directory-link-building

How to Build Links Using Directories

Directory link building is one of the initial link building techniques that you can execute to add a little boost to your site’s link portfolio, to increase your relevancy signals and to get people find your brand/site on the web.

Generally, there are a lot of discussions about directories whether or not they could still add value to a website’s ranking potential and if there are any high quality directories still exist today. Let’s dig deeper into each discussion and hopefully, I could provide insights to all of these questions/boards.

Let’s get started.

Directories are still good to consider in link building for the following reasons:

  • Customers still use them to find services/products within a specific city/area and if you are listed in a directory, you have chances of getting found by your target clients/customers.
  • Getting links from them are easy wins in link building. If you’re working with clients, a list of 15 or 20 directory links could add some details to your weekly SEO reports (earning some trust from your client).
  • Earning citations from local directories sends more signals to Google that your website is tagged or categorized to a specific niche/industry.

Now, you decide whether or not you want to continue building links using directories but the mere fact, it doesn't hurt your website at all (when done in a non-aggressive way) is a good thing to consider for your site’s backlink profile.

Quality Factors to Consider in Directory Link Building

With tons of directories out there, you have to separate the wheat from the chaffs to choose only the best directories that you want to submit your website.

Here are a few factors that I consider when qualifying a specific directory:

  • Domain age – with the use of webarchive, you’ll see the year and date the directory has been bought. Though in most cases old directories had been spammed, there are still a few of them that remain high quality.
  • Editorial review/discretion – you can look at the policy standard/submission pages of the directory site and see how much time they would need to review each website. If they don’t have strict editorial guidelines, they’re more likely to be automated directories.
  • Lists down top brands/companies – you can grab one popular company website and search for it in the directory. See if it pops up and the category, tags and descriptions fits right to the company.
  • Relevancy – Look for closely related directories that don’t have any submission from adult and gambling sites or any bad neighborhoods.
  • Number of listed websites – the faster they list websites, the higher chances that they don’t have strict review guidelines (unless they existed for a long time and are ranking for many directory terms).
  • Anchor texts used to link to submitted websites. If the directory links out to websites using exact match commercial keywords (e.g. personal injury firm in UK, personal injury firm in Florida), then it’s more likely deemed as a low quality one.

Types of Directories

There are three types of directories that you can find on the web. They are:

  • Niche-specific. These are directories that only accept submissions from websites in the same industry/category (e.g. legal services)
  • Blog. These directories would only accept blogs as part of their listings.
  • Local. These directories accept submissions from sites located within the same city/country (usually with the same top-level domain – TLD).

Actionable Tips to Build Links with Directories

Reverse Engineer to Find High Quality Directories

A great way to find closely-related and quality directories is reverse engineering. For each type of directory, you can apply reverse engineering by simply grabbing the URL of a target website and discovering its inbound links using Ahrefs.

Search for one website that is ranking for a targeted keyword. You can use queries like:

  • “your industry” blog (e.g. “personal injury” blog)
  • “your industry” city (e.g. “personal injury” Texas)
  • “your company” (e.g. “personal injury firm”)

List down all the websites in a spreadsheet and filter out low quality ones based on the metrics I mentioned above. Discover links pointing to them using Ahrefs. You can find and replace terms to quickly look for directories (i.e. using terms like directory, personal injury)

ahrefs-directory-link-building

Tip: You can search for more directories by grabbing one website listed in a directory and doing a reverse engineering on that site.

dmoz-reverse-engineering

Pay for Editorial Value

Maybe, you’re asking if this is considered as a paid link?

Matt Cutts answered this question. If you’re paying for editorial value in which the editor reviews the quality and relevance of a submitted website, then it’s okay to pay for the directory. However, if you’re paying for low quality and automated directories or you are given the option to choose the anchor text used to link to your site, then you should worry about submitting your website to those automated directories.

Spend a little amount of your SEO budget to these directories. Focus more on the usability, site architecture and design of your website. Invest in your content and make it useful to your audience. This investment is more beneficial than just spending money for easy directory links.

Earn citations from local directories

Citation building is known these days because of the value that it provides to a specific brand/website. Aside from getting listed in the directory and helping your customers to find you, you’re giving Google and other search engines relevancy signals that will make your website rank for local terms/keywords.

In submitting your business to local citations and directories, you have to remember that when you submit details of your brand, they should be all be the same on all directories. Be consistent with your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) details so that Google will understand better about your website and help you rank on local search results.

You can check out this post by Richard Marriott to find more link opportunities in the local scene.

To help you save time in finding local citations and directories, I created a spreadsheet that lists down submission sites where you can add/submit your business, only for UK, US and Australia brands.

[sociallocker id="2245"] [/sociallocker]

Perform a Manual Citation Auditing

If there are changes with your NAP and other business details, you have to consider editing your past details existed in your directories. This is the most common problem most local search professionals encounter. And thanks to Andrew Shotland. He just created N.A.P. Hunter Life, a local SEO tool that will help us track our existing local citations and directories (it will be available on Google Chrome Store soon).

nap-hunter-lite

This tool will speed up the process of auditing your existing local citations. Manual citation auditing happens when the brand needs to add or edit N.A.P and other important details about the business.

N.A.P. Hunter Lite will automatically export NAP suspects in a spreadsheet file which will save time in gathering all the links.

Note: The tool will not keep your logins so you really have to document the username and passwords that you use for local citations/directories for you to be able to do some changes when you need so.

Reminder:

Diversify your link portfolio. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Directory link building should only be part of your initial link building strategy as you take time to plan creating linkable assets, fixing technical issues and performing link audit on your website.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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link-earning-strategies

11 Link Earning Strategies to Spice Your Content Marketing  

This is a guest entry by Roel Manarang, the founder and CEO of North Social Media, a Philippine-based social media marketing company. He is also the author of Shoot Forth, an Internet marketing strategy blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

Link earning has been a core factor to a successful content marketing and is an effective way to increase search engine rankings on a long term basis. Many content marketers will totally agree that creating exceptional and useful content can help you earn links. Surely, best content marketing practices do earn links.

Producing top-notch content can help other publishers recognize it and generate links, which increases your site's ranking signals. However, it requires that the content should be easy to understand and consume by the users so that it can be distributed appropriately to other interested audience.

This article will help you create specific, exceptional, and useful content assets that can easily help you earn links to your site, as if they’re the power enhancer steroids.

link-earning-strategies

1. Infographics

Because most people love images nowadays, one of the best content pieces that publishers can create is infographics. According to AnsonAlex, publishers who use infographics grow in traffic 12% faster than those who don’t.

Let’s take a look at Anna Viral Infographics. It has been published on Entrepreneur.com and received not just a link back to her site but also generate more than 21,000 social shares.

infographic-link-earning

Making your infographics useful and easy to share using embed codes can help you earn backlinks back to your website.

To get started with creating infographics, you can use Picktochart or  Visual.ly.

2. Contest

Creating contest allows you to provoke your audience to share and enter yourwebsite.

People love joining contests especially if they are loyal fans or readers. This strategy is very effective on producing organic links. All you need to do is create a contest (of course with prizes and giveaways) on your website and/or on social media platform and promote it. The more people see and share your promotion, the more links it produces.

Here’s one example of a contest that Spielgaben, which is one of my clients, has done.

contest

We used Rafflecopter to create and launch their giveaway promotions. This increased their referring trafic and links and improved their branding campaign and conversions.

3. Social Sharing

Since social signals impact search engine rankings, it is just important to have links from social networking sites. Integrating social sharing buttons on your website allows your audience to easily share your content which later, can produce links.

social-sharing

Here are some of the social media plug-ins for WordPress that I personally use:

  • For Post and Pages

o    AddThis (free/upgradable)

o    Digg Digg (free/upgradable)

o    Social Deux (paid)

  • For Images

o    WP Easy Social Hover (paid)

In case you are not convinced on using social sharing buttons for gathering links, you may want to consider some social media marketing statistics that provide you more than just one benefit (links).

4. Researches, White Papers, and Analyses

A result-driven marketing blog like I have that produces evidence-based content pieces links out to a lot of statistics, academic researches, case studies, and analyses. This makes my articles deserved to be linked to from other blogs.

When you linked to data-driven pieces (pdfs, reports, statistics), it provides you great benefits such as an additional credibility to your posts. It also supports your personal insights about the topic.

5. Free Resources and Guides

Almost everyone loves free resources as long as they are answers to one’s needs. Depending on what type of resources you want to produce, the difficulty on creating this type of content ranges from easy to difficult level.

A few great examples to look at are Quicksprout and Heidi Cohen’s resource pages, which have different approaches on how they create their layout depending on their goals and styles. Huge thumbs-up to their sharing buttons that makes sharing easy.

free-resources-guides

6. Tools

Smart marketers love to recommend a tool that they use especially if they think that it will be helpful to their audience and get them to take action.

Take a look at Google Analytics and Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress. Since these tools are very helpful to their target industry and many of their audience leverage from them, most of their users link back to their product pages and/or recommend them to their networks. You can check out this list of SEO tools by Linkio.

7. Quizzes

Creating quizzes helps you drive social traffic and earn links easily. Using tools such as Qzzr provides you even better feature such as capturing leads and more.

BuzzFeed, Kissmetrics, and Moz, just to name a few, use quizzes not only to earn links from either social media or websites but also to engage and increase branding awareness.

8. Memes

Memes are easy to create images that have a lot of viral potential. Creating memes has become one of the fastest growing trends years ago, which many companies still use today.

They are great for inbound marketing to create easy wins, to generate content that their users will love, and to build their brand and engagement. Fact is website like 9Gag that has become popular in earning links, social shares, and engagements simply by just producing memes.

There are free online tools like CanvaMeme Generator and Quickmeme that allow you to create meme in just a few seconds even without designing knowledge. But when you have a knowledge of using advanced tools like Adobe Photoshop, it can help you create more customized memes for your content marketing.

9. Quotes

Thought leaders who offer quotes and insights about a certain topic enchances their personal branding and enable them to earn links for their websites from those who featured their quotes. The best way to easily share quotes is by embedding them or by putting an easy share button.

An example is Noah Kagan’s best quote page, which features an embed code with a link back to his site.

quotes

10. Controversial Post

Remember those controversial articles that you shared, linked to, and provided some insights because you just can’t resist it? This type of post promotes critical thinking, education, and information.

Controversial post can fall into different categories such as education, politics, religion, health, money, and more.

If you want to publish controversial posts, you should be careful though and try not to annoy or offend your loyal readers.

11. E-books

An e-book is a great tool not just to promote your website but also to build authority or influence in your community. It is a powerful tool that naturally attracts discussion and reviews about your website/brand.

Ranking your e-book and getting a lot of exposure is a sure way to earn links and increase your sales. Another good thing is that bloggers can contact you for interviews which can result to new relationships and links.

Conclusion

Link earning surely is easier to be said than to be done. It is way harder than building links for your audience.

You need to consider that earning links are not limited to just creating exceptional and useful content. Relationship building and partnerships are just few of the other things that you can do.

Do you have strategies that are not on this list, that you use for your content marketing efforts and help you earn links? Feel free to comment below or let me know on Twitter.

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If you liked this post, you can subscribe to this blog and follow Roel on Shoot Forth.


enterprise-link-building-strategies

Six Link Building Strategies for Large Enterprises

This is a guest entry by Glen Dimaandal, an Online Marketing Manager at Emerson Network power, a business platform of Emerson Electric Co. He is also the founder and CEO of GlenDemands Inc, a Philippine-based SEO and Content Consulting firm.

To the person on the outside looking in, doing SEO for a big corporation sounds dreamy. Large enterprises have significant budgets, established brand names and sites that land on your lap carrying a good amount of link equity. What a lot of people don’t see, is the fact that big websites usually face equally big challenges. Massive site audits, deep page hierarchies and organizational bureaucracy can really get your SEO wheels stuck in the mud. Building up a competitive link profile in the big leagues is the same way: if you don’t make smart use of your time and resources, you can expect your competitors to bury you while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on.

When you’re a high-PageRank site and you’re facing PR7 competitors, you better come to the ring carrying dynamite in your fists. Scoring several links from a few guest posts per month just doesn’t cut it in this arena. Getting widespread brand mentions, coverage from premier sites and getting links from the most reputable domains are the keys to securing a dominant position in search results for highly competitive keywords.

Early in my career, I was lucky enough to have worked with two Fortune 500 companies that ran successful organic search campaigns. These organizations taught me that in order to win big, you have to think big without falling into the black hat SEO pit. It’s a fine line to straddle, especially if you’ve got the resources to do as you please with your campaign. Discipline, integrity and a desire to win the right way are the keys to successful link acquisition for large enterprises. Here are six of the go-to methods I use when handling client or employer sites engaged in billion-dollar verticals:

Press Release Distribution

It may sound elementary, but issuing a press release and having it carried by news wires is the fastest and easiest way to earn backlinks for reputable enterprises. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a press release is an official statement made by the company that’s targeted towards news and media outlets. Press releases often carry detailed information on newsworthy announcements that people in your industry will want to know about.

In Emerson Electric, we routinely release press statements when we have product launches, appearances in major events or major organizational developments. These stories get covered by media sites such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. We also get media mileage from industry-specific online media outlets like Data Center Knowledge and Computer Weekly for our IT manufacturing news. Sometimes, they publish stories with live links to us and sometimes they don’t. However, even when we don’t get live links, we get SEO-boosting brand mentions and more importantly, we raise awareness about our activities among members of our target demographic.

emerson-new-york-times-press-release

News coverage from the New York Times

emerson-wall-street-journal-press-release

And from the Wall Street Journal, too!

