Guest Blogging: Is It a Powerful Link Building Catalyst or Waste of Time?

What’s the deal with guest blogging?

Is it an effective strategy for building links and enhancing your website’s SEO?

Or is it an archaic strategy that’s nothing more than a waste of time and energy?

Questions like these swirl in the corners of the SEO and search marketing world. And, believe it or not, there’s a lot of misinformation and ill-informed opinions on the topic.

We’re here to set the record straight on guest blogging and its relationship with link building in 2020 and beyond.

Table of Contents

+ What is Guest Blogging?
+ Exposing the Guest Blogging Myth
+ The Right Approach to Guest Blogging
+ Step #1: Lay the Ground Work
+ Step #2: Research Opportunities
+ Step #3: Network With Bloggers
+ Step #4: Come Up With Guest Blog Ideas
+ Step #5: Pitch Your Ideas
+ Step #6: Create the Content
+ Step #7: Promote, Rinse, and Repeat
+ Tap Into the Power of Guest Blogging

What is Guest Blogging?

What is Guest Blogging?

The simplest definition is that guest blogging is the process of writing content for someone else’s website or blog. Guest bloggers tend to do this for a number of reasons, including:

  • To generate brand awareness
  • To build traffic back to their own website
  • To network with other individuals, peers, and companies within an industry
  • To boost domain authority and SEO through high-authority external links

Contrary to popular belief, guest blog posts are not overly promotional. They tend to be very organic, educational, and insightful. This makes it an inbound marketing strategy.

And it’s a two-way street. In other words, what makes guest blogging so attractive is that it’s mutually beneficial.

The guest blogger gets exposure and SEO/traffic-related perks, while the publisher gets free content for their audience.

Bam! It’s a win-win!

Exposing the Guest Blogging Myth

Exposing the Guest Blogging Myth

If you’ve clicked on this article, you probably already have a cursory understanding of what guest blogging is. Even if you’ve never implemented the technique, it’s something that’s on your radar.

However – and this is a big HOWEVER – you’re also a little skeptical.

You’ve run across articles that say guest blogging is dead, spammy, or no longer effective.

You’ve even seen marketers discuss this on message boards and social networking sites.

But be veryyy careful about falling for everything internet strangers are saying about guest blogging. There’s a lot of misinformation on this topic and it’s important that you dig down and excavate the truth.

In order to understand the myth that guest blogging is dead, you have to rewind the clock to 2014. You know, the year of man buns, the emerging popularity of endearing terms like “bae,” and #AlexFromTarget.

Because it was in 2014 that Google’s Matt Cutts came out and published his now-famous article on guest blogging.

The headline of that post? The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.

Cutts’ article caused instant panic in the world of SEO, searching marketing, content creation, and link building.

Much of the panic was centered on this simple phrase:

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy…I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.”

Yikes!

Here’s one of Google’s most influential employees telling people to stick a fork in guest blogging!

It’s done.

That’s a pretty bold declaration and, as you can tell from the fact that we’re still discussing it more than six years later, it left quite an impression.

A lot of people stopped guest blogging altogether.

Many guest blogging contribution platforms fizzled out.

Those who continued to guest blog, mainly did so for the brand awareness and direct traffic. But guest blogging for SEO and link building? A lot of the spammy practices stopped.

However…that was kind of Cutts’ original point.

In order to understand the famous 2014 article, you have to get clear on the context.

His article was actually prompted by frustration with spam. In fact, it starts off with a copy-and-pasted email that he received (unsolicited) from someone asking for backlinks in return for a guest blog post.

If you put yourself in the minds of those at Google – like Cutts – you can understand why they viewed/view spammy practices with such disdain. (It leads to oversaturation of low quality, irrelevant content and adds little-to-no value to the reader – Google’s users.)

So Cutts went out and published a damning post telling people to cut it out.

Google even posted a follow-up article of sorts in 2017, where they once again frowned upon “large scale article campaigns” and mass guest blogging. But once again, it was focused on low-quality content, duplicate articles, and blatant keyword/link stuffing.

Yet nowhere in these two articles – or any official documentation from Google, for that matter – will you find anyone saying high-quality, authentic guest blogging is dead.

Because, here’s the deal: Google wants quality content on to deliver its users. In fact, you could say it needs quality content.

It’s not the guest blogging that Google hates. It’s the spammy guest blogging that adds no value.

The solution?

Add value.

Don’t publish guest blog posts for the explicit purpose of mining links.

Publish guest blog posts for the purpose of sharing insights and delivering value to the reader. (In the process, you’ll end up with a few backlinks and all of the SEO perks that come along with it.)

Mass guest blog posting is dead. Sharing original value is not.

If you’re doing the latter, you have nothing to worry about.

The Right Approach to Guest Blogging

The Right Approach to Guest Blogging

If you speak to those who are truly on the inside of the SEO industry, they’ll tell you that guest blogging absolutely works. It’s all about your strategy and execution.

But we don’t think this should be some hidden secret. We believe high-value guest blogging needs to be accessible to any business owner, entrepreneur, or blogger who is willing to put in the hard work.

So, without further commentary, we present to you the proper approach to guest blogging in 2020 and beyond:

Step #1: Lay the Ground Work

Lay the Ground Work

Before you can ever think about guest blogging, you have to establish the proper foundation. Otherwise, your best-laid efforts will fail to generate any return or value.

Here are a few of the basics:

  • Establish your brand identity. You can secure guest blogging opportunities on a handful of authoritative platforms, but all of this exposure and “link juice” is a waste if your own brand isn’t carefully optimized. Make sure you know precisely who your brand is and what it stands for, otherwise you’ll fail to maximize the value of the people who eventually engage with it.
  • Update your website. Your website is one of the first things someone is going to look at when considering your request to write a guest blog post. Does your website look sleek and professional? Or is it outdated, disorganized, and questionable? Your website is a direct reflection of the value you add – ensure it’s representative of you.
  • Invest in your own blog. Few websites or bloggers will accept guest blog post contributions without some examples of your writing. If you already have some guest blog posts to your name, these can be used to create a portfolio. However, it’s also a good idea to invest in your own blog. Quality content here will

It’s impossible to be successful in guest blogging without all of these ingredients present. Take the time to flesh out any issues and strengthen your own brand before pitching your guest blogging services to others.

Step #2: Research Opportunities

Step #2: Research Opportunities

Once you’ve cleaned yourself up, it’s time to go out and find some good opportunities.

This stage is all about research.

If you like spreadsheets and data, you’ll enjoy this part of the process. If you’re more of a creative mind who likes interacting with people and making things happen, this stage will be tough for you. (But don’t worry – your moment is coming in Step #3.)

Start by creating a spreadsheet.

