Posts

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10 Ways to Use Images for Link Building

Images have been a huge part of the web for the past decade, as this type of content have evidently added more value to the overall web usage through enhancing visual experience as well as in helping give more definition to information/web-based content.

The great thing about using images for marketing is that it’s one of the most efficient ways to build brand recognition and acquire natural mentions/links to a website, seeing that it can easily stimulate interest to its audience (particularly if the image is really compelling and/or visually appealing), and is very easy to disseminate.

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Outreach Tactics for Effective Link Building in 2016

This article was co-authored with Venchito Tampon, CEO at SharpRocket. 

It is true how “pure on-site work” can enormously affect any site’s ability to grow its traffic without any push from other popular online marketing tactics.

cyrus tweet

This tweet from Cyrus actually inspired me to write this post.

I also remember Glen Dimaandal – one of the brilliant SEO minds here in the Philippines – believe in the same philosophy, on how solid content and technical optimization alone can do a lot of damage in the competition.

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The New Age of Brand Building: Creative Link Building

Being invited to be part of this year’s Marketing Festival (as one of the conference’s speakers) in Brno, Czech Republic – is certainly one of the highlights of my year, and definitely of my career as an SEO too.

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Below is my presentation for #mktfest – which mainly covers tactics and strategies for effective link acquisition campaigns, and how they all play in the new age of brand building.

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Scalable Link Building Process Using Influencer Marketing

Effectiveness and consistency in link building has always been about the process you put in place at the very beginning of the campaign.

That’s why it’s very critical to align your link building efforts with the site’s overall brand strategy –particularly in knowing the influencers/publishers/brands you want your brand to be associated with (to create better signals and perceived value).

Link building is still very valuable in today’s (and even in tomorrow’s) digital marketing. Links are still a major ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm, and its importance won’t go away as long as people use it to navigate the web.

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13 simple SEO processes you can use to improve client acquisition and retention

gdi

When I started doing SEO 4 years ago, it was already at a stage where everything was starting to get a bit more difficult (May Day, Caffeine and Pre-Panda era). And the way I see it now, it will seriously get a lot tougher in the coming years.

But I guess that was really the perfect time for me to start a career in this industry. I didn’t expect for me to be genuinely passionate about SEO – but I think that passion became the one main factor that really made me embrace everything about it, including its most challenging parts.

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(More) Enterprise Link Building Strategies

Many people already argue that links, as ranking signals, are getting less valuable. Google’s search algorithm is still based on the link graph.

Most of their actions (such as Penguin update, and the successive batches of manual unnatural linking penalties) to win against web spamming may perhaps just prove the real importance of links to the search technology. Seeing that links are still one of the best signals they can use in determining the relevance, authority, popularity and the credibility of a web page or an entity.

Well, that just means that getting the right types of links is still very much important in this age of SEO (and even on the entire digital marketing space). Because links don’t just help a site get better visibility on search results – it also helps information, products or services get discovered through referral.

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Link Building Tactics I’m Focusing on this 2014

I’ve been asked this question many times, way before the year even started. So I just thought of writing about it, and perhaps to also serve as sort of a module for our staff here at Xight Interactive.

The methods that I’m going to share on this post are the things that I’m implementing for the other sites I’m currently handling (that are aside from the clients we’re working on with our company) for over the next few months.

Scalable Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering competitors’ link data has been a standard process in SEO over the years.

But as search marketing continuously evolve – which makes the practice more complex and competitive on many verticals – spying on competitors’ link marketing activities and outdoing them will certainly need more attention.

Knowing where your competitors are getting links and brand mentions is easier to track these days, as there are many available tools specifically made for this particular task that can provide extensive and up-to-date data, such as Fresh Web Explorer and Mention.net.

mention.net

You can spend an hour a day listing and sorting the mentions and links that your competitors get on a daily basis. It’s also important to understand why and how they are able to acquire these brand mentions.

