Category

Link Building

STRYDE | Why Outreach & Link Development MUST Be Part Of Your Content Marketing Efforts 1

Why Outreach & Link Development MUST Be Part Of Your Content Marketing Efforts

By | Link Building | No Comments

A holistic approach to content marketing is required for success. Every aspect of your presence online, from your website to your remarketing efforts need to be aligned perfectly. Too often, individuals will focus solely on creating killer content that they overlook how that content will reach consumers.

Planning the distribution and promotion of your content is essential not only after the content is created, but before and during as well. To quote the knowledgeable Larry Kim, “If your content doesn’t show up in users social media timelines or email inbox, was it even created?” You should constantly be active in online communities and touching base with recipients of your email list. With the shrinking world of organic reach via social media platforms, you’re well aware of the “pay to play” nature of the space.

But, there’s another aspect of content promotion that is vital to success in distribution. You need a tactic that better increases your chances of showing up the ever-important user social media timeline or email inbox.

Content Outreach & Link Development

Algorithm changes by Google as far back as 2013 began to target low quality links and put emphasis on high quality, natural linking strategies. While this did translate into a higher quality user experience, generating quality links takes a lot of manual work on the part of the marketer. The process involves prospecting, building relationships, creating valuable content, and then ultimately securing the link.

A Look At The Statistics

When your outreach involves building relationships with influencers in your industry, you set your content up for maximum growth potential. The experts in synthesizing and making sense of millions of pieces at content, BuzzSumo’s team found the following when it comes to influencer impact on content visibility.

Influencers and content shares

Image Courtesy of BuzzSumo

From the above graph, you can clearly see the near exponential impact that influencers have on content shares.

Tools Of The Trade

To perform content outreach and link development, you need to flex both your technical and interpersonal skill set. Specifically, you need the right tools and the right approach to fostering relationships.

The Best Link Development & Prospecting Tool

It’s worth restating that the process of link development is intensive. But, there are tools available to make the job much more efficient. My favorite tool for performing link prospecting and outreach is BuzzStream. With BuzzStream, you can keep track of prospects, link building, and outreach all in one place.

The tool offers capabilities to prospect links and efficiently perform outreach. You can find an excellent video tutorial that walks through using BuzzStream for link prospecting on YouTube. There’s also a great comprehensive walk-through of using BuzzStream for outreach on the Point Blank SEO blog. But just as with holistic content promotion, there’s more to outreach than simply using a tool. 

The Best Way To Foster Natural Outreach

When you really get down to the heart of the matter, if you solely rely on the processes you have in place or the tools you have to help you develop prospect lists and manage email outreach, those relationships simply aren’t reaching their potential. You need to go beyond the screen and connect with bloggers, journalists, and people in general in a meaningful way.

The goal in building these relationships should be rooted in a genuine desire to connect with like-minded individuals and individuals whom you admire. Then, the auxiliary benefit of these relationships is the potential to leverage them to increase linking root domains and ultimately increase search engine rankings.

Adopt A Holistic Approach

In order to effectively carry out your content marketing efforts, you must include outreach and link development alongside your existing promotion strategies. Have these approaches helped you reach your content marketing goals? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Unlinked Branded Mentions – The Link Builders Gold Mine

By | Link Building | No Comments

Whether you’re an SEO guru or a website owner looking to expand, link building is key to establishing the authority you need to build your site. More “authoritative” sources that you have linked to your site means more awareness of your brand on the web. With an ever-growing abundance of information on the internet,  It’s important for you be aware of the reach of your own brand and to know how to channel it to your favor.

You’re already being talked about.

If you or a client has a brand presence on the web, no matter the size, your brand is somewhere being mentioned. Unlinked brand mentions are plain-text mentions of your brand, without an actual link to redirect internet users to your site. Use these tips to find and convert these mentions to active links to your site and build your brand’s authority on the web.

Start Digging

You know you’re out there somewhere, now here are some tools to find out exactly where your brand is being mentioned.

Google Alerts– allows you to enter a search query you wish to monitor and receive daily email updates of the latest relevant Google results, that being news, web, etc. Using this tool, you can monitor content about your own brand and customize your search results via the “manage your alerts” tab. Advance your search results by searching for popular, relevant products and executive names.

Fresh Web Explorer– is a tool by Moz analytics which allows users to research and compare mentions and links, using the Freshscape Index. With this tool, Moz subscribers have access to over 3 Million RSS feeds and over 64 Million URLs.

Ahrefs– is a backlink checker but also features a tool called, “mentions tracker,” which allows you to search your brand and shows the results of where your brand is being mentioned on the web.  From there, you are able to filter through the social media sites and reach out to the sites where you may be able to build a link.

Mention.net– is a media monitoring tool that allows you to search your brand, as well as relevant “expressions” or keywords to reach out to more places where your site is being mentioned. It also features a “sources” tab where you can filter through social media and search for web results only, where actual links can be created.

Reach Out

You see that you’ve already produced content that has gained you a mention on another site. Now, be proactive about taking your credit for it, politely of course.

The way to acquire a link to your site is by sending a polite request to the website owner, webmaster, or editor.  Asking for links can be a bit of a delicate process, however. Many owners don’t like the idea of directing traffic away from their site. Show the person in charge that you would like to be properly mentioned, without ruffling their feathers too much. Consider your audience and which approach might best suit you.

Update Records

While browsing the site with the mention, check to see if any of the information mentioned about your brand is incorrect or out of date. If so, politely ask to have the information updated with your URL link. This is a most direct and more surface level approach.

Add Suggestions

This deeper-level approach can be a little dicey, but has the potential to be most effective. Examine the site where your brand is mentioned and offer a suggestion of a content correction that could be made. Don’t address anything too petty so as not to offend and do emphasize the value and relevance of the content, while mentioning how you would like to link it to your page. This tactic will grab the attention of the reader and you may be able to build a partnership out of this one.

Overcome Fears

You can aim to throw the common fear of “directing traffic away from the site” out the window by suggesting that the editor builds the link to open in a new window. This way, you may avoid an automatic “no” and retain the reader’s interest in your request.

Converting plain-text mentions to linked mentions is an excellent way to promote your brand and build your authority. The information is already out there. Now, your task is to find it, using tools such as those mentioned above, along with your politeness and persuasion to get the link.

What Does A Natural Link Portfolio Look Like?

By | Link Building | No Comments

This is probably one of the more common questions I get from clients and greenie SEOs when embarking upon a link building campaign.

The problem with this question is, there’s not a ‘perfect answer’ as it depends on the keywords you are optimizing and trying to drive traffic for. What I can tell you is, there are certain things I look for when doing a link analysis (regardless of keywords) to determine if there’s anything fishy going on and if there are any areas for improvement. I’d like to outline each of these areas below with a brief description.

Branded & Natural Anchor Text

One of the first things I look at when analyzing a link portfolio is the anchor text of the links already acquired. Here, I am looking to see if the backlink portfolio contains a good balance of branded anchor text, natural anchor text, and keyword driven anchor text.

