influencer outreach

Why and How Influencer Outreach Works

influencer outreach

 

WHAT IS INFLUENCER OUTREACH?

Influencer outreach is a marketing discipline of identifying influencers in an industry, qualifying them based on relevance, clout, and engagement, and pursuing them by adding value to what they do.

It is a common practice in different outreach campaigns. The only difference is that you are reaching out to an influencer.

An influencer is an entity or a person with a massive reach (social, web or offline), who also serves your potential customers with content in their preferred platform.

When influencers endorse an offering from your site or a content asset you recently produce, you gain the reach from their existing fanbase. You also have the chance of absorbing their followers if they've found your content useful to them - which is the primary win for any brand that engages in influencer outreach.

Besides that, there are many other benefits a brand can get aside from the absorption of their current following.

Value of Association

Trust is a glue and attractive force that makes people want to buy from you. It's common sense that when a trusted person or entity endorses what you offer to the market, it's possible that potential customers trust you more.

When you do influencer outreach, you actually take the risk of associating yourself with the influencer you're targeting. That's the reason why it's critically important to qualify influencers whom you would consider in a partnership.

The moment they introduce any of your page or content piece, you're letting them associate with yourself.

If the influencer has a good reputation and doesn't simply endorse any site/content, you're putting yourself in a respected position.

Though the influencer has limits as to when and how they would co-promote your offering/content, the value of association is priceless as it gives more authority and trust to your brand.

Content Marketing Opportunities

You never know how far your content will be able to reach once it's been part of the influencers' circle of content.

You might have a chance to get opportunities not only from the direct exposure of the influencer, but potential ones its (influencer's) followers might provide for you.

Future collaboration can take place when that happens.

While many marketers discuss virality as a guaranteed mark of a successful campaign, there still isn't a perfect formula to make content go viral.

With influencer outreach, you're increasing the probability of your content being more visible, rather than just guaranteeing its virality (though that might happen as well). The truth is virality comes from higher visibility of your content in different places.

Influencer outreach does that for you. It helps you increase your content's visibility in your target audience.

HOW TO DO INFLUENCER OUTREACH

There are many techniques you can find in several articles on this topic, but there are common initiatives you must be able to learn and execute well to effectively get results from this type of campaign.

I. SETTING YOUR CAMPAIGN'S GOALS

This is common sense, but I find marketers jump into outreach very quick without even knowing why they are reaching out to influencers in the first place

What is your goal? What are you trying to achieve in your partnership with the influencer? Is it to get a mention in one of his blogs with a contextual link to your site/page? Do you want exposure in his non-text content (podcast or Youtube vlog)? Do you want to collaborate for a solid content piece that can dominate a keyphrase with high search volume?

Go deeper into asking the purpose of your campaign. Get a piece of paper and write it down.

II. IDENTIFYING INFLUENCERS

This initiative is the first activity among all influencer outreach campaigns.

Next to knowing your goals, you discover who you are reaching out to. And this is the part where campaigns will vary.

There are tools to help you semi-automate the process of discovering influencers in your industry. Let's discuss a few of them.

A. Google Search

The basic methodology of discovering potential influencers for collaboration is by doing Google search.

Use any of these queries to find influencers in your space:

  • "top bloggers" INDUSTRY
  • "author" site:TOPINDUSTRYBLOG
  • "top influencers" INDUSTRY

You can also discover influencers who are contributors to a blog in your industry. See the search query I used below.

B. Ahrefs Content Explorer

Not only that you'll be able to find the most popular articles in your niche using Ahrefs' Content Explorer. You can also locate influencers who have tweeted those top content pieces.

ahrefs content explorer search

After searching for the topic of your choice, you will see a list of the top pages for that topic. For each content piece, there is an available Details button which you can click on to see more information about the article.

Click on "Who Tweeted" and there you'll have a list of influencers who have tweeted the article.

who tweeted ahrefs content explorer

You can filter the list based on the recency of their tweets, the language they speak of, and the number of following/followers. Export it into a file for later use.

C. Buzzsumo

One of the most useful web-based products for influencer discovery is Buzzsumo. Its Influencers feature allows proper filtering.

You can filter the list by the type of influencers that you want to engage with: bloggers, influencers, companies, journalists, or regular people. This refining keeps your campaign more targeted to a specific group of influencers.

buzzsumo influencers type

For local influencer outreach campaigns, you can filter influencers based on location.

Buzzsumo gives you options to sort the list of influencers from highest to lowest following klout, retweet or reply ratio and average tweets.

Maximize the use of those three tools: Google search, Ahrefs' Content Explorer, and Buzzsumo in order to make a solid list of influencers for your content marketing campaign.

After setting goals for your influencer outreach campaign and discovering suitable influencers, your next activity is to think of a strategy that makes the content more valuable for both parties - I call this valued partnership.

III. CONTENT PARTNERSHIP

You will not send emails to your target influencers without thinking of the value that you'll provide for them. With several priorities they have, they only respond to emails that are worth their time.

One value you can provide to them is content that both of you will benefit from.

Here are some examples of effective content partnerships you can consider to your campaign:

A. Twitter Chats

Twitter isn't only a place for ranting complaints, but a good platform for learning conversations.

For example, there are brands in the digital marketing industry that regularly hosts Twitter chats where they invite special guests (agency owners and consultants) to join their discussions for topics they specialize in.

If you have a substantial number of followers in your Twitter account, you can use Twitter chats as a value proposition in your influencer outreach pitches.

