prospecting since you have to choose the right keywords that will be able to generate refined page results in search engines.
One off-page SEO tactic we’ve been using for our link research campaigns for our clients that are very effective in providing high quality blogs is adding the number of comments to a specific link prospecting phrase. Here is how you can exactly do it:
STEP 1: Add comment plus number to your prospect keywords (“comments(8)” “keyword”) and generate results on search.
STEP 2: Qualify results based on your brand’s link metrics. Discover new backlink opportunities by checking links inserted in blog’s comments.
STEP 3: Try using the following comment-based search phrases to collect more backlink targets:
The ability to dominate a market segment, particularly if you are a local brand, highly depends on the brand awareness you build in your local community, whether through offline or online.
Local link building nowadays is leading towards partnerships with local organizations and institutions as well as really getting into the minds of your customers (mindshare), which is a solid combination of a off-page SEO strategy that can certainly impact your lead generation process.
One easy way, but mostly overlooked off-page SEO technique in building local links is creating niche profiles.
I’ve noticed this recently when we had a vacation last month that instead of searching in Google for best restaurants located near our vacation place, we go straight to a popular local website that features nearby restaurants and food stores – Zomato (which is actually a recommendation of one of our friends).
Having said that, creating local brand profiles that are targeted to an industry you’re trying to promote your products/services to, is a handy technique you’ll generate high returns from your marketing efforts.
Other Useful Resources:
Brand building is the new link building and off-page SEO strategy in digital marketing today, given that when brands become true to their core values, messaging and personalities, it becomes easy for them to penetrate and dominate their target audiences.
There are many ways to send a strong brand messaging without actually hard-selling your products/services, below are some steps you can apply:
You’re probably saying to yourself:
“Venchito, this is AWESOME information. What’s the easiest way to put this into practice?”.
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