If you’re running an SEO campaign for a medium or large enterprise, make it a habit to write press releases when you have something of importance to say. Invest in services such as PRWeb and let them distribute your news release to hundreds of sites. You’d be surprised with how much coverage you can get for very little effort. If you don’t have a dedicated writer who can compose a news release for you, you can probably learn to do it yourself. Writing a press release isn’t exactly rocket science, so go for it and see how it works. Here’s a nice guide for you to follow if you’re just starting out.

Thought Leadership Campaigns

A thought leader is an individual or an organization that’s recognized as an authority in a field of knowledge. The advice of thought leaders is constantly sought out and rewarded with everything from simple praises to financial compensation. If you’re running a big website owned by a major enterprise, there’s a good chance your company and some of its employees are already recognized as thought leaders in your industry.

Leverage this cache by translating it into content and campaigns that can get you more traffic and more links. Work closely with product marketing and ask them about hot trends in your business. Get their thoughts on customer needs and wants. From there, you should be able to list down a set of themes and topics that will drive your content and target it towards the right people. Effective enterprise link builders and content developers are able to create whitepapers, blog posts, videos and SlideShare presentations from collaborations between the content team, product marketing teams, product development departments and your sales force.

mcdonalds-thought-leadership-campaign

McDonalds with another great thought leadership campaign

Here’s a good example of an effective thought leadership campaign: McDonald’s is aware that North Americans are becoming increasingly careful about the food that they eat. Fast food enterprises are feeling the hit because nutrition experts have hammered into the public’s mind that fast food is unhealthy. In response, McDonald’s is trying to use transparency to bolster trust and regain lost mindshare.

In Canada, the company launched the Our Food, Your Questions campaign that allows anyone to raise a query which an official McDonald’s representative answers. From the first day to now, more than 16,000 questions have been raised and countless links have been earned. From a single campaign that ran for what appears to be marginal costs, McDonald’s was able to reap returns in the public relations, content creation, thought leadership and SEO arenas. None of its competitors has anything similar, which is why Ronald and his friends have stayed atop the American food industry for such a long time.

Tool Creation

When it comes to linkable assets, we often think of blog posts, infographics and videos. One of the areas that we forget about as a potential link magnet is good functionality. You see, people don’t go online just to find information and to interact with people via social media platforms. We also go online to find solutions to our problems. One of the easiest ways to provide a solution is by providing a tool that users can enjoy on your webpage or download and install right on their devices.

In the year 2014, it’s cheaper than ever to get apps developed for PCs and mobile devices. The payoffs can be huge as simple games, productivity tools and information software can take your branding and link acquisition efforts a very long way. If you’re looking for examples, you don’t have to look outside the SEO industry. Just check out Aaron Wall’s SEOBook website: sure, it has excellent content but one of the biggest reasons people go to it, share it and link back to it is because of his popular (and free) set of tools. SEO for Firefox and Rank Checker are two of the most downloaded and most beloved applications in the search marketing game and it’s been that way for years now.

seo-for-firefox

SEO for Firefox earned Aaron Wall links and then some

In Emerson, we are heavily engaged in the marketing of our data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution. One of the challenges we faced was how to show CIOs, data center managers and other executives the business value of our offering before they even buy them. The solution? An ROI calculator that provides potential customers an estimate of how much money they’ll make back if they adopt our DCIM platform.

emerson-roi-calculator

By developing an ROI calculator tool, we earned links and media coverage

The tool has enjoyed positive feedback so far and we’ve received a nice amount of links from media outlets that have taken notice of our tool.

Interviews

Having industry experts in your company pays off beyond just content development. You can also leverage their authority for interview opportunities that yield quality links. The same news sites and blogs that cover your press releases may also be interested in writing features that are reinforced by the knowledge of respected people in a given industry. Make sure that you keep your ears close to the ground when new trends come along and look for opportunities to hook up your company’s experts with reporters who are in need of a source.

You can do this in one of two ways. First, if you can ask your company’s experts for their opinion when there’s breaking news in the industry. You’ll want to run this past your branding officers to make sure that you’re allowed to comment on the matter. If you are, you can do a little outreach and ask the news site if they’ll be interested in interviewing someone who has a good perspective on the issue. Reporters and editors often appreciate this as they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to publish exclusive content.

help-a-reporter

Help a Reporter is a great way to earn interview opportunities and links

Another way of getting interview opportunities or being sourced by media is by using Help a Reporter. It’s a cool service that facilitates hook-ups between online news writers and potential info sources. SEO expert Jason Acidre recently wrote about it in a blog post where he revealed the link acquisition tactics he’s currently focusing on. It also works for small and medium-sized businesses, so check it out.

Leveraging Corporate Partnerships

Of the many advantages that big companies have, one of my favorites is having strong relationships with equally powerful, influential and non-competing business entities that have monster websites of their own. These partnerships don’t work just with the financial aspects of business: it can and should be a synergy for marketing and link acquisition. Collaborating on thought leadership campaigns, content development and product placement is a great way to get mileage out of a partnership and enjoy the SEO and branding benefits.

ibm-big-partnerships-emerson

Big partnerships gets you noticed by the online press

One of the recent partnerships that we ran is between Emerson’s IT manufacturing business platform Emerson Network Power and IT giant IBM. IBM had decided to adopt our DCIM solution to work with its own Tivoli portfolio. Without getting into the technical details, it would be safe to say that we turned a lot of media heads when we announced the partnership which drove plenty of quality links from high-profile sites and blogs. Of course, we also got some very valuable backlinks from IBM’s elite-level pages and so did they from us.

ibm-computer-weekly

Our IBM partnership yielded mentions and strong links from their website

Site Acquisition

You won’t get to do this every day, but buying a website or a blog can result in huge gains for you from a link acquisition perspective. A credible blog with an author who enjoys a good following will drive traffic and links to your site for years to come, giving your pages a nice push in competitions for tough keywords.

Pratik Dholakiya wrote about this in his own guide for enterprise-level link building. He recommended moving the content under your own domain and pointing the old pages to it via 301 redirects. He added that convincing the blogger to stay and keep on writing is a good move that will help the blog’s transition process. Indeed, readers from the blog that you acquired are more likely to become readers in your own site when they see a name and a writing style that’s familiar to them.

Conversely, it can also work for you to maintain the blog or site that you acquired just the way it is and not move it to your own domain. This is for cases when you feel that readership will suffer a lot because of the branding and domain shift. You can just make it a subtle promotion hub with graphics brand mentions and links to your own pages.

site-acquisition-emerson

An example of a site acquired and rebuilt into our own domain where it brings in more link equity

In Emerson, our business platforms are grown through the acquisition of top brands in markets that we want to enter. Our information architecture is set up in such a way that our websites house rebuilt pages of sites that we’ve acquired in the past. We redirect all equivalent pages, effectively telling Google to credit the Emerson site with the link equity of the old one. The site then becomes a bigger and ever-expanding ecosystem of content, backlinks and brand signals. Above is a screenshot of Avocent, one of the brands we acquired, and its own main page within EmersonNetworkPower.com.

Of course, there are a lot of other ways that enterprises can facilitate link acquisition. These are just the most common ones I use because of the high degree of ROI that we get. If you have other ideas, do share them in the comments section below and I’ll be glad to share notes.

Other Resources:

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to this blog and follow Glen on Google+.


how-to-guest-blog

Persona-Based Guest Blogging: How to Guest Blog Like a Pro

Aside from being the most common link building tactic (as stated in the last year’s link building survey on Moz), guest blogging serves as a traffic generator that continually brings targeted visitors to a certain website which can help the brand grow a small but engaging community.

The main key to generate targeted traffic, leads and sales through guest blogging is the use of personas. With persona in mind, third-party content (guest posts) are more appealing to its audience given that the value/information provided by the content appeals to the deepest needs and/or pains of a specific group of people.

In this post, I’ll be discussing how to create and use personas in guest blogging to maximize every effort and time devoted to writing and distributing the content.

How to Create a Persona

In user-centered design and marketing, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. This is essential in capturing attention from a specific group of people given that the interest, need and/or pain is identified, solved or attended by the content piece.

The first initiative in creating a persona is to identify the audience that the business wants to engage with. This may be the direct customers and/or those people that would help promote the business online.

To identify the direct customers/clients, you could simply get an idea from the unique selling point or features of your product/service. So for instance, if you’re selling an online point of sale (POS) system, your direct customers could be product retailers and ecommerce site owners.

Features

skystreet-retail-features

Customers

skystreet-retail-customers

To identify your brand evangelists, you can look at those people who’ve shared your content in the past or if you’re new in the business, you can reverse engineer on your competitors’ social profiles. See the descriptions of those social followers and determine their niches.

Once you have identified your target audience (whether it is your direct customers or brand evangelists), you can now create a persona by adding important details such as:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Location
  • Job Title
  • Interest
  • Needs

You can create a cartoon to get a visual look of your persona.

business-man-cartoon

How to Guest Blog like A Pro

Prospecting

Like any other link building techniques, guest blogging starts with the right link prospecting.

When prospecting for blog targets, you only want to find relevant blogs (where your audience is engaging) and have high potentials of bringing to your site a consistent traffic once you landed guest posts on them.

In terms of relevancy, there are three prospecting categories that I usually follow in guest blogging: horizontal, vertical and local-centric. These categories are based on relevancy and geographic locations.

Here are three diagrams to explain each category:

(Let’s take sports insurance as our niche example).

Horizontal Category

horizontal-category

Vertical Category

vertical-category

Local Centric

local-centricWhen you determined the category of your choice, you can now proceed to finding relevant and high quality blogs. Here are some tips in looking for high quality niche-specific blogs:

  • Use author footprints to discover guest contributions written by an industry blogger. If the blogger is highly influential, chances are those guest blogs where he had contributed his posts have strong readerships and solid blog communities. You can try using Buzzsumo to find guest articles of an influential blogger.
  • Maximize the power of directories by using it to search for high quality blogs from horizontal and vertical categories of your industry. Blogs listed in directories like Dmoz are said to be of high quality given that those kinds of directorieshave strict guidelines in listing websites.
  • Utilize contributor queries in prospecting for guest blogs instead of using generic search queries such as inurl:submit a post [industry] or “write for us” [industry]. Here are a few queries that you can add to your prospecting query list:

“become a contributor” [industry]
inurl:contributors [industry]

To discover more guest blogging opportunities using free tools, you can check out this post on Raventools.

Qualification

Qualifying your list of blog targets could help you save time for outreach, remove irrelevant and low quality blogs and prioritize targets based on available quality indicators.

There are several metrics in link qualification but a few of them is enough to determine the site’s authority, readership size and search potential. Remember that relevancy isn’t a quality indicator here given that it has already been applied to the prospecting phase.

Guest blog quality indicators:

  • Domain authority – use Mozbar to identify the site’s DA.
  • Engagement – see the comment section (an average of 5 comments is a green signal).
  • Social shares – 100+ authentic social shares could further promote your guest post to a wider audience.
  • Readership size (optional) – There is no definite way to track the number of average readers for each blog post. However, some blogs show the number of their email subscribers on their opt-in forms which could give you an idea of the site’s readership size.

When you have separated the wheat from the chaff, it is time to list all the industry-relevant, high quality and engaging guest blogs in a spreadsheet. Fill in some important details of each blog target by adding other columns for the following:

  • Blog Name – self explanatory
  • Categories – add categories that best describe the niche of your target audience
  • Sample Blog Post (1) – relevant guest contributions of other bloggers
  • Sample Blog Post (2)
  • Topic Suggestion (1) - provide three topic ideas and let the content manager choose one.
  • Topic Suggestion (2)
  • Topic Suggestion (3)
  • Name – find the name of the content manager/blog manager/editor
  • Position - his/her position
  • Email address – read these several posts about finding email addresses.
  • Twitter profile (optional) – either of the brand or of the person who handles the content.
  • Regular Contribution (Yes/No) – if the content manager allows you to become a regular contributor of their blog, then write “yes” in the column. Otherwise, you write “no” which means that you can only write one-time post on their blog.
  • Relationship Stage – This column allows you to track the stages of your guest blogging pitches. Stages are Initial Contact, Draft, Submitted, Published.

Complete all the important details listed above and start performing your initial outreach.

Initial Outreach

The primary goal of this phase is to spark a conversation with the content manager. Once you secure a positive response from him, it would be easy for you to place a guest piece on his blog.

Write an email copy that is straightforward and that includes topic suggestions to let the content manager choose one and become the topic of your guest article for the blog.

For outreach specialists:

Hey [Name],

I know you're the [Position] at [Blog Name] and I wanted to get in touch. 

I am looking to write about one of the following topics:

  • [Topic Suggestion 1]
  • [Topic Suggestion 2]
  • [Topic Suggestion 3]

What do you think about this? If you’re interested, I am happy to get something written up and sent over to you – or if you have another topic you’d like to see covered, I am more than happy to write on that.

Here are some of my posts I've written on other blogs:

[Sample Blog Post 1]

[Sample Blog Post 2]

Thanks,

[Your Name]

For agency marketers:

email-template-search-marketers

Tips to create a better email copy for guest blogging:

  • Start your email copy with an introduction to yourself and to the brand you’re representing.
  • Propose topic suggestions instead of sending the content manager a ready-made article unless the guest blogging guidelines say so.  Letting him/her choose a topic idea could signify your concern to the usefulness of the guest article to their readers.
  • Provide previous guest articles that are related to the blog target you’re pitching to prove the value your writings could provide for their users.