Invite influencers to join your weekly discussions.

serpstatchat

It's important to have a solid strategy for Twitter chats, and not just make it as an ordinary discussion. One way to maximize it is to prepare questions related to the influencer's expertise. This would allow a more fruitful discussion with the community.

B. Video and Blog Interviews

Creating more useful content than what others have previously produced is now a challenge for content publishers. With much data and information published every day, a content piece must have a non-generic message people would actually consume at their best capacity.

This problem leads to content fatigue. It happens where there are excessive production and data of content that makes people become less and less receptive to the message that the brand is trying to send to its audience.

The solution to this problem is to collaborate with influencers for a solid content piece both parties will benefit from.

By doing influencer outreach campaigns, you can hit two birds with one stone-- engage an influencer while at the same time provide unique content to your target audience.

Produce an interview-type of content where both parties are able to discuss different yet thematically-relevant subjects.

video content engagement

By doing so, both parties may absorb followers (subscribers) from each other.

C. Free Accounts

SaaS companies provide free accounts of their web-based products to publishers and influencers. While this should be an easy strategy for some, I've seen SaAs brands fail to get buy-ins from influencers to use and promote their products to their followers. One of the reasons why it happens is because they don't emphasize the value of their products.

The key in crafting your email pitches to influencers is to understand what makes your SaAs tool different from its contemporaries. There may be just 1 or 2 features that you need to highlight and to focus on your pitch.

D. Facebook ReShares 

Facebook is a great platform to absorb followers from different asset pages. If it's done well, you can gain a massive following in a short period of time.

One of the effective techniques I absorbed in the past years that worked really well in increasing the visibility of a brand page is collaborating with other pages that target your audience.

facebook reshares

By developing partnerships through content supported by both entities, you'll be benefiting from each other’s additional organic visibility and increase of influence and authority in your niche.

IV. MORE INFLUENCER OUTREACH TECHNIQUES

Content is definitely a valuable asset that you can offer to influencers. However, getting your pitches into their hands will require some more additional techniques.

These influencers are getting several emails every day, so you have to make sure you do the necessary methods to get in front of their inbox.

A. Start with small-scale interaction

The ideal scenario is to pursue A-list personalities, but reality-wise, if your brand isn't well known and isn't that authoritative, the best recommendation is to start with a small-scale set of influencers.

As you develop relationships with low-tier to mid-tier personalities, you'll realize they would open more doors of opportunities for you - connections with other levels of influencers or a higher tier network of friends they know.

That process allows you to step by step build your own networks of influencers. It surely takes time, but the methodology of small scale interaction gives you leverage over a wide variety of connections.

B. Do pre-outreach engagement

Learn to know more about your influencers. It's not enough to quickly pitch them with your products or content piece.

If they haven't seen you in their circles, they're likely to ignore your outreach email.

It's every basic, but one of the best ways to increase the effectiveness of your campaign is to engage with them before pitching.

Share what they've posted on Twitter - a retweet with a comment that actually reads the article they wrote.

A sign up to their webinar or email newsletter to get to know what they're up to - their interests and value they're looking for.

Craft your emails in a way that it attends to your prospect's interests and needs. If you can write emails from scratch without any template, this will help hone your influencer outreach skills.

IDENTIFICATION BEFORE PERSONALIZATION

You can't personalize your email pitches without identifying interests and needs you have to provide to your prospect influencers. Do due diligence to profile them intently so you can write emails that best gives value and not just wanting to get something from them.


how to promote your website

How to Promote Your Website Through Link Building

Website promotion is not rocket-science. You can learn it in little steps. By understanding how it works and training yourself to apply the process, it won't take you longer to see results from your activity.

Today's post will not cover all the methodologies and practices in website promotion — there are so many and it’s impossible to cover in one post.

I'll focus mainly on website promotion through link building.

how to promote your website

Link building, or link acquisition, can drive an immense exposure to your website, given that links bridge websites where visitors can pass through. It helps drive visitors from pages to pages.

When a website is seen on a page, it gains an initial traction, especially if the anchor text used was branded. It adds interest and provokes curiosity to the reader to visit the linking website.

Even in a linkless mention (that requires link reclamation), a visitor may be curious enough to do a quick Google search to know what that mentioned product or brand is.

In addition, link building does help in other forms of marketing initiatives such as:

  • Introducing new brand ambassadors to the online space who are not just representatives, but are also evangelists of brand's message, and of what the company contributes to the community.
  • Increasing online visibility through enhanced off-page SEO factors of the website, which can help disseminate more awareness about the brand.
  • Expanding new connections with web enthusiasts, influencers, and industry publishers
  • Building authority and expertise through well-crafted content externally published on other websites

These, among other benefits, are exposure initiatives being affected by link building.

To execute a better website promotion campaign, you must first understand concepts in order to customize your approach.

Every website has these three components of website promotion campaign: web assets/resources, means/channel and authority & branding.

Let's discuss each one of them in detail.

 

WEB ASSETS & RESOURCES 

It's critically important to know your website's inventory. It is basically a collection of all assets you currently have as an entity. These include the following things:

  • Visual assets
  • Brand personalities
  • Internal data reports and industry surveys
  • Lists of past contacts with industry publishers
  • Ebooks and whitepapers
  • Blog articles and other internal informational content pieces

By knowing your existing resources, you can craft a strategy that utilizes most of them. In fact, you don't have to think of producing new content all the time, all you have to do is to look at your brand's inventory and see which asset is best suitable to use in a specific website promotion campaign.

MEANS & CHANNEL 

This basically means a specific place wherein you'll utilize your brand assets for promotion. It could be a website, a network, an entity or a subset of digital marketing field you'd want to focus your efforts on.

