Welcome to the fourth lesson in the link building module. Today, we’re going to talk about the step by step process to build back links, as well as three cookie cutter link building tactics that are tried, tested and completely beginner friendly.
Let’s get started with the general process to link building. There are three general stages in link building, prospecting, vetting and email outreach. When prospecting, you’re searching for relevant pages and websites that might link to you. These might be people who are linking to a similar page as the one you’re going to create, those who have influence in your industry or people who are passionate about the topic. The main goal isn’t to find a perfect list of people. This stage is about finding as many people as possible that fit a specific set of criteria. And this criteria is usually dictated by linked authority metrics as well as relevance. As a result, you’ll usually be working with large and very unperfect sets of data. The vetting stage is where you start to refine your list of prospects. These are the people that you’ll be contacting, so you’ll need to visit their websites and validate that they are indeed people worth contacting. Finally, is the email outreach stage. This is when you finalize your pitches and start emailing your vetted prospects. Now, depending on the link building tactic you use, the way you prospect, vet and craft or email pitches will differ. And this is actually quite difficult when you’re new to link building. Fortunately, there are a few dead simple but super effective link building tactics that are completely newbie friendly. But before we can get tactical, let’s revisit our definition of link building because there are three main parts in it that will help you with prospecting, vetting and email outreach. Again, link building is the process of building relationships with other relevant site owners who want and will link to your content because it enhances theirs. Now I want to highlight the three main parts from this definition relationships, relevance and a value exchange. We already talked about the relevance part in the last lesson.
Now we’re talking about mainly the value exchange and what that looks like in some common link building tactics. So let’s dig into a few easy links, building tactics, and I’ll show you what each stage of the link building process looks like in detail. Plus, I’ll outline the value exchange for each tactic to give you a better idea of what I mean. All right. The first link building tactic is to get free PR using heroin. Harro or Help a reporter out is a free service that connects journalists with sources and sources with journalists. Just sign up as a source and select the categories where you’re qualified to answer questions. You’ll then get emails from journalists, from various media outlets looking for sources on specific topics. And these aren’t just your run of the mill publications. In just this single email, you’ll see publications like Starcom, PopSugar and the Houston Chronicle, to name a few, just skimmed through the topics. And if you find something where you can add value, respond to the journalist with your expert opinion. And if they use you as a source, they’ll usually link back to your site and social media profiles. Now, the value exchange here is simple. You’re exchanging your expert knowledge for a mention and usually a link from an authoritative site. From my personal experience, I’ve gotten links from places like Reader’s Digest, Inc magazine, Forbes and The Huffington Post, to name a few. Now, looking at the three stages of link building, the prospecting part is as easy as it gets. You sign up for a free service and journalists are actually looking for your help, not the other way around, which makes Herot super beginner friendly. As for vetting, you can simply scan through the results on a daily basis, but that can be time consuming. A simple tip you can use is to create a Gmail filter so only relevant emails will surface in your inbox. Just log in to Gmail and click on the carrot to bring down the search options. Next, set the from field to Herot at helper reporter dot com. Then you’ll want to set the subject to Herot within square brackets. Since all of their emails include that in the subject line finally set the has the words field to any keywords you want to monitor. And you can also use the other search operator to include multiple key words or phrases. Click search to see the results your search filters would include and check out some of the emails to ensure you’re getting relevant results. If everything looks good, click on the carrot again and then click Create Filter. You’ll then have the options to apply labels. Market, as important are forwarded to another team member to take care of. Now, as for the email outreach part herel gives you an email address which will then be forwarded to the journalist. So just respond to the given email address and write your response. Now, obviously you’re not going to be the only person emailing the journalist. So here are a few tips you can use to improve your hit rate. Number one, keep your emails as short as. Needed journalists get tons of emails, and if they see a huge wall of text, they probably won’t even give you a response, a chance no to go after topics where journalists are likely looking for multiple sources.
For example, this story from Best Life is seeking medical experts as in the plural form of expert. These kinds of requests will usually be your typical listicle style posts. So the more responses they accept, the higher your chances of getting mentioned and linked to number three respond as quickly as possible. Journalists on Harrill will often give a tighter deadline to give themselves time to actually put together a good story. Plus, some journalists believe that people who respond faster are better. Sources don’t believe me. Here’s what a journalist from Reader’s Digest said to me. The deadline was just to make sure I get people to respond in a timely manner. I actually have the rest of the month to put the story together, which is nice. I find the tighter the deadline I attach, the better the responses, because the only people who go to the effort are ones who really have something relevant to offer. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to every journalist, but it kind of makes sense. All right. Tip four is to prioritize questions where you are an expert and use it as the first line in your pitch. There will be days where you can’t respond to every relevant request. So prioritize the ones where you have the highest probability of getting sourced. For example, PopSugar is looking for experts who can talk about why cat scratch furniture and how to stop them from doing it. If you’re a vet, then you might start your email with something like, Hi, my name is Sam and I’m a veterinarian with 12 years experience and a board member of the Cat Alliance. Clearly I’m not a vet, but you get my point. When you immediately qualify yourself as the right person to answer the question, you’ll likely get their attention. Of course, you should be one hundred percent honest, so I wouldn’t claim to be a vet when I’m not. And finally follow all directions in their court. For example, this one says, Please be sure to include your full name, pronouns, title and credentials and the website you’d like linked with your name. All right. The next link building tactic is guest hosting or guest blogging. Same thing.
