Need more page views? Better search engine visibility?
Okay, those are rhetorical questions—all of us do. But a recent trend could be making this more difficult than ever. Let me tell you about a conversation I had recently with a part-time blogger friend of mine.
He’s had his website for more than a decade and it’s always been a pretty low-key operation. In fact, he doesn’t get a lot of page views; that’s not the purpose of his site. But out of the blue over the last few months he’s been inundated with random requests to place links within his published articles.
This has never happened to him before.
He’s involved in internet marketing, so he knows why these people want to place links on his site: more backlinks to a site tend to increase its authority in the eyes of search engines, resulting in better search engine placement. It’s one of the fundamental building blocks of a successful small (or large) business website. His comment to me was that if people are coming to him for backlinks, the competition for backlinks must be getting very fierce.
You need a backlink strategy
This puts a premium on devising a winning strategy to convince website owners—bloggers and other informational site owners—to agree to place a link to your site within content already published on their site. A variation of this is to actually take content created by you and publish it on their site. Then, within that content or within an introduction to the content you provide, you’re able to place a link back to your site.
Outreachxpert, a company that specializes in this kind of marketing, outlines its general strategy, and it’s a good starting point for anyone interested in DIY link placement:
- Pull together a detailed brief about your project. What are your goals? Who are you targeting as prospects?
- Analyze your industry influencers. Who are your prospects listening to in the social media? What blogs are they reading? What YouTube channels do they subscribe to?
With these two steps under your belt, according to Outreachxpert, it’s time to start “the hard work: writing, pitching, and connecting … with the top influencers in your space.”
Let me inject a word of warning here: While it’s great to identify the top influencers, they may not be the first people you go to in DIY link placement. If my part-time blogger friend is getting numerous requests for link placement, you can imagine how many requests the top influencers receive every day.
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However, if you want to try, go ahead but be persistent. I’ve discovered that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and that some influencers will place a link just to get a requester off his or her back for a little while. But this brings us to our next critical point: Your content must be undeniably superior. Let’s look at a specific strategy to illustrate this.
Do a thorough research
You should have a pretty good idea of who your successful competitors are, so scouring the web to discover backlinks to their sites is a good place to start. Free services like Ahrefs’ backlink checker will help with this. As you uncover your competitors’ links, analyze the content that is being linked to.
A financial advisor with a new website might discover that a competitor wrote a good article on how to buy and sell options and has earned a lot of backlinks across the internet. The job for the newbie financial advisor would be to write a demonstrably better article about buying and selling options. It could include points the competitor’s article missed, better graphics, updated information, etc.
Compose an engaging email
The next step is to compose an email to pitch the new, improved article on options trading, and it’s important that this be done properly. It should include:
- A personal greeting that gives a compliment to the website owner
- The article where you would like your link to be placed and which link it would replace
- A short but powerful statement of why your article would be more valuable to readers
- The actual link you want to place
An inquiry email might read something like this:
I’ve been following your blog for some time and really enjoyed last week’s article on finding the best interest rates for savings accounts. We need to squeeze out every penny of income we can get today. I see that you have an overview of option trading (URL here). I’ve pulled together an updated, in-depth article on this topic with some great charts. With its current information and better graphics, I think it would be more valuable to your readers than (URL here). What do you think? I’ll follow up in a few days after you’ve had a chance to check out my article.
One more tip that will help with the important personal greeting. Don’t simply send emails to “email@example.com.” Try to discover a contact name. This may be published in the website’s “about us” or “contact us” page, but if it isn’t, head over to Hunter.io, enter the top-level domain, and discover the various email addresses associated with the domain. It will usually be obvious where you should direct your inquiry.
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This article was originally published on AllBusiness. See all articles by Megan Totka.
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