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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. UTILIZE JOBS PORTAL FOR QUICK LINK WINS

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

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

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

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

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

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

boston tech jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

email outreach jobs resource pages

With proper execution, we were able to acquire links:

resource page link first example

resource page link second example

2. CREATE LOCALIZED VISUAL DATA

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

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

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

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

nacjd public data source website

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

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

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

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

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

concised research study

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

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

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

Produced the visual data (partial image below):

teen dating infographic

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

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

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

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

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

sexual harassment injury blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

things to do in city pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

area to pages link building outreach

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

attraction resource pages

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

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

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

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

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

national apartments

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

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

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

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

ahrefs summer housing reverse engineering links

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

Finally, acquire the link:summer housing link

5. SERVE FSQ WITH LOCAL CONTENT 

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

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

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

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

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

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

moving resource example 1

moving resource example 2

moving resource example 3moving resource example 4

 

6. SEED ANSWERS TO LONG TAIL ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

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

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

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

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

seed forum link building

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

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

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

7. LEVERAGE REDDIT FOR LOCAL PROMOTION

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

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

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

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

siegemedia reddit promotion

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

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

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

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

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

inbounders facebook group

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


How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

Who are linkeratis?

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

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

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

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

How to Find Linkeratis

1. Leverage Link Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

digital marketer payment processing section

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

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

stripe domain authority

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

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

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

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

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

linkminer unique referring domains

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

2. Tap Exclusive Linkable Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

helpareporterout email

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

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

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

haro upwork job

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

3. Target Big Interest Areas in the Blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a video that explains his process.

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

4. Generate Content Ideas from Niche-specific Podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sexual health google search

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

How to Pursue Linkeratis

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

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

1. Identify Who Handles and Controls Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gov resource backlink

B. Provide Shared Mission and Interest in Outreach

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

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

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

small business resources page

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

shared mission outreach email

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

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

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

C. Include Outright Content Suggestion in Link Outreach

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

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

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

D. Drive Curiosity with Refined Outreach Process

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

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

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

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

The refined outreach method of SiegeMedia looks like this:

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

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

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

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

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

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


How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

How to Build Authority Links to Your Website

What are authority links?

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

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

Link building is not for the faint-hearted marketers.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Types of Authority Links

Links from .edu and .gov sites

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

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

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

Links from ranking pages for thematic keywords

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

inurl-resources-google-search

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

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

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

semrush-organic-traffic-new-publications

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

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

Further reading: Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

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

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

Links from top-tier news sites

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

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

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

forbes-authority-link

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

Links from topically relevant websites

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

See this DA11 finance blog as an example.

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

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

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

Links that generate business conversions

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

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

On Getting Authority Links

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

Authority link development requires either branding and/or content.

Summing them up is a powerful combination for link authority.  

super authority backlinks formula

1. Perceived Branding

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

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

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

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

Ways to use perceived authority to get links:

A. Link reclamation

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

Then politely pitch them and ask for link attributions.

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

B. Interview opportunities

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

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

C. Incentivize social sharing in exchange of linking

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

D. Speaking gigs for natural linking opportunities

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

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

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

More reading: Using Brand Building Strategies to Improve Link Building

2. Content-based Link Acquisition

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

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

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

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

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

A. Broken dead domain link building  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tech-addiction-domain-dead

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

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

ahrefs-filter-edu-links

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

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

twitter-a-list-prospects

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

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

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

Then acquire links:

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

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

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

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

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

parents-guide-ahrefs-url-linking-domains

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

link-velocity

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

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

C. Linkable market analysis

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

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

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

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

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

video-game-addiction-keyword-search-results

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

Intersect existing linkable audiences to your brand’s theme

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

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

1. A Substance Guide for Parents

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

substance-guide-parents-2

substance-guide-parents-1

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

Linkable audience: People concerned about bullying in schools.

bullying-substance-guide

3. Degrees for Mental Health and Addiction Professionals

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

degrees-mental-health-guide

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

Linkable audiences:

  • Parents of LGBT teens
  • Parents of LGBT adults

lgbt-addiction

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

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

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

Further Reading:


The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

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

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

what is guest blogging

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

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

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

How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

page to page and domain to domain relevance in guest blogging

Once done, proceed to finding guest blogs.

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

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

Recommend resource: Search Engine Queries Cheatsheet

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

1. Check estimated organic traffic

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

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

semrush guest blogging qualification

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

2. Review the blog’s engagement status

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

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

3. Authority and trust

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

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

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

How to Pitch Guest Blogging Ideas

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

Here are a few ways to generate guest post ideas:

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

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

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

Pitching Best Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading:

Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

Blogger Outreach Guide by Ahrefs

How to Write Guest Posts

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

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

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

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

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

DIY (Do It Yourself)

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

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

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

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

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

Outsource it to a Freelance Writer

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

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

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

Editing, Revisions & Final Publishing

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

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

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

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

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

guest post author bio

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

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

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

gotchseo 1

gotchseo 2

gotchseo author box

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

gotchseo-readers-landing-page

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

How to Promote Your Guest Posts

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

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

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

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

facebook ads promote guest posts

How to Track Results From Guest Blogging

No one succeeds without tracking results of work.

