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.

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.


link building 2016

13 Amazing Link Building Tips for 2016 [New List]

link building 2016

There are two phases that we always keep improving at SharpRocket: link research and outreach. Changes we made on the process aren’t intended for additional link building tactics, but to yield big improvements for our clients’ link development campaigns.

I’ve written a post last year about link building 2015 tactics, which I guess would need another remake for 2016.

Link builders and inbound marketers in general should understand that they don’t need additional link building strategies for 2016 but should be observant and creative for small tweaks to their existing process to make it work effective for their campaigns.

Without further ado, let’s go with 13 link building tips for 2016 and beyond.

1. AVOID FALSE SINCERITY IN EMAIL OUTREACH

As link building evolves, old-fashioned spammers turned into manual email outreachers also changed the way they construct email copies. They don’t look like spammers now but if you’ve been receiving several emails from them, there it seems a spamming hint.

“I’ve been reading your site, www.domain.com” for quite some time”

“I’m an avid fan of your blog, www.domain.com

“I noticed you’re interested in [industry]” (but they’re coming up with guest blog ideas that aren’t relevant to my niche).

All of these introductory messages indicate false sincerity. It means that you want to please other people by saying things nice to them (i.e. being a fan of their blog) without doing them actually (i.e. reading or even subscribing to their blogs) – well, all boils down to a lie.

Avoid these introductions to your email. It won’t personalize your copy simply by using them.

Here are some useful personalization tips to increase email and response rates:

  • Know who they are, state the name of the blogger or the person you’re trying to reach out to. It’s amazing to see emails that didn’t indicate my name (i.e. Hi,) even if they can just click on my blog’s about me page.
  • Location (use Rapportive to see their current location). This can also be added to subject lines of your emails.
  • Company (finding the companies where sole authors/bloggers are working for and adding the brand name to your copy is a plus factor in outreach).
  • Phone-based outreach. Pick up your phone and be ready to call the person. You can add to your email things like, “I’d be happy to discuss this with you over the phone”.

2. CREATE CHECKLISTS FOR SCALABILITY

Do you have common issues that result to some inefficiency in your current link building process? Problems like which email should be prioritized (if there are multiple emails listed in a contact us page), differentiating a company website from a blog (when training new link builders) or simply identifying if a page/site is high quality or not (based on certain campaigns’ metrics).

Questions regarding these issues could be answered through creating a checklist. Checklist for link building helps you answer work-related questions of your link builders (especially for new ones) without the need to routinely provide them with answers.

checklist

Samples of checklists that we’ve been using internally for scalability are:

  • Priority of emails to pick up (contact finding) – useful when looking for the right(s) email to target as opposed to pursuing generic emails (info@domain.com or sales@domain.com)
  • Checklist of requirements/standards for every link building campaign (DA, Trustflow, CitationFlow, target niches/audiences, SEMRush traffic base, average # of social shares per post, average # of comments per post, etc..). Set these metrics right with your client so you won’t be in trouble in the latter part of your campaigns.
  • Checklist of “to consider” and “not to consider” when looking for related posts/pages from target domains (e.g. not to consider guest posts/sponsored posts from other blogs as well as pages with too many external links – especially those that point out to company pages/sites).

3. INVERTED BROKEN LINK BUILDING

Broken link building is known in the search marketing industry as one of the effective link building techniques in all time. Pros like Jon Cooper and Garrett French who mastered this art very well provide actionable link building guides to help you create linkable assets and properly do outreach campaigns.

The basic process of broken link building goes like this:

  • Find relevant resource pages using search engines (with the help of search operators: intitle and inurl) and link prospecting tools (Ahrefs, CognitiveSEO, etc..).
  • Check each page for any broken links (404s) and list them down in a spreadsheet.
  • Reach out to potential linkers and let them know of any defunct links in their links pages, then follow up with a suggestion to include your content in one of the resources/references.

There is another way to do broken link building and we’d like to call it – inverted broken link building.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to do it:

Step 1: Find broken pages in your industry (you can find broken links in your existing list of resource pages – use LinkMiner to check for broken link opportunities).

Step 2: Dive into Archive.org to see their visible recent content. You can also look at the number of available pages/sites linking to those broken pages to see if there is a high link potential on a specific topic.

Step 3: When done brainstorming for a topic that is highly linkable (with available linkable audience).Create 10x content on that content idea and ensure that it is better than information contained in broken pages (when they were lived).

wordpress-cheat-sheet

Step 4: Find existing linkers to broken pages and list their contact details in a spreadsheet/document.

contact-details-spreadsheet

Step 5: Reach out to them and let them know of those broken links. Recommend replacing those defunct links with link to your content piece and/or suggest your page for additional resource listing.

[image]

4. TURN SEEMINGLY NOs TO YESes

In outreach, there are seemingly “no” messages that could actually be turned into real links. However, you’ve got to understand why these messages are going to routes of lost link opportunities then take creative actions to make your outreach to them works.

Case 1: Relevant domain, irrelevant resource

not-good-fit

How to solve this issue:

  • See the exact resource listing or page/site where you want to get your links built. Are there any specific sections of the page where your content could be referenced? Include that point to your response, add some compliments as to why your resource is a good fit to their page and let them take a second look at your content.
  • Provide similar resources that could be added to resource listings and state complements of your resource with other content assets.

Case 2: No capacity to update the page

no-capacity-to-update-email

How to solve this issue:

  • Ask the potential linker if he/she knows other contacts that have the capacity to update the page (i.e. main webmaster). If there are multiple contacts in the website, you can already get one in the list and try to pitch him/her (in case, the first contact didn’t respond to your next message).
  • When emailing the next contact, include your original message, so the person in charge of the website would understand your concern very well. This also shows that you’ve made some effort to reach out to someone in their organization.
  • You can try using any of these subject lines for second-contact emails: new contact forward by [first contact name]: [original subject line] or can you help update n’the page? [original subject line].

Case 3: Not at this time

not-at-this-time-email-300x66

How to solve this issue:

  • Do follow-ups indicating that you recently send him/her the message (you can forward the original message perhaps). Follow-ups may be 5 days, weeks or months after your initial pitch.
  • Ask the reason why this is not the right time to update the page. You’ll never know, it may simply just be about the case #2 (doesn’t have the capacity for page editing).

5. LAST MODIFICATION IN BLB OUTREACH

Figure out when the pages were updated last. This is a very cool trick to personalize your pitch as you can simply add this info (i.e. The page hasn’t been updated for [months] or since [date]). This allows your outreach to stand out among other emails.

Knowing the last modification date is also a pretty cool way to know if there’s a high link opportunity

Pages haven’t been updated for years may not be the best link opportunities).

To see the last modification date of pages, you can use Archive.org (example).

Though modifications could be in forms of page designs, text editing and other minor changes in the pages, still considering it could give you an idea of whether or not the page is constantly being updated.

6. ADD BRACKETS TO SUBJECT LINES

Outbrain’s recent study shows that adding brackets to post titles bump CTR by 38%. This is a little cool trick when you’re creating content for your clients as you’ll get more traffic to your website, but have you tried using it for outreach emails?

Headlines with bracketed clarifications (e.g., [photos], [interview], etc..) performed 38% better than headlines without clarifications, which only means that readers would likely to read a page if they have a clear picture of what the headline/content is all about.

Here are a few reasons why bracketing would work for emails’ subject lines:

  • Differentiates your pitch from other messages, as most emails won’t have brackets in their subject lines.
  • Highly emphasizes your content’s description (i.e. [New Tutorial]).

7. SCALABLE LINK RECLAMATION

Reclaiming links from someone who have used your brand’s content, whether an image, video, or simply a quote from your presentation is a pretty good way to pass additional link equity from external websites to your page/content.

Doing this manually would take too much time. However, you can scale this link reclamation process for all your clients or for a single brand with high reputation/authority in the industry – as they would normally have acquired branded link opportunities (unfortunately, unlinked).

Chris Dyson of TripleSEO recently published a link building tutorial on scaling link reclamation. I won’t go deeper to this but would like to share some more tips to make this strategy work more effective:

Aside from using ImageRaider or other automated reverse image tools, you can use inurl:/tag “brand/product/service name” to find more unlinked branded mentions – tags are basically used by bloggers to help visitors find more pages relevant to the page they are already viewing.

inurl-tag-ebay-300x265

Look pages that haven’t linked to your content but have use it otherwise (i.e. an infographic posted on someone’s blog without a credit to your brand). You can use the allintitle: search operator to find these link opportunities.

For instance, my infographic about blog promotion, which was published 2 years ago, earned high quality backlinks from the blogging community (forums, infographic lists, news sites, etc..) as well as unlinked use of image content on some other blogs.

allintitle-infographic-blog-promotion

Using allintitle search, I’ve found out that there are 300+ blogs that have mentioned and/or linked to my content. Note: Make sure you have distinct content title so whenever you use allintitle search, you won’t get results that have no mentions of your brand.

8. WIDEN YOUR REACH THROUGH PROPER LINK ANALYSIS

There are many incredible insights we could draw from link profile analysis besides mining for link opportunities – though this is one of the main usage of third party link building tools like Ahrefs.

ahrefs-link-profile-analysis

There are still other benefits of an in-depth link profiling, such as:

  • Finding sub-niches to tap into simply by observing linking pages of a particular content asset. At SharpRocket, we’ve found this benefit really useful for us, as we are able to get multiple resource pages targeting “seniors guide to computer literacy” theme, which are potentially linking to a starter’s guide to blogging.
  • Populating link prospecting phrases through the use of anchor text section of a third-party tool, like Ahrefs. See both anchor texts of pages linking to the content piece, and anchor texts used by the site pointing to its references.
  • Identify relationships between linking pages in a particular link profile, which could open new link opportunities. For instance, if an ecommerce site acquired links from suppliers, manufacturers and associations, you can reach out to these existing linkers and have them linked to your brand as well.

9. PHRASE MENTION MONITORING

If you’ve been doing link building for years, then you pretty know much about reclaiming unlinked brand mentions from linking sites of your brand. This could be in a form of image credit, infographic reference, persona inclusion or simply a mention of the brand name.

I’d like to share the idea of “phrase mention monitoring”, which is somewhat similar to link reclamation.

This is how it works:

  1. Look for a topic with low friction point to getting similar blog posts from others (you can use Buzzsumo to find content ideas). The topic must have low competition and is uniquely identified on search. One search operator that can validate these factors is allintitle:”keyword”, which gives you an idea if the topic has been exactly covered on other blogs and proves that there is a low competition level ranking for that topic.

allintitle-link-building-2016

  1. Develop a 10xcontent that people would want to link to from their own blogs and share on their own social platforms. If it’s a seasonal topic that you’d like to discuss (i.e. money saving tips for 2016), try to come up with new information that isn’t brought up for the past few years (always add unexpected hook in the content).
  1. Create email alerts for future mentions of your content’s topic. You can use Mention.net, Brandmentions and other brand monitoring tools to automate receiving emails when someone has published a content on it or at least mention the phrase in their contributed articles.
  1. Reach out to content creators who would be discussing your content’s topic (e.g. link building tactics for 2016 on other link building blogs). These publishers are more receptive to pitches of mentions or link requests as they have recently just published their content (it won’t require too much of their time editing the resource as they may have been checking for blog updates, especially right after they published it – engaging new comments).

10. ASK FOR REFERRALS IN OUTREACH

Link opportunities aren’t easily discovered through manual search. Using every link target as a source for another target site is an effective way to build a list of potential linkers with less work.

Utilize networks and relationships for additional blog prospecting by asking your publishers with built relationships if they know someone who would be interested for the same kind of content value you gave to them.

In our own data testing, we’ve found out 20% referrals from our existing list of link targets, so you’ll get 3 additional link prospects out of 15 publishers whom you’ve asked for referrals.

A few things to keep in mind when asking for referrals in outreach:

  • See to it that the referred site/blog isn’t owned by the person whom you’ve asked referral for. Otherwise, he/she owns several blogs and formed a private blog network.
  • Highly consider your metrics when checking the referred sites. They may refer bloggers but have sites that are irrelevant to your brand.

11. OPPORTUNITY OPENING THROUGH URL AND TITLE VARIETY

At Sharprocket, we always come up with new tricks/tips that we use to improve our link research for our client campaigns, one of which is observing URLs of existing resource pages in the lists and search results.

For instance, in the language literacy space, ESL or English as a secondary language is frequently mentioned in literacy and writing niches.

By using this as the exact URL term, we can come up with resource pages specific for ESL literacy.

Examples of search phrases are:

  • inurl:esl-links.html – lists down ESL-specific HTML links pages
  • inurl:esl-resources-for-students – brings up exact learning resources for students
  • inurl:esl-blogs – lists down resource listing of top esl blogs
  • intitle:”esl resources for teachers” – leaves out reference ESL pages for teahcers
  • intitle:”esl resources for kids” – gives a list of links pages for kids’ ESL learning

12. USE EMAIL VALIDATOR TOOL FOR UP-FRONT AVOIDANCE OF FAILED MESSAGES

One common issue that we encounter as a link building team when pitching prospects for the first time (initial outreach) is getting failed delivery notifications from the server. This doesn’t impacts heavily to our campaign if we’re only reaching out to less than 50 publishers. But if we are pitching to 400+ people individually (which we did to one of our clients), we don’t want to miss some link opportunities.

What we do is we use My-addr to validate email addresses (seeing if these email are still functioning). This helps us avoid up-front any possible failed messages when doing initial pitch and we can just come back with secondary emails to move forward.

The tool isn’t perfect in terms of accuracy. I’ve tested this for 16 failed messages that we received in our inbox. It resulted to 2 OK emails and 14 FAILED emails (~12% inaccuracy rate).

email-validation-tool

My addr is cheap, it only costs $0.500 per 1000 emails (I’m not affiliate of this product, but if you want to improve your outreach process, then you may want to test this out).

13. TYPO LINK BUILDING

This link building strategy originally came from John-Henry Scherck which is basically a process of getting links from bloggers, content creators and publishers who may have linked to mis-spellings of your domain name.