In SEO, your approach for promoting your website involves technicalities (on-page SEO) and link building.

When you properly optimize your website in its on-page totality, the links you'll be building will benefit your website tremendously.

With regard to link building, your means of website promotion could either be any of the following:

  • Industry micro community website (fora)
  • Q&A website with a niche section
  • Social networks
  • Email or outreach platform (Gmail or Buzzstream)

You align your channel to your resources. If you have infographics, for example, you may choose Sub-reddit for images and outreach platform (for reaching out to publishers) as means of website promotion.

AUTHORITY AND BRANDING 

The popularity of a website makes a difference in the results of a site promotion campaign. In blogger outreach, for example, if a brand is well-established in the industry, conversion rate (links to be built from publications) is expected to increase as publishers are already familiar with the brand.

Branding (how an entity is differentiated from its competitors) provides a cutting edge in link acquisition. When submit a guest post to another blog and propose a topic with your own unique twist, you're more likely to get a good link placement than when sending a guest blogging pitch with a generic topic proposal.

How to Promote Your Website through Link Building

STRATEGIC LINKING OUT

One of the easiest ways to get contextual links and receive initial exposure for your website is to start linking out to other valuable resources. By adding external links to your content to pages your audience will find informative, you are adding value to the web community.

Aside from including resources that will serve as references of your content, consider looking for recent blog posts and publications in your industry that have high likelihood of reciprocating links to your page.

Check out bloggers who regularly publish content assets who are linking out to topical content. Link out to them once in a while, as you find their pages fit to cite on your own content works.

CONTENT CREATION 

It's easy to go straight to website promotion without having a check and balance on what your content is available on your website that adds value to the community. Given that without strong content that matches an audience, it's difficult to get backlinks.

Here are some actionable tips to get started with content creation:

ASSESS COMPETITION BASED ON TITLE MATCHES AND EXACT QUERIES 

When you do keyword research, you normally assess competition based on the keyword difficulty score a specific tool has calculated for you.

Whether you're using Ahrefs, Moz or SEMRush, every keyword has its own difficulty score .This shows that if you want to target a keyword with difficulty level of let's say 70 or above, it will require a higher domain authority website to compete for the top spots of search results.

Another way to assess competition is to use the intitle: advanced search operator along with the desired topic of your content. Search results will show you how many websites are targeting the same keyphrase with their indexed pages.

By using intitle search operator, you'll be too restrictive with your search results, leaving out articles that have other variations of your keyphrase. For instance, you have searched for intitle:"how to promote your website through seo", you won't see articles with titles, such as "Using SEO to Promote Your Website".

google search how to promote your website

In addition to intitle search operator in order to quickly assess competition, you can make variations to check articles that fit to the category. You may use search queries like "website promotion" "seo", or "seo website promotion".

The reason you want to assess competition is not to bloat your blog with another similar article, but rather to ensure that there would be either a unique angle to the topic, haven't published yet topic so you may be the first to create or to target the exact keyphrase through long-tail form approach.

GENERATE LOCAL CONTENT INSIGHTS FROM YELP 

If you're into local SEO, this technique can be a huge advantage for you.

Supposed that you want to produce more local sales pages, instead of going through the normal approach of using keyword research tools for keyphrases like "pet care", why not reverse engineer a popular review website's organic keywords and see if they populate keywords you could target or haven't targeted yet for sales pages.

yelp homepage

Start by entering yelp.com into an SEO tool of choice (I'm using Ahrefs for this example). Select their organic keywords section and filter results based on your industry topics.

ahrefs yelp organic keywords

See for yourself which keyword is relevant to target for your local website's sales page.

REVERSE ENGINEER SLIDESHARE FOR VISUAL CONTENT 

There are a lot of image link building strategies in the search space today, but one that's not really maximized to its full extent is reverse engineering top visual submission websites.

Slideshare, for example, dominates most of the reports, data, and visual-driven keywords.

slideshare

If you want to produce an infographic or create a visual-oriented content, you can plug in Slideshare or other top visual websites and see what keywords they're currently ranking.

ahrefs slideshare organic keywords

Filter these keywords based on your industry topics and assess which one you can target for your brand's visual content.

PUBLISH ARCHIVE OF STATISTICS 

There is one powerful tactic that will help you consistently earn authority links over time and even get competitors backlinks, that is producing statistics content.

You can produce it internally if you have same data in place, or curate exclusive and premium reports from trusted statistic websites like Statistica.

statistica

Moreover, if you see a statistics reports brought up year over year, you can provide an entire archive of statistics on your website. Given that many people are searching it every year, there's a definite value community is giving to such kind of report. In that sense, it's a huge advantage you can get if you have produced an entire archive of statistics.

google statistics report

archive of statistics

REVERSE ENGINEER CONTENT WITH REDDIT 

Reddit is a good place to develop your audience. It has only been misunderstood these days by some marketers banned because of their manipulative tactics to get more visibility in their subreddit of choice. But if you do things properly, you can get repetitive traffic from the website by submitting or putting out content.

One way to reverse engineer success in Reddit is to use Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo has an incredible feature of giving you Reddit engagements similar to the usual number of social shares (Facebook, Twitter) you see in every URL.

reddit engagements buzzsumo

By looking at Reddit engagements, you can assess if the topic of your choice has a potential to get massive traction in its specified Reddit.

It's a lazy behavior to make an assessment of the traction a topic based on the overall total score from social shares and other websites' engagements. Given that each network or site has its own set of audience (with its own culture of engagement, interest and style), it would be reasonable to stick on looking at one engagement score, in this case, Reddit engagements alone.

