link hunter review

LinkHunter Review

Every link management campaign requires the use of tools to facilitate activities in link prospecting, qualification and outreach.

These tools can help scale link building tasks by semi-automating repetitive actions, by filtering domains and pages using certain metrics and by exporting necessary data into spreadsheets (for further filtering and qualification).

In the past, I've reviewed some link building tools, which I highly recommend, Citation Labs and Ahrefs. You can check out my individual reviews about them. 

Today, I'll cover another link building tool that I've been testing and using for some of my personal projects.

Introducing LinkHunter…

link hunter review

LinkHunter is one of the recently launched link building tools that is founded by my good friend, Jeff Oxford. He has several years of experience handling eCommerce websites and enterprise brands such as Mastercard and Belkin. 

This only ensures that he can effectively cater to a huge market of SEOs by addressing the need for lack of tool's features that'll best help improve effectiveness and efficiency of link building campaigns if integrated to LinkHunter.

Let me show you how the tool works.

After you sign up and sign in to the tool, you can quickly see the overview of your campaigns.

link hunter choose campaign type

If you intend to create one, there's a button for "Create New Campaign".

You’ll have to choose for three types of campaigns:

  • Easiest campaigns (includes guest blogging campaigns, product reviews campaigns and sponsored post campaigns).
  • Content promotion (includes blogger outreach campaign, resource page campaign and link roundups campaign).
  • Situational campaigns (giveaway campaigns, interviews campaign, podcast campaigns, and custom campaign).

The advantage of this campaign classification is that it allows you to quickly start a campaign based on a specific purpose and types of links you're trying to acquire for your site.

For example, when you want to create a campaign for guest blogging, you simply choose Guest Blogging.

For custom campaigns, you can create one by clicking Create New Campaign.

linkhunter create new custom campaign

There is also a field for email account usage. It is best to integrate your email accounts (outreach emails) right at the very start so you can easily choose from the drop-down menu of email accounts when you started with the campaign.

If you wish to add your email outreach account, click on "Add Email Account".

linkhunter add email account

Going back from the new custom campaign, you have to input the name of your campaign (better if it's a client name or code you create just for that website).

Next is the link prospecting platform of LinkHunter.

One of the best features of LinkHunter is their "Automated Link Prospector". This is not the exact name of the feature, but for this review’s sake, let me label it that way.

You have to input keywords that are relevant to your website and campaigns. On the right side of the platform, there's a quick guide that shows which keywords are good or bad to use.

linkhunter quick guide keywords

You can then choose the country of search. The tool will basically filter the search pages into the country that you prefer. By default, it's worldwide, but if you're prospecting for country-specific websites, you can choose the right country.

LinkHunter provides free outreach templates for each campaign type which is a big help for those who're new to outreach activities.

linkhunter initial email templates

The link building tool also includes an option for follow-up emails (which can be automatically sent days after your initial emails have been sent).

linkhunter follow-up emails

Pages automatically searched by the tool by using your target keywords and its default advanced search options for a specific campaign will now be ready to filter.

linkhunter prospect pages

It has a sort option for relevance, domain authority and alphabetical.

Link qualification is critically important in executing a link building campaign, in that knowledge that you only choose the page that fits right for your campaign before you proceed to outreach.

LinkHunter gives you the opportunity to preview each page you want to qualify.

linkhunter domain filtering capacity

If you want to go directly to the website for further analysis, you can click the button "Open Website a New Tab".

One upside of LinkHunter is that it closes the gap between link qualification and outreach. You don't necessarily have to open a new outreach platform or your email account to send your pitches. You can go straight customizing each email at the right panel and send it right away.

Pro tip: Choose the email that has high chances of responding to your pitch. For blogging campaigns, if there's no direct email contact person, you can choose editor@domain.com. Avoid reaching out to info@domain.com, sales@domain.com, support@domain.com and other departmentalized emails (your pitch might not be directly addressed by these departments).

linkhunter email personalization choose email address

Every link building tool always has room for improvements. No exception with our product today.

What Needs Work

A few things to note, that when added as features of the product can make it more efficient to use:

1. No email scheduling - there is no option to schedules emails at later dates (both for initial emails and follow-ups). It is best to have automated follow-ups that can be sent as replies to the original emails than be sent as new emails.

2. No filtering capacity by relationship stages - there is no filtering option or list for relationship stages. There are visible stages from the campaign overview (prospects, contacted, responded and links), but there's no room to filter emails based on relationship stages.

3. Visible campaigns to certain people - campaigns are all visible to the person who logged into the tool. There are no options to make certain campaigns visible to assigned people only. I'm looking to avoid any errors committed, such as archiving campaigns by mistake.

4. Additional fields in templates - embedding images in email for creative email pitches and email signature.

5. Adding opportunities in bulk - lack of option to import a list of websites derived through other sources (competitor link research using link analysis tools or a list of link prospects through manual prospecting on search engines).

Overall, LinkHunter is best for a one-man link building team (who does every aspect of link acquisition) and small agencies who don't need to switch between link research and outreach campaigns. With further improvements, I think LinkHunter can be a highly efficient tool for link builders.

If you have questions and inquiries about this link building tool, leave a comment below.


email outreach

Six Small Differences You Can Make to Your Email Outreach

Outreach is an effective way to form relationships with people who haven't known/seen your brand, and are likely be interested to get more eyeballs to your content - either through contextual linking or social sharing.

It's easy to look up to successful case studies in acquiring links and getting more traffic through email outreach. The step-by-step process are mostly indicated, but those little changes one can make to turn a mediocre outreach email into a solid placement of link are sometimes ignored.

email outreach

So, let's take a look at some details that will improve the probability of getting the links you desire.

1. VALIDATE EMAILS SCALABLY

Whether you've done large-scale campaigns or a one-time off outreach campaign, you always come across bounced emails.

These are email addresses that are either non-existent or maybe the receiving email server is temporarily unavailable, overloaded, or it couldn't be found.

In general, you don't have the control over these bounced emails - but you can avoid receiving them by doing either of these two things:

  • Check the validity of the email upfront.
  • Find another email address that can be your second contact in case the first one bounces.

For the first solution, there are web-based tools that can aid you with validating emails - mailtester.com, and email-checker.net.

Doing so to each of your hundreds or thousands of emails can consume much of your time.

Instead, you can use Email Verification Tool to scale validation of email addresses. This Google Sheet add-on below is easy to setup and automatically checks the email deliverability of emails.

email verification tool

deliverability email validation tool

When emails are undeliverable, there are two options you can choose from:

  • Find other ways to connect to your outreach prospect either through Twitter or Linkedin.
  • Look for the next available contact person (editor, librarian, webmaster, etc..)

By scaling emails' validity upfront, it'll help you go for the next methods to connect to your link prospect. Not doing so is a waste of link opportunity you've developed for one specific website.

2. ASK "WHO TO CONTACT" FOR A SPECIFIC PAGE

When you're sending outreach emails, chances are the people you're reaching out to aren't the first-hand persons who handles the desired page you're trying to acquire a link from.

For those who know which person or department handles that single page and have been kind to send you the right contact person and his/her email address, you compose a new email, forward your original message, and send it to the new contact person.

That may not be always the case. Sometimes the thread of conversation gets longer until you found out he is not the right person to connect with for your link request pitch.

That said, one tip for you to add changes to your initial email is to ask who is the right person to contact to.

email who to contact person

You'll be surprised because they can helpfully give you the exact name along with his/her email address.

No back and forth emails. Less waste of time you can instead spend talking to the right outreach person.

3. GIVE CONTEXT IN YOUR EMAILS

It's easy to copy and paste email outreach templates. But when you get replies like, "which one?" or "what are you referring to?,” it's another lazy approach to send another canned response to get the link immediately (and hopefully proceed to another email conversation).

Without your contact person getting the right understanding of your outreach email, it'll be difficult for him to take any actions on your part.

One principle to consider is to always give the right context in your emails.

For example, if you've had the exact target page, it'll be better to include the Page Title of the resource page in your first email - providing your outreach prospect with the right context of your pitch.

context in emails

Relevance is crucially important in outreach. But when context is misunderstood and/or not shown in pitches, it'd likely reduce your outreach placement rate.

4. TRACK SIGNIFICANT REJECTIONS

Not all outreach campaigns succeed. For certain reasons, the link placements for target sites are not achieved - which lowers the conversion rate of the overall campaign.

Link building, in reality, is a hit or miss activity. Those misses particularly in outreach should be identified in order to make necessary steps, either to turn those rejections into link placements or better off use those rejections to make adjustments in one area of a link development campaign.

I'm a big fan of Stephen Covey's principle of "Circle of Concern" and "Circle of Control".

Basically, it shows two circles of choices that covers all the things in our life over which can just be concerned about or we can control of. These circles are called, "circle of concern" and "circle of control".

circle of concern circle of control

Applying that to outreach, we'll be able to identify which rejections in emails we have control over (make adjustments if we can) or simply a concern (have to move on quickly). 

Here are some examples of rejections in outreach and guess which ones you have control over —make adjustments with your content/outreach/prospecting) or a concern that can be considered as a loss or reality of the campaign.

  1. The webmaster you're contacting is planning a website redesign (and may temporarily not be able to add any new external links).
  2. The daily schedule of the webmaster/link curator is tight and couldn't do you a favor of adding the link.
  3. The content being pitched to is topically irrelevant to the target page/website.
  4. The page where content is hosted can't be accessed or is displayed as error.

There are a lot more examples I haven't included here, but the point of bringing this up is to track rejections that are only significant for changes or improvements in your content - through developing its format, user experience and other factors that can affect users' trust. There may possibly be some necessary adjustments in your email's subject line and email copy used overall, which can hugely impact how your message will be perceived by the webmaster.

5. VALUE TIME OF CONTACT PERSONS BY SHOWING THE VALUE OF YOUR PITCH

Giving descriptions that your content is "amazing," "comprehensive," "ultimate," or "complete" (even if it's not) while not showing why it can be described as such takes more seconds of reading your email than it actually should've provided value to your contact person.

Here are some tips to intelligently describe your content in email pitches:

  • Let them know of the format of your content piece. While this can be added straight to the subject line, it'll be more emphasized if it's repeated on the email body.
  • Give a one or two-liner points of the utility and comprehensiveness of your content, particularly if you're targeting links pages where they've linked to similar pieces.
  • Show actual social proof of the content - whose influencers and/or major local/niche media sites the contact person may be familiar with that have linked to or mentioned your content asset.

Value the time your contact person will spend in reading your email. By giving him enough reason to check out your content, you'll have more chances of acquiring editorial links from his publication.

6. FOLLOW-UP WITH ANOTHER EMAIL FORMAT

Sending follow-up emails to non-respondent prospects is one fundamental activity in outreach. There are other reasons why it is a must-do besides getting a response from someone who haven't read it.

  1. Taking another chance with a non-respondent contact person who've read and seen the value of your pitch but haven't taken any action yet (the follow-up email can re-confirm the decision and push the action further).
  2. Knowing the best times and seasons to connect again for people saying "can you get back to me during summer or start of the school year?". A follow-up email gives you a clue of their best moments to reach out to (make sure you take a note of this in your spreadsheet).
  3. Organize fairly your email contacts by changing relationship stages from In Communication to Not Interested those who are not really interested in your pitch - which saves a lot of your time sending them another email either from the same website/project or of another one.

There are two ways to approach follow-ups: sweet and short follow-up email or a follow-up that tells three options that they can choose from.

three options follow up email

Don't be lazy in sending follow-ups given there may be missed link opportunities you should've probably get if you skip on them.

One recommended practice is to create your own email experiments for your initial and follow-up email templates: A/B testing subject lines, email body, email sender and any email fragments that are worth testing.

It is best to both have a bandwidth to do what already works (email outreach best practices) and have enough left for trial and errors in email experiments.

Need help with link building? Check out our link building services.


how-to-build-links-dmoz

How to Build Links With DMOZ

Today, I want to share a really simple method for using DMOZ to come up with killer linkable content ideas - we've been using this creative link building process for a little while now with some great results.

how-to-build-links-dmoz

The premise is simple: recreate broken content found on DMOZ and get links from pages linking to the original content.

Apparently, you can't access DMOZ now. DMOZ has officially closed last March 17, 2017 after 19 years of providing users with organized directory of websites using volunteer human submission.

However, there's a mirror website that you can access to and use to locate broken content that you can recreate and promote to build links to your site - DMOZtools.net.

The methodology is simple and can be summarized as follows:

Step 1: Find broken content on DMOZtools.

Step 2: Assess the dead page's content using Wayback Machine (archive.org)

Step 3: Check the websites linking to the broken page

Step 4: Create an improved version of the page

Step 5: Start reaching out to sites linking to the dead page

 

OUTDATED CONTENT CREATION

Step 1: Find broken content on DMOZtools

Go through each category that is relevant to your brand. Dig deeper into each subcategory to find the most relevant fit. 

For a quick search, it is best to use site:dmoztools.net along with the category of your website.

google search dmoztoolsdmoztools subcategories

You have to sort through subcategories and only look for ones that make sense to your brand. You could go for tangential markets to expand your search as well (e.g.

Manually check lists for any broken links using LinkMiner.

If you have subscribed to Ahrefs premium access, it'd be more handy to set this option below:

linkminer settings link display

When LinkMiner completes its checking, it'll automatically show how many referring domains does each external links acquires.

broken link on a resource list dmoztools

A broken link with more than a hundred referring domains is worth looking than a defunct page with less than 10 linked-to pages.