How to actually do this:

Step 1: Find possible typos of your domain name using this domain typo generator. Just put in your domain, click “Generate Typos” and it will give you different variations of mis-spellings.

domain-typo-generator

Step 2: Grab links pointing to those domain variations using Ahrefs Batch Analysis. The tool will help you generate multiple backlink reports of those mis-spelled domains.

quick-batch-analysis-ahrefs

Step 3: Reach out to publishers of these links and let them know about mis-spelled domains/urls. You can ask them to change the URL, so it would point to the right domain of your brand.

Have We Been Helpful?

SharpRocket is a team of link building specialists who love building high quality links.

To learn more about how we can help you, take a look at the services we offer.


off page SEO

21 Off-page SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now

off page SEO

Off-page SEO hasn’t been all about links. We have social data, brand signals (linked or unlinked mentions), citations, reviews and sentiments that search engines can use in evaluating relevance, trust, popularity and authority of a website/page.

For link building in 2016 and beyond, the ability to understand these external website concepts and to use effective off-page SEO techniques can help you with in influencing a website’s ranking power.

Before we get straight to the practical part of this off-page SEO guide, here are some valuable insights about off-page SEO from top link building experts.

Free PDF: Download a free PDF version of this guide. PDF contains all sections and resources listed here. 

WHAT IS OFF-PAGE SEO

Off-Page SEO refers to link building and all related activities & actions focused on growing our Website popularity, happening outside of it, and therefore the name.

aleyda solis

Aleyda Solis, Founder of Orainti

Off page SEO to me is any kind of optimisation that takes place away from the site itself. Generation of signals from third party websites to tell Google that the thing you are optimising deserves to rank. The main part of this is obviously link building but increasingly can incorporate other things like social.

james agate

James Agate, Founder of Skyrocket Digital

Off Page SEO means doing anything from an external point of view to assist with SEO efforts. This could mean link acquisition, building mentions, using a PR agency, building your brand off site to have a positive impact on your websites SEO.

james norquay

James Norquay, Founder of Prosperity Media

Using these principles as solid foundation, let me walk you through the 21 off-page SEO techniques you can immediately use right now for your website.

21 OFF-PAGE SEO BEST PRACTICES

1. EXPAND LINK LISTS WITH SIMILAR CONTENT PROSPECTING TOOL

similar content prospecting tool

Websites that linked to a content or resource similar to an asset page published on your site are more receptive to outreach than any other link prospects primarily because of their linking history. When they had linked to a particular page, they are likely be interested to its similar resource and consider it for a possible linking opportunity.

Topical relevancy and higher link acquisition rates are some few notable advantages when you reached out to said link prospects.

Given this, here is how you can find these high-quality backlink sources:

STEP 1: Enter niche-specific keywords (related to your content) in Skyrocket’s Similar Content. This tool will automatically generate high-quality prospects that are linking to the top ranking pages for searched keywords.

similar content prospecting search

STEP 2: Export domains and list them in a Spreadsheet or you can plug them to your favorite outreach tool.

similar content prospecting search results

STEP 3: Reach out to webmasters and publishers of those potential linking sites and ask if they’ll be interested to look at your content piece. Here is one example of an email template that you can use, which is actually for follow-up purposes.

Hello [ NAME ],

I contacted you a few weeks ago to share a resource that I thought you may
find of interest, and you informed me about your upcoming blog/site
update. I was wondering if you’ve been successful in the update and had a
chance to review my message; a copy of which is provided below for
reference.

We’ve launched a really detailed guide to [ TOPIC ] and I
thought you might be interested in seeing it – [ URL ]

If you are still updating this page –
[ URL ] then perhaps our guide might
make a useful addition.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And if this isn’t for you or
you’d rather I didn’t get in touch in future please let me know and I’ll
be sure not to send you any other messages.

– [Your Name]

2. LEVERAGE CONTENT TEMPLATES WITH BUZZSUMO

buzzsumo

The ability to scale content assets without sacrificing qualify differentiates average content marketers from excellent ones. A year ago, Ross Hudgens shared one strategy on how to create incredible content assets at a low cost. It is with the use of content templates.

Content templates are simple formats of successful content assets from other verticals or other brands that can potentially be replicated to your own content marketing campaigns. Two good examples of these content templates are these posts by Hubspot about habits for hyper-productive people and habits for content marketers.

The Hubspot’s content marketing team found this “habit-type” content template to be a good blog post framework. People simply want to emulate habits that make other people successful in whatever field they belong. Thus when you publish content like this, it easily gets traction from many people – acquiring multiple social shares and earning referential links from publishers.

How to find content templates that are likely to earn links naturally?

STEP 1: Find popular content-producing sites in your industry and use Buzzsumo to look for their most-shared content pieces.

buzzsumo search tool siegemedia

STEP 2: Take note all possible content formats and list them down in a Spreadsheet.

most shared content buzzsumo

STEP 3: Create content pillars based on your preferred content formats. This would require testing but when you see results from first published content, you can replicate this to every sub-niches in your vertical (check out my definitive guide on blogger outreach) .

definitive guide to blogger outreach preview

3. LINK TO INFLUENCERS WITHIN CONTENT

Though Google doesn’t count outbound links as a direct ranking factor, knowing how to properly link to relevant sources externally is still a best practice in the search industry. External linking to credible resources and useful content produced by influencers helps an initial boost of promotion to your content piece. Maximizing this strategy is a sure way to put more eyeballs to your asset.

How to execute this properly?

STEP 1: Search for influencers in your niche whom you can easily connect with. You can use Buzzstream or a simple Google search to discover this kind of people.

google search personal finance bloggers

STEP 2: When starting to create content, try to find relevant blog posts of influencers. You can use the search phrase, site:domain.com “keyword” or site:domain.com intitle:”keyword”. The latter search strings are more useful because it provides the most targeted results – finding pages that discuss the whole topic, not just including your keyword in one paragraph.

google search intitle outreach

STEP 3: Once you publish your content, reach out to these influencers using direct email outreach. Results from this are either social shares or contextual links from publishers. Even if you got one social share from an influencer, this can be worth a hundred of traffic to your site.

Hi [ NAME ],

I saw your website and found that you linked to one blog post about [ TOPIC ].

Just thought that you might find my definitive guide on [ TOPIC ] also useful. It is a rich content that contains an [ DESCRIBE YOUR CONTENT ].
[ URL ]

Kind regards,
[ YOUR NAME ]

4. BUILD HIGHLY-CONVERTING MICRO SITES

If you’re aiming to capture small segments of your target market, one way you need to invest in is creating micro sites. This method can enable your brand to build high quality links your competitors can’t easily copy, as well as give your site more opportunities to attract potential clients/customers.

One good example of this branding strategy is how Aleyda created two micro sites that provides a lot of value to the SEO community – All SEO Guidelines and The Marketer Toolbox.

Both of these sites target segmented audiences, the first one helps SEO practitioners (both in-house and agency-level) while the second one focuses more on marketers and tool creators.

Now, how can you identify your specific market segment and create a micro site out of it? Below are a few steps to get you started, but if you want to take the whole process, you can check out this posts by and this guide by..

STEP 1: Go to your Google Analytics data. Look at the top performing posts with high conversion rates.

google analytics top performing posts

STEP 2: Determine what market segments you can tap that isn’t going too far from your main content theme. For example, in my case, I can create micro sites for link building tools and templates/checklists for link acquisition given that I’m currently offering link building services.

STEP 3: Once you choose an overall theme for your micro-site, buy your own domain name and hosting. In terms of the site’s content development, you can produce scalable content pillars like round-ups on an actionable topic, interview series and user-generated content.

remoters interview series

5. USE INTERVIEWS AS GUEST ENTRIES

Guest blogging has been an effective off-page SEO technique for many startup marketers building their own brands from scratch. What makes this more effective is the ability to craft solid content that isn’t a carbon copy of another piece or a revision of a blog post published on one popular blog.

The challenge in guest blogging is really writing an expertly-written content that won’t just acquire a single link but will potentially get second-tier links from blogs linking to the contributed piece.

One way to be able to do this is using interviews as guest entries for other websites. Given that answers from industry experts are most likely to be actionable, helpful and experience-based, they can be considered as solid content for guest blogging. Here is how you can execute this process:

STEP 1: Find publishers and book authors using Google search or influencer prospecting tools.

google search seo influencers

STEP 2: Reach out to these niche experts and do an interview with them. Below is an email copy you can use:

Hey [ NAME ],

I hope you’re doing well.

Just want to tell you that, [ WEBMASTER NAME ] who manages the [ SITE NAME ], gave me an opportunity to guest post at [ URL ] and am planning to do a short written interview with some of the below bloggers and I was requesting if you can be one of them.

  • INTERVIEWEE’S NAME 1
  • INTERVIEWEE’S NAME 2
  • INTERVIEWEE’S NAME 3
  • INTERVIEWEE’S NAME 4

If so, I’ve attached a short written interview that you can use to share your tips or ideas.

If you’re interested in including screenshots as part of real life example, you’re welcome to do so.

The topic of discussion is [ TOPIC ]

Cheers

[ YOUR NAME ]

STEP 3: Use their answers as guest content for your target blog. Check out these examples of interview-based guest posts.

uklinkology guest post interview

6. COLLECT LINK PROSPECTS FROM LISTPEDIA

Using social media platforms like Twitter for link prospecting is a strategic approach for link builders to find new bloggers and publishers that aren’t yet found through Google search. With this, you can expand your list of outreach targets without actually depending on search engines as your primary source of target domains.

Besides getting additional backlink sources, you’ll also be able to tap influencers that have strong massive reach both in web publishing and social if you try using social media as your main link prospecting tool. In other words, you get more benefits when you do an outreach to them since they won’t only be linking to your content, but they’ll also share your content to their existing followers. This can allow your brand to acquire more backlinks from their followers’ blogs as well.

You can start this by using simple Twitter searches to find bloggers in your industry. However, if you are doing bulk prospecting, you can scale the process by using Listpedia.

Listpedia is a new self-made search and creation Twitter tool that can generate massive Twitter lists relevant to a particular keyword.

Here are three steps on how to use Listpedia for link prospecting:

STEP 1: Go to Listpedia and search for a particular audience you are aiming to reach out to (e.g. personal finance, finance or insurance).

listpedia personal finance search

STEP 2: Check each individual Twitter profile in the search results to see if they have their own blogs or websites.

listpedia-personal-finance-search-results

STEP 3: Once you think a particular website passes your link metrics (Ahrefs rank, DA or Trustflow), you can include it to your outreach list, find his email address and send a pitch via email. Below is an email copy you can use:

Hey [ NAME ],

I saw your profile on Twitter while doing my research, and also saw that you are part of this Twitter list [ URL ]. 

Just thought that you might find my post about [ DESCRIBE YOUR CONTENT ] really useful.  [ YOUR CONTENT URL ]

Have a great weekend!

All the best, 

[ YOUR NAME ]

7. INCLUDE POST-PREVIEW AS ADDITIIONAL PROPOSITION TO CONTENT

Creating remarkable content may require experiences and case studies from your own brand that gets people into action – after they consume the content. Case studies that take days, weeks or even months is really time-consuming for content creators.

However, there is one way to easily add data-based experience that won’t cost you money. That is, including a data from an influencer/expert you’ve had a relationship with. Since there is a connection involved, the influencer won’t look at it like stealing his ideas as you initiate asking for a permission to use his data.

I did this strategy when I wrote my old post on increase blog traffic where I included an experience-based tip from Roel Manarang – a local-based social media marketing expert. He backed up his claim with a case study of a Facebook strategy, not even shared on his blog, at the time I inserted his technique to my blog post.

Here is how you can use post-preview in your content creation phase:

STEP 1: Identify influencers you had relationships with (grab your list from off page SEO techique 3). Filter the influencer list by expertise these influencers have been known for (i.e. link building, off-page SEO, conversion rate optimization, etc..) and choose those you think can collaborate with you once you create your next content.

outreach list

STEP 2: Reach out to influencers and ask if they’ll be interested to add some insights to your upcoming post. You can try this email outreach copy below:

Hello [ NAME ],

I know you’re quite busy today. But just a quick heads-up if you’re interested to contribute insights to my upcoming post about [ TOPIC ].

I would like to know if you have any experiences and tips regarding [TELL MORE ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING POST]. 

Let me know your thoughts. 

All the best, 

[ YOUR NAME ]

STEP 3: Include the influencer’s tip to your content and start to promote it to people who might like your link to your post.

include data roel manarang

8. IMPROVE RELEVANCE WITH BRAND KEYWORD INTEGRATION

Google understands the relevance of a brand towards its connected domains in the industry sphere based on the keywords and context of each content produced in the website. Knowing this, you will create additional content based not only on the industry terms you want to rank for but on keywords you could potentially rank.

This is doable in three steps.

STEP 1: Go to Google Keyword Planner and plug in your homepage in the landing page search. You will then see a list of keywords Google considers to be relevant industry terms of your brand

landing page sharprocket

STEP 2: Choose among the list of keywords which of them you will likely to target for your next content.

content ideas google keyword planner

STEP 3: Include industry terms when writing your content in order improve LSI relevance of your website.

google keyword planner keyword integration

9. GIFT GIVING TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Engagement marketing involves two sets of groups: those who are part of your networks and those you still need to reach out to – commonly referred as “direct outreach”.

The good thing with direct outreach is that you don’t need to invest a huge amount of money and chunks of hours to start with. There is actually a less-costly way to effectively build relationships with influencers and authors who are part of your direct outreach.

James Norquay from Prosperity Media showed how a set of cupcakes from his client can strengthen relationships built with their brand partners.

Another example of this link relationship building technique is when Larry Kim of Wordstream sent letters of appreciation to customers and to people who became a great part in building his brand.

Want to know how to execute a strategic approach in engagement marketing? Here are actionable tips to start an effective community engagement.