If in case the content manager didn’t respond to your email, an alternative way to pitch is through Twitter outreach. Conversations will not be continued on Twitter but rather it is only a way to let him send to you the right email address.

You can check out my post on building solid relationships through link building outreach.

Content Creation

Content creation seems to be complicated for some link builders given that it will require continuous experiments to be able to see better results for the whole content marketing campaign. This is quite true, but in reality, the crucial is the right targeting of your audience and writing guest articles that best suit the needs and pains of the persona.

The combination of constant practice and right execution is the key to a successful content creation.

When crafting guest posts, the following elements are highly considered:

  • Preferred topic idea of the content manager
  • Level of audience (beginners, intermediate, advanced)
  • Type of audience (e.g. retailers, suppliers)
  • Type of content (tutorial, list type, trends)

If regular contribution request is accepted, you could focus your guest articles on one specific niche to emphasize your niche expertise and to slowly build a brand around that sub-niche.

Other tips when writing guest articles:

  • Surround the links pointing to your site with call-to-actions and relevant terms/keywords.
  • Link to your site’s categories and related blog posts to increase the chances of getting them found by new readers.
  • Combine low, medium and highly competitive keywords to come up with a powerful long tail keyword that you can target for your guest posts.

If you do that, you’ll have chances of ranking your guest posts for desired keywords.

Other Resources:

Image Source: 1, 2

If you’re looking for a high quality link building service, then you can contact our team to help you create a link strategy that fits your brand and industry.


what-is-link-building

What Link Building Really Is

If you’ve been around in the internet marketing realm for several years, then you saw the term link building in almost all SEO and/or online marketing blogs. You have read its importance to website’s search performance and the different link building strategies that you can use for your website. But maybe at some point, you are still confused with the basics of link building. If that is true, then this blog post is for you.

If you’re still new in the industry and you may be wondering why you need link building for your website or you want to learn the basics of it, then this post is for you.

Table of Contents

To give you an overview of what I will be discussing today, I provided a short table of contents below.

Definitions

What is a link?

A link is a street between pages. When a visitor clicks a link on one page, he goes to another page. A link helps the visitor to go pages after pages.

what-is-a-link

What is link building?

Link building is the activity of getting backlinks from different web places (blogs, forums, social networking sites, etc..).  It is often termed as “Off Page SEO” since both refers to the same thing – links. However, as the search algorithms evolve, link building should also complement with other elements of off page such as citations and sentiments, to improve the rankings of a specific webpage on search results.

Importance of link building

Discovery

Search engines are using links to discover your pages. Newly built websites can be hard to find by search engines since there aren’t links built to them.

If you can build more links to your website, the easier it will be for the search engines to discover your website. Users can also find your website easily if one of your pages is linked from a relevant webpage.

link-discovery

Trust

Sixty-percent of web’s pages are spam. In order to filter out spammy websites from the high quality ones, search engines are using Trust Rank, a metric to measure the trust of the site which can be seen in its link graph. The higher the site’s Trust Rank score, the better.

To boost your website’s Trust Rank score, you need to earn links from universities, government websites and non-profit organizations. Reaching out to those websites would require some content resources for them to give you a link but definitely worth the effort.

Authority

Pages with more high quality links are said to be more authoritative. The more linked pages you have, the more chances that your site will become an authority in your niche. But remember that relevancy is more important than quantity. Even if there are several pages linking to you, if they are not related to your website, then those links cannot contribute to your website’s authority.

site-authority

Rank

Pages with more links and are deemed authoritative tend to rank higher on search engine results than pages with less number of high quality links. The higher the site’s ranking, the more traffic and potential customers it can earn.

Quality

A study shows that when a searcher clicks your page that is visible on a search result, he thinks that the page is relevant to what he is searching. Search engines see this activity and bring pages with higher click through rates on top of the search results (SERPs). Thus, if your page has a high *click through rate (CTR), the likelihood of ranking your page on the top spots of SERPs is higher.

*Click through rate is the percentage of people visiting a web page who access a hypertext link to a particular search result.

Conversion

Business do care most about sales and other conversion goals (i.e. increase in email subscribers, social followers, etc..). When the website’s pages rank high on the search results for certain keywords, achieving conversions may be possible.

Thus, if you want to grow your business, then link building should be one of your top considerations.

Link Factors

There are different factors that contribute to the value that is attributed to a certain link. Let's discuss each of these important factors.

Anchor text

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Below is an example.

<a href="http://www.domain.com">Anchor text</a>

Best Practices:

  • Use anchor text for users not for search engines.
  • Use the same anchor text only once in your post.

Surrounding texts

These are the texts that are near to a certain link. Let’s take one example.

“Learn about the key characteristics of animals including multicellularity, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, and more”

In the above sentence, the anchor text is multicellularity and surrounding texts are characteristics of animals, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, etc.. This means all the phrases/words near multicellularity are considered as surrounding texts.

Google is now looking at the context of the page, the links and all the surrounding texts near those links. This gives the search engines an idea of the theme/topic of the webpage.

If you’re using several terms that are related to your industry (e.g. animals, mammals, plants), then search engines will understand that your website is a biology blog.

Best Practices:

  • Include industry terms that are useful to your post/page.
  • Use surrounding texts that will best describe your link and will encourage users to click on it.

Location of a link

The location influences the value of a link. In this post written by Rand Fishkin about link valuation, he concluded based on his testings that links higher up in HTML Code cast more powerful votes. This means that a link from a higher location of the webpage is more valuable than a link from the lower portion.

link-positions

The *primary reason why that experiment resulted to that conclusion is the way the search engines crawls webpages.  Search engines crawl documents line-by-line, top-to-bottom. This is why they prefer links from higher page locations that those links from the lower spots.

*That reason is based on my experience/knowledge about search.

Risks associated with the location of a link

Before discussing the risks associated with different link locations, let’s first define the two most popular kinds of links– contextual links and sitewide links.

Contextual links – are links usually found within the body of content and is in context with the idea surrounding the link. Example is a reference link within a post from other website.

contextual-links

Sitewide links -  are links that are present on every page of a site. These links are often placed in the footer or sidebar of a site but they can be present anywhere. Examples are blogroll and footer links.

sitewide-links

These two types of links have risks associated with them. Whether it is a contextual or sitewide, you should be careful with every link that you build for your website.

Both types of link should come from a website that is relevant to yours. Otherwise, those links wouldn’t add significant values to your website because of their lack of relevancy.

If you own a health insurance blog, then it is unnatural for you to get a link from a casino website. But let’s say you get sitewide links from several casino blogs. Remember again that sitewide links are present on every page of a website which means that if you have 10 sitewide links, you can get 1000 actual links (i.e. if each website has 100 webpages). These irrelevant sitewide links could harm your website as you can get penalized by Google because of unnatural links (I will discuss this topic in detail in my next blog post).

Best Practices:

  • Aim only for relevant backlinks. Remember that relevancy is a big factor in link building.
  • Focus on getting contextual links more than sitewide links.
  • Build a contextual link placed within the higher spot of the page.

Domain Authority

Domain Authority is Moz's calculated metric for how well a given domain is likely to rank in Google's search results. The higher the DA (domain authority) of the linking website, the better.

When all other things are equal, getting a link from Wikipedia passes more authority than a link from DigitalPhilippines.net.

To identify the domain authority of a website, you can use the Mozbar tool.

domain-authority-moz

Best Practices:

  • Use domain authority as one of your primary link metrics when looking for link opportunities.
  • Focus on getting links from websites with high domain authority (e.g. educational and government websites).

Page authority

Page Authority is Moz's calculated metric for how well a given webpage  is likely to rank in Google.com's search results. The higher the PA (page authority) of the linking page, the better.

When all other things are equal, getting a link from PA 40+ resource page passes more authority than a link from a resource page that has PA 20+.

To identify the page authority of a website, you can use again the Mozbar tool.

page-authority-moz

Best Practices:

  • Use page authority as a quality indicator when looking for link opportunities from certain webpages.
  • Get links from resource pages with higher page authority and that are relevant to your content or to your website.

Methods of linking

There are two ways of linking webpages: internal linking and external linking.

Internal linking is linking a webpage to other webpage on the same website. This helps search robots to easily crawl your website and is good for user navigation. Internal links are considered as self votes because you can control them and associate any links with your desired keywords.

External linking is linking a webpage of one website to another webpage of another website. These are made to get attention to your website and increase the position of your webpage in the search results. External links can be either controlled or not depending on the link acquisition method that you choose. For example, if you do guest blogging, then you can control the placement of your link and the term/phrase that you will use as your anchor text.

When doing internal linking and external linking, you can use the do-follow or no-follow attributes.

Do-follow link is a link that passes link juice to its destination page while no-follow doesn’t pass any value which is sometimes called as a non-counting vote.

The default attribute of a link is do-follow.

The HTML of a do-follow link looks like this:

<a href=”http://www.domain.com/”>anchor text</a>

while a no-follow link has this HTML code:

<a href=”http://www.domain.com/rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a>

If you’re using a Wordpress blog, then click the insert link button in your post management section (Wordpress – Post) to interlink to your webpages. When you click the button, it will look something like this:

do-follow-link

Insert the URL of your destination page in the URL box and put your desired anchor text in the Title box. Check the Open link in a new window/tab if you want the user to go to the destination page when he clicks on your link. Remember that the default scenario when the user clicks on your link is that he goes to the destination page, leaving the page he is currently visiting.

If you want to use no-follow attribute when you interlink your webpages, you can install this plugin. The plugin adds another feature to your link button. It looks like this:

no-follow-plugin

Just click add rel-“nofollow” to link if you want to attribute the link with no-follow.

Moving on, let’s discuss a few basic link building concepts

Basic link building concepts

Link diversity

From the term itself, diversity, your links should be diversified into varied sources that relate to your content or pages. If your website only acquired one type of links (i.e. directory links), Google will see and notice that your link profile is manipulative or unnatural.

To keep your link portfolio from being manipulative, here are a few ways to help you diversify your link profile.

Earn different types of links

Your link portfolio should consists of a variety of link types such that you will have links from at least one from each of the following sources:

  • Business-related directories
  • Guest posts
  • Press releases
  • Forum boards
  • Blog comments
  • Q&A

Remember to become natural with acquiring these types of links since Google is not only looking at link diversity but the approach you use to get those links.

Associate your links with generic and branded keywords

There are two kinds of keywords: generic/non-branded keywords and branded keywords.

Generic or non-branded keywords are keywords that you want to rank for in the search engines. These are the terms that you want your brand to associate with. For instance, if you have a sports insurance blog, then you want to associate your website with keywords like sports insurance resources and sports injuries.

Branded keywords are keywords associated with your brand. Normally these branded keywords occur late in the buying cycle, and are some of the highest value and highest converting keywords. So if you own the Wikipedia website, then your branded keywords may be Wikipedia.com, Wikipedia, Wikipedia articles.

If you want to have a diversified link profile, then those two kinds of keywords should appear in the anchor text section of your link portfolio.

anchors-cloud-ahrefs

Build links to your homepage and deep pages

Google can notice if you are only building links to your homepage. And if you do so, it signals a red flag to Google since a natural link profile should have links pointing to the website’s homepage and deep pages (blog posts, service pages, resources, etc..). If you're really providing useful content to your users, then you can earn links not only to your homepage but also to your deep pages.

Link velocity

Link velocity is the rate at which a specific website is gaining inbound links on a day to day basis. It is usually presented in a graph format by various link building tools like Ahrefs. And the link graph looks like this:

link-velocity

A normal link graph has no several link spikes and drops. This means that there is no indication of massive links acquired within a day. If this happens several times, then your link portfolio may look unnatural or manipulative at Google’s eyes.

Here is a link graph of an unnatural link profile:

unnatural-link-velocity

The only way to have a natural link graph is to be natural with your approach in link building. Never use automated tools that will help you build massive links at a single time.

Co-citation

Co-citation does not involve any outgoing links from one blog to another. Unlike the actual links that have anchor texts, co-citation doesn’t need embedded words/phrases. To explain this further, here is a simple illustration by Haris Bacic.

co-citation

This process points out the similarities found between two webpages based on a third party webpage that mentions those first two webpages. Through co-citations, Google identifies the relationships between those two websites (Site A) and (Site B).

Co-occurrence

Co-occurrence refers to the close proximity of two important keywords. Google understands the relation and develops the association between those terms to determine the theme of your webpage.

co-occurrence

Though co-occurrence doesn’t have massive impact to your website’s performance on search results, it creates a significant value to your website or business since you will be associated with terms that best describe your brand.

Link-based penalties

Link-based penalties or unnatural link penalties happen when your website acquired links that seem to be manipulative in the eyes of Google. These penalties can decrease your pages’ search performance which means that your pages will not be visible on search results. Thus, you will not receive any traffic from search.

Google sends an unnatural link notification to your Google Webmasters Tool account if your website got penalized by Google.

unnatural-link-notification-2

Once you received the link notification, it is time for you to take necessary actions to recover from the link penalty. This involves removing unnatural links through outreach and using GWT's Disavow tool.

To warn us with links that are against Google’s guidelines, they created a link schemes page in Google Webmasters website (link here). Here are a few examples of types of links that you shouldn’t be building for your website:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank.
  • Excessive link exchanges
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

Check out the link I gave earlier to see the complete list of link schemes.

If you still have questions with some of the basic concepts of link building, don't hesitate to leave a comment below this post. :) For more link building insights, you can subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter and Google+.