Step 2: Assess the dead page's content using Wayback Machine (archive.org)

Take a quick look at the original content of the dead page. By doing so, it can help you assess if it's something you can recreate by yourself or with your team.

Given that the information on the content may be outdated, it'd require certain updates to make it more relevant, more informative and more comprehensive than the original content piece.

For technical verticals, you may hire a practitioner or content developer that has an extensive experience about the subject matter to add more specialized information to the content asset (check out my comprehensive guide on skyscraper technique).

Step 3: Check the websites linking to the broken page

ahrefs referring domains

Understand what types of links are currently linking to the broken page in order to assess their probability to link to you.

In general, you want to be looking for low-friction link opportunities. Curators of resources pages (links pages), for example, may only need to spend a few minutes to add your link as opposed to high-end news that would require a full blog post.

link frictionness of a page

A quick look on the frictionness of the links to the broken (original) page can help you determine if it's worthwhile to promote your recreated content to them.

Step 4: Create an improved version of the page

Besides looking for new information/updates for the content, it is best to find additional authority sources that you can use as a reference to build your own content.

new resource links

If you're fortunate enough to find a resources-type of broken content you can recreate, make due diligence to find all correct links (or the best replacements to broken links on the original page). In such a case, you will produce an industry list of resources that serves your users well.

resource of resources page

Step 5: Start reaching out to sites linking to the dead page

Content creation, as we always say, is 50% of the battle. When you have published the content, it's time to promote the piece to people who'll be interested to link to it (or even share your web asset).

For this link building strategy, you can scour all pages linking to the original broken content. You may use link tracking tools like Ahrefs to find them.

linking pages old content ahrefs

Collect and prioritize linking opportunities with low friction to gain quick wins in your outreach. For example, you can make a list of all resource pages first and prioritize them in outreach. Add industry blogs and high-end news sites to the list, supply email contacts, and start pitching.

Check Referring Domains of Broken Links on Original Content 

If you have produced a list-of-resources type of content, you can check broken links on original content to see if they have referring pages that may seem be qualified as additional link prospects for your re-created content piece.

Now, you'll be able to expand your link list and promote your content asset to as many linkers possible.

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


skyscraper-technique-case-study

Skyscraper Technique Case Study

The "skyscraper technique" by Brian Dean of Backlinko, has reached its peak of popularity because of its easy-to-follow process yet has produced effective results for most people who executed the methodology.

Of course, not all have reaped the fruits of their labor, some have missed the objective of building and earning organic links through its skyscraped content (as well as rank for keywords/search terms that might impact their overall campaign).

Here are reasons listed by Ross Hudgens why the Skyscraper technique may not be working (or can fail):

  • Assuming skyscraper content (10x content) is an output of volume, not of quality.
  • Assuming content's ranking performance on search is solely based on its own quality, not who it comes from.
  • Quality of content is realized by the volume of efforts put into creation, not by the value it provides to its users (e.g. definition of terms queries requires mediocre yet succinct content, not bigger content piece, to satisfy its users).

Apparently, the aforementioned reasons do not totally disprove the effectiveness of "skyscraper technique".

With proper strategy and thorough execution on each individual phases of the process, I'd almost guarantee that you can hit your business' objectives with the skyscraper strategy.

skyscraper-technique-case-study

In this post, I'll share actual samples of my workflow and thought-process - from content ideation, content production to the extensive promotion of skyscraper content.

 

1. START BY IDENTIFYING FREQUENTLY-SEARCHED TOPICS

Use keyword research tools (like Ahrefs' keyword explorer) to find topic phrases that have substantial search volume. The data should answer the question, "are there enough people looking for the topic?".

ahrefs sleep for kids search volume

Continue doing your research by looking for keyword variations. These keyword variations can help expand your content's reach when included in your content piece (as they can help your page rank for secondary keywords and other long-phrase keyword variations).

AutoSuggest and Related Search Phrases (located below of every SERPs) are handy features of Google that can help you find keyword variations of search terms.

Tip: You can use Ahrefs' Questions feature to discover related questions (which you can later select and include those you're capable of answering in your content asset).

ahrefs question feature

2. ENSURE THAT THERE'S A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF PAGES TO LINKING TO RANKING PAGES

Get an idea of the linkability of the topic by looking at the first few pages of search results. See how many linking opportunities does each page obtains (with Moz you can glance it quickly).

sleep for kids google search results pages

3. STRATEGIZE HOW TO OUTCOMPETE LINK-WORTHY CONTENT  

During this point of process, you can choose to proceed to either of these two directions:

  1. Create content on the linkable topic and make it better than the first ranking pages for the target keyword/phrase.
  2. Choose one among the ranking pages, check if you can feasibly do better than it, and produce a more comprehensive content piece.

Whether you choose option 1 or 2, the mindset should be in accordance to the original Skyscraper process: find link-worthy content, make something even better and reach out to the right people.

For this case study, I choose option 2.

I've found one niche website that ranked for the keyphrase, "sleep for kids," - which is a microsite of an industry organization, National Sleep Foundation.

When we review the website, it only has 50~ indexed pages. Not all of these pages have valuable information about the main subject area (a content gap we can fill in the industry).

sleep for kids indexed pages

This leads us to choose this website as our starting point for creating the 10x cotnent.

This opportunity of discovering a topic-focused site rarely happens - but if you've found one, it is best to consider the following things:

  • How long does the site hasn't been updated?
  • How many pages does the entire website has? Are they all under the same subject area?
  • Are there any important topics not yet included that you can cover on your own content asset?

Strategize how to outdo the link-worthy content by creating an outline to visualize the outcome of your own content piece.

Make sure you look for important points that haven't been mentioned in their content. You can use Quora and Reddit to spot frequently-asked questions and cross-check them with their content (to see if those topics have been integrated).

quora questions skyscraper technique

Increase chances of your content piece to rank in search by optimizing it for other secondary keywords that your competitors' have included in their content.

You can use Cognitive Content Assistant tool to identify the exact keywords your content is missing as well as keywords you should use more often or less (in the case of keyword stuffing). Their Content Performance metric gives you an idea how likely your content is to be ranked higher up.

cognitiveseo content assistant tool

Moreover, incorporate any of the following content formats to better enhance the utility of your own content piece:

  • Visual asset (turn interesting data points to a remarkable image)
  • Case studies of your own (or of other entities/personalities you've asked permission to share on your own website)
  • Audio or videos that better explains important points of your subject
  • Interactive tools or elements to improve content consumption

As an example, we heavily invest in infographics for our client's content assets, only if there are data points that are be more valuable to present visually.

For example, the question found on Ahrefs' Questions feature (how much sleep for kids) can be best answered by gathering data points and turning it into an infographic.

You can easily these other content formats to other sites or leverage them as guest blogging content (see guestographics).

sleep for kids infographic

Overall, invest in making your content asset more valuable than your target link-worthy content (and than other competitors' content).

skyscraper content

4. PITCH LINKERS AND INFLUENCERS

Start reaching out to people who've linked to your competitors' content.

To increase your outreach campaigns' open rate (as well as response rate), invest time in crafting catchy and effective email subject lines. Here are some useful tips by Giselle Navaro (from her latest outreach article on SearchEngineLand).   

1. Be specific about the format of your content

subject line email pitch 1

2. Mention the site when it matters

subject line email pitch 2

3. Convey the email's purpose.

4. Pitch your content to journalists in their language

subject line email pitch 3

5. Choose a journalist’s headline as your subject line when following up

subject line email pitch 4

If it's a resource page you're trying to get links from, you can approach outreach by suggesting your content as an additional reference to their links page.

Another value proposition to make is to tell them about any broken links on their resource page (if you've found any) and propose your content piece alongside with a non-competitor content as replacements to their defunct links.

This outreach activity is included in another link acquisition process. Read our broken link building guide here with easy steps to follow.

OUTREACH PROCESS IN ACTION

Going back to our case study - sleep for kids guide, we've reached out to .edu librarians, other link curators, and webmasters who've have linked to the competitor's content.

acquired link 1

acquired link 2

We further looked for other industry bloggers who might potentially be interested in including our visual asset as a complimenting content to their existing articles.

Then, acquire high-quality links:

skyscraper acquire link 1

skyscraper acquire links 2

Securing links from these sites is only the first step. The relationships built with these webmasters can later on translate to additional relevant links to your other future content assets.

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


how-to-never-run-out-link-prospects

Tactical Guide to Never Running Out of Link Prospects

Agility and efficiency are essential drivers of a successful link prospecting phase.

Setting a plan to never run of opportunities for link acquisition is important, since this can improve the entire campaign's prospecting rate as well as increase the average number of link prospects collected per hour/day.

By focusing on link prospect growth, link builders can expect significant improvements in the overall link development campaign, in parts such as:

  • Enables to find new audiences targeted by new added link opportunities, which can be useful in brainstorming future content assets relevant to these audiences.
  • Grows your current list of relationships with bloggers/webmasters/journalists (new connections can be derived by reaching out to additional list of link opportunities). 
  • Increases deliverables (# of links delivered on a monthly basis) for clients, since on a given average conversion rate, one can expect more links by sending more outreach emails to added link opportunities in the original list.

how-to-never-run-out-link-prospects

Here are 9 tactical methodologies to never run of opportunities for your link acquisition campaign.

1. USE "TOPIC" "GUIDE" TO SEARCH FOR CONTENT COMPETITORS 

Reverse engineering has been a standard practice in link building - which is basically spying your competitors for link sources pointing to their pages.

However, that approach will leave you following the footprints of your competitors.

If you can be visible on websites they haven't acquired links from, it would be a better strategy to get ahead of them (or evenly outrank them!).

One initiative you can make is to look at other brands (not necessarily your direct competitors) that have published industry guides on similar topics.

We've found that using this search query, "GUIDE" "TOPIC" supplies a list of websites from other industries in SERPs that have topically-relevant content assets.

For example, a quick look for "veterans" "guide" can reveal this search result page.

veterans guide serps

Your next step is to make a list of the people and sites/blogs who have linked to similar industry guides or have shared them via social media. You can extract these data using tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs.

veteran content competitors

It is best to list them down in a spreadsheet including each prospect's contact address.

Start reaching out to them. You'll have better chances of getting links given that they're interested about the subject of your content, since they've linked to a similar industry guide in the past.

2. KEEP TRACK OF WEBSITES WITH CONSISTENT LINKABLE CONTENT PRODUCTION 

You will not always come across a brand that publishes a solid set of content assets while gets/attracts high-valued links to its pages.

If you have found a website that matches both of the above criteria, it's worthwhile to bookmark it and try to spy and assess their content strategy (both their content creation and promotion approaches).

In our broken link building campaigns, we've spot on and have kept track of all the websites that have continuously been producing heavy linkable assets in different industries.

Regardless of whether or not it is directly competing with our client, we monitor those sites for new content ideas and future linking opportunities.

For example, Affordable Colleges had been on my personal radar because they have been targeting new markets (audiences) through the new contents they published on their resource section.

affordable colleges online

By using content analysis tools like Ahrefs, we can see their new industry guides they've invested heavily on content promotion (check Best by Links Growth feature).

best by links growth
That approach can definitely expand opportunities for our future link development campaigns, given that we can tap into new markets that are not included in our initial list of linkable audiences, such as homeless students and multicultural & diversity groups.

3. INTEGRATE DEDICATED .EDU PAGES IN YOUR SEARCH QUERIES

Apparently, links from .edu pages is one type of links that can impact your pages' performance on search rankings and can really damage your industry's competition if you achieved success with it.

However, before getting results from any .edu link building strategies, you'll always start with .edu link prospecting - one that's hard to build when you're starting out.

One approach that you can use to scale .edu link prospecting is to target a specific type of .edu page in your search queries.

Those .edu websites normally have sections of information resources such as counseling, health & wellness, financial aid, community resources, and summer housing - which can be individually targeted in your search query depending on the subject of your page/site.

For instance, if you're in the mental health industry, one phrase you can include in search queries is "counseling" or "student health"  to come up with the following targeted search queries:

  • site:.edu "counseling" inurl:resources
  • site:.edu "student health" inurl:resources

counsellling edu pages serps

Here are more .edu pages for topical-relevant pages:

  • "summer housing" - apartment categories
  • "career & internship" - job sites, portals or resources
  • "general health & wellness" - health organizations or niche-specific resource guides (e.g. sexual health)

Moreover, finding targeted pages of .edu sites can also be helpful with the kind of link building strategy you're currently using.

For example, when pursuing for scholarship links, instead of using the common search queries like (site:.edu "scholarships" "industry/topic"), you can be more targeted with your search by using the phrase, "financial aids" - which is a .edu resource page for students seeking for financial help.

financial aid page edu website

4. START WITH LIBGUIDES QUERIES FOR .EDU LINK PROSPECTS 

Another way to be proficient in high-authority link prospecting is to target libguides pages of .edu websites.

What exactly are libguides?

LibGuides are a content management and information sharing system designed specifically for libraries. The platform allows for easy navigation through and instruction on core and relevant resources in a particular subject field, class, or assignment.

libguide page edu website

Libguides benefit students in many ways, such as:

  • Allows students to focus on the relevant and sift out the less relevant.
  • Visually demonstrates that there are great resources, in multiple formats, on even the most difficult topic. That reassurance builds the confidence of students who need to get started on their research.