STEP 1: Identify one valuable thing you can offer to your brand followers or potential brand ambassadors.

prosperity media cakes

STEP 2: Think of ways on how to deliver your gift to your list of recipients. It could be through international or local shipping and/or online transfer system if your gift is a virtual product.

STEP 3: Once the gift is released, you can track web and social mentions from influencers using BrandMentions.

10. INVEST IN GETTING REFERENCES FROM Q&A SITES FROM REAL PEOPLE

The nature of searchers in this age of web usage is leading towards search activities in very niche-targeted search engine sites and community sites, where people would look for answers to their frequent questions from niche community sites instead of going straight to their favorite search engine tool.

Identifying these websites where a portion of your target market hang out can allow you to acquire referential links that your competitors haven’t thought of building for their own sites.

The community-based backlink below is a good example of how powerful branding could help you semi-automate your brand’s link acquisition process. If you look closely at the answer, it is not a result of our marketing work, but from a person who trusted our expertise – Anton Shulke. We actually did a webinar for his website and the benefit becomes mutual in the form of a link pointing to our brand.

How can you leverage branded link acquisition (off-page SEO) in community sites?

STEP 1: Create a list of outreach prospects that include your current brand followers, customers and clients. Your brand followers could be any person you’ve built relationship in the past either through content distribution, exchange of business ideas or as simple as being your co-member in an offline/online niche group.

STEP 2: Look for relevant discussions that can potentially drive highly converting visitors to your site. In my above example, the keyword that I used is best SEO agency in Manila. The trick here is to use the site: search operator plus the keyword – e.g. site:quora.com “best X in Y” to generate targeted discussion pages.

quora best seo agency

STEP 3: Reach out to your outreach prospects and ask if they can participate in the discussion. If they are your loyal customers/clients, they’ll likely give a recommendation to your brand.

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES:

11. TRACK MENTIONS FROM RELATED COINED TERMS

Link reclamation is probably one of the first initiatives when doing a strategic off-page SEO campaign for a website that has an established authority in its vertical. It is because there is a higher probability of getting your first set of in-content links simply when you reach out to people who are familiar with your brand and had used your resources in their content works.

In addition to tracking mentions of your content assets, you can also do the same strategy to your competitors’ resources. There are many types of content assets you can actually track to see if there are publishers or bloggers who used your competitor’s content in bloggers’ websites but not crediting their original sources. A few examples are images created by the brand (infographics), mentions of your products, embedded Youtube videos and other content that deserve a credit in a form of links.

How to use competitor-based link reclamation strategy to your own advantage?

STEP 1: Identify the top performing pages of your competitor’s site by using CognitiveSEO and using the number of referring domains and page authority as your performance metrics.

cognitiveseo top pages

STEP 2: Track upcoming mentions of chosen resource/content of your competitor using BrandMentions. The tool will automatically notify you if there are new mentions, whether they are linked or unlinked on other content distributing sites.

brandmentions skyscraper-backlinko

STEP 3: Find a resource of yours that is similar to your competitor’s content. Reach out to the blogger and pitch him showing your related content. You don’t need to ask for a link, it will be automatically given once they perceive your content as valuable.

12. REVERSE IMAGE SEARCH FOR LINK PROSPECTING

Reverse image search is an effective off-page SEO practice that helps link building practitioners to find out blogs where the image has been embedded. If the blog is linked to a wrong image source, it is best to ask him for the proper credit.

Though this off-page SEO technique is mainly used for link reclamation, you actually apply this same strategy to your link prospecting process. How?

STEP 1: Find a competing visual asset in your industry. It could be the infographic you tried to post on your blog that gained massive social shares or a generic image created by an expert in your field. You can use a simple Google image search like “infographic” “industry” to find these popular visual content assets.

infographic co sleeping

STEP 2: Grab URLs of these visual assets and plug in your favorite reverse image tool to find websites that embedded them.

tineye image results

STEP 3: Add those websites in your spreadsheet as your additional backlink prospects. Reach out to them with a unique proposition, not necessarily for the purpose of image link reclamation.

13. COLLABORATE WITH INFLUENCERS/AUTHORS

Aligning brand strategy with your off-page SEO process enables you to strongly build relationships not only with like-minded bloggers but with entities in the same vertical. This helps your brand to position itself on the web and on its specific field by being perceived as a credible and trustworthy website by search engines and by target searchers – because links coming from trusted websites are good indicators of a site’s trustworthiness.

One simple branding approach is collaborating with niche influencers and authors for content creation. Given that they had industry experience in web publishing and massive audience following, touching based with them assures the quality of a content asset and a more effective content promotion than doing it alone.

How influencer outreach starts?

STEP 1: Find influencers and authors in your niche who’ll be interested for content partnership. Do a Google search for “guest post by” [ industry ] to search for this kind of personalities.

guest post by parenting search results

STEP 2: Identify what kind of mutual benefit you can offer to your outreach prospects. It could be asking them to answer a set of interview questions, to be compiled and published on your blog, or cross-publishing content pieces – i.e. embedding your infographic to his blog in exchange for a guest article on your site. One pro tip here is to actually look at your prospect’s latest articles and see what type of content they usually publish and in conjunction to your content publishing – what type of asset do you want to test out on your website.

made to mother articles

STEP 3: Send straightforward pitches with strong value propositions to capture their interests

14. FIND HIGHLY CONVERTING OUTREACH PROSPECTS IN MOMENT QUERIES

Targeting high-profile bloggers who are likely to convert into linkers is one main objective of a blogger outreach campaign. But that’s going to be really tough it you don’t know how to find them.

Searching the web for potential linkers is one initiative you can start in your link prospecting process. However, your search phrase (keywords plus search operators) should be very specific as possible to get the most refine results from search engines.

One off page SEO technique to be very specific with search pages as well as to increase response and link acquisition rates in your outreach is to actually use in moment options in Google search. This means that pages that will appear in search results are assured to be published within the past hour or past 24 hours from the moment of search.

How to start with this link prospecting technique:

STEP 1: Do a Google search for your preferred search phrases.

diy tips home decor

STEP 2: Filter the results by date of publishing (Search – Date – hour or 24 hours).

past 24 hours filter

STEP 3: Gather those pages that are relevant to your niche and put them down in a list. Qualify them based on your link metrics and reach out to them afterwards.

15. USE LONGER STRINGS FOR HIGHER CLICKS FROM LINKS

Links has been a top ranking signal in search today and this has been proven many times – see these posts at SEOAuv about link importance and this experiment on Moz on how long links can influence rankings).

Links help websites rank in organic search. This is unarguably true. However, many marketers forget other objectives of links like driving visitors to a linked page. If it does generates visits, acquiring links can also become a very strategic approach to increase followers, subscribers and brand advocates.

If you are distributing content to other blogs – i.e. contributing a guest article or providing answers to interview questions, make sure you only add niche-specific resources to your contributed piece. If the topic is email list building, don’t add any pure on-page article to content unless it is contextually relevant.

State the value of a referenced resource by giving readers a preview of the information the content includes. The best way is to actually use longer strings to describe what the content is all about.

niche hacks link

16. ACQUIRE NEWSLETTER LINKS

weekly newsletters

Email newsletters are good sources of information from publishers. These information could either be a curated list of links from top articles of the week or preview of a new blog post posted on hosted blog.

Getting featured in these newsletters is a very powerful branding/marketing strategy, as it allows your brand to distribute its own content massively to a different audience which will also help you increase your existing followers if you absorb active social sharers from other blogs. Eventually, when these followers are fascinated with your blog content, they will eventually be your brand advocates who might be interested in linking to your content assets from their own websites and social profiles.

That’s why identifying newsletters that allows external linking to other relevant sources is a huge advantage for marketers. Exclusive feature in newsletters becomes a profitable off-page technique nowadays.

Follow this simple step-by-step guide to get featured in topical newsletters:

STEP 1: Create a list of blogs that feature top resources in newsletters in a monthly, weekly or daily basis. You can also check out your current list of outreach prospects to find newsletter-featuring websites.

Once you’re done with the list, take note how periodically these blogs send emails to their subscribers by looking at some obvious statements on their available opt-in or landing pages in their websites.

STEP 2: Subscribe to these blogs’ email lists and know what kind of resources these newsletters usually link out to (identify similarities in form, length and theme).

doz email opt in form

STEP 3: Constantly provide actionable and useful content on your blog to build a strong readership following and to get recommendations to be featured in other blogs’ newsletters. If you are not getting any exclusive email feature after months of content publishing, you can try reaching out to publishers in your earlier contact list and ask if they are interested to see a new useful guide or resource.

newsletter feature

17. ADJUST REFERRAL COMMISSION RATE FOR AUTHORITY BLOGGERS

qeryz lifetime recurring commission

Relationship building matters in online marketing as it helps you build a strong following base that is capable of introducing your content to a new readers, who might actually be your potential linkers.

Bloggers, especially those who are professionals, are part of a market segment that has the highest response rate among all online users simply because of their availability and full time access to the web. Building relationships with these bloggers allows you to dominate a particular part in your market segment, given that their followers could also connect with you for different forms of partnership. This is a compounding effect to your branding campaign since you will get a double portion of the market – your target bloggers and their followers as well.

The best way to initiate this off-page SEO technique is to offer an affiliate program or a referral commission system to attract bloggers in reviewing your products or services. Here are some steps you can follow through:

STEP 1: Create a list of bloggers who might be interested to write a review about your product/service or might share some stories and insights with your offering.

STEP 2: Segment your list of bloggers based on their social following base (Twitter followers), authority and their websites’ factors (i.e. referring domains, domain authority, estimated organic traffic in SEMRush). You can also add the format of content they usually produce on their website. If they can produce more than one – i.e. articles and webinars/videos/podcasts, it’s a good sign that they can engage their audience with different content types, which is very important in retaining interests of your target visitors while consuming your product/service review.

STEP 3: Prioritize reaching out to authority bloggers. Offer them a higher commission rate so you can easily entice them to write a review about your offering. You can also make cross-publishing an additional value proposition in your outreach. The idea here is to make the off-page SEO strategy beneficial for both the blogger and your brand. For example, your brand will get an additional following base and potential customers from the product/service review and the blogger will also have an advantage of co-branding himself by publishing an article to your brand’s blog and adding it to his portfolio or about page (as featured in….).

18. GET OUTREACH DETAILS FROM CLEARBIT

Finding a person’s name and email address is the initial phase in link building outreach. This is where most of your outreach initiatives will depend on given that if you find wrong contact details, obviously your pitches won’t be taken to the right place.

When finding outreach prospect’s personal details, it’s very important to use effective web-based tools such as Clearbit. I personally use Clearbit as an alternative tool for Rapportive because the product is capable of giving you free email address of the person you’re contacting to, not only validating it if it’s actually working.

How to use Clearbit for initial pitch:

STEP 1: Install Clearbit to your Gmail Chrome Extension.

clearbit

STEP 2: Click “Connect” link at the upper right side of Gmail and choose “find an email”.

find an email connect

STEP 3:  Type in the homepage URL of the site you’re extracting email address from. The tool will automatically provide names of people working for the company and/or are included in the website. Choose the person you’d like to connect with.

clearbit moz contacts

19. COMMENT-BASED LINK PROSPECTING

Link prospecting is the initial phase in link building where you’ll start to find possible link targets from verticals that are relevant to your website. This is also where your entire link acquisition campaign will depend on, as this initiates the process and helps you identify what particular methods you’ll be performing to acquire links from your target backlink prospects.

Creativity matters in link prospecting since you have to choose the right keywords that will be able to generate refined page results in search engines.

One off-page SEO tactic we’ve been using for our link research campaigns for our clients that are very effective in providing high quality blogs is adding the number of comments to a specific link prospecting phrase. Here is how you can exactly do it:

STEP 1: Add comment plus number to your prospect keywords (“comments(8)” “keyword”) and generate results on search.

parenting tips google search

STEP 2: Qualify results based on your brand’s link metrics. Discover new backlink opportunities by checking links inserted in blog’s comments.

STEP 3:  Try using the following comment-based search phrases to collect more backlink targets:

  • “disqus” “keyword”
  • “commentluv” “keyword”
  • “notify me of follow up comments” “keyword”

20. CREATE LOCAL NICHE PROFILES

The ability to dominate a market segment, particularly if you are a local brand, highly depends on the brand awareness you build in your local community, whether through offline or online.

Local link building nowadays is leading towards partnerships with local organizations and institutions as well as really getting into the minds of your customers (mindshare), which is a solid combination of a off-page SEO strategy that can certainly impact your lead generation process.

One easy way, but mostly overlooked off-page SEO technique in building local links is creating niche profiles.

I’ve noticed this recently when we had a vacation last month that instead of searching in Google for best restaurants located near our vacation place, we go straight to a popular local website that features nearby restaurants and food stores – Zomato (which is actually a recommendation of one of our friends).

zomato

Having said that, creating local brand profiles that are targeted to an industry you’re trying to promote your products/services to, is a handy technique you’ll generate high returns from your marketing efforts.

Other Useful Resources:

21. STRONG BRAND MESSAGING

Brand building is the new link building and off-page SEO strategy in digital marketing today, given that when brands become true to their core values, messaging and personalities, it becomes easy for them to penetrate and dominate their target audiences.

There are many ways to send a strong brand messaging without actually hard-selling your products/services, below are some steps you can apply:

  • Identify your brand’s core competence, to be able to know where you would put most of your efforts.
  • Invest in creating comprehensive resources that will give the best answers to commonly-asked questions in your industry.
  • Provides satisfaction and excellence to existing customers or clients so you’ll acquire hard-to-built links that your competitors can’t easily copy (see this link we’ve earned recently).

agency analytics link

Here’s How to Get Even More Subscribers

You’re probably saying to yourself:

“Venchito, this is AWESOME information. What’s the easiest way to put this into practice?”.

Well I’ve got something special for you.

A free step-by-step checklist that includes actionable steps for all of the 21 strategies here…

Click the image below to download the free checklist:

101-actionable-link-building-tips-download
101 Link Building Tips

101 Actionable Link Building Tips

101 Link Building Tips

If you are tired of reading long-form content without any actionable link building tips, then this post is for you.

