How to Score Those JUICY HIGH QUALITY Links from Your SEO Efforts Building links has always been an important, actually the MOST important, part of SEO. That hasn’t changed since Google first released their SERP algorithm. What HAS changed is the types of links that you need to build and how you need to go about building links. While “build links” has always been the objective, the ways in which we go about it has completely evolved and it will continue to change on a very regular basis, keeping SEOs on their toes. Remember when you could fire up your link building software, spam a few million forum links and blog comments and be ranking almost overnight? Those were the glory days of SEO. If you use that approach today your website will be toast almost just as quickly as it would have ranked back in the day. Today, only the highest quality links have a REAL benefit. Yes, there are those Blackhatters that are still churning and burning their way to internet riches, but the number of people that truly understand how to make money this way is very very small now. The majority of SEOs are trying to be as “white” as possible, and that involves trying to build links in a way that appears to be natural and performing outreach that results in earned links. It sounds much easier than it is. Links from huge authority websites like Forbes and Huffington Post carry a lot of weight because they pass on the most amount of authority and they also send referral traffic. A lot of SEOs forget about this part, but when you think about it, isn’t traffic the entire reason we are building links and trying to rank? Referral traffic basically bypasses all of the SEO headaches and sends quality visitors that are likely to be interested in whatever the website is offering. Heck, I know some SEO agencies that don’t even track keywords. Their entire link building and outreach campaigns are designed to attract referral traffic and that is how they measure the success or failure of their campaigns. They skip the ranking BS and the possible penalties. They just evaluate traffic and conversions, which are the metrics we all ultimately are interested in when it comes to SEO. So, my point is to never disregard referral traffic when building links. Sometimes it’s the most important and profitable part of building links. But bro, those High Quality links are IMPOSSIBLE to get! Links on these huge authority sites are great, but let’s not fool ourselves.. they are very hard to get, unless you have an endless budget. Anyone with an open checkbook can get their hands on these links, but with some of them commanding over $1,000 each due to demand, it isn’t always an option that your budget will be able to handle. If you can’t shell out $xx,xxx for these type of links every month you have only one option available.. You must build them yourself! Possible? Yes. Difficult? You betcha! You see, since these links are so difficult to secure, it means your success ratio is going to be very low. I’m not trying to sound discouraging, but let’s look at two link building scenarios: A) Buying “guest post” links from a marketplace, like found on the Black Hat World forum. A quick search on popular link buying marketplaces will turn up several gigs for guest post links. They will all claim to be high quality, but let’s be real. They are placed on websites that have never seen a real human organic visitor and never will. Their metrics are inflated by other fake websites and they give you very little value. They can be purchased for as low as $2.50 each! So, if you want 100 links simply pay $250. You might as well burn that money too while your at it, but for demonstration purposes, let’s call it 100 links. B) Doing your own outreach to secure high quality links (Forbes, Huffington Post, etc.) Now, if you are going to go after the best links possible, you aren’t going to bat 1,000 like in the example above. You might reach out to 100 websites, journalists, and media contacts and only end up securing 2 links. Think I’m exaggerating? Ask anyone who has been doing authority link building for some time and I promise they will agree with this statement. This is why the “pay to play” method is great, providing you have the funds to just buy them. If you want 20 links, you buy 20 links. Building high quality links is very hard, but that’s actually a good thing.. When something is hard, that means very few people will be successful at it. Many might try, but very few will follow through with the work required to actually experience results. SEO is a funny game. A lot of people think it’s easy and will try to do things the right way, but then when they see it’s actually very hard they try to take shortcuts and revert back to low quality link building. Why do you think there are so few providers offering high quality authority links and dozens that are offering guest post links on fake link farm blogs? The low quality crap is everywhere, because it takes no skill and very little hard work to deliver. If you think of intelligent strategies and twists to proven link building methods, you can capitalize on the laziness of others in your niche. Most aren’t willing to put in the time and effort that’s required. The trick is to stick with it until you get the links you want. It’s not going to happen overnight, so be prepared to work hard and long before the results come. Let me help you.. Doing it yourself will never yield the same results as buying them, but you can do some things to improve the percentage of outreach attempts that you convert into links pointing to your website. Even if