This is a guest post from Neil at Only Way Online, a Marketing Agency in London.
Backlinks have long been one of the main backbones of SEO, you could even go as far to say they are the holy grail of SEO. A recent study which analysed over 1 million Google results and looked at the trends found that the number and quality of backlinks to a website correlate with its ranking in Google.
One of the most effective ways of getting high quality backlinks to your website is through Guest Posting, but this strategy does take a significant amount of time and cost. There are other ways to build links which can also be effective.
So lets go through 6 of them now!
Method 1: Provide Testimonials
This is where you write a testimonial for another website and they link to you out of respect.
The cool thing about testimonials is that they are generally seen as being a winning situation for everyone involved. Look at it this way.
You go to a site where you have used their product or service and leave a testimonial. In that testimonial you can setup a link to your own website.
They benefit from your feedback and you benefit from a link back to your website.
I did this recently. I left Nik a testimonial for being an SEO expert and great guy and he thanked me the best way he could, with a backlink.
Method 2: Take Advantage Of Directory Submissions
Directories seem to have been around since time began and a quick search is going to throw up thousands of them that you can go and add your website to. However, that would be a kamikaze approach and will only result in you falling into the belief that the more links the better.
Instead, the Google algorithm is set up so that it focuses more on quality rather than quantity.
This means directories don’t carry a huge amount of weight when it comes to links but when you’re just starting up with attracting links, 20-30 directory links is not going to harm your site.
The more relevant the directory is to your business the better, but don’t overthink it.
This is meant to be a small “quick” win. Emphasis on “quick”.
Directories also happen to help diversify your anchor text, so that’s another benefit right there for. Just in case you needed some convincing.
To help you along the way, here’s a list of directories.
Method 3: Use Social Media to Your Advantage
If you look at the profile pages of the likes of Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit and so on, then you have space for one link. Use it!
Leaving this space blank is a missed opportunity because even though they are typically no-follow links, these sites are high quality and authoritative. Always, always have a link to your website because you will still benefit from the power of these social media websites without putting in too much work.
It’s not going to blow your SEO out of the water, but will help you build up your SEO presence slowly.
Method 4: Work on Your Relationships
Focus on building your relationships online as they can lead to a fantastic network of backlink opportunities.
Consider this. You have a blog and there is a community of other bloggers out there. If you spend time fostering relationships with others in the community then they may feature you on one of their posts.
When you’re top of someone’s mind and they are writing about a topic relevant to your niche, it’s easy for them to share your expertise with their audience.
For instance, a good friend of mine who teaches blogging online, recently asked me to do a podcast teaching her audience about SEO. I’m sure she will also write about this in the future and mention my website (i.e. link to it).The more you build up your authority, the more other bloggers will trust you and link to you.
Remember, relationships are a two-way thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean linking to their website as well, but simply finding out how you can help them.
Method 5: Make Your Content Amazing
Content has always been a fantastic way to build backlinks, but just as it has become more important for the quality of the links to be high, the same can be said for the content itself.
If your content is amazing and relevant for your purpose, then it is also going to be relevant and an attractive proposition for those that want to reference quality expert advice. Your content has to be able to achieve this.
Quality content gets shared naturally and people talk about it. Is your content share worthy? If you were one of your readers, would you mention it to someone else who was in need of advice?
High quality content is a major ranking factor for Google, Search Engine Land wrote about it’s importance.
So if you’re already creating epic content, then you’re starting SEO on the right foot.
Method 6: Making Use of Resource Pages
Now, you might never have heard of this, but using resource pages is a fantastic way to build those links. So, what are resource pages? Well, think of them as being the Internet and website equivalents of a bibliography in a book.
In a bibliography you get a list of the resources that were used or recommended to you and each thing is seen as being relevant to whatever the book spoke about.
For resource pages, you will find a series of links that are relevant to a particular topic or product. Getting your link onto these pages is going to count for a lot as the links on resource pages are seen as representing those that are an authority in that area.