I’m fairly honest, these 101 actionable link building tips guide is not complete

The good news:

This post will always keep updated.

So if you want to increase your domain authority, get more exposure and increase your rankings, check out this new link building guide:

Free PDF Download. Get access to the free bonus resource that will show you how to quickly execute these strategies. Includes 2 bonus techniques not found in this post .

1. Become a Content Contributor for Authority Websites

The problem with SEO community:

We are debating on a not-so-controversial topic: quality vs quantity in link building.

In essence, both of them are important.

But could that be possible?

While aiming to build high-quality backlinks, you are also targeting a higher amount of it.

Yes.

This is possible with becoming a regular columnist on authority sites.

Look at how Buffer and Sujan Patel gained from this content marketing strategy.

guest posting buffer

How can you start becoming a regular content contributor for top news-sites and blogs?

Watch this video below:

2. Get EDU Backlinks Using Scholarships

Backlinks from educational sites are high-authority type of links you won’t just get with simple outreach.

But let me tell you this:

There’s one way to acquire those powerful types of links.

Through scholarship link building.

Check out the following pages:

bryan college scholarship link

mira costa scholarship link

These are examples of edu links you can get from creating a scholarship page targeted to a specific audience.

Start this technique with knowing who your market audience is.

For example, your website is in digital marketing industry, your audience would be marketing, entrepreneurship and advertising students.

Then go create your scholarship page and include the following information:

  • Your applicants details (who?)
  • Application process (how?)
  • Where they can apply (how?) – through your website
  • Deadline of application
  • Review process of application
  • Value of your scholarship

Once you’re done with that, find existing scholarship pages that list down relevant scholarship content – start with this Google search query, site:.edu inurl:scholarship “industry” to find them.

scholarship backlink

Populate your list by looking at other scholarship pages linking to a similar scholarship of yours. Semi-automate this by using Ahrefs.

ahrefs scholarship link

3. Curate Industry Scholarships

It’s fairly easy to say, create a scholarship page and build links.

But if your main hindrance to getting backlinks to your site is your existing resources, it would be a bit harder on your part.

Why not create a list of available scholarships in your industry?

Take a look at this example:

create scholarship curated

It took tens of hours to create a page without spending a penny.

Time and effort is what it takes.

What to do next:

Reach out to webmasters you’ve included your curated scholarship page, you’ll be surprised they are willing to add a link from their sites.

Next:

Reach out to .edu sites and ask if they can include your curated content in their existing scholarship page.

Don’t worry about getting .edu links now:

Start implementing the strategy above.

4. Get Links from Link Roundups

You start to worry that:

You can’t acquire links at the end of the week and just let your competitors outrank you in search.

What if I tell you that there’s an easy way to earn links simply by doing this untapped link building strategy

It’s called, link roundups.

Link roundups are regular posts published by bloggers to curate the best resources of any content format in their industry.

cool material link roundup

Finding this type of content is very easy.

Type in any of the following keyphrases plus your content’s target keyword or topic:

  • Blog hops
  • Link ups

fashion blog hops

Make a list of these bloggers who regularly do roundups.

Get their contact emails and proceed to outreach.

To increase your chances of getting links using this approach, it is best to start identifying the specific day they published the article.

If they post on Thursday, schedule your outreach emails one or two days before – i.e. Tuesday.

It won’t make sense for them to add your link once they have finally decided what resources to add to their link round-ups.

The next time you publish your content, take a look at available industry link roundups and see if you can build links from them.

5. Co-author a Content Piece

A single content creator for one content asset is good.

But co-authorship is much better.

You can try reaching out to content partners who’d be interested to distribute your content (which most of the information is done by you) to their own blog and to blogs they’ve connected with.

It’s a win-win situation:

They get links from other blogs without spending much time in content creation.

You get links from blogs you even didn’t do outreach at all.

co authored content

6. Publish Data-driven Content

Industry publishers, especially those in top-notch blogs, prefer to link to content pieces that have information from credible sources.

If you have collected data either from internal resources or from external (but only from credible sources just like this one from Backlinko), then don’t hesitate to publish it.

backlinko data content

data industry uk

7. Contribute to Crowdsourced Content

It’s sad to see people being frustrated with links they’ve built in a month, when you know that they have the capacity to do so, especially if they have an authority built in place.

One type of link you can actually leverage on a consistent basis are crowdsourced content links

If people know about you on the web, they’ll start to send emails to you and ask simple questions.

I’m a fan of this link earning technique because you don’t spend too much time to get a single link.

Imagine:

If you can acquire at least four backlinks every month by spending only 20 minutes for this approach, then that’s a big return of investment not everyone can achieve.

crowdsourced content

8. Create Free Tools

Tools are everywhere.

And if you can build a simple tool that helps certain group of people with their needs, then they’d likely return the favor in the form of links.

free tool

Bryan Harris from Videofruit had this awesome email list building tool that helps you to set goals and motivate to reach them in a specific time period.

If that helps me with the task and I have a blog, wouldn’t I be kind enough to link to his page?

After all, links main core principle is providing value to others.

9. Produce a Co-Marketed Visual Content

Believe me or not, without content promotion, most content assets will fail (source).

However, you can take most of the load off yourself when sharing your content to others.

Look for websites who’d published a visual content of any form (static, interactive, etc..) and get them as your distribution partners.

film savvy infographic visual content

FilmSavvy makes it easy for other relevant sites to publish their content by including other sites’ logos in their visual content.

10. Find Link Opportunities on Twitter

Wouldn’t it be great if Twitter isn’t just used for social sharing?

While many blogger still don’t know, Twitter can also be a link prospecting tool.

If you are finding niche-specific bloggers to reach out to and build relationships with, try a Twitter search for “INDUSTRY” “bloggers”.

fashion bloggers

You’ll find another set of bloggers that aren’t included in your link prospecting sheet.

It gets better.

Because you won’t only get links from them, they will even share your content as well to their existing followers – which amplifies your content to acquire more links.

11. Build More Contextual Links

Those higher links up in the HTML code of a page seem to pass more ranking ability to those lower down (source from Moz).

moz links higher html more value

In a nutshell:

You can say contextual links from content above the fold is more valuable than blog comment links.

When you strategize your next link building campaign, try to leverage tactics that could give you contextual links from qualified domains.

12. Follow up Out-of-office Email Responses

Have you ever received an out-of-office email from a person you pitched to?

What did you do with it?

Say yes if you deleted it right away and moved on to another list.

Don’t regret if I say you that you take too much time to research for that domain and just wasted those minutes of research simply by not taking further action.

out of office email edu site

The next time you receive an email just like that,identify his date of return by reading his automated email.

date of return out of office email

Schedule an email message one day from the time he returns so your email won’t just be part of bunch of emails he’ll receive on the date of return.

13. Get Interviewed on Podcasts

Authority makes it easy to acquire links.

But what if you are still starting out in the industry?

No subscribers. No followers.

One way to increase your following and links in general is to get interviewed on podcasts.

Start with producing top-notch content on your blog – this will serve as your authority and social proof.

Then find reputable sites with regular podcasts in place.

Do Google searches for industry “podcasts” to get a bunch of them.

Once done, reach out to those mid-authority blogs then scale it up to higher level when you had a few podcasts interviews made already.

evolving seo podcast

14. Give Student Discounts

If you own an eCommerce site, you can leverage your existing offers to acquire links from highly-valued edu websites.

One offer you can make is a discount code for students in colleges and universities.

student-discount

If you had this type of content, then maximize it for link acquisition.

Keep reading.

Start your link search with “keyword” “alumni discount” inurl:.edu.

You can replace key phrases with “student discount” OR “sponsors” page to find more link opportunities.

Make a list of them and use your discount code as your value proposition in outreach.

Here’s what the paragraph with a link looks like:

student-discount-paragraph

15. Offer Member Discounts

Discount offers are an untapped value most eCommerce sites aren’t using for their link building campaign.

If this is something resource curators are looking to add to their pages, it is definitely a goldmine to consider for links today.

Take a look at this example:

member discount

It is a member discount page hosted in an organizational site.

If there are hundreds of member discount pages just like that, then you’re missing out those high caliber backlink opportunities.

To find them:

Do Google searches for site:.org “member discount” “keyword”. You can replace search queries with “member discount list”, “member discount benefits” or “member discount program” to expand your link lists.

Then list them down in a sheet and prepare to do some outreach.

Trust me it is not too difficult to acquire links from those types of pages.

16. Provide Employee Discounts

We had students and member discounts as eCommerce link building tactics, shared above.

But there’s one thing still missing:

Employee discounts.

They are pretty much the same with other discounts. It’s just that they are only offered to employees of companies (self-explanatory).

Look for them using Google searches like “keyword” “employee discount”. Replace employee discounts with “employee discount program” and “employee discount list” to add more sites to your backlink list.

employee discounts

If this value is something that you offer as an eCommerce store, make this part of your link building plan.

17. Do Outreach to Bloggers with Recently Published Content

Knowing if bloggers had the capacity and availability to update his current page can make or break your chances of acquiring a link.

One type of these bloggers are those who recently published their posts related to yours.

They are more receptive to pitches particularly to link request emails given that they are still on the mode of adding more references and resources for their recent content.

How to find them?

Do a quick search for your target keyword/topic in Google.

Filter the results by all published date to only get pages that are indexed by Google within that time period.

past 24 hours google search

Take note that Google will only provide indexed pages, so if bloggers didn’t allow Google to index their recent content pieces, it won’t appear in search results.

Imagine:

If you can find at least five bloggers every week who just published a similar post, and you got 15% conversion rate using this approach, you can acquire 3 additional links every month for every single piece.

18. Forward Your Email to the Right Person

There are different responses you can receive from your pitches:

One may be a failed message, automated reply of returning back from a vacation or a direct email saying you need to forward this to the right person.

forward email

When you receive this reply, forward your email to the right person, with a subject line: forward to [topic].

This tells your contact person that your email has been sent for that reason and not just another pitch they receive on a regular basis.

19. Participate in Offline Events

If you get invited to speak at conferences, seminars or any other offline events, take advantage of mentions acquired from speaking pages.

Mostly these mentions would be accompanied with links, but if not, ask the organizers if they could link to your own branded profile page – offer it as a page to link to.

offline event speaker

If you want to start leveraging this branding technique, you can create profile pages in top community sites like Inbound.org and participate well to be noticed.

next speaking gig

20. Do Reverse Guest Posting

Guest blogging is still an effective link building tactic for many bloggers, marketers and business owners today.

But there’s something that we missed with this SEO technique:

It is not just a one-way process.

You can actually do reverse guest posting on your blog and still acquire links.

Revere guest posting, as it defines itself, is inviting other bloggers in your industry to contribute a content for your blog.

There are three types of links you’ll get using this approach:

First, links from the guest blogger’s own sites referencing their work on your blog.

Second, links from the contributor’s network of bloggers.

Third, links from your own network referencing a top-notch content contributed by the guest blogger.

All of these three are very useful in helping your site to build its authority and branding in your niche.

guest post neil patel

21. Schedule Outreach Emails

Most pitches that I got from bloggers came in either early morning or late afternoon – when I mostly available to respond to emails.

If you can time your emails just like that, you’ll get more responses that the usual, and potentially convert them into links.

Simple, isn’t it?

schedule emails

22. Transcribe Content to Other Formats

Besides visual content, there are also other ways you can take advantage of non-text content, i.e. audio and videos.

What to do?

Look for videos that can be transcribed into text.

You can go directly to Youtube or do a search for a specific topic.

youtube search

Check the website hosting the video if they had transcribed it already, as it won’t make sense to make a duplicate copy.

Upload your video to Speechpad (paid tool for video transcription). It would normally take 24 to 48 hours, choose whatever works for your schedule and budget.

upload files speechpad

Once you have the transcribed content, check the article if it could be used as a guest post, i.e. running it through CopyScape if it is a duplicate of others.

A simple editing of the article – adding bullet points will do to make it a good content that can distributed to a particular blog.

23. Update Other People’s Outdated Content

Learning from others is one factor that makes some content to be the most successful resource on the web.

Think about it:

If others’ content had acquired good results in terms of links and social shares, but lack in something like information, do you think you’d have a chance to achieve the same success?

Yes and no.

Updating other people’s content isn’t a guaranteed success for content-based link acquisition.

But:

If you will apply the following steps below, you are on your way to the right track:

Use outdated content finder to find old pages that need more updated and in-depth information.

Below are instructions on how you can use it properly.

Check each webpage in results and look at their numbers of referring domains (use Ahrefs Bulk Checker for this activity).

Grab content pieces with ~100 unique linking websites from your list.

Determine which of them are feasible to invest by asking yourself questions: a.) can you beat the content with more information (i.e. 100 tips > 38) b.) can you make information much better (i.e. more references/data/resources) c.) can you outrank them with better design? – are you willing to invest in the content to make it more appealing to readers?

If these questions have been answered, proceed to creating the content.

Finally, reach out to those linkers of outdated content and share your better content to them.

24. Find Blog Opportunities Using Reverse Image Search

Let’s face it:

Guest blogging is saturated.

If your only link prospecting method is following footprints of guest post by, write for us, then sooner or later, you’ll be running out of backlink prospects.

What other ways to prospect for guest blogs?

Use Reverse Image Search to find blogs that published content of any form on a similar topic.

google reverse image search

Given that they have posted content assets from other bloggers, they’d also be receptive to pitches for guest blogging.

25. Use Linkclump to Ease Tab Opening

Productivity is very important in link prospecting, especially if you are targeting hundreds of backlink targets every week.

You have to maximize every minute of your time.

Raise your right hand if you are that person struggling with opening multiple tabs every time?

What most of you do when opening tabs is to right click on each links and click open in new tab.

But what if:

You have long list of domains to qualify, let’s say 300 or 400. Doing the normal tab opening takes too much time.

LinkClump solves that problem.

