A Fast And Efficient Method For Link Outreach
Paid links exist. They always will. It’s impossible to launch a full scale SEO campaign without money for link outreach. There are a number of places to acquire these links: Digital Point, link packages (which I never recommend), hiring an SEO firm etc. At the end of the day, if you’re outsourcing your SEO efforts you are paying for links. The only instance when you aren’t technically paying for links is if you’re part of the 1% of sites that command authority and create such incredible content that your fans do the link building for you. But if you happen to fall in the 99% then you have to roll up your sleeves and engage in link outreach activities.
One of my favorite ways of discovering new link opportunities is using the social bookmarking site Stumbleupon. At it’s core, Stumbleupon is a way of recommending useful sites to other members of the community who share your interests, a “social search engine”. I’ve learned much of what I know about SEO by “stumbling” through peer-recommended, digital marketing-related websites.
Targeting sites within your keyword stratosphere
On your Stumbleupon profile you can pick your “interests”, areas and topics that you would like to explore and learn more about. Although a lot of people probably pick “funny”, “sports”, or “celebrities”, there are a myriad of other channels that can be used to learn a new skill. If you were to look in my personal channel you would find; “seo”, “web development”, “photoshop”, “digital marketing” and other technical areas that I’ve used to broaden my skill set. While you can stumble through “all” of your interests you can also pick specific ones. This is especially useful for finding new link opportunities.
The scenario: you have a client that who has an ecommerce website that sells iPhone accessories. They want to rank in Google for the search term “cheap iPhone covers”. They’re a new website to boot. Where do you start? Unless you have a kick-ass content strategy where people are flocking to the site daily for new information, the best use of your money is SEO (in my humble opinion). Although it’s proven to be a slow burn, SEO is still the holy grail of marketing, paying dividends when you finally make it to the first page of Google and essentially getting free hits to your website.
Stumbling the iPhone category
You need sites to link to you that are relevant to the iPhone niche. Navigate to your Stumbleupon profile and add “iPhone” to your interests. Then, depending on what browser you’re using, install the Stumbleupon toolbar. It will appear on the top of your browser. Next to the big “Stumble!” button is a drop down area where you can pick your interests. Select “iPhone” and hit “Stumble!”. You’ll be served websites/pages that focus specifically on the iPhone (as tagged by your fellow Stumblers). When targeting appropriate pages to acquire links it’s important to make sure they’re completely relevant to the iPhone niche. Google’s algorithm is increasingly wary to links on sites that have nothing to do with yours.
Reaching out to webmasters
The next step is finding the “contact” section of the website. In most cases you will find a quick form asking for your name, email, subject, and inquiry. I typically will ask if the site accepts either guest posts or sponsored text links. A few tips when reaching out:
- Make it personal: Copy and pasting a stock message turns many web masters off. Try throwing in something specific I.E.- commenting on their blog content or stating exactly what page you think a relevant link would make sense.
- Offer to pay promptly: Nothing puts a smile on an internet marketers face like money coming in. If you are able to acquire a link be sure to pay as soon as it’s live.
- Get permanent placements: There’s no bigger pain than having to worry about renewing links once they expire. Offer to pay extra if they can leave the link up permanently.
- High authority site=guest post opportunity: On sites are visited thousands of times daily and shared on social networks it may be better to offer a “guest post”. This provides value in the form of new content for the publisher and also tends to cost less.
- Avoid blog “networks”: Although these are hard to identify a basic and first step is to check if you’re putting links on sites that share the same IP address. Google will devalue your site if you spread links across several domains on the same shared hosting accounts.
The possibilities are endless if you use the Stumbelupon route. It’s a powerful tool in any SEOs arsenal and should be utilized to avoid “black hat” link placements. Sites within Stumbleupons index are usually high quality because they are “peer recommended”. Be careful though, not to afire links too fast. This is unnatural in Googles eyes. Patience is key.
–Clayton Curtis is a SEO and internet marketing consultant who lives in Atlanta, GA.