You can organize the spreadsheet in any manner or system that makes sense to you, but you’ll want to include the domain name, URL, domain authority ranking, and a column for notes.

Here are three different methods you can use to find possible opportunities (which will all get filed away into your spreadsheet):

  • Search Google. Use Google to find guest blogging opportunities. Try searches like: your keyword + write for us; you keyword + guest blogging guidelines; your keyword + contribute; your keyword + this is a guest post by; oryour keyword + contributing author/writer.
  • Follow the competition. Study your three biggest competitors by looking at their profiles on a site like SEMRush. You’ll be able to uncover their backlinks and see where they’re having success.
  • Stalk influencers. Make sure you’re following influencers in your industry on social media. This gives you the chance to observe when and where they’re publishing content. Add these publishing sites to your spreadsheet. There’s a pretty good chance that they accept high-level guest contributions.

Feel free to get creative and try some additional strategies, but there’s enough meat on these three bones to keep you pretty busy.

Using these tactics alone, you should be able to come up with 20-50 guest blogging opportunities.

Step #3: Network With Bloggers

Step #3: Network With Bloggers

Your spreadsheet is like your game plan.

But in order for a game plan to work, you have to go out and execute.

The first stage of execution involves networking with the bloggers, editors, and business owners who have the authority to give you guest blogging privileges.

While you can try cold outreach – sending an email with an offer to publish a guest blog post – remember that this is precisely what Cutts knocked in his 2014 article claiming guest blogging was done.

The better strategy is to cultivate relationships over a period of time.

Social media is the optimal place for networking and relationship building.

For B2B purposes, LinkedIn reigns supreme.

Follow and connect with the people you want to network with.

Start reading and commenting on their posts.

Send direct messages asking questions.

Share their content.

The goal is to make yourself known without coming across as obsessive and creepy.

Don’t try to build a relationship in two weeks. We’re talking about three to six months of work here (minimum).

But the good news is that you can forge multiple relationships at a time.

Work the crowd (in an honest and authentic way) and remember that you’re planting seeds. Once the seeds grow and mature, you’ll be in a position to reap the harvest.

Step #4: Come Up With Guest Blog Ideas

You’ve got your brand in shape.

You’ve found potential guest blogging opportunities.

You’ve done some high-quality virtual networking.

The pump is primed.

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty.

If you want to be successful with guest blogging, you have to learn to tailor your blog ideas to the specific site you’re aiming to get published on. Sending the same blog post idea to a dozen websites and waiting to see which one says yes will limit your effectiveness.

Her are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • For the vast majority of websites and blogs, your goal shouldn’t be originality. In other words, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel and come up with a topic that’s never been written about. The better strategy is to find blog posts that are already working on other sites and come up with an idea that replicates this post and/or improves upon it. (100% original copy, obviously.)
  • If you’re going after a high-authority website or blog in your niche, you will need to be a little more creative. In these cases, make sure the complexity of your topic matches the readership. Don’t pitch 101 type guides when the audience is already on a 401 level.
  • Think about how you can add value to the guest publisher. Look at the post through their lens. Does your idea help them move the needle?

The more you come up with ideas and pitch them, the more you’ll get a feel for what does and doesn’t work. Make mental notes and move on. This is a learning experience.

Step #5: Pitch Your Ideas

Step #5: Pitch Your Ideas

Here comes the defining moment in the process: The pitch.

The problem for most is that they start here. They skip the first four steps and send cold pitches to random bloggers.

No wonder most guest blogging strategies don’t yield much value!

The good news is that you’ve already done the hard work. Now it’s just a matter of implementing the correct approach.

An email pitch is fine, but remember that your recipient probably gets dozens of these every month. A better strategy may be social media outreach – especially if you have an existing message thread with the person.

When pitching, make the blog post sound like an opportunity. Make it hard for them to turn you down.  Get specific, but don’t be too wordy. You don’t want to waste their time.

Step #6: Create the Content

Boom! You have an approved idea from a high-authority blogger who is willing to publish your piece in the next few weeks.

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start crafting compelling copy.

If you’re an experienced copywriter, you already have a pretty good idea of how to develop high-converting copy. But if you’re fairly new to the game, here are some principles and tips to keep in mind:

  • The thirst for knowledge might be at an all-time high, but reader attention spans are lower than they’ve ever been. In order for your guest blog post to perform well and achieve the metrics you need to get repeat publishing opportunities, you’ll need to focus on readability. This means short sentences, small paragraphs, lots of headers, and plenty of bullet points.
  • Visual content is much more engaging and memorable. Implement as many different multimedia elements as possible – including images, charts, graphs, screen-grabs, video, infographics, etc.
  • Authoritative backlinks. Your backlink can’t be the only hyperlink in the article. That looks fishy. Include an array of authoritative backlinks and your content will look more genuine.

In terms of word count, a good guest blog post should be a minimum of 1,000 words and could be as long as 4,000+ words. Ask the publisher for any specific guidelines they may have.

Step #7: Promote, Rinse, and Repeat

Step #7: Promote, Rinse, and Repeat

In order to truly reap the rewards of guest blogging, you need consistency. Aim to publish at least one guest blog post per month (and preferably two or three). Over the course of a year, this will give you at least a dozen high authority links pointing back to your website.

Tap Into the Power of Guest Blogging

Tap Into the Power of Guest Blogging

It’s easy to get caught up in the rumors and misinformation. But despite the funeral others have held for guest blogging, it’s still very much alive and well.

Balance and discretion are the operative words.

When it comes to SEO and link building, you can’t become so laser-focused on a singular strategy that you forget about all of the rest.

Guest blogging should represent just one weapon in an eclectic arsenal. (A powerful weapon, but just one nonetheless.)

Hopefully, this article has provided you with some useful insights into how you can leverage guest blogging for your distinct benefit and advantage.

Go forth and guest blog with confidence!

The 4 Cutting Edge Link Building Outreach Tactics You Need to Implement

If you’re reading this blog post, you understand the importance of link building.

You might even have some minimal experience building backlinks to your blog or website.

But you’re not sure how to truly scale your efforts.

You’ve developed some good content, but you’ve only seen it garner you a few links – most of them from colleagues and people who already know you/like you.

You’re tired of sitting back and waiting. You want to make things happen.

Well, you’re in the right place.

This post is going to walk you through the precise ways you can build links via manual outreach – something that requires a little effort but typically produces powerful results.

If you’re willing to apply a little elbow grease, we’ll show you how to get started.