There may have been a number of changes to backlinks, but being an expert still counts.
If you want to see a detailed guide on resource pages, I’d take a look at this post.
So, there you have it. Six different methods to get backlinks without you having to resort to guest posting. In my opinion, you need to do as many of these things as possible to really benefit. Link building is a regular activity for our client sites and we’ve seen the growth.
I know, at times it can feel too slow to see any reward, but when you do, it becomes addictive!
Neil has a free SEO course over at Your Brand Found and also runs a Digital Marketing Agency in London, Only Way Online, helping businesses to get found and grow their business online.
Everyone wants their guest posts to go viiiirrraaaaal. Who doesn’t want to see a flood of traffic coming into their website.
As long as your conversion on site is good, a big peak of traffic transfers into a big peak of leads, enquirers, downloads or sales.
Add in the extra bonus of getting massive amounts of exposure for your brand and it's clear why getting viral content is a goal for most marketeers.
Before we get into this post though I want to highlight something super important. As a content marketeer or business owner I don’t think you are ever entirely happy with the results your content is getting. There is always more to be done, there is always another level to reach and a new tactic to try.
So, if you are feeling a little teary or frustrated about your results so far don’t worry about it. Move forward from where you are, keep on learning, testing and improving.
The only way is up!!
There’s a lot on the internet about the anatomy of a viral blog post, but not so much about Guest Posts. There are subtle differences between the two which in my experience make a difference to how well your content does, today I’m going to share some key tips to help you land viral guest posts.
CHECK THE AUDIENCE IS LISTENING
Volume stats don’t matter, engagement does.
Website owners will have different levels of engagement on different channels depending on where their focus is. So, always check engagement levels on social media & the site you plan to guest post on.
A good way to gauge engagement is to comment on one of the posts or respond to a tweet or Instagram update, also great to kick off the relationship. See if you get a response. If all you get is tumbleweed, then very likely the engagement from their audience will be low. Conversation is a two way stream so if it’s not a priority for them, it’s likely they won’t have much engagement on that channel.
**This depends on the level of site you are approaching, since I mostly write about niche level websites instead of sites like Forbes / Entrepreneur / Huffington this applies in most cases.
For those who want a metric to track focus on time on site & pages per session. You can find an estimate of these stats on Similar Web for free.
BUILD POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
I don’t hear ANYONE talking about this which is pretty crazy. The relationship that you have with the website owner and how they perceive you and your content can hugely influence its results - they are going to be publishing / promoting it.
This is why sometimes you can get far better results from smaller (2K - 10K per month), niche websites who really value your voice and the quality content you’ve provided them. Over a mid level (10k - 100,000K+) who have less time and more people vying for their attention.
What really matters in all cases, no matter who you are speaking too is the relationship you are building with that person and how you position yourself. Remember, this is a business connection you are creating.
Many business owners outsource their outreach and relationship building to low quality link builders or interns. That is the same as outsourcing your customer service to an Indian company with poor English. You will get cheaper rates, but in the long run what kind of an impression are you giving off about your company?
Play the long game. Always.
Right now you are discussing a guest post. But it could turn into a campaign, cross promotion of a product a partnership or a good friendship. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the buzz of online promotion that often we forget there is another human on the other end of the computer. I for one am often guilty of this and it’s something I need to constantly check in with.
GRAB ATTENTION AND KEEP IT
Ideally you want your guest posts to grow two metrics;
1.Grow your search engine traffic
2.Send you direct traffic
Indirectly your brand presence will also grow but it’s more challenging to hook this up to your guest posting activities because you probably have a lot of other marketing tactics going on as well helping your brand grow.
Number one is always covered as long as you link either in the bio or the body of the article back to your site. There are nuances to this but I’m not going to go into details now because I want to focus on the second metric.
This is a lot harder to achieve and something I am constantly aiming to improve at Ginger Marketing. Our goal is to create content which not only grows our clients search engine traffic, but which sends them direct leads month on month - just think of the HUGE value of that!