With this tool, you are able to semi-automate link opening with a simple right click plus drag combination.

linkclump

This saves a lot of your time.

26. Build Testimonial Links

Have you ever seen a page with three or more testimonials from customers, clients and influencers?

They are not just good for conversions, they are also a great channel for link acquisition.

Visit Google and search for “related keyword” “testimonials” site:.org  to find them.

There might be some clutters in search results, so be sure to pick only pages that are related to your industry.

testimonial links

27. Use Stylist for Link Prospecting

Are there times that you have visited the same link prospect twice?

Several times, isn’t it?

Now you can avoid that to save you wasted time in link prospecting.

Install Stylist in your Chrome browser and insert this code in the settings.

stylist

Visited pages will be highlighted with your preferred color.

stylist search results

If you find this tip great, proceed to the next link prospecting strategy:

28. Insert Internal Links to Guest Posts

Have you submitted a guest post but found out later that it’s been rejected by the publisher?

You know that your content is of high-quality. So what could be the reason?

First, you didn’t pass the guest blogging guidelines.

Second, you didn’t even include an internal link to the publishers’ past content.

seo hacker internal links

The next time you submit a guest post, make sure to include at least two internal links to the guest blog’s posts. This increases your chances of landing a placement for your guest content.

29. Do Broken Link Replacements

If you are not familiar with broken link building, it is simply a process of telling the webmaster of a certain site that there’s a broken link found in one of his pages, and suggesting that the content on your blog is a good replacement for their broken resource.

What makes the big difference between a link builder making 2 to 5% conversion rate from someone who only had 1% or less than success rate – both are using broken link building as their link building approach?

Value

The best way of doing broken link building is not just providing the webmaster with a list of broken resources, but make sure to give them replacements for those defunct links.

Don’t just give them your resource as a replacement; this should be your last value.

See the outreach email below. This was my response to the webmaster asking me what links I’ve found on their sites.

broken link replacements

After giving them replacements and suggestions on how to fix their broken links, it’s time to let them see the resource of my client.

Much greater success than what you are traditionally doing.

Good news:

There are more link prospecting techniques below.

30. Find Networks to Build Links For You

Networks.

They’re not just useful for increasing influence, authority and following, they could be great sources of links too.

network link building

Ask your sales department or your client if you are in an agency if they have a list of manufacturers (for retailers), retailers (for manufacturers) and suppliers (for both).

See if they have a specific page for retailers/manufacturers/suppliers and reach out to them – ask if you can be included in that page.

31. Exchange Content With Others

If you are trying to build links to legal websites, you know that a simple guest post won’t work instantly.

Yes, those pitched bloggers can get free content but that’s it. They don’t have much value to get from you.

What’s more effective?

Find a non-competing blog to do a guest post for.

If you are in the legal industry and offers bankruptcy and any business law services, you may want to find legal sites with blogs that offer non-legal business specific services.

Pitch them and ask them if they are interested to distributing content to your blog and your content to theirs.

A quick exact process of content exchange. Simple yet very effective.

32. Use Tools to Identify Potential Penalties

You become aware of how important identification of quality in link building when Google released Penguin filters announcement way back in 2010.

Whether links comes from a pure outreach-based link building campaign or an organic one, determining the health score of a prospect website is very essential.

Use Ahrefs or SEMRush to determine if a prospect domain had a sudden traffic drop. If it appears to, it is a good indication of possible penalty. Move on to your next link prospect.

semrush data

Be sure to see a steady growth of organic traffic on a website, not just for indicating possible penalties, but for getting constant flow of referral traffic from the said site.

Very effective.

But wait, there’s more.

Read the next link prospecting tip.

33. Use URL Profiler for Bulk Link Metrics

Have you been overwhelmed with many link prospects that you didn’t have a chance to check which ones are high quality?

If yes, here’s what you can do:

Upload your file of backlink targets to URL Profiler (make sure you download the software first).

Check the metrics that you prefer – Moz, Ahrefs or Majestic.

url profiler

Then wait for a few minutes, and you’ll get a CSV file of target domains with their respective quality metrics.

What to do next:

Grab all websites or pages that pass your benchmarks – for example, choose sites with Domain Authority of 30 and above.

Target them for your outreach.

Continue reading:

There are outreach tips below to continue your link building process.

34. Identify Link Obtainability Rate

Responses from resource curators should be evaluated and help your outreach process.

sample-email

When you get a reply just like that, you typically ignore it and move on to the next prospect in your list.

But take a closer look.

Resource pages with all external links pointing to a similar type of website should give a valuable insight then.

The next time you quality a resource page based on obtainability, you would want to look at the type of site all of these external links are pointing to.

If they tend to point to a .gov, .edu and other non-profit sites – ~80% or more and you don’t see any similar resource just like yours, that’s a good indication of low link obtainability score of that page.

Great observation, isn’t it?

35. Offer Premium Images to Bloggers

Non-stock photos and those without copyright tend to populate blogs – making it not appealing for old as well as to new readers.

Make sure:

You take advantage of this problem:

Offer premium bloggers to niche bloggers (may it be too close or not with relevance) – after all, links are still links built.

It would be also useful if you can create a page solely for that purpose.

Look at this:

premium images bloggers

Design should not be as elegant as possible – just make sure all premium mages are sorted and arrange properly.

36. Get Image-site Links for Competitive Industries

What do you do when you’re trying to build links in a lucrative yet challenging industries like payday loans and gambling?

You go to your last resort – Private Blog Networks.

I doubt if links built using that approach will last for decades.

Anyway, what you can do is to try different approaches to build links to those types of sites.

Check this out:

Ryan Stewart had this client in the gambling industry.

So what he did was to get image links from other linking pages for another client.

Sounds confusing? Look at the example below:

competitive industry link

An image link built from a digital marketing blog – may not be as good with relevance, but can pretty draw some high link juice to your other client’s site.

37. Diversify Your Anchor Texts

Anchor text diversity is what makes a natural link profile different from others.

anchor text diversity

It is not normal to see an anchor text section of 90% pure commercial anchor texts. It’s inorganic.

But there is a simple and best way to diversify your anchor text.

That is:

Let bloggers and webmasters decide the proper anchor text to link to you.

Don’t be aggressive with exact match anchor texts. You can still rank for relevant terms when you add LSI terms to your linking pages – more to that later.

But for now:

Proceed to the next link building tip.

38. Reformat Other People’s Content

Let’s admit:

It’s hard to create content especially if you don’t have any idea about the industry.

Does this sound familiar?

You may be experiencing this but there’s actually a secret to overcoming content creation headache.

You can start your content ideation process with identifying a few success content assets in your industry.

Use Buzzsumo to check top performing content.

Sort the results from highest to lowest social shares and/or linking pages.

Create a visual version of the content.

Make an infographic if the content is much more appealing to users where there is a visual version.

Next is to outreach all webmasters linking to the original version of the content.

Build more links.

Take a look at this:

speed up wordpress infographic

The team at Hosting Facts created a visual format of the popular post of Gregory Ciotti on how to speed up your wordpress.

gregory ciotti

Because the original post had gained [number] of backlinks directly pointing to the page, there is a great indication of success in outreach.

ahrefs backlinks sparring mind

You see:

39. Buy Content from Real Bloggers

In my experience, scaling link building is one hard truth.

It’s not easy.

One reason is that you don’t have a specific link building to execute right away.

But what if I tell you, you can scale link building without sacrificing the quality of links built.

Here’s how:

Reach out to bloggers with top notch content on their blogs.

Ask if they are doing freelance for others. If they say no, ask if they’d be interested to do so.

Buy content from them.

In return, keep the authorship of the content while your team maintains the outreach and content distribution campaigns.

Returns are awesome:

You get top-notch content and a link from an authority blog pointing to your site or to your client.

The blogger gets a link pointing to his blog, since you’ll be using his authorship. He also gets a writing fee for his content.

40. Use “Because” in your Outreach

Have you tried everything in outreach but are still getting the same results as before?

I know that feeling.

But do you know that there’s one thing you can do to increase your response and conversion rates in outreach?

It is acquiring the skill to magnify the value of your pitch.

When you emphasize the value of what you’re offering, it becomes easy to convince people to convince about your email and what you’re trying to tell them.

One way to do that is to start using because in outreach.

Brian Dean found that there’s an incremental positive effect in response/conversion rate when you use the word “because” in outreach.

because outreach

It is a psychological effect that turns your request seems more legitimate.

In outreach, legit messages get better responses.

41. Provide Three Reasons in Follow Up

When you send emails to people, there are two things that happen:

Some people reply.

Others don’t.

With the 30% of webmasters who don’t respond to your pitch, do you know their reasons?

One way to know that is to send them three reasons of non-linking in your follow-up emails.

See this image below:

3 reasons follow up

Webmasters only have to choose one among these reasons.

So what do we usually get from this approach?

not interested response

no capacity response

These types of emails are better than receiving none. Not knowing the reasons gives you a blurry idea of what to do next.

With your next follow-up outreach campaigns, test this strategy and see their answers for yourself.

42. Use Email Hunter

There are different aspects in link building that consumes so much time – which you can actually delegate to someone else.

Like finding emails.

If you take each one link prospect and look for their corresponding contact emails, you could have spent hours doing that.

And if you don’t have a team to help you with email hunting, it’s obviously a time wasted on your part.

But don’t worry.

There’s a simple way to get things done.

You can use EmailHunter to semi-automate this data mining process.

You can generate emails available on each website prospected by clicking on Google Chrome tool button.

email hunter search

Easy.

Then after, what you need to do is to choose your preferred email.

43. Find Direct Email In Resource Pages

The biggest outreach mistake you can do is to totally depend on your email hunting tools.

Remember:

These tools aren’t perfect and won’t give you assurance of higher response and link acquisition rates.

When you encounter a prospect page, let’s say a resource page, what you normally do is check the contact us page and direct your pitch.

You forget something:

Those resource pages that you target have direct email addresses included in the top or below sections of the page.

resource page above email

The next time you find contact emails, skim the page from top to bottom and address your pitch to the right contact email.

44. Avoid Industry Jargons

Emails should be as straightforward and simple as possible.

Take note:

Not all webmasters and bloggers know about SEO.

And even if they do, they get alarmed easily with SEO concerns, one reason why we don’t usually get a link from them.

Try to avoid saying link to this resource or content.

You can use words like cite, reference or share (but share mostly implies social share).

Use your words carefully.

45. Associate Two Resources in BLB

When recommending a resource to be included in a resource page, it’s fairly common to see a link builder just providing his own content alone.

That’s not to say it’s a bad practice.

However:

You can still improve the conversion rate by recommending a secondary resource.

Your recommended secondary resource in your vertical can help lower the commercial intent to the webmaster.

The advantage?

It can increase your chances of getting the resource link to your content.

46. Tell Your Content Value for Sponsored Posts

If you’ve been blogging for years, you know how saturated some industries are.

A few examples are finance, mommy and coupon verticals.

Almost half of blogs in those niches won’t provide you a link for free.

With that, what do you do?

Move on and prospect another list of domains?

No.

One way to counteract their responses of asking you for sponsored post fee is to tell them this value:

The price of your content

It’s a psychology effect that can increase your chances of placing your guest post on their blog.

If your writing is valued at $100 to $150 per post, you can mention that in your response plus the traffic that type of content can generate for their sites.

Also, a simple question just like this would help you a lot as well:

Is there any way you’d consider waiving the sponsored post fee?

Most kind bloggers will prefer not to charge you for a post if they’ve found your content more valuable than other guest bloggers pitching them.

47. Find More Prospects from Broken Pages

One biggest problem of link builders:

Running out of link prospects.

If you are that person, especially if you are working on a broken link building campaign, one way to expand your link lists is to look at your previous campaign.

See broken links you’ve suggested to your past potential linkers.

Plug them in Ahrefs and determine if they are highly linkable by resource curators.

links to broken page

The best in this strategy?

You’ll find hundreds of qualified prospects that you won’t find simply using Google search.

48. Check Top Pages of Broken Content

Have you come across a broken link?

Don’t just add it to your spreadsheet.

See if it could be a channel of multiple link opportunities.

Plug broken websites into Ahrefs to find their top pages.

Sort from highest to lowest root domains.

Go to Wayback Machine and check what those pages are.

Reproduce the content with more in-depth information (10x content).

Once done, reach out to webmasters linking to that dead page and tell them about the broken link and your 10x content.

Because they had history of linking and yours is a better content, there’ll be a guaranteed success.

But wait there’s more:

49. Wikipedia Content Recreation

Ever find a dead Wikipedia resource?

If yes, use that to your own advantage.

How?

Find a Wikipedia page in your industry that is outdated and/or requires additional information. You’re your research process with a simple Google search for “This article has multiple issues” + “topic keyword” site:wikipedia.org or use WikiGrabber.

wikigrabber

multiple cropping wikipage

Once you’ve find a target, check out if there is a good number of links pointing to the Wikipedia page.

ahrefs link wikipedia page

Create a high-utility content, make it better than the original version by adding more up-to-date information to it.

Get your first list of prospects by exporting a list of links that cite the old Wikipedia page.

50. Use DMOZ to Find Shoulder Niches

You start to worry that:

If you stuck in just one industry to tap for your link building campaign, you won’t have any links built at the end of the month.

This happens all the time:

However, you can solve this typical problem using the top directory site – DMOZ.

How might that tool can help you?

It can show you what industries you can ideally consider in building links for a specific vertical.

Horizontal.

horizontal dmoz

Vertical

vertical dmoz

This works wonders in how you can expand your reach with your link building campaign.

Make this as your regular habit:

51. Make Your Tweet Short and Sweet

If you think outreach is highly dependent on email, that’s not the case.

There are many people who actually leverage the power of 145-character tweet when doing actual outreach.

See this example:

getvero short sweet

It wouldn’t take you five minutes to compose a simple Twitter just like that. But who knows, that might increase your link acquisition rate.

52. Leverage Pre-Announcement Outreach

You know what, you can increase your social shares and backlinks to your content.