If you can find a topic with good potential engagement on Reddit, you can craft a content that is suitable only for a sub-reddit.

One way to get the most out of your Reddit initiative is to submit content's URL to a sub-reddit during optimal times. You can use a tool like Later for Reddit to schedule your post at your desired day and time.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

One way to promote your website is to make use of your professional organizations your company or entity has been a partner of.

There are Chambers of Commerce, industry professional organizations,and other similar sites you  can contact to for further promotion of your brand.

There are entities that will require recurring payment, some would love just a donation in exchange for a feature on a page or on a magazine or exhibit event.

Whatever it is, make sure you find them first and reach out to them whenever you see them fit to your brand.

Start your link prospecting process by using any of these search queries:

  • “KEYWORD” Business Association
  • “KEYWORD” Directory or Business Association “CITY”
  • “KEYWORD” Chamber of Commerce
  • “POSTAL CODE/ZIP CODE” Chamber of Commerce
  • “POSTAL CODE/ZIP CODE” Directory
  • “INDUSTRY” association “STATE/PROVINCE”
  • national “INDUSTRY” association

You can check out this guide for more search queries targeting professional organizations.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Without any cost, every person can spend their time engaging the community. When I started my first blog, Digital Philippines (now redirected to SharpRocket link building blog), one of the things that I regularly did is to look for specific channels, networks and websites I could provide value by asking and answering questions.

quora stats

Most of the time, people think that you have to be an expert before you start going outside of your blog and looking for places for engagement. It's not the way industry practitioners work today. In fact, you'll find most of them just asking questions to one another, creating an Ask Me Anything section and then roll over conversations.

Here are some places where you can start promoting your website through engagement:

  • Industry twitter chats
  • Webinars
  • Quora
  • Community Blogs

It is important to monitor your performance in engaging the community and check which inputs will you give the maximum outputs in return.

One good approach is to choose specific questions on Quora that got traction already in the past and still getting more views given they're currently ranking for some informational keywords. If more people are searching for the question and has landed on Quora question page, your answer may potentially get more exposure (adding up if your answer is marked as top answer).

quora ahrefs

DISCOVER AND PRACTICE

There are hundreds of ways to promote your website that I haven't covered here. But if you would like to take little steps in website promotion, start implementing tactics above and see if they worked for you.

Discover more approaches to get traction for your website by reading SEO and link building blogs, guides, and ebooks. Practice them as soon as ponder them to be of useful to you. There's no way you can say it works if you haven't executed it properly.


gmail extensions

10 Gmail Extensions for Email Outreach and Link Building

Gmail has been widely used as a common outreach platform for marketers reaching out to webmasters, publishers, and other link partners. In hopes for any action from the end-user (i.e. a link or social share), marketers send initial pitches and engages respondents until the desired action is made.

gmail extensions

Today, we'll cover 10 Gmail extensions that will allow you to speed up some email outreach processes for link acquisition and other content promotion initiatives.

 

1. Mailtrack. io

Cost: From Free to $4.99 per month subscription ($2.49 per year - a huge discount if you subscribed annually)

Useful for: Email tracking

mailtrack io email tracking tool

Mailtrack.io allows you to check if your emails were sent and opened by recipients. You can even see how many times and in what particular hours your emails were opened by clicking the Mailtrack. io section of the email.

mailtrack tracking check lines

Knowing how your emails were treated will help you then, take appropriate actions.

For example, if your email hasn't been opened for days and weeks, it is unwise to send a follow-up email when the original one was not read yet. You may, in this particular instance, try to look for another contact person and his or her email address from the same page or website. Reach out and ask if he or she can direct your message to your desired contact.

Mailtrack.io also notifies you in real-time when you are logged into your Gmail account.

If you are subscribing as a Pro user, you will have access to its additional features such as click tracking (knowing when your recipients click on the links in your emails), and reminders (receiving email notifications if your emails have not been read after 24 hours). Both of these features help you better monitor your outreach accounts.

2. Grammarly

Cost: From Free to Premium Accounts ($29.95/month or $11.66/month for annual subscription)

Useful for: Email grammar check

grammarly

Every email needs to be checked for any grammatical errors, tone, style, messaging and any other factors that makes them successfully opened, read and responded to.

By integrating Grammarly to your Gmail account, you will quickly notice if the content of your email needs grammar improvement. You can correct any errors as quickly as possible and send a beautifully touched pitch to your potential link partner.

You will avoid the painful mistakes of not receiving a positive response just because one word or phrase confuses the entire message of your email.

Of course, there are words or phrases in certain lingos that should be added to make your email relevant to its end user. In that case, simply ignore red underlines of Grammarly.

3. Unroll. me

Cost: Free

Useful for: Email inbox cleaning

There are websites wherein the only way to contact them is through their contact forms. If you're in a hurry filling out those forms, you may have overlooked the default check box option for email subscription updates (normally located at the bottom of the contact form).

Several unnecessary (promotional) email updates like that, from different sites will now clutter your Gmail inbox (in which the inbox is supposedly created for linker outreach purposes only).

unroll me unsubscription gmail extension tool

Unroll.me helps you easily clean your inbox by unsubscribing from emails you don't want to see - these primarily include email updates from websites you reach out via their contact forms. Unless you are really interested in their updates, it is best to delete them to focus you more of outreach emails you have to reply to.

4. Gorgias Templates

Cost: Free

Useful for: Initial pitch, Email conversations

If you ever wonder how you can scale your outreach with ease, then you probably need Gorgias Templates.