Table of Contents

+ The 2 Primary Approaches Link Building
+ 1. Link Attraction
+ 2. Link Outreach
+ 4 Link Building Outreach Tactics You Can Use
+ 1. Email Outreach
+ 2. Guest Posting
+ 3. LinkedIn Outreach
+ 4. Pitching Journalists
+ Partner With a Link Building Expert

The 2 Primary Approaches Link Building

The 2 Primary Approaches Link Building

Before digging into the granular details, let’s set the table a bit more.

There are ultimately two primary approaches to link building:

1. Link Attraction

As the name suggests, this model is all about creating quality content, publishing it to your website, and optimizing it so that it’s visible and shareable. The hope is that people discover your content – either via Google, social media, or other direct referrals – and that they, in turn, link to your content as well.

Link attraction is a reactive form of link building. It has its place, but it largely removes you from the process. If you (a) have little time/money to dedicate to link building, (b) are not in a hurry for results, and (c) believe in the quality of your content to stand on its own merit, this strategy works. If not, you’ll need a more hands-on approach.

2. Link Outreach

If link attraction is a reactionary approach, the link outreach method is about being proactive. The objective is to go out and “sell” your content, for lack of a better term. You do everything within your power to find people who are able to link back to your content and you persuade them to do so.

Link outreach takes a lot of time and can be frustrating at times. However, it’s like pouring gasoline on a few sparks – it causes embers to swell into powerful flames. And if you want to be successful with link building and SEO, you need flames.

4 Link Building Outreach Tactics You Can Use

4 Link Building Outreach Tactics You Can Use

Link building outreach – also known as manual link building – is a pretty broad category.

You understand the importance of doing it, but where do you start?

Here are the precise tactics and strategies that we’ve seen work wonders for clients, businesses, bloggers, successful SEOs, and industry-leading digital marketers:

1. Email Outreach

Email is a powerful asset for link building outreach – but it has to be used wisely.

Anyone who has the ability to link back to your website has an email account. In other words, you have a direct line to them. It’s all about how you use it.

There’s an art to email outreach and you have to spend time perfecting this skillset.

Cold emails without a strategic approach rarely, if ever, work.

You have to learn how to write good emails so that they’re (a) opened and (b) engaged with. (If an email doesn’t get opened and engaged with, it’s heading straight for the dreaded trash folder.)

When writing an outreach email, think about it from the perspective of the recipient. When they see an email come through their inbox, their brain intuitively performs a three-step evaluation process:

  1. Who is emailing me? // Is this spam?
  2. What does this person want from me?
  3. How long is this going to take?

The average professional receives 120 new emails per day. They only respond to 25 percent of them. One would have to assume that the response rate for cold emails is far lower – perhaps in the 5 to 10 percent range.

To get a response, you have to get a passing grade on all three of these filters.

How do you do this?

Well, you can use what SparringMind.com calls the 3-B Plan:

  • Brevity. People are overtaxed. Their time is precious and email is a huge time-suck. The best way to get engagement is to be brief. Your opening needs to be simple and extremely straightforward.
  • Blunt. Don’t beat around the bush or use a massive opening to slowly build up to your ask. Be blunt. This doesn’t mean be rude – it means be direct.
  • Basic. Keep it simple, silly. Stop with the images, bullet points, bold, italicizes, links, and graphics. As soon as someone sees all of this, their eyes glaze over and they immediately scan for what’s most important. Do them a favor and only include what’s important. They’ll read it all.

That’s sort of the template – or style guide – for writing outreach emails that get opened and engaged with. But how do you actually write powerful emails?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Personalize. Generic emails look like spam – even if you personally write each one. Use the person’s name and show that you’ve done your homework. This might look like dropping the name of a mutual connection or congratulating the person on a recent accomplishment.
  • Convey value. What’s in it for them? This is about you – show them that there’s value in it for them and you’ll have their undivided attention.
  • Be persuasive. Stop tip-toeing around and asking if by any chance, do you think, maybe, you would happen to have time to check out my blog post – just checking! How lame and weak is that? Use strong language: Hey. Check out this blog post today and get back with me by EOD. I have two ideas for how you can use it on your site.

This is just a very basic primer on how to handle email outreach. There’s so much more to learn. Do your research and commit to becoming a student of email communication. This is a transferrable skill that will serve you well throughout your life.

2. Guest Posting

Let’s talk guest posting (also known as guest blogging).

This strategy involves actually writing copy for an existing website or blog in order to generate backlinks and visibility.

Guest posting is a science – and it’s constantly evolving.

The best practices and tactics change every few months and the key is to stay on the cutting edge with your outreach tactics so that you’re getting noticed. But the underlying principles always hold true.

Here are some basic steps you’ll need to take to start using guest posting in your link building strategy:

  • Create a list. Start by compiling a spreadsheet of potential guest blogging partners. You can generate via personal experience (blogs that you know about and like) or by running Google searches for strings like [topic] + “become a contributor or [topic] + “guest post by.”
  • Generate content ideas. Once you’ve developed a list of potential guest blogging partners, do some research. Find out what kind of content their blog publishes, who their audience is, and the kind of headlines and topics they’ve accepted from guest authors in the past. Use this to come up with some compelling ideas that they’re likely to fall in love with.
  • Reach out. Now it’s time to reach out. Feel free to use some of the same tactics discussed in the previous section of this post. One key note, however: Go ahead and write the post before reaching out. You’re much more likely to have your pitch accepted if it’s already been produced.
  • Follow up. You won’t always get a response. Be tenacious (yet friendly) in your follow up. Set a reminder in your calendar and stay at it. Persistence gets posts.

Obviously, this is a 60,000-foot view of guest posting outreach. In order to be successful, you’ll have to zoom in and get very granular with each of these steps. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can generate some pretty powerful and high-authority backlinks for your content.

3. LinkedIn Outreach

Email tends to be generic and spammy. People know this and have very little problem deleting emails without responding.

If you want to increase your open rates and get better responses, consider using LinkedIn. It’s seen as more personal. (And you’re less likely to have people delete your message without replying.)

Tips for LinkedIn outreach:

  • Ease in. Don’t immediately pitch someone after connecting. Show interest in them and build a relationship over many weeks and months. This is why it’s smart to always be building your LinkedIn network. Even if guest blogging is something you don’t plan to do for six months, you can start nurturing opportunities today.
  • Conversational. LinkedIn messaging is a lot different than email. It’s much more of an SMS format – which is obvious in the design and aesthetic. Keep it short, personal, and direct. Long paragraphs and lecture-style rambling won’t work.
  • Give, give, give. You have to give on LinkedIn way more than you take. This is why it’s important to build your network in advance. Offer value 10-times over before you ask for a request in return. (Offering value could look like sharing a post, commenting, or helping out.)

LinkedIn is wonderful because it’s targeted. People log on to the site because they’re focused. It’s a professional networking platform, which means, unlike Facebook or Instagram, people are willing to talk business. Use this to your advantage!