Wait.

Deep down you know this is true, but how can you make it?

Simple.

By announcing your future post even before it goes live.

pre post announcement email

Psychology-speaking, if you ask someone to do a little commitment, it would be easy for him to respond to you.

Higher response rate.

And the next time you do a pitch of sharing the link of your content, it’s now easy to build the trust and earn the link that you desire.

53. Use Videos in Outreach

A blogger receives several pitches in a day, especially those who are in PR and news companies.

Picture this:

If a blogger receives minimum of 50 emails in a day, how possible it is that your pitch will get opened?

Don’t say no until I say this possible solution.

Think about ways on how you can make your pitch stand out.

One way is to include a video in your pitch.

It works because:

  • It is personalized.
  • It is a unique format of pitch.

In other words, it pulls your pitch from other similar pitches and makes your outreach email stand out.

This is time-consuming and if you want to do video-outreach to those who haven’t respond to you yet, there’s a better way.

When the person didn’t respond to you, send him over a quick video to his Twitter profile.

video twitter

He’ll more likely to notice.

54. Get Links Using Slideshare

Conferences and seminars in every industry are everywhere.

And when there are events like that, speakers tend to upload their presentations to Slideshare.

And guess what?

Those Slideshare presentations have good amount of links.

With good filtering, you will get some gems of links you can reclaim to link to your website.

ahrefs link slideshare presentation

What’s better is when you create a specific page in your website that includes all seminars/events you’ve spoken at.

This makes reaching out to potential linkers more effective.

ahrefs links slideshare profile

But don’t stop from there.

Check if you also got links pointing to your Slideshare profile.

You’ll certainly find more opportunities you can add to your bucket of links.

Reach out to those prospects and ask them to link to a specific page (just like what I told you earlier) or to your homepage (if you don’t have a new branded page).

55. Invest in Content Design

When you share a link to a webmaster or blogger, the first thing that they’d see is your content design.

Design directly affects results in outreach.

Let me share one example.

cyber safety

This is a resource guide about cyberbullying. It got links from 890+ unique relevant referring domains.

It’s just for one content asset.

Imagine if you have several resource guides well-formatted and designed just like that, you would be surprised with potential high-authority links you can obtain every single month.

cyber safety links

56. Suggest Post Ideas for Guest Blogs

If you received an email like this, you probably hit the delete button right away.

guest post email spam

Three reasons why:

You don’t get a straight value from the pitch.

The guest blogger doesn’t know about you.

He does provide generic blog topics you’re not interested in.

If you will ask me:

My primary reason of rejecting a guest blogging pitch is the last reason above – not suggesting content ideas tailored to my blog.

Why is that so?

If you look at it closely, you can simply identify if the person takes an effort of pitching to you when he started to know what topics will resonate with your audience.

So your next question:

How can I think of content ideas that best fit to my target guest blog?

Find the most common pain points of your audience.

parenting quora

57. Ask Referrals From Bloggers

One undertook advantage of many link builders is maximizing their existing linkers to prospect for more backlink targets.

You will never run out of prospects using this approach.

And to tell you:

It is very easy.

You only need to ask your existing linkers if they know someone who’d also be interested in the same kind of value you are offering to them.

Results?

Most of them will respond to you.

Just imagine:

If you got 10 links last month and 8 of them can refer to you another two bloggers, then you already have 20 additional link prospects.

You don’t do anything. You simply just reach out to them and you already got another list.

Practice it today and see how it works.

58. Distinguish Company Blogs From Full-time Bloggers

If you are expecting responses from writers/bloggers from company sites, you’ll be disappointed.

Compared to full-time bloggers who are 24/7 ready to respond to pitches, company webmasters normally don’t respond to people unless it’d have an impact to their direct business (i.e. sales support).

How can you identify company blogs from full-time bloggers?

It’s so simple:

By looking at page SERP structure, you’ll be able to see directly if a site is owned by a company or not.

search results hair removal

When you prospect for a blog, make sure you master identification between a company blog and a niche blog.

Proceed to the next tip to get more blog opportunities:

59. Use Comment-based Prospecting

The social proof that a blog is authoritative if it has a community of active commenters.

True enough,it’s not that easy to find many sites with that kind of authority.

But you can leverage the use of search queries combined with comment keyphrases to make high-authority link prospecting possible.

comment based prospecting

That search query signifies that results should have that number of comments in their posts

This can help ensure that you will only prospect for blogs with mid to high-level community.

If you lack with blog opportunities in your industry, try the above approach and comment below this guide if you find it effective.

Move to the next advanced link prospecting tip:

60. Use CMS-based Prospecting

One way to add more blog prospects to your list is by using CMS keyphrases.

Check examples below:

cms based prospecting

Google will exactly provide blogs that are powered/generated using WordPress or other content management system you’ve indicated in your search.

When adding more backlink targets to your list, aforementioned approach might work for you.

Don’t stop reading.

You may miss the next big tip.

61. Find Link Exchange Phrases Easily

Link exchanges are obviously evident on blogs and resource pages.

Take a look:

reciprocal link program

When qualifying resource curators’ list pages, one of your top qualifying factors should be:

The website/page webmaster shouldn’t be involved in any link exchange or reciprocal link programs.

Simple way:

Use the Find and replace function and do searches for: reciprocal or exchange and you’ll instantly see if the page has any of those keywords.

62. Tailor Content to Linkable Audiences

As we execute broken link building for clients, our mindset has changed.

It’s not “create content” and ”build links” approach that works.

But go into this:

Identify link opportunities first, then create a content asset to serve them.

When you approach broken link building the right away, you want to find linkable audiences that will fit to your site – it may not be your direct customers/clients that you want to cater to, but a group of so called, “linkable audience”.

What is linkable audience?

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

Garrett French

Garrett had a list of available linkable audiences ready to be served.

linkable audience

Your next step:

Determine which of these audiences you can serve based on the topics aligned to your website.

For example:

If you are in a travel insurance industry, doing a search for inurl:links.html “travel” will give you resource pages that you can further check to know the type of audience you’d want to cater your content to:

inurl links for

63. Use Author Bylines for Prospecting

When finding link prospects for your website, you mostly ignore names of industry bloggers.

In this case, you missed out on opportunities where you can further expand your link search.

What can you do?

Identify names of bloggers who recently published their guest posts on other blogs.

Use the Google search query, “guest post by” “keyword” and filter the search results by date.

guest post by search query

Check if these blogs can be added to your list of target domains – use your link metrics/insights.

Next tip will surely fire you more resource page opportunities:

64. Undo Templated Mistakes in Gmail

Have you sent an email and just realized you forgot to change/add something to your pitch?

This happens in most cases.

Either:

You messed up with attribute tags, not been able to change {name} or {website} in your email template.

You sent the wrong version of an email, instead of BLB pitch, you sent a guest blogging email.

Both mistakes will kill your response and conversion rates.

So how do you avoid this from happening?

Enable Undo in Gmail Labs. Go to Settings – Labs – Enable.

65. Get Easy Rankings wiht Meetup Events

Have you heard about parasite SEO?

It’s not a total black hat.

As you know:

Parasite SEO is leveraging high-authority domains to acquire indirect links through ranking for very competitive keywords.

Instead of building links to your webpage with low authority, you can take advantage of big sites where you can easily create pages and target highly competitive keywords.

For example:

James Norquay created an event in Sydney. He named it with the exact keyword Online marketing Sydney and it now ranks for that keyword.

meetup sydney

Best of all:

That keyphrase is not just informational, but it is something people are searching for to find a particular service – win!

For links?

It’s multiple.

People who signed up and attended your meetup might give you links from their blogs.

Bottomline:

Create an event and try to rank for highly competitive keyword.

Rankings and links.

Two birds with one stone.

66. Create Your Own Resource Page

Do you want to increase your links from resource curators?

There is one secret way:

Create your own resource page.

Come to think of it, if you link to other websites, may it be your competitors’ resources, you actually have a value to push in your pitch.

It is like baiting your competitors to link to your resource page, because you initiate doing so.

You are not just getting links from competitors but also from other resource curators as well.

For example:

This resource page about disability scholarship resources has been linked to many times by resource curators.

create-a-resource-page

First, from websites listed in the resource page.

Second, from websites with their own resource pages as well.

Imagine:

Content isn’t expensive to create but you can acquire high-utility resource page backlinks.

67. Get Guestographic Links

Infographic promotion has been around for a long time.

Even up to now, it still works.

But one way to make this works more effective:

Pitching bloggers to write a mini-guest post right above your infographics.

If you can make a customized introduction for your visual content, you make it easy for them to publish your content – gives you more chances of getting relevant backlinks

The next time you promote an infographic:

Take away the burden from partner publishers by offering custom introductions for their infographics.

68. Use Blog Commenting for Referral Traffic

Blog comment is a branding strategy.

No doubt SEO experts still use it to market their blogs.

Check this out:

gianluca comment

However, there’s one thing that differentiates their blog commenting strategy from others:

They do it to build their brand and to drive referral traffic.

If your mindset is just like that, you’ll have a good referral traffic from those top-notch blogs – see below of the traffic that I’ve gained from Brian Dean’s blog:

backlinko referral traffic

69. Link to Your Other Guest Posts

Does tier link building still works?

It depends on how you use it.

But for me, the proper way to do tier link building is to start with your external content.

Check out your guest posts. See which of them are still earning links.

If you have targeted keywords in a few guest posts, prioritize them

Make sure you link to them in your future guest posts.

When they are ranking at 6 to 10 for keywords with good search volume, you can still push them up to the 1st spot.

link-to-guest-post

70. Organize Guest Blogging Process

If your number one link building strategy is guest blogging, one thing you need to remember is

organize everything.

Organization is important to improve your guest blogging process.

See this image below.

It has columns for:

  • Domain Name
  • Source
  • Guest Blogging Guidelines
  • Sample Guest Article
  • Contact Name
  • Email Address / Contact Form
  • Relationship Status

Even if you have 3, 5 or 10 clients or websites, you can easily track the status of relationships with each target guest blog.

The best part:

It builds accountability among your team members (both remote and in-house).

71. Use Millionshort for Prospecting

Google is your bestfriend in link prospecting.

But you know what, there is one tool that you can use to make your search more targeted.

By using MillionShort, a tool that allows you to remove the top million or thousands pages for your keyword, you enable your prospecting to target mid-level blogs or sites.

This is very useful if you are not targeting DA70+ blogs which normally ranks for most of the keywords out there.

Next time you do your prospecting, try using the said tool.

It works.

72. Seek Link Opportunities Using Delicious

If you’ve been sharing your content quite often, you probably know Delicious that it’s a good place to share, save and bookmark popular content on the web.

Did you know the secret?

You can actually use that social platform to find highly targeted linkers.

How?

Use its search function to look for people who recently share and bookmarked a similar content of yours.

Check each profile if they linked to their websites to ensure that they are capable of linking to your webpage.

Gather all potential linkers in one list and reach out to them.

73. Create an Industry Glossary

Every industry has its own jargons.

If you can combine all industry terms and definitions into one big post, it’s a linkable content asset you can maximize for links.

Check out this glossary about gardening, there are 100+ referring domains.

gardening glossary

The next time you run out of content ideas, create your own industry glossary.

74. Coin a Term

If you are a follower of Backlinko, you probably heard these terms:

Guestographics

Content upgrade

Skyscraper technique

Yes?

These are not fundamental terms that exist since the origin of the Internet, they are what we call, “coined terms”.

Coined terms are created commonly used terms by industry experts, publishers or influencers to state or define a new thing, process or trend.

Look at how many links Brian Dean acquired using that approach:

content upgrade links

The better?

When you also target other relevant keywords along with your coined term, it would be easy for you to rank for them.

content upgrade rank

75. Create a Wikipedia Page With Ease

Ever wanted to get a branded link from Wikipedia?

Follow this link building process:

Write up a Wikipedia page for your brand (you can a professional writer to make sure the history, values and any important information are put into proper sections).

Then make sure to proofread it to follow Wikipedia’s formatting guidelines.

Finally, hire an experienced editor to submit your entry.

http://www.peopleperhour.com/hourlie/create-a-wikipedia-page/31502

76. Build Links Using Job Ads

To create new content is to build links.

Not all the time:

You have to look at your existing web assets and determine which one of them you’ll be able to use to acquire links.

If you take a closer look:

Your latest job application page on your website is one asset you can leverage:

Start with:

Finding available job boards in your industry and in your location.

Use any of the following Google search queries:

“list of “industry” job boards”

“industry” + job listings

“city” + job boards

“city” + job listings

Then get your job page included in those links pages when you do outreach (remember to have the job page published on your site beforehand)

77. Guest Post on Edu Blogs

Acquiring edu links is not an easy task.

But there’s one way you can certainly penetrate those types of links:

Contribute highly targeted content to them.

Look at this example:

Ryan Stewart is a SEO guy and he writes for big SEO and digital marketing publications like Moz and Ahrefs.

What he did is to write a post targeted to the market audience of the edu site – which is non-profit organizations.

His post about non-profit local marketing is a testament of how possible it is to get a contextual edu link.

edu-guest-post

Try this yourself:

78. Find Mid-level Blogs in Page 3, 4..

Ever wonder why you can’t build links right away?

If you are a startup and are targeting high publications to acquire editorial links from, then it’s not possible to do it in weeks unless you have existing relationships with industry publishers from those sites.

What to do when you want to tap mid-level blogs/domains first?

This little trick will help:

Go to page 3, 4 and pages after, first before looking straight at the 1st page for possible linkers.

page-3-4

Because chances are when you get straight to the first page, you’ll see top-domains (DA50 or 60+) for your head-term keywords.

79. Validate Contact Emails

Has this happened to you?

You pitch a webmaster then a few minutes, you receive a failed email delivery message.

failed delivery message

What does that mean?

The email you’re contacting to is not working and is not anymore the webmaster’s email.

How can you avoid this?

Use an email validator to identify which emails are still working.

my-addr

Thought it’s not 100% accurate (estimate of ~10% inaccuracy), this helps you a lot when pitching hundreds, even more thousands webmasters.