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

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

customization - custom reports

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

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

filter - google analytics

Then click save.

save - google analytics

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

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

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

gotchseo email subscribers

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

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

Leverage new opportunities from guest posts

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

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

TL;DR

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

link building tools softwares

32 Link Building Tools and Softwares

link building tools softwares

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

 

1. Majestic 

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

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

majestic seo

Website: Majestic

2. Buzzstream

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

buzzstream

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

Website: Buzzstream

3. Ahrefs

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

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

Site Explorer (URL/Domain/Prefix)

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

ahrefs domain

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

Content Gap

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

ahrefs content gap

New Backlinks

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

ahrefs new backlinks

 

Website: Ahrefs

5. Mozbar

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

mozbar

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

Website: Mozbar

6. Ontolo

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

ontolo

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

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

Website: Ontolo

6. Citation Labs

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

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

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

broken link building tool citation labs

Website: Citation Labs

7. Inkybee

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

Website: Inkybee

8. SEMRush

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

semrush

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

Website: SEMRush

9. Buzzsumo

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

buzzsumo search results

Website: Buzzsumo

10. SEOQuake

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

seoquake

Website: SEOQuake

11. Broken Link Building

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

broken link building tool citation labs

Website: Broken Link Building

12. Javascript Bookmarklets

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

serps bookmarklet

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

 

13. Boomerang

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

boomerang

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

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

Website: Boomerang

14. Rapportive

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

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

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

Website: Rapportive

15. LinkClump

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

linkclump

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

Website: LinkClump

16. Authority Spy

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

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

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

Website: Authority Spy 

17. MuckRack

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

muckrack

Website: MuckRack

18. Ninja Outreach

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

ninja outreach

Website: Ninja Outreach

19. Pitchbox

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

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

pitchbox

Website: Pitchbox

20. Remove’em

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

remove'em

Website: Remove’em

21. Rmoov

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

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

Website: Rmoov

22. Siege Media Embed Code Generator

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

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

siegemedia embed code generator

Website: Embed Code Generator

23. Stylist

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

stylist search results

Website: Stylist

24. Google Sheets

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

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

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

Website: Google Sheets

25. Wordable

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

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

Website: Wordable 

26. HARO

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

help a reporter out

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

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

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

Website: HARO

27. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

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

amazon mechnical turk

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

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

Website: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

28. LinkResearchTools

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

 

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

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

Website: LinkResearchTools

29. WhiteSpark

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

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

Website: WhiteSpark

30. Search Metrics

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

Website: Search Metrics

31. URL Profiler

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

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

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

Website: URL Profiler

32. Open Site Explorer

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

opensiteexplorer

Website: Open Site Explorer

Your Turn…

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

Leave a quick comment below.

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


23 Actionable Tips to Get Backlinks in 2016

23 Actionable Tactics to Get Backlinks in 2017

23 Actionable Tips to Get Backlinks in 2016

As a company who loves building backlinks, it’s a must to do for us to come up with new innovative link building tips, not for the sake of posting something new here on the blog, but for keeping continuous improvements on how to get backlinks to our clients.

Here is a list of link building tips for 2017 that may not be new to some link developers, but you’ll actually find a different angle that is worth considering to generate more results for your own process

1. PRIORITIZE AUTHORS’ FAVORITE LISTS

author favorite lists

You might have used “list-type” of queries to find backlink sources. However, the problem with some directory sites listing “top industry blogs” is that they are outdated and often include bloggers’ other websites (private blog network) – when overlooked, this might actually lead you to low-quality backlink prospects.

Instead of getting quick backlink sources from “top x” blog prospecting, you can look for author’s personal recommendation of websites by using simple Google searches like “personal [industry] blogs I recommended”. With this, you’ll find an updated and topically-relevant list pages of recommended blogs. This is  actually part of personalizing search queries for a targeted link prospecting approach.

personal finance blogs recommended

Adding a few lines to your email like, “I stumbled upon a list of personal recommended blogs from domain.com and saw that you’re part of it” could make outreach significantly more effective. When you are giving people an idea where you got their contacts, you are instantly building connections with them.

2. USE CMS ATTRIBUTION TO QUALIFY PROSPECTING

cms attribution

Using footprints to make backlink research easier has been a common practice in the internet marketing space. If you typically prospect with “guest post-related queries”, it becomes less hassle to find blogs that are accepting contributed content pieces.

Of course, do this sparingly if you don’t want search engines to detect backlinks with only one keyword in place – i.e. “guest post finance”.

That’s not to say that footprints aren’t of good use for link builders. The best practice is actually using them as a backlink qualifier.

For example, you probably have seen blogger attributions at the footer section of every website (“powered by blogger” or “powered by wordpress”). Websites with this type of attribution are personally developed by sole bloggers or those who are at their newbie blogging phase – not with company sites, they’ll likely remove this default attribution and replace it with something else, “Designed by [Web Company” or “Copyright 2017”.

If you’re seeking blog opportunities, you can use CMS attribution to separate blogs from company sites – giving you better response and link acquisition results.