In the first example, you can see that this website is building a lot of exact match keyword anchor text and not a lot of branded or natural anchor text. This could very well be a red flag to the search engines.

anchor-text

In the second example, this website has a lot of branded anchor text, with some partial match, and links with no anchor text at all. This is starting to look more natural.

anchor-text-two

Links To Deep Pages

The next thing I look at is link distribution across the website. Here I am looking at the number of links coming into the home page vs other pages deeper in the site. It looks very unnatural to have a high percentage of your links pointing at the home page.

In the first example, the website has built a high percentage of links to their home page, with very few to the other pages of their website. This could be a red flag to the engines.

deep-links

In the second example, this site has a ton of links going to the home page, but also a high number and good percentage of links going to other pages of their site. This looks more natural to the engines.

deep-links-two

Linking Root Domains

I also like to look at how many unique root domains are linking to the website. Having 100k links pointing at your site from one domain doesn’t do any good, in fact, can get your penalized or completely removed from the search engine indexes for being classified as a web spammer. I don’t think we need images to get the point across on this one.

Links From Unique IP Addresses

Along the same lines as linking root domains, I like to look at the number of domains across unique IP addresses that are linking to the website. Since the search engines look at links as ‘votes’, it would make sense that they would discount a large volume of links all coming from the same IP address since the sites are likely owned by the same person. No need for images on this one either.

Links From Trusted Sites

I then like to look for any links coming from highly trusted websites. For this example, I pulled the backlink portfolio of two websites in the SEO industry.

In the first example, the only link from a trusted website in the top 30 was Marketing Pilgrim.

trusted-sites

In the second example, the site has several links from trusted industry websites.

trusted-sites-two

Link Diversity

I also look for different types of links, meaning links coming from blogs, directories, news hubs, etc to see if there is a good distribution across many different types of sites. Just like with the other metrics I’ve covered in this post, too much of one thing is not natural! I don’t think we need an example for this one.

No Follow Links

Most SEOs try to game the system and by doing so, they build links that ‘pass the most link juice’. When doing SEO the right way, over time you will secure links that include the no follow attribute. This is natural and something that shouldn’t be avoided. A balanced backlink portfolio includes do follow and no follow links. If the number of nofollow links is dismal or non existent all together, it is a signal to the search engines that something might not be right. No example for this one.

Image Links

Lastly, I look to see if any links are coming from images, or if all are coming from text links. Natural link portfolios include image links and text links.

At the end of the day, if your backlink profile has a nice balance in each of these areas, you are probably okay and doing things right. You can also ask yourself, if Matt Cutts or Duane Forrester took at look at your link portfolio, would they be suspicious of anything? If so, you’ve got some work cut out for you to clean things up.

Do you have any questions or additions to the post? If so, please share in the comments section below.

Proactive Reputation Management & Link Building via Brand Monitoring

By | Link Building | No Comments

imagesFor those of you who know me, I am a huge advocate of “proactive” online reputation management. The last thing any business wants is to one day wake up and realize that their brand has been tarnished by unsatisfied customers talking negatively about their products or services and all of the sudden they are ranking for your brand name.

Also, for those who know me, I am a huge advocate in building efficiencies in processes and over the last few years, I feel like I’ve built a pretty efficient process to both monitor your brand reputation and secure high quality back links simultaneously. This is crucial to not only protect your brand, but secure top organic search engine rankings. Let’s get into the process.

Setting Up Brand Monitoring

The very first thing you need to do is set up the monitoring process. There are several tools on the market that can do this for you, but I would recommend two of them. First, the free option, Google Alerts and second, the paid option, Trackur. I’m not going to go through the detailed process of setting each of these up to monitor your brand (it’s pretty straightforward), however, I’d like to address what you should be monitoring:

  • Brand name
  • Names of your company executives
  • Names of your top products or services

Make sure to really think this through and add every variation of word your brand is associated with, doing so will allow you to proactively monitor negative content that shows up online.

Setting Up A Review Schedule

Because I’m a time management and efficiency freak, I usually don’t check my monitoring tools on a daily basis. For some brands… you know, those big ones like Dell, Nike, or Nordstrom, you may have to monitor daily, sometimes even hourly. I mean, Dell has a Social Media Command Center where they monitor their brand 24/7. I’ve seen it in person and it is freaking awesome!

dell-social-media-listening-command-center-3

When setting up a review schedule, you will need to make a business decision on how often you need to check in and see what’s being said about you. I recommend at least once per week and increase it as your brand awareness grows.

Opportunity Analysis

Once you have your review schedule set up, the next step is to look for opportunities. There are two different opportunities you are looking for.

  • Content that is negative toward your brand
  • Link opportunities
    • Brand mentions without a link back to your site
    • Use of an image, video, or digital asset without credit given

You should be able to open up the content, review, and determine if you need to take action in as little as a few minutes per piece.

Perform Outreach

Once you find an opportunity, you will want to put together a game plan to address it. Obviously, the way you address it will depend on the situation (negative or link opportunity). If you are doing some outreach for a negative post, you are going to have to put your customer service cap on, maybe even get someone from the client services team to help with messaging. Your goal here is to remedy the situation and get the negative content removed or updated.

If you are doing outreach to secure a link back to your site, you need to put on your marketer hat. Depending on the situation, you will need to craft a message (I like to go positive of course) as to why you would like them to link back to your site. Personalize it and sell it hard. This is often times one of the easiest forms of link building.

Outreach Management & Follow Up

To make sure that these brand mentions don’t disappear from Trackur or Google Alerts and become lost forever, I like to add them to Buzzstream. This helps me manage each opportunity and helps me to remember to follow up. You will want to spend some time reviewing and following up on a regular basis. This will increase your chances of getting negative content removed and of securing killer links.

So there’s my process… all laid out for you. What do you think? Am I missing anything? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Bullet Proof Link Building Strategies For 2013 – The Experts Weigh In (Part 2)

By | Link Building | No Comments

Two weeks ago, we published a post called ‘Bullet Proof Link Building Strategies For 2013 – The Experts Weigh In‘. For this post, we reached out to 25 of the industry’s brightest and asked them to provide us with what they believe will be the top three link building strategies for 2013. Over half of the individuals we reached out to were women in the SEO space, two of which responded (but didn’t provide a quote) and the rest didn’t bother replying to the email request at all.

Upon publishing and promoting the post via social media, we received some backlash that no women were included in the post. Because of the overwhelming (negative) response from the community, we decided to try again and publish a second post. This time around, we reached out to 21 women trying to increase our odds of getting enough response to put together a meaty post. A few of those we previously reached out to were happy to contribute (and did… woot!!), a few responded and said they would participate but didn’t (I’m sad we couldn’t hear from them), a few were downright nasty with us stating that this post is condescending (really???), and the rest didn’t bother responding… come on ladies 🙂

There was also some back and forth between editing the previous post (and adding to it) and creating a second post that stands alone from the first. We opted to create a second post due to the length of responses and felt that a 5,000+ word post wouldn’t do anyone any good.