4. Pitching Journalists

This is the fourth and final tactic we’re going to discuss in this blog post. And it’s one that often gets overlooked.

Pitching journalists sounds like an outdated and archaic method – but don’t let that fool you. It’s actually one of the more powerful tools you have in your link building outreach arsenal.

Journalists are valuable for a number of reasons, but they’re especially helpful because of the exposure they promise.

If a well-known journalist – someone with thousands of followers/readers – is talking about you, a lot of people will hear about it. That’s why this method is about equal parts link building and PR.

The key to getting a journalist to write about you (or use your content as a resource) is to add value to them. Remember that they’re in the business of creating content, too. If you can give them a story that will resonate with their readers, you’ll have no trouble getting some links.

Once again, it’s all about the pitch. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be specific. Journalists and editors receive hundreds of pitches per week! Your email subject line has to spell out exactly what you’re offering.
  • Be relevant. Don’t email a sports journalist with an idea about healthcare or technology (or vice versa). Do your research and make sure you’re pitching ideas that fit.
  • Be available. A journalist is almost always going to want to interview you. If he senses that it’s going to take a lot of back and forth to get an interview scheduled, he’ll move on. Include a direct link to your calendar and tell him to book you.

The great thing about working with journalists is that you can quickly build up a network of people who can be tapped at any time.

Because once a journalist works with you and figures out you’re for real, they’ll be happy to partner on future projects. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Partner With a Link Building Expert

Partner With a Link Building Expert

Okay, here’s what you’re probably thinking:

“Those techniques sound awesome…

…but that sounds like a full-time job!

I’d love to implement two or three of these…

…but I have a dozen other responsibilities on my to-do list!”

You’re not the only one!

This is a common sentiment – and one that prevents most well-intentioned people from pursuing link building outreach.

But the good news is that you don’t have to actually do link building outreach in a manual capacity.

By partnering with a link building expert – or a reputable white hat link building service – you can automate link outreach.

This provides you with the best of both worlds: massive link building growth potential and minimal time commitment.

What are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get started today. (Better yet, hire someone else to roll up their sleeves.)

Link Earning: Earning Links Through Quality Content

“If you build it, they will come.”

That’s not really the line. It’s actually “If you build it, he will come,” from Field of Dreams. But let’s pretend it’s that first version.

Table of Contents

+ Link Building: A Dangerous Game?
+ Link Earning in a Nutshell
+ The Pros and Cons of Link Earning
+ What Makes “Great” Content for Link Earning?
+ Making the Push: Earning Links With Syndication and Promotion
+ Link Earning as Part of a Bigger Link Building Strategy

This quote gets recycled a lot to suppose a specific premise: that if you do something well enough, it will naturally attract people. If you create an amazing ice cream stand, people will flock to buy your ice cream. If you build a baseball diamond with ghosts of great players, I bet you’ll have plenty of people buying tickets.

And if you create content that’s truly valuable, you should naturally attract links.

That’s the concept behind link earning, but the mechanics are a bit more nuanced.

Let’s explore them.

Link Building: A Dangerous Game?

Link Building: A Dangerous Game?

First, a refresher. Search engine optimization (SEO) is contingent upon PageRank, Google’s algorithmic system for determining page quality. The more links you have pointing to your site, the higher your authority will be, and the easier it will be to rank for relevant search queries.

In other words, you need links to climb ranks.

In the early days of SEO, you could build links however you wanted, spamming them in everything from forum comments to link circles. Not anymore.

Ever since the Penguin update (and even a little before), Google has made a concentrated effort to penalize people who would abuse their link-measuring system in such a blatant way.

Modern link building strategies prioritize building links that seem natural, constructing them in a way that mimics a realistic form of link inclusion, like citing an article in the context of a guest post.

But why would you try so hard to mimic a natural link, risking a penalty, when you could just… earn a natural link?

Link Earning in a Nutshell

Link Earning in a Nutshell

Link earning is basically what it sounds like.

The idea is to write content so informative, so valuable, and so cool, that people in your industry can’t help but link to it. They’ll want to cite your facts, reference your opinions, and even send their readers to your site so they can learn more.

The more links you earn, the more value you’ll get, both in terms of higher domain authority/SEO and in terms of inbound traffic.

And if your content is good enough, you can truly accomplish this—with a couple of important caveats.

The Pros and Cons of Link Earning

The Pros and Cons of Link Earning

Like any marketing approach, link earning is imperfect.

Link earning has a few qualities that make it a valuable addition to your SEO strategy:

  • Safe. If you don’t have any hand in constructing new links, you can’t possibly be held accountable for conducting a link scheme.In other words, link earning is safe.If you’re especially concerned about the possibilities of a Google penalty, or if you just want to build your SEO dominance as safely as possible, link earning could be the approach for you.
  • Convenient. You should be writing good content no matter what. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy by itself, and it’s necessary if you want to strengthen your onsite authority and optimize for keywords.In some ways, it’s possible to use link earning as an incidental strategy. If you keep focusing on content quality, with some extra attention to promotion, the links should come rolling in.
  • Hands-off. You’re not the one making citations, writing offsite content, or planning a long-term approach. Accordingly, link building is a hands-off strategy.You can get away with not paying anyone and spending less time building links if your strategy relies on link earning.

But there are also some weaknesses you should know about:

  • Inconsistent. Even the best link earning strategies have inconsistent returns.With one article, you might earn dozens of new links.With the next, you might earn none. Even with consistent quality, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. This makes it hard to account for as the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
  • Unpredictable. You’d be amazed what some people will link to. And what some people won’t link to.I’ve had great posts that didn’t get any attention, and half-assed posts that got results. Your guess is as good as mine why this is the case, but some combination of timing, luck, and other impossible-to-measure qualities will have an influence on your bottom-line results.
  • Reliant on others. Okay, so you don’t have to pay anyone to earn links—but you’re also putting your fate in their hands.If you aren’t getting momentum from link earning, you might be able to write better content or shift your approach, but there’s a limit to how much you can do.

What Makes “Great” Content for Link Earning?

What Makes “Great” Content for Link Earning?

For your link earning strategy to succeed, your content has to be so good that people want to link to it.

But what exactly does that mean?

What kind of content do people want to link to?