3. RECONNECT TO EMAILS WITH AUTOMATED RESPONSES

out of office email

When you send pitches to webmasters and get automated responses, it’s fairly easy to ignore them and proceed to another prospect in the list. However, if you spend time finding these potential backlinks, it would be best to reconnect again and build bridges to them.

For this reason, you can check the exact date the person is likely to return to work – 100% of the time, this is visible in their automated emails (see the email above).

Schedule follow-up emails at return dates, and use the same value proposition you’ve initially pitched.

4. LEVERAGE TWITTER LISTS FOR BULK PROSPECTING

twitter list personal finance

Marketers talk about using Twitter solely for content promotion all the time. However, on a link building perspective, you can actually use this social platform to prospect for blogs that aren’t just giving you social shares, but also qualified backlinks.

Start your Google search with query, site:twitter.com inurl:lists inurl:members inurl:finance “finance blogger” and prioritize Twitter lists that are labeled with recommended experts, influencers, top bloggers and titles alike, so you would spend less time qualifying linking websites from Twitter profiles in lists based on link metrics.

twitter list google search

This works more efficiently if you can automate this link prospecting process using URL Profiler. You can check out this step by step guide to scrape Twitter lists to for bulk prospecting.

5. USE FACEBOOK FOR CONTENT AGGREGATION

facebook content aggregation

James Norquay introduced me to this idea of generating content ideas through the use of Facebook page. A simple trick like asking a relevant question to thousands of followers (if the client happens to maintain this growth) can ease the difficulty of brainstorming a content theme that resonates a target audience.

Having said that, this is a powerful workflow a content marketer can repeatedly execute, not only for content creation, but also for increasing the chances of promoting the content. If you aggregate answers from followers, you can effortlessly ask them to share the content piece, once published.

Facebook allows for more content visibility when people get nudged for every comment that is added to the post, as it pushes back to the timeline every time – giving some feedback to every answer, i.e. saying thank you also provides extra nudge.

6. BUILD PERSONAL BRAND IN WEB COMMUNITIES

inbound ama

Generating backlinks from web communities is tough. If your main strategy is creating individual profiles from each of these community sites and inserting backlinks to your brand, you’re missing out huge potential equities you could derived from them.

The best 2017 link building practice is to impress members with contributed content, interesting questions and immediate submission of 10x content. If you repeatedly do this, you’ll create a flywheel effect that builds an impressive online presence, which will eventually result to backlinks.

One pro tip here is to observe Ask Me Anything-like opportunities and become the first one to grab it – while moderators qualify based on expertise, there is a higher probability to be included in their line-up of AMA experts if you become the first to pitch them.

This strategy works for us at SharpRocket, as we’re able to build high-quality backlinks from Reddit (DA70) and Inbound.org (DA90). Not a surprise – this drives converting visitors to our sites who became our current clients today.

7. BUY-IN CONTENT GAP

content gap

Content matters, but it’s not actually the king – value proposition is. What keep pages ranked for a long time is their ability to satisfy users with information they’re looking for.

When you stumble a keyword with high search volume, but with high content gap from any ranking pages, you have spotted a goldmine there. This tip is actually inspired by Dan Shure’s post on Twitter – that is executable when targeting informational searches with nothing to compete in the SERPs.

By giving content chances to rank in low-competitive non-commercial keywords, it’s very possible that many publishers and researchers will pick up the page when it gets ranked and use it as a reference to their content works.

If you can create different content pieces that easily rank in search, of course, you earn high-quality editorial backlinks over time – doing less efforts in outreach.

8. ALIGN OUTREACH WITH HIGH TRAFFIC PERIODS

high traffic periods

If you’re pitching webmasters with right timing – early morning on peak days of the week, you probably see good results in your outreach response and conversion rates. Even if content can speak for itself, when an email isn’t read on days and hours when people are likely to see it, you potentially lose the likelihood of hitting a link.

Having said that, there’s also one best practice that supports right timing – that is, aligning outreach with high traffic periods.

If your most visited days in your newly published content are Tuesday and Thursday, it would be best to reach out to people where there’s higher probability that the relevant outreach market is ready to link to your page. If you’ve got an access to client’s analytics, track the highest traffic periods and match this up when scheduling emails. You can check out this guide for a complete setup on the blogger outreach process.

9. CREATE SUCCESS STORIES-TYPE OF CONTENT

success stories

When working on a round-up post, it’s pretty easy to start emailing industry influencers with a question – what is your best X strategy in 2017?, then end the email with a straight call-to-action, “mind sharing the post?”. This strategy works for some content marketers, but there’s a higher probability that this may not resonate to verticals who understand what this game is – influencers might answer the question but won’t be enticed to share the curated piece.

However, there’s a more advanced way to come up with round-up posts that are likely to result to shares and high-quality links – which only a few content management teams dare to create…. success stories.

Have you encountered a case study that walks you through the entire process on how to do a thing? This immediately takes you to action, right? and encourages you to share the piece to others even without testing it first.

Combine success stories with a round-up post and you’ll end up with a 10x content that is worthy of social shares and high-quality links.

