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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. UTILIZE JOBS PORTAL FOR QUICK LINK WINS

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

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

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

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

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

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

boston tech jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

email outreach jobs resource pages

With proper execution, we were able to acquire links:

resource page link first example

resource page link second example

2. CREATE LOCALIZED VISUAL DATA

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

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

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

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

nacjd public data source website

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

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

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

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

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

concised research study

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

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

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

Produced the visual data (partial image below):

teen dating infographic

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

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

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

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

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

sexual harassment injury blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

things to do in city pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

area to pages link building outreach

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

attraction resource pages

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

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

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

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

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

national apartments

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

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

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

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

ahrefs summer housing reverse engineering links

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

Finally, acquire the link:summer housing link

5. SERVE FSQ WITH LOCAL CONTENT 

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

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

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

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

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

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

moving resource example 1

moving resource example 2

moving resource example 3moving resource example 4

 

6. SEED ANSWERS TO LONG TAIL ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

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

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

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

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

seed forum link building

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

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

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

7. LEVERAGE REDDIT FOR LOCAL PROMOTION

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

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

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

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

siegemedia reddit promotion

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

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

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

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

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

inbounders facebook group

If you liked this post, subscribe to our newsletter and follow me on @venchito14.

Need help with your link building campaigns? Check out our link building services here.


How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

Who are linkeratis?

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

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

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

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

How to Find Linkeratis

1. Leverage Link Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

digital marketer payment processing section

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

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

stripe domain authority

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

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

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

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

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

linkminer unique referring domains

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

2. Tap Exclusive Linkable Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

helpareporterout email

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

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

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

haro upwork job

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

3. Target Big Interest Areas in the Blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a video that explains his process.

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

4. Generate Content Ideas from Niche-specific Podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sexual health google search

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

How to Pursue Linkeratis

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

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

1. Identify Who Handles and Controls Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gov resource backlink

B. Provide Shared Mission and Interest in Outreach

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

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

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

small business resources page

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

shared mission outreach email

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

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

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

C. Include Outright Content Suggestion in Link Outreach

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

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

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

D. Drive Curiosity with Refined Outreach Process

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

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

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

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

The refined outreach method of SiegeMedia looks like this:

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

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

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

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

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

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


Guide to Checking Competitor Backlinks in easy way

Guide to Checking Competitor Backlinks The Easy Way

What is reverse engineering?

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

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

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

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

 

Types of Competitors to Reverse Engineer On

1. Generic Competitors

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

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

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

pet supplies search results generic competitors

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

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

2. Category Competitors

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

incontinence supplies category competitors search results

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

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

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

ahrefs competing domains

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

3. Content asset-specific competitors

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

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

drug abuse guide for parents

kids health guide

On Checking Competitors Backlinks

1. Use Co-Citation Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Citation Labs Co-Citation Tool

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

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

Manual Co-Citation Analysis

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

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

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

Go to Applications – Terminal. 

mac terminal

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

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

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

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

cat *.csv >merged.csv

net addiction competitors terminal mac

merged csv file terminal

You can read this quick tutorial by Trent of Watchman Advisors

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

Next is to transfer it in a Google Spreadsheet.

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

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

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

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

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

=COUNTIF(B:B,B2)

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

occurrences spreadsheet

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

Ahrefs’ Link Intersect

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

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

2. Determine Link Approaches of Competitors

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

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

backlink reports competitors

Filter links based on the following link acquisition approaches:

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

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

Submission-based

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

submission based directory

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

Link-request

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

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

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

Non-commerciality of external links

non commerciality external linksAffiliations

affiliationsFresh prospects

last modified backlink

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

quixapp last modified date

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

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

resource page with mental health section

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

resource page mozbar

Content contribution

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

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

Earned media

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

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

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

exclusive interview

Recommend lists of industry personalities, groups, brands or tools

industry list

 

Serves as a reference for further reading

referential link

Roundups (group interview)

link roundups

Mentioning the brand to check as additional sources

mention additional sources

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

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

3. Expand Link Lists with Deeper Analysis on Link Opportunities

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

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

High-performing linkable pages

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

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

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

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

winefolly top pages

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

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

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

Recurring backlink sources

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

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

total backlinks

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

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


How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

What are authority links?

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

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

Link building is not for the faint-hearted marketers.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Types of Authority Links

Links from .edu and .gov sites

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

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

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

Links from ranking pages for thematic keywords

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

inurl-resources-google-search

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

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

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

semrush-organic-traffic-new-publications

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

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

Further reading: Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

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

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

Links from top-tier news sites

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

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

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

forbes-authority-link

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

Links from topically relevant websites

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

See this DA11 finance blog as an example.