By integrating this extension to your Gmail account, it allows you to quickly add an email template (or semi-outreach template) straight to your email. It is quite similar to Gmail's Canned Response but offers lesser friction by choosing and using any of these two methods.

First, you can click on the G button and the appropriate template for your email. The email template will be generated automatically.gorgias templates

Second, you can type in the shortcut text and click TAB in your keyboard to insert templates quickly.

You don't have to copy and paste your email templates when you use Gorgias Templates. With a few clicks and shortcut tabs, you'll be able to send hundreds of emails within hours. So if you are ever looking for high efficiency in outreach, then this Gmail extension should be your first choice.

5. Discoverly

Cost: Free

Useful for: Customizing email pitches

Knowing about your recipient's interests, needs and/or wants is vital in customizing your email pitch. The simplest way to do it is to use Google to research and to collect these details, but doing so for hundreds of your contacts will definitely consume a huge chunk of your time.

Discoverly, a Gmail extension, can be your alternative tool to quickly view your potential link partner's details and go quickly to their social profiles - if you want to.

You don't have to switch your tabs to and from your Gmail platform, all you have to do is to click on your contact's email address and a Discoverly section will pop-up in a second.

6. Right Inbox

Cost: From Free to monthly subscription of $7.95/month ($5.95/month for an annual subscription)

Useful for: Customizing email pitches

Gmail adds another feature in their platform that tells you if an email hasn't received a response from your end (or needs a follow-up).

That's an interesting Gmail feature now, if you ask me. But still, I am yet to come across a feature on their tool that allows you to schedule emails at a specific day and time.

recurring right inbox

RightInbox, a freemium tool offers you the ability to schedule your emails at your preferred day and time. Not only that, if you want to get reminders from recurring emails (not necessarily the ones that need follow-up), but emails you should respond to within the day, that in itself helps you organize your email communications. 

7. Inbox When Ready

Cost: From Free (14 days trial) to $4/month (Pro) and $30/month (Team)

Useful for: Focus on email conversations

Distractions may come your way when you're doing outreach. These distractions include promotional newsletters from websites you've subscribed to unintentionally, i.e. default check on boxes on websites' contact forms, alert notifications of read emails from another Gmail extension or even, failed messages.

If you're not prepared for this, you may lose your focus instantly and could totally affect your deep work activities (discussion with your content development team, brainstorming on new linkable ideas, and so on).

Inbox When Ready solves that problem of losing your focus by hiding your inbox by default.

inbox when ready

You can even define a schedule when will your inbox be locked out so you can batch processing of your emails at optimal times. Aside from scheduling inbox lockout, Inbox When Ready also shows you how much total time you want to spend on organizing your email communications.

In addition to features, you can hide category tab notifications that may distract you when replying to potential link targets. Instead of you opening or even reading promotional emails, you can disable them so you can focus on your Gmail's primary inbox.

8. Checker Plus for Gmail

Cost: Free

Useful for: Initial pitching, Email conversations

checker plus for gmail

Ever had a difficult time switching to different Gmail accounts which serve different purposes or are used for different outreach personas?

The hassle of signing out in current Gmail account and signing in to another one could be solved by installing Checker Plus for Gmail.

This Gmail extension allows you to easily manage multiple accounts. You can even set which account you want to pop-up notifications on your browser, and even read or delete emails without opening Gmail.

Checker Plus for Gmail is a very effective tool in ensuring your Gmail outreach accounts are properly managed. It's definitely a must-try if you have several outreach personal accounts.

9. Streak

Cost: From Free to $49/month (Professional) and $99/month (Enterprise)

Useful for: Initial pitching, Email conversations

One differentiator of Streak from other similar Gmail inbox management extensions is its ability to organize communication flow. Meaning, you can create different categories of your outreach flow by labeling which emails aren't interested with your email pitch, emails that are likely to give you a link or emails that need follow-up sooner.

Streak also makes easy to share emails across team without the need to forward or even your cc team members.

If you prefer customer relationship management or CRM-like structure Gmail extension, Streak fits your choice.

10. KeyRocket

Cost: Free

Useful for: Initial pitching, Email conversations

keyrocket gmail shortcuts

Shortcuts in any form or area makes you more efficient than ever.

But the only reason why we don't maximize them to some extent is we don't really know them.

There's a Gmail extension tool that will keep you and me semi-memorized keyboard shortcuts specifically on Gmail — that is, KeyRocket.

KeyRocket's shortcuts come just at the right time when you need it. For example, if I need to go to my inbox, what I need to press on my keyboard is G then I.

KeyRocket tracks your movements and suggest appropriate shortcuts to help you get things done faster. It's like an assistant working beside with you that provides quick and helpful tips and tricks.

There you go, these are 10 Gmail Extensions that I've found to be incredibly valuable in managing your Gmail outreach accounts. Try one, two, or five of these tools and let me know in the comments section how they've helped you in your outreach efforts.

For Further Reading:

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


followup-emails

Strategy for Follow-Up Emails to Link Prospects

In this blog, I've covered a lot of topics pertaining to outreach, from pitching bloggers, finding contacts' email addresses to making tweaks to certain outreach facets to increase response rates.

But one that I haven't discussed yet is on the subject of follow-ups.

followup-emails

There are four realities that I can base from my experiences about the importance of sending follow-up emails.

First, follow-up emails may remind non-respondent contacts about what they've missed in the initial pitches you've sent them. They may read the entire message, but have forgotten to respond, unless they've had follow-up tools like Followup.cc and Boomerang to remind them to reply.