So that’s enough background… There are a ton of great ideas in here, so let’s get started with Rhea Drysdale from Outspoken Media.

Rhea Drysdale

Let’s get real for a minute–you guys were awesome and reached out to me in the first link building interview series and I didn’t have a chance to respond in time. I did manage to forget about our email exchange and made a stink about there not being any women in the series on Twitter. We can save the discussion on gender diversity for another day, but that’s what sparked this women-tell-all follow-up and I’m sorry for setting the women’s movement back a few years by not responding initially. You have my undivided attention and thank you for the opportunity!

Narrowing this down to three link building strategies was tough. Here are my top picks:

1. PR (and social) collaboration (GASP!): I’ve had a chance to read the first interview to see what the men had to say. There were some definite themes/overlap–PR/relationships, guest posts, and great content. They’re all spot on and indicative of the evolution of the industry as a whole. I’d only have overlapped with John’s recommendations for PR partnerships though, which was my number one recommendation having just ended a process discovery call with one client’s PR agency and editorial calendar review with another client’s four PR agencies (yes, FOUR!). More than ever before PR and SEO agencies are finding a mutually beneficial relationship in campaign collaboration. PR agencies have the credibility and contacts to take our efforts to new heights. We have the technical background and strategy to drive significant results for PR campaigns that are historically difficult to put a return on and costly to produce. It’s a win/win!*

*Side note: link builders in 2013 (and beyond) who succeed will figure out not just the techniques/approach that works best for each vertical, but how to navigate the client relationship to bring their ideas to life. In 2012, link builders got too big for their britches and saw “RCS” campaigns die due to a lack of research, planning, or client trust. Without a doubt the most difficult part of high-quality, organic link development is getting client buy-in to prioritize dev time, coordinate with social campaigns, get approvals pushed through, etc. The link builders who know how to make this happen by working collaboratively with their clients and other contractors will win in 2013 and those who don’t will get flustered because they aren’t building the quality links they promised. As a result, those organizationally-challenged link builders will resort to paid links, sponsored posts, directories, blog comments, and other low-hanging fruit for the length of their contract.

2. Internal data discovery: Everyone likes to talk about great content, but what does this really mean? Identifying content that relates to not just client business goals, but their values and the values/needs of customers can quickly uncover a host of internal research opportunities that can fuel content creation. For example, we have a client who has four ideal customers, but the motivations of those customers often varies. At certain times of the year the entire industry and major news publications likes to talk about the behavior of these different groups, but there’s rarely any kind of statistically significant data surrounding the conversation. After some back and forth we realized we could tap the client’s customer service department for a database of questions/answers they already had that related to their customer’s buying cycle and motivations!In the process we also opened a door to increased communication between us and the customer service team, which resulted in our team following up on a customer service inquiry from someone who wanted to coordinate on a cross-country media tour with the support of our client. No one internally knew what to do about it… um–we did! It was just a matter of giving customer service somewhere to send those unusual requests that can become huge opportunities. In this case the customer is going to do the leg work and the brand gets reputation points plus backlinks!

To summarize–tap client’s internal resources and data for unique research that can quickly become industry-wide and mainstream news opportunities if written and pitched correctly.

3. Internal link reclamation: This NEVER goes out of fashion and yet is often overlooked. We’ve found that a lot of link builders excel at discovery and outreach, but have never conducted a single SEO audit in their lives! Frankly, that’s irresponsible. I won’t work with a client whose site isn’t structurally sound. I’ll save the metaphors, but it’s just ridiculous to build links to a page that may potentially have three or more versions indexed and/or legacy URLs from a former CMS that have never been properly redirected. CLEAN UP YOUR SITE! This is most important for bigger sites, especially enterprise-level and e-commerce domains where there are multiple departments and little prioritization from the dev team due to financial benefits that can’t be easily quantified upfront. These sites rarely need link development they just need a diligent eye who will catch the quick wins that can have staggering affects when redirects, rel=canonical, internal linking, and error pages are responsibly handled. In 2013 (and always), link builders should be masters of on-site optimization and opportunity analysis or they’re operating with one hand tied behind their back.

About Rhea

rhea drysdaleRhea Drysdale is the CEO of Outspoken Media–an Internet marketing company that specializes in organic link development, online reputation management, and search engine optimization. She works closely with her team to help grow, protect, and manage her client’s brands online. When Rhea isn’t growing her business she’s growing a family with her husband in upstate New York and working on local issues like—women in tech, education, and economic development and growth for the Capital District.

Monique Pouget

Inbound links are still important for determining site authority, but we have to be smarter about the way we build links. In 2013, I believe there will be a ton of value in doing your research, building relationships and sharing initiatives with the entire company.

1. Do the Research. Have you ever gotten a generic “Dear Sir or Madam” email, and sent it straight to the spam or trash folder? Yeah, me too. There is nothing worse than a cold link request, so don’t even waste your time if you’re not going to do the research first.

I can’t stress the importance of a link building strategy that outlines a business’ target audiences, goals, tactics and metrics. After you’ve created a plan, you or your outreach team can go to town on prospecting sites that fit into this strategy. Make sure to identify the people behind the site, the types of things they’ve featured on their site before, what they’re sharing socially, and how you can contribute value so your outreach can be completely personal. Quality over quantity is key.

2. Build Legitimate Relationships. When reaching out for guest blogging opportunities or links on high authority sites, some will spend a lot of time building up fake aliases that attempt to fool webmasters and blog owners. It’s been my experience that reaching out as a legitimate person has far more successful results.

Instead of contacting sites as “John Smith”, try disclosing that you’re working with your client to help them gain exposure in their community. Then, ask these sites what kind of value you can provide in return, whether that be a guest post or guide, an event sponsorship, or something that specifically meets the needs of their site’s audience.

3. Make Link Building a Company-Wide Initiative. It’s common for companies to have separate PR and Marketing initiatives, but I think there is a lot of value in getting both departments or agencies to work together for the greater good. Your PR team might have some valuable contacts to share with the marketing team, or maybe the marketing team is better at finding and reaching out to new media channels, but I guarantee there is some overlap. In fact, link building happens everywhere, so make sure your whole company is aware of the power of inbound links, and how to recommend your product or service to others online.

About Monique

monique pougetMonique Pouget is the Director of Content Marketing at Thunder SEO, an inbound marketing agency based in San Diego, California. Thunder works with national and regional clients to help them integrate SEO and social media into their holistic marketing strategies. She’s a big believer in creating compelling, unique content that *has* to be shared, and thinks that every business, big or small, should have an awesome blog.

When she’s not studying the SERPs and helping clients rank, you can usually find her riding bikes, blogging on Geek Squeak, searching for treasures at swap meets, or touring craft breweries in San Diego. Make sure to say hello on Twitter and Google+!

Dana Lookadoo

Building links in 2013 involves link building without doing link building.