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

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

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

Links that generate business conversions

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

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

On Getting Authority Links

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

Authority link development requires either branding and/or content.

Summing them up is a powerful combination for link authority.  

super authority backlinks formula

1. Perceived Branding

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

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

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

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

Ways to use perceived authority to get links:

A. Link reclamation

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

Then politely pitch them and ask for link attributions.

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

B. Interview opportunities

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

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

C. Incentivize social sharing in exchange of linking

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

D. Speaking gigs for natural linking opportunities

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

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

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

More reading: Using Brand Building Strategies to Improve Link Building

2. Content-based Link Acquisition

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

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

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

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

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

A. Broken dead domain link building  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tech-addiction-domain-dead

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

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

ahrefs-filter-edu-links

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

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

twitter-a-list-prospects

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

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

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

Then acquire links:

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

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

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

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

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

parents-guide-ahrefs-url-linking-domains

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

link-velocity

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

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

C. Linkable market analysis

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

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

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

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

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

video-game-addiction-keyword-search-results

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

Intersect existing linkable audiences to your brand’s theme

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

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

1. A Substance Guide for Parents

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

substance-guide-parents-2

substance-guide-parents-1

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

Linkable audience: People concerned about bullying in schools.

bullying-substance-guide

3. Degrees for Mental Health and Addiction Professionals

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

degrees-mental-health-guide

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

Linkable audiences:

  • Parents of LGBT teens
  • Parents of LGBT adults

lgbt-addiction

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

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

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

Further Reading:


The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

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

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

what is guest blogging

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

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

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

How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

page to page and domain to domain relevance in guest blogging

Once done, proceed to finding guest blogs.

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

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

Recommend resource: Search Engine Queries Cheatsheet

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

1. Check estimated organic traffic

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

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

semrush guest blogging qualification

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

2. Review the blog’s engagement status

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

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

3. Authority and trust

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

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

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

How to Pitch Guest Blogging Ideas

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

Here are a few ways to generate guest post ideas:

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

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

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

Pitching Best Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading:

Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

Blogger Outreach Guide by Ahrefs

How to Write Guest Posts

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

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

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

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

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

DIY (Do It Yourself)

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

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

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

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

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

Outsource it to a Freelance Writer

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

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

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

Editing, Revisions & Final Publishing

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

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

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

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

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

guest post author bio

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

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

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

gotchseo 1

gotchseo 2

gotchseo author box

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

gotchseo-readers-landing-page

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

How to Promote Your Guest Posts

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

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

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

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

facebook ads promote guest posts

How to Track Results From Guest Blogging

No one succeeds without tracking results of work.

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

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

customization - custom reports

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

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

filter - google analytics

Then click save.

save - google analytics

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

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

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

gotchseo email subscribers

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

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

Leverage new opportunities from guest posts

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

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

TL;DR

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

link building tools softwares

32 Link Building Tools and Softwares

link building tools softwares

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

 

1. Majestic 

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

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

majestic seo

Website: Majestic

2. Buzzstream

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

buzzstream

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

Website: Buzzstream

3. Ahrefs

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

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

Site Explorer (URL/Domain/Prefix)

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

ahrefs domain

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

Content Gap

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

ahrefs content gap

New Backlinks

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

ahrefs new backlinks

 

Website: Ahrefs

5. Mozbar

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

mozbar

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

Website: Mozbar

6. Ontolo

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

ontolo

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

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

Website: Ontolo

6. Citation Labs

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

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

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

broken link building tool citation labs

Website: Citation Labs

7. Inkybee

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

Website: Inkybee

8. SEMRush

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

semrush

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

Website: SEMRush

9. Buzzsumo

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

buzzsumo search results

Website: Buzzsumo

10. SEOQuake

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

seoquake

Website: SEOQuake

11. Broken Link Building

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

broken link building tool citation labs

Website: Broken Link Building

12. Javascript Bookmarklets

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

serps bookmarklet

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

 

13. Boomerang

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

boomerang

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

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

Website: Boomerang

14. Rapportive

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

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

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

Website: Rapportive

15. LinkClump

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

linkclump

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

Website: LinkClump

16. Authority Spy

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

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

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

Website: Authority Spy 

17. MuckRack

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

muckrack

Website: MuckRack

18. Ninja Outreach

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

ninja outreach

Website: Ninja Outreach

19. Pitchbox

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

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

pitchbox

Website: Pitchbox

20. Remove’em

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

remove'em

Website: Remove’em

21. Rmoov

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

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

Website: Rmoov

22. Siege Media Embed Code Generator

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

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

siegemedia embed code generator

Website: Embed Code Generator

23. Stylist

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

stylist search results

Website: Stylist

24. Google Sheets

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

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

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

Website: Google Sheets

25. Wordable

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

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

Website: Wordable 

26. HARO

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

help a reporter out

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

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

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

Website: HARO

27. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

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

amazon mechnical turk

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

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

Website: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

28. LinkResearchTools

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

 