Not only will our clients get monthly accumulating leads, but they will be highly warm leads because they are coming from a site the potential customer already knows and trusts.
MAN I GET EXCITED JUST THINKING ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES AND HUGE VALUE THAT DELIVERS!
We have already achieved this with several client guest posts but not consistently, we are working on it.
There are many, many layers involved in getting this right but the first is to grab attention and keep it. That means spending time on the title & the first two sentences of your content.
The average goldfish has a longer attention span than a human being now - you don’t have much room for error.
So make sure your title cuts straight to the core of the issue, speaks directly to the person you want to attract and touches them emotionally.
Lets look at a guest posts we recently did for Denise, one of our lovely clients as an example;
5 Ways to Conquer New Job Anxiety
(100+ social shares to date)
Why this title rocks.
The reader knows exactly what they are going to get from this post if they click on it.
2.It contains X 2 highly emotional words; CONQUER + ANXIETY
The title remains positive even though it touches on a highly emotional topic. No-one likes to admit that they have new job anxiety, we are supposed to be strong, excited and up for the challenge!! But the fact of the matter is that new, is scary, and anxiety comes even without a welcome mat - RUDE!
This title speaks to anxiety but it also speaks directly to the people who want to CONQUER it. This changes the tone of the article making it positive & touching on the emotion of the audience.
3.It attracts the right customer
The two places I always start when creating content titles;
a) Who is the ideal customer
b) What is the primary challenge you are helping them with
Denise wants to attract driven, accomplished business women who need occasional support & guidance. A core challenge she helps clients through is career transition. Whether that’s working out where to go next, attracting the right next move, or transitioning to a new job.
So, you can see how the title speaks directly to her target audience.
PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE
I cannot emphasise this enough. Don’t just expect that the website owner is going to spend time driving tons of traffic to your post. Sometimes you need to prove your contents value before they will realise how freaking awesome it is.
So, share it with your audience at the very least.
To help you with guest post promotion we have also create a group board over on Pinterest so you can share your Viral Guest posts. So hop on over, follow our boards and then send a message so we can add you as a collaborator.
>>> VIRAL GUEST POSTS <<<<
If you want to go one step further then share your post on some relevant Facebook Groups. Chantel has created a fab Facebook group promotion calendar >> So check that out on her site as well.
Top tip >> If you are tweeting your post out make sure you tag the website owner’s account. More often than not they will retweet your post.
We hope you have found these tips useful. Here is a quick and pinnable summary for you to remember the key steps to viral guest posts.
We've love to hear in the comments if you have some extra tips to add! Have you found some techniques and tactics that have worked for your business?
In the Digital PR and Guest Blogging space getting featured on Forbes is considered the pinnacle of success. We often get asked by clients if we can get them high profile mentions on sites like Huffington, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc (answer: yes we can).
But whilst I do agree that getting featured on premium sites can offer exposure and additional benefits, it’s not as black and white as you might think. But then what is... not much sept from this cutie. (meet Raphaella, our adorable rabbit who as I write this is digging outside in the plant pots of our roof terrace - don't tell the landlord!)
If you are looking for massive amounts of exposure, which is the primary reason most business owners want to get onto these publications, then there is only one way to get this.
You need to have something out of this world worth sharing!!
psst, launching your latest product (unless it can automatically clean my bunnies cage or fly me to the moon, in which case lets talk!) is not out of this world worth sharing.
That doesn't mean you can't get onto these publications it's just that you should re-frame how you view them as a marketing tool and be more realistic about results.
Lets break this down a bit..
The primary ways a Digital PR company or you can get on Forbes or similar is;
A. Pay a huge amount of money to a contributor who will quote you within one of their articles
B. Build a relationship with a relevant journalist and either pitch content or a source
C. Get contributor rights
Option A just isn't worth the return on investment. Unless you absolutely need a premium link for your link building strategy it's not worth paying $1,500 - $2,000 for one mention on Forbes. Option C is a possibility but in most cases you need to be able to get a referral and also be a freaking good writer with a bunch of original ideas to share. Which leaves option B, if done well this can deliver a good ROI but it's not all roses and champagne.