These are some “essential” qualities of content that has the power to earn links:

  • Unique. You could put together a hilarious bad review of the 2019 film Cats, but that’s not exactly a hot take. If there are already 1,000 options to choose from, writers will be far less inclined to link to your piece.The way to overcome this issue is to write something that’s truly unique. Cover a topic that doesn’t get much attention, examine a specific aspect of a topic that gets ignored, or pose an original opinion.
  • Detailed/robust. A linkable piece of content will be sufficiently detailed, with ample body content. In general, longer posts tend to earn more links, but this isn’t universally true. What’s important is that your work has enough detail to cover the topic as thoroughly as possible—while still remaining concise.
  • Well-researched. Your post should also be well-researched. You should feature links to other posts in the same field, covering some of the research that has come before yours, and you should acknowledge those opinions in your work. It shows your knowledge, and makes your work more reputable.If possible, you should also include original research—key data points that could be valuable to another person in your industry. Statistics and new facts tend to attract a ton of citations.
  • Valuable. “Value” is somewhat subjective, but your linkable content should be valuable to someone. That could mean providing information that another writer finds useful, or just getting a laugh out of someone.When people build a link to a piece, they’re saying to their readers, “Hey, check this out!” They won’t take this action unless there’s something really worth seeing.
  • Specific to an audience. Ideally, your work will also be written for a specific demographic. It’s possible to write “general” content, which could feasibly appeal to a wide variety of people, but in the realm of link earning, relevance is more important than potential audience reach.Make sure you understand your demographics, and customize your content to appeal to them.
  • Coherent and/or eloquent. Even if you have original research to present, and even if your work could make someone’s job ridiculously easier, your content won’t earn links if it reads like a fourth grader’s book report.Your article doesn’t have to win a Pulitzer prize, but it should show moderate-level mastery of your native language. Everything should be grammatically correct, with no spelling errors or typos, and the sentences should be both comprehensible and easy to read.

And if you’re looking for some bonus points, these qualities can help you earn even more links:

  • Opinionated. Opinionated or controversial content can be powerful, as long as you’re writing it in a respectful manner. Controversy tends to attract more shares, more comments, and ultimately, more visibility—so whatever you write will get more attention.If people strongly agree with you, they’ll be highly motivated to include a link to your work to pay tribute to you. And even if people strongly disagree with your work, they might link to you out of spite, to show other people how wrong your opinion is.Either way, you’ll get a free link out of the deal, so the joke’s on them.
  • Multimedia. Written content is ideal for SEO, since you can optimize for lots of keywords and phrases, but adding multimedia elements can help your cause, earn you more readers, and make your content invite more links.Try including more images, videos, or even audio content to spice things up.
  • Regularly updated. You won’t always need to go back and make edits to your past work, but if the situation demands it, regularly updated content is a sign of investment and competence as a writer.For example, if you wrote something like “the state of paid advertising in 2018,” going back and updating the content could be valuable both to people who have already linked to you and people interested in linking to you in the future.

Making the Push: Earning Links With Syndication and Promotion

Making the Push: Earning Links With Syndication and Promotion

That “if you build it, they will come” quote has a major caveat when it comes to online content; even the best online content can get ignored if no one knows it’s there.

For example, you can write the best blog post of all time—the most incredible, exhaustive, funny take on a popular subject—and it still won’t earn you links if nobody knows it exists and nobody reads it.

That’s why your link earning strategy will be dependent on your ability to publicize, promote, and syndicate your content; in other words, you have to make it visible.

There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Social syndication. The first and easiest approach is to use social syndication; in other words, publicize your works on social media. Make a post to your followers when you have new work available, and regularly repost your older work.For this to be truly effective, you’ll have to pump those follower numbers up—the bigger your audience is, the bigger your syndication reach will be.
  • Collaboration. It’s also a good idea to collaborate with other content creators. You’ll immediately get the benefit of another writer’s experience and insights mixed in with your own, but the biggest advantage comes after the post is published.If your collaborator is reasonably popular, you’ll basically get some free influencer marketing out of the deal. They’ll be incentivized to popularize the post, and both of you can benefit from it.
  • Cross-promotion. Exchanging links isn’t a good idea, since link exchanges are frowned upon, but there’s nothing wrong with forming partnerships and cross-promoting each other’s best work.Find some people in your industry and content creators you respect, and tell them about pieces of theirs you love; they’ll likely return the favor and mention some of your best posts to their audience.
  • External publication. You can use elements of a guest posting strategy to promote and support your best onsite work.For example, let’s say you’ve written a great onsite post about how to build a treehouse. You could make a pitch to an external publisher on the topic of “fun family activities,” and link to your own post as an example.Yes, this is link building, not link earning, but in the process of link building, you’ll improve the visibility and traffic of your most important posts, causing it to earn links. It’s a fantastic feedback loop you’ll want to capitalize on.
  • Supplemental research. You could also suggest your content to people who are linking to similar work, or who are writing content in your niche.For example, let’s say you have that “treehouse” post, and you notice someone writing about building wooden structures for children. You can reach out to them via social media or another channel to inform them your post would be an excellent addition to the post.

These are just some basic strategies you can use to popularize your content.

Feel free to get creative, and experiment with new angles!

Link Earning as Part of a Bigger Link Building Strategy

Link Earning as Part of a Bigger Link Building Strategy

Link earning is incredibly valuable, especially because it makes use of the high-quality content you should be creating in any scenario.

However, it’s not perfect.

The best way to use link earning is in conjunction with another, more reliable, more consistent link building strategy—and of course, effort toward onsite optimization.

If your goal is improving your search rankings, you’ll need a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. One that includes a variety of content marketing, link building, and technical optimization strategies. It’s not easy to stitch one together, especially if you’re starting from scratch, but if you commit to consistent improvements over time, eventually you’ll see the results you want.

The 8 Best-Kept Secrets to Crafting Shockingly Sticky Link Bait

Link building is an uphill challenge.

It requires dollops of discipline and copious amounts of creativity.

But it works.

Table of Contents

+ What the Heck is Link Bait?
+ 8 Powerful Secrets to Effective Link Bait Creation
+ It’s Time to Reshape Your Content Strategy

And if you want to succeed in a highly competitive internet marketplace like the one we have right now, you need every advantage you can muster.

We talk a lot about different strategies and techniques on this blog, but it’s impossible to be successful at building links if you don’t have the fundamentals in place.

At the foundation of every successful strategy is a focus on content.

More specifically, there’s an emphasis on link bait that attracts inbound links and leads to a surge in search rankings, traffic, and credibility.

What the Heck is Link Bait?

What the Heck is Link Bait?

You’ve probably heard the term before, but do you know what link bait is?

As you can infer from the name, it’s content that’s designed to attract links.

Think of yourself like a deep-sea fisherman tossing out big hooks affixed with chunks of bloody meat. These meat-laced barbs attract sharks and other big fish so that you can reel them in.

The more hooks – and the better the bait – the more fish you can bring on board.

In the world of SEO and marketing, content is your bait.

