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.

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.

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

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


guestographics

4 Intermediate Tips to Improve Guestographics

Guestographics is publishing visual assets on external industry blogs with the hope of getting contextual links pointing to a website.

Coined by Brian Dean, the said link building strategy has been abused used in acquiring legitimate links to their sites. It's effective in industries where bloggers want to delight their audience with new content type (visuals), or want to share data/story/message that deserves to be heard.

A lot of SEO case studies have been published about guestographics. Here's one article where a blogger used guestographics to grow his pet blog's organic traffic by 975% within 6 weeks.

To execute this link building strategy, Brian Dean shows a five-step process that you can run smoothly in your industry.

Step 1: Post an infographic on your site

Step 2: Find sites that write about your infographic’s topic

Step 3: Show them your infographic

Step 4: Offer them unique content (“the bribe”)

Step 5: Get your contextual backlinks

I recommend you read Brian's entire guide to get further details on how to execute each step above.

But for you to get something new today, I'll show you 4 actionable tips on how you can improve the strategy further and also share with you other areas where it can also be applied.

Here we go.

1. UTILIZE EMAIL FRAGMENTS IN VISUAL CONTENT OUTREACH

It's easy to copy and paste an outreach email template from an SEO blog and replicate it on your own outreach campaign. However, without knowing the principles why it worked in the first place, it can only give you initial success.

Emails like I like your blog and found you on [insert link source] or I stumbled upon you on [source] and thought that you'll be interested in my infographic hammered many inboxes of industry bloggers and publishers. They mostly go to spam folder and don't help get returns in email outreach.

The way to stand out in email is to use a compelling, short, and personalized subject line such as this SiegeMedia's subject line format:

[ASSET TYPE] for [WEBSITE]: [POST SUMMARY].

The reasons it's effective is because publishers can easily glance what content type you're trying to pitch to and what your asset contains by simply reading your subject line.

One-punch line can help improve your emails' open rates.

But effective outreach doesn't stop there.

It's important to include specific details that only that website has (Ross calls it email fragments) which gives a personalize hook to your email that will make it look like a one-time sent off email rather than a blast-off one. . 

To test how important email fragments are in linker outreach, I sent a bad outreach email to a high-authority industry publisher with their Website Name not correctly spelled out. Scheduled it to be sent at peak hours.

Then after a hours, I received a response from the editor.

wrong email fragments

Negative.

Five months later, I sent a similar pitch (but with the correct spelling of the website's name) to the same editor.

This time, I received a positive response wanting to publish the visual asset that we've created. They are asking for a custom intro and jpg/png version of the infographic.

correct email fragments

That may be a lame test (just one email) but I believe there are hundreds (if not thousands) of publishers checking their email inbox and choosing which email deserves a response based on how the pitch is structured and personalized.

The more you include email fragments in your pitch, the better results you'll get.

2. LEVERAGE INFOGRAPHIC PROMOTION WITH EMBED BOXES

Publishing your infographic is finishing the first half of the battle (content creation). You have to put more eyeballs to it in order to get traction and naturally earn links - that's the second half (content promotion).

As you know, people put embed boxes after infographics. This allows other bloggers to republish the exact visual asset on their own blogs without asking for permission from the original publisher.

This approach initiates the promotion of the visual asset.

Now take this step to the next level by giving a code to bloggers that'll allow them to put their own embed box on their blogs when republishing your visual asset. The publisher who then embeds the asset will also have an embed code with your details.

When bloggers look at your republished content and are interested to do the same on their own blogs, it's easy for them to republish it.

That way, it multiplies the promotion two times without having to reach out to bloggers who have read/connected with republishers.

When you pitch bloggers, you only give them an attachment of the image (png/jpg) for them to upload it on their sites. But it'd be much easier for them to publish the asset it you just send them a code.

The code should contain not only the image but also an embed code after the image. The code should look like this:

Let bloggers share the opportunity of links with you in the embed code. It looks like they've partnered with you in the promotion (co-marketing) when the visual asset is republished on another blog.

Customize the code by replacing Blogger with the Brand Name of the blogger and Your Blog with Your Brand plus links back to respective sites.

It's a win-win situation. You get a link, the blogger acquires a link as well.