Guest blogging is when you create content for another website. And the reason why this strategy works is because there’s a clear value exchange. They get great content for free and almost always they allow you to link back to your site whether that be within the content or in the author bio. Now, guest blogging also provides another great benefit. Aside from a potential back link, you get the opportunity to get exposure to someone else’s audience. They’ve already done the hard work in building that audience. You just have to write something that’ll impress their readers. Now, when you’re prospecting, you’ll need to get a list of websites and there are a few ways you can do that. The first way is to use Google search operators. Just go to Google and search for something like entitled Colon Write for us wrapped in quotes and then a keyword that’s related to your niche. In this case, this search query will show us pages that include the phrase write for us in the title and have the word golf balls somewhere on the page. And this is a common footprint that websites use to attract guest writers. Now, because you’ll want to write for sites with some kind of link authority. You can use SEO toolbar to see link authority metrics, write within Google search results. And if you don’t have an account, you can use our free website authority checker to see the domain ratings for these sites. Another way to find a list of sites fast is to use HD content, explore content. Explore is a searchable database where you can find pages on any topic, along with both social and SEO metrics to get started. Just enter a topic that’s related to your niche and run the search. Next, you’ll want to set some filters to ensure that a you’re getting relevant results and B that you’re reaching out to websites that have some kind of link authority. So first I’ll set the language filter to English, since that’s the only language I’ll be able to write in. Then I’ll send a domain rating filter instead of to a range like 30 to 60. Now, if this is your first time guest blogging, then you may want to set a lower range like 10 to 30 to get practice before pitching more authoritative sites. Or if your season guest blogger, then you can try something like forty to seventy. All right. So next I’ll enable this filter one page per domain, which will narrow our results to one page per website. And this is almost a must do kind of thing because there’s no point in pitching the same website numerous times. Now, with around 200000 domains, you might be wondering which ones allow guest posts. The truth is, you won’t know until you ask, but there’s a way to improve your hit rate. And that’s the look at websites that have. Previously accepted guest authors to find the sites, just click on the websites tab and make sure that your results are sorted by the number of authors. Basically, the more authors you see, the more probable it is that they accept guest posts. Either that or they have a big staff of writers. From here, you can export the results and then move on to the vetting stage. At this point, you’ll want to do a quick check to make sure that the websites don’t look spammy and that they’re actually relevant to your site. For example, golfBall Satcom is clearly going to be relevant and it’s not spammy at all, seeing as it’s just a regular e-commerce site. As for metrics, cat dotcom, the domain doesn’t look like it’s about golf. And if you visit the site, you’ll see that it looks like a software company. So we’d exclude this domain from our outreach list. Now, another thing worth checking is the domain’s site white organic traffic. To do that, go to site explorer and search for the domain. Next click on the organic search tab. If the site is getting consistent search traffic like this, then it’s a good sign that the domain is in good standing with Google. Domains that have an organic traffic like this is probably something you’d want to exclude when vetting sites. Reason being, this huge decline in search, traffic is telling us that Google may have penalized the website, so you probably wouldn’t want to associate your domain with theirs. Now, when you’re vetting, you’ll likely want to find around 10 times the number of posts you can write in a week. For example, if you can write to posts per week, then try and find 20 vetted sites. Reason being, most people won’t accept your post, let alone respond to you. All right. Let’s move on to the next stage, which is email outreach. Now, when you’re pitching websites for a guest post, ideally you want to come up with a good reason as to why they should accept your post. Free content is great now, but it’s not necessarily so convincing that everyone will accept it. So take some time to do your research on the site, see how your expertize can be helpful for their audience or business. For example, if we look at the blog for golfBall Cellcom, you’ll see that they have content on the best golf balls for kids. And after searching through their site, I found that they have another guide on the best golf balls for the longest distance. Now they’re missing out on a lot of these best golf balls for blank. And seeing as they’re in the business of selling golf balls, I could easily pitch them topics on something like best golf balls for high handicappers, which, according to HFS Keywords Explorer gets searched around eight hundred tons per month globally. So I might send them an email and say something like, hey, whatever the editor’s name is, I was digging through your site and saw that you have a couple of posts on the best golf balls for kids and for distance. But I was pretty surprised to see that you don’t have one for other types of players, i.e. seniors. Being a high handicapper myself, I spent hundreds of dollars on balls and countless hours on launch monitors to find the best ball for me. If you’re open, I’d love to write a post for you about how to find the best golf balls for hackey golfers like myself. I’m happy to share all the data and stats which I think will help people make an informed decision as they shop through your store. Is that something you’d be open to? Cheers. So now with this outreach email, I’m showing them that I’ve done my research on their site. I’m a golfer myself. I have some unique data which I spent time and money to get, and I’m also showing them how my post could help them get more sales. We’ll talk quite a bit about outreach in the next lesson. So let’s move on to the final tactic, which is the skyscraper technique. The skyscraper technique is a link building tactic where you find content that has a lot of links. Create your own version on the topic, but improve on it and then reach out to those linking to the popular post and ask them to link to yours. Now, if we were to go through the prospecting, vetting and outreach stages, this lesson would be extended another seven to eight minutes. So instead a link up a video which will take you through the entire process step by step. In fact, we have an entire playlist dedicated to link building tactics, strategies and processes. So I highly recommend watching that to now. Prospecting and vetting are pretty straightforward, but the hardest part of building and the part that makes link building challenging is outreach. So the next lesson is dedicated to crafting highly effective outreach emails.