Image Source: 1


how-to-create-backlinks-using-existing-content

How to Increase Contextual Backlinks with Ahrefs

how-to-increase-contextual-backlinks-with-ahrefs

Ahrefs has been my first and my most favorite link building tool since I started my career in SEO particularly in link building. This largest index of live links provides opportunities for link builders like me to analyze a link portfolio, get a good understanding of the site’s current link status and making sure that it follows the guidelines set by Google.

In a nutshell, here is a list of activities where I use Ahrefs as one of my link building tools:

  • Link discovery
  • Link analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Content ideation

Now let me explain how I use Ahrefs to perform the above activities.

Link discovery

If you’re working on a new link building campaign, then link discovery (or reverse engineering) could get you dive into both easy and hard to replicate links as well as give you better insights on which link acquisition methods work effective in your target niche.

Ahrefs has an easy-to-understand platform that lists down the referring page URLs, number of Internal and External links, link URL, and anchor texts of all the links acquired for the site.

ahrefs-compact-view

The filter options in the platform allow you to sort the links by All Backlinks, 01 Backlink/Domain or 05 Backlinks/Domain. This means that if you want to see only the referring domains and not all the links acquired from every single domain, you can choose the 01 Backlink/Domain or 05 Backlinks/Domain.

ahrefs-filter-options

By skimming the whole list of URLs, you’ll see which pages of the website garner the highest number of links and what keywords/phrases people are using to link to those pages.

Link analysis

Link analysis should be performed whether or not you’ve been hit by link-based penalties. Regular audit of your site using tools like Ahrefs allows you to track your current incoming links, see which one should be immediately removed and gets rid of over optimization of anchor texts by maintaining a balance between the use of commercial and brand-related keywords in link building.

ahrefs-link-analysis

I don’t need to dig deeper into this topic. Jon Ball has already written a beginners guide to conduct a backlink analysis.

Competitor Analysis

Instead of analyzing every single website of your competitors using the Ahrefs dashboard, why not try the Domain Comparison tool?

ahrefs-domain-comparison-tool

A quick glance of link profiles of your main competitors can reveal several insights about their current link statuses including the number of linking .edu/.gov domains, the total number of shares of their main pages and link velocities of each site. This gives you a general overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your website as well as of your competitors.

ahrefs-referring-domains-comparison

Content ideation

When getting natural links, a content piece is always at work. Whether you execute link prospecting before you proceed to content creation or do it verse visa, you’ll realize that content marketing is always tied with link building.

When finding topic ideas for your future content assets, you can use Ahrefs as a content marketing tool. Consider the top pages of your competitors’ websites or any related sites that have managed to earn high quality backlinks, shares and trust from the community.

ahrefs-top-pages

How to Increase Editorial Backlinks Using Ahrefs – A Short Case Study

Now let me share a short case study on how I increased the editorial backlinks of my client’s website.

It is a video production blog that has several assets that can certainly generate traffic and sales including:

  • Conversion rate-optimized landing pages with embedded high quality videos that clearly explain the unique selling points of the brand.
  • Testimonials from clients they’ve worked with. This adds trust to the customers and can entice them to get the company’s services.
  • Visible video-focused social media profiles placed in the most important areas of the website.
  • A portfolio page that lists down proofs of work, clients they’ve worked with and glimpse of their projects (behind the scenes).

You may be wondering why I need to share this with you. There is only one main point here. A well-designed website with branded and optimized content for sales and traffic can help increase the number of editorial backlinks because of two reasons:

  1. Your brand is well-trusted within your community (this is proven by testimonials, portfolio pages, and optimized social media profiles preferably the ones your industry is using).
  2. Lead generation can happen either on third party content (when the piece matches the selling point of the brand) or on your website (when landing pages are optimized for conversions).

So what we did is to utilize the available content assets to acquire editorial links for the site.

Service Listing Pages

First off, we prospect for available industry-related resource pages that don’t require linkable assets (e.g. infographic) to include the company in their lists.

Using the common search queries like inurl:links OR inurl:resources “video production” “services” in Google search and/or executing reverse engineering method using Ahrefs,  we’re able to find service listing pages.

service-listing-pages

After link prospecting, we proceed to link building outreach to get contextual links for the site.

High quality guest blogging

Matching the context to the brand’s unique selling points improves the quality of the third-party content. It helps the company attract leads/potential customers from their content placements especially when the content piece is able to show the expertise of the brand in offering its service/product.

We shoot high quality guest blogs with the aim of building relationships with the webmasters and allowing us to contribute regularly on those blogs.

guest-post-video-production-blog

You can check out this post about risk management for guest blogging strategy.

.Edu link placement

For company sites that have blogs, one way to get links from .edu sites is to create a linkable asset that people in the community not just .edu webmasters would love to share and/or link to it.

Though there’s nothing new with this technique, what I want to point out is to always reverse engineer on other websites whether or not they’re directly related to your business before diving into your keyword research process. The main reason is that you want to get first an understanding of what topic and content type resonated with your target audience based on the existing content assets of influencers and competitors in your niche. Then just go over to your favorite keyword research to discover and identify which keywords/phrases have high search volume potentials.

.edu-sites

Related industry resource pages

To acquire more contextual backlinks, we move away from targeting video production resource pages. We tap into other broader industries like marketing blogs and related industries like graphic design websites.

The key is to stick into relevancy. As long as the resource page is relevant to your asset and you have a chance to acquire a link (i.e. there is a similar content that you have that is listed on the page), you can obtain a link from that page.

graphic-design-marketing-blog

Summary

I was not paid to review this product. I simply love this tool and I know that newbies in the search industry would love to include it in their link building toolset.

For more link building tool reviews, you can subscribe to this blog (use the subscription box below) and follow me on Twitter and Google+.


natural-link-building

How to Automate Link Building (Group Interview)

Natural links are products of any online marketing efforts that can bring positive sentiments about a brand being endorsed in a marketing campaign.

The process to getting natural high quality backlinks may or may not involve automation, whether it is for the use of tools or to do an activity in link building.

When automating link building, it is important to really be careful with your actions. One single move can ruin your entire link building campaign. Here are a few insights from experts on why you need to be careful with automated link building and/or should stop doing it in a black hat way.

wiep-knol-link-building

Don’t try to automate link building! If you can automate a link building tactic, people will eventually scale and abuse it, making the tactic (at best) less effective. For example, regular link requests, directory submissions and guest blogging have all been pretty much ruined by automation.

Also, if you don’t automate your tactics, you force yourself to use your creativity and only focus on the best targets. This makes it a lot harder for competitors to replicate your link building strategy.

Don’t get me wrong - there are many processes and actions that you can (and probably should) automate for yourself. We have developed and use several inhouse tools that make some parts of our link building activities easier. Evaluate which tactics work best for you and analyze if there are any processes that could be automated to save time, to help you become more efficient, or simply to make your job easier. But please don’t try to automate entire link building tactics.

 - Wiep Knol

aj-kohn-interview

Don’t automate link building.

I could talk about using BuzzStream or doing broken link building or image theft shaming outreach or inventive operator searches and they can all be effective. But my fear is that people jump to these things first and use them as the centerpiece of a strategy. That's a losing strategy.

The links you really want, the links you earn ... they aren't automated.

- AJ Kohn

---

Now, let's head over to a good list of tips to automate link building (in the white hat way) coming from the prominent SEOs/link builders in the world.

kane-jamison-link-building

I'd recommend dedicating a portion of budget to paid social ads for the topic or piece of content you're working on building links for, and targeting it at users that are bloggers or journalists. It's easier to do this on Twitter and LinkedIn than it is on Facebook, but you can also try using certain targeting tactics like the one described at the bottom of this Social Media Today infographic. Using clever ad copy like that example may get better responses than the typical email pitches that journalists get each day.

It's not fully automated, but it's a program that you can put a little bit of time into each week or month, and might be worthwhile in industries where typical email outreach is ineffective.

- Kane Jamison

steve-webb-link-building

When I think about automated link building, I immediately think about Penguin updates and unnatural links penalties.

Therefore, I'm going to answer a slightly different question.  Instead of helping you automate link building, I'm going to help you automate the discovery of link building opportunities.

I actually mentioned the two easiest ways to identify linking opportunities in my most actionable link building tip: broken link building and link reclamation.

Broken link building is a very simple process that involves identifying pages with broken links and contacting the webmasters for those pages to suggest alternative, live resources.  You can easily automate this process with tools such as Broken Link Index and Link Builder (or you can build your own).

Link Reclamation is the process of claiming links that you should already be receiving (e.g., unlinked brand mentions, broken links to your site, improperly attributed resources, etc.), and you can automate this process with a variety of different tools (e.g., Mention to monitor brand mentions, Screaming Frog  to identify broken links, Image Raider to perform reverse image searches, etc.).

Aside from these popular techniques, you can also discover link building opportunities by automatically searching for specific footprints or signatures that consistently appear in link building targets. Jacob King's Scrapebox guide gives step-by-step instructions for identifying these footprints with Scrapebox.  You can also find valuable footprints in these tips by Chris Dyson and Jon Cooper.

Steve Webb

sujan-patel-link-building

The most successful way I've automated link building has been to integrate sharing and linkable content or widgets within the product itself. Instead of trying to go out and use software or a tool to scale/automate my link building efforts I suggest that you build it within product so that your customers can link to you or share their experience through social media. For example when working with cafepress.com I suggested they create a widget that allowed customers to link back from their blog. We also incorporated the widget and share buttons within our emails when we sent the customers a receipt of their purchase and a shipping notification. Since Cafepress customers are very passionate and often times have blogs we saw thousands of links come in that were not only relevant but deep links as well.

Sujan Patel

james-norquay-link-building

When it comes to "Automating link building" in a white hat sense. A good way to make the process simple is by building niche specific lists of relevant partners you have a good relationship with in specific niches and have dealt with before. This way you can build out the process and work on a long term basis with a website owner to build long term branding.

For example if you work in the travel sector and you have say 10 different clients who are all producing great content you can work with your partner websites to do high quality guest posts and feature articles. You really need to build contacts over a long period of time and develop a strong relationship with them on an ongoing basis.

Even if you do not have any contacts and you are starting out it is a smart idea to get out to blogging events and meet industry specific bloggers and build relationships. A great example of a conference/ Community can be seen below for “Parent Bloggers” a popular segment, this is type of event you can make maybe 20+ contacts with bloggers in a few hours. If you cannot make it to an event pick up the phone and make some contacts that way or follow bloggers on Twitter and build a real connection.

I think many SEO’s and online marketers take the “easy way out”. They find blogs and use blog networks and do not put in the “hard work” and build real world relationships.

Matt Cutts endorses “relationship building” by his recent quote here;

“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.” – Matt Cutts 2014

If you work to build ongoing relationships with a community it can be beneficial to your brand.

Overall building niche specific lists of contacts you can work with on an on-going basis is my piece of Advice to somewhat “automate” the process, but my biggest saying is “focus on quality not quantity”.

James Norquay

charles-floate-link-building

Unfortunately, I'm not really a white hat.. I prefer to call myself "grey" so I really wasn't too sure how to approach this when Venchito told me to automate link building, in terms of white hat. Then I realized I already do it on a number of my own sites that I prefer to have a "clean" link profile (compared to some of my darker arts based sites).

There's 2 sites that I'd specifically suggest to generate backlinks, almost automatically.

Method 1)

The first is Tumblr, people can share your post and if it has a link within said post, the user that shared it will also be building a link from their Tumblr profile/micro-site which is on a different sub-domain to your own Tumblr page. Therefore building multiple links from a ton of different subdomains on Tumblr, often which are niche relevant to your strategy.

Jay did an epic video tutorial on this here.

Method 2)

The other is Reddit, it's pretty simple to share content on Reddit and if it gets popular within the community it'll easily be picked up by 100s of other users and sites.

The best guide I've ever seen on using Reddit was on Social Media Examiner. It goes into detail about how you can find your audience, make content for that specific "subreddit" community and get a ton of traffic, as well as links! - Reddit links are all dofollow.

Charles Floate

dan-petrovic-link-building

My type of automation is not responsible for actual link creation, but instead I use tools to surface up interesting opportunities. Previously I used 80legs to do the job, but eventually had a tool developed which crawls the web and looks for broken links on random websites. All broken links are then classified and presented in a report. This allows me to find interesting opportunities. If I see a high quality page linking to a broken resource I often re-create that type of content on my site and advise the linking site to correct a dead link by pointing to my resource. This is obviously done when it makes sense contextually and it's meaningful to my site to have that type of content in the first place.

Dan Petrovic

geoff-kenyon-link-building

I love doing and publishing research as a scalable link building tactic. When you are creating data that doesn't exist, or replaces existing outdated information, you will get links from people talking about what you've done. A really good example of this is AYTM Market Research - they publish research pertaining to current events on a daily basis on their blog. These posts are picked up and referenced by news sites and other blogs.

Of course for this to work, people have to find your content. This means you'll either need a lot of people regularly coming to your blog (direct visits), a big social following that you can promote your resource to, or you'll have to initially promote via outreach and paid social ads. Once your resource gains some traction and does well in the SERPs, this process will fuel itself as people searching for data will continue to cite you.

Geoff Kenyon

john-henry-link-building

The most effective way to automate or scale link building is to make a piece of content that a niche target audience (that is prominent and active online and has mainstream appeal) will react to and feel the need to share. By pitching the piece to a large mainstream publication that the niche segment reads, it's possible to get mainstream press coverage and niche press coverage at the same time. Movoto is a great example of this, their Harry Potter/Hogwarts Property Estimate infographic  It's has earned links from over 140 domains including big authoritative news sites like Daily MailFox News and Daily Finance – and it also scored links from niche harry potter/magic/science fiction fan sites like NerdophilesToy To The World and Potter Talk.