3. SLICE OUT INFOGRAPHICS INTO MICRO VISUALS

I normally see long infographics that require several mouse scrolls to see the entire image. It's tiring to look at it on your screen, right?

While this denotes authority in some industries (because it's filled with a lot of data), what I've realized is that not all visitors will dare to check all the details inside the image. They only check the title and get the important facts.

One approach that you can do to not overwhelm your audience with too much content is to slice out a long infographic into two to even four micro images that won't break the entire message of the content, but rather help visitors pleasingly get each detail on a micro level.

However, it may not be applicable to all types of infographics, such as the case with instructographics or how-to visual assets because it obviously breaks the process of how to complete/do a "thing" (e.g. how to choose a bottle of wine).

how to choose wine instructographics

Nonetheless there are infographics that you can break down into micro pieces, like those with five or more data points, that are contextually related but can be divided into two. For example, "How Technology in City1, City2 and City3 Impacts Teen Dating and Women Violence", you can create micro images for Teen Dating and Women Violence. This is the case when both these two main data points can stand out independently in messaging.

4. LOCALIZE VISUAL DATA

Local-targeted links still play a huge role in ranking a local website for city-specific keywords.

There are a lot of link building strategies out there that helps you build local backlinks, such as local sponsorships (events, local clubs, schools), local alumni, student, and employee discount programs.

I’ll let you in on a secret. There's one link building tactic that is underrated in the SEO community - that is, local infographics creation and promotion.

It's common to see an industry-specific infographic, but having both industry-specific and local-targeted visual is rare.

Now the question is, how you can localize industry-specific visual data?

The first step is to find a local content source. You can use your company's internal data if you have one. But if you're looking for external source, you may search for available content in public data sites below:

Scour out these sites using local and industry keywords and see if there's a local and relevant public data source.

As an example, we've sourced out a research study about teen dating, abuse and bullying in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania by using the keyword, "bullying".

nacjd public data source website

The next step is to assess the relevance and credibility of the public data piece by looking at the version history. This helps you check whether the information is updated for the current year.

Lastly, transform the public data into a visual data either by hiring a freelance infographic designer or designing it yourself.

teen dating infographic

I hope this four-tips article gives you some spark in using guestographics effectively as one of your main-go link building strategies.

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


four-reasons-why-you-dont-get-resource-links

4 Reasons Why You Don't Get Resource Links

Every pitch receives a yes or a no. In resource outreach (more often known as broken link building), a "no" isn't a direct response of "no". Instead, a "no" is a reason of so many reasons why a webmaster or the person managing the page couldn't give your desired resource link.

 

1. NOT CURRENTLY UPDATING THE PAGE 

not updating currently

No matter how good the content is, if the page you're pitching to isn't currently open to any link updates, you won't be able to get the link.

So instead of crafting a lengthy email to describe your guide, try sending a short pitch first to ask if they're open for new link suggestions. An email may look something like this:

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

The reason this is important is because you're starting a small conversation first, not taking advantage immediately of the link opportunity  with a heavy pitch. You respect the person's time by asking if he or she considers resource suggestions, thus, you come off as less aggressive.

The sooner you get a "Yes" response from this approach, that's the time you can now describe how your content can best fit their links page and their audience.

2. REQUEST OVERLOAD AND SUFFICIENT RESOURCES

With so many SEOs building links to their sites/clients using the same link building strategy (broken link building), it's highly possible that a resource page is getting pitched almost every single day.

Take a look at these emails we've got:

(Request Overload)

overload requests(Sufficient Resources)

sufficient resources

Obviously there are hundreds, if not thousands, of webmasters receiving similar messages like the one above. It's a reality that you're not the only person pursuing for the same link opportunity. A competition among SEOs/link builders gunning for the same link prize is considered to be a problem, but can also be an opportunity.

If you consider this dilemma problem upfront, you can give yourself an opportunity to ask yourself questions regarding your content before actually pitching them to your link prospects.

One question you can ask is, "Does the content I'm suggesting have competing/similar content pieces on the links page?". What I mean with competing is if you have a "resume templates" guide, does the links page have resume links too? If you cater to both niche audience with the same information, but don't necessarily mean you're competing for the same keywords, that particular content piece is your content competitor.

You may as well check what keywords in URLs those resume links are trying to rank for. If they target the same as your content piece, it may also be considered as your competing content.