You can see the other benefits of libguides to students here.

By definition and purpose, libguides are academic resource pages for students.

Given that they aren't updated that much, they usually contain broken links. Knowing that, you can use broken link building as an approach to acquire links from these high-value pages.

Resource page link building (or content suggestion) can also work as long as you have a high-utility content piece worthy of being referenced to by these academic pages.

How do you find these libguides?

You can do a Google search for inurl:libguide site:.edu "TOPIC" - replace the word topic with the subject of your content or website.

inurl libguide serps

Before pitching to librarians (contact persons managing libguides) with a content published on your site/client, it is best to have a idea on what sorts of content, information, and content types that they prefer using as references.

Make sure you create the most comprehensive guide on the topic (or at least can match up to the resources that they've already linked to). If it's necessary to improve your content, do so to increase your chances of getting links from them.

5. SAVE LINK TARGETS OF LOWER METRICS  

When prospecting for link opportunities, It's easy to overlook pages with lower metrics (i.e. <DA40), given that at the beginning of the campaign, link metrics has been set to use as a quality benchmark for all target pages/sites moving forward.

DA37 resource page

 

At SharpRocket, we've found that websites/blogs with lower metrics can be of highly useful for future campaigns. Some less authoritative websites can increase their organic traffic and earn/build links over time, which will eventually improve their entire domain authority.

Capitalize future equities of those neglected websites by making a separate list or spreadsheet to include them.

This is an approach not to run of our link prospects as you can return to your list over and over again, and find new ones that have improved its domain authority (or have passed to your benchmark metrics).

6. EXCHANGE CONTACTS WITH ACTIVE GUEST BLOGGERS  

Building relationships with industry bloggers is vital not only when pitching them to become a guest contributor for their publications, but also in expanding your own list of link opportunities.

One approach that you can maximize in this situation is to pass on your contacts with them. Share your own lists of blogs that you have pursued for content contributions.

list of contactsIt's a mutual benefit so you'll expect to get a fair share of lists from these active bloggers, too. It's worthwhile to do so given that their shared blogs have high response rates when you start emailing them.

7. REVERSE ENGINEER BROKEN PAGES FOR MORE LINK OPPORTUNITIES  

A huge number of broken links on the web is the main backbone of broken link building.

Finding defunct links on a resource page and showing them to webmasters is one way to initiate conversations and eventually acquire links by suggesting link replacements (wherein one of the links is a link to the client's content piece).

The process ultimately starts with prospecting for relevant resource pages.

One prospecting methodology besides doing a Google search for common resource page queries - inurl:resources "topic;; inurl:links "topic" is finding other resource pages that are linking to broken links.

Start this process by finding broken URLs, which can be defunct links you've initially corrected in your first set of prospects (resource pages).

broken pageCheck for any other websites linking to those broken URLs using any link tracking tools like Ahrefs.

links pointing to broken page

Create a spreadsheet to collect all websites linking to broken pages.

If you've found 20 broken links and have checked that there are around 300 total pages linking to them, your initial list has now grown to additional 300 prospects.

list of link opportunities pointing to broken page

Of course, you have to quality these additional link targets by relevance, authority, and obtainability.

But overall, the said link prospecting (reverse engineering) methodology gives you room for more link opportunities.

8. CREATE NEW LISTS FOR NON-INTENDED AUDIENCES  

One common mistake I've seen link builders do when prospecting link opportunities, specifically for resource pages, is ignoring current pages on their tabs as soon as they quickly find that these pages do not pass certain links' standards (e.g. irrelevant to their intended audience).

This tip is almost similar to the above prospecting principle (save prospects of lower metrics).

However, what I'd like to highlight in this last prospecting tip is saving prospects of different intended audience. 

When you've landed on a page and found out that it's not relevant to your audience-targeting, you basically ignore it and move on to your next link prospect.

What I personally see a lot of value in seeking for more link opportunities (and for content generation, in general) is creating a new tab/list of other pages that don't fit to my current intended audience.

For example, when I'm looking for parenting-targeted resource pages and have come across pages that are targeted to non-intended audiences like LGBTQ, mental health enthusiasts, persons suffering from trauma, stress, and attempting suicide - I make new lists to collect them all.

This can somehow make it easier to find new audiences to target for future content assets.

highly-linkable-blb-audiences

If you’re just starting in audience-first link building campaigns, you can start off with Garrett French's 601 Audience spreadsheet and basic linkable audiences as a base - and add more on to it along the way.

Liked this post? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow me on Twitter @venchito14.


brand building strategies

Brand Building Strategies for Modern Day Link Building

Brand building is the new link building.

Keyword-centric link building is long gone. Focusing on a large percentage of exact match anchor text usage on inbound links will do more harm than good for your website.

The way to win in search nowadays is to start thinking brand-first.

brand building strategies

Over the years, search engines and user favor brands that have a strong presence online. Think of a product you need right now and remember a brand that sells a kind of it.

The long-term effects of building your brand through links are overwhelming. It's not instantaneous, but can illustrate a slow yet gradual increase of benefits as soon as the leverage starts kicking in (think link building flywheel).

flywheel link building

For small websites with inadequate size, budget, and resources to win over their competitors, the only way to strengthen their brands is to build the right types of links.

branding-circleBelow are four strategies to effectively help you with your link building campaigns that aims to build your brand.

1. INVEST ON BIG CONTENT ASSETS 

Publishing content assets that are big enough to cut through the noise requires both resources and creativity. If you don't have the former requirement, double down on the latter - creativity.

Start by identifying topics that are frequently searched by people in your industry.

ahrefs sleep for kids keyword

Ensure that there's a substantial amount of pages linking to the pages ranking in your target keyword. This guarantees that there's an audience of publishers that might possibly link to your content asset when you reach out to them.

sleep for kids ranking pages links

[textbox]Pro-tip: Observe niche websites that are focused on a particular topic and are targeted to a specific audience. For example, this website is particularly centered on providing information to parents and teachers on the importance of sleep for kids and how to get them sleep better.[/textbox]

sleep for kids homepage

A couple of pages have been published on the site as well that may seem be better to consume if they are on a single page (on a big content piece).

sleep for kids indexed pages

So, we've created a comprehensive content on the topic - encompassing all big points covered on the website as well as topics we may have to incorporate that are not included yet on the original source.

sleep for kids ultimate guide

It's also important to Identify how to position your content asset as a differentiator in your industry by including content types your competitors haven't built yet.

For example, the sleep sheet page I've found can be best turned into an infographic - making it easily consumable by the audience.

We've created one for that.

add infographics sleep for kids

And we gave credit to where it is due.

Add table:

add table sleep for kids

Embed videos:

embed videos

Always remember in creating big content assets:

Treat your content as a product.

Like a product, before your content asset goes out to the world, you tested it for quality assurance. You may want to check out this content quality checklist from Siegemedia to guide you with the post-content creation phase.

Start reaching out to websites linking to the niche website and get high-quality contextual links:

first link sleep for kids

second link sleep for kids

Other Useful Resource:

10X Content Ideation and Creation Process

2. BE MISSIONAL IN YOUR OUTREACH

In their latest content trends study, Buzzsumo shows that majority of content published online gets zero backlinks and no social shares.

backlinks to content

That's a harsh reality, but it's true.

It's easy to create content. But the hardest part is acquiring links and social shares to it.

Just like a product, the market decides if your content is good enough or not.

To break that content promotion anxiety, one has to come up with an effective approach.

Years ago, I stumbled upon the idea of mission-based marketing at CitationLabs. It speaks about identifying a mission in content creation and outreach.

Primarily, a mission can impact your content marketing campaign in so many ways:

  • It creates a genuine purpose.
  • It enables buy-in from influencers and experts in a meaningful way.
  • It justifies sudden existence in someone's inbox.

When that happens, it's easier to execute parts of your outreach campaign, such as:

  • Identifying potential linkers to your content (linkeratis)
  • Crafting email templates that gets an above average email open rate
  • Engaging publishers/webmasters/link-curators that reciprocate your actions in the end.

Let's dive in a little bit and see how mission plays a vital role on each one above.

IDENTIFY POTENTIAL LINKERS 

There is no actual mission if there's no target people to whom a special purpose is catered to.

With my earlier example, our main target audience are parents who're having a hard time getting their kids sleep. We could target both parents and teachers (on how to teach the importance of sleep), which of course could expand our reach - more link opportunities!) but that would deviate from our focus mission from the very start.

By having a clear target audience, we were able to populate our initial list of link opportunities by reverse engineering similar content assets.

ahrefs similar content assets linking to them

Searching deeper, we've found out pages linking to those who've linked to competitors' assets.

CRAFTING EMAIL TEMPLATES 

By putting mission upfront in your outreach, it brings excitement and passion in crafting your email messages given that you're thinking of how to get buy-in from outreach prospects to your purpose.

Clearly define ways on how other people (webmasters, link curators, bloggers, publishers), can contribute to the cause on your initial pitch. Your subject line and first sentence of the email should encourage collaboration. Through this, they (publishers) can help you in so many ways, such as:

  • Providing suggestions and feedback to your content asset
  • Connecting you with any of the influencer/expert within their organizations
  • Sharing your content piece through other channels (social media, email, etc..) that are aside from linking to your page
  • Contributing data insights that can improve your existing content piece (e.g. calendar, graph, directory, list)

Getting your outreach prospects to buy into your mission is one of the best ways to naturally attract links to your website.

ENGAGING OUTREACH PROSPECTS 

Bringing value upfront differentiates you from the pack of people sending off link requests all the time.

For example, if you practice broken link building, when you elicit responses from webmasters after you've told about their link errors on their resource pages, you immediately suggest pages (including yours) as replacements to their defunct links.

One approach we've found to be highly effective in helping webmasters fix their links is to look for the best replacements for each broken link.

There are three things that we normally suggest to them as replacements.

A. New page (redirected page)

By using the advanced search operator "site:domain", we look for the new page where the old information is now placed - which is published on the same website.

homepage link response

found right page for replacement

In some cases, the new page is a redirected new website where the webmaster has transferred all details of the original information.

B. Homepage

If the old information isn't published anywhere on the website (i.e. a new page) or it couldn't be seen on other sites (or new website), the next best replacement is their homepage.

best replacement is homepage

C. Remove the link

There are broken links that are non-evergreen (i.e. news, article, pdf), of which homepage is not a good replacement - the best suggestion to the webmaster is to actually remove the link.

For a more detailed guide on how to find the best replacements for broken links, you can check out my older post on broken link replacements.

3. COLLABORATE WITH INFLUENCERS FOR GUEST PUBLISHING 

Relationships are vital in acquiring high value links from top industry publications.

It would be easier for your pitch to standout amongst hundreds (if not thousands) of guest contributor emails bloggers are receiving daily in their inbox if they are aware of your brand (you) and the kind of value you can contribute to their website's audience and followers (through your content).

Easier said than done, but bloggers who're still starting to build their own brand may not have the popularity and authority needed to generate interest from target publishers.

One approach that you can use to capture attention of your prospect publishers is to associate yourself with influencers or experts in your field.

The process can begin by Identifying influencers whom you can help out by getting them more exposure on bigger sites/brands.

You can start with popular bloggers who host interviews on their blogs (use Google search - ex. "interview series" + "industry" or "podcast" + "industry").

leadxorg homepage

Check the list of experts being interviewed on the hosted website. Pick those who have their own blogs given that high value links to their websites will be your main value proposition of your pitch to them (more on this later).

leadxorg guests

From there, you can find and collect their email address. List them all in a spreadsheet to have an easier process once you start reaching out to them.

The second part of this process is to pitch industry publications with content topics that haven't been covered yet on their blogs.

initial pitch collaborationWhat you should be offering for them is a content that can rank on keywords that they haven't ranked yet and that includes a high-value information based on your expert's (interviewee's) answers to your niche-specific questions.

send topics pitch

The only answer you'll expect from your initial pitch is their chosen topics for your guest content.

selected topic response

The next part of the method is to reach out to influencers or personalities (from the first part of the process) and try to do an interview with them.

interview content pitch

Come up with questions that are related to the chosen topic of your target publication so it'll be easily integrated to the draft piece you'll be creating (given your guest content is also about the chosen topic).

Once you've received their answers to your questionnaire, you'll then create a highly informative content that you can use as a guest entry for your prospect publication sites.

content collaboration

include insights to content

The great thing about this approach is that it's very easy to generate this type of content and definitely a win/win situation for all parties: the blog hosting the content will publish a content that includes experts' insights (and potentially can rank for informative keywords), the interviewee (expert) acquires a quality for his/her blog (and gets more exposure) and you, as the contributor, build a brand presence and authority on other blogs (which can translate to additional traffic and more potentially linking opportunities).

4. HAVE A LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE 

When doing link acquisition, it's imperative that you think long-term. You avoid shady link building tactics that leads to short-term behaviors and benefits.

Instead, you target the right types of links that will have a lasting impact to your website.

By providing useful content (industry guides, cheatsheets, data infographics) that gets visibility over time through its ability to rank for secondary/primary keywords, you increase the possibility of attracting links even without doing manual outreach.

Ross Hudgens shared their repeatable blog promotion strategy at SiegeMedia that allows them to increase their client's monthly visitors by hundreds of thousands (month over month).

optimal blog strategy

Targeting keywords where your website has the ability to rank (by creating comprehensive content and manually building links to it), you'll soon be able to level up to more difficult topics/keywords.