John Henry Scherck

matthew-barby-link-building

The best way to automate your link building is through making sure that you understand which parts of the link building process can be automated. It’s a habit within our industry that we want to scale and automate as many processes as possible, but the reality is that to get the best links, you need to have a personal element in there somewhere.

Automating your prospecting through tools like the Link Prospector tool from Citation Labs or brand monitoring through Mention.net/Fresh Web Explorer will help with this. Also, a lot of your data collection can be automated through some clever XPath tricks which can then filter into your wider outreach campaign.

The key is to avoid over-automation because, inevitably, quality will drop.

Matthew Barby

paul-thornton-link-building

The days of automated link building should be dead now. Google has shown that with the introduction of Penguin, Panda and most recently, Hummingbird, Google has openly showed their cards that any unnatural link building will be penalised and penalised heavily.

What Google is trying to achieve is that websites that are engaging and relevant to visitors will be ranked higher rather than those websites that are openly trying to bend the rules and play the system will be penalised - sooner rather than later.

Don't mess about with automated link building, or even manual link building - make your website better, make both people and search engines want to visit your website and create content that people will want to link to. It's not an easy way, but it's the right way.

Paul Thornton

selena-vidya-link-building

I don't particularly like the term "white hat" or differentiating things between white hat / black hat / pharrell's hat / whatever hat,  but I do understand the context of how it's being used in this example so I'll let it slide :). When I hear "automate" I think of something that should be working when you're not. And when I hear "white hat" I'm assuming 'above the board' strategies. With that, my answer would be something that sounds simple, but is pretty excruciating and takes hard work. Build an audience & relationships. Work hard to build an audience and those relationships. Even though that's a lot of up front and consistent work, it pays off in the long run so you can become more" automated" in the sense that you're generating links when you're not necessarily trying.

Audience: Because that audience will be the ones that gives legs to your content. You can't "automate" anything if you're throwing your work into an empty room. You should always be sharing what you create on your social networks, email lists, etc, and over time, as your audience builds, they'll be your wind that carries your sailboat. They're the ones who may automatically start including you in their weekly roundups or email newsletters because you provide useful content and planting your seeds with their audience. This can generate natural links over time.

Relationships: As you work with publishers, you should be providing something of value [unique data, research, etc] so that they're always looking to see if you're published something useful that could support a piece they're putting out, or looking to see if you could collaborate on something interesting with them. In this instance, when you nurture relationships, you're working with both your and their audience/distribution list, which expands your reach exponentially and also generates natural links for the long-run.

Of course, there are other strategies out there, but this is one that is general enough where it can apply to the majority.

- Selena Narayanasamy

larry-kim-link-building

One of the most easy and reliable ways to automate link building in a white hat way is to turn citations into links. You can do this by setting up a Google Alert for your business name or trademarks, then whenever you generate press mentions, just check the stories to see if the mention included a link to your site or not. If not, you have an opportunity to turn your citation into a link by sending a thank you note to whoever mentioned your business, then very gently asking if they’d consider adding a link to where your company’s name is mentioned. Don’t press the issue too hard though, since you ought to be thankful for the fact that they mentioned you at all. However, I’ve noticed that this link outreach tactic works nearly 50% of the time which is a very high success rate for link building pitches. The reason is because the author probably thought highly of your company in the first place, which is why they bothered mentioning you in the first place.

Larry Kim

jason-acidre-link-building

"Just keep on creating/doing things that'll be really hard or would take so much time for your competitors to replicate. I believe that's the best way to become a genuine link magnet - and to semi-automate your link building efforts.

Start with your own products/solutions/culture/services, to the content you produce, and down to the relationships that you build within your space. Building on a strong brand presence through these aspects of your business are the ones that can really result to a scalable link building process.

I've written a post about automating link building a couple of years ago, perhaps that post can explain my approach further."

- Jason Acidre

gregory-ciotti-link-building

My favorite way to "automate" link building really has to do with measuring commitment. If it's passive, it will scale with little effort, obviously. "Things worth embedding" fit this mark quite well, but infographics are played out. We've tried something new at Help Scout by creating resources like the Customer Service Quotes Database, which allows people to search a large collection of quotes about support, and then embed the quotes on their website. It's become an "automated" source of linkbuilding simply because it takes up none of my time, and isn't spammy or pushy because people embed by choice.

Gregory Ciotti

giuseppe-pastore-link-building

I’d say automating link building in a white hat way basically means getting links without any effort. If you are the best resource in your niche, you have a quite constant stream of natural incoming links, so the best tip to automate link building would be try to be the best one, but I bet this will not satisfy who’s looking for tactics. Anyway I’ve found that lists of “best of” work nicely: compile a list of the “best” blogs in your niche and promote it. Other bloggers will like to be included in it and you’ll ask them to publish a post (with a link) to cite the inclusion. Other new bloggers will read those posts, and contact you, and so on. Once you’ve reached an initial critical mass, it will continue by itself.

Giuseppe Pastore

elisa-gabbert-link-building

I think we’re entering into a period where anything automatic/scalable is in a gray zone, if not straight-up “black-hat” in the Google spam team’s eyes. When marketers find something effective that’s scalable, Google starts issuing warnings and doing algo updates. This is why Larry Kim and I think links are bound to lose value in the next five years.

That said, link building is still totally viable for now. One of the best semi-automatic ways to build links is to include plenty of internal links in your own content, blog posts in particular – then, when those posts get syndicated, scraped, quoted, etc., the links are often preserved.

Elisa Gabbert

benjamin-beck-link-building

I don't know many quality link building strategies that are totally automatic but there are definitely ways to scale strategies. One of my favorite scalable strategies is getting links from websites who are using my images without linking.

Steps to getting links from images:

1. Drop your images into Image Raider, which will check and alert you when people are using your images.

2. Find if they are not linking to you as the source ( I use the link analysis chrome extension ).

3. Use a canned response to request that these websites link to you.

Types of images to monitor for link opportunities:

  • infographics
  • logos (old and new)
  • badges
  • profile pictures

Benjamin Beck

david-jenyns-link-building

SEO industry has changed heavily over the past few years and Google has started to target and crack down much of the automated link building methods. There are quite less methods that are actually work well and that will ensure that you stand the right side of Google.

The best way to think about automated link building strategies is to think more about semi-automated link building. That's where you might look for a service, or a solution that helps to do what someone might actually do manually or you actually pay someone to do manually but it is still automated for you because you don't need to do it. Some examples of automated link building would include submission through to some high-end directories, manual submission to a service like WhiteSpark.

Another would be taking video and chopping it up into pieces, uploading that into Youtube, transcribing the video and then posting the video and transcription on your website and using press releases and social media to announce the new content. That can be an automated process with a service like Melbourne SEO Services. Using all of these link building methods shows you an automated way for link buliding for you. However, it is still done manually, maintaining a high quality standard, remaining white hat and giving you long lasting results with Google.

David Jenyns

moosa-hemani-link-building

There are actually multiple ways you can use to make your website a magnet that receive relevant and quality links automatically and on regular basis but most of them are difficult or take years to become one.

There is one way that I use for few of my clients and receives and good amount of natural links on regular basis without much efforts. The idea is to own all the long tail informative key phrases.

How to do that?

The idea is to use SEM Rush and collect all the long tail informative keywords at one place, export the list in an excel sheet and try to create content against those key phrases.

Once the content pieces are live work on those pieces and make them rank against those key phrases (this will be easy as most long tail informative keywords contain less or no competition at all).

How will this Automate Link Building?

The keywords you are trying to rank are mostly informational and not commercial so most people who will search for the key phrases will be bloggers or people who are looking for some information. Usually when content creators and bloggers find the information they are looking for they tend to link the same resource.

If you will be ranking for good amount of long tail informational keywords, you probably will see links pointing back to your website on regular basis.

Moosa Hemani

tad-chef

Link building automation is very risky and potentially spammy in case you do it wrong. Never automate the whole process of building links but just aspects of it. There are tools that assist you with finding broken links for example. Monitor Backlinks is one of them. SEOcrawler is another one.

I have written a post about that: http://seo2.0.onreact.com/easy-broken-link-outreach-using-the-free-seo-crawler

They will notify or show you once they discover a broken link on a site you monitored so that you can approach the webmaster to replace the link with one leading to your site. You can also create an outreach message template and reuse it even automatically just by replacing the name, URL, website, issue at stake and so on.

Automation in the technical sense is just a workaround in my opinion.

What you really need is a plan where you get links automatically without creating them by a software or something like that. You should aim at a way of generating links by itself naturally. Giving content away under a Creative Commons license that requires an attribution is such a method. This works great for images of course.

Another great way to get links "automatically" is to mirror a high traffic site (with the consent of the owner of course). I have done that several years ago for a popular Flash animated movie and never touched the site ever since. It earned more links over the years than my blog I've spend countless hours on.

Tad Chef

peter-attia-link-building

I’m personally not a huge fan of automating link building, because the more automated it gets, the less personal it gets. However, when doing things at a large scale, it’s near impossible to avoid. That being said, I always encourage people to split test their messaging, subject lines, and email length. By improving the response rate of your emails, you can spend less time on automating; keeping your responses more natural and appealing to higher quality sites.

Beyond that, I think the most important thing is prospecting efficiently. One tool I’ve been impressed by recently is Group High. This allows you to sort bloggers by their following in specific social networks, making it easy to use for various industries. It’s a little pricey, but totally worth it if outreach is a big part of your business.

Peter Attia

brian-dean-link-building

"Use a service like Mention.net to automatically monitor and track mentions of your brand or topics that you write about on your site. Then use email outreach for link reclamation (Ross Hudgens did an awesome White Board Friday on that) or to promote content that you've written on that topic and want to share.

It's not super-automated, but it's as automated as white hat gets :-)"

Brian Dean

simon-penson-link-buildingCreate a brilliant piece of content and make people aware of it through digital PR and social; amplification to reach as many eyeballs as possible. If that content resonates, as it should, with your audience they WILL link to it!

Simon Penson

miguel-salcido-link-building

This is a tricky question to answer because link building, good link building that is, shouldn't be automated. But I suppose that the most automation I've used are tools like Citation Labs Link Prospector or Buzzfeed, that are tools that automate alot of the process. Outside of that, I automate local citation building by using vendors like Citation Labs and Yext Power Listings. So basically automation occurs for me via usage of tools to automate parts of the link building process, or via using vendors to execute certain specific link building activities.

Miguel Salcido

danny-tran-link-building

My best tip to automate link building is to leverage mail merge for initial outreach. Here is a great article and video on how to do this through gmail, which I often share with others.

Image Credit 1

For more link building insights, you can subscribe to this blog (use the subscription box below) or follow me on Twitter and Google+.


link-building-pricing

How to Price Your Link Building Services

The demand for link building services had grown for the past several years given that companies still believe that links are still a huge factor in search rankings.

Link building firms are now looking for ways to offer a service that can grab the attention of their target clients.

And one way to attract clients is to lower their link building prices.

Lowering your prices so as to win over your competitors will help you win the competition but you will lose money in the end. Your proposal will be accepted by your prospect client but when you start working on the link building campaign, your services will result to loss instead of profit since your total costs will be higher than your sales.

link-building-pricing

Now, the question is, how can you set a price for your link building services in a way that you can attract more clients to your business and at the same time, earn your desired profit?

Before going through some basic formulas in determining the right selling price for your link building services, let’s first discuss some factors that can affect your pricing decisions:

  • Total costs (both variable and fixed costs)
  • Skills
  • Capacities
  • Work experience

Total Costs

Total costs are the sum of variable and fixed costs.

Variable Costs

Variable costs are costs that changes, in total, directly proportional to the changes in the level of activity (or cost driver). If an activity increased by 20%, total variable cost increases by 20% also, and vice versa.

For link building companies, one of their variable costs would be labor costs. Labor costs are the salaries of their team members (or employees). They may be paying their staff in an hourly or monthly basis. It depends on the company size, sales and profit  every month.

Total labor costs can be determined by multiplying the hours spent by all of the employees to the labor rate (rate per hour).

For instance, you have 4 team members working with you and each of them has the rate of $10 per hour. If all of your team members are working full time, then they would consume 160 hours of monthly work each (40 hours every week).

By using this formula (labor rate X labor hours = total labor costs), you’ll be able to compute for the total labor costs:

labor-cost

If you don’t have any variable costs aside from labor costs, then your total labor costs are your total variable costs.

Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are costs that remain unchanged, in total, as the level of activity (or cost driver) varies within the relevant range. If activity increases or decreases by 20%, total fixed costs remains the same.

For link building firms, here are their fixed costs (but are not limited to the items below):

Overhead costs (for SEO tools)

SEO products/tools have their own pricing tables that list down monthly costs for their customers.

If you are providing link building services, then you might be using the following paid SEO tools:

  • Ahrefs or OSE (link prospecting, backlink profile reporting, link audit)
  • Buzzstream (PR and linker outreach)
  • Cognitive SEO (link prospecting, advanced link analysis)

To compute for the total fixed overhead costs for SEO tools, then you need only to sum up all the monthly costs incurred for using SEO tools.

For instance, you have the following monthly fixed costs:

  • $79 – Ahrefs’ monthly cost for Professional plan.
  • $99 – Buzzstream’s monthly cost for Plus plan.
  • $99 – Cognitive SEO’s monthly cost for Professional plan.