these tips help you improve your results by just a few extra links per campaign, it will greatly help your SEO in the long run. There are two ways to get the best links (and you really need to be doing both if you want to really build a large number of these great links): 1) You have to perform outreach You can’t just focus on authority links, because diversity is still a key component of a complete SEO strategy. There isn’t anything stopping you from building links on Web 2.0 properties or dropping blog comments on niche relevant websites. Yes, they take time and need to be done manually, but it’s something that you can outsource to a lower level employee or even hire a micro worker to handle. I wouldn’t suggest that you waste your own time on these types of links. You need some sprinkled in, but there isn’t any technical or strategy required. Don’t waste your time and energy on these types. Delegate this part of your link building so you can handle the quality links. What opens the door to the best links? RELATIONSHIPS. Very rarely will you be able to send one email blindly and it will result in a link. If you are banking on that happening, you are going to be in for a very rough ride. It’s going to take several emails, social media interaction, and sometimes even recommendations and introductions to build a relationship up to the level where it’s possible to start securing links. 2) You have to publish content that is worthy of other websites wanting to link to it You need to have a blog and you need content that draws readers in. They have to love what they read and then that triggers them to share it on social media and actually return to your blog on a consistent basis to read new content. The mistake that I see most websites make is expecting to see links after posting just a couple average blog posts. Traffic isn’t going to just magically appear because you pushed the “publish” button. You need to build awareness and start to push traffic in an effort to let people know that your blog even exists. There are thousands of websites just like yours that are doing the same thing, so you need to work harder and get eyes on your content. I can almost guarantee that if you look at the top websites in your niche that are ranking organically for the money keywords you are after you will see they have great content. Long form blog posts, videos, and infographics are all pieces of content that are often deemed worthy to link to. They need to provide value, because nobody is going to link to you just to be nice. Post value and over time you will build an audience and then after that you will start to see links come. Content marketing takes time. Trust me, I used to avoid it, but then I decided I was going to commit to posting quality helpful content on a regular basis. I did it for a long time before I started to see traffic increase. But, when it did, so did my agency’s sales numbers. Content works when you do it right, but even more importantly, when you stick with it even when you are ready to quit. Ok, onto the tips to get more links out of your SEO efforts.. If you are serious about improving your link acquisition success rate, then read the following nine tips that all lead to improved positive replies and outcomes when reaching out to websites and journalists. There are dozens of people just like you reaching out to them every single day, so even the smallest tweak in your approach can yield better results. 1. Stop asking for links using copy and paste “outreach” templates from the guru retards. As my agency, SerpLogic, grows, so does the amount of pitches we receive daily from other SEO companies and “SEO experts” (LOL) that want to guest post on our blog. If we received some legit requests and the content would provide actual value to our readers then I would be more than happy to include some guest posts, but the requests we receive are pure shit. Most of them are the SAME EXACT templates, and you know where they find them? From the guru retards that are posting their best outreach templates. I have news for you.. these SEO gurus are stressing one thing but doing the other. They say buying links are “bad” and against Google’s TOS, but these are the same people that are actually selling links. Do you really think they are going to give you an outreach template that gets them in the door and actually works? Fuck no! They are going to make up some bullshit that they know will spread across the SEO community and will result in zero action. Why? Because they want the links. They also want to sell the links, and sell you products that they make you believe will help you. An email pitch that tells the recipients to “check out this information that I think you will find useful” and demands that “if you include it on your website I’d appreciate a do-follow link” is going to be deleted. 10 out of 10 times, and I promise you that. There isn’t a single website or journalist that this shitty approach will work on. Never ask for a link. Never. Never, ever, ever. SEO Gurus! 