1. The non-link citation is alive and well and kicking. That mention in the New York Times or Washington Post does wonders for positioning a company as an authority and for future mentions and incoming links. Of course, to get such mentions, you need produce (or do) something newsworthy! And if you are a local business, you already know that a non-link citation can be one of the most important things next to location, location, location.

2. We recommend that B2B companies get their PR teams involved to help them get articles published, to set up interviews and reviews, and place media in industry news and magazine sties, e.g. advertorials.

3. Social media is a channel that can be a link magnet, in time. Becoming involved in one’s niche and being part of the conversation increases visibility, which leads to opportunities to write guest posts, be interviewed, and comment on blog posts like this! :-

About Dana

dana lookadooDana Lookadoo is the founder of Yo! Yo! SEO, a boutique agency based around the concept of Word-of-Mouth SEO. Focus is on helping businesses optimize their online presence to fully engage with their audiences. In other words, helping them shout out a Yo! and be found online. She helps train corporate marketing teams and copywriters how to integrate SEO and social media as a basis of their overall processes. Her site audits and strategies focus on tactical steps and data to optimize one’s website, digital content, and search marketing processes. She speaks at search conferences and meet-ups and is active in the search marketing industry.

When she’s not optimizing, you can find Dana riding one of her road or mountain bikes. Otherwise, connect via @lookadoo on Twitter.

Ann Smarty

I am glad to see link building go in the “quality” direction. Here’s what is going to work best in 2013:

1. Social-media-empowered blogger and influencer outreach: Since high-profile authors are what Google is going to pay more attention to, growing your network of diversified and niche writers is even more important now. Social media sites are also the most effective way to find and organize those connection (here are some actionable tips). The best way to approach them is“Give without asking anything in return”: (offer them free access to your tools, your books, your research, etc). After the ice is broken, use social media to keep in touch.

2. High-quality guest blogging: Growing your in-house influential authors is another thing we should start considering – and guest blogging is by far the most effective way of spreading their reach (guest blogging also helps in relationship marketing as well).

3. Doing what others don’t (Get creative!). The worst mistake of the link builder is following closely the competitor’s steps. Any link building or link baiting tactic thus quickly gets too old. You need to think outside the box and come up with original ideas no one is doing!

About Ann

ann smartyAnn Smarty is content marketer and social media enthusiast working as brand and community manager for Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as running her own project called MyBlogGuest.com

Kaila Strong

1. Clean up broken, misdirected or un-optimized links. It never surprises me to pull an Open Site Explorer report for a client and realize they have amazing backlinks… pointing to pages that no longer exist (404 pages)! Some of the most authoritative links I’ve ever seen point to pages on a site that no longer exist. When link building efforts become harder and harder, I think a good strategy to implement in 2013 is cleaning up the links you already have. By putting together a list of these opportunities, establishing the most authoritative ones, I then try to figure out if there is applicable content on the site to direct that webmaster to. If no content exists, I work with the client to see why they took it down in the first place and develop this resource again, and leverage it for new links in addition to requesting webmasters link to the correct page.

In addition to links to 404 pages, I think it’s important to really analyze your backlinks and clean up broken links and optimize existing links. I’m not suggesting reaching out to webmasters and asking them to change the anchor text, but rather looking at your backlinks and seeing if there are some pointing to your homepage that should be pointed elsewhere, looking at existing links to see if other content exists that would be better linked to from that link location, or seeing if content development opportunities exist that would be better linked to from a site who you already have a partnership with. Some of these tactics can really help strengthen your site and pass authority accordingly.

2: Authored content. With author rank and rel=author becoming a hot topic the last year and into 2013, I think it’s important to look at link building opportunities with authored posts. Sure, guest posts can be one of those opportunities but I think they are a bit overused. I’m talking about well written, amazing posts as a regular contributor on sites in your brand or client’s industry. Additionally, strategic content placement on sites that properly implement the rel=author tag, and that can be associated with an author for your brand. The key thing here is working with your client to establish who that associated author is and working with them (or on their behalf sometimes) to secure opportunities.

Additionally, I think a great strategy is to start thinking about building up your author rank just as you would build up your websites authority. Use link building to support your efforts by looking for good content placement opportunities, engage with authoritative authors by linking to them and getting them to link to your content, comment on other authoritative authors blog posts and get them to comment on yours, use social media as well for the same benefit. Build relationships not only with webmasters but with authoritative authors who can share their author authority with you from a link perspective.

3: Maximize your existing brand mentions. If you have a large brand or are working with a client who’s brand is somewhat well known, there is a high likelihood that online publishers are already mentioning the brand. I’ve found that working with clients no one on their team is managing these mentions for the purposes of link building. Some of the easiest links to get are from sites that are already talking about you, but just don’t happen to link to you. Sure, large news sites and places that pick up your press releases aren’t likely to give you a link if you ask, but industry bloggers, trade publications, and the like are likely to. In a time when you must think outside the box for link building strategies, maximizing the mentions you already have is a good strategy.

We work with a large brand who always has someone talking about their company and services, and of course their fair share of reputation management issues. We try to avoid reaching out to acquire links within negative brand content, but for the most valuable mentions we elevate this to their team for review regardless. You know the saying, any press is good press, the same can somewhat be true in this instance. We’re more cautious with reaching out to these individuals, the last thing you want is to make a bad situation worse, but even these present opportunities that may otherwise be passed up.

About Kaila

kaila strongKaila Strong is the Director of Account Development at search, social & content marketing company Vertical Measures. She oversees the Account Management team to develop customized organic SEO campaigns for clients. She has been a regular contributor on Search Engine Watch and her articles have been featured on SEJ, Mashable and SEOmoz. She’ll be speaking at SMX West this March in an interactive link building clinic session. Follow her on Twitter, @cliquekaila.

Arienne Holland

Shortly before I moved to the world of online marketing, I led a team of a dozen newspaper editors, reporters and columnists. I had three things I asked them to consider before pitching any story to me. Although we might publish a story with one of the three elements, the best stories had all three components. So did the best press releases. These days, so do the best guest blog posts or link requests.

For link builders approaching the “quality content” question in 2013 (and beyond), consider all three of these critical to your campaigns:

1. Is It Timely? Timeliness can trump everything. If you’re the first person with a news article or post or parody Twitter account or behind-the-scenes video, you’re likely to be the first person to get a link. Also, if you’re the first person to share that particular idea with that particular website owner or blog editor, you’re more likely to get a link.

2. Is It Relevant? Relevant means more than related. Related to your audience’s interests and/or needs and/or location + very important for them to know = relevant.

3. Is It Interesting? Interesting is too bland of a word, really, but it’s shorter than “Would this fascinate the hell out of someone who knew nothing at all — or everything there is to know — about your topic?” If your item would this enthrall a reader or viewer so much they’re glued to the screen, or would touch their emotions in a way that they never expected, it’s almost guaranteed to be shared.

(Soapbox moment: This question applies regardless of format or design, although format or design can be a significant aspect of it. For example, would understanding the connections between prime numbers be more or less interesting without this visualization? On the other hand, does this information get easier to understand because it’s decorated? Does this information even have a point?)