By simply adding all the monthly costs above, you will get a total monthly fixed cost of $277.

Utility costs

If you own a company and you’re doing in-house work with your team members, then perhaps, you are renting an office space for your team. And aside from renting an office space which is an expense for your business, you also incur electricity, water and internet costs every month.

By adding all the above costs, you can compute for the actual monthly utility costs.

Total Fixed Costs

To compute for the total fixed costs, simply add the fixed overhead costs (for your SEO tools) and utility costs.

If you have a total utility cost of $700 and total overhead cost (for SEO tools) of $300, then you will have $1000 as your monthly fixed costs.

Total Costs

Add your variable and fixed costs to compute for the total costs.

total-costs

Now the question is, “How do you compute for the selling price of your link building services?

There are two ways to price your link building services: hourly basis or link building packages.

Let’s first discuss the per hour link building service.

Hourly Link Building Service

In a per hour type of link building service, you need to compute for the selling price per hour.

To compute for your selling price, you will need the data you gathered earlier (total fixed costs and total variable costs/variable cost per unit).

Then by using the formula below, you can now compute for the selling price.

desired-sales-per-unit-hours

Other items to be considered:

Contribution margin per unit – is the difference between your selling price per hour and variable cost per hour. If you have a selling price of $25/hour and a variable cost of $10 per hour, then you have a contribution margin per unit/hour of $15.

Desired sales in units – this will be the number of hours you need to complete a certain link building task for your client. Let’s say you need 25 hours to complete a monthly link building campaign for one client and you have 4 clients, then you will get 100 as your total number of hours.

For instance, you have the following items to compute for your selling price:

  • Fixed costs - $700
  • Variable cost per hour - $10 per hour ($6400 / 640 hours) 640 hours is the total number of working hours of all your four employees.
  • Desired profit per month - $2000
  • Desired sales in units/hours – 200 hours

Using the formula above, you can compute for the selling price:

selling-price

This is now the selling price that you will offer to your potential clients.

Link Building Packages

The old packages for link building service are ineffective in this age of internet marketing since there are a lot of things that need to be considered such as the quality of links being acquired for a certain website and the effects of each link built for a particular site.

Here is a bad example of an old link building package:

old-link-building-packages

This type of link building doesn’t add real value to a certain business given that the links are built for the sole purpose of ranking a certain keyword on search results. It can achieve short term goals but can be the cause for future penalty issues (because of the acquired unnatural links).

unnatural-links-notification

Now let me discuss one way to price your link building packages.

To compute for the selling price per link building package, you need the formula you used earlier for hourly link building service.

For instance, you have the same items you gathered earlier:

  • Fixed costs - $700
  • Variable cost per hour - $10 per hour
  • Desired profit per month - $2000
  • Desired sales in units/hours – 200 hours

By using the same formula, you will get $17 as your selling price per hour.

selling-price

Multiply $17 by your desired sales in units (which is 200 hours) to get the sales of $3400. Then divide the product by the number of packages that you can offer for a 200 hour work.

Number of packages will depend on the number of hours you spend for one link building campaign. Let’s say you can do broken link building for one client and it will consume 25 hours to complete all the activities in that particular link building technique (from link prospecting to outreach). If you have a desired sales in hours of 100 hours, you can offer four packages (100 divided by 25).

Going back to my earlier example, if you have $3400 sales and you have 200 available hours of work every month, then you can compute for the selling price: $425 per link building package (see the computation below).

link-building-package-selling-prices

How to Increase Your Profit as a Link Building Service Provider

Lower your fixed costs

Instead of using several SEO tools to perform your link building activities from link prospecting to actual link acquisition, why not think of free tools that can offer the same features as other premium SEO tools do. For instance, you can use Gmail, Boomerang and spreadsheets instead of premium outreach management tools to track your link targets’ responses and conversations. By doing this, you can lower your fixed costs and thus, earn a higher profit.

Another way to lower your fixed costs is to contribute articles to product companies in exchange for free access to premium SEO tools. Using this technique, you can reduce your fixed costs by $200 or more every month. You are almost free of charge to all of your SEO tools when you managed to provide regular guest articles on SEO product websites.

Train your team to improve their efficiency in work

To accommodate more clients for your company, you need to train your team members. Training will help your team to become more efficient in their work.

For instance, they can prospect for 100 high quality link targets within the span of 60 minutes. This can happen actually if you can provide them tips to qualify a link target quickly.

Adding new members to your team doesn’t guarantee an increase in your profit as a business owner. Even if you have 25 members in your team but they are not well trained and efficient, then your team can only handle 5-10 clients. This will result to a lower profit since your labor costs will be higher than your sales.

Show the exact (or estimated) link building prices in your service pages.

To push your clients down through the marketing funnel, make sure that you show your link building prices in your landing pages (either in an hourly rate or in a package rate basis). Stating the prices in your service pages (landing pages) will let your prospect clients aware of the value of your service.

It would be easy for you to track clients who’re really interested for high quality link building services and are able to pay a considerable price for the quality of work done. It is a waste of time talking to someone who demand many working hours but are not willing to pay the right price.

A service page that lists down link building prices can discourage those low-paying potential clients.

Determine which marketing channel gives you the highest conversion rate

A regular audit of your Google Analytics to identify the marketing channel that highly converts your visitors to clients is a good way to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts for your services. Once you tracked the highest converting channel, you can now exert more effort in getting more brand visibility for that specific channel.

conversions

If you want to get more link building tips, subscribe to this blog (use the optin form below) and follow me on @venchito and Google+


seo-philippines

The Current State of SEO in the Philippines

seo-philippinesSEO in the Philippines is now becoming more challenging these days given that the search engines are considering several factors to determine websites that deserve to be on the top spots of search results.

One factor is the authority/influence of a website towards its targeted audience. When the website is always providing value to its users, it becomes easy for the brand to earn natural links/mentions from related blogs and acquire shares from social influencers which can help the brand to become more visible on search results for their target keywords.

To learn more about the current state of SEO in the Philippines and things that should be considered to improve a local website’s performance on SERPs, here are four prominent SEO experts in the Philippines to give us their insights/thoughts about those topics.

Our today’s guests are: Glen Dimaandal, Benj Arriola, Zaldy DalisaySean Patrick Si and Gary Viray (click their names to jump ahead).

Let’s get started..

Glen Dimaandal

What is the current state of SEO in the Philippines?

glen-dimaandalThis is a broad question that can be addressed differently depending on what perspective you’re viewing it from. As a craft, this is probably the best year yet for Philippine SEO. It’s vibrant, anyone can get into it and there are a lot of good people whom you can learn from. Low-level and black hat SEO is less and less viable, which forces everyone in the field to bring their games to a higher level. The job market is still growing and that’s a great thing for people who are looking for a career path with a big upside.

It’s still not perfect, of course. You still see a lot of shady, meat-grinding companies in Makati that have little regard for their employees and even less regard for the reputation of Philippine SEO as a whole. But when you compare it to what we had 3-4 years ago, the playing field is much more level and the people who really know what they’re doing are getting more press compared to people who are in the game solely for profit.

In SEMCon 2010, Benj Arriola said something that really stuck to me. He stated that the future of SEO is a “battle of creatives.” He was right and the future is now.

Why do you think international companies should outsource their SEO work to Filipino internet marketers?

Because we’re good at what we do. Our business leader in Emerson said it best when he told us “I can take anyone in this room and plant him in any of our offices in 100+ countries and I have no doubt you will hold your own.”

Skills aside, a lot of Filipinos are polite, honest and ethical in the way they conduct themselves in business environments. We know the value of hard work and we show it in how we are in the workplace.

What kinds of reports do you provide to your local clients in a regular basis? Is there a difference in the content/output contained between local SEO reports and foreign SEO reports?

I do custom reporting depending on the needs of my clients. More SEO-savvy clients tend to like more detailed, technical reports. For more business-oriented clients, we prioritize metrics that are more focused on how our work impacts their bottom line. We try to give clients the full array of metrics we have, but some of them don’t really appreciate in-depth reporting. This depends on the clients’ needs and how the engagement was negotiated.

When should you upsell and not upsell local SEO to your SEO clients?

Local clients tend to have lower budgets and a lower degree of inclination towards online marketing because TV, radio and print still dominate much of the local media landscape. In my experience, we start with smaller engagements that we scale up as the client sees results. It’s easier to sell someone your services when there’s a positive precedent behind it.

How do you prove to your clients that SEO is a good marketing investment for their businesses? Do you show proofs? What can you advice to those Filipino SEOs who don’t have any case studies/proofs to show to their first clients?

In any presentation geared towards selling a service, I always have visual aids that show hard numbers and charts. Business people are more likely to engage vendors that make them feel smarter about their decisions. If you have metrics on how much demand there is online for their products and how their competitors are taking advantage of search engines, you can help them realize that online marketing is here to stay and it will only get bigger.

My advice is to do your homework on the prospect’s business before you start pitching. Find out how much their average lead value is or how much the average purchase is in their online stores. Find out what the margins are and see if you can find out what the average lifetime value of a customer is to them. When you have those numbers, you can calculate how much extra business SEO can potentially generate for them. You’ll also get a good hint of how much you should charge them for your services. Bottom line, your SEO services should come across as something that will pay for itself in the long run, fatten up their bottom lines and deny their competitors new customers in the process.

If you’re starting out as a small, private practitioner, having a blog to show is a good thing. Your work experience and the sites that you’ve handled will also be good tools for illustrating past success stories. Getting authoritative people like past bosses and prominent people in the SEO scene to endorse you will also help your case.

Granted that search marketing/SEO is a fast-paced industry. How do you make sure that you and your SEO team stay updated with the latest updates in the industry (e.g. Google’s search updates).

The easy answer would be to read credible SEO news sites and blogs, but that’s not a guarantee that you’ll always be in Google’s good graces. If the Panda, Penguin and guest posting actions prove anything, it’s the fact that Google’s view of what’s white hat and what’s black hat is a constantly evolving affair. Today’s best practice could be tomorrow’s taboo technique depending on the industry’s behavior and how Google perceives it.

Having said that, I believe instinct is a part of practicing good SEO. If a technique feels misleading, unnatural or scalable, it could be at risk in the future. When in doubt, go back to the core principles of what makes a website great: clean code, an intuitive interface, appropriate design schemes and great content. As long as you stick to those, you’ll always be in a competitive position.

How do you make your SEO strategy as simple as it can be that even a 5th grader (or a high school student) could easily understand?

It comes back to core principles. Ask yourself why you keep visiting Google, Facebook and Wikipedia. The answer is because they provide you with information or functionality that you can’t find anywhere else. As long as a website is easy to use, technically stable and it has something that people will want to keep coming back to, it will have its place in the search results. These principles should guide overall strategy as far as content, design and usability are concerned.

Online marketing rockstar Sammy Nams put it nicely when he sensed that our SEM team was out of whack back in 2012. He asked each one of us “what did you do today that gave the company the best returns on investment? What are you doing right now that takes up too much time without bringing in the money?” Those are very good questions to ask when you’re trying to prioritize tasks in a campaign that you’re trying to execute.

What is your best tip for newbies who want to learn and work as an SEO consultant in the Philippines? What about for those who want to start their own local SEO firms?

Love what you do. This is an industry where motivation is half the battle. Stay hungry and stay committed to excellence. Keep in mind at all times that you’re representing your company and your country. What you do will reflect not only on yourself as an individual but on the entire community. SEO is an incredibly rewarding field to be in. The only questions are “how big do you want to dream” and “how hard do you want to work for it?”

Glen Dimaandal is the Online Marketing Manager at Emerson Electric.

Benj Arriola

What is the current state of SEO in the Philippines?

benj-arriolaBorrowing this term from the real estate world where you can classify regions as (1) under developed, (2) developing and (3) developed, I would say the Philippines would be developing. It is at a point where there are some good talents out there that are starting to make a name for themselves and more and more upcoming new faces that are starting to gain recognition among industry peers positioning the Philippines more prominently in the international SEO scene.

Why do you think international companies should outsource their SEO work to Filipino internet marketers?

It all boils down to the balance of quality of work and price. Most of which are dictated by the differences in cost of living making offshore outsourcing more economical. There are many English speakers in the Philippines and most people would be at least college level graduates.

But I think no matter what other good reasons I give, there will be an equal amount of people having reasons not to outsource work to the Philippines. If you search online there are several US, UK or Australia based companies that has their fair share of bad outsourcing experiences. And what I want the world to know is that it can really happen to anyone to any country even if you do not outsource offshore. It is cheaper in the Philippines as well as in other Asian and Middle Eastern countries but if it is too cheap, you will get what you pay for. Do not expect it to be top notch quality service.

Now let me answer this question again with actual real list experiences. First is we are not that aggressive in offshore outsourcing, but we do sometimes outsource some of our work in the US when the company suddenly has a surge of new clients and normally we hire people in-house in the US but since it sometimes takes time to find the right person, and work will not wait until this person comes in, we then look at offshore outsourcing opportunities. What we spend is half the minimum wage in California. So that is pretty much 50% savings per person. For sure there are people that are lower than that, but they often cause problems. Most of the people we have dealt with speaks and writes English well and some are flexible with their working hours to meet US working hours. And just like any other offshore project, it should be managed well so choose wisely when selecting your offshore team.

What kinds of reports do you provide to your local clients in a regular basis? Is there a difference in the content/output contained between local SEO reports and foreign SEO reports?

