Making The First Step
If you’re like me, you tend to have a particularly difficult moment where you spend more time pondering your first move on a brand new project than actually doing it. The tendency, the urge even, to start with something creative, different, and difficult is hard to fight, particularly if you have a client to impress.
When in doubt, I fall back on one of these three simple strategies:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This type of linkbuilding focuses on finding the links that your competition has already been able to obtain.
- Your first step is to pull the backlinks from your main competitors. If you’re not sure who your competitors would be, use a tool like SEMrush to get an idea of the battlefield. You can then use Moz or Majestic to pull the backlink profiles off of their domains.
- Once you have downloaded a backlink profile, pull it up in the spreadsheet program of your choice. Analyze the source of these links. Do they lie mostly in guest blogs? Resource pages? Directories? The easiest targets are certainly resource pages, especially if your have similar products.
- Scout the target site for contact information and reach out to them. Sometimes it’s better to be upfront about what you want. Don’t look spammy. Matter of fact, don’t be spammy. If your link/content is relevant, it should be a no-brainer.
There are some amazing tools that allow you to see if your brand is being talked about. I tend to use Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer, but Talkwalker or Google Alerts are amazing tools as well with plenty of folks who swear by them. I linked some tutorials on each tool so that you can get an idea of how they work. If you (or your client) have a fairly large brand, you should be able to find mentions relatively easily.
However, not everyone is being talked about by name. Sometimes you have to think a little outside the box. In Moz, for example, you can find mentions of phrases relevant to your brand or client that you could likely get a link from. A key strategy from the Fresh Web Explorer tutorial is the following scenario:
Imagine you are a game developer, and your latest game features dragons. You might use the following search query:
This gives you a list of pages where ‘gamer,’ ‘dragon’ and both terms are mentioned. Jackpot.
This probably requires the most work, but creates the most rewarding and powerful links. If you’re creative, think about guest writing on blogs within your niche. If you can’t write, make an infographic. If you aren’t artistic, start a podcast or create videos. The key thing to remember is to create content that’s really valuable to the people who consume it.
When you’re looking for blogs to outreach to, consider the following:
- Content is focused in your niche. If it doesn’t make sense for you to be there, then move on. You want a reason for blog owners to want your content. You also want people to WANT to click on your link, and if it’s not relevant why would they?
- The blog has readership (comments and social shares). Readership boosts traffic. Comments send Google positive signals regarding freshness and quality, which boost the links on the page.
Searching Google for keywords related to your niche followed by “guest post” or “guest blog” should lead you to a blogs guest post submission page or actual guest posts by other writers.
All of these tactics are valuable assets to any project, and can be used in almost any niche if you’re creative and willing to put in the work. So what are you waiting for? Let me know how these work for you in the comments!
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