Build links by building relationships
There have been a lot of positive changes in the world of link building since Google began its effective policing of the webspace. The rules of engagement have become trickier and it is difficult placing a finger on the factors that Google takes into consideration when wielding the ‘big stick’. In fact, there are some who believe that link building is dead all together.
However, building quality links from authoritative platforms still form a sure bet way of ranking high in search engine results.The only difference is the fact that now old link building habits have made way for smart strategies, building relationships and a lot of hard work.
Through the course of this case study, Demmy Oshodi will show how his agency builds quality backlinks to websites across different niches by guest posting the right way.
He will also show you how to:
- find quality websites accepting guest posts
- do content marketing research and write great content
- get quality backlinks
- build relationships that might prove valuable in future
- implement various outreach strategies
Christoph C. Cemper
Table of contents
- Guest Posting
- Prospecting for Guest Post Opportunities Using LinkResearchTools (LRT)
- Get Familiar
- Using Impactana to Get Familiar
- Send a Unique Pitch
- The Power of the Follow-up
- Great Content
- Build Relationships
- Bonus Point – Becoming A Regular Contributor
- Bonus Point – Press Requests
- Bonus Point – Feedback/Suggestion
- Author Bio
These days, getting a guest post with a link back to your website or the website of your client has become more difficult and complicated than ever. In addition to many webmasters wary of running afoul of Google’s guidelines, many bloggers now see blogging as a full-time job and expect remuneration for their work.
However, guest posting is still one very sure way of scoring quality backlinks when conducting link building campaigns, it only requires hard work and ‘out-of-the-box’ strategies.
These are some of these tested and proven steps we have employed to score great guest posts with quality backlinks in the past:
Prospecting for Guest Post Opportunities Using LinkResearchTools (LRT)
How can you source for quality blogs and platforms in a way that might be impossible when running an ordinary Google search?
The SERP tool of Link Research Tools helps us in not only searching platforms accepting guest posts; but it also helps in separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’ through the use of metric filters. Most importantly, these filters save us a lot of time from the cumbersome manual task that it would normally take to search for guest post opportunities through a normal Google search.
The SERP tool provides the possibility of entering up to 20 keyword queries and advanced combinations to select from different options, such as date, country, language, etc.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how I use the SERP tool to find the perfect platforms for guest post opportunities:
- I enter the domain I would like to build links for and input up to 20 keyword queries that most likely fit what I am aiming for, each separated by a new line. As a recommendation, you can try out different queries to know which one works best.
As an example for this case study, I decided to use muscleman.com from the bodybuilding and fitness industry. Additionally, I have entered such queries as “inurl:submission-guidelines + muscle building”, “inurl:write-for-us + workout routines” etc.
- I select the metric information I would like to see on each page and run the report.
- Now you can browse through the results. The first thing I do is to filter out the websites where our clients are already linked as it is more beneficial to simply focus on finding new referring root domains. One advantage of the SERP tool is the fact that it gives you the liberty to preview search results from different, but specific keywords and each keyword is displayed in front of each result. Additionally, you can add those that suit your requirements the most to favourites, and then come back to them in detail after you must have gone through the entire report.
- I use other metric filters to weed out less desirable websites, so that I am left with only quality platforms. In my agency, we use such filter as LRT Power*Trust as a core, but in combination with other metrics too. This tool simply helps judge the overall impact of links and the power and trust of a page.
- I then begin checking the platforms manually to find out their guest post requirements and get familiar with the platform as a whole.
This should be the base of every outreach campaign and not just guest posting alone. Some of the very important things I do before contacting a blogger or webmaster include:
- I spend several minutes to find out as much as possible about the website.
- I search for guest post guidelines and be sure to thoroughly understand the rules.
- I search through previous posts and possibly comment on the post I find most interesting.
- I join the community by signing up for the newsletter.
- I start following on social media platforms, make comments or share posts.
This is the ideal stage where the link qualification model should be employed. The questions to be asked are: Do I want the link? Is the link in the right context? Can I get the link? It is important to note that there might be a few red flags you might want to consider so that you do not end up wasting valuable time. Some of these include the linking policy, last date of publication, and the general feel of the platform using your own intuition.
Using Impactana to Get Familiar
I always try to access the impact of previous posts in the sense of how successful they were. Social media engagements and shares, number of comments, numbers of views, maybe some influencers in that particular niche shared or commented on it, etc.
This is important in the sense that it gives you the idea of the particular topic you would be pitching to the blogger and the likelihood of it being accepted. It also gives you an idea of how your post will perform once it gets published. How then are you able to get all of this in one place?
Impactana is an exciting new tool that is revolutionizing the world of content marketing. How does it work? Using Impactana, you will be able to view the impact of previously published content by looking at the number of social shares, as well as various long-term user engagement metrics. Additionally, Impactana will help you find the most relevant influencers for your niche. Therefore, you can drill down a large influencer lists to those that are relevant, create buzz, make an impact and have the necessary reach.
I will take you through a step-by-step guide on how I’ve been using Impactana:
- I use the Impactana content marketing toolbar for browsing through the content of the website where I intend publishing a post and see how previous posts performed on social media. The toolbar also includes a second set of metrics encompassing views, comments, backlinks, downloads and clicks – real user engagement metrics. The Impactana content marketing toolbar is available as a plugin in the Chrome Web Store. You can read more and download it here.
- Also, by using the Impactana app itself, you are able to enter a particular topic and see how well it has performed in the past through the buzz and impact menu. The buzz indicates the social media impact the post made such as the number of likes and shares on social media, while impact indicates the backlinks, views and comments.
- By using impactana also, you are able to view influencers in a particular niche, plus their contact details and social media presence. Additionally, you are able to check their websites, their reach, impact, buzz as well as relevance.