In reality, not all links you'll be building every month will be generated from your initial pitches. At most and you should base it from your own testing, you'll find that a huge percentage of your links may come from your follow-up emails. This speaks of the second important reason of such activity.

Failure to follow-up initial non-respondents is a missed opportunity to get the desired links.

Lastly, follow-up emails may speak of your persistence of sending value-driven messages to your contacts. However, doing so aggressively may affect how your site/brand may be perceived to be offering value whether in a form of content submission, collaboration or any potential brand equity.

There are a few points I have to make in this post and may spark some ideas to you to A/B test and see which option may work for you.

 

1. New email with the original message or email sent as a reply to the initial pitch

There isn't any better email practice between these two options. One has more advantages than the other, and vice versa.

When you send new emails with the original message, you may recoup what has been an error in the first email. Strictly check why it hasn't been sent in the first place - it may be an erroneous input from your end - such that, a wrong email address. Receiving a bounced email for the second time is a clue of that.

mail delivery failed message

Sending new emails can also give you the luxury of trying another email subject line that may at this time, capture the eye of the recipient and can get your email be opened.

Follow-up emails sent as a reply to the initial pitch can best work if the original message has been opened and read, given that it'll also have a chance to be opened and read as well.

One drawback from that is that the recipient might have to click on … to see the previous message, which may add friction to the conversation.

continue dots email

Both of the options: new email with the original message and email sent as a reply to the initial pitch may work in different circumstances. There are many variables that may come into play for follow-ups, but can be an interesting item to A/B test against to see which option is significantly more effective than the other.

2. Channel non-respondents with social accounts

In general, there are three ways on how to approach outreach with social accounts like Twitter.

First, ask for the contact's personal/direct email address. It'd be easy to engage in conversations when email is valid and is directly accessible by your contact. This will help avoid back-and-forth emails as to who you should reach out to for a certain matter - inclusion of a link request on one of their pages, for example.

Twitter-outreachI've covered this outreach technique in my post about building contextual links - you may want to check that out.

Second is to directly pitch your contact using Twitter after several outreach attempts with no replies. Unlike the first approach where you'll get the contact's email address and channel it back to your email conversations for engagement, what you'll need here is basically identifying the Twitter profile and pitching your message straight.

initial pitch through Twitter

The third approach requires a considerable amount of time to get some returns. If you have sourced your contact from Twitter, either you've seen him being recommended as a top contributor in your niche or have siphoned him from a public Twitter list of bloggers or influencers.

Let your contacts know where you've found them by using lines such as, "I saw you as a recommended blogger follow on Twitter and wanted to follow" instead of "I'd like to make a follow-up" - which is useless to say.

3. Following up on engaged link prospects

There's a natural tendency to follow-up link prospects when they haven't responded yet, or just awaiting for a confirmation of a link acquired or a content being submitted for review.

If you're reaching out to people who've previously linked to similar content pieces (e.g. resource page curators), the basic recommendation is to not give them any instructions, since they're natural linkers. In the first place, they usually know what to do next - either to link or share your content, which really depends on how useful your content is to them or to their audience.

So, in what scenarios would you send a follow-up email to an engaged link prospect?

For guest contribution, a follow-up email to an editor who've been reviewing your content for a while but haven't respond yet is worth considering, for reason that they may have almost forgotten to review your content or they made it into final draft, but haven't notified you.

Just make sure to keep your follow-up email short and to-the-point. No need to overload them with information you've already  given them; just give them a reminder and get the conversation going again.

There is no particular set of rules here, but as you go through conversations, you'll be able to find the right timing to follow-up link prospects and to identify which contact person needs follow-up or not.

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


email outreach

Six Small Differences You Can Make to Your Email Outreach

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

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

email outreach

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

1. VALIDATE EMAILS SCALABLY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

email verification tool

deliverability email validation tool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

email who to contact person

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

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

3. GIVE CONTEXT IN YOUR EMAILS

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

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

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

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

context in emails

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

4. TRACK SIGNIFICANT REJECTIONS

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

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

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

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

circle of concern circle of control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. FOLLOW-UP WITH ANOTHER EMAIL FORMAT

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

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

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

three options follow up email

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

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

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

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


skyscraper-technique-case-study

Skyscraper Technique Case Study

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

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

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

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

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

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

skyscraper-technique-case-study

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

 

1. START BY IDENTIFYING FREQUENTLY-SEARCHED TOPICS

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

ahrefs sleep for kids search volume

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

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

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

ahrefs question feature

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

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

sleep for kids google search results pages

3. STRATEGIZE HOW TO OUTCOMPETE LINK-WORTHY CONTENT  

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

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

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

For this case study, I choose option 2.

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

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

sleep for kids indexed pages

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

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

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

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

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

quora questions skyscraper technique

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

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

cognitiveseo content assistant tool

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

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

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

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

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

sleep for kids infographic

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

skyscraper content

4. PITCH LINKERS AND INFLUENCERS

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

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

1. Be specific about the format of your content

subject line email pitch 1

2. Mention the site when it matters

subject line email pitch 2

3. Convey the email's purpose.

4. Pitch your content to journalists in their language

subject line email pitch 3

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

subject line email pitch 4

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

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

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

OUTREACH PROCESS IN ACTION

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

acquired link 1

acquired link 2

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

Then, acquire high-quality links:

skyscraper acquire link 1

skyscraper acquire links 2

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

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


image link building

9 Powerful Image Link Building Strategies (That Actually Work)

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. SKYCRAPE OLD INFOGRAPHICS

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

Just kidding..