One best example of this is the annual success stories (2013, 2014 and 2015), produced by the content marketing team at PageOnePower. These linkable assets combine different success stories from top link building experts on areas of content promotion, relationships, publicity and mentions, innovation and creative and business-oriented links.

Success-type curated content is unique, comprehensive and repeatable – there’s unlikely contributions will be the same since they’re based from own experiences. Experts combined into one post make the content also comprehensive – making it repeatable given that there are actually new stories to tell every year.

10. INCORPORATE PROSPECT LISTS TO SEARCH QUERIES

xy prospecting

The ability to construct productive Google search queries will separate success from failure in link prospecting. The more concrete and specific a search query is, the better search-driven pages it would yield – after all, it’s about the quality, not quantity. If you see 5 million results from a particular search query while not being sure if most of them pass your link metrics, then it would make sense to get more particular with your link prospecting keywords to discover high-quality link targets instantly.

In our day-to-day tasks of finding and qualifying blog targets for our clients (an average of 500 each client), we’ve noticed that list-type of content dominate the search results.

If you take a look at them, they are constructed in such a way like this:

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

The secret to expanding a list of outreach prospects is using above keyword-formats along with the intitle:”1..300” advanced search operator (hat tip to @pointblankseo)– the first and last number serves as the start and end point, respectively. For example, if you’re looking for blog posts with 10 or more photography tips, you can use the search query: intitle:”10..300 tips” “photography”.

Take advantage of this when you have content – product or resource that is perceivably useful to the audience, which is likely be included in a list-type of content.

11. PREDICT LIFETIME LINK VALUE

Like in other areas of digital marketing, maintenance is critically practiced in link acquisition to ensure link values won’t deteriorate. Backlinks could potentially lose their values for many reasons, such as:

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

When link value depreciates, the overall backlink profile could negatively affect the site’s top ranking pages – pulling them down to lower pages of search results. This often happens when backlinks is a differentiating ranking factor to compete in a certain vertical.

Having said that, lifetime link value considers to be a standard metric when qualifying if a link on a particular page/site can offer long term value to the linking brand.

Making the above reasons opposite are the exact tips to ensure backlinks appreciate in its value:

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

When you can predict the lifetime link value of a backlink from a particular domain/page, it’s easy to prioritize outreach prospects – looking at the highest return of investment you could get even from a single backlink.

12. MANIPULATE LINK LISTS WITH LINKCLUMP

linkclump link lists

I’ve been using Linkclump for almost a year now, and it’s a guaranteed of big help for link builders trying to expand their link lists in less time. The tool enables you to open links on search results or custom lists in new tabs or new windows – with a simple drag using the right mouse button on the target area.

Linkclump also allows multiple links to be bookmarked or copied to clipboard for immediate or future use. Smart select opens done this way, when combined in several minutes is a huge time saver for bulk link prospecting.

There is still one particular use of Linkclump that others aren’t familiar with, but definitely provides great value – filter links that contain or exclude particular words. For example, if you’re working on a guest blogging campaign – with no particulars on sponsored posts, you can add the words, sponsored post, sponsored, paid post as words to be excluded when manipulating link lists. With this, you won’t open links that contain particular words that aren’t relevant to a link building tactic you’re using – another time-saver tip.

13. LEVERAGE CONTENT REUSAGE

content reusage workflow

Content reusage, commonly termed as content curation coined by Aleyda Solis, is the process of organizing and presenting outside content in a new, meaningful way either through updating, expanding, reformatting, curating and refocusing a particular content piece.

Utilizing content reusage as part of your entire link acquisition campaign drives significant advantage to determining an outreach market. For example, an outdated content piece with 100+ referring domains linking to it, can be revisited and plugged in to a favorite backlink research tool (Ahrefs, OSE or CognitiveSEO) to see which of the links are obtainable. Once the updated version of the content has been published on your site, it’s easier to build backlinks to the page given that there’s an available and qualified backlink prospects to reach out and to acquire backlinks from.

14. USE TAXONOMIES TO EXPAND LINK LISTS

categories

There is one advantage when competing in non-marketing heavy verticals – some bloggers and webmasters aren’t taught of non-indexing pages to avoid duplication issues and help the website maintain only quality pages as part of the site’s search-driven pages.

While this is unfortunate to some publishers, you can use this to your own advantage by constructing search queries with taxonomies, such as tags and categories.

Based on our internal research, we’ve found out that using the above search queries generate more qualified backlink prospects than using normal searches like how to x in industry – being more specific with keywords when using inurl:tag (i.e. inurl:tag “startup tips”) are more topically relevant than generic tag keywords.

inurl tag google search

15. COMMENT ON POSTS LIKELY TO RANK

Comment marketing is one of the overlooked and misused link acquisition techniques, primarily because most SEOs don’t see the benefits one can gain from this simple link building trick like setting yourself as an expert in the industry, being invited to become a guest contributor, building relationships with other authority publishers, so on and so forth.

Most importantly, one comment nudge from community-based blogs like this and this can generate hundreds of referral traffic to a site, which may lead to actual assisted conversions without actually spending much time to execute the entire link building tactic.

referral traffic

Be the first one to comment on an authority blog (use RSS feeds plus email to get you notified immediately if there’s a new post that has been published) and make it as part of your regular content efforts with the intent of getting clicks from blog readers (see example above).