Repeatedly doing so can slowly build your brand as an authority publisher of useful information in your industry.

For further reading, you can check out these two guides on building authority links and content writing tips


guide-broken-link-building

The No Non-Sense Guide to Broken Link Building

Broken link building has been around since 2010. From that time on, a lot of things had happened that changed how we approach this link building tactic. Nuances in methodologies, additional best practices, and questions of whether the said technique is still working now, are just a few things we will cover in this post.

guide-broken-link-building

Table of Contents

WHAT IS BROKEN LINK BUILDING?
WHY BROKEN LINK BUILDING?
WHY BLB ISN'T WORKING FOR ME?
STEP BY STEP BLB GUIDE
1. FIND A TOPIC THAT SERVES A SPECIFIC GROUP OF LINKS PAGE CURATORS
2. CREATE CONTENT ABOUT THE LINKABLE TOPIC
3. PROSPECT FOR LINK OPPORTUNITIES AND QUALIFY THEM
4. FIND BROKEN LINKS, CONTACT PERSONS AND EMAILS
5. CONDUCT OUTREACH
6. MONITOR LINKS

Before we get too far though, you might want to know how we define broken link building.

what-is-broken-link-building

Broken link building is a link building tactic where a person contacts a webmaster who has a broken link in his or her website and recommends a replacement of link/s that include his/her target page.

That seems a very simple thing by definition but actually, the work to execute all steps behind that takes a lot of effort.

Though it may be time-consuming, if you understand the value that broken link building can provide to webmasters, it'll give you confidence of its effectiveness as a link building tactic and that it can also be implemented to many websites, if found to be fitting to use.

why-broken-link-building

Broken link building helps fix the web by letting webmasters know of their broken links and its best replacements.

Broken links (or linkrot as some refers to it) happens when a web page becomes permanently unavailable, due to one of many reasons:

  • Expired links; temporarily created for a short-term purpose (for example: sponsorship page)
  • Content is intentionally removed by the webmaster.
  • A website where the broken link is hosted may be closed or taken down by the owner.
  • A website changed its domain name (some links are not redirected to their corresponding pages in the new website).

No one wants to have broken links in their websites which users would find to be of no value because they don't see the exact resources they are looking for.

page not found

If you have helped someone fix his/her links, you will be reciprocated by adding your recommended resource on his/her page (which most of you will recommend a link to your target page).

Reciprocity matters in link building. Value to value. If you help someone, you will be helped. That's why broken link building works.

why-blb-isnt-working-for-me

This question has been raised several times. From a perspective of a link builder who practices broken link building, there are some common misapplications I see of this technique.

First is tying any content type to links pages curators.

Who is a link page curator?

A links page curator is a type of linkable audience (from the term itself) curates links in a specific page about a particular topic for the sole purpose of giving its intended website visitors references and resources that they can use either for personal consumption or business research.

A link page curator is attracted mostly to educational guides or academic driven content.

Suggesting to them an infographic to be added as a resource to their links pages is less likely to accomplish its linking purpose, unless it has a text section (beneath the image) that has comprehensive information about the topic.

The best way to increase likelihood of acquiring resource links is to produce educational or academic-driven type of content that are more comprehensive than what other publishers create (more on that later in this post).

educational guide

Second reason why people think broken link building doesn't work for them is the difficulty to find a linkable topic that fits your brand.

There are cases wherein you wouldn't find a topic that is both highly linkable (i.e. there are a lot links page curators linking to content on the topic) and that also fits directly to your brand.

The solution here is to think of a specific linkable audience and brainstorm ideas how you can best serve them. Check if it's tangentially relevant to your site. (I'll show you exactly how you can execute that part later).

For now, let's dive into how you can implement broken link building tactics to your website.

step-by-step-blb-guide

There are a lot of published resources on executing the exact process of broken link building. But one thing I noticed is that these don't give you the exact picture of implementation from diferent role perspectives.

So as you go through each step below, you'll see some tips on how to do the exact process based on your current role.

if you are an agency marketer/SEO

if you are an In-house SEO

if you are a business owner

If any of these phrases is not included, the tip applies to all.

That avoids you saying, "I can't do this because I'm not ___."

Note: If you have any questions how you can do that yourself or with the help of someone, feel free to contact me.

Let's start with the process.

find-topic-specific-group-links-page-curators

You don't have to go too far. Start first with your informational keywords.

If have keyword excel sheets in place. Begin with that. Go through your list and find top of the funnel keywords.

Use the inurl:links.html as your litmus test to check if a topic is serving a number of links curators.

Why links.html? Because most links pages are in their html page, not adding .html may leave off some good numbers.

So what's a good number of indexed links pages to find?

Anywhere from ~300 to ~500 is feasible. More than that is highly linkable.

For example, if you searched for inurl:links.html "sleep apnea", you'll find that there are 552 vailable links pages indexed in Google (as of the time of this writing).

links curators litmus testing sleep apnea

For the topic, "bruxism", the number of indexed links pages is 272 (as of the time of this writing).

links curators litmus testing bruxism search

WHY LINKS CURATORS LITMUS TESTING IS IMPORTANT?

If you find there are enough links curators who are waiting to link to your content asset from their links pages, you can ensure that the topic you'll be creating is worth of your investment to create.

No waste of time and money. That doesn't means it always attain success, but at least there's a confidence of results when you pursue a topic that is linkable because it has an existing audience giving you links. You are proving linkability in your content.

WHAT IF THERE ARE ~300 LESS LINKS CURATORS AVAILABLE ON MY TOPIC?

This question may arise, and there are two answers for that.

One is doing a Google search for the topic. This is to ensure that there are still links page curators that are available who couldn't easily be discovered through Google search and could only be found through reverse engineering - more on this later. 

Going back, if you use Moz, you can see immediately the number of referring domains each page on SERPs is getting.

referring domains links curators litmus testing

If you find that each page has at least 20 plus unique referring domains, you can further investigate its linking pages.

Otherwise, you find another topic keyword and run it through the process again.

Further investigation involves finding at least 100+ links pages that have the specific page on the topic. The reason for doing so is to ensure that when you promote a content piece, there's an available audience dying to link to your content.

How to do that is to simply grab each URL in SERPs and check using a link checker tool if there are links/resources pages linking to the URL. 

links pages to url content ahrefs

My tip here to quickly find links pages is to use the search function of Ahrefs.

Type in links or resources to find resource pages with links or resources in their titles. 

backlinks list ahrefs filtered

Collect every links page you find and qualify as you land on the page or choose to qualify them later. You can skip to this section of Link Qualification stage.

Make sure you create an Excel sheet purposefully for those links pages.

spreadsheet links pages

If you have collected at least 100+ links pages (qualified), then the topic is suitable for broken link building.

WHAT IF THERE ARE ~300 LESS LINKS CURATORS AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE SEARCH AND ~100 LESS LINKS CURATORS THROUGH REVERSE ENGINEERING ?

If you find less links curators on the topic, you can still create a content piece but you won't expect much links from links pages given that not all of them would link to you. There is a conversion rate of around 3-5% to be expected from this topic depending on the number of emails you send to qualified links pages.

create-content-linkable-topic

Hopefully you now have an idea with identifying if a particular topic is suitable for a broken link building campaign. Now comes the hard part - actually creating the content.

You know this, you don't just have to create a content. It has to be 10x better than other content pieces on that subject matter.

How can you do that?

If you are a business owner or if you are an agency marketer/SEO, you can try hiring academic industry writers from freelancing websites.

You probably have done this because it is way cheaper than hiring full time in-house writers. It may not be feasible at first, to hire a full time in-house writer given there's still less bandwidth of work for content writing.

Academic industry writers can produce educational guides better than Fiverr generic writers. The cost of hiring the former may be higher than the usual rate you pay for a writer, but you can expect a higher quality output from them.

Now the question is, how can you find an academic industry writer?

There are a hundreds of ways on how you can look for them but there are methodologies I've found helpful in looking for the right academic industry writer.

HIRING ACADEMIC WRITERS IN UPWORK

First is by using Upwork as your hiring channel for writers.

upwork

Upwork is a top freelancing website wherein you can post a job that can run either hourly or project basis and that targets freelancers in a specific industry, skillset and level of skills you're looking for.

The process of hiring in Upwork is simple:

  • Identify who you need to hire.
  • Post a job board.
  • Interview people
  • Hire your preferred freelancer.

For a more detailed reference on how to post a job on Upwork, here's a resource from the website that you can check out.

To give you an insight of how it works specifically when hiring an academic industry writer, below is an example of a job post that I posted.

upwork job post blb content writer

Simple note: The writer I was looking for was specifically tasked to write product reviews and informational articles, but later on, was assigned to create educational guides for BLB.

As you can see above, the post is very simple. It covers almost everything you need to know about the job.

But what I'd like you to take note are the following points:

  • Title - the key here is to be very specific with the kind of writer you're looking for. Cater the job title to a niche writer, that would mean not just a health writer, but someone who knows specifically about sleeping or psychology - as another example.
  • Fixed price - depends on where you're more comfortable with, but if fixed price is what you prefer, you can even negotiate that further to cost per word (e.g. 0.027cents per word).
  • Level - you need someone who is an intermediate or an expert on the subject to write comprehensive and academic content pieces, particularly on jargon-heavy topics.

INVITE FREELANCERS TO A JOB POST 

One trick to ensure you're making the shot of hiring a great industry writer is to find freelancers and invite them to apply to your job post.

Instead of waiting for freelancers to apply to you and start filtering which ones deserve the slot, you can initiate looking for the best ones and negotiate

Most skilled freelancer writers are not applying massively to relevant job posts, but some even are getting inbound potential clients that hire them.

So if you proactively invite people to apply for your job, you increase the possibility of getting skilled freelance writers.

upwork invite freelancers

Once you've hired a freelance writer based on a certain skillset and expertise, it's time to create the content.

CONTENT CREATION PROCESS

If you're an agency or in-house, there are other roles in the team you should consider who can aid you with the content creation process - starting from research down to publishing.

It's critically important not to overlap tasks of each others' roles to get an easy flow of work and to excellently complete each content writing project.

As a small team, the SEO “the one who actually did the research” creates the outline and then just send it to the content writer for completion. If the content requires creative work, our designer has to come in and collaborate.

jayson bagio gobiggr

 

 

 

- Jayson Bagio, Founder of Gobiggr

The distribution of work depends on the internal process of a team.

However, the quality of output should be checked if it's going to be a linkable content.

One way to ensure the quality of your content piece is to use a framework where you will base its success probability.

USE A QUALITY-CHECK FRAMEWORK

One framework that has been mostly considered is the Made to Stick's SUCCESs model.

The idea is to run a quality check of your content based on these six factors:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

made to stick model

If you're a business owner, you may not have the luxury to go over each content piece and run it through a quality success framework. But having someone to look after the writer is advisable, either you get a senior editor or copywriter just to ensure the content piece can pass a certain standard of quality.

Aside from internal checking of quality, it's also important to ensure your content piece is far more comprehensive than other content assets on the same topic.

You can check what's lacking in other content pieces that you can add and emphasize to your own content piece.

For example, we've recently created a guide on types of sleeping disorders.

By looking at other content competitors, I've seen that they haven't had a huge list of sleeping disorders with their respective categories. They also lack customized visuals to entice social sharing.

With those things in mind, we've produced one that's far more comprehensive than other content assets - not just bigger, but better.

comprehensive

Note: If you do well know of your industry, you need to provide key points to your content writer as to the format and flow of messages based on how you think your content can be best consumed by your target audience.

prospect-link-opportunities-qualify

You may have a linkable content asset, but without a list of link prospects to reach out for content promotion, your content may not see the light of the day.

So where can you collect a list of link targets?

RESOURCE LINK PROSPECTING METHODS

A. Save your link targets as your early list

It begins when you run a link curators litmus testing.

As soon as you are checking if there are existing links/resources pages on the topic, you can immediately create a list out of that. Save them as your early targets.

You can use Ahrefs or Majestic when checking links pages or resources pages on pages ranking for a topic you are targeting.

ahrefs links to ranking pages

B. Reverse engineer content competitors

Content competitors are content assets that discuss the same topic of your content piece.

Find them either by using a Google search or by looking at related resources on a target page for links.

content competitors

Once you find them, go and check all backlinks using a link checker tool.

Grab only resource pages. You may use words like "links" or "resources" on the Ahrefs search bar to quickly find them.

reverse engineering content competitors

C. Check for broken links on your initial list of resource pages.

You may find that there are other external links on a specific section of the resource page wherein you want to get a link from.

See if one of the external links is broken either by clicking on them or by using LinkMiner to scan the page for any broken links. linkminer finding broken links

If you find a broken link, check if there are referring domains linking to it. It's a good opportunity then to find more resource pages.

D. Use Google search queries to find resource pages in your niche.

This is the most common type of link prospecting and one that will give you tons of link opportunities if you use appropriate search terms and advanced search operators.

There are many link prospecting search terms to finding resource pages.

But to help you with this process, I've shared a spreadsheet tool below that semi-automates the activity of using advanced search ops (specific to BLB) h/t to Jayson Bagio.

blb-query-generator-spreadsheet

All you have to do is to insert a keyword/topic on Column A and click on Column F to direct you to the search result.

When you land on each search result page, you'll find relevant links pages. Go and check each one and quality according to your metrics (Section: Qualification Metrics).