Because it’ll be easier to come up with ways on how to get link placements from the sites where your competitors are getting more visibility, when you know where, why and how they’re getting it.

Terms that you should be tracking:

  • Competitor’s brand name – to see publications writing about them.
  • Competitor’s branded products – to find people or blogs sharing and reviewing their products
  • Authors/bloggers writing under your competitors’ brands – to see where they are getting published.
  • Don’t forget to monitor your own brand mentions – as this can also help you build long-term relationships with linkers/publishers, as well as in reclaiming unlinked brand mentions.

In sorting your list of link prospects (domains linking to your competitors), it’s also crucial to evaluate if the link opportunity is really worth pursuing – ask yourself if do they have enough authority to pass and impact how people see your brand, or do they have substantial traffic to refer back to your website?

Don’t just follow your competitors’ footprints.

Take a step ahead and grow your own list of link opportunities by finding websites that are similar to the ones linking to your competitors. Get visible on those websites too!

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HARO

I’ve taken Nishank Khanna’s advice seriously on making good use of Helpareporter.com’s email service to get better branding opportunities.

Lately, I’ve been spending 30 minutes a day trying to answer queries from publishers and journalists (who are looking for sources for the story they’re working on) that are coming through HARO’s daily emails.

But of course, I only pick the queries/topics that I know I’m really knowledgeable about, and you should too. And as for the industries that you’re not really an expert at, forwarding the queries to your clients (who know the topic better) is the best way to go.

haro

For a more detailed guide on how to user HARO to get high-quality brand mentions to your site, you can check out this post by Mathew Barby (as he has included this tactic on his list) or on this forum thread where Nishank shared how he personally does it – including the email template he uses.

Linker Outreach

This tactic works best when your client already has existing linkable content assets on their website (or is very active in content development).

How it works:

  • Identify the pages (informational and/or non-transactional) within your client’s website that are performing really well in terms of user-activity, and contain information/ideas that perhaps no one in their vertical will be able to match. This is also applicable when you’re still at the content planning stage (for upcoming content assets).
  • Find your competitors’ contents that are similar to the assets that your client already has (or planning to have).
  • Make a list of the people and sites/blogs who have linked to their content or shared via social media (list them down on a spreadsheet, including each prospect’s contact details). You can extract these data using tools like Topsy and/or Open Site Explorer (you can also do a manual Google search, using advanced search operators to find social shares from Facebook, Linkedin and Google+).
  • Start reaching out to them. You’ll have better chances of getting them share or link to your content, especially when your content is better than what your competitors have – knowing that they’re genuinely interested about the subject of your content (since they’ve linked/shared your competitors content in the past).
  • Pro tip: don’t ask them to link or share your content, since they are linkers, and they’ll certainly know what to do next.

I did a case study of this method 2 years ago. You can check that post out for a more comprehensive step-by-step guide, with the sample email template I used.

Content Strategy for Links

I was able to meet and catch up with Zeph Snapp (CEO of Altura Interactive) a week ago. He shared a case study on how pushing out more content on a regular basis (like publishing content 5x a week) can steadily grow the traffic of a website from that meeting.

And that approach can definitely strengthen a link campaign, given that the more eyeballs you can get to your site’s content, the higher the likelihood of getting more links to them.

Nurturing your target audience through continual content publishing also puts your brand on top of their minds, making your brand more linkable (a link magnet).

But of course, content alone wouldn’t the trick, that’s why building a strong readership is very vital to semi-automate content promotion (through social sharing and natural linking). And to truly get loyal readers, you’ll really need to invest on creating engaging, actionable and useful content.

Types of content that can help attract more visitors and links to a site:

  • Evergreen content focused on answering most frequently searched queries by your target audience/customers.
  • Content that aims to build relationships (ex: lists, roundup posts, ego bait, interviews, or just plainly citing industry influencers on your own content).