Target pages that are likely to rank in search – content assets that are targeted with keywords or content themes instead of plain theories, so when you build a link from these pages, you can constantly send relevant traffic to your site.

16. GENERATE LEADS FROM SOLUTION-BASED BACKLINKS

Increasing visibility in search results through proper link building while getting leads from referral visits (conversion link building) is hitting two birds with one stone. While this may not always happen, but if you can actually anticipate that links built from a relevant site/page could drive potential customers/clients to your brand, this is something you must prioritize in your link development campaign.

Find and participate on topically-relevant discussions that people are actually searching for when looking for recommended products/services. Here is a list of example Google search queries that you can try:

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

Another link building trick here is to find commonly-asked questions with commercial intent on AnswerthePublic and utilize them as search queries with combined search operator inurl.

answerthepublic

Additionally, if you’re targeting multiple verticals or you’re handling a set of clients with the same target audience (i.e. Australian-focused), you can acquire backlinks from multi-category forum sites like Whirlpool. This type of sites often get visited by people who can easily be converted into customers/clients – so it’s a big win to earn backlinks from them.

whirlpool forum

17. PROSPECT EASILY WITH MILLIONSHORT

million short

Link prospecting consumes a lot of hours, three times more than time spent for outreach. So it’s a definite need to use link prospecting tools that filter sites better in less time but still providing relevant pages.

There are a lot of this kind of tools, but one I highly recommend is MillionShort. From the name it derives, it ignores the 1 million most popular websites on the internet, which makes it easier for link builders to find less-authoritative blogs. Needless to say, this is not actually fit for high-level development campaigns, specifically targeting huge online publication sites.

MillionShort has a drop-down list that also provides you the option of removing only the top 100 or the top 100,000. Definitely fit for low to medium-level link development campaigns, the search engine tool helps the entire link prospecting process focused on pages derived from long-tail searches.

dropdownmenu millionshort

18. ESTIMATE LINK PROBABILITY

When you can predict if backlinks are obtainable from a certain page/site, it’s actually easy to decide whether or not that link prospect is worthy to spend minutes of outreach. While there’s no guarantee of exact percentage of link probability, you can estimate it based on a number of indicators, which are listed below:

Consider the context of a link and purpose of page when qualifying prospects. The page may be exactly relevant to your vertical (gardening to gardening) but only offers to demographic-based visitors. For example, in this particular resource, you’ll have less chances of acquiring a link from it if you have a Texas gardening resource page given that the purpose of the page is to provide research-based information to Georgia gardeners – take note that cities of USA have different gardening and landscaping atmospheres/areas.

gardening resource page links

Another indicator to look at is link type – determining if link is local, national or general-focused, contextual or site-wide, resource page link or blog link. If you have an AU-focused html page and is itching to get a link, you will immediately reach out to the owner of this resource page and request for a backlink. But you’ll likely end up in failure because the page mostly links out to pdfs and publications sites.

gardening resource page

Make sure these considerations become part of metrics so you can save time in your outreach process and most importantly, helps you personalize outreach emails with the right context.

19. REQUEST EDITORIAL LINKS FROM SOCIAL LINKERS

Publishers and content creators often reference co-authors in their content assets by mentioning their social profiles (see image above). These social content can actually earn more backlinks than any page in the website, which is a lost equity if you have many of those but are not pointing to your website.

With the use of link tracking tools (see image below), you can discover pages currently linking to your social profiles. Some social links aren’t convertible into editorial links, such as those that are included in a list-type content (top 50 SEOs to follow on Twitter).

ahrefs twitter links

However, there are backlinks that of good use like those that referenced your content, quotes/statements – Brian Dean shared an actionable advice to… and stolen your assets – copied infographic that linked to your social profile, not to your website.

Once you’ve filtered high quality domains that can benefit your site, you can use this email copy to reach out to them:

Hi [Name],

I noticed that you mentioned my content about [topic] in one of your blog posts at [SiteName]. I appreciate you linked to my Twitter profile.

Just wondering if there’s any chance you can link instead to my profile page in my website.

Thank you again,

[Your Name],

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

20. RE-ENGAGE DOMAINS THAT REMOVED BACKLINKS

Not all backlinks remain for a long time, some are actually lost or deleted due to webmasters’ preference – either they removed the link in the content or replace it with another content source.

Lost backlinks aren’t easily recovered since the webmaster may actually abandon the site – leaving no rooms for re-engagement. While removed backlinks can still be recovered by doing an outreach to webmasters and asking if they can add back your link or acquire another link from a different page in the same website – both are best ways to get backlinks.

You can start this link building tactic by using Ahrefs to grab websites that removed your backlinks and put them in a list – since these links are normally labeled removed, you can easily identify them in the Ahrefs dashboard.

links removed

Once you’re done with the link list, you can get their contact details and reach out to them. A few ways to make your outreach works more effective:

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

Given that you’ve built previous relationships with these webmasters in your initial pitch, you would get a better response rate compared to pitching cold emails to new outreach prospects.