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

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

Website: LinkResearchTools

29. WhiteSpark

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

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

Website: WhiteSpark

30. Search Metrics

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

Website: Search Metrics

31. URL Profiler

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

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

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

Website: URL Profiler

32. Open Site Explorer

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

opensiteexplorer

Website: Open Site Explorer

Your Turn…

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

Leave a quick comment below.

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


23 Actionable Tips to Get Backlinks in 2016

23 Actionable Tactics to Get Backlinks in 2017

23 Actionable Tips to Get Backlinks in 2016

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

1. PRIORITIZE AUTHORS’ FAVORITE LISTS

author favorite lists

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.

personal finance blogs recommended

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.

2. USE CMS ATTRIBUTION TO QUALIFY PROSPECTING

cms attribution

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.

3. RECONNECT TO EMAILS WITH AUTOMATED RESPONSES

out of office email

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.

4. LEVERAGE TWITTER LISTS FOR BULK PROSPECTING

twitter list personal finance

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.

twitter list google search

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.

5. USE FACEBOOK FOR CONTENT AGGREGATION

facebook content aggregation

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.

6. BUILD PERSONAL BRAND IN WEB COMMUNITIES

inbound ama

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.

7. BUY-IN CONTENT GAP

content gap

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.

8. ALIGN OUTREACH WITH HIGH TRAFFIC PERIODS

high traffic periods

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.

9. CREATE SUCCESS STORIES-TYPE OF CONTENT

success stories

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.

10. INCORPORATE PROSPECT LISTS TO SEARCH QUERIES

xy prospecting

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:

  • 10 keyword tips for industry
  • 21 reasons why industry
  • 16 rules for industry
  • 27 ways on how to keyword industry
  • 18 types of industry
  • 8 lessons learned from industry
  • 10 steps to keyword
  • 8 facts about keyword

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.

11. PREDICT LIFETIME LINK VALUE

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 they are placed in off-topic pages or in websites with multi-categories.
  • When they are placed in solely-trending pages (top 2015 best practices) – as time passes by, these pages aren’t perceived as valuable to visitors.
  • When backlinks are temporary placed for particular listings – i.e. sponsorships / annual rented paid links.
  • When backlink growth goes downward – implicating that the webmaster isn’t building links to its webpages anymore.

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:

  • Prioritize websites/pages that are topically relevant to your niche – avoid multi-category sites as they have diversified topic values.
  • Invest in getting backlinks from evergreen content or pages that’ll get updated often times due to the demand of the topic. Pages unlikely to be extinct are valuable pages that can rank for in search as well, which translates to constant flow of referral traffic to your site – once you acquired links from them.
  • You can use CognitiveSEO to check the site’s backlink growth and link velocity – if the graph goes upward, it’s a good signal that the webmaster acquire backlinks to its website over time.

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.

12. MANIPULATE LINK LISTS WITH LINKCLUMP

linkclump link lists

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.

13. LEVERAGE CONTENT REUSAGE

content reusage workflow

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.

14. USE TAXONOMIES TO EXPAND LINK LISTS

categories

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.

inurl tag google search

15. COMMENT ON POSTS LIKELY TO RANK

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.

referral traffic

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.

16. GENERATE LEADS FROM SOLUTION-BASED BACKLINKS

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:

  • Where should I buy / where to buy / “keyword” + inurl:forum
  • Where to get / where can I get / where can you find “keyword” + inurl:forum
  • Who do you recommend “keyword” inurl:forum

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.

answerthepublic

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.

whirlpool forum

17. PROSPECT EASILY WITH MILLIONSHORT

million short

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.

dropdownmenu millionshort

18. ESTIMATE LINK PROBABILITY

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.

gardening resource page links

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.

gardening resource page

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.

19. REQUEST EDITORIAL LINKS FROM SOCIAL LINKERS

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).

ahrefs twitter links

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],

The key here is to create a branded page in your website so it’ll be easy for publishers to link to you.

20. RE-ENGAGE DOMAINS THAT REMOVED BACKLINKS

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.

links removed

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:

  • If the page doesn’t exists anymore, you can ask current linkers if they are interested in republishing the page but with updated information this time, and if they did say yes, collaborate with them for the new version of the content.
  • If  the page still exists but your link was removed, there are higher chances that the publisher is looking for new and updated resources. Go back to your content and update it, then loop back to the publisher and ask him to let the resource be included.