The more high-quality content you have – also known as link bait – the more authoritative backlinks you’ll attract.

Here are three of the most common types of successful link bait:

  • We’re all familiar with listicles. (You’re reading one right now!) They’re commonly used by marketers in all industries and niches – and they work! The number in a listicle headline is comforting, reassuring, and direct. It sets a clear expectation and promises an easily digestible piece of content that will deliver tangible value.
  • People love visual content and they love data. Infographics fuse the two together for a compelling piece of content that’s highly informative and shareworthy. They’re also a natural fit for social media, which makes them even more versatile.
  • Over the past decade, there’s been a swift and significant shift towards video as a digital content medium. Fewer people are taking the time to read long-form content, while millions are flocking to snackable video content.

Other examples of link bait include guides, ebooks, interactive content (like calculators), quizzes, and roundup posts.

Depending on your industry and/or desired outcomes, certain types of link bait may work better for your link building efforts than others.

But regardless of whether it’s a listicle or an interactive calculator, successful link bait starts with strategic content creation.

8 Powerful Secrets to Effective Link Bait Creation

8 Powerful Secrets to Effective Link Bait Creation

A lot of online brands try to produce link bait, but few excel at it.

Being the exception to this rule requires a willingness to try new techniques, study the data, and optimize accordingly.

Here are some powerful secrets we recommend starting with:

1. Understand Your Audience

You have to know who your audience is.

While it’s likely that your content will get shared with people outside of your target audience, you need to focus your energy and effort on the people who are most likely to convert.

Hopefully you already have a good idea of who your target customer is. But think of link bait through the lens of who your ideal “sharer” is.

In other words, who is most likely to see your article and plug it into a blog post, share it on Facebook, or send it to friends in an email?

The easiest way to discover this information is to look at other viral posts in your niche and look at where the backlinks are coming from. If you have previous posts that have done well, study analytics on these as well.

2. Clarify Your Voice and Style

Consistency is one of the key ingredients to any type of content – link bait included.

Now’s the ideal time to clarify your voice and style so that you can ensure the content you create is highly reflective of your brand’s personality and the value you provide.

A content style guide is a great place to start.

A style guide includes detailed information on:

  • What’s your personality? When people think of your brand, what comes to mind? This should be natural and easy.
  • How do you deliver content? Are you serious or humorous? Do you speak conversationally or academically?
  • This is the practical side of things. It addresses things like formatting, punctuation, grammar, and all of the other little details that make a big difference.

The easiest way to develop a style guide is to type it up and turn it into a shareable PDF that you can give to content writers, designers, and anyone else who touches your content.

Your content style guide will likely evolve over time, but it’s nice to have something to start with.

Give it a try and see how it works for you.

3. Find What’s Already Working

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.

While there’s nothing wrong with trying new things, there’s something to be said for studying what’s already working and rolling with it.

As you do your research, you’ll find that people tend to share content that:

  • Supports the beliefs they already hold
  • Makes them feel a powerful emotion, like anger, happiness, awe, etc.
  • Is relevant to what’s currently happening in their lives.
  • Offers practical value they can apply immediately.
  • Has already been shared by a ton of other people.

There are plenty of ways to study digital content as a whole, but try drilling down to what’s working in your specific niche.

If you’re a personal injury lawyer specializing in car accidents, find out what other car accident lawyers are already posting.

Which articles get shared the most?

Which types of content populate the top Google search results?

Which ones have the most backlinks?

All you have to do is find what’s working and create content that’s better.

If someone has a blog post titled 8 Ways Auto Insurance Companies Try to Rip You Off, write a post titled 44 Ways Car Insurance Companies Rip Off Drivers and include a sleek infographic in the post.

Find what’s working and make a better version.

That’s the quickest way to develop link bait content that generates a high ROI.

4. Use Ogilvy’s Headline Writing Rule

Headlines are critically important.

It doesn’t matter if it’s print or digital – they play a key role in attracting readers.

Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five-times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

This is precisely why he believed in dedicating a massive portion of the content creation process to crafting headlines.

As a general rule of thumb, Ogilvy’s rule says that you should spend half of the time it takes you to develop a piece of content on the headline.

Thus, if it takes you three hours to write a blog post, you should spend 90 minutes coming up with a headline.

It’s that important.

Compelling headlines generally consist of a few common traits.

They need to communicate something shocking, unbelievable, or amazing.

They should be specific and relevant.

They should contain your target keyword.

Numbers, questions, and controversial claims all work well.

However – and this is what differentiates white hat link bat from black hat clickbait – it needs to be genuine and true. Spammy headlines might earn you clicks, but they’ll rarely generate backlinks or brand trust. 

5. Make it Visually Stimulating

Visual content sells.

The brain processes visual content 60,000-times faster than text.

Posts with images produce roughly 180 percent more engagement.

Approximately 65 percent of readers are visual learners and colored visuals increase people’s desire to read content by as much as 80 percent.

In other words, visuals aren’t just helpful – they’re required.

There’s almost no scenario in which you can create a valuable piece of link bait in today’s market without having multiple high quality images.

Thankfully, creating visual content is easier than ever.

Tools like Canva make it easy for anyone to design graphics without having much experience.

Or you can hire a freelancer on a site like Fiverr or Upwork to do it for you.

Pictures of babies, dogs, and kittens are psychologically proven to stimulate the brain.

The same goes for graphs, charts, and tables with concrete data.

6. Keep the Eyes Moving

Anyone can get clicks on a piece of content. But a click doesn’t automatically produce a share.

It takes a lot to convince someone to link back to your blog post.

You have to make them fall in love with the content. You have to give them a reason to share.

And you can’t give them a reason to share if they only read the first couple of sentences and then hit the back button on their browser.

The key is to keep your readers’ eyes moving down the page so that they consume more of the content and have a greater chance of being influenced.

One way to do this is by breaking up chunky paragraphs into single sentences.

This sort of writing style is much easier to absorb.

It’s less intimidating.

It visually encourages people to continue scrolling.

You should give it a try and study the data.

You’ll almost certainly discover that these types of posts receive better metrics.

This includes a higher average time on page, lower bounce rates, and more conversions.

7. Push it Out

You have a limited audience. A constrained sphere of influence.

It doesn’t matter if you have a reach of 100 or 1 million – there’s a cap on the people you’re able to reach through your own channels.

This is why it’s important that you develop a sharing strategy that enables you to push link bait content out to others who can earn you additional exposure.

Social media influencers are one great option.

By partnering with influencers who are relevant to your audience, you can gain exposure beyond your own direct reach. This increases the likelihood that additional people will see your post and share it.

8. Constantly Update Your Posts

Constantly Update Your Posts

It’s not enough to hit the publish button on a post and call it a day.