21.GUEST POST PROSPECTING USING BRANDMENTIONS

Guest blogging still works, but how it is practiced differentiates great content marketers from newbies. If you’ve been prospecting in search using the same and only footprints in 2012 (guest post by, sponsored post, etc..), you are missing out a lot of other opportunities that could easily be converted into links.

One way to prospect for guest blogging opportunities is through the use of web mention tools like BrandMentions or Mention to find recently published guest posts that are relevant to your industry.

Finding these link targets makes a lot of difference in your link acquisition results given that they are more receptive to outreach compared to domains gathered through search footprints.

22. EARN LINKS USING SLIDE DECKS

In a content-based link acquisition process, it always start with finding the available resources a client/business have. Whether it’s online or offline, these assets if used extensively, can entice publishers and niche-like content creators to link to your site.

Offline events like trainings and seminars have slide presentations that are ready to be uploaded to Slideshare. If you’ve got a client with these assets, you’re reaching a goldmine others won’t consider in their own link acquisition campaigns.

If you take a look at Rand Fishkin’s Slideshare profile, he had 100 different slide presentations on his account, which if you’ll plug in over to your favorite link building tool, you’ll discover 3,778 total links from 252+ different LRDs – linked by publishers in three different ways:

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

slideshare links opensite explorer

Export a list of linking sites or create your own and filter them based on quality. Once done, you can brainstorm link building tactics on what to execute for each filtered domain, below are some examples:

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

The main advantage of these slideshare link opportunities is that they convert better than other asset link sources, as some (event participants) had actually interacted with your client.

23. PERSONALIZE EMAILS TO GENERIC EMAIL ADDRESSES

generic emai -addresses

If you know a person runs a website but can’t find a particular email address, you’ll likely send a generic outreach email to a generic email address – asking the person if he can forward your email to the right person. You won’t be aware but this type of emails often get deleted instantly. The webmaster may only be using the generic email address for personal conversations.

Additionally, if you are not doing outreach for generic emails and proceed to another prospect on your list, you’ll miss out the link that could be converted through a conversation with the person behind the generic email-ad.

Needless to say, always use the name of the webmaster or publisher as part of your greetings – personalizing your email even for generic email addresses.

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES:

HAVE WE BEEN HELPFUL?

Want to take your link building to the next level – — but don’t know where to start, and are feeling overwhelmed by this post.

We are here to help you. SharpRocket is a team of link building specialists who love building high quality backlinks.

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


how to find any email address

How to Find Any Email Address: Seeking Email Superheroes

how to find any email address

Link building is not complete without emails. In order for us to build relationships with other bloggers, we must have a venue to connect with them. And one best thing to bring together bloggers is through email outreach. It is when you contact the bloggers you have prospected to gain exposure for you or your client’s products and services.  But before you proceed to outreach, you first need to look for the email of the person you are trying to connect to. The more specific it is, the better.

PLACES TO LOOK FOR CONTACT INFORMATION

1. CONTACT PAGE

This is where they’ll most likely be adding all ways to connect with them, like their social media pages, contact form or email address. Do note that contact forms are not always advisable because it has a lower chance of response rate than when you reach out directly using an email of a specific person.

contact page

2. ABOUT PAGE

Many website owners take their emails as part of their identity. That is why we can  sometimes see emails on the about page. Some like their contacts put on a different page especially if they use contact forms. Others prefer it to be included in their about page.

about me page

3. PRIVACY POLICY

All the boring legal stuff aside, some bloggers include their email address on their privacy policy page for readers or other people who wish to email them regarding their queries about the security of their personal identifiable information given to the website.

Privacy Policy

4. DISCLAIMER/DISCLOSURE

You can also try to look in their disclaimer or disclosure page where they state  that the information readers have seen in this blog are meant to be taken as an opinion to avoid  lawsuits or that they receive compensation from companies they advertise. There are instances where they add their personal email for it to be easily seen for people who wish to reach them regarding their queries.

Disclaimer

 

5. SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

Just check the social media accounts of the blogger and click on the about page. Voila! You will then find the email address you are looking for.

a.) FACEBOOK

social media facebook page

b.) GOOGLE+

Google Plus

c.) TWITTER

All My Tweets is a handy tool you can use in Twitter to find all the tweets an individual has made. You can even opt to hide replies and retweets. You just have to sign-in with your Twitter account and you’re good to go! With this, you can also try to look for your prospect’s email because at some point there is a great chance that he tweeted something with their email address on it.

All my tweets

Here are the steps to start using this tool:

  1. Go to https://www.allmytweets.net/connect/ and sign-in with your twitter account.
  2. Type in the twitter account of the person you are trying to search.
  3. A result of all his tweets will be shown. You can then use CTRL + F  or COMMAND + F (if you’re using a Mac Laptop) to search for the word “email” faster than going through all his tweets one by one.  
  4. Just skim through the tweets that mentioned “email” and if you’re lucky, you will find an email that your prospect tweeted.