E. Use Citation Labs Link Prospector

If there's one tool I'll recommend in finding hundreds even thousands of links pages,it is this Link Prospector by Citation Labs.

It's nothing new to advanced SEOs out there, but if you're starting out in broken link building, the said tool can help you maximize your prospecting efforts and save hours of time spent.

Here's a tutorial video that shows you how to use the tool properly.

QUALIFICATION METRICS 

Before giving you metrics to consider when qualifying resource pages, the reason why I didn’t' separate Link Prospecting and Qualification, is that you can execute them simultaneously.

When you land a resource page, you can quickly qualify it according to your metrics.

This saves you a lot of time in qualification, as you don't have to assign a team member to do this task alone - qualifying each resource page you've collected.

Though it requires practice to do that, it's something I'd recommend SEOs to master over time.

Going back, there are qualification metrics need to be considered in broken link building.

A. Relevance - top priority!

There are three aspects of relevance we need to talk here.

First is page-level relevance.

A links page that is highly relevant to the topic of your content piece increases your chances of getting a link from that resource page.

Let's say, you own a content asset about the types of sleeping disorders. A highly relevant page for that is a resource page on sleeping disorders or sleeping issues. In this case, it makes sense for the webmaster to link to your content asset because it actually what he covers on his page.

sleep resources page

Second is category-level relevance.

There are resource pages that don't cover specifics for your content topic but has a section for it.

In my given example, a category-level relevant page is a resource page about disorders. It's not necessarily about sleeping disorders but if it has a section on sleeping disorders, then it could be considered as a good link prospect.

B. Use tool ranking scores

Moz has DA and PA. Ahrefs has DR and PR (know how their new DR is calculated).

moz metrics

It's been a discussion in the SEO community which one to use for link qualification. Is it Ahrefs metric or Moz metric?

To be honest, I personally don't have a specific answer to that.

Given Moz has built its brand and its metric is dominantly used by SEOs. If you're an agency, you'll talk with clients that highly considers Moz metrics as their metric.

You may have to educate your clients to consider relevance as your sole metric or sole metric + other tool ranking scores.

If you're in-house and if you're a business owner, you can have your own list of metrics, i.e. relevance alone, Moz DA + relevance, Ahrefs DA + relevance, or others.

Note: Later, I'll show you a visual resource on what metrics we use for broken link building.

C. Ask yourself, can I really obtain a link from this page?

Not all highly relevant .edu DA70 resource pages will give you links. But there are signals on a resource page you have to see that will help you determine if that page is obtainable for a link or not.

C. 1. Last Updated

There are resource pages that explicitly note the date their page was last updated. If you reach out to a webmaster that has a resource page last updated in 2008, there's a little chance you'll get a link from that.

The more frequent an update on a resource page, the more receptive it is for new resources or links.

C. 2. Matched Content

Are the external links on the resource page match the content you want to build links to? Are they page-level relevant or category-level relevant? If you say yes to these questions, you have a chance to obtain a link.

C. 3. Explicit Notes

Sending pitches to webmasters with no clue of whether they entertain new resources or not is difficult. But there are times when resource pages explicitly state that they are open to add new links or new resources to their links page.

It increases your chance of getting the link, given that the webmaster is open for any link suggestions. Though not a guarantee of link success, but definitely increases your obtainability.

So those are signs that you can acquire a link from a resource page.

Now let's move on to some red flags that once you notice or see on a resource page can immediately give you an idea that's it's not a fit for your content piece or it is low-quality.

Red Flags to look for:

  • Too many outbound links (150 links or higher)
  • Outbound links pointing to low-quality or spammy websites (e.g. .blogspot websites)
  • Page isn't properly designed 
  • Page linking to general lists or resources (no specific topic that they cover 
  • Page linking only to professional organizations, .edu or .gov pages.
  • Old version of HTML page signals that the owner no longer updates it. 

When you landed on resource page, you can immediately see some of these red flags. You may hover your mouse to check pages' URLs for glance.

You can always move on to your next link prospect on your list if you found the current one is not a good fit. 

This simple activity to add to your process is helpful for two reasons: first, you ensure that links that'll be added to your link list is definitely high-quality and second, it saves you minutes/hours of time - otherwise, reaching out to them will add up to your outreach hours.

For more visual learners, and to provide a resource for this process, we’ve created the following handy flowchart for your decision tree on whether or not to collect the resource page.

Case to case basis, there are other factors to consider but this guide should give you the thought process of link qualification.

find-broken-links-contact-persons-emails

Now that you know how to prospect for resource page opportunities and qualify each one of them to suit your link objectives, it's time to find any broken links (if there are existing ones on a page).

FINDING BROKEN LINKS

You don't have to manually open each external link to a new tab to see if they're working or not. It’s pretty time-consuming if you do that.

There are tools to help you with finding any defunct (broken) links on your prospect page.

First is LinkMiner. It is created by Jon Cooper of PointblankSEO which only requires a click on your toolbar then the tool itself will automatically check the entire page for any broken links and highlights them in red color.

linkminer

Next is AtomSEO Broken Link Checker (h/t to Jayson Bagio). Another Chrome Extension tool for finding broken links which you can also run using a keyboard shortcut.

atomseo link checker

Note: It's important to check again the external link if it's a 404 or a live page. Those aforementioned tools aren't perfect, they may at times, highlight links as red (meaning its 404), when they're otherwise not.

CONTACT FINDING

Next is to find the right contact person and look for his or her email address.

There are a lot of advices about this matter. Many SEOs recommend using a contact finding tool to scrape any available email addresses on a given website and all you have to do is to choose one or two you can use for outreach.

I've been doing outreach for years and I'd say that one factor to a failed outreach campaign is reaching out to the wrong contact person.

No matter how linkable your content piece is, if it's not seen by the right contact person who actually manages the resource page, it won't acquire the desired link.

The best way to find the correct contact person and his/her email is to manually search for on the page/site.

I'm currently working with a VA whose role is to find broken links (if any) on resource pages and look for the right contact persons with their respective contact emails.

If you have a document process, it'd be easy for you to delegate this task to a team member/VA whether you're an agency SEO or in-houseSEO.

So here are two document processes for contact finding and broken link finding that I personally use.

broken link finding process

conduct-outreach

This section focuses on conducting outreach in Gmail. It is geared towards SEO teams with ~2 link builders and those agencies who prefer a low-cost approach when doing outreach.

If you're currently using premium outreach tools, I recommend reading this outreach guide in using Buzzstream at PointblankSEO.

For Gmail users, continue reading.

gmail for outreach

First off, Gmail is fascinating because it is free and is easy to use. The orientation for its usage is so low that if you hire someone for outreach, you don't have to spend lots of time to train him/her on how to use the platform. 

However, if you don't have setup a workflow process that organizes everything from initial pitch to converting the links, you'll end up wasting time in identifying outreach status level of every conversation.

The key to make Gmail organized for outreach is to use Labels.

Labels

Labels is a cool feature of Gmail that allows you to “segmentize” your emails by their current relationship status. It means that when you see your email inbox, you know that a thread is for a particular link building campaign (client), a thread has gotten a link or a thread is waiting for a response from the recipient.

gmail labels

Organization in Spreadsheets

Given that you don't have a platform to collect your link targets (unlike with Buzzstream), you should have a spreadsheet for collecting link prospects and for tracking your outreach relationships when you pitch them.

For example, at SharpRocket, we've been using colors to highlight a certain row in Spreadsheet and know if it's been reached out already, needs a follow-up or we had just acquired a link from a resource page. This allows our outreach specialists to know which stage a prospect is currently in.

spreadsheet rows

We also created a column for the status of a link.

status relationship level spreadsheet

These two micro-activities to our outreach workflow helps us to avoid confusion and manage our link builders' performances properly.

Once you've setup labels and spreadsheets, it's time to pitch your outreach prospects.

Personas

You don't start your outreach by creating email templates, though that is important and should primarily be used to scale sending off your initial emails.

However, if you want to create initial emails that are relevant and that catches the attention of your link targets, you first have to start with defining your outreach personas.

Outreach personas are commonly used to better understand a certain industry’s' outreach market's behavior based on demographics, needs and interests.

For example, Jayson Bagio at Gobiggr use four personas when reaching out to contact persons of .edu websites.

gobiggr outreach persona

As you can see, these four student personas have different needs and interests when pitching link curators on .edu websites, whether it's for a research or project purpose or simply just recommending a resource they've found useful on their behalf.

The other reason of using outreach personas is to test which persona is more receptive to outreach prospects and could more likely acquire links in the process.

By doing so, you can replicate the same process on other link building campaigns (not only for BLB) to increase your response and link acquisition rates.

kaiserthesage outreach personasOnce you're done with creating your outreach personas, your next stop is to start pitching your backlink targets.

There are two outreach methodologies that you can use: broken link outreach and content suggestion.

Broken Link Outreach

You are applying here the law of reciprocity. That is when you tell to the webmaster which of his/her links aren't working (and sending appropriate link replacementsl), he or she will be more likely to return a favor to you - that is, to include your content asset as an additional resource to his page.

If you're eyeing for a template in this post, here's one good example from Jon Cooper that we've been using effectively for initial resource link pitching:

Initial template with broken links:

Subject: Found an error on your [Resource Page Template]

Hi [First Name],

I was browsing the [Page Title] page on your site when I encountered a few broken links. I didn’t know if you’d be interested in knowing, but if you are, I’d be happy to point out which ones I stumbled across.

-[User First Name] [User Last Name]

Keys to Success:

  • A/B test your initial emails' subject lines (you can use Found a problem on your {Resources} page or Found a 404 on your page).
  • Not aggressive, but polite and brief email message - coming off as a real human.
  • You can customize based on your persona but the principle of baiting a response by saying you've found errors is still the same.

By this time, you're expecting responses like, "Please let us know which link is broken".

give me errors email

Your response to that is based on his/her response. But basically, you can use a semi-template to answer the question, "Which page are you referring to and which link/s is/are broken?".

Template response with broken links:

Thanks [First Name],

I’m happy to send them over. The ones I encountered were here ([Linking From]):

  • [Broken Link #1]
  • [Broken Link #2]
  • [Broken Link #3]

Hope that helps. Also, is there any chance I could make a quick suggestion? *CRAFT CUSTOM FROM HERE*

Well, if I come across any other website errors, I’ll be sure to reach out.

-[User First Name]

Here's what this template looks like in actual outreach:

sending errors emailContent Suggestion

Your main value is offer a content asset that is worthy to be added on the resource page, and that is dependent on how comprehensive and educational your content is.

Below is a template you can use as your initial pitch for links pages without broken links:

Hi [First Name],

I was checking out some of the resources listed on the [Page Title] page of your website, and I noticed that I knew of a couple resources that might be worth adding. Would you be interested if I sent them over? If not, I totally understand, just thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

-[User First Name] [User Last Name]

We've encountered several responses wherein they don't accept new link suggestions from outsiders, so another way to start your pitch is to ask if they're still updating their page (A/B test these two initial outreach templates).

Hi [First Name],

Just saw your note on your Resources page about new suggestions, so thought I’d check and see if you’re still updating the page. If you are, I'm happy to pass along a few new resources for review. If not, can’t say I didn’t ask!

-[User First Name] [User Last Name]

When the webmaster replies, your response should be as direct and short as possible, but ultimately explaining how valuable the content asset that you are suggesting.

Response without broken links:

Thanks [First Name]!

*CRAFT CUSTOM FROM HERE*

Well, thanks again for your time, I really appreciate your consideration. Anyways, hope you have a great rest of the week!

-Jon

An example of an actual response that got us a link is here:

live link email

For many reasons, some webmasters will not respond to your initial emails. You then need to follow them up.

Your follow-up isn't to harass the person to get back to you immediately. We are human beings and as you come off as polite as possible, you're more likely to receive a response from them.

This template below is easy to customize when you send it to your prospects who didn't not respond initially.

Follow-up:

Hi [First Name] – just checking to see if you ever got the below. If you have, my apologies!

-[User First Name]

monitor-links

Your prospects may tell you if they've added your content link to their resource pages.

link added email

Some aren't kind enough to tell you, so that leaves you to monitor links prospects that you pitched them and have added your link without saying.

You can manually check each resource pages' source codes and find your domain there.

view source code

That might consume a lof of your time, so I highly suggest to use MonitorBacklinks where you can upload all your links prospects and it'll ease the entire process of telling you if there is your link is active on the page.

monitor backlinks

Over time, you'll see the results of your hard work. One way to monitor the link performance of your content piece is to use Ahrefs page level section.

new backlinks monitor

Most linkable assets designed for broken link building are supporting sections of middle and bottom-of-the funnel pages by internally linking to them. That being said, links generated for those linkable assets can lift the authority of the overall domain one way or another.

If you've been wondering if broken link building can work for your site, or if you haven't gotten through the entire process I've shared above, you may consult us for link building analysis.

We are also looking for potential clients whom we can work together for our blogger outreach services.


types-of-links-how-to-get-them

9 Types of Links And How to Get Them

The types of links that you build matter as much as you execute your link building strategies tactics.

Just like knowing what kind of salt and pepper to use for your recipe, your cooking becomes more effective when you actually know what ingredients to use and why you need to use them.

So, if you want to be an effective link builder, you need to understand these 12 link types.

Here we go.

types-of-links-how-to-get-them

1. NATURAL-EDITORIAL LINKS (CONTENT)

Natural-editorial links are by-products of link earning.