Reports really depend on the project goal. Sometimes you are hired just to do a specific task, and sometimes you are hired to really do SEO. If hired to do SEO, you are really concerned for the success of the website. If you are hired just to do a specific task within specific parameters, then all you have to do is meet those parameters and deadlines. I talk about that more on Part 4 of this video series.

Now if you were not hired to just do a specific task, SEO reports are all dependent on the client goals. Once you determine the goals, you tie it up to specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and find the appropriate tools to measure those KPIs. So every client may have a different report. But typically what would be these KPIs?

Many times we would monitor these metrics:

  1. Main success metrics
  2. Conversions from organic search
  3. Traffic from organic search
  4. Percent contribution of organic search to overall traffic (multi-attribution model)
  5. Percent contribution of organic search to overall conversions (multi-attribution model)
  6. Metrics for further analysis resulting to actionable items
  7. Bounce rates from organic search
  8. Ranking reports
  9. Backlink reports
  10. Social sharing reports
  11. Conversion funnel analysis

For international clients, reporting is pretty much the same except that you may want to look at these same metrics considering the same target area. Most of the time we will be looking at Google but in some counties, Google is not the predominant search engine, so sometimes we may be focusing more on others like Yandex, Naver, Baidu, etc. And from the social sharing and links perspective, it would be ideal to target people to link naturally that come from the targeted local area.

Normally we would look at any observable trends over time but of course many products and services can be seasonal even if the products or services do not appear to be a seasonal. So we look at the numbers more from a year over year point of view.

When should you upsell and not upsell local SEO to your SEO clients?

The answer is actually simple. If a business is specifically targeting a local audience of a certain city, county, state, province, then that is when you should upsell local SEO. Examples of these would be any brick and mortar store, anything with walk-in customers, like a local grocery, professional services like doctors, dentist, lawyers, chiropractors, restaurants, etc. And those that do not need local SEO are the online stores that do not have a walk-in office or storefront. They only sell online and can ship anywhere. Location for them is not important and in fact, it is not even needed nor wanted. So for these you should not sell them local SEO since they would not benefit much from it.

How do you prove to your clients that SEO is a good marketing investment for their businesses? Do you show proofs? What can you advice to those Filipino SEOs who don’t have any case studies/proofs to show to their first clients?

Proving that SEO is a good marketing investment is different from proving that you are good in SEO. If you want to show proof that SEO is a good marketing investment, you can show any proof online. There are so many research organizations, associations, companies that release public data. From Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Experiments, Online Media Marketing Association, B2B Online and more. And there are many stats out there from companies like Comscore, Hubspot, Hitwise, etc. You can use these anytime and it is totally fine to say the actual sources. It even sounds more credible since it is coming from another body that gave out the research and it is not you. So you do not appear like you are just fooling them with sales talk.

Now proof from yourself is only needed if you want to prove that you have what it takes to make the SEO campaign successful. If you do not have proof to show yet it does not mean you cannot sell. Sometimes the ones that are just starting out and do not have proof of their work can start with a lower price and as you build your reputation and success that often times translate as proof that you have what it takes, then you can start increasing your price.

Granted that search marketing/SEO is a fast-paced industry. How do you make sure that you and your SEO team stay updated with the latest updates in the industry (e.g. Google’s search updates).

  1. SEO Conferences – Attending each conference and sending a whole team can be somewhat expensive at times. But after attending some, you start to get a good idea which conferences are really worth it and which ones you can skip. Then we send 1 or 2 members and in return would share to the whole team their learnings from the conference.
  2. Trainings – Enrolling some of team members to whatever online or in-person course available are often offered to the newer members who may be less experienced.
  3. Local Meetups – Networking and attending events with other SEOs always helps since there would be SEO discussions and sharing of experiences that often leads to note exchanging. This also helps you get updated and at par with the latest trends.
  4. Blogs – Reading blogs can be very beneficial too but there are so many blogs out there monitoring SEO breaking news can be overwhelming but referring to online blogs that had held authority and are very comprehensive in our niche like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Moz, Search Engine Journal, SE Roundtable. These sites would link up to smaller blogs that may have significant breaking news.
  5. Online Forums – Participating in online forum Q&A is a good learning experience where you also get to teach others that are learning. Remember to be successful in forums, if you want to learn well, you got to teach as well.
  6. Social Media – Following SEO people on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ would often be able to find
  7. In-House Weekly Trainings – Discussing and meeting once a week is very imperative task since all of the above can be very overwhelming to accomplish individually. Thus, sharing from every team member who had done any of the above transfers the knowledge faster to the whole team.

How do you make your SEO strategy as simple as it can be that even a 5th grader (or a high school student) could easily understand?

Well my daughter is a 6th grader and I think she understands what I do. From a definition stand point I had always been clear to her that what I do is…..

SEO is improving ranking in search engines so the websites get more traffic. Although I would never use this definition that I had for my daughter in an official sales pitch. As I deem that

SEO is the strategies and tactics involved to increase online conversions from organic search results.
Therefore, my definition of SEO to a 5th grader should not be confused with how I will define it to a client. Because the simplified definition I give to my daughter when given to a client may cause a wrong expectations where a client would concentrate too much on ranking and would personally have his/her “golden keyword” that you should rank #1 for and if you are not #1, then you failed, even if you have increase sales and profits so much from organic search.

Now, that I have defined what SEO is we now have to define what makes website rank high and many SEOs know that there is a technical, marketing and content writing sides to the whole strategy. I will concentrate on to what they could easily comprehend.  And that would be writing great content that they are passionate about. When the kids have passion on a specific topic they are often very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and this would be felt by the reader. When readers find the content to be compelling, informative, useful and interesting it will surely be shared and linked to which then improved ranking and converts to increase in organic search traffic.

What is your best tip for newbies who want to learn and work as an SEO consultant in the Philippines? What about for those who want to start their own local SEO firms?

  1. Choose your learning sources well.
  2. Avoid outdated information.
  3. Be cautious in reading some ebooks. Not all are great, some are really bad.
  4. SEO is not software, it’s not a tool, it’s not a platform. Don’t think of some automated easy-to-use tool that will solve all SEO issues.
  5. Learn by testing, but when you are successful by testing SEO on 1 site, not all sites are built the same and belong to the same industries. Some websites may be more difficult and some may be easier. Needless to say be flexible and smart to know the difference or trend flowing in.
  6. SEO is part technical knowledge, part marketing knowledge, and part content writing knowledge. Try your best to learn them all.

Benj Arriola is the VP of SEO at Internet Marketing Inc.

Sean Patrick Si

What is the current state of SEO in the Philippines?

sean-patrick-siSEO is a rapidly growing market - especially in the Philippines this year. I'm personally very interested in making a mark on the local SEO scene and I'm seeing a rise on client inquiries and request for proposals this year.

I think that the increase of internet users due to accessibility from cheaper devices such as mobile and tablet, has greatly contributed the growth of demand for digital marketing in small, medium and large companies alike.

Note: I published an entry about SEO in the Philippines which I'm still updating along the years. You might wanna check it out.

Why do you think international companies should outsource their SEO work to Filipino internet marketers?

I think that some Philippine SEO companies are doing a swell job with SEO. Basically, I believe we are one of the best SEO outsourcing countries because of two things:

1) Our English is one of the best in the world

2) Our workforce is one of the cheapest.

The thing is, SEO is a knowledge-based, professional practice. And so, even if it's a common notion for Filipinos to be 'cheap labor', it isn't always the case.

I've always believed the phrase "If you pay peanuts, you're gonna get monkeys." I discovered it can work both ways - Monkeys are more than willing to be paid peanuts. And so there are stories out there that tell how Filipino SEO specialists have burned their website's rankings.

Who's fault is it?

Both.

There are monkey SEO companies here and there are clients who want to pay peanuts here and abroad. So they get their deal - but they're not happy with the outcome.

Go figure.

What kinds of reports do you provide to your local clients in a regular basis (or international clients if you don’t have local clients)? Is there a difference in the content/output contained between local SEO reports and foreign SEO reports?

Generally, there's no difference between our reports. The reason behind that is that we have crafted the best possible report we could come up with in terms of data, analysis, design, layout, user-friendliness, etc.

I believe it's one of our strongest points to provide a really, really nice report - and that's one of the big reasons why we've had our clients renew their contracts with us over and over again.

So my short answer to your question is: No difference.

When should you upsell and not upsell local SEO to your SEO clients?

I think that now is the right time!

I've had local clients ever since I started SEO Hacker. And man, you wouldn't believe the data we've gotten from our client's websites. I won't go into any specifics but the idea is, we have enough solid data to upsell ALL our local contracts.

Which we have done - and pretty well I think.

Of course, that is not without basis. Me and my team have learned tons since we've started doing SEO - and we still are learning a lot.

We've improved our services and added more and more to our packages to justify any upselling we do.

While I do believe that we are one of the first Philippine SEO services company to make our prices public, our minimum used to be just 40,000php/mo for our SEO package. We've shifted gear to make it 60,000php/mo. That's a huge 20,000php difference - but our clients find themselves a happy bunch because of all the additional services we've put on the table for them.

It's a win-win.

How do you prove to your clients that SEO is a good marketing investment for their businesses? Do you show proofs? What can you advice to those Filipino SEOs who don’t have any case studies/proofs to show to their first clients?

Simple: Show them the traffic and give them hypothetical data.

You don't go ahead and tell them you've made this much money with your clients - that's supposed to be confidential.

Relate it to them. What I usually do is start with: "Suppose I make you X number of traffic per month and we convert around just 1% of that into a sale..."

I assure you, they will listen all through out to what you have to say after.

Granted that search marketing/SEO is a fast-paced industry. How do you make sure that you and your SEO team stay updated with the latest updates in the industry (e.g. Google’s search updates).

We have an internal Trello board that we use. Every one of my teammates just goes ahead and posts what they've read each week in that board. Me and my team have a certain quota that we imply on ourselves for learning.

I personally read around 25 relevant blog entries a week for my personal growth - which I share over Trello, my Google+ profile and page, Facebook, etc.

My teammates have to read around 3 relevant blogs a week - which is a lot already if you calculate how much information we're getting on that board.

We share the best of what we're learning in that Trello board through our Growth Hacks newsletter. You can sign up - it's free.

How do you make your SEO strategy as simple as it can be that even a 5th grader (or a high school student) could easily understand?

Note: I'm assuming this is a question that implies how I make the SEO strategy simple and easy for my team.

We have different teams in SEO Hacker that perform tasks in boxes. There's a team that's supposed to take care of all things content (and even that has a sub-team inside), there's a team that's supposed to take care of all things outreach, web development, graphics, etc.

In each of those boxes, they have a clear strategy, goal and mission. At the start, it is explained to every new hire what their roles are going to be and how it's going to affect the big picture.

The entire SEO strategy is explained from a point of relevance - which is their box - to the big picture perspective - which is how it affects the rankings of our clients.

I think that's what makes our SEO strategy really simple for my team.

What is your best tip for newbies who want to learn and work as an SEO consultant in the Philippines? What about for those who want to start their own local SEO firms?

Keep reading, keep learning. And make sure that you're learning the right things from the right people. There's a lot of cutter and noise on the internet about what works and what doesn't - most of them are not true.

You have to test it out yourself or go and take on a sure-fire SEO course from a mentor. The easiest route I can think of is to go through SEO Hacker School.

Hey, it's free!

We've got over 70 SEO lessons there in easy-to-digest Powerpoint format, tailor-made for your starting point in SEO.

For those who want to start their own SEO firms, I'll be publishing a series at the SEO Hacker Blog on "How to Start your Own SEO Company"

It's going to be really interesting, painfully transparent and brutally honest. I'll be telling my story starting up and what I believe should be done right, done perfectly, and done differently.

Sean Patrick Si is the Founder and Editor in Chief at SEO Hacker.

Zaldy Dalisay

What is the current state of SEO in the Philippines?

zaldy-dalisaySEO in the country has grown significantly over the past decade. From a small number of seo practitioners when I started and local businesses are looking down on this type of marketing back then, there’s really a huge change compared nowadays.

If you will notice, small, medium and large local enterprises are now implementing this into their marketing plans - allocating budgets, acquiring talented guys, hiring seo firms or simply learning the art by themselves to grab a huge piece of the pie. Oh, and you guys should know that politicians are also using seo strategies to keep their online reputation better, you can ask Almer Viloria (our clients will have a face-off by 2016.. LOL)! This simple explain how businesses (is politics a business?) treats the importance of SEO nowadays.

A big thanks to the local seo community, they have been of huge help in establishing and increasing awareness that search engine optimization is a tool crafted to help businesses.

Why do you think international companies should outsource their SEO work to Filipino internet marketers?

We have a huge pool of great talents here. There are the guys making their names in the international arena such as the legendary (my crush) Benj Arriola, Jon Edward Santillan, Jason Acidre and Sean Patrick Si which is a testament of how good Filipinos are in this business. There are the veterans like Ed Pudol, Gary Viray who own firms that can cater whatever size of projects these international companies are looking to outsource. Not to mention those guys who’s been silent all these years but has been raking in a lot of projects, people who are in outsourcing websites such as Freelancer, ODesk, Elance and the likes.

Since not only the top fortune companies can outsource nowadays, the Philippines is a good place for small-sized businesses if they’re looking for workers with specialized seo skills but still fairly inexpensive than hiring in their own countries.

What kinds of reports do you provide to your local clients in a regular basis? Is there a difference in the content/output contained between local SEO reports and foreign SEO reports?