Impactana sets content marketing many steps ahead.
Send a Unique Pitch
In my opinion, there is no such thing as perfect pitch but an ideal one. You really do want to stand out and not join the many, whose pitches will end up in the trash folder. You might want to consider the following:
- The ideal pitch is beautifully short.
- The introduction should make the recipient continue reading.
- How you came across the platform is important and if you have been a follower, you must prove this fact.
- Does the blogger have a personal passion or conviction you noticed when getting familiar with the platform? Why not carefully bring it up?
- Do you have a feedback for some pervious post you came across or that post that made you sign up for the newsletter; you should creatively mention it too.
- You might want to thank the blogger for his/her work.
- Finally, mention why you hope to make a contribution, why you are the best person to make such contribution and why you believe it will prove valuable to members of that virtual community.
- Creatively round off the pitch.
Here’s an example of a pitch I usually employ:
And here’s the reply I got from that:
Here’s another pitch:
And here’s a reply I received to the pitch:
The Power of the Follow-up
Chances are high that your first pitch might not be replied. When this happens, do not panic, there is always a second chance. Follow-ups are very advisable because they do not only jolt the attention of the blogger to your previous pitch which has not been replied; there are high chances the blogger will reply with an apology and that could be the first way of kicking of a working relationship. The following are worth considering when sending a follow-up:
- The follow-up is a very short message; sometimes just a sentence is enough.
- You do not want to sound like a pest or a bother, just a nudge to call the attention of the blogger to your previous pitch.
- Round it up quickly with an expectant optimism.
Here’s an example of a short follow-up pitch:
Most times you will get a reply like this:
This cannot be overemphasized enough. When you finally get the chance to submit a guest post, you certainly do not want to ruin that opportunity and all the work you have put into the process. Therefore, it is important that you:
- Make sure the content is one which is too valuable to be turned down.
- Proofread over and over again for any errors. Do not use British English for an American platform.
- Creatively and strategically link back to your website where relevant in the body of the article and to other valuable sources.
- Use the bait of internal linking where necessary to some relevant previous posts on the platform.
- Don’t miss out on the natural backlink in the author bio section.
In my opinion, relationship building is one of the most important aspects of link building. Now that your guest post has been published, it is time to establish the relationship that will ensure you are the first to be considered should you have further ideas for a guest post in the future. Tips for building relationships after the publication of your post include:
- Send an email thanking the blogger for the opportunity.
- Ask the blogger for a reciprocal guest contribution on your own platform too.
- Share the post on your various social media platforms.
- Be available to answer the questions and feedback of the readers.
- Send blogger occasional email messages during holidays and celebrations.
Bonus Point – Becoming A Regular Contributor
‘Content is king’ and quality platforms require writers that would keep oiling the engine of their sites. Websites such as Lifehack, Triple Pundit, and Psych Central are some platforms where we have made regular contributions. The trick here is to have an established presence on the web or a persona that does.
Bonus Point – Press Requests
The interesting thing about press requests is that it helps you merge the request of journalists from different platforms with your guest posting requirement.
For example, I search out requests from journalists based on my niche of interest.
Then, I proceed to the site to find out whether they accept guest posts.
Other times, I just send an unsolicited pitch based on what they require.
Many times, I have gotten replies like this:
Bonus Point – Feedback/Suggestion
This is one of the very natural and interesting ways I’ve been able to score guest posts in the past, even without soliciting for it. Nothing excites a blogger more than having a feedback on a piece of previously published content from someone who genuinely follows their blog and show interest in its progress.
Below are 2 examples of steps I have used using the content with links to a Wikipedia page and broken link opportunity.
Content with links to a Wikipedia page
Find on Wikipedia an already published topic on your platform, then carefully analyze the backlinks of other platforms with content linking to that Wikipedia page. The major task however, will be convincing the blogger or webmaster of the need to link to your own content rather than the Wikipedia page alone.
Here is a step-by-step guide of how I went through the process:
- I found a comprehensive topic on the website of a client about bodytypes and constitutional psychology. Then, I proceeded to finding the same topic on a Wikipedia page.
- Using the LRT Backlink Profiler (BLP) tool, I analyzed the backlinks going to the page.
- Upon getting the results, I gathered a list of different websites with content linking to that Wikipedia page and made contacts with a unique pitch on why linking to the client’s content, rather than the Wikipedia page alone is important.
- Interestingly, I’ve gotten backlinks in return through this process and offers to contribute an article such as this:
Broken Link Opportunity
Finding broken links can be done by searching a comprehensive content which has been previously published and then try to find broken links within such content. This can be done by simply manually searching similar content on Google and then using a link checking plugging to find broken links.
Here is an example of a pitch I sent suggesting that the broken link on a high ranking platform be replaced with a link to the content of a client.
Here is the reply I got in return, with an offer of a guest contribution:
Guest posting might have become more difficult than it used to be with opportunities for links through this medium becoming hard to come by. However, guest posting opportunities still abound and they offer you the chance of building quality links back to your website.
The most important thing is to always contribute valuable, qualitative and informative posts that provides utility for users, since they are seen to be of paramount importance. Plus, employing creativity, hard work and a focus on relationship building rather than link building alone will definitely make your guest posting campaign a resounding success.
This case study was written by Demmy Oshodi, Outreach Manager at Elephate.co, and proud user of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox.
A word from Christoph C. Cemper
Professional outreach techniques require hard work, creativity and specific focus on relationship building rather than link building alone. Demmy showed how thorough link building research combined with professional outreach techniques and content marketing research could make any guest posting campaign a resounding success.
Our goal is to provide our user community and clients with quality service and knowledge. Our Certified LRT Professionals and Xperts are key to achieving this goal.
I look forward to Demmy Oshodi’s future work, and I recommend working with him whenever you get the opportunity.