First figure out the story you want to tell. Then figure out how to squeeze the most amount of timeliness, relevance and interestingness out of it for your target audience. If you can’t come up with anything, it’s probably not a story worth telling at all. Find another story.

About Arienne

arienne hollandTo be clear, Arienne Holland’s background isn’t in SEO or even online marketing. That said, she has learned a lot about it since becoming the communications director at Raven Internet Marketing Tools. She divides her time between writing, outreach, email marketing and understanding developers. Before Raven, Arienne spent more than a decade as an editor and graphic designer for Gannett. She was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for team breaking news journalism. Feel free to follow, compliment or harass Arienne at @arienneHO.

Melanie Nathan

For me, link building in 2013 is mostly about being creative and careful.

1. Content: Creating relevant, high-quality, shareable content for your own site(s) and others. This includes guest posting, infographics, educational material etc. This technique will pretty much never go out of style.

2. Images: With the explosion in popularity of imaged based social sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, more marketers will recognize the benefits of creating link acquisition campaigns surrounding imagery. Especially with spanchor text going bye bye.

3. (Smart!) Paid Links: Through sponsorships, donations, charitable events, paid reviews, paid guest posting etc. Google hasn’t gotten rid of paid links. They’ve just forced people to be smarter about buying them.

About Melanie

melanie-nathanMelanie Nathan is founder of CanadianSEO and a veteran Search Engine Optimizer with more than 9 years of hands on experience in SEO and Link Building for websites. She is best known for being a link building ninja and a pioneer of the Broken Link Building method (aka the Reciprocity Method). Follow Melanie on Twitter to learn more.

So there you have it! We’ve heard from the guys and the gals and have a ton of great ideas to supercharge our link strategies in 2013. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in both posts. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Bullet Proof Link Building Strategies For 2013 — The Experts Weigh In (Part 1)

By | Link Building | One Comment

Today’s post (part 1 of 2) is going to be a real treat for digital marketers, especially those with a knack for link building. For this post, I reached out to a handful of the industry’s brightest and asked them to share with us what they believe the top three link building strategies will be in 2013. Before we jump in, I want to thank each of them for taking the time to put something together for us. There’s a lot of great information here, so brace yourselves!!

Let’s get started with Matt Siltala from Avalaunch:

Matt Siltala

1. Lets talk first about content.  Not content for the sake of having content because that’s what everybody in SEO says we have to have now.  Good content.  Real content.  The type of content that makes you want to give credit to the person who created it.  I published my first infographic almost 6 years ago – this was YEARS before people were calling them infographics.  Back then, and still to this day I call it good content.  So whether its an infographic, or link bait article, something funny, a video or even just amazing basic content that is solving someone’s problem and answering a question, THAT is what is going to be building amazing links this year.

2.  Lets talk about promotion.  Yes you can have the most amazing content in the world, but if nobody see’s it, how are you ever going to build links from it?  Every once in a while you might strike gold and get it seen by millions without lifting a finger, but reality (and history) tells me you are going to need to promote it.  Right now Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube are on fire as far as sending traffic and helping build links, so I would focus on building up your presence in these communities so you can get your “amazing” content in front of some eyeballs.  The awesome thing these days for bloggers and those pushing out content regularly is you don’t have to solely rely on Google anymore to send you traffic to your freshly indexed and hopefully ranking post.  You can get eyeballs on it immediately through a community that is built up.

3. Lets talk a little bit about REAL PR.  This is the year you need to step up your game and think outside the box (when it comes to link building).  Think of doing something that will get people talking about you (and linking to you).  Lots of community activities to get involved with, help in universities, charitable acts and other things that will do good, but at same time get you noticed.  This is the kind of real life stuff that gets you the amazing links and trust.

About Matt

matt siltalaMatt Siltala is an online search industry leader and President of Avalaunch Media, a content marketing company specializing in infographic marketing. Matt’s clients have included companies like Webtrends, Ancestry.com, The Home Depot, and ESRB.

Because of Matt’s passion for the online industry and all things IT, he loves collaborating with other industry leaders and speaking at search conferences like PubconSMXand Search Engine Strategies, and at other events and Universities across the country.

Before forming Avalaunch Media, Matt co-founded Dream Systems Media in 2005, and has started several highly successful e-commerce businesses beginning in 1998.

When Matt isn’t launching a new company or helping build value for his client’s, he enjoys traveling with his beautiful wife and 3 kids.

John Doherty

Link building changed over the course of 2012 as shady directories (especially free ones) and past manipulative ways of linking not only stopped counting for ranking, but also even turned toxic. Past sins of link building like comment spamming are now affecting almost every site that I see.

That said, link building in 2013 will continue to be important, but we must be smarter about it, especially with large companies. After all, no one wants another JCPenney on their hands!

In 2013, we are focusing on:

  • Partnerships
  • Content
  • Guest posting

1. Partnerships especially apply to hard-to-build-links B2B companies. These companies have suppliers, shipping, and other business partners who should be willing to link to them.

2. The partnerships also come into play with content. B2B products always have an intersection with the outside world, so producing content that speaks to those concerns is a way to get broader exposure (and links) to a B2B company. For B2C, the challenge is easier, though as we are now seeing a deluge of low-quality content will not work in 2013, and will not be linked to naturally.

3. A staple of any 2013 link builder’s repertoire is guest posting. The kind of guest posting that will work well in 2013 and beyond is branded editorial content that meets the reader’s needs. To be honest, in my opinion, links from this guest content are a secondary benefit at best – the major benefit is the relationship built with the blogger/site and the potential for future work together.

About John

john dohertyJohn Doherty is the Director of Distilled NYC, a search marketing consulting firm in Manhattan, with offices in London and Seattle as well. His writing can be found on his personal marketing websiteSEOmozDistilled, and recently SingleGeared. In his free time he is a Brooklynite, where he also rock climbs. His other passions include skiing, traveling, and photography.

Paul May

1. New Visual, Interactive Content Types – Marketers that take advantage of the full capabilities of the browser in their content will have a significant advantage.  In the new ‘content arms race’, marketers working with new forms of content – along with great messages – will have a big advantage.

These recent articles from ESPN and the New York Times are great examples of how marketers are using mixed media forms and parallax visualizations, and both have received great traffic, social shares, and links.  We’re already seeing leading edge marketers at smaller publishers leverage these same methods effectively. There’s a big opportunity to use advanced capabilities of HTML5, CSS3, and various JavaScript libraries (like D3) to tell stories in a more compelling way.

2. Social Monitoring and Creating Brand Evangelists – As the social web continues to develop and old-school SEO tactics get burnt out, it’s easier to find people already talking about your brand and convince them to link to you, rather than trying to create relationships from scratch.

We’re excited about using social monitoring to find people who have websites and already like a brand, and then working with those influencers further for link development.