Our reporting varies per project, whether it’s for local or foreign as it is dependent on the goal of the client but basically, it usually answers the 2 most basic questions from my clients:

  • Are the SEO efforts helping reach the organic search targets?
  • What were the tasks completed within a specific period?

When should you upsell and not upsell local SEO to your SEO clients?

There’s already a huge competition among us all, and the only time that you can do up selling is when your service is really worth it. Building your brand is an easy task while delivering result is the hard part, if you can prove it, there’s no contest that you can start up selling.

How do you prove to your clients that SEO is a good marketing investment for their businesses? Do you show proofs? What can you advice to those Filipino SEOs who don’t have any case studies/proofs to show to their first clients?

Start showing them real life examples. I always provide proof of work and some references from previous and current clients. If you don’t have a case study to show, now is the time to create one. How can you prove that you’re worth something if your portfolio is blank?

When I was starting, my portfolio was filled with my personal projects. Me and some of the guys from the org also went on providing seminars, tutorials on different schools to encourage graduating students to enter into this field – I have included this in my professional background list. I started attending SEO seminars too such as SEMCON. Simple things like this can beef up your image as someone who knows what is needed in this field.

Granted that search marketing/SEO is a fast-paced industry. How do you make sure that you and your SEO team stay updated with the latest updates in the industry (e.g. Google’s search updates)?

Join SEO communities both local and abroad. Follow people who eat and breath seo. If you have them in your network, there’s no minute that you’ll miss an update. And when we learn about an update, there’s only 4 things that we always do:

  • Strategize
  • Experiment
  • Compare
  • Implement

How do you make your SEO strategy as simple as it can be that even a 5th grader (or a high school student) could easily understand?

I always give my team two important things to do – improve the website to improve sales and build relationship with other websites to help you sell your items. Put it in their mind first, and then narrow down the specific things after such as the following basic steps:

Keyword Research

Create Page Titles Based on Keyword Research

Create Content Based on Page Titles

Map your Content within the Site Structure

Go Out and Market the Site

Always use your common sense. Google is a search engine, with visitors looking for information so obviously, what you need to do is to provide informative content to your website.

What is your best tip for newbies who want to learn and work as an SEO consultant in the Philippines? What about for those who want to start their own local SEO firms?

The best thing to do here is to read, test, and implement. Network with other seo players in the country, freelancers or employed, you’ll learn a lot from these guys.

Zaldy Dalisay is the owner of SEOWall.

Gary Viray

What is the current state of SEO in the Philippines?

gary-virayIn general, SEO in the Philippines is just a bud about to bloom. More local companies are now becoming aware of its relevance to impact their brand’s presence online. As such, it presents a challenge and an opportunity for us all practitioners in educating companies on what SEO is really about as opposed to the common misconceptions about the craft/industry.

The barrier to entry in the SEO industry is low back then for practitioners. This time around, it is NOT. I think there’s already a natural fall-off for those who were not able to level up their games. While we still see mediocre SEO activities, offers, and packages, it won’t be for long that businesses will get that these types of SEOs won’t hold for their investments. At Search Opt Media, we have been saving a lot of businesses from their previous SEO works taking them out from Google Penalty and algorithmic dampening issues that’s why; I said that such low-level SEO activities must be stopped and should not be practiced. Such activities are waste of resources. On the brighter side though, the world will see more and able SEOs to emerge among us and lesser of those drone-type SEOs sooner than we expected.

Why do you think international companies should outsource their SEO work to Filipino internet marketers?

Cost and better command of the English language are just a few of our advantages, not to mention our natural knack on creativity and strategy. However; the challenge is always about finding the right company to deal with that walks the talk. It would be best to look at their company’s portfolio, organization, skill set, professionalism, and manpower.

On the other hand, one of the things to look out for is that of ridiculously low cost offer because it is a red flag. I am more than certain that the company you are dealing with is into spam automations or into low-cost labor/slavery (no pun intended).

What kinds of reports do you provide to your local clients in a regular basis (or international clients if you don’t have local clients)? Is there a difference in thecontent/outputcontained betweenlocal SEO reports and foreign SEO reports?

Our report for every client is bespoke. It does vary based on goals and objectives of the campaign but the fundamental/core metrics are the same. We would admit that Search Opt Media follows a lot of metrics from Avinash Kaushik.

When should you upsell and not upsell local SEO to your SEO clients?

At Search Opt Media, we don’t use the word, “upsell”. Rather, we simply present more opportunities to clients that they might want to explore in conjunction with the service/s that we are presently giving them. The best time to add more value to the client is when you are able to consistently deliver the goals and objectives of the campaign (MoM) that you currently handle. After such, you can further present to the client other channels or opportunities that can further boost their revenue/goal target.

How do you prove to your clients that SEO is a good marketinginvestment for their businesses? Do you show proofs? What can you advice to those Filipino SEOs who don’t have any case studies/proofs to show to their firstclients? 

Cases and data are our company’s best friend whenever we present to our prospective clients to prove that SEO is a viable marketing investment and to showcase that we are a legit SEO company in the Philippines.

For starters, it is always best to work from ground up improving your skill set first and to gain more experience as your main objectives. Offer (almost) free help to small companies or start-ups, and newbie entrepreneurs in order to build your portfolio. Learn to network with the more experienced SEOs. Read! This will take awhile but it will be worth it in the long run.

Granted that search marketing/SEO is a fast-paced industry. How do you make sure that you and your SEO team stay updated with the latest updates in the industry (e.g. Google’s search updates).

It is not only SEO that is fast-paced; it is technology in general that keeps on evolving. Constant training, updating of skill set and testing new ideas should be innate to any techpreneur.

As an online marketing agency in the Philippines, we are rooted on the fundamentals of marketing principles first and the rest are secondary such as SEO. What do I mean by that? Search Opt Media is a digital marketing company that considers SEO as one of the many marketing channels to push brands online. While we do admit that we have been around for quite some time and have experienced first-hand the evolution of SEO industry and its practices, we are deeply grounded on our marketing fundamentals. It is an open secret. Fundamentals first and the rest will follow.  Know your marketing 101.

How do you make your SEO strategy as simple as it can be that even a 5th grader (or a high school student) could easily understand? 

Checklists, cards, boards, and improved processes at Search Opt Media are our way of breaking down complex SEO strategies. I wrote about this one on my blog at garyviray.com entitled, Process-Focused SEO: An Elephant in the Room on Scalability and Strategy. Everything is properly documented being an agile (scrum) marketing practitioner.

What is your best tip for newbies who want to learn and work as an SEO consultant in the Philippines? What about for those who want to start their own local SEO firms?

While the hype/lure of having your own free time or working from home is all over the place, I have to be upfront that not everybody is fit to be such. It is not a one size fits all kind of job. It requires a lot of BIG WORDS such as commitment, discipline, and responsibility. Examine your true mindset and be it. Others are meant to be part of the corporate setup while others are fit to be on their own. Know yourself first before even jumping into the jungle.

I would like to take this opportunity too, that SEO is not a walk in the park or a shady, magical stuff or a tool-driven work. It involves a lot of thought-processes, strategies, and creative collaborations with clients in order to succeed in SEO. Do not sell your souls to clients and guarantee them impossible goals just to get their accounts else you get burned. We should detest mediocre works and outputs in order to push forward Philippines as one of main hubs of great (real-deal) SEO practitioners around the world.

For those who wanted to start their own SEO firms, you have to equip yourselves not only with the know-how of the craft but also about accounting, corporate legal stuff, taxes, human psychology, and a whole lot more of being an entrepreneur. It is different ball-game when you start your own company.

Gary Viray is the owner of Search Opt Media

- end of the interview -

If you're looking for a link building company to outsource your link building services, then you can get in touch with us today.


muckrack

Link Building for Brand Recognition

This is a guest entry by Andrew Dennis, a Content Marketing Specialist at Page One Power. He also regularly contributes to Linkarati and Biznology. When he’s not writing or reading about link building, you’ll find Andrew discussing link building in the G+ Link Builders community.

As links remain at the very core of Google’s search algorithm, they continue to be an integral factor for determining search rankings. Due to the importance of links, link building is still the most effective way to increase visibility within search.

However, link building can be useful in other ways and the benefits are not limited exclusively to search. Along with providing SEO value, link building can effectively improve brand awareness and brand recognition.

link-building-for-brand-recognition

Importance of Brand Recognition

In the marketing sphere, brand recognition is not a new concept. Any marketer worth their salt can tell you that brand awareness plays a key role in successful marketing. Studying advertising in college taught me the power of a strong brand and the value it provides to an entire marketing campaign.

Unfortunately, we as link builders forget that building links is just part of the overall marketing process. We sometimes overlook the importance of the various marketing concepts, including brand recognition.

Brand recognition is important because people are more likely to trust brands they know or recognize. If your target audience doesn’t know who you are, chances are you’re not going to be very successful. Your brand ties directly into how people think of your company and without a strong brand, you will get lost in the noise.

The importance of creating brand recognition online continues to grow. Link building can be utilized to build online brand awareness, but it takes a certain mindset.

Establishing the Brand Building Mindset

Before you can effectively improve brand awareness with the links you build, you must first establish a brand building mindset.

To approach link building from a branding standpoint you must first internalize your brand’s core marketing message and core target audience.

Take time to consider what truly differentiates your brand from competitors and what unique value your brand provides. Carefully consider who your specific target audience is and where you can find them around the web.

Remember to keep in mind:

Once in the right frame of mind, there are specific strategies that are ideal for building brand recognition in conjunction with building links.

Reverse Image Search

A reverse image search can be used in a few different ways to build links. Just as importantly, these searches can be used to increase brand recognition as well.

A good place to start is to conduct a reverse image search on your company’s logo. However, any copyrighted images or images closely associated with your brand can work to build both links and brand recognition.

Using Google image search or a program like TinEye, you can locate where your logo or other images you own may be being used across the web. If these sites aren’t already linking back to your site, they present a great opportunity to create a new link and increase brand awareness.

The key to successful brand building during this process involves your outreach to the sites hosting your images. You want to foster a positive relationship and thank them for hosting your image, while also asking if they wouldn’t mind including your link.

Simply being polite and courteous can go a long way in helping to build your brand online, not to mention improve your chances of successfully building a link. Conversely, approaching these webmasters in a threatening manner and demanding they give you a link can be quite damaging for your brand.

Logos and other images associated with your brand can be very powerful in terms of brand recognition and you want to make sure that your website is tied to them with a link wherever they may appear online.

Press Releases

Now before you take to the comments to remind me that Matt Cutts said links from press releases won’t benefit your rankings:

press-release-matt-cutts

The goal of your press releases shouldn’t be building links on press release websites.

Your main objective with press releases should be to build brand awareness and get your brand/product/content in front of as large of an audience as possible. Utilize these press releases to gain exposure for your brand.

Although links on PR sites won’t have SEO value, this doesn’t affect links on external sites if your press release is picked up by news organizations. If your press release gets picked up by external news organizations, not only will it help with brand recognition, but it can lead to some valuable links that pass serious link equity as well.

In this post, Alisa Scharf of SEER Interactive discusses a successful press release they did and why it was effective.

Blog and Forum Commenting

Again, these strategies don’t necessarily provide the most direct SEO value (as typically comment and forum links are “no-followed”), but they can be used quite effectively to build brand recognition and drive traffic to your site.

Comment sections and forums provide an ideal place for you to engage with your target audience. Aim to add value to the conversation and answer any questions posed by the community. Typically, you can include your name with a link back to your site. Even if this link is “no-followed”, it will still strengthen brand recognition and help establish your brand as an authority. Also, these types of links can still drive highly targeted traffic to your site with all your branding on the home page.

Blog commenting in particular can be a great way to engage industry leaders and influencers as well. They allow you to cut through the usual noise and interact with these people directly. AJ Kohn wrote an excellent post detailing the power of blog commenting.

By engaging influencers with a branded account you can start to build relationships between industry leaders and your brand. Building these relationships will assist you in branding as these influencers will be more likely to endorse you and share your content in prominent forums and communities within your niche.

Guest Contributions

I know, this is another strategy that is supposedly “dead”. However, guest blogging remains a viable strategy for brand building.

Much like press releases, guest contributions give you the opportunity to get your content in front of new audiences. Guest blogging provides a great opportunity to increase your brand awareness online by gaining extra exposure for your branded content.

When trying to increase brand recognition, you should be aiming for regular contributions on prominent sites within your niche. By regularly contributing to a column on a trusted site, you can begin to build that awareness and reinforce your brand as an authority.

Also, you can link to branded content (when relevant) you have published elsewhere. Not only does this increase brand visibility, but it also provides direct SEO value to the content you link to. Building these types of links will go a long way towards helping your content rank in search results, once again furthering brand recognition and authority.

As always with guest contributions, the most important aspect is that your posts add value to a site. The spammy, low-quality stuff Matt Cutts refers to has never been a worthwhile tactic. However, if the quality is there, an editorially placed link back to your site makes sense. Again, make this is a branded link so that readers begin to associate useful content with your brand.

Recap

Due to the fact that links are so valuable in terms of SEO, we sometimes forget that link building can be beneficial in other ways. Along with increasing your brand’s visibility online, link building can also be used to build brand recognition and awareness through certain tactics:

  • Reverse image search
  • Press Releases
  • Blog and forum commenting
  • Guest Contributions

Brand recognition is vital to a business’ success.

Your brand represents how your audience/customers feel and think about your company. Without a strong brand, your company can easily get lost in the noise. Strengthening brand recognition is a crucial marketing process and with the right mindset you can implement link building as part of your brand building process.