Good link bait requires regular maintenance and care.

Think of it like a home’s landscaping.

The hard part is making a plan, designing beds, planting grass, spacing trees, etc.

But once you’re done, you still have to give regular attention to the landscaping.

If you don’t, the grass will grow to your knees, weeds will overtake mulch beds, flowers will die, and tree limbs will grow into the house.

Once you publish a blog post, you have to maintain it to ensure that it continues delivering value over time.

A post titled The 14 Best TV Shows of 2020 might be a huge link asset today, but it’ll cease to generate any more links once the calendar turns. At some point, you’ll need to change the year to 2021, 2022, etc.

If a certain post touches on current events, occasionally updating the content to reflect new developments will help the URL stay relevant.

Little things like this make a huge difference.

You’ve already done the grunt work – now don’t forget to water, weed, and prune!

It’s Time to Reshape Your Content Strategy

It’s Time to Reshape Your Content Strategy

The game has changed.

SEO is no longer an inwardly facing strategy of technical onsite optimization. In order to thrive in today’s social world, you have to look beyond.

One of the best ways to do this is by creating linkable assets in the form of magnetic content that attracts clicks, shares, and mentions.

There’s nothing wrong with creating blog content for your website visitors and audience members, but you have to keep the broader scope in mind, too.

What’s going to convince other bloggers, social media users, journalists, and digital publications to share your content and link to your URLs?

If you can crack this code, you’ve given yourself a fighting chance to succeed – no matter how experienced the competition or how crowded the niche.

9 Invaluable Lessons From Failed Link Building Campaigns

Link building will always be a hot topic among digital marketers, SEOs, content marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

It’s also a sensitive one with a bit of a complicated history.

Table of Contents

+ Link Building: Trial and (Lots of) Error
+ 9 Lessons From Failed Link Building Campaigns
+ 1. Don’t Create Content for a Specific Publisher
+ 2. Building Links With Video is Hard
+ 3. Newsjacking Must Happen FAST
+ 4. You’re Wasting Your Time With Incorrect Anchor Text
+ 5. Social Media Doesn’t Provide Link Juice
+ 6. Stay Away From Paid and Reciprocal Links
+ 7. Guest Blog Posts Only Matter If…
+ 8. Create Multiple Types of Visual Content
+ 9. Link Building Can’t Exist in Isolation
+ Sticking to the Basics

But for those who are willing to look back and learn from the past – mistakes included – there’s far more clarity on how to move forward.

Link Building: Trial and (Lots of) Error

Link Building: Trial and (Lots of) Error

If you’re looking to make some casual friends at a digital marketing conference, you’ll want to bring up some safe, casual topics like social media or video content.

If you want to stir the pot and see what people really think, just mention link building.

Link building is kind of a hot button topic.

Some see it as the be-all-end-all – the ultimate marketing tactic in a world where content and SEO are the cornerstone pieces to every digital strategy.

Others see it as a spammy practice or unethical pursuit that renders very little long-term value.

But as heightened as people’s emotions are around the topic of link building, the actual state of things is much simpler.

Over the years, it’s become clear that attracting organic inbound links from high-quality websites that are relevant to your niche has a significantly positive impact on search rankings and online visibility.

But it’s hard to truly understand where things stand today without first taking a look back at what’s happened over the past 20-plus years.

The industry has evolved. Changes have been near constant. And, as you’ll see momentarily, mistakes have been made. But before we dig into link building failures, let’s attempt to wrap our brains around the history of link building.

Here’s the basic gist:

  • Google was founded in 1998, and webmasters quickly realized that they could make their sites move up in the search rankings by attracting links back to their sites. This led to the rise of link exchanges, where people would trade links with one another.
  • By 2001, SEO directories started popping up all over the internet. This gave website owners the ability to submit their sites to directories that would provide links in return.
  • Around 2003, savvy marketers and webmasters discovered that blogging was very useful for building backlinks. This led to some good practices, as well as dreadful ones like mass blog commenting and spam.
  • By 2005, questionable blog rolls and low-quality article submission sites were everywhere. Google quickly realized that these sites existed for the sole purpose of gaming the system. In response, they released an algorithm update aimed at devaluing low-quality links. The “nofollow” attribute was introduced and reciprocal/paid links were targeted.
  • Around 2008, “linkbait” became a popular concept and people began publishing anything they could – whether truthful or not – just to attract links and attention.
  • In 2011, massive businesses like Overstock.com and JC Penney were penalized for black hat search practices – including manipulative link building. In the following year, Google released the Penguin update. This update enacted severe penalties for over-optimization and low-quality link building practices.
  • Around 2013, the rise of organic content marketing further complicated matters. It paved the way for authentic link building that adds value to readers – precisely what Google wants.
  • In 2016, new algorithm updates shifted away from penalties and instead began devaluing bad links.

If you look at today’s world of SEO and link building and contrast it with what was happening in the early 2000s, it’s almost unrecognizable.

Whereas black hat techniques once ruled the day, they’re no longer viable.

White hat is the new black hat.

Organic is the new spam.

Quality is the new quantity.

But it’s taken us – meaning those of us in the search marketing industry – years to learn and embrace this shift. And the primary method of learning has been through firsthand experience and the dreaded…F-word.

Hey now, we’re talking about failure!

9 Lessons From Failed Link Building Campaigns

Failure isn’t a comfortable topic.

Most of us would prefer to gloss over the shortcomings and focus the bulk of our attention on the good things.

But that’s not how you learn.

True growth occurs when you understand what went wrong and use this knowledge to improve, to enhance, to evolve.

Now that we’ve set the table, let’s dig into the main course.

Let’s explore some of the biggest lessons learned from failed link building campaigns of the past – and what they mean for us moving forward.

1. Don’t Create Content for a Specific Publisher

Don’t Create Content for a Specific Publisher

We’ve all had that epiphany.

You know, the one where you’re staring off into space and then it hits you. You have the perfect piece of content for the editor you know over at a major industry website.

You take the next few days working with your content team to come up with an article that’s carefully tailored to the publisher.

Then you send the finished product over to the publisher.

You wait a few hours. Then a few days. Finally, you touch base with the editor and she tells you that she isn’t interested in the piece.

It’s a gut punch.

But do you know what makes the rejection even worse? The fact that you created the content with that specific publisher in mind. You can’t just turn around and pass it on to another editor at another blog. The content must be scrapped.

The lesson here is simple: Don’t create content with a specific publisher in mind. You can’t control what a publisher will do and it’s possible that all of your time and creative energy will be wasted with a swift rejection.

It’s much better to get full approval before writing the piece, or to write a post that’s flexible enough to be published on a handful of websites or blogs.