John-Henry Scherck did an awesome presentation recently for SearchFest that also further explains this strategy:

Build Traffic Generators

I’ve always believed that the most valuable links on the web are those that are able to pass traffic back to your site, constantly. They are the ones that will most likely impact your search rankings as well.

Here are several ways to build constant traffic generators to a website:

Distributing content on content-sharing sites that have high search share

Pages from user-generated content sites like Youtube, Slideshare, Pinterest and many others, can easily rank for long-tail search terms – making them a really good traffic generator.

slideshare

Regular content contribution/columns on authority industry sites

This method is my personal favorite, and has been an integral part of most of the campaigns I’ve handled for the past couple of years – and will definitely still use it this year.

Instead of reaching out to hundreds of blogs for guest blogging opportunities, I just chose to focus on a few ones that can really drive results (traffic, brand impressions and conversions).

What makes this approach more valuable is that these domains normally have high DA, high traffic (and most of them are also your target customers), and the content you’re contributing to them have higher chances of ranking very well on search results – which often leads to continuous traffic generation.

Improving existing traffic generators

Identify the domains linking to your site that have been continuously driving traffic and conversions (Assisted Conversions on GA).

assisted conversions

Then further improve your brand’s visibility on these sites:

  • Build 2nd-tier links to specific linking pages that are driving highly targeted traffic and are able to generate conversions. This will help improve these linking pages’ search visibility.
  • Get more links from these domains, to continuously absorb more potential customers from them.

For more tips, you can check out my old post about conversion-oriented link building.

Building microsites

Investing on microsites that will be able to capture smaller segments of your target market is also a good option to make, especially if your business is in for the long-haul.

Niche or geo-targeted blogs are, more often than not, easier to build a community around in, since it specializes on a specific area of an industry. This method can allow your brand to get more quality leads and build links that’ll certainly be hard for your competitors to replicate.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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9 Easy Ways to Build Links

cyrus

The techniques being used today to build links to a website have certainly evolved along the constant evolution of search. And apparently, the growth of search as well as the increase in competitiveness led to the birth of many creative, advanced and scalable link building tactics.

However, this doesn’t mean that we have to ignore the basics – knowing that “advanced” is just being really good at the basics.

What has change?

Just like before, search engines are getting smarter every day, and they are now smarter than what they used to be.

But the most obvious change is that link building is not just a part of SEO anymore.

  • Link building is a branding tool.
  • Links that can send substantial amount of relevant visitors are valuable (in SEO, branding and conversion or lead generation standpoint).
  • Links affect search rankings, but it also allows websites to get directly discovered by its target audience/customers.
  • Search is now more reliant with marketing-driven metrics. And when your links are authentically byproducts of your marketing, they are much stronger.

So in this post, I’ll revisit several methods that can help you easily drive quick and easy wins when it comes to acquiring solid links to your site.

Link out to others

Linking out or mentioning others’ works, especially those who are in your field, can strongly enhance the linkability of your site, seeing that you’re using other trusted sources as a reference for your content.

Although, the linkability of your site won’t just stop there, since it can also help acquire links through:

  • Getting trackbacks – which is not as bad as most people think, as it can also refer traffic back to your content (and can also serve as a signal that search engines can use to find and index your content).
  • Initiate reciprocation – this is one of the best ways to get into your prospects’ (or target influencers) radar, and if you’re providing good content, then the probability of having them link to you in the future would certainly be high.
  • Getting social links – many have forecasted that social links will be the future of link building, well it is. Publishers tend to share content (especially if they’re good) when they are mentioned in it, and this can somehow drive more relevant traffic and send signals that search engines use as a ranking factor to determine a page’s popularity/authority.

Some of the most popular methods used in getting industry influencers’ attentions:

  • Interviews (group/crowdsourcing).
  • Ego-baiting (making a list of top brands/experts in your space).
  • Writing about or reviewing their company/product/service.
  • Expounding or contradicting their ideas.
  • Curating popular blog posts in your industry.

crowdsourcing

Talk to people

Building relationships, which is very vital in this age of marketing, obviously starts with conversations. The Internet made communication easier for people, so why not invest some of your time and effort in connecting with other publishers and influencers in your industry.