For example, our customer Grasshopper was very successful generating both inbound links and building their brand through word-of-mouth and buzz marketing.  Their community manager would offer to take people Tweeting about Grasshopper to coffee, or if they lived far away, he’d send them a Starbucks card.  This was very effective in building goodwill, buzz and links among influencers.

3. Tools and Apps – Tools and apps aren’t new, but they’re great tactics, and they keep getting easier to make.

Tools are great because they deliver sustainable value – they will continue to attract traffic and links long after they’ve been built and launched.

With new, ever more powerful APIs released every day and web frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails freely available, it’s easier than ever to make apps that deliver real value.

About Paul

paul mayPaul May is the CEO and co-founder of BuzzStream. Paul is a serial entrepreneur, having spent his career starting and working on early stage startups

Prior to BuzzStream, he was a Principal at Orr Ventures, a seed venture fund, where he was brought in to serve as VP of Marketing for WaveBender. Paul has held senior roles in product, marketing, and business development at a number of successful companies, including SupportSoft, AlterPoint and BMC Software.

Jon Cooper

In no particular order, here are my top three strategies for 2013:

1. Helping Webmasters – It doesn’t have to be just with broken links, it could be anything. The reason it will continue to work is because it doesn’t leave any pattern and because it uses the age old law of reciprocity – I do something for you, you do something for me. Other ideas include fixing grammar & spelling, on-site crawl issues, 404s, and even malware.

2. Hopping on the phone – huge props to Stephanie St. Martin for putting together a practical guide on phone based outreach, because I think it’s going to be the next step for serious link builders. Yeah, hopping on the phone can suck to some, but having potential linkers seeing us as real people and not purely a digital signature will give you a huge edge in getting them to do what you want.

3. Expanding upon existing tactics – there’s no shortage of tactics out there, but I think we’ll see a lot more creativity in how these tactics & ideas are applied. For example, I’ve been doing a bit of link building with discounts, but instead of just EDU student discount programs, I’ve expanded it to alumni ones as well. The reason we’ll start to expand on them is because we’re starting to get pretty maxed out in term of what things we can offer in exchange for a link, but we’re no where close in what ways we can actually use those things we can offer. We’ve really only thought of a couple ways for each at best.

About Jon

jon cooperJon Cooper is a link builder who blogs over at Point Blank SEO, a community & blog dedicated solely to the art of acquiring links. You can follow him on Twitter @PointBlankSEO and you can check out his link building course for beginners & experts.

Neil Patel

Here are the top 3 most valuable link strategies that I see working well in 2013 and beyond:

1. Guest posting – if you can write relevant posts on popular blogs, not only can you get a link back to your website, but more importantly you can get thousands of visitors that can easily convert into revenue.

2. Creating great content – from infographics, to just plain old blog posts that are detailed, creating content is an easy way to get links. If you create good content, people will want to read it and naturally link to it.

3. Press – if you are looking for authoritative links, get press. I’ve found this to work year and after year. It’s a lot of work to come up with good stories that popular bloggers and journalist want to cover, but it works well.

The reason these 3 methods work well is because they are natural. You are creating value in exchange for a link versus going out there and begging for them.

About Neil

neil patelNeil Patel is the co-founder of 2 Internet companies: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. Through his entrepreneurial career he has helped large corporations such as Amazon, AOL, GM, HP and Viacom make more money from the web. By the age of 21 not only was he named one of the top influencers on the web according to the Wall Street Journal, but he was also named one of the top entrepreneurs in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine. He has also been recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama. Neil has also received Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives for his work in the nonprofit sector.

Ash Buckles

1. Community building allows you to generate a quality hub of targeted users. With a quality hub of targeted users, you can work on strategies to obtain links through smart content development, event participation, or simply asking (where appropriate) to be considered to share/link. The most recent community platform is Google+ Communities. Not only do they have a direct connection to Google but they will most likely be a direct ranking factor at some point. Even now there are indirect ranking factors such as personalized search that allows your brand more visibility to your community members. Other example communities of importance include Model Mayhem, Trip Advisor, Kiva, Fantasy Football, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and Twitter chats.

2. Personal outreach remains critical in 2013 because content writers need a reason to create a link to your content. It needs to be compelling and easy to do if they’ re going to take the extra step of assigning a link to your content. Rarely is a link to your content necessary but a simple request is often enough to pick up that link. Making a connection with writers not only helps you achieve links from their current content but provides a an connection for them to rely upon when writing their next story.

3. Videos are a great opportunity for building links to your site. Most companies are still not budgeting for video creation on a large scale. Done right you can provide your users, partners, vendors, and content creators with video to embed in their posts. When you organize your collection of videos in a resourceful way, your fans will link back to your collection for their readers to see what else you’ve produced. Understand what your audience wants from you. Then create great videos and organize them so they’ re easy to find, view, and share.

About Ash

ash bucklesAsh Buckles is the President of the search engine optimization company, SEO.com. Under the direction of Ash, SEO.com has been ranked #1 search marketing agency in three consecutive reports by Website Magazine, most recently in February 2012. The Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum also selected SEO.com as one of the Top 25 Fastest Growing companies in Utah.

Paddy Moogan

1. For bigger brands, I feel that link building with offline events is a big opportunity and one that hasn’t yet been utilized fully by SEOs. Running local meetups for customers and bloggers can lead to good relationships, good sentiment and good links.

2. Link building with images as your asset has always been a great technique and I can’t see that changing any time soon. If you have good quality, unique images that other people want to use, it is very easy to ask for credit links and they usually include branded anchor text which is what you need to be getting.

3. Guest blogging will keep working if you take the time to produce good quality content. It is becoming more competitive but it is still a good way to build links as long as you have decent quality control and good content. Tying in your guest blogging to a real, active Google+ profile will also be a good move I think as it can add a bit of weight to the content and help make it stand out amongst the low quality posts.

About Paddy

paddy mooganPaddy is an SEO Consultant working for Distilled in the London office. He has helped manage a number of SEO campaigns for companies around the world and is currently living in Queenstown, New Zealand where he is on sabbatical and writing his link building book.

Garrett French

1. Broken Link Building – I’m bully on broken link building for 2013. As its popularity rises I’m sure the returns will decline (yes, I’m partly to blame for this) but for now it remains a consistent means of building authority links to quality content on your domain. For the right company – namely large publishers of great content – broken link building is the single most scalable link building approach at the moment. And I think it will remain so moving forward.

2. Guest Posting with Custom Data – With the advent of these $40 guest posting services I think we’re seeing the quickening decline of large scale guest posting. That said, if you’re using customer surveys to source fresh, original data points for your content I think you’ll see more of the right doors open in your market. We’re already using surveys to create great onsite content, and just now beginning to use it systematically in our guest post content.