Two reasons why you need to check for competing content assets:

A. Know if your content asset fits a subtopic/sub-section of the links page.

This is a good idea because you know that there's a reason for the webmaster to insert a link to your page, as it fits into a category. It's less likely that a webmaster will create another section of the page to just give you the link if in case your content piece doesn't fit to any section.

subtopics resource page

B. Check if you can fill an informational gap.

To fill an informational gap, you can either create a better version of the content than anyone else (10x content) or provide a unique value (either in format/angle of the topic).

Place yourself in the webmaster's shoes. Ask yourself, why do I need to add the suggested resource on my links page considering there are two or three resource links covering the topic already?.

This question sets the bar of your content's quality - increasing your chances to get

For overload requests, the difference-maker in getting the resource link is your content's comprehensiveness and utility that fills in the gap in the category/information of the resource page.

3. NO CURRENT PERSONNEL TO ADDRESS 

no current personnel

It's frustrating to know that the reason you don't get the resource link is not because your content sucks, but there's nobody currently taking care of the resource page.

While there are some high-authority websites with ready-correct department - a group of people who ensures every resource link is reviewed to pass certain standards before they actually go live, there are a lot of other links pages with no current personnel handling them.

We've found that one way to ensure you're not missing those link opportunities is to mark the resource page or create a new tab that includes all of the link opportunities with no current personal addressing them. Then you can set a schedule time to follow up these links after two months.

You've done a lot of work to prospect the opportunity and write an outreach email, so it's a failure to get the potential equity it'd have been developed if you didn't follow up the person.

4. SOON TO DEATH RESOURCE PAGE 

soon to death

It's easy to jump off to another link opportunity when your target links page is going to be killed either because it's of no use to the webmaster or the department/personnel is not updating it anymore.

It happens, but there's a chance they might be creating a new links page with the same topic.

I recommend sending a follow up after a month, asking if they have a new resource page your content might be a good fit is a less work but can gain a return in outreach.

Other Useful Resources

So, those are the four reasons why you don't get resource links and tips on how to pre-solve those problems.

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


Local Link Building Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. UTILIZE JOBS PORTAL FOR QUICK LINK WINS

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

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

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

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

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

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

boston tech jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

email outreach jobs resource pages

With proper execution, we were able to acquire links:

resource page link first example

resource page link second example

2. CREATE LOCALIZED VISUAL DATA

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

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

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

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

nacjd public data source website

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

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

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

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

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

concised research study

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

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

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

Produced the visual data (partial image below):

teen dating infographic

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

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

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

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

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

sexual harassment injury blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

things to do in city pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

area to pages link building outreach

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

attraction resource pages

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

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

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

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

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

national apartments

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

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

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

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

ahrefs summer housing reverse engineering links

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

Finally, acquire the link:summer housing link

5. SERVE FSQ WITH LOCAL CONTENT 

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

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

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

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

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

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

moving resource example 1

moving resource example 2

moving resource example 3moving resource example 4

 

6. SEED ANSWERS TO LONG TAIL ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

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

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

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

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

seed forum link building

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

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

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

7. LEVERAGE REDDIT FOR LOCAL PROMOTION

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

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

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

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

siegemedia reddit promotion

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

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

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

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

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

inbounders facebook group

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


How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

How to Identify and Pursue Linkerati

Who are linkeratis?

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

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

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

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

How to Find Linkeratis

1. Leverage Link Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

digital marketer payment processing section

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

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

stripe domain authority

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

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

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

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

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

linkminer unique referring domains

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

2. Tap Exclusive Linkable Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

helpareporterout email

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

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

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

haro upwork job

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

3. Target Big Interest Areas in the Blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a video that explains his process.

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

4. Generate Content Ideas from Niche-specific Podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sexual health google search

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

How to Pursue Linkeratis

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

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

1. Identify Who Handles and Controls Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gov resource backlink

B. Provide Shared Mission and Interest in Outreach

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

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

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

small business resources page

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

shared mission outreach email

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

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

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

C. Include Outright Content Suggestion in Link Outreach

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

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

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

D. Drive Curiosity with Refined Outreach Process

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

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

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

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

The refined outreach method of SiegeMedia looks like this:

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

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

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

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

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

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