There are so many ways to engage your target link prospects and there are also many ways to acquire valuable links through conversations such as:

  • Blog comments
  • Forum posts
  • Q&As
  • Social networking
  • Email outreach

Relationships are considerably a solid driving force for marketing, knowing that building alliances can help make the syndication and distribution of your content a lot easier. The more you exchange ideas with people in your industry, the more link opportunities you can get.

Bonus: James Norquay recently did a case study on how giving away gifts may result to links and/or shoutouts, and you might want to check that out.

cyrus

Join industry-specific communities/platforms

The web has grown so much this past decade that it seems like any industry that you can think of already has a place online where enthusiasts actively participate/discuss (niche communities).

Inbound.org, Hacker News, Bigger Pockets and a lot of other popular subreddits on Reddit are few samples of these kinds of online communities – that seemed to become a huge part of the modern culture of industries.

hacker news

Establishing yourself or your brand as an authority on these platforms can certainly impact how others see you, which often makes your brand more linkable.

Another approach that you can take advantage of is through finding online publications in your industry that have “community blogs”. It’s easier to get published on these kinds of blogs, but it’s very important to ensure that the ideas and information that you’ll share will be more likely useful to their audience.

community blog

Publish content on popular/linkable websites

If you consider your brand an expert in what you do, then aim to get published on the top blogs in your niche – because there’s so much value to get from that.

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The best thing about submitting content on site’s that you know that are highly linkable (and have a huge following) is that aside from building high-value links to your website, you also get to attract 2nd-tier links pointing to the content you’ve contributed.

 ahrefs

This type of content placement easily connects you with other content publishers (which can get you ton more of links), and definitely potential leads/customers to your business, given that your content is visible to thousands of those blogs’ followers.

Repurpose content

Transform your site’s successful content assets into other formats, as you can easily get more links back to your site (as the original source of the content) once you start distributing it to other content platforms.

Some of the formats that you can use to repurpose your existing content assets:

Slide presentation

You can upload your slide deck on Slideshare (and include links on your slides). I’ve done this approach a few weeks ago, and was definitely successful, as the deck (that was originally published as a blog post) managed to get 3,000+ views and send almost a hundred of new visitors to my blog.

Video

You can also convert your guides/articles into video tutorials and upload them on video hosting sites like Youtube or Vimeo. The best part about using method is that videos, particularly from Youtube, have better chances of getting higher search rankings for long-tail search terms. So it can certainly help you attract highly targeted traffic.

video

Ebook

If you have ton of long-form content or series of blog posts that can be combined into one, then turning them into an Ebook is also a great option. Aside from offering it as a giveaway to your readers, there are also a couple of ways to make the most out of your Ebook or PDF documents for link building, like:

  • Uploading it on Scribd or Accel.io
  • Offering it to other bloggers to be given away (or be used as an incentive for their opt-ins).

Infographic

This is one of the most popular (and perhaps effective) ways to repurpose content, as images are easy to distribute and tend to be shared more a lot over the web.

You can submit your infographic to numerous infographic directories:

Or image sharing/hosting sites to get more links.

Other ways to ensure that your infographic will reach more of your target audience:

  • Encourage your readers to use it, by providing an embed code on the original page hosting it.
  • Launch it first on high-traffic blogs/websites in your industry, to ensure that it’ll be seen by your target audience.
  • Promote it through your guest blogging campaigns (by embedding it within your contributed content).
  • Use reverse image search (via Google image search or Tineye) to track blogs who have used your infographic but didn’t link to you.

Transcribe videos from other influencers in your space

This part of the post will actually be a part of Pole Position Marketing’s annual link building secrets free ebook – and I’ve just thought of giving you guys an exclusive preview of how extremely awesome next year’s edition will be.