You don’t need to worry if your emails won’t get to their proper places.

80. Analyze Your Competitors Properly

Don’t get links from competitors’ linking pages because you are only following footprints.

Most link builders will argue with this statement—and I’m one of them.

Why?

First, not because you get a link from a page where your competitor has acquired means you are just following the similar footprint – it does if you only target just one competitor.

Second, competitor link building diversifies your link profile. When you get a link from a page discovered through manual search and another link from your competitors’ linking domain, then it helps make your link profile diversified effortlessly.

How to do proper competitor link analysis:

First, identify the goal of your campaign, i.e. trying to get links from a whole domain with or without its subdomain, from a specific prefix (e.g. product category) or from a specific content/page.

Second, plug the page into Ahrefs and use the proper URL type for competitor link analysis (prefix if you want to find linking pages of a, let’s say a category and all pages further down, URL if you want to find linking pages to that specific page alone and domain with or without subdomain – self-explanatory).

url-structure-ahrefs

Finally, strategize how you’d be able to get links from pages you discovered. Apply any of the ink building tactics in this guide.

If you want to learn an advanced approach of this competitor link building tactic:

Continue reading:

81. Find Broken Links Using LinkMiner

Link rot is the new friend of every link builder – particularly those who practice broken link building.

It’s very time consuming when you manually find broken links on a resource page.

To ease the process, you can use LinkMiner to semi-automate looking for broken resources.

No wonder many link builders can scale broken link building because of this handy tool.

82. Use Interviews as Guest Posts

Have you interviewed someone and published his/her answers on your blog?

You get visits, shares, and links.

It’s even better if you use that content as a guest post to somebody else.

Win-win situation!

The interviewee gets an exposure.

You build a backlink to your website.

Examples are here below:

interview-guest-post

83. Use Videos for Guest Blogging

Writing a guest post for other blogs takes time, especially if you’re trying to make it as top-notch as possible.

But before you start writing, think about other ways you can leverage other content formats aside from text.

For example:

Dan Shure did a video-type guest post with few written texts.

video-guest-blogging

Why this is effective:

  • It sets you apart from other pitched emails, where they mostly offer text-based content (it increases your chances of landing a guest post).
  • It improves user engagement on the target guest blog.

Try this strategy and see for yourself results.

84. Find Misspelled Domains and Get Links

Accidents happen.

Same goes when people link to your domain or page.

They might link to your site but had misspelled your domain name.

This mostly occurs when you had an established authority in your industry (not recommending this for startups).

Want to try this approach?

First, generate misspelled/typos of your brand name using this tool.

Second, find pages linking to those misspelled domains using Ahrefs Bulk Checker.

Finally, reach out to those webmasters of pages, let them know about their misspelled domains and ask them to update it.

85. Determine Websites That Used Your Old Logos

If your website has gone through a redesign or rebrand, you now have a link building plan to take.

First, use ImageRaider to upload all versions of your logo and the tool will send you a report of all websites not linking back to you.

Second, reach out to people who had been using old logo and ask them if they could update the image with the new version and link to you if they haven’t.

A short and sweet message will do:

Hi [FIRST NAME],

I noticed you’re using [brand]’s logo on this page on your site. We actually went through a rebrand [date/time] and part of our re-brand was a new logo. I’m attaching a new version of our logo, and we’d appreciate it if you could update the page with our new logo.

Thanks!

[your name]

86. Link to Influencer’s Content

Reciprocation is one factor to influence someone (source: book).

It simply means that when you ask for something, you need to also provide value to that person.

This makes a big difference with how people will respond to your favor.

Think about it.

If you mentioned and linked to an influencer, expert, or blogger from your blog post, wouldn’t it be an instant value for them?

Next time you promote your blog post,gather all blogs and content you mentioned in your latest post. This will be your warm link prospecting list.

Reach out to them and tell them that you included their content in your latest post.

linked-to-your-post

87. Use Related Search Op to Find Blog Prospects

Relevance should be your first considering factor when finding websites to target for links. Google looks at links (source)…

If you are having difficulty seeking for blogs in your industry, try this search operator – related:domain.com

related-function

This will give you results of websites thematically relevant to the domain related search operator points out to.

88. Offer Content to be Translated to Other Languages

If you have a website targeting global markets, one of the best ways to acquire more links to your pages is distributing your content to non-English blogs/sites.

Start by tracking in Google Analytics for non-English countries and have a list of them.

Once done,try doing searches for country-specific domains in Google.

You can use the site operator to target domains with country domain expectations. Add any blogs you find to your spreadsheet.

And if your list is not enough,don’t forget non-English sites already linked to one of your pages. Plug your domain to Ahrefs and check out those existing linking pages.

They are likely to be your recurring linkers.

Your next step:

Pitch webmasters and offer if they’d be interested to translate your content to the languages of their websites.

You’ll be amazed with the amount of caliber links you can obtain using this approach.

translate-language-email

89. Do 2nd-level Broken Link Building

Linkrot is a huge advantage for many SEOs especially link builders.

Because every day, there are resource/curated/links pages that are getting outdated, where some of them linked to pages that are not available anymore (404).

If you are aiming tons of high-quality backlinks, then that is a good news for you.

Broken link building is, by far, the most beneficial link building tactic for SEOs.

It’s even better if they can go through deeper levels in broken link building.

Links could come from:

  1. Resource page they’ve found.
  2. Pages linking to that resource page.
  3. Resource pages linking to external broken links of that resource page above.

So you actually have two actions in this approach:

Reach out to people who own those links pages in a and b.

Reach out to people who own those resource pages in c.

Getting confused?

Watch the video below to see the step by step process on how to properly execute 2nd-level broken link building:

90. Diversify Your Backlinks

It’s been a huge discussion in the SEO community on what to do and what not to do in link building.

In my experience, it’s not the nature of the law matters, what should be given more importance is the practice of it.

The best way is to diversity your backlinks.

91. Build Alliances

Relationship building is good.

But building alliances is much better.

Imagine if you have a few friends willing to regularly place links to your latest content within their next blog posts (as long as they are relevant), it is a set of recurring links that you can effortlessly acquire almost every month.

However, it takes much time and effort to build these alliances.

The reason:

Those alliances don’t just have their Twitter accounts, but they have their own websites that need some benefits from you as well.

Remember:

Reciprocation.

If you can find a few people that can reciprocate your efforts, it’s an effective link building tool you can leverage in the long run.

92. Aim Links That Will Get Clicks

There are three reasons why people click on a link:

First, it is placed in a position where it could easily be seen.

Second, anchor texts used to describe a link calls users to take an action (to click)

Third, the link is on a high-traffic/authority/trusted website.

The next time you build a link, here’s what you need to do:

First, aim for links with prominent position in the document (the higher, the better).

Second, use highly descriptive and longer strings of anchor texts that tend to be clicked more.

Third, get links from high-authority blogs – there are many ways to do it (see more tips on this page).

93. Use Partial Match and Highly Descriptive Anchor Texts

Google is hitting websites with aggressive anchor texts (exact match) for keywords in backlinks (further reading).

With that, anchor text diversity should be every link builder’s arsenal.

Also:

The way a link is described using anchor texts makes an impact to clicks to links.

Shoot two birds with one stone.

Anchor text diversity helps you make your link profile good in the eyes of Google and helps your brand get more referral visits from linking pages too.

The next time you do your link audit, check if you have a diversified anchor texts from your backlink.

If not, start using partial match and highly descriptive anchor texts in links.

94. Execute a Better Internal Linking Strategy

Inbound links help boost rankings of your pages.

But what if you can’t acquire several links in a month, is there another way to boost their search performance?

Yes.

Use a proper internal linking strategy.

Start by identifying pages sitting in page 11 to 30 in search results (use Search Console).

Once you have determined them, find pages where you’ll be adding internal links to (these should be your authority informational pages). Ahrefs can help you with this.

Finally add internal links to your promising ranking content.

95. Find Broken Links On Other Webpages

If you can’t find a broken link on a resource page, that becomes a problem:

You don’t have any broken resource to tell to the webmaster.

Now, the secret to finding value in broken link building campaign:

look at other broken links and pages found on his website.

Here’s how:

Plug your target domain on Ahrefs.

Check broken links tab:

Now, you have some broken resources to tell and to help the webmaster fix them.

96. Expand Your Guest Post Relevance

In my five years’ experience in guest blogging:

Let me admit,it’s hard to penetrate top-notch and mid-level guest blogs in a highly targeted niche – motor company for example.

But here’s the interesting thing:

You can makes all your guest posts relevant regardless of niche:

If you are able to select a content that is both relevant to the blog niche and to your site’s theme, that’s a goldmine.

Take this as an example:

Photography Printing and Cards Company

Parenting: How to Make Fun Memories With Kids

Holiday: How to Take Your Summer to the Next Level – tips to make your days’ worth

Education: How to Upgrade Educational Materials with Photo Cards

Wedding: Top 10 Things You Need to Prepare Before Marriage – one tip should be to hire a professional photographer

It turns out, if you have exhausted all guest blogs in your industry, try to go to shoulder niches and you will never run out of backlink prospects.

97. Use Your Linking Page as a Secondary Resource

Maximizing link juice for links you’ve acquired is important, especially, if you have the luxury of choosing which link to be added to a linking page.

Example:

If you are recommending two pages to be included in a resource page, why not choose the site/page where your link has already been hosted – as your secondary resource?

Win/win for you:

You get link to your target content from that resource page.

You get another link pointing to a resource page where your other previous link has been placed (tiered link building).

98. Turn Your Evergreen Blog Post Into a Page

Authority pages with natural links have very powerful boost in your overall domain authority.

That statement is not debatable, isn’t it?

When you have several evergreen blog post published on your site, they can flow ranking authority to other internal pages.

But you have an evergreen blog post just like that, you can make it more powerful by turning it into a page.

Because pages have higher staying power in search results, it’s much more likely to increase the likelihood of ranking for other more relevant long tail keyphrases.

99. Increase Your Domain Authority With Links

Having the right mindset in search engine optimization, particularly in developing link building campaigns for several clients/sites is very critical to the success of one’s campaign.

In essence, if your website can’t beat its competitors because of its lack of content authority and primarily of low overall domain authority.

Your goal when building links should be directed towards increasing your domain authority first.

So once it goes up, any published content doesn’t require too much of outreach, as they can directly or indirectly can earn links from publishers or content creators finding references through organic search.

100. Add Co-occurences Around Backlinks

Co-occurrences are words that appear around your backlinks, which help Google tell what that page is all about (source from Moz).

For example:

If you do a Google search for the key phrase – backlink analysis, you’ll see that OSE is ranking on the first page.

The page doesn’t include the exact key phrase in its meta-title nor could you see it any section of the page itself.

co-occurences

The advantage of adding co-occurrences around your links is that it helps your pages rank for relevant keywords, whether they are competitive or not, as long as there are mentions to your page/site, linked or not, that occur alongside with keywords tend to have good search volume (just like the example above).

When you have a chance to choose the words around your links, i.e. for guest posting, make sure to add other relevant keywords around your backlinks to improve the linking page’s relevancy factor.

101. Find Linking Sites of Shutdown, Moved and Rebranded Domains

There are websites that shut down, changed their names, moved or simply just rebranded by their owners.

If you find these websites, go and reach out their existing linkers and increase your number of links to your website using this approach.

Here’s the step by step process from Brian Dean of Backlinko on how to execute the exact process:

FURTHER READING:

Here’s The Next Step…

Are you ready to use the one of the 101 link building tips from this post?

If so, then I recommend grabbing the free checklist I made just for this blog post.

The checklist holds you by the hand and show you how to use all 101 of the strategies listed here…

plus 2 bonus techniques that I didn’t have room for in today’s post.

Click the image below and enter your email to access the checklist.

101-actionable-link-building-tips-download


ecommerce link building strategies

8 eCommerce Link Building Strategies That Really Work

ecommerce link building strategies

The promising ecommerce sites are emerging in various industries today, which gives tight to the competition as years are passing by. Marketers from these online shopping sites are finding ways to be better at servicing their target audiences, building strongly their own brands and ensuring they’re getting ahead of others in online search.

What strategies ecommerce sites require from marketers to make these properties optimized for search are as difficult as tactics required to generate links for these sites’ important pages – considering the low linkability nature of product and category pages.

In this post, I’ll be sharing to you 8 link building strategies for ecommerce sites – some are common to you but I guarantee you’ll still get some new tactics here.

Let’s get started.

 

1. NETWORK-FOCUSED LINK BUIDING

The low-hanging fruits of links will come from those people you are connected with. They can either be your manufacturers, dealers, retailers, suppliers, service providers, sponsorship partners, event organizers and other networks you engaged with up until today for any kind of business reasons.

To get started, if you are a reseller or retailer of products:

STEP 1: Grab a list of all goods you are licensed to sell and from there, you start looking for available “where to buy” / retailers / dealers on their sites. You can use Ahrefs to export an inventory of products you are selling online, then create a list of websites where these products came from.

ahrefs export

manufacturers website

STEP 2: Once done with the list, search individually in each site for any available partner list pages. You can use the search operator, “site:domain.com” plus any of the following keywords:

  • Preferred retailers
  • Related Links
  • Partners
  • Authorized Dealers
  • Where to buy
  • Online retailers
  • Online dealers
  • Find our products
  • Additional retailers
  • Internet resellers

For example, if you are reseller of Cocalo, then you can do a simple search on the site and grab their where to buy page.

search results cocalo

where to buy cocalo

STEP 3: Collect contact information from target link opportunities and reach out to them. You can use this email template below:

Hi [Name],

I’m Venchito from [eCommerce brand], an online shopping site on [niche]. We started selling [BRANDX] on our website since [date].

I saw your “where to buy page” [LINK1] and wondering if we can also be listed as one of the resellers.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks!