3. No-Scale Link Building (PR) – You probably won’t catch ME doing much of this in 2013, but I think it’s an important direction to look at, especially for in-house link builders and potentially small agencies that specialize in a single niche. Relationships build links – it’s that simple. Well ok, not THAT simple, especially not for agencies, but it’s the area that I think we’ll see link builders really start to concentrate on moving forward. And gosh if we could just figure out a way to scale it… 🙂

About Garrett

garrett frenchGarrett French is the CEO of Citation Labs, an agency where he connects businesses with the niche publishers that influence their target markets. Through his process he builds brand trust, buzz, relationships and links that drive targeted, algo-proof referral traffic to his clients websites.

Ross Hudgens

1. Broken link building – here lies one of the last scalable techniques in link building, because it’s so effective. Make a great resource, add value back, and use templates to make the process more efficient. Repeat at scale, and then get quality links that actually drive good traffic on occasion.

2. Relationship building – obvious, but I think it’s something every vertical should do on top of the first part. Know people, nurture influencers, build connections – all of these things will go far to continuing your link growth in 2013.

3. Build the best stuff, period – connecting with the top two, the strain in 2013 should not be spent saying “how can we build links”, it should be spent “how can we make the best stuff in our space” – so much else will take care of itself if that is done. It’s that “build great content” answer, yes, but as it applies to this question, that’s how I’d respond.

About Ross

ross hudgensRoss Hudgens is the founder of Siege Media, a digital marketing consultancy. He frequently writes about SEO and link building on his personal blog, and can also be found frequently speaking across the country on the same topics.

So there you have it. The top link building strategies for 2013. I know where I’m going to be spending my time this year when link building for clients 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with other digital marketers and also check out part two, where the ladies of digital marketing share their opinion on link strategies! If you have any questions or would like to add your opinion, please share in the comments section below.

Top 10 Link Builders You Should Be Following On Twitter

By | Link Building | No Comments

Today’s post is the second of a four part series about individuals you should be following and engaging with on Twitter. The group today have made themselves industry experts in the link building field and I have learned a ton from all of them. Please take a moment to read through the post and see why they are so good at what they do and also follow them, subscriber to their blogs, and tell them hello on Twitter.

Jon Cooper – Point Blank SEO@PointBlankSEO

Jon Cooper is a 19 year old student at the University of Florida. He’s been doing SEO for a couple years, and from the very beginning, link building caught his eye. He runs one of the most active link building blogs online called Point Blank SEO.

Garrett French – Citation Labs@GarrettFrench

Garrett French educates SEO and PR teams on content marketing and promotion strategies that drive converting referral traffic and deliver SERP domination all along the buy cycle. Learn more about him and his services at CitationLabs.com.

Eric Ward – EricWard.com@EricWard

Natural linking strategist and content publicist Eric Ward founded the Web’s very first online promotion services, called NetPOST and URLwire, in 1994. Eric then helped Jeff Bezos announce Amazon.com’s launch, and subsequently won the 1995 Tenagra Award For Internet Marketing Excellence, which was the industry’s “Oscar” back then. Since then Eric and his methods have been written about in hundreds of publications and been featured in college courses about online marketing.

Ross Hudgens – Siege Media@RossHudgens

Ross Hudgens runs a digital marketing consultancy, Siege Media, based in the Los Angeles area with specialization in content development, link building and CRO. He’s worked with the biggest businesses in the world and also some of the smallest, implementing and executing on effective SEO strategies that create million dollar companies. His work has been featured on SEOMoz, AOL, Hacker News, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Watch among other outlets. He enjoys speaking at conferences and can occasionally be seen at SEO and other marketing events across the country.

Ann Smarty – MyBlogGuest@SEOSmarty

Ann Smarty is a well-known blogger and social media user. She’s been guest blogging and building relationships in the blogosphere long enough to understand the power of a guest post – and that’s what she wants to share via her friendly web community My Blog Guest.

Debra Mastaler – Alliance Link@DebraMastaler

Based in Fairfax Station, Virginia, Debra Mastaler is President of Alliance-Link, an interactive marketing company focused on providing custom link building training and consultations. In business since 2000, Debra and her talented staff offers a common sense approach to link building by combining traditional sales and promotional strategies with effective online search engine marketing tactics.

Wiep Knol – Gila Media@Wiep

Wiep Knol has been active in online marketing since 2004, and was invited as a speaker at several leading industry events, including Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, SEOmoz/Distilled ProSEO and Affiliate4u Expo. His blog, Wiep.net, is a multi-finalist of a SEMMY online marketing award (winner in 2009), and is home of the well-respected Link Value Factors.

Ryan Clark – LinkBuildr@LinkBuildr

Ryan Clark runs a link building consultant based out of Vancouver, Canada. He’s funny, smart and really seems to have his finger on the pulse of the link building community.

Paddy Moogan – Distlled @PaddyMoogan

Paddy Moogan is an SEO Consultant currently working for Distilled in London. Prior to his work with Distilled, he worked for Pin Digital as an Online Marketing Campaign Manager.

Wil Reynolds – Seer Interactive@WilReynolds

Will Reynolds is the founder of SEER Interactive; an Internet marketing company based in Philadelphia. Seeing as he’s a link builder who loves search and what it can do for businesses, he’s a smart guy and well worth listening to.

There you have it… the top ten link builders to follow on Twitter. If you missed our last post on the top ten content marketers to follow on Twitter, you can check it out here.

Understanding The Different Types of Anchor Text & How To Use Them

By | Link Building | 2 Comments

Today, I thought I’d cover a topic that almost all SEOs know more than a little bit about, anchor text. Before we get into the meat of this post, let’s quickly cover what anchor text is and why it is important (for those who don’t know).

First, anchor text are the words that you use to link to another page on the internet. This can either be external pages (pages not on your website) or internal pages (other pages found on your website.

Second, anchor text is an important signal for the search engines and helps them understand what the page is about that they are going to visit when they come to the link on your page. For example, if I linked to my ppc page, I would want to use the word ppc as my anchor text. This tells the search engines that the page you are going to is about ppc and not about link building or SEO training.

Before we talk about the different types of anchor text, we probably need to preface the discussion noting that until April of this year (2012), the search engines looked at anchor text as one of the strongest ranking factors in the SEO game. Because of this, SEOs were able to easily manipulate search engine rankings, that is until the Penguin update in April. With the Penguin update, Google, not Bing, reduced the amount of weight that anchor text plays and flat out penalized some sites that had too much exact match anchor text (talk about exact match in a minute). That is why I am writing this post today, to help you understand the different types and how to use them. Let’s get started.

Exact Match Anchor Text

The first type of anchor text we will discuss is exact match anchor text. This type of anchor text is when the keywords found in the link are the exact keyword you are trying to generate more visibility for in the search engines. Just like in the ppc example above, exact match anchor text would be linking with the just word ppc.

Partial Match Anchor Text

The second type of anchor text is partial match anchor text. This type of anchor text is when you have a link that includes the keyword you are trying to generate more visibility for, in addition to other words. So instead of just linking with the word ppc, I might link with the words, to learn more about ppc here.

Zero Match Anchor Text

The third type of anchor text we will discuss is zero match anchor text. This type of anchor text is when you have a link that doesn’t include any mention of the keyword you are trying to generate more visibility for. Instead of linking like the two examples above, I would link with the word click here, or learn more.