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.

21.GUEST POST PROSPECTING USING BRANDMENTIONS

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.

22. EARN LINKS USING SLIDE DECKS

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:

  • Directly linking to the presentation
  • Linking to the Slideshare profile
  • Embedding the slide deck on their websites.

slideshare links opensite explorer

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:

  • Create your own page in your website with all presentations embedded then pitch publishers to source link to that particular page.
  • Offering them exclusive write-up about your upcoming events or overview of presentations and they’ll get the benefit of exposure on your client’s talks (e. featured on this news site/publication – one slide).
  • Ask bloggers if they’ll be interested to conduct an interview with your client in relevant proportion to his slide presentation.
  • Propose a guest post idea to the publishing site that expands the content theme of the slide deck.

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.

23. PERSONALIZE EMAILS TO GENERIC EMAIL ADDRESSES

generic emai -addresses

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.

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES:

HAVE WE BEEN HELPFUL?

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.


edu backlinks

How to Build EDU Backlinks Using Scholarships (Without Spending a Penny)

edu backlinks

 

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?

Keep reading:

STEP 1: TARGET RELEVANT NICHES

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.

scholarship pageedu scholarship

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:

health scholarship example

legal scholarship sample

STEP 2: CREATE A SCHOLARSHIP PAGE

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.

[internal-links-scholarship]

2. ELIGIBLITY

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:

  • Full-time or part-time students?
  • Specific and relevant courses of students
  • Upcoming college students (high school), undergraduate or graduate?
  • Target country (if it is within a city or local, make sure it is stated).

See this example:

eligiblity scholarship

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.

STEP 3: PROSPECT FOR EDU LINK OPPS

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.

scholarship spreadsheetThis 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:

  • Solely list down relevant scholarship links or has a specific section that caters to your audience (i.e. a generic scholarship listing page with marketing external scholarship links).
  • Has linked mentions of your scholarships (you want to get the most value from your effort of course – so make sure they provide external links).

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”).

reverse engineering 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:

  • Scholarship Listing Page
  • Domains
  • Relationship Status
  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Remarks

scholarship opportunities list

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:

scholarship@domain.edu – you can get this email straight from the scholarship listing page

financialaid@domain.edu – 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.

contact@domain.edu  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.

STEP 4: REACH OUT TO EDU SITES

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.

Regards,

[ YOUR NAME ]

When you send pitches to these people, you’ll most receive three types of responses.

RESPONSE #1

edu-outreach-response-1

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.

live-link-scholarship-outreach

Anchor texts on Edu backlinks are diversified: some are naked URLs, others are exact scholarship titles.

RESPONSE #2

scholarship outreach budget

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.

RESPONSE #3

scholarship-outreach-local

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:

  • Some Edu sites don’t list individual scholarship pages, but they get to add new scholarships from scholarship search engines. To increase the chance of getting an Edu backlink, you can try submitting your site to scholarship search engines.
  • Be specific with audience targeting because some EDU financial departments do not add any scholarships not thematically related to courses of their students (e.g. if it’s a marketing-centric scholarship, don’t dare to reach out to psychology-based scholarship page).

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.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE…

I want you to execute this scholarship link building strategy. For our giveaway, here are exclusive bonuses just for you:

  • Exclusive access to Scholarship Query Generator to help you prospect for hundreds of EDU scholarship opportunities.
  • Exclusive access to 620+ Free Qualified Blog Link Opportunities to help you build contextual links even if you have zero SEO experience and don’t have a network to help you out.
Get all these exclusive bonuses here.
backlink research tactics ahrefs

Ahrefs Review: 9 Backlink Research Tactics (2017 Edition)

backlink research tactics ahrefs

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.

Trust me.

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.

1. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH NEW LINKERS

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?

The answer:

Recurring backlinks.

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.

ACTION ITEM:

Use the Alerts feature of Ahrefs.

Click into Alerts – Add Alert (orange button placed at the right).

ahrefs alerts

add alert orange button ahrefs

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.

add alerts sharprocket ahrefs

2. GET ALERTS FOR COMPETITORS’ NEW LINKERS

Linker outreach is a continuous process.

If content is excellent, it’ll earn organic backlinks over time.

link growth ahrefs

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.

ACTION ITEM:

You can create alerts to receive an email if a backlink is built/earned by that similar content piece.

competitor linkable content alerts ahrefs

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.

Click add.

3. RECLAIM BROKEN LINKS

You lose backlinks.