This type of link is acquired organically - meaning there isn't any form of outreach initiatives from the side of the person who gets the link.  The webmaster or publisher initiates linking to a certain piece of content.

Link-wise, it's close to impossible to get the similar link type unless there's a high-level reason why a particular person would link to your website.

In my experience, there are three primary factors on how you can earn natural-editorial links:

A. CONTENT RANKED FOR REFERENTIAL KEYWORDS

Not all keywords that you target can get people to both search for it and link to the top ranking piece (or whatever ranking page they'd find worth referencing to).

For example, if you search for what is link building, you'll find that most people would end up typing the exact question, getting the answer and leaving the page right away. 

But there are keywords that people both search for and link to as a reference for their own content works. These are called "referential keywords".

Here are some examples of referential keywords:

I. TOPIC TEMPLATES

Any niche template is highly searchable and is worth linking to. The reason is simple - it makes life easier. If you can have a template to create your own resume without having to write the whole thing from scratch, it actually saves you minutes (if not hours).

Therefore, templates keyword is one content type that is worth referencing in a blog post because it gives value worth finding for.

Popular examples of this niche-type keyword are job search templates and web design templates (CSS and HTML).

job search templates serps

Other template keywords you may also create content around that can fit in your industry are the following:

  • Christmas tree template
  • meal plan template
  • door hanger template
  • macaron template
  • travel itinerary template
  • weekly lesson plan template
  • wedding seating chart template
  • real estate flyer template
  • family budget template

Pro tip: Use Ahrefs or SEMRush to search for a specific type of template you could invest a content piece around in your space.

You can use the tool's search volume to type in a keyword + "template" to find niche template terms.

ahrefs parenting template example

II. TIPS/STRATEGIES/HACKS

A writer wants to include more tips in his content and so, if you have an extensive guide on co-parenting tips, there's a good chance it could be used as a reference on other blog posts.

Example: photography tips, first date tips, rhetorical strategies, camping hacks

III. DATA

Industry/topic data can serve as a credible source of information for a content you're writing about. It builds trust from your readers and thus, this is a type of content that has high likelihood of being linked to by publishers as a reference.

Example: real estate data, snapchat data usage

EXCEPTION:

There are niche-type keywords one wouldn't ever think of being referenced by potential linkers. Such are the case with question keywords.

Normally, a question keyword, what is a watchdog? for example, can be easily answered and doesn't require you to reference to a post about that specific topic.

direct question search results

If you're the writer, you think it's only a bit-sized information and you could either list it down or use your opinion if you can answer the question properly.

However, there are cases that require expertise to answer a question and thus, gives content creators an opportunity to create content from it that doesn't just serve the need but have data/facts to support the answer.

You'll see this happen in health niches. One should have a scientific/medicine background before he/she can answer a question.

For example, the search query, "Is snoring a hereditary?", requires content that is written by a person with strong health background(PhD graduate).

Is snoring a hereditary google search

With these niche questions that are best served with expertise-based content, there are cases when a question keyword can also be a referential keyword. This means that content ranking for such keyword can also be used as a reference by other publishers in their posts.

B. WORD-OF-MOUTH BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL PAGES

Another factor that could help you earn links is when your community users, brand evangelists, and those people who know your brand link to you naturally from discussion websites.

What makes it worthy of earning is the amount of conversions you can get from those discussion sites - not just links.

forum links assisted conversions

Forum links that point to your bottom of the funnel pages, i.e. to your product pages, is really valuable from a business perspective - as it can generate sales over time. 

C. STRONG BRAND AUTHORITY

Building your brand authority in your space requires consistency in messaging and delivery of high-quality offering.

Whether that's a great product/service, a great brand ambassador, or the length of company existence (with strong brand presence), the more you could establish any of those factors consistently on your site, the higher the possibility of earning links this way.

For example, Tim Soulo recently published a post on how they grow exponentially at Ahrefs from a MRR/ARR metric perspective.

ahrefs growth

How that possible is their ability to focus on one thing - to improve their product best. The product itself allows them to earn links from SEO or internet marketing publishers.

(If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you see that I've been linking to them almost all the time, when I want to share a tool that can be used for certain link building activities).

This isn't something that is scalable in nature, for sure, and the market decides if you have the great/best offering.

But if you're choosing clients to cater with your SEO or link building services, it's something that you have to consider. A brand authority could easily help earn links because it's the community themselves - publishers and products' existing users linking to the organization naturally.

2. MANUAL OUTREACH LINKS (CONTENT)

As implied, manual outreach links are executed with manual efforts - from finding relevant link opportunities to identifying an irresistible offer (something that's valuable to end users) and to sending emails to appropriate contact persons.

This is the most common type of links on the web given that not everyone has the ability and authority to earn links when starting out.

That being said, manual outreach link building can bring guaranteed range of number of links per month (e.g. 6 to 10 links per month) if done right and consistently throughout a period of time.

There are a lot of ways on how you can build manual outreach links, and here are some resources that can help you get started:

For this post, I'd like to share with you something that's been overlooked when doing manual outreach link building.

First:

PICKING UP NEW COMPETITOR LINKS

If there are only a few inches away in beating up the competition, knowing what your competitors are working on based on their new links being acquired is essential to maneuvering your website to better links.

For this reason, you can use Ahrefs to check your competitors' new links.

new backlinks ahrefs

You can even filter indexed links based on a specific period of time (past month, past week, or past day).

filter new competitor backlinksPicking up new links of your competitors will you give insights as to which link building tactic they're currently focusing on (either niche scholarships or discount programs for example) and if they are pursuing blogs/sites from other verticals (but definitely still relevant to their brand).

Given their recency of linking, new links acquired by your competitors has high chances of converting into links when pitched since they are more receptive to link pitches. 

LINKABLE MARKETS FOR CERTAIN CONTENT TYPES

A certain type of content is serving a particular linkable audience.

For example, an educational guide caters to resource linkers while bloggers are more receptive to infographics and entertainment-driven article.

Meanwhile, news editors are looking for more data-studies type of content.

content fits linkable market

via SiegeMedia

In essence, if you're manually reaching out to certain linkable audience and you're not giving them a suitable content type, you're less likely to acquire a link from an editorial perspective.

That's not to say there's no chance of linking. But for every content type, there's a specific linkable audience it does serve.

3. SELF-CREATED NON-EDITORIAL LINKS

Not being editorially given, self-created non-editorial links tend to carry less weight than other link types. They get lesser clicks to their referring pages as compared to links placed within the body of content. Therefore, from a lead generation perspective, it's not worthwhile to put all your efforts in self-created non-editorial links.

self created non editorial links

Here are some examples of this link type that I've seen still being built up to this date:

    • Not moderated blog comments
    • User profile pages
    • Forum signatures/profile links
    • Not moderated directories

Get this type of links to diversify your link profile, but not too many, given that they don't provide as much link value as compared to editorial links.

The type of self-created non-editorial links you should definitely get are social links.

Here are a few social sites where you can build free backlinks:

4. DISCUSSION-BASED LINKS

Links coming from discussion websites and online boards are proved to be valuable in terms of driving referral traffic and assisted conversions to a website.

Both benefits are a strong proof of how powerful that link type is, as you're hitting two birds with one stone: traffic and conversions.

To benefit much from discussion-based links, one must consider the following:

    • Identify sub-niche boards from community discussion and niche-specific forum sites.
    • Consider more of quality than quantity (e.g. if you own an eCommerce guitar website, a brand presence on a guitar forum with 5000-ish users is better than a music forum with almost 50,000 users).
    • Participate in discussion boards/threads where you think you can provide value with your expertise. Take note that your goal is to drive traffic through clicks from links. If your participation doesn't engage the users well, it's more difficult to drive traffic to your website.
    • Don't insert links pointing to your commercial pages with no relevance to threads. You may be flagged as spam or be banned from the community site.
    • Add hyper-relevant links to discussions. If you think a category page is more suitable than a product page, then consider more to adding it.

Here are a few examples of websites where you can build discussion-based links:

QUORA

Quora is a a question-and-answer site where people benefits from answers to specific queries.

Search for Quora-sub threads that you can follow and find questions from it. Spend 10 minutes of your time providing genuine and valuable answers or solutions to niche-relevant questions.

quora question and answer

Last year, I've put a daily practice to answer one relevant question every single day. It drove not just traffic, but potential clients to our agency.

COUNTRY AND LOCAL-SPECIFIC FORUMS

If you're doing local link building, it's important to not just get relevant discussion-based links, but also hyper local.

For example, if you're targeting Aussies, Whirlpool is a forum site in Australia you’ll love the most as users (mostly from tech niche) are highly engaged.

Identifying a forum site like this is worthwhile to spend minutes, if not hours, of your time. Genuinely provide solutions to recent questions that will best result to more traffic and leads to your website.

whirlpool forum

NICHE-RELEVANT FORUMS

Don Rhoades shared a credible idea on how to penetrate niche forums for traffic.

He coined the term, "forum participating rubric", which is a method of using criteria to make decisions on participating in forums and online conversations that mention a need for your products.

Here's how it looks like:

forum participation rubric

Here's what each row means:

Timely: I like to try and stay current as sales opportunities can go from hot to cold very quickly. Online conversations can change focus just as instantly. As an online retail salesman, you must be ubiquitous in “the showroom,” which any good salesman knows is everywhere he is. You can use this method for current press hits as well.

Collaborative: Agree or disagree, supporting another user’s statement helps you build a relationship, and that’s what link building really all boils down to. Keep in mind, the first few interactions you make will most likely not be a good time to drop a link. This is a situation that calls for patience and being genuine in your responses. Remember, this is not about ranking sites and scaling the shit out of a process. This is about adding value to a community.

Education: This is most likely the best facet of this approach. Every product, no matter how much like other products it may be, has unique features, advantages, and benefits. These are the selling points of your product over others. Your on-site content should communicate these FAB’s and offer the G, which stands for Grabber (ask for the sale, without asking).

Clarity: This is one of my most common 4’s on the scale. Having an opportunity to address a misprint or correct an opinion formed by the reader is a blessing in disguise. This is also where it pays to have assessed all of your press mentions and link profile. Many times, I have found opportunities to place links to other sites that already have links that generate sales. BOO-YAH! Some press hits from 2 years ago had no inbound links in the body, but after giving a clarifying statement (with an informational page link), they still bring in significant monthly sales.

- Ecommerce Link Building Using Rubic by Don Rhoades

5. SPONSORSHIP-BASED LINKS

Getting this type of link isn't groundbreaking. You only need to be a sponsor of an event, organization, charity or any cause, and in return you'll be receiving a link from a specific page.

Here are steps on how you can build sponsorship-based links.

First is to identify niche-specific sponsorship link opportunities.

If you're targeting a local city, it is best to also filter opportunities based on its locality.

You can use this search query (inurl:sponsor "INDUSTRY") or (inurl:sponsor "INDUSTRY" "CITY") to look for sponsorship pages in your industry.

The more hyper-relevant your opportunities are, the better link value you can get from them.

sponsorship links

Next is to create a list of these sponsorship opportunities in a spreadsheet.

This way, you'll be able to check each page later on and prioritize which sponsorship opportunity is more suitable to your website and to your budget.

Finally, reach out to each contact person in the website/organization with a value offer that suits for them.

6. MEMBERSHIP-BASED LINKS

This type of link is a by-product of being part or affiliate within an organization.

Acquiring membership-based links is based on the idea that if you have joined an organization, whether you're coming off as a personal or corporate, you will have a chance to get a link from a specific page of that organization website.

membership based linksIf you're working for a client for link building, it is best to check your company's existing collaborations, partners or affiliated organizations.

Do a research if there is an existing membership/affiliate/partnership page in that organization.

See if other companies have links to their respective sites. This is important as you won't be able to get a link from them if, in the first place, they haven't given links to other companies.

When you see one, reach out to the particular organization and ask if you can give you a link from that specific page.

7. Edu & .Gov LINKS

Links coming from .edu and .gov links are highly trusted by search engines, and therefore, is a high-quality link type you should aim to get for your website.

These links are difficult to acquire, but certainly there are many ways on how you can score them. Below are some tips on how to get .edu and .gov links.

    • Provide a scholarship opportunity for students, make it more relevant to your brand (e.g. scholarship for disability students if you're selling medical supplies).
    • Offer an educational content to .edu and .gov site that is worth linking to from a relevant resoure page.
    • Get links from summer housing, internship and off-housing pages of .edu sites (best fit if you're a real estate site - apartment).
    • Acquire links from "new to an area" page of .edu sties (things to do, local attractions in [CITY], quality schools in [CITY], moving and relocation in [CITY], etc..).

things to do in city pages

Here are some more resources you can read on building .edu and .gov links:

8. EVENT-BASED LINKS

As implied, these links are acquired using events - either you create your own or just participate.

Here are some ways on how you can maximize events to build links to your website.

Host your own event (whether local or niche-specific).

This requires that you have a set of brand followers (offline or event, much better if it's both) or simply have built an expertise around a certain niche/industry. This way, it'll be easier for you to sell tickets or get people to book slots for the event.

host local industry conference

Invite people who have linking intent, i.e. publishers of a local media team, bloggers, influencers or content creators/PR of different companies to come at your event. Give some free passes or reduce their sponsorship fees if they're a huge win for you (i.e. a big local media site). 

If your event is to provide information/content to your audience, it's also important to invite industry experts to speak. This will give you some links, as some of them may also promote your event from their own blogs.