6. GOOGLE QUERIES

Google can be quite dandy in doing detective work for you. We can play around Google search by combining search operators and add-ons to get a more specific result. Let me cite some examples:

name + “email” OR “contact”

search operator email contactsite:[domain.suffix] + “email” OR “contact”

search operator domain suffix

domain.suffix + name + email

search operator name email

domain.suffix + name[at]domain.suffix

search operator domain name email

7. EMAIL HUNTER

If you want to save time and find email addresses in seconds, Email Hunter is a magnificent tool to instantly find email addresses within the website itself just by clicking on its icon Google extension. There is a catch though. Request for email through this tool is only up to 150 each month unless you upgrade to their premium account.

If you want to use this tool, all you have to do is to create a free account then download its Google Chrome extension.

email hunter

Though Email Hunter is convenient to find email addresses FAST, it becomes irrelevant when some bloggers tend to be more creative in publishing their contact information.

Some bloggers may publish their email address in image format.

blacksburg belle email

Some may try to emphasize the @ and change it to [at] or the period and replace it with [dot].

email with [at] or [dot]

Note: Unless the correct email format is hyperlinked on these creative formatting, the blogger’s email address will remain hidden from Email Hunter.

8. CLEARBIT

clearbit

Clearbit is another great tool to look for emails of a specific domain.

First, you have to install the chrome extension. Using your gmail account, click “Connect”.

clearbit chrome gmail

Type in the name of the company or domain you are looking for then press Enter.

clearbit finding email address

 

email hunter get the email address

email hunter found dr pete email address

Note: Not all domains you will key in will give you results. However, there’s no harm in trying.

9. FINDTHAT.EMAIL

This tool is very handy for those who are looking for email address of company owners/staff.

Head over to findthat.email.

 

findthat.email

Type in the full name of the person.

Copy and paste the domain of the website.

Click the search button.

name-of-email

Email Verification

Why validate emails you say? There are cases where the email addresses that bloggers provide are no longer valid or are inactive. Through email verification, you can then authenticate that the email address which you are going to send your message to is a valid email. You therefore minimize failed messages and improve your email deliverability and the chances of it to be seen.

1. RAPPORTIVE

Rapportive is a also a Google Chrome extension that gives you results of everything you need to know about the person you are trying to contact pulled from their LinkedIn information. You can try to use this to validate an email to know if it exists.

Rapportive

To use this plugin:

  1. First you have to download Rapportive.
  2. Compose an email using your Gmail account.
  3. Key in the email address you found or the potential combination of email addresses using the bloggers name and domain name until a photo appears along with your prospect’s LinkedIn information.

Note: You have to sign-in with your own Gmail and LinkedIn account to be able to use this plugin.

2. VERIFYEMAILADDRESS.ORG

What if they don’t have a LinkedIn account connected to their email? That’s not a problem! VerifyEmailAddress.org is another way to verify the email address of an individual, even without the connection of social media profiles to their emails. What you have to do is simply go to verifyemailaddress.org and key in the potential email address you have created in mind to see if it is valid.

Email verification tool

MEETING BRUCE WAYNE, NOT BATMAN: GETTING PERSONAL

You wouldn’t say you know Batman if you didn’t see him behind his mask. In searching for emails, it is very important to catch the more specific email rather than the generic ones. Most bloggers use their name or initials plus their blog or domain name. Just be experimental in combining the blogger’s name, domain name and punctuation mark such as dot or underscore. The key to finding valid emails easily is by searching in obvious places first and verifying them through third party tools. This will be a great help especially in checking bulk email addresses.

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 links.

To learn more about how we can help, take a look at the services we offer and results we got for our clients.


edu backlinks

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

edu backlinks

 

If you’ve been in the SEO industry for years, then you know how important it is to scale link building to help multiple clients rank in search for their respective keywords.

Given that almost every year, there are new link building strategies being created, the best way to be on top of the game is not to think of new strategies (since mostly they’re just revised version of old ones), but to create scalable processes for your link building campaigns.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through one scalable strategy we’ve tested internally that can give significant results to your website: building .edu links using scholarships.

It’s amazing because we hadn’t spent a single penny yet when we built 14 .edu links in two months’ time.

Want to learn how?

Keep reading:

STEP 1: TARGET RELEVANT NICHES

Audience targeting is not only a necessity when executing common link building strategies like broken link building and guest blogging.

In fact, even when you build .edu backlinks, you still have to know your target audience that is highly relevant to your website or your client.

Here’s how to make it simple.

Identify audience of students who’d be interested in your scholarship program.

With our link building company, for example, we focus our scholarship efforts to students majoring in courses related to marketing, business, and advertising because we’ve found them to be more relevant to our website.

scholarship pageedu scholarship

This is critical because if you got backlinks from .edu pages that are too far from your industry, it would be less valuable to your website. I’m not saying that generic .edu links aren’t good enough, they are of course, but if you can get a high-quality link from a much more relevant page, that would be better.

Here are a few examples of audiences you can target for scholarships:

health scholarship example

legal scholarship sample

STEP 2: CREATE A SCHOLARSHIP PAGE

It’s very simple to create this type of content.

However, you’ve got to have the important details.

Here is a few information that you need to include in your scholarship page.

1. COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Provide a short description about your company. This is actually where your whole domain will mostly get value from.

Internally link to your homepage or other important pages to pass link juice to these pages.