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

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

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

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

Skysrape an old visual asset.

How can you do that at scale?

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

buzzsumo search filter

filtered infographics search results buzzsumo

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

Further Reading: 4 Intermediate Tips to Improve Guestographics

2. UTILIZE EVENT EXPERIENCES LINKS USING FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

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

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

Photos.

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

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

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

event photos

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

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

3. CREATE CONTENT FOR "QUOTES" KEYWORD

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

fitness quotes

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

parenting quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second is to make it part of a big post.

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

4. REPOINT SLIDESHARE LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE

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

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

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

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

Ahrefs can help you with this.

slideshare links

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to Link Reclamation

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

5. CURATE CONFERENCE SLIDES

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

search love 2017 slides curation

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

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

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

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

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

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

slideshare links rank page one

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

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

6. TRACK MENTIONS OF FLICKR ACCOUNT

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

flickr links account

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

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

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

photo captured by link

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

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

7. RANKING OPPORTUNITIES WITH VISUAL CONTENT USING PINTEREST

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

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

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

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

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

How to start this content creation approach?

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

domain pinterest.com

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

industry ideas semrush

Then filter again with keyword difficulty.

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

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

backyard fence ideas

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

8. REVERSE ENGINEER IMAGE SITE LINKS

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

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

Image directories 

Example link

indulgy

Loyalty cards

Example link

loyalty card image site link 1

loyalty card image site link 2

Partnerships or Sponsors

Example linkpartnership or sponsor image link -

Professional Organization Links

Example link

professional organization image link

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

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

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

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

How did it started?

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

competitor link analysis

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

csv backlink report

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

image type filter

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

polyvore image link

9. IMAGE SHARE WITH OTHER WEBSITES

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

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

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

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

cinemagraph example

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

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


contextual-links

7 Insanely Actionable Tactics to Build Contextual Links

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

But first…

What is a contextual link?

Here's a good definition from Jason Acidre:

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

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

Targeted traffic. Leads. Online brand presence.

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

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

 

1. MAXIMIZE TARGETED OUTREACH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

contextual-linking-2

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

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

contextual-linking-1

The answer is, "it depends."

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

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

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

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

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

external links audit

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

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

dynamic page

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

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

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

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

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

Second tip:

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

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

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

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

DA21 website

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

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

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

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

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

upward trend traffic

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

3. EVALUATE SIMILAR PAGE LINKS FOR HOMEPAGE ASK

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

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

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

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

external links homepage ask

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

Here are some true signs of a potential homepage link:

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

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

4. LINK EXCHANGE EXCLUSIVELY FOR LINKABLE ASSETS

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

link exchange for linkable assets outreach

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

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

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

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

Below are more tips to guide you with this tactic:

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

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

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

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

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

B. Assess their preferred linking page.

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

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

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

C. Identify which page you could put their link.

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

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

D. Check if you could also get a link.

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

site search for link exchange

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

5. USE TWITTER TO NUDGE BLOGGERS ABOUT BROKEN LINKS

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

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

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

Nothing happens so you proceed to your next outreach prospect.

This is an opportunity cost..

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

How about sending a direct message on Twitter to connect?

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

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

Twitter-outreach

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

broken links common pitch

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

6. FIND INDUSTRY LINK ROUNDUP TERMS TO INCREASE CONVERSION RATES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I mean?

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

travel link up

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

grape collective link roundup

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

grape wall link roundup

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

7. INVITE CONTRIBUTORS USING DIFFERENT OFFERS

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

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

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

biggerpockets

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

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

biggerpockets organic traffic

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

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

The hardest part is getting them onboard.

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

Below are some valuable offers to make for bloggers:

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

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

new blogs author contributors

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

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


23 Actionable Tips to Get Backlinks in 2016

23 Actionable Tactics to Get Backlinks in 2018

23 Actionable Tips to Get Backlinks in 2016

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

How to Get Backlinks

Here are some tips to get backlinks to your site in 2018.

1. PRIORITIZE AUTHORS' FAVORITE LISTS

author favorite lists

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

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

personal finance blogs recommended

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

2. USE CMS ATTRIBUTION TO QUALIFY PROSPECTING

cms attribution

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

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

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

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

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

3. RECONNECT TO EMAILS WITH AUTOMATED RESPONSES

out of office email

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

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

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

4. LEVERAGE TWITTER LISTS FOR BULK PROSPECTING

twitter list personal finance

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

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

twitter list google search

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

5. USE FACEBOOK FOR CONTENT AGGREGATION

facebook content aggregation

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

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

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

6. BUILD PERSONAL BRAND IN WEB COMMUNITIES

inbound ama

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

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

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

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

7. BUY-IN CONTENT GAP

content gap

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

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

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

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

8. ALIGN OUTREACH WITH HIGH TRAFFIC PERIODS

high traffic periods

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

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

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

Additional Resource: How we reached a 16% response rate in email outreach (+ 9 actionable tips)

