A new SEO project can be both an exciting and yet intimidating challenge to take on whether you’re a seasoned SEO pro, or if you’re brand new to it. When it comes down to optimizing a site for search, there are essentially four important areas that will determine the success of your campaign.
- Keywords — the backbone of any SEO campaign. These ultimately determine the industries you’ll be targeting, implied intent behind search terms, and the subject matter for enticing search users.
- Technical — cleaning up just half of the amount of site errors makes it easier for your site to be crawled and gives signals to the search engines that you care about user experience.
- Content — some will argue this is the most critical part, seeing as how content provides the necessary context to search engines as to why your page answers a particular keyword or phrase. And it is important, but not nearly as important as...
- Links — Links may not be as valuable to an SEO campaign as they once were, but this is where your efforts should be focused in the long-term. Considering that not only marketers believe in the power of links, but Google has actually come right out and said how important they are.
The value of links has been downplayed in favor of content in recent memory, but in reality, the two have become synonymous with one another. Building links is critical, and guest blogging is just as relevant now as it was more than a decade ago.
Content for link building is two-fold; if you’re doing outreach for guest blogging, you need to contribute content of extremely high value, but also the link you’re trying to score must also be going somewhere good (as in linking to high-quality content).
But even if your content is golden, finding a home for your guest blog is no simple task. Strong outreach is the foundation of your link building campaign, and without the right strategy or tactics, most sites will just reject your pitch.
Every link builder has their go-to tricks of the trade, but if you’re looking for some alternative ways for building killer links, here are five outreach tactics you need to try.
1) No Fuss, No Muss Email
As someone who spends a lot of their day researching, evaluating, and emailing third party sites for contributing content, it’s easy to overthink things.
- “Does this site fit the topic I want to write about?”
- “Does the editor or site owner know if I’m writing on behalf of an agency/brand?”
- “Does this site even accept guest content?”
There’s tons of validity to creating email templates when performing outreach so you can scale your efforts. Generally, if you have some sort of proof that a site regularly accepts guest blogs or even has resources on their contribution guidelines, it’s safe to assume that you can drop them a line or use your email pitch template.
But there are those cases where you come across a site that’s a perfect contextual match for your guest post, but you’re not entirely sure if the site owner would even think about hosting it.
For example, say you want to write a product round-up piece on a site which has similar content, but the site is clearly part of an affiliate marketing program. Is it time to move on and keep looking?
As stated earlier, it’s easy to overthink your outreach when you’re trying to balance efficient use of time while also trying to suss out good opportunities. So when you come across a site where it’s not clear whether they accept guest content, just go for it with an email that looks something like this:
The fact is that site owners get requests like this every day. But sometimes, many of us take too long to get to the point when pitching our guest content via email. This establishes right away what I’m after and took less than a minute to compose. The trick here is to at least mention the receiver’s name and the site you’re attempting to write for so it doesn’t feel templated.
The hardest part about outreach is getting your contact just to reply, and rejection is part of the game. By simplifying your email, you can scale your outreach and potentially send more emails in a day.
2) Get Social!
Without email, link building would become unnecessarily difficult since most professional link builders probably spend the majority of their days inside their inbox. It remains to be the number one most used communication tool for businesses, and building links is no different.
Email is great, but it definitely isn’t the be-all and end-all way to go about scoring opportunities. It’s time to start brush up on your social media relationship building skills.
Creating and fostering relationships is at the heart of guest blogging since you’re reaching out to strangers and trying to get something out of them. If there’s one surefire way to make yourself stand out from the crowd, hit up your contacts on Twitter:
It may seem like this wouldn’t work, but direct tweets usually demand attention more so than emails. Tweeting at brand/company Twitter handles can be a mixed bag, so try going right to the source and finding an editor’s personal Twitter handle.
If Twitter isn’t really your thing, you can also try sending your request to the site if they have a business page on Facebook. Business pages get a special score from Facebook if they quickly reply to all of their received messages. You’ll probably always get a reply and it can speed up the process of finding who it is you need to talk to about guest posting.
3) Handwritten Letters
The age of the Internet and connected smart devices has made it easier to talk to one another and yet easier to isolate ourselves from the outside world. The fact that email is still used so widely for business purposes proves that technology dictates how we communicate.
But think about the last time you received a handwritten letter and then think about the effort it took that person to write you that letter. Chances are that you do remember the last one you got and it was probably from a close friend or family member.
This is something that salesmen have been doing for decades, which is exactly why link builders should be doing this, too. Alternative outreach is based on standing out, and the human touch behind a handwritten letter is certain to do the trick.
4) Attending Relevant Networking Events & Conferences
If there was ever a reason to take your link building activities offline, it’s to seek out guest post opportunities via networking and meeting people face-to-face.
Relationships are what make link building work, and nothing beats interacting with someone in real life. By attending a conference or networking event relevant to the industry or niche you’re trying to target in your link building campaign, you’ll get a first-hand experience with people who are highly invested in these areas.
From community networking events to tradeshows, getting out there and meeting other attendees is ripe with opportunity to build relationships and getting in some rare face-to-face interaction.
The key here is to keep it personal and avoid the urge to pitch your guest content straight away. You’ll come off as annoying and being too “salesy” will only rub people the wrong way. Keep the conversation light and try to just be you.
5) Broken Link Outreach
One tried and true link building tactic relies on scouring the web for sites which point to broken competitor links in hopes of swapping in your link which should be a comparable replacement. It doesn’t even necessarily require that the broken links point to a competitor, but rather that the link is from a contextually relevant site.
Through finding the site owner’s contact information, you’ll want to alert them of the broken link and hopefully they appreciate your email and make a quick fix. Where content outreach comes into play is continuing to foster a relationship with the site even after the initial contact. You can either try to find other broken links or keep up regular touch points via social media.
Once you’ve established some rapport, you can then swoop in and pitch your guest content. You’ve already provided value, so this would take things to the next level if you can give them a great blog post that their readers will appreciate.
Creating Value, Fostering Relationships
The greatest link building outreach tactic is out there, but it may not fit everyone’s style. Whether you’re using email, snail mail, social media, or even face-to-face meetings in your link building campaign, there are two ways you get a site to say “yes” to your guest post.
Give them something (create value); build a rapport (foster a real relationship).
- The Reciprocity Link Building Method
- What Is “Natural Link Building”
- 5 Practical Link Building Strategies for Local Businesses
* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com