Here’s a quick example of what I did for our link building company site.

[internal-links-scholarship]

2. ELIGIBLITY

The more specific you are when stating who will be your target applicants, the better you’ll get responses from university and college staff members.

These are necessary details you need to do include in the eligibility section:

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

See this example:

eligiblity scholarship

3. AMOUNT VALUE

The amount of scholarship depends on your budget for your client or your website. But I’d prefer the minimum to be $1000. Any amount lower than that won’t be attractive to educational institutions. I’ve seen $300 scholarship program, not sure how it went.

4. APPLICATION DETAILS

This section should include how your applicants will be able to get the scholarship. This could be a submission of a written or video-based answer to a question related to the industry.

For example, we’ve asked our applicants to submit a short essay or a 4 to 5-minute video answering any of these questions:

What would be your main strategy to market your business online?

What is your number one tip to manage a team of millennials?

Alongside the process of application, you should also state the deadline and award dates.

To make the application much easier, provide a contact form at the end of your page so they can attach and send their requirements right away.

STEP 3: PROSPECT FOR EDU LINK OPPS

Not all educational websites have relevant scholarship listing opportunities you could get links from.

When finding those link targets, I use two different methods to find opportunities that best fit my scholarship page.

METHOD 1: USING SEARCH ENGINE OPERATORS TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES

Search engine operators are useful to help you seek possible link sources straight from search engines – Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Combining appropriate search operators with proper keywords can filter the right prospects, enabling you to do link research much faster.

I use different search phrases, which I’ve collected and listed down in a spreadsheet to find .edu link sources with scholarship pages.

scholarship spreadsheetThis is pretty handy as you can hand over this task to a virtual assistant, freelancer or your in-house SEO specialist (thanks to Jayson Bagio!).

What you are looking for in a scholarship page are two things:

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

With this strategy, you don’t have to worry about domain authority, ahrefs rank or other metrics you are using to qualify link opportunities since most .edu websites are within the range of DA40 to DA90.

You should also make sure that external links point to individual scholarship pages, not just to scholarship search engines or websites solely for scholarships.

METHOD 2: REVERSE ENGINEER A SIMILAR SCHOLARSHIP PAGE

If you are running out of .edu scholarship listing opportunities, another way to expand your link list is to reverse engineer scholarship pages with edu referring pages.

You can use Ahrefs to plug in a similar scholarship page (which you can simply search in Google for the “keyword” “scholarship”).

reverse engineering scholarship

Scan through the list of backlinks and .edu websites with scholarship listing pages.

Once you’ve exhausted all possible link opportunities from one scholarship page, find another similar page and do the same process again.

Rinse and repeat.

MAKE SURE YOU ORGANIZE EVERYTHING

The key to properly scale this .edu link building strategy is to organize everything.

I use Google Docs spreadsheet for all tasks accompanied in a link building campaign.

Once you find a qualified link opportunity, include it in a Google Spreadsheet with all these required fields:

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

scholarship opportunities list

FINDING CONTACT PERSON

Universities and colleges have several staff members, and the only way to build Edu backlinks is to reach out to the right person.

There are two types of emails we consider for scholarship link building technique:

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

financialaid@domain.edu – if you can’t find the first email above, look for this one by checking out the admissions and/or finance aid department/section of the website.

contact@domain.edu  or contact form – if you can’t see any of those emails above, you can simply send a simple message (email template later) to a generic email or through a contact form, asking for the right person to contact to about your request.

STEP 4: REACH OUT TO EDU SITES

When all details had been filled up, you are now ready to do outreach.

This is the exact email template that I used to reach out to .edu contact persons.

Scholarship for [ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE ] students

Hello [ NAME ],

I noticed that you provide a list of private scholarship for students.

I’m sending you a message to let you know that my company offers one (1) [ AMOUNT] scholarship to [ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE ]  students that major in [ INDUSTRY ] courses.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have so that I can send more information about our scholarship.

If it’s not you who directly manages scholarships, can you forward me to the right person, please? I’d greatly appreciate that.

Regards,

[ YOUR NAME ]

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

RESPONSE #1

edu-outreach-response-1

If you receive this positive response, you just have to send all the details of your scholarship to them either via email or via a form which they will provide.

Once your scholarship is posted, they will give you a heads-up. If you don’t receive a reply, make sure you are monitoring new backlinks to your site so you can see if you’ve got a backlink from one scholarship page. Pro tip: use Monitor Backlinks to ease this process.

live-link-scholarship-outreach

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

RESPONSE #2

scholarship outreach budget

If you can only offer less than $1000 or $500, some Edu sites won’t include yours in their scholarship listings, since they have a certain threshold they consider.

RESPONSE #3

scholarship-outreach-local

Another case is when financial/admission departments restrict scholarship listings to one or two districts or local-based scholarships only. See the response below.

A few more things:

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

WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY

The title of this post says, “Without Spending A Penny.”

That’s true because I’ll only spend some money ($500 in my case) on the scholarship award date.  I would have received the returns on the efforts before the money is spent. For a $500 budget for 14 links, that already amounts to $35 per 1 Edu backlink.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE…

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

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