9. CREATE SUCCESS STORIES-TYPE OF CONTENT

success stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. INCORPORATE PROSPECT LISTS TO SEARCH QUERIES

xy prospecting

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. PREDICT LIFETIME LINK VALUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. MANIPULATE LINK LISTS WITH LINKCLUMP

linkclump link lists

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

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

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

13. LEVERAGE CONTENT REUSAGE

content reusage workflow

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

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

14. USE TAXONOMIES TO EXPAND LINK LISTS

categories

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

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

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

inurl tag google search

15. COMMENT ON POSTS LIKELY TO RANK

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

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

referral traffic

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

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

16. GENERATE LEADS FROM SOLUTION-BASED BACKLINKS

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

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

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

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

answerthepublic

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

whirlpool forum

17. PROSPECT EASILY WITH MILLIONSHORT

million short

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

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

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

dropdownmenu millionshort

18. ESTIMATE LINK PROBABILITY

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

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

gardening resource page links

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

gardening resource page

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

19. REQUEST EDITORIAL LINKS FROM SOCIAL LINKERS

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

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

ahrefs twitter links

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

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

Hi [Name],

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

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

Thank you again,

[Your Name],

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

20. RE-ENGAGE DOMAINS THAT REMOVED BACKLINKS

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

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

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

links removed

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

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

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

21.GUEST POST PROSPECTING USING BRANDMENTIONS

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

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

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

22. EARN LINKS USING SLIDE DECKS

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

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

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

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

slideshare links opensite explorer

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

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

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

23. PERSONALIZE EMAILS TO GENERIC EMAIL ADDRESSES

generic emai -addresses

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

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

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

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES:

HAVE WE BEEN HELPFUL?

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

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

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


broken link replacements

Broken Link Replacements for Better Link Conversion

Effective outreach requires giving value to link prospects. When you identify their WIFM (what's in it for me?) in your pitch, it gives you an edge over the competition.

Now you're not just milking the person for a link, but trying to give that person value upfront.

One that offers much value to webmasters and have been done effectively is finding replacements to broken links.

You've been told that when you do broken link building, you tell a webmaster about his broken links and suggest your content piece as a replacement to one of the defunct links.

Providing one replacement to one broken link is good, but what if you try to give replacements to 2 or 3 broken links you've found on the page?

The value of your pitch increases. It's much better when you proactively look for other replacements to their broken links than just sending your content piece as a replacement to one.

Before I share with you how to find broken link replacements, here is how you can check first the resource page if it has any broken link(s).

 

LINKMINER - RECOMMENDED BROKEN LINK CHECKER

There are many tools out there to check a resource page for broken links, but one that I recommend is LinkMiner.

You have to install it on your Chrome browser.

By clicking the LinkMiner tool, you can run the page to check for any broken links.

This simple tool created by Jon Cooper has an advanced feature that lets you see the number of referring domains that a specific broken links has.

linkminer checking broken links

This allows you to check further external pages if they have been linked to by other related links pages (giving you more link opportunities).

To keep things organized, my suggestion is to create columns on your spreadsheet to place broken links you've found on each links page.

broken links spreadsheet

This saves you a lot of time when responding to positive replies of webmasters (like this example email below).

tell me where is the broken link email

You don't have to check the links page again through LinkMiner when you already have listed its broken links.

Include at least 2 or 3 broken links, preferred ones that are under a section where you want to get a link for your content. Let's say you want a link under a Resume Writing & Cover Letters section, check if there are broken links beneath the section. If you can't find one under your preferred section, you can get ones from other categories.

Before putting broken links with their corresponding anchor texts to your database (or spreadsheet), check if they are actually broken. What I mean is that sometimes, a link highlighted as red by the tool (supposed to be broken) is just redirecting to a new page/site or the link is actually functioning properly (the tool misses it).

WHAT REPLACEMENTS FOR BROKEN LINKS WILL YOU SUGGEST?

When you receive a response from a webmaster saying, "Can you let me know which link you found that is not connecting?" or  "Thank you for letting us know.  Can you point out which hyperlink is broken?", your next response is to send broken links with their respective replacements.

Here's how to find replacements for defunct links. 

1. USE SITE INTERNAL SEARCH OPERATOR 

The easiest way to find a replacement for a broken link is to actually look for the newer version of the broken page. Most of the time, the broken page has its new page published in the same website.

To check, use the search operator, use site:domain.com "Page Title".

For this example, this defunct category link found on this links page is not redirected to their new category page. The blog section is removed and yet no redirection to the new link.

Another example is this 404 page supposed to be redirected to its new URL.

By using the above search operator, you can easily find the new link of the broken page.

site search operator page title

There are cases when you unquote the keyword and can find the new page.

2. DO GOOGLE SEARCH FOR "PAGE TITLE" OR "ANCHOR TEXT USED" 

If the broken link doesn't have a new page within the same website (it's been killed by the webmaster already), you'll sometimes find that they now have a new functioning website.

By doing a Google search for the exact page title, you can then check if it's placed on a new website.

anchor text used searchFor example, there is a broken link here with anchor text on its resource page. The best replacement is a page on another website with the exact information

3. CHECK IF HOMEPAGE IS A BETTER REPLACEMENT 

There are times when you can't find the new page with similar information inside and outside of the website. And the best replacement is the homepage.

For example, this error page here for teacher recruitment service can be best replaced with a link to the homepage. It's the safest replacement given that there's an easy search function on the website one can use to find out more about schools services.

4. SUGGEST THE LINK TO BE REMOVED 

Sometimes, you'll find broken pages that are not evergreen, i.e. in the case of news article and is put down by the webmaster.

If the page is no longer available and there's no good replacements for it, the better help for the webmaster is to tell him to remove the broken link from the resource page.

This also avoids confusion for visitors redirected from the links page.

SUGGEST YOUR CONTENT PIECE AS A REPLACEMENT

There's one thing you don't want to forget when doing broken link building, that is suggesting your content piece to be added on the resource page.

When you give assistance up-front, it's easy to suggest something of additional value to them, especially if the content you're offering fits to one of their categories/topics on their links page.

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