Get your event listed on local or event listing websites/directories. Here are some search queries you can use to find these low-hanging link opportunities:

  • [CITY] inurl:event inurl:submit
  • [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:submit
  • [CITY] [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:submit
  • [CITY] inurl:event inurl:add
  • [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:add
  • [CITY] [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:add
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit event"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit an event"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit your event"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "add event"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "add an event"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "add your event"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit your workshop"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit your course"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit your class"
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] "submit your conference"

Pitch to become a speaker at an event

Companies hosting events normally have pages on their sites dedicated to that purpose. By pitching yourself to become a speaker at a local or industry event, you may ask organizers to include a link to your website from their event page.

Take a look at this contextual link I got from a local events page.

local speaking pitch 1

local speaking pitch 2

To find speaking opportunities within your region, this newly built platform by Bryan Harris is a great help.

agent speaking agent

The platform has a filter function that helps you sort out speaking pitch opportunities that are only relevant to your expertise/industry.

Moreover, here are some websites where you can create events, list your events, participate, or even pitch to be speaker:

And down to our last type of link - relationship-driven links.

9. NATURAL-EDITORIAL LINKS (RELATIONSHIPS)

Another kind of natural-editorial links is a link that is built through relationships.

Relationships, if started and strengthened through authentic and continuous connections can really help someone acquire a natural link.

There is one attribute that allows relationships to result into links.

Reciprocity.

The principle is that when you offer value to a person, it's but natural for that other person to give back something in return.

The question now is not how to build relationships, because that obviously is natural for every person, but how to know what value to offer to a person.

Here are some tips on how you can identify and bring that value to a targeted audience in your space (which give you ton of opportunities to earn natural links in return):

    • Make a list of people who you can help and can also help you in strengthening your brand.
    • Build conversations with them around industry communities (forums/community sites) and social networking sites. Don't come off as a spammy by sending out generic Tweet DMs.
    • You can start by sharing their latest content (best if you can customize your tweets to make it unique and enticing for clicks from your followers).relationship driven links
    • Promote your best content to them (by giving so, you let them see resources they can use as references to their works).
    • Influence other influencers. By doing so, you can capture audiences of other influencers when they start sharing content and you've built strong connections with them as well.

Overall, those are the 9 types of links that you need to remember. Not all of them you will build, but the links you should prioritize are ones that can drive traffic and conversions to your website.

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

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


image link building

9 Powerful Image Link Building Strategies (That Actually Work)

If there's one under-utilized content asset of any website today for link building, I'm pretty sure it's images.

Most of you think it has lesser link acquisition value than other content types - probably for two reasons: One, it doesn't catches longetivity.  Unlike a typical 3500-word utlimate guide, normal images don't inform a lot of messages.

Two, it's plain, simple and most of the time, it's commercial-context. If a visual asset originates from your company for example (i.e. branded team photos), you would think it's not usual for a blogger to link to such a particular piece. And your next problem is, how can I can remove the commercial intent in these images?".

These examples of link builder's dilemma causes you not to believe much in the power of image link building.

I hope that at the end of this post, you would have plently of ideas how you can use images to build links for your site.

Below is a list of 9 image link building strategies that we had the most success with. They can be used in conjuction with others in order to increase the value of the proposition for outreach.

1. SKYCRAPE OLD INFOGRAPHICS

If the word "infographics" is for sale in the SEO market, I think it's sold out already (and perhaps a best seller).

Just kidding..

Infographics are abused in almost all industries. Try searching for your "industry" + "INFOGRAPHIC" as your keyword phrase in Google, and you'll start seeing tons of infographics published.

Not all of them are giving much value to users, ofcourse.

One way you can do to breakthrough the noise is to observe your industry's visual market and see which visuals previously gained success and which ones didn't worked out well.

By doing that you can start digging into old and most-linked images. When you see one, you start to strategize how to update it and give a revamp.

Skysrape an old visual asset.

How can you do that at scale?

Use Buzsumo and its "infographic filter" and go search for a topic that's relevant to your industry.

buzzsumo search filter

filtered infographics search results buzzsumo

You enter industry keywords and look for previous infographics that gotten shares and links, some just earned shares, and it's okay. In visual marketing, there's a neat probablity shares could result to a few links.

Further Reading: 4 Intermediate Tips to Improve Guestographics

2. UTILIZE EVENT EXPERIENCES LINKS USING FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

Events become memorable because of great experiences. No one will deny that he wants go back to certain events where he had a great time with, at the same date and same place, if possible,.

It's classic. And what would make someone remember those events?

Photos.

If you can utilize event experiences with freelance photos, there's a huge link opportunity that awaits you. Get someone to cover an event with freelance photography.

Instead of sponsoring bucks or free pizzas for after-event parties, hire a freelance photographer to cover that event.

Get those high-quality captures and upload them on a specific page on your website - and dedicate that page just for that event.

event photos

Reach out to event organizers and let them know that you have captured great experiences on your website, and these are publicly available for republishing/resourcing. Politely ask those who have used your photos to credit you as the original source.

Depending on vertical markets, if there are niche bloggers/marketers/PR professionals who may have attended the event, there are more link opportunities that you'd see coming from participants' own websites.

3. CREATE CONTENT FOR "QUOTES" KEYWORD

People love inspiration. And getting quotes from anywhere is one way to hype up one's day.

fitness quotes

Knowing that, if you take industry quotes (e.g. parenting quotes) to a keyword research tool, you'll see that there's an immense opportunity to cover a content specific to that.

parenting quotes

Though most industry quotes that you'll see is just a compilation of all sayings/wordings from different sources or people, there are sure-fire ways to help your content get more visibility and definitely help it rank on search.

Ross Hudgens shared that in a post on ranking for "quotes" keyword:

  1. Aim for the Most Quotes on the SERP - which means if you see 80 quotes, try to aim for 120 or 150 for example.
  2. Make Shareable Images for Some Quotes - shareability is important to get more visibility to the content.
  3. Use Longtail KWs as H2s or Filters - to rank for related keywords, like "parenting a child with disabilities" quotes", you can categorize quotes based on different audience intent.
  4. Add Share CTAs on Individual Quotes - add customized tweet-to-share buttons to individual quotes to increase social shares.

In addition, here are some more actionable tips to maximize quotes content for link building.

First is to include sayings or statements of your industry influencers.

By having them at your blog spotlight, there's a reason for them to share your "quotes" page as you give them exposure upfront.

One way to find their best statements is to check their top-performing/best articles. Get one or two statements they said powerfully (and probably would be found valuable to other people in your industry).

Create an individual graphic just for that. Then, reach out to those influencers and share your content.

Second is to make it part of a big post.

If you're creating a content that you think one quote from your "quotes" page can best fit, make it as part of that content. By doing so and including a link to your "quotes" page, you increase its visiblity - that more people wil visit and check the page.

4. REPOINT SLIDESHARE LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE

Whether it's a personal brand or corporate profile, if there's a brand ambassador, marketer and industry practitioner in your organization that gets invited to speak to different events, then chances are you'll have a library of slide decks.

You may haven't uploaded them yet on your own website or on public platforms like SlideShare.

But if you do, congrats! Otherwise, there's a missed opportunity there to get links. In fact, in industries where there is a huge demand for expertise information, slides are strong assets for links.

If you have uploaded your slides in Slideshare, track how many links it organically receives. You can semi-automate this process by creating alerts to give you email notications when a link to a specific page has been found.

Ahrefs can help you with this.

slideshare links

You can go deeper by tracking mentions of a popular slide you have uploaded (which you probably have the confidence that it'll get shared massively and earned links based on its initial visibility).

Say, if it has been viewed thousand times without much promotion, you may be expecting it to be seen more organically and if boost it with manual promotion, there's a high chance it can receive some links.

Your next action then is to send emails to publishers who have embedded your slide/s in their content and ask if they could link to your website.

Nudge bloggers with specific anchor text that they may use, i.e., you can state lines like this in your emaill, "You may link to [domain.com] with texts like, via "Brand/Persona".

via link slideshare linksBy doing so, you increase your conversion rate, as you remove the commerciality intent of your pitch.

This link building tactic is simple yet undertutilized by link builders for clients with strong speaking portfolio.

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to Link Reclamation

My fifth image link building tip is connected to the method above.

5. CURATE CONFERENCE SLIDES

One clever way I've seen in company blogs doing to get more site visibiity is publishing a curated list of slide presentations of all the speakers when they have organized an event.

search love 2017 slides curation

Some SEOs may just look at it as a simple marketing strategy, but it's a crafty newsjacking idea to put a list of visuals that often have high demands for consumption.

How many people have asked speakers this question, "will you upload your slide presentation online?".

There's many of them - attendees who are always looking for speakers' decks.

And if they've found the organizer's blog that puts up a page for those resources, would they not be willing to share or link to it?

The essential here is that you have to be the organizer yourself and been able to publish slides first among every other else (because speakers tend to publish theirs on their own blogs as well).

Besides creating a page that is dedicated to those slides, it's also important to upload those pieces in your Slideshare account to get more organic visiblity (as they have chances to rank for long-tail industry keywords).

slideshare links rank page one

Imagine if there are 3 to 5 slides (just you curating it) has earned links from blogs in your industry. It's 5 or 10 links acquired with just simple method!

Just reaching out to them and reclaiming those links, asking if they can credit you as the source of those visual assets.

6. TRACK MENTIONS OF FLICKR ACCOUNT

Flickr maybe an old platform for people uploading photos online. But it can still be a gateway for links in respective industries where images are heavy-indexed, like travel, lifestyle and home improvement.

flickr links account

Flickr profiles with customized photos are getting links from time and time - and if you've got one, find out who used your images.

You email the contact person and ask if it is possible not to link to your Flickr profile, but to your direct website itself.

There are strong signs of linking, such in the case with links that have via [Name] or Photo captured by [Name] below the embedded slide deck.

photo captured by link

You can insert lines in your email that say, You may provide a source of link in your caption text (via domain.com).

If you got it right, that's a few homepage links you'll never just easily get from other link building methods.

7. RANKING OPPORTUNITIES WITH VISUAL CONTENT USING PINTEREST

When ranking your website in Google, it's imperative to find low-hanging keywords you can easily rank without much due diligence in promotion, especially if you're a relatively new website.

Those keywords are goldmine opportunities that may only require you to put a content that is only 2x better than other pages in search results.

And be mindful that you don't have to create 10x content just to rank. With an average DA of your domain, it's possible to steal those easy organic traffic.

One brilliant tip to find those visual ranking opportunities (h/t to @dan_shure) is with the use of Pinterest.

Pinterest pages rank for keywords you may haven't thought that are relevant to your industry. Some keyphrases even have high link intent, which gives you enough confidence for manual outreach.

How to start this content creation approach?

Put Pinterest into semrush.com. (I prefer SEMRush than Ahrefs when filtering millions of organic keywords straight on the platform without exporting CSV files).

domain pinterest.com

Your next step is to filter keywords by your topic + "ideas" or "images".

industry ideas semrush

Then filter again with keyword difficulty.

Do this method every month to find newly suggested or searched keywords and you'll have endless visual keyword opportunities you can rank content with.

For example, "backyard fence ideas" keyword has Pinterest pages with good link intent (20+ average linking root domains).

backyard fence ideas

That keyword opportunity alike, given in your respective industry, is something you can grab and create 2x content with it which passively helps you earn links when you rank.

8. REVERSE ENGINEER IMAGE SITE LINKS

Image links, for some of you who don't know, are links pointing to your site not with the use of an anchor text, but with an image.

Image links are acquired from different approaches. Here are some common examples:

Image directories 

Example link

indulgy

Loyalty cards

Example link

loyalty card image site link 1

loyalty card image site link 2

Partnerships or Sponsors

Example linkpartnership or sponsor image link -

Professional Organization Links

Example link

professional organization image link

As you can see, these are legitimate links, that are mostly executed from a traditional partnership perspetive, i.e. the case with professional organization. You join a partner group and they give you link from their partners/association page.

In most cases, these links are hard to get by just doing outreach, and requesting for a link.

You don't do that. for sure. These are gold mines. You think and plan how to acquire the link properly.

But with good approach and if your brand permits you to sponsor/partner/join or even create a loyalty card for customers, it's not only a branding opportunity. But along the way, you can create image links.

How did it started?

Put up a competitor's domain to a link prospecting tool.

competitor link analysis

Go to its Backlinks profile and export a backlink report (CSV).

csv backlink report

Filter the list with words containting "Image" to only find image links, either do-follow or un-follow.

image type filter

Search through potential link opportunities. Understand how your competitor acquired links. Some may take manual outreach, others may take weeks to partner for a program. But there are a few that only requires to create a profile and upload images, just like this one.

polyvore image link

9. IMAGE SHARE WITH OTHER WEBSITES

Honestly, not all image link building tactics can best fit for your website.

But if there's one tip that is very simple to do to build links through images is you approach publishers and give them permission to use any of your visuals.

By giving them permission, you provide value upront that sets you apart from other link pitches, that say, "give me a link".

Jason Acidre established a solid image link building strategy of creating a private gallery/library of images and cinemegraphs and offering it to bloggers in exchange of links.

cinemagraph example

With more bloggers caring more about the design of their content, they'll likely perceive your pitch as highly valuable, especially if it's given for them intentionally and for free.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do them, you should probably find someone who can. Learn more about our link building services.


contextual-links

7 Insanely Actionable Tactics to Build Contextual Links

Guest blogging is not the only contextual link building tactic. There are several which you are yet to figured out.

