Off-site SEO has long been an essential part of any website’s online visibility and rankings within search engine results pages. If you have not paid spent any time on offsite SEO, you are missing out on opportunities to improve not just on how search engines see your website, but also on internet users’ perception of your website’s relevance, authority, trustworthiness, and popularity.
At the core of any off-site SEO strategy is link building – an SEO marketing strategy is just not complete without it. Backlinks are any links that link back to your website. This is what search engines use as indications of trustworthiness, relevance, authority, and popularity of a website. The best backlinks are those from high-quality websites – those that already rank high on search engine page results.
Although there are other off-site SEO strategies, such as social media marketing and influencer marketing, that are equally valuable in building your website’s relevance, authority, popularity, and trustworthiness, link building is still a big chunk of many off-site SEO plans – just ask any SEO company.
What are the different ways of building backlinks?
There are three main ways to build backlinks:
- Self-created links. As the name implies, these are links that you create yourselves. These links are often placed in online directories, forums, blog comments, and with press releases or advertorial posts.
- Manually-built links. These are links that you did not create yourself, but you made deliberate effort to acquire these links. These may be done by asking other websites or blogs to link to your website or by asking other people to share your content.
- Natural links. These are the links that are acquired without any action on the part of the website owner. Often, these are links that are created by other websites editorially (i.e. in a blog post with a relevant anchor text to point to your site).
All these ways of building backlinks take a lot of time and effort. One method that sometimes merges backlink building and influencer marketing is blogger outreach.
What is blogger outreach?
This off-site SEO method aims to acquire backlinks from an influencer’s website. It is a great way to establish your website’s authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines by relying on the authority and trustworthiness of the influencer’s website. Another reason why blogger outreach is an effective offsite SEO method is it takes advantage of an influencer’s existing fans. Getting a link from an influencer’s site means that you automatically get visibility from its thousands (or millions!) of fans. When you successfully reach out to an influencer who is highly relevant to your website, not only do you enjoy the improved search engine rankings, you also maximize direct exposure to your target audience.
How to do effective blogger outreach?
Just as the quality of backlinks matters, the relevance of an influencer to your website is also a factor in how effective this strategy will be. Here is a guide to help you:
Find relevant bloggers.
The first step is to find bloggers that are relevant to your website and target audience. This is the first and one of the most tedious steps of blogger outreach. To make the process more efficient, you will need to focus first on building a list of relevant bloggers. There are several ways you can do this:
- Google it. Just like when searching for anything, do a Google search. Make your search specific to your niche. Some good search phrases are ‘guest post <niche>’, ‘write for us <niche>’, or ‘contribute <niche>’.
- Use blog directories. Blog directories are aplenty online and you can make use of these to create your influencer list. What’s great about doing this is that the blogs are usually already grouped into categories, making it easy for you to filter the relevant blogs.
- Check on your competitors. There are many backlink checkers online. Use any of these to check the backlinks of your competitors. The sites that linked to your competitors may potentially also link to your website.
Build relationships with the bloggers on your list.
Although you can surely immediately reach out to an influencer on your list to submit an article or propose how they may link to your site, you only maximize your successfully getting that link if you build a relationship with the influencer first. Here are some things you can do:
- Get to know the influencer and the site. Do your research. Who is the influencer? What does he do? Why is he relevant to your niche? What type of content does he put on his site? What is the tone and writing style of the posts on his site?
- Link to the influencer’s site/Tag him in social media posts. Draw the influencer to you. You can create content on YOUR site linking to the influencer’s site or you can post on social media about the influencer.
- Start a conversation. Your first communication with an influencer doesn’t need to be immediately about accepting an article from you for posting. Feel free to reach out to ask for an opinion or to start a conversation around a relevant and timely topic.
Create awesome content.
No matter what kind of preparation and research you do, these will all be for naught if you do not have content that’s worth having on the influencer’s site. Blogger outreach is not just about successfully getting a guest post accepted, it can be about a post on YOUR site featuring insights from the influencer. Your influencer research will come into play here – what kind of content will he be interested in? What is his expertise? What are relevant topics are lacking in his site?
Whether you choose to submit a guest post or feature the influencer on your site, it is vital to make your pitch equally awesome. Follow any guidelines the influencer may have on his site about accepting guest posts and personalize your email pitch. Discuss clearly what the guest post or the feature post will be about and why the content will be a valuable addition to his site.
Track your results.
Once your content has been posted, don’t forget to track the results of your blogger outreach efforts and to do an SEO analysis. This will help you assess and adjust your offsite SEO strategy and your overall SEO marketing strategy.