This happens, whether you like it or not.

ahrefs lost backlinks

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.

ACTION ITEM:

Enter your domain URL in the Dashboard or Site Explorer then click Explore.

ahrefs site explorer

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.

backlinks section broken ahrefs

You have two options here:

  1. Redirect that broken page to a new but highly relevant page.
  2. Reach out to the webmaster and ask if he can change the link to another similar page of yours or he can simply add another relevant topic page.

4. CHECK LINKABLE CONTENT FOR BROKEN BACKLINKS

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?

ACTION ITEM:

Plug in the URL of the content and choose URL in the drop down menu, then click “Explore”.

ahrefs site explorer url

Go to Outgoing Links section and click Broken links.

outgoing broken links ahrefs

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.

5. REVERSE ENGINEER TOP CONTENT

I’ve seen most content marketers have this common process of finding similar content to reach out to for links.

linker outreach process common

This simple process is mostly time-consuming.

You can actually semi-automate this entire process by using Ahrefs.

ACTION ITEM:

Go to Content Explorer, type in your target keyword or niche topic, then click “Explore”.

ahrefs content explorer

Recommended options:

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.

ahrefs content explorer recommendations

6. FIND BLOG AUTHOR OPPORTUNITIES

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.

ACTION ITEM:

Go to Content Explorer.

ahrefs advanced search button

Type in author:name

Replace name with a popular guest blogger or an industry content contributor.

author blog opportunities

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.

7. EXPAND YOUR LINK LIST WITH AUTOMATED “AROUND”

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.

submit around google search query

Ahrefs allows you to do this.

ACTION ITEM:

Go to Content Explorer.

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.

 

around search operator ahrefs

8. STRATEGIC COMPETITOR LINK ANALYSIS USING LINK INTERSECT

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.

ACTION ITEM:

Once you’ve identified who your real competitors are.

Go to Ahrefs, click into Tools and choose “Link Intersect” in the drop down menu.

ahrefs link intersect

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.

link intersect competitors

Then click “Show link opportunities” button.

This is what results look like.

link intersect report

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.

9. USE BATCH ANALYSIS FOR SCALABILITY

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.

quick batch analysis

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:

  • Number of referring domains each competitor have acquired
  • Types of links they’re getting (do they have some .gov. or .edu backlinks?)
  • Do they have a diverse backlink profile?

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.

Bring this Ahrefs Review guide anywhere…

Now It’s Your Turn…

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.


anchor text definitive guide

Anchor Text: The Definitive Guide

anchor text definitive guide

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. .

WHAT IS ANCHOR TEXT

Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link.

ahrefs anchor text

TYPES OF ANCHOR TEXT

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.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about link building that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.


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.

image alt text

GOOGLE PENGUIN IN 2012 AND IN 2016 FORWARD

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.

inbound links anchor text graph

ANCHOR TEXT USAGE

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.

SOURCE SITE

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.

semrush organic traffic

MORE GRANULAR

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:

9 ANCHOR TEXT OPTMIZATION BEST PRACTICES

1. AVOID ACQUIRING TOO MANY EXACT MATCH ANCHORS

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.

Wrong.

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”.

ahrefs guest post webris

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.

2. FOCUS ON LINK TYPE

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

inbound org community backlink

2. Referential link

reference backlink

3. Blog comment link
blog comment backlink

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.

3. OPTIMIZE CLICKS USING VALUE-CENTRIC ANCHOR TEXTS

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.

more clicks more referral visits

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.

gotchseo email subs graph

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.

4. UNDERSTAND AND USE CO-OCCURENCES

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:

co occurence kaiserthesage 1

co occurence kaiserthesage moz

co occurence kaiserthesage reddit

co occurence kaiserthesage searchenginejournal

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.

5.  FIND NEW ORGANIC RANKING KEYWORDS

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.

6. SEARCH FOR RELATED PHRASES AND INSTAGRAM TRENDS

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.

7. OPTIMIZING CONTENT USING CONTENT GAP MONITORING

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.

ahref new keywords

Click add alert button at the right section.

ahrefs add alerts

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.

add alert ahrefs anchor text

8. LINK AUDIT ON EXACT MATCH ANCHOR TEXT LINKS

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.

9. CONVERT HIGH-QUALITY EXACT MATCH ANCHOR TEXTS TO BRANDED LINKS

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.

Bring this HUGE guide anywhere…

101-actionable-link-building-tips-download

Now It’s Your Turn…

How do you diversity your backlinks’ anchor texts?

Or maybe you have a question on how to implement any of the insights in our above list?

Either way, leave a comment quick below.

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

So if you have a question, insight or new tactic, leave a comment right now.