But first…

What is a contextual link?

Here's a good definition from Jason Acidre:

A contextual link is a type of link that’s usually found within the body of content and is in context with the idea surrounding the link. It can be both natural (voluntary links from other websites – ex: link bait) and artificial (manually built – ex: one of your guest posts that links back to your blog/content).

Building contextual links can benefit you in so many ways which include

Targeted traffic. Leads. Online brand presence.

They are all good, but only seem "to be too good to be true" if you don't know the exact how-to's of building the right contextual links.

Today, I want to give you 7 ways to get contextual links for your website.

 

1. MAXIMIZE TARGETED OUTREACH

Targeted outreach is basically sending out emails to prospect linkers of a very specific content - most are existing articles with the same topic, with a hope to get reference links back to the site.

Let's say, you have published a post on "how to stop my husband from snoring". If you want to get contextual links, you may reach out to articles that rank for terms like, "how to stop snoring", "how to stop snoring of your partner", or even "top snoring apps".

how to stop snoring search results page 1Because they'll find your article to be relevant to use as an additional resource (i.e. including your content on "you may also check out this article on" or "for further reading"), there's a good chance you'll acquire a link.

But it's not a guarantee that it works all the time. You have to understand the context of the linking page and your content, so you could determine if there's a good linking chance.

Here are some tips to guide you when assessing these link opportunities:

First, check the primary focus topic of the article/page.

Ask yourself, "Does the prospect article I'm trying to get a link from cover a much larger subject compared to the topic of the content I'm pitching with?".

contextual-linking-2

If you are pitching your "top snoring apps" to an article about generic "how to stop snoring" content, there's a good chance to get a link from that because the linking page covers a wider subject and perhaps has a subsection about snoring apps - which then provides you an opportunity now for a link.

But how about if it's vice versa? "how to stop snoring" to "top snoring apps," would you get a link?

contextual-linking-1

The answer is, "it depends."

Depending on how the article is structured, if the article covers exactly "top snoring apps" and your page isn't about apps, there'll be misalignment on his part to link to you. But it's not always the case.

If your article speaks about a subsection on snoring apps which hasn't been discussed/included in the prospect existing article, there's a good chance you'll get a link.

The logic is that the blogger would want to give a reference link to a page that explains more about a topic/word/phrase mentioned in his article but have yet to be expounded.

Second thing you need to do is to assess external links on a page.

If you see a homepage link on an article and it's referencing a product/service, not as a recommendation just like brand mention (see example below) or a product review which obviously links to a commercial page, there's a less organic linking chance to it.

external links audit

The reason there's a link there is either the webmaster/blogger is affiliated, partnered or is compensated with for the effort of linking or simply, the product/service is an authority in the space - undoubtedly being linked to in most blogs.

Third thing is to identify if the page is dynamic or static.

dynamic page

What I mean with dynamic is there are pages that frequently updates over time and there are others pages that are not. Those pages that require updates of links are dynamic.

If you're reaching out to a dynamic page, there's a high probability to acquire a link, as the need itself looks for new resources or references. In other words, they'll be linking to your content if it will make their content piece better.

A post on snoring apps for 2017, for example, can be dynamic if its URL isn't targeting snoring apps 2017 phrase. If it's just snoring apps resource article, it gives space for new links to resources.

The more dynamic the existing page is, the higher is the likelihood you'll get a link. Otherwise, if it's static, they should have reasons to link other than the timeliness of the topic.

So, there are three ways to check if an existing article/page can potentially link to you.

Second tip:

2. GENERATE EASY LINKS FROM RELATIVELY NEW AND LOW AUTHORITY PUBLICATIONS

You aim links from DA30+ blogs, but from sites with lower metrics (<DA30), you probably don't.

Not pitching low authority sites is kind of a short-sighted thinking.

If you aim for traffic and clicks from links, there are low-authority sites with upward trends in organic growth that you should be getting because they actually increase the value of links when you get them.

DA21 website

More importantly if these are blogs that are still new in the industry (use archive.org to check), you'll find that after a few months or years, they'll have increased their followers and linkers.

Thus, if you have build relationships with them upfront, it will not be difficult to convince them for you to contribute posts on their blogs.

Note: If you have an authority brand, you should aim for top-tier industry blogs. But if you're starting to grow your link profile, pursuing even low authority blogs can be effective for you.

To check if a low authority blog is worthy of your link efforts, you can use Ahrefs or SEMRush to basically check the site's estimated organic traffic.

The slope of the organic traffic trend signals the site's growth. The steeper the slope upward, the better.

upward trend traffic

Once identified if a low authority blog is link-worthy, you'll then reach out to them with whatever offer you have - either a content asset worthy of a link or a visual asset ready to be republished.

3. EVALUATE SIMILAR PAGE LINKS FOR HOMEPAGE ASK

You probably heard that tip from Ross if you religiously consuming content from SiegeMedia.

In my experience, that's one way to assess your chance to get the link.

If there are commercial links (i.e. one link is pointing to a product page) on a page, then you have chances to get a homepage or commercial link as well.

History of linking to similar page types is one true sign of a possible link.

external links homepage ask

However, that's not to say that it is always a guarantee. With proper assessment, you may know if a homepage ask is worth pursuable.

Here are some true signs of a potential homepage link:

  1. Keyword-optimized anchor text - very few you'll find a link with the exact target keyword/phrase as the anchor text. So seeing one (except for Exact-match-domains where brand names are exact ranking keyword) is an intent to link to a commercial page.
  2. List of partners - you normally see this in eCommerce space; retailers, manufacturers,, suppliers and other business partners types are mostly homepage as linked pages.
  3. Recommended products/services - top X tools in 2018 is one example where homepage ask is feasible

Even if you've got a great content piece published recently, if you think a homepage would be best fit, that's something you should pursue to be linked to. The opportunity cost is high if it's not, given that a homepage link is way more difficult to acquire than top-of-the-funnel pages like industry guides.

4. LINK EXCHANGE EXCLUSIVELY FOR LINKABLE ASSETS

When you have a great linkable environment in your space, you'll start receiving emails from other bloggers or webmasters wanting to get their links to their own sites.

link exchange for linkable assets outreach

Three or five asks of this kind every month is a good opportunity to link exchange.

Depending on cases, you'll find that it's okay to exclusively link exchange for both linkable assets.

It's natural to find a page that references good content and a page from another site links out to your good content.

Here, you don't get links mutually to the same pages (page A to page B, page B to page A). That's a 2008 link exchange. Rather, your content A gets a link from his page A and his content B is linked on your page C. 

Below are more tips to guide you with this tactic:

A. Check if the linking partner is a good fit.

You will receive different emails of an ask to link (link exchange): some pitches include direct links to their preferred pages/content, others didn't have.

If the email is handcrafted well (with your name personalized), it's a sign of a good linking fit.

However, there are emails that start with Dear Ma'am/Sir but still has a good relevant content piece. The person reaching out just doesn't know how to outreach properly.

So, always check the email and the website they have. Assess if the page or website itself is semantically fit to your brand.

B. Assess their preferred linking page.

If it's a content page they're building links to, it's a potential fit.

Otherwise, for commercial pages, consider if the product/service could be highly recommended on your website.

As Ross Hudgens says, "Building natural links to landing pages with commerciality built in is pretty close to impossible with cold outreach."

C. Identify which page you could put their link.

Unless you're willing to put a new page/article to give them a link, you could simply search an existing page in your own website that best fits them. 

If you have a recommended readings page, that's one choice you can pick as you can simply include a link to their content if there's a section that fits their topic.

D. Check if you could also get a link.

I suggest you choose one page that you'd like to improve more ranking visibility by getting more links to. Then by doing a site search on Google for their domain, site:hisdomain.com "topic", check if they have a page that fits the topic.

site search for link exchange

Once you start attracting potential linkers, link exchange exclusively for linkable assets can be a low-hanging fruit tactic that can add new links to your website,

5. USE TWITTER TO NUDGE BLOGGERS ABOUT BROKEN LINKS

Perhaps you've found broken links on a target resource page and you thought, "maybe I could tell this to the webmaster to connect easily, with the hope of getting a link".

So you easily go to your outreach tool and craft an email to be sent to the webmaster, with the note, "I've found errors on your page".

He doesn't respond so you send a follow-up.

Nothing happens so you proceed to your next outreach prospect.

This is an opportunity cost..

No response doesn't mean there's a huge problem with your link prospecting and outreach approach. There may just be a little tweak needeed to properly connect to your outreach prospect.

How about sending a direct message on Twitter to connect?

Most bloggers are active on social because they care about their community (their followers) and consistently curate industry posts through social posting.

For that reason, if you send a direct message to a blogger to tell about their broken links, there's a high chance you'll get noticed.

Twitter-outreach

The methodology isn't perfect but it could make you stand out in a world of really basic, boring email templates, even a messy BLB pitch like this one:

broken links common pitch

Once you've connected on social, you have a choice to stay in the medium for the conversation or redirect messaging to email. The latter best works if you've asked the person about his personal email.

6. FIND INDUSTRY LINK ROUNDUP TERMS TO INCREASE CONVERSION RATES

Right when you do a search for "contextual link building" or "contextual links", you'll find articles on the first page of search results that say, "get links from link roundups."

You know that the tactic has been written several times on many SEO articles so you know how the process works.

Step 1: Use search operator, "link roundup" "INDUSTRY" or "roundup" "weekly" OR "monthly" "INDUSTRY" to find industry-specific link roundup opportunities.

Step 2: Create a list of blogs with link roundups and find contact emails of webmasters.

Step 3: Reach out to them with an email template that says, "I've found your "ROUNDUP NAME" .. and thought you might be interested to see this recently published on TOPIC — <insert your link to the post>" or anything similar to that.

It's an effective tactic but not everyone could get results from it immediately.

What's missing in this tactic is how to really optimize prospecting for industries where there are little-to-no outreach market for this rare type of link targets.

What do I mean?

Not all link roundups have titles of "best links of week/day/month" or "industry link roundup", most of you would discover that sites named their roundup series with weird names, i.e. "blog party," "link party," or "blog hop."

travel link up

 

They may sound black hat 2008, but these are exact terms blogger use in reference to what we call "link roundups."

So, how do you find exact link roundup titles in your industry?

I recommend you start identifying an authoritative industry blog (one with DA60+) that publishes regular high-quality content pieces.

For example, if you're in the wine industry, one popular wine blog that consistently produces high-quality content is WineFolly.

They publish a diversity of content assets - from 10x guides to visuals, they do it on a regular basis.

By checking their top content of all time (top content with highest number of social shares, not by # of links), you will see this post on pairing wine and cheese. Take a deeper look at its referring links, you can immediately see roundup links, including this roundup post -  GrapeCollective Wine News.

grape collective link roundup

Dig into other top content's links and you'll find more roundup links like Grape Wall Daily.

grape wall link roundup

You understand the pattern. Find a top industry blog that produces high-quality content pieces. Check the site's top pages based on social shares (you can use Ahref's top content feature, not top pages). Check if the most-shared content has gained roundup links. If yes, grab those link opportunities and gather more link round targets by reverse engineering the site's other content pieces.

7. INVITE CONTRIBUTORS USING DIFFERENT OFFERS

It has been proven time and time again that getting contributors for your blog can help increase its number of referring domains.

For example, Joshua Dorkin was able to grow his real estate blog - BiggerPockets by putting out high-quality content pieces from regular contributors.

That strategy allows his blog to become one of the real estate authorities today.

biggerpockets

In his comment at Kaiserthesage blog, he said that he gets 30+ contributors to write for BiggerPockets every week while he ensures that they put out 2-3 good pieces of content through his content marketing team.

Today, BiggerPockets for sure has more blog contributors. Maybe double, triple or 10x their site traffic because of that strategy.

biggerpockets organic traffic

That's just for one industry, but there are also other niches with massive blog community that have gained more exposure and more links simply by getting regular contributors for their blog.

Getting started with inviting-contributors is easy. You send emails to potential contributors and ask if they're interested to write for you.

The hardest part is getting them onboard.

If you can answer "what's in it for me" for bloggers, you'll have high chances of enticing them to become your regular contributors. 

Below are some valuable offers to make for bloggers:

  • Increased exposure to blog through additional social following, email subs, and referral traffic. Got a DA45+ blog? Reach out to new bloggers (DA20 or less). This is more realistic than pitching top authority bloggers (DA70+ blog).
  • Premium product subscription. I wrote for Ahrefs in 2013 in exchange for monthly standard subscription plan of their product. This works for your niche too, if you have a great product to offer.
  • Content collaboration. Less work for the blogger. Gets more credibility for both parties if both of your blogs have an immense following on social and emails.
  • Compensation. Best is to target part-time bloggers. They charge cheaper than full-time ones. One tip is to check if their about/media/press/hire-me page. If they include $ per article/hour rate, they wouldn't go cheaper than that.
  • Relationships. This matters most if you want to bait bloggers to write for you. No need for additional offers, as they wholeheartedly would write for your blog.

Once you have invited bloggers to write for your blog, you may constantly check new bloggers in your industry you can potentially reach out to be added to your contributors' list.

new blogs author contributors

So those are 7 ways to build contextual links to your site.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do them, you should probably find someone who can. Learn more about our link building services.