Branded Anchor Text

The last type of anchor text we will discuss is branded anchor text. As you can probably tell by the name, this is when you link to a web page with the brand name or URL of a website, such as Stryde.com.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about using anchor text. As I briefly discussed earlier in the post, many SEOs were able to manipulate search engine rankings by blasting 99-100% exact match anchor text at their web pages. This no longer works and can get your site penalized in a hurry. After the Penguin update, some industry experts and ex-googlers began recommending that you build no more than 10% of exact match anchor text to any given page on your site, the rest should be branded, zero, and partial match. Personally, I don’t agree.

Yes, you need to be cautious when using exact match anchor text, but saying 10% is a hard and fast rule is just ludicrous. As an SEO, I rely on gap analysis to determine how much exact match anchor text I need to use in my link building to compete. Each vertical or industry will be different as will every set of results displayed for a given keyword. So, let’s talk about what you need to do.

First, determine who your top ten competitors are for each of your keywords and run them through a link analysis tool such as Ahrefs. Some people like to use Open Site Explorer, but I’m becoming less and less of a fan of Moz as of late. Here, you can start to get a feel for what your competitors are doing with their anchor text and put together a strategy to compete. In the example below, you can see that 30% of their anchor text is exact match for paintball guns. 10% really guys? Again, that’s just ludicrous!

anchor text analysis

In closing, I hope that this has helped you to understand the different types of anchor text, the dangers you can come across by using to much of one kind of anchor text, and also how to analyze and put together an anchor text strategy to help you compete with the big boys. If you have any questions or would like to add to the discussion, please feel free to comment below.

STRYDE | Five Outside The Box Link Building Strategies You Can Implement Today!

Understanding The Three Types of Link Building

By | Link Building | No Comments

If you’re a beginner link builder, well, even a seasoned link builder, it is very important to understand the different types of link building so you can put together and execute a well rounded link building strategy. I’ve been building links for eight years and over the last eight years, I’ve bucketed all link building into three different categories, link creation, link requesting, and link attraction. Each has its place in a link strategy and should be executed based on you or your clients needs. So let’s jump in!

Link Creation

The first type of link building is link creation. I like to cover this one first because it is by far the easiest type of link building, but it can also be the most dangerous type of link building as well.

Link creation is just that… a human going out on the internet and creating links for a links sake. These types of links are valuable in a link strategy, however, if it is all you are doing, you are going to find yourself with poor rankings with no one to blame but yourself. Here are the different link creation tactics that can and should be executed in a link campaign:

  • Article Creation (Ezine Articles, Buzzle, Etc)
  • Social Blogging (Squidoo, HubPages, Etc)
  • Social Profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Etc)
  • Social Bookmarks (Delicious, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Etc)
  • Blog Commenting
  • Forum Commenting
  • Answer Marketing (Quora, LinkedIn Answers, YahooAnswers, Etc)
  • Online PR (PRWeb.com, Etc)

Again, these types of link building should be used sparingly and only when needed in a link strategy.

Link Requests

I like to cover link requests second, because it is the hardest type of link building. Link requesting is extremely valuable because it takes a lot of work and effort on your part, often times more effort than your competitors are willing to put in, providing you with a competitive advantage. These links usually provide a lot of link juice and help build the credibility and authority of your website much quicker than by just leveraging link creation tactics. Here are the different types of link requests tactics:

Again, these are very time consuming, but pack a serious punch in helping to achieve top search engine rankings.

Link Attraction

Lastly, link attraction. I like to cover this one last because this is the most fun link building tactic there is. Link attraction is probably the most natural and safe link building tactic you can execute as part of your strategy. Link attraction is the practice of developing amazing website content, often times in the form of blog posts that people naturally want to link to when they find it. Here are the different types of link attraction tactics:

  • Funny/Interesting Blog Posts
  • Authority Blog Posts
  • Infographics/Micrographics
  • Whitepapers
  • How To Guides
  • Slide Decks
  • Videos
  • eBooks

Although this type of link building does take some time to create the content, if done properly, the content will attract links for many years to come. If you build a few pieces of great content per month that attracts 10-20 links per month, it really adds up and will create sustainable search engine rankings for a very long time.

Well, those are the three types of link building available to you as you are putting together your link building strategy. I hope this has been helpful and if you have any other tactics to add, please do so in the comments below.

Find Your Competitors 404s & Dominate Competitive Link Building

By | Link Building | No Comments

There are countless posts online about competitive link building and also about broken link building, both of which can be very powerful tactics when working to acquire links for your website. In today’s post, I want to talk about competitive research and using your competitors pages that are dead to your advantage. I hope that this post is laid out in a very clear road map on how I approach this tactic and hope that you can take what you learn and work it into your mix of link acquisition tactics.

Phase 1 Research

The first step in any competitive link building is the research. First and foremost, you will need to identify the competitors you want to analyze with a tool like Open Site Explorer (OSE) or Majestic SEO. Once you have that, run the report. For this example, we will be running the data through OSE and doing it on one of our competitors SlingshotSEO.

Once you’ve run the report, you need to jump over to the top pages section:

slingshot-seo

Here we are looking at first, the HTTP status (look for 404 pages) and then looking at the number of linking root domains.

Here’s one… Hey friends over at Slingshot, you are gonna want to get that fixed today 🙂

dead-page

Check the URL to make sure it is in fact a dead page and then it is time to move on to our next section of research!

Phase 2 Research

The next thing you will want to do is click on the little magnifying glass next to the dead page. This will open up a list of the links that point to this page. There should be six.

links

Sure enough and they look like they have some decent page authority and domain authority. This is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Content Build Out

Once you know your competitor has a dead page on their site that has some good links coming back in, you need to put together a content plan to help you approach the linking sites to have them replace the dead link with the new link from your site.

The very first thing I do, is run the dead URL through the wayback machine to see if I can see a copy of the content. If so, I take that content, re-write it, and re-publish it. If not, I need to determine what could have been on that page and build on similar. The latter is definitely more time consuming.

Outreach

The last piece of this puzzle is performing the outreach to each of these sites. I have found one very effective way of doing this and one semi effective way. The way you approach it depends on your linking strategy.

First, the very effective one! Before I contact the webmaster, I try to find a similar resource on the competitors site, maybe they moved the content, maybe they updated it and it moved to a new URL. If I can find this, I will email the webmaster letting them know the link is going to a dead page and give them the right page it is supposed to go to. I will then offer them another similar resource that I think will be a good addition to his page. This tactic is crazy effective!

Second, the semi effective one. So, take what I last just told you, except cut out finding the same resource on the competitors site and just go for the kill. Tell the webmaster that the link is dead and that you have another resource, yours, that he can replace the link with. This still works, but the first works MUCH better!

Taking the time to do some competitive research and leveraging your competitors laziness can mean huge returns for you or your clients. I highly recommend you make this a part of your link strategy from month to month.