Many influencers and/or experts from different industries use videos as a medium to communicate their brands’ messages and also to showcase their expertise. Using this content format these days may come in various forms such as:

  • Video tutorials
  • Conference presentations
  • Webinars, hangouts or Q&As
  • Video blogs
  • Infomercials and kinetic typography

Transcribing videos created by thought-leaders in your industry and publishing the transcription in your own website can benefit you in so many ways, seeing that:

  • The method allows you to build a linkable content almost instantly (since the information shared in the content is from an industry/topic expert).
  • It helps you to get into your target prospects’ radar, which will make it easier for you to connect, engage and build relationships with them.
  • You can get links directly from them (through attribution), if they decide to use your transcriptions alongside their videos.

What makes this strategy really viable is that videos – as a platform for online marketing – have been well accepted and widely utilized in many industries, which means the tactic can be replicated on any other verticals.

Example:

Earlier this year, Ross Hudgens did a transcript of Matt Cutts’ webmaster help video on what Google SEO changes are coming next.

Ross notified Matt Cutts about it:

ross-tweet

And Matt obviously liked it:

matt-tweet

Tips on transcribing videos

  • You can do it manually, or you can also use Inqscribe – a video transcription software.
  • Make sure that the transcript is readable (removing the uhms/ahs, breaking the transcript into shorter paragraphs, appropriate use of punctuations, commas, etc…, and including images/screenshots if possible).
  • Don’t forget to give link attribution to the original source of the video content when you publish the transcript on your site/blog.
  • Let the original source of the video content know about the transcript you’ve created, and start engaging.

Regular content contributions

I’ve mentioned this many times before, that regularly contributing on the top domains in your industry is far better than link dropping to hundreds of mediocre blogs through guest blogging.

quote

This is actually my most favorite link building tactic today (aside from link baiting and building evergreen content assets) for many reasons:

  • It establishes trust and indicates relationships – a factor that is very important to search engines.
  • It can help improve AuthorRank (given that you’ll be consistently contributing content on highly credible publications).
  • It can scale relationship building (as you continuously engage with their readers) and content distribution efforts (especially in promoting your upcoming content assets).
  • Great for branding, based on your association with the authority blogs you regularly write for.

Profile pages

Profile pages are easy link acquisitions, and there are ton of places over the web where you can build a profile with a link to your website.

Though it might be easy to get these links, there are ways that you can do to make them hard-to-replicate.

Because it’s not really about the link (whether it’s dofollow or nofollow), it’s about how you make use of your profile pages to make the links coming from it more valuable.

This is done mainly by strengthening the link value that your profile pages can pass back to your website/brand. Here are several methods that you can implement to efficiently integrate your profiles with your campaign:

  • Interactions and activities occurring on your profile page(s) (ex: engaging your followers on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for them to click-through to your website).
  • Building links to your key profile pages (ex: linking to your Google+ or Twitter account when leaving comments on blog posts you read).
  • Cross linking or promoting your other profiles on networks where you have a larger following base (ex: asking your followers on Twitter to also follow you on Google+).

about.me

Build readership

Lastly, the easiest way to become the ultimate link building machine is to have a strong readership – and most especially if other content publishers are also reading your stuff.

This is not really that easy to pull off, as it requires hard work and consistency (in pushing out content that will make your target readers return for more).

Some of the strategies for content development that I focused on to gradually build my blog’s readership:

  • I created more evergreen content, so I can continuously attract new readers to my blog (as most of them find me through search).
  • I tried to blog regularly (3x – 4x a month) so my existing readers will have a reason to come back.
  • I used to allow dofollow links on the comments section to entice readers (spammers) to comment on my posts (because the higher number of comments new readers see, the more your content gets interesting to them).
  • I focused before on publishing long-form content (with unexpected hooks or ideas that they won’t find anywhere else) to increase the shareability of my blog posts. Because the more social shares, the more you can get new readers, and more potential linkers.

Once you’ve built a strong readership, link building gets a lot easier.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.