MORE ECOMMERCE RESOURCES:

2. IMAGE-BASED LINK ACQUISITION

Images have formed a huge part of the web for the past decade, seeing its very importance in visual experience and in defining basic information or data online.

True enough, if you started maximizing your visual assets on the web, it couldn’t just help your site build a better site user experience, but also in assisting your site’s link acquisition process.

If you’ve been working on image-heavy industries, it’ll be advantageous for you to explore link opportunities from blogs that need help in curating high-quality images. After all, who doesn’t want original high-resolution images for their content assets – i.e. blog posts?

How to maximize your site’s images?

Step 1: Go to your image database and look for visual assets that can be distributed to bloggers. You can use the image Google search, type in site:domain.com and click on the Images tab.

canadababystore images

Step 2: Curate a list of bloggers that you think will highly benefit from your images – use your preferred metrics to gauge blogs’ authority (Ahrefs Rank, Domain Authority), but I much prefer SEMRush traffic as a valuable metric for this link building strategy, since you also want to look for valuable estimated organic traffic that you can drive referral visits to your website.

parenting blogs google search

Step 3:  Reach out to your listed blogs and offer your high-quality images. Pro tip: use exclusivity as part of your initial pitch (we exclusively offer these images to you..)

Hi [Name],

I was looking through your website and noticed that you have a lot of great content about caring for babies, parenting and maternity. Just wanted to let you know that I can offer you high-quality images that you can use for your existing and new blog posts. These are all FREE and EXCLUSIVE for your blog.

Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send the images right away.

Thank you,

Venchito

Step 4 (optional): Track blogs that acquired your images but haven’t credited you as their sources. Given that your visuals will be featured on other blogs, there are high chances that their readers can also get your images.

reverse image search

3. HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL COMPETITOR LINK ANALYSIS

One basic yet undervalued skill in link building is the ability to identify the right competitors. You may be thinking of all pages/sites that are ranking on the first page of search results for your target keyword as your direct competitors – but this is just beneath the surface.

If you see Amazon is on the top spot, it isn’t smart to go find all pages linking to this big website.

How you can identify your direct competitors and build links from pages they recently acquired from?

Step 1: Go to DMOZ and use it to find competitors based on horizontal and vertical niche levels. Let’s say you are selling handcrafted furnitures, your horizontal-based competitors are sites in this list. Make a list of these direct competitors.

dmoz horizontal verticals

Step 2:  Add to your list vertically-related sites by going a higher level in the Breadcrumb and finding sub-niches aside from Handcrafted. You’ll then see sites that sell different types of furniture – home furnishing, traditional, modern, so and so forth. These sites may offer products to similar target audience and you can guarantee that they acquire links from same types of websites.

Note: You still have to qualify them, but overall, you’ll get some big opportunities you haven’t found yet.

vertical categories

Step 3: Once you’re done list, plug in each of your direct competitor site (horizontal and vertical levels) and see their newest (recently acquired links) – see New Backlinks section.

new backlinks furniture site

 

Step 4 (optional): You can look for more new backlinks by showing 30 or 60 days view of recently added links.

60 days new backlinks

list manufacturers page

Step 5: Once you’ve gathered and qualified potential link targets, you may now reach out to them and ask if you can be added to their links/resource page. There is a higher link acquisition rate using this link building tactic since bloggers and webmasters are still in the process of updating their pages/sites.

Hi [Name].

I came across your [“list of manufacturers”] page and I noticed that you recently included [COMPETITOR BRAND] in your list.

We are also a manufacturer of [niche] products for local audiences in the US. I wanted to reach out to you directly to see if this would be a good fit for your [resource page]. You can see our recent products here:

Thanks,

Venchito

4. GENERAL ECOMMERCE LINK OPPORTUNITIES

There are a few gold mines that most eCommerce link builders aren’t capitalizing on, but can actually provide real link value to their websites. That is pursuing links in eCommerce and retail industries (general).

If your site or your client is open for publicity, then this link building strategy best fits for them. How to do it?

Step 1: Do a Google search for any of the following search phrases:

  • eCommerce events OR seminars [city] OR [national]
  • eCommerce “guest post” (example)
  • eCommerce “gift guide” (example)
  • eCommerce holiday guide

Step 2: Make a list of all possible link opportunities from sites/pages you prospected on.

ecommerce search results

Step 3: Strategize how you can acquire links from those eCommerce-specific sites. You can either do a guest post on their blogs, attend to their local or national events where you can build relationships with the organizers, or simply asking them if they conduct interviews with eCommerce site owners or marketers.

ecommerce fuel

5. GET LINKS FROM CATEGORY-SPECIFIC COMPETITORS

Resource page link building is one of the classic link building strategies that you can maximize for eCommerce websites. There are, in fact, hundreds of links or lists pages intended for updates – corrections and additions on a regular basis.

If you always take time to find broken links and suggest webmasters with relevant resources (including your content), then it’s a value added proposition you can offer in manual outreach. However, this is not a necessity in eCommerce resource page link building. If you follow the next steps, you can certainly acquire links to your eCommerce target page(s) from relevant resource pages, even without the broken link UVP.

Step 1: Identify what page(s) you’d like to target to funnel your link equity through. I always recommend targeting some highly converting category pages to pass its link authority down to its products pages – they are also more linkable than individual product pages (assuming these category pages have clean layout and design).

ecommerce site categories

Step 2: Look for sites that solely sell a product in your category. Let’s say, for orthodontic supplies, find sites that sell retractors and disposables. A simple Google search for where to buy” [ product ] will provide you these product-specific competitors.

where to buy medical gloves

 

Step 3 (optional): If you can’t find any sites that just sell very specific products, you can find category-specific competitors. In our example, you may look for websites that sell orthodontic instruments or dental websites that have orthodontics category page.

orthodontic supplies

Step 4: Once you have a list of product and category specific competitors, you can plug them into Ahrefs to find resource pages they’ve been linked to. For category pages, make sure to use the Exact URL option for search link bar.

vendor list orthodontic

https://www.forceint.com/resources

another resource page

http://www.orthonj.com/links.html

Step 5: Make a list of possible resource page link opportunities in Google Spreadsheet. You’ll most likely get two types of resource pages: one that linked out to just one/two products (e.g. retractors) and another page with all external links related to orthodontic supplies.

spreadsheet orthodontic list-blb

Step 6: Hunt for the email addresses of your link prospects and send them emails. If you see a page that has an instruction as to what email address you should be directing your email to or that tells you what kind of resources they’ll only consider for resource inclusion – it would be wise to make use of it as your introductory sentence in your initial pitch. This will dramatically increase your response and link acquisition rates from pages with direct instructions about corrections and additions of resources.

i.e. “I noticed your note at the top of your exhibit resource page about corrections & additions, so…

6. TARGET MONEY-SAVING AUDIENCES

Coupons and discount pages are enticing offers online customers will certainly avail – taking advantage of people who are trying to save a buck is a link building opportunity for those in the eCommerce space.

Having said that, here’s how you can benefit from coupon-based link acquisition campaign:

Step 1: Create a dedicated landing page for deals or coupons. Well-designed page targeted to specific audiences will perform better in acquiring niche relevant links than plainly having a general deals page. Here is one example of a website that regularly publishes deals pages mainly targeting gadgets and technology equipments.

Pro tip: Use this as your angle when pitching bloggers (I’ve created a dedicated deals page for your readers…)

deadspin deals

Step 2: Find both niche-specific and general coupon blogs by doing a Google search for intitle:coupon “blog”. You will then see a list of coupon sites who are targeting the same audience: people trying to save money. Here are a few general coupon blogs you can initially pitch:

intitle coupon google search

Step 3: Invest in building relationship with these coupon bloggers by giving them offers they can’t resist. One way is to use the dedicated page as your unique proposition, another is to get them as partners, so when you release a new deals page (only applicable if you sell different types/brands of products), you can make initial exposures from your offers.

7. IMPROVED GUEST BLOGGING TECHNIQUE

Guest posts are external web properties considered to be valuable assets for a company or website – given that it has so many benefits anyone can took advantage of, such as:

  • It helps attract new social followers to your brand’s social profile accounts (these people may have read your guest articles on other blogs), which can semi-automate the distribution process of your existing and/or future content assets hosted on your site.
  • It helps bring new converting visitors to your page/site – who can become potential email subscribers and customers of your brand.
  • It helps build brand awareness and authority in your niche, especially if hosted sites are top-notch blogs in the industry since you are tapping into new groups of target audiences.

If you are still not convinced how powerful guest blogging is, you can check out more of these resources.

For eCommerce brands, guest blogging still works but not to the extent of using it solely for link acquisition – a balance between guest blogging and broken link building is a good example.

I had a client in the coupon ecommerce space that targets audiences in the parenting, relationship and mommy verticals. By using guest blogging strategy plus other link building tactics, we’ve helped the site gain organic increase on a month to month basis.

semrush organic traffic coupon site

Giving Assistant’s SEMRush

A few examples of contributed content articles are here, here and here.

Let’s learn how to use guest blogging campaign for eCommerce sites.

Step 1: List down category pages of your site that you are trying to rank for in search and have history of high conversion gains – it’s much easier to see monthly improvements from converting categories than random allotment of category pages.

baby store categoriesStep 2: Track sites that have been in your networks already. Look for blogs that shared your recent or top-notch content using Buzzsumo (you’ll have higher chances of landing guest posts on their blogs).

For starters, use inurl:blog “niche” OR inurl:write-for-us “keyword” to make an initial list of guest blogs.

Step 3: Pitch with content ideas not being covered in their blogs (you are likely to get more responses using this approach since you are giving more value than other publishers just trying to land a coverage with general content topics).

You can find existing posts from industry-related news sites for rewrite or recreation and use them as an angle for guest blogging pitch.

You can also contact book authors, experts and influencers in your niche and ask if you can do an interview with them – use the output interview as the finalized guest content.

Pro tip: Make sure to add internal links to guest blog’s other content in your guest posts – it will help increase the chances of getting your posts approved by publishers.

8. TRIPLE-FOLD LINKBAIT PROCESS

Linkbaiting is a form of viral content marketing aims to attract links from linkeratis – coined term for people who might give links to a content.

It is a combination of efforts focusing on three main elements: usability, evergreen and unexpected hook (source).

Knowing which type of content are useful for a specific type of audience, identifying how long a particular content can benefit its target audience and adding information and data to the web asset not yet discovered on other external sources are main ingredients towards a successful linkbait strategy.

There are various forms of linkbait content now being used by marketers, business owners and agencies including extensive/comprehensive tutorials/guides/resources, visual data/information (data sources both internal and external) and expert advices/tips on a subject matter.

Each of these types can consistently provide results to your brand – i.e. bringing more specifically targeted leads and driving more traffic (organic/direct/referral) to your website and upgrading your blog/content readership.

One example of a linkbait content that is often used in different industries is round-up post. You can see this type of content even in the most specific niche and common vertical.

Unfortunately though, most link builders don’t have a concrete plan of using round-up posts – obtaining low number of shares and links on a content with 100+ contributors.

A few reasons why it isn’t effective for some marketers:

  • There is an initial intent of just building links and the primary reason why it was built – leaving no doubt that it got only a few shares from contributors.
  • Not all tips are valuable – asking questions to general practitioners, not actually an expert on a subject matter would result to low-par information.
  • Setting minimum number of works in answers when pitching potential contributors results to sub-par content output.

Here is how to leverage linkbait content like round-up post to acquire high-quality links to your website:

STEP 1: Create a top niche experts to follow content to initiate conversations with industry influencers. The pure intent of publishing the content is to build relationships with possible contributors.

top experts to follow

Hi [ NAME ],

I’m Venchito Tampon from [ BRAND NAME ]. We recently published a post featuring the top [ NICHE EXPERTS]. I’m so happy to tell you that you made our list because we’ve found your blog very useful to the community.  

We also included a link to your website which can help you get some visitors or readers back to your blog. Feel free to comment or share the post.

Thank you,

STEP 2: Once content is published, let those people you’ve included in your post know about it. Send them an email.

STEP 3: After two weeks, send pitches to influencers/experts asking for their expert advices on one subject matter (e.g. advice to beginner interior design experts).

round up post environment

Hi [NAME],

I’m doing an expert round-up on my blog and I think many people who are new to [ TOPIC ] would love to know your answer to this question:

[ QUESTION ]

If you could send your response back by [ DATE ] as I plan to publish it on [ DATE ], that would be great. Let me know to which website you’d like us to link to.

Hoping to hear a feedback from you.

Thanks,

Venchito

STEP 4: Let your contributors know about the published crowdsourced content.

Hi [ Name ],

Hope you’re having a great week! I wanted to let you know that I just published the round-up post. Here’s the link: [ LINK ]

Feel free to share it to your friends or readers.

Thanks for contributing!

STEP 5: Create an infographic out of the expert advice content. This gives you another content asset that you can use for outreach.

indoor air pollution infographic

STEP 6: Promote it as much as you can, only to possible linkers – bloggers and webmasters.

Hi [ NAME ],

I came across your [ POST ]. [ TELL SOMETHING ABOUT IT]

We actually created an infographic called [ TOPIC HYPERLINKED TO THE INFOGRAPHIC PAGE ] which your readers might find it useful. [ MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE INFOGRAPHIC ].

Here are some of the findings we’d included:

[ FINDING 1]

[ FINDING 2 ]

[ FINDING 3 ]

If this finds you very interesting, I can send you a customized embed code that you can copy and paste for your blog.

I’d appreciate your feedback.

Thank you,

STEP 7: Track unlinked mentions of your content assets – x experts to follow content, round-up post and the infographic.

Hi [ NAME ],

I’m Venchito Tampon from [ BRAND NAME ] . I saw that you embedded the infographic on [ STE NAME ].

I’m reaching out to you because I couldn’t find any credit to our page or website. We actually have a copywright page for this. I’m requesting you to add a link somewhere in your introductory post or below the infographic.

Thank you,

OTHER USEFUL ECOMMERCE RESOURCES:

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the email opt-in at the top or at the right sidebar and follow me on Twitter @venchito14.

 

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