Not all content on Forbes, Inc & Huffington gets shared thousands of times.
To illustrate this with actual figures.
I just entered this search query > site:https://www.forbes.com/ “guest blogging” into google.it
And I randomly picked some results from the first few pages:
1. Guest Blogging: Is It Really Dead?
Views : 1,448
Click Through: 22.96
2. 39 Actionable Ideas For Driving Traffic To Your Website
Click Through: 10139.22
3. 10 SEO Mistakes To Avoid In 2017
Click Through: 73.28
**Click through is based on 2% conversion which is about average and shares are taken from Share Count a nifty tool you might want to check out!
As you can see these figures are drastically different. The authors personal network, the rank, the placement within the site (front page / category / buried), promotion of the post all play a part in its success.
Also, these figures are based on the contributor having written the entire article, the quote that you might get on Forbes, Entrepreneur & Inc is going to reduce your click through even further. The space you get to sell your value is dramatically reduced unless you are the contributor writing the full article.
I do believe that getting premium placements has a place in a Guest Blogging strategy, but if you are looking for massive amounts of exposure then expectations should be set and cost needs to be controlled.
So! What to do? Assuming you don’t have the time or the interest in becoming a contributor what can you try instead?
Target Mid Level Niche Publications Instead
You can get fantastic results from mid level niche publications which is why we focus on it at Ginger Marketing. On wordpress.com blogs alone in January 2017 there were 22 billion pageviews and blogs outrank social media channels in terms of consumer influencer before making a purchase.
Your customers use blogs and to further get our point across we've put together a nifty little super pinnable graphic with some stats, because we know you like numbers (and we like watermelon).
These stats tell you two things;
Guest blogging on mid level niche publications provides the perfect opportunity for you to show your value, get in front of a new audience and have content ready and waiting for when your potential customers are ready to buy.
What Do I Mean By Mid Level Niche Blogs
You might be confused by this terminology so I will clarify it now. Mid Level Niche Blogs are essentially blogs which are written around a singular topic. For example, gardening or weddings or parenting or lifestyle. When I talk about mid level I use this phrase very broadly...
I mean blogs which have surpassed the newbie phase and are getting over 2,000 monthly visits up to blogs which have 100,000 even 500,000 monthly visits. Any blog which isn't completely new (or spammy) or very premium I count as mid level.
Not all publications are worth the time invested, I have written about this before. If you are hiring someone to do your guest blogging then make sure that you agree on quality level. And if you are doing it yourself then read up and understand how to vet potential sites.
You only have so much time and you want to maximise your ROI. As a rule of thumb always check the website has a minimum of 2,000 monthly unique visits, you can use this tool to check.
And also check out how much engagement their content gets, comments and shares are a good indication that they have an audience listening to what they have to say.
It is also important to promote your post once it has gone live. It’s not write, publish sit and hope. It’s write, publish, promote. Facebook threads are a great way to syndicate your guest posts, and make sure you share them with your audience as well.
If you do share your post via social media then tag the publication and more often than not they will retweet you sending additional traffic.
If done well writing for niche publications can deliver hundreds, if not thousands of shares, traffic & connections.
To share our most recent Guest Post for one of our clients - it received over 70 social media shares, but more importantly a potential client enquiry and a potential speaking opportunity;
We’ve also placed posts like this one with over 550 shares & continues to drive leads to one of our clients.
And this one with over 6,000 shares and counting
Mid niche level placements often deliver a higher ROI for small businesses than premium placements like Forbes, Inc and Entrepreneur.
I'd love to know your thoughts on the comments below. Do you actively engage in Guest Blogging as a strategy for your business and have you seen success with mid level niche publications?
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Content Marketing Freelancer @ Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)
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