2. Building Links With Video is Hard

Video is the most powerful content medium on the planet – there’s no doubt about it.

Video is visual, engaging, clear, and shareworthy.

It’s also hard to build links with.

Yes, video content has a tendency to go viral. The challenge lies in the attribution of the video.

Once a video takes off and is shared on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the original creator of the video content often gets smothered or forgotten. Publishers rarely give the proper attribution and simply embed the first link they can find from YouTube.

While there are still ways to benefit from video – including making your branding more visible in the content – it’s not a reliable link building content medium.

It’s possible that this could change – and we’re not telling you to avoid video content creation – but make sure you’re aware of the facts.

3. Newsjacking Must Happen FAST

Newsjacking

Newsjacking has become very popular over the past seven or eight years. And with all of the noteworthy success stories, it’s easy to get caught up in the notion that latching on to a hot topic is the quickest way to success.

The problem is that most brands don’t move fast enough.

By the time the news story is processed, a writer comes up with an idea, approval is given, the article is written, copyedited, and published/shared, it’s possible that a week has passed.

In the world of social media and viral content, a week-old story might as well be six months old.

In order to give newsjacking content a fighting chance, it must go live within 24 to 48 hours. If you miss this window, you’re better off doing something else.

4. You’re Wasting Your Time With Incorrect Anchor Text

Every backlink is inserted as a hyperlink, which is cloaked in clickable anchor text. And when harvesting links for SEO purposes, proper anchor text is key to your success.

As thousands of failed link building campaigns have shown, using overly optimized anchor text is a huge mistake.

You don’t want to use one-word anchors or calls-to-action like click here, buy now, or visit this site. Instead, it’s all about natural anchor text that includes your target keyword for the page being linked to.

Here’s a look at some different topics with potentially valuable anchor text:

  • SEO = why you need SEO
  • Entrepreneurship = how to start a business
  • Local Restaurant = new restaurant in Charlotte
  • Real estate = buy my house in cash

Obviously, these are just some rough examples. It’s up to you to do some careful keyword research and analysis to find out what keywords will give your anchors the best chance of passing along value to the linked URL.

5. Social Media Doesn’t Provide Link Juice

Social Media Doesn’t Provide Link Juice

Social media is obviously a key component of any modern digital marketing strategy.

Any attempt to build a competitive brand in the 21st century must include a firm commitment to social media marketing and engagement.

But it’s important that we set the record straight on a common misconception. While, yes, social media can help content go viral, it does NOT provide any link juice in return.

All major social networking sites use what’s known as “nofollow” links. This is essentially an instruction to the search engines that hyperlinks shared on the website should not influence the ranking of the URL being linked to.

Nofollow restrictions are put in place as a defense mechanism against spammy practices. They cut down on the number of useless links published on social platforms and encourage people/brands to only share content that’s valuable to followers.

Does this mean social media is worthless for SEO and link building?

Well, not necessarily.

Though social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter don’t pass on link juice, there’s still some value in generating nofollow backlinks.

For one, the exposure associated with a viral nofollow link certainly leads to an uptick in traffic, which has a direct and positive impact on search rankings.

Secondly – and this is a bit of a controversial point – search engines like Google reserve the right to ignore nofollow tags. And if you speak with some of the top SEO experts in the field, many of them will tell you they suspect Google does ignore the nofollow tag when the link appears to be trustworthy and organic.

That last point is best described as speculation, but it speaks to the larger point that social media is still important and relevant to SEO and link building.

6. Stay Away From Paid and Reciprocal Links

If you want to buy links, there are plenty of opportunities for you to do so.

You can find them with very little effort or digging.

Some paid links might work out just fine, but they’ll command a hefty price. And there’s always the risk that they’ll fold on you.

Buying links isn’t cheap. While you might occasionally find a $20 link here and there, you’ll typically need to fork over $200, $500, or even $1,000 to get a backlink from a high authority domain.

Reciprocal links are also frowned upon. These often come in the form of Private Blog Networks, or PBNs, where people harvest and share links for the sole purpose of passing along SEO juice.

While you’re better off staying away from paid and reciprocal links, there’s nothing wrong with paying for link procurement services from reputable companies that specialize in this area.

Link procurement services leverage vast networks of publishers to find organic linking opportunities for your web pages. Depending on the quality of the service, they may even be able to get you on industry-leading sites like Forbes or Inc.com.

The difference is subtle, yet important. In one instance, you’re paying to have a specific link inserted in a specific place. In the other, you’re paying a service to go out and find organic opportunities for you. The former is frowned upon. The latter is still effective.

7. Guest Blog Posts Only Matter If…

Guest blogging is one of the more powerful SEO and link building strategies around. However, it must be used appropriately.

As countless failed link building campaigns have revealed, guest posts are only useful if the content is high in quality and the publishing site is considered relevant.

Publishing low quality content on spammy websites will actually have a negative impact on your link building efforts.

It’s all about the execution.

It’s also important to consider whether the guest posting opportunity generates dofollow links or nofollow links. As previously mentioned, the latter don’t provide much (if any) link juice.

8. Create Multiple Types of Visual Content

It’s nearly impossible to get a post published these days without some sort of visual content baked inside. Even if it’s just a couple of pictures or graphics, you need something to break up the text and visually stimulate readers.

The problem is that you never know what kind of visual content a publisher is comfortable working with.

Do they want video? Charts and graphs? GIFs? Interactive graphics?

The best course of action is to create multiple types of visual content and allow the publisher to choose the ones that work best. Anything they don’t use can be repurposed in your own promotion of the content.

9. Link Building Can’t Exist in Isolation

Link Building Can’t Exist in Isolation

We’re big proponents of link building. It’s been shown to be one of the most effective strategies for enhancing SEO and generating brand visibility. However, it’s not designed to stand alone.

Brands that attempt to focus on link building at the exclusion of all other content mediums almost always fail.

Link building is just one component of the bigger picture. It needs to be coupled with content marketing, technical SEO, social media, paid advertising, and strategic branding. That’s how you generate sustainable results over a long period of time.

Sticking to the Basics

Did you take some notes?

There’s a lot to glean from this post. Feel free to bookmark it or share it on social media so that you can return again and again.

No lesson is quite as impactful as a lesson learned in the aftermath of failure. It teaches something far more powerful than success.

Ultimately, if you blend all of these little lessons together, there’s a clear recipe for success. The recipe consists of three primary ingredients:

  • A healthy pour of authenticity;
  • A few ounces of quality;
  • And a dash of consistency.

If you blend these three ingredients up, you’ll find link building to be a prosperous endeavor – something that enhances your online visibility and encourages growth.

Take the time to ponder these lessons and infuse them into your own forward-thinking link building campaign.