2. Strive for a personal connection within the first 2-3 sentences of your initial email. Think about how much you hate spam and unsolicited emails. It’s becoming ridiculous, and people almost hate opening up their inboxes these days. Scams, pure spam, and advertisements piss people off all day long. Most people that see an email from you are already cringing before they even open it. So, you need to quickly hit them with something that will throw them off guard and trigger them to actually read your email rather than deleting it and blocking you. How do you do that? By writing an intro that will make them laugh or smile. Let me give you a quick REAL example of something that worked well for a particular journalist that I was targeting. I started to check out his social media and noticed he was a huge fan of Manchester United. His social media posts were 50% work related and 50% Manchester United related. He was a super fan. This is what I emailed him: Hey [name], Hell of a game yesterday.. United is on a roll lately! Huge fan as well so if you ever want to talk MU shoot me an email! Tommy Two sentences. That is all. No mention of content, links, or even business. I simply touched on something he was obviously very passionate about. Guess what? I received a response about three minutes later that included a couple paragraphs of game commentary. That was my “in” so I went back and forth a couple times with him after games. It required me to pay attention to what was going on with Manchester United, but in the end this little extra effort was well worth it. 3. Always keep in mind that your intended recipient isn’t going to be the first person to read your email. Did you know that most of the top media personalities and journalists have an intern or assistant that screens their emails? Some of them have these provided by the media outlet they work for, but some of the freelancer writers use a virtual assistant or have someone else that weeds out the junk and spam. I know of one top writers that can be found on almost all of the top websites uses his wife as the first line of defense. She manages his email inbox and if a request is obvious spam seeking a link she deletes it and he never even knows it exists. This is why point number two above is so important. You have to stand out from all of the other crap that comes in around the clock. These email gatekeepers have seen every single outreach template under the sun and if they think you are sending one of them they aren’t going to read it, let alone forward it to the person you are trying to get in touch with. I always try to structure my initial emails in a way that is almost guaranteed to get a response and my only goal is to build a relationship. You can’t start the outreach process with a link on your mind. If that is all you are thinking about you will most definitely get off on the wrong foot. Tell them about an article that you really enjoyed and then ask them if they write for any other publications because you would like to start reading more of their content. What writer doesn’t want to increase his or her readership? That’s a request that has a very high response rate for me. Also, a simple, “Loved reading [article] and had a question. Do you have a personal blog where I could read more of your content?” is a great way to start an email conversation. 4. Don’t sound “too good to be true.” I’m going to show you three sentences. Each of these came from the last three guest blogging pitches SerpLogic received. Here they are, copied and pasted from actual emails we received: “I am native English writer with good understanding of SEO and will get more visitors to your most excellent blog of SEO.” Why this is crap: I can’t stand the term “native writer” because it doesn’t make any fucking sense. It’s some made up term that overseas content writers use to get business. If they see this term your email will be deleted without being read. Anyone that sees this will automatically assume the request is coming from a SEO mill that is sending it to every email address they can find. Please introduce me to someone outside of a content mill that describes him or herself as a “native English writer.” Please, I am begging you here. “I’m considered a top SEO expert and my social media following is massive so they will all visit your blog to read my content.” Why this is crap: A top SEO expert? First, that sounds extremely cocky and second, I have never heard of this person before. For a laugh, I Googled him to see how much of an expert he was, and guess what? Nothing came up. Then I jumped over to his website and it wasn’t mobile optimized and looked like it was made in 1998. Maybe he is an expert in his imaginary world, but not in the real world. If you are going to make bold claims you better be able to back it up, because people will look into your self-bragging to see if you are legit or full of shit. “Our agency has an email list of 600,000 and I will send the post to them, so you are basically getting at least a half million free visits for giving us a link.” Why this is crap: This is such a crazy claim that it’s automatically discredited as being 100% lies. There are no SEO agencies that have an active list of 600,000 subscribers. Sorry, but if they do there is no way that it’s an opt-in list of people that actually want to receive their emails. Do they have one that big? Maybe, but I can guarantee it’s scraped emails or several purchased lists all thrown together. Also, claiming we will get HALF A MILLION visitors is laughable. This person sounds so ridiculous that nobody will take him seriously and reply.. NEXXXT! 5. Be different but don’t come across as creepy or goofy (re: don’t follow the guru retard’s pitch examples.. they are in the business of building links too, so they aren’t giving you their REAL winning formula) If you look at the outreach templates the guru retards want you to use they have smiley faces and all kinds of goofy words and phrases. Those don’t make you stand out; they make you look like a creepy weirdo. Sorry, but if I get an email pitch that has 3 winking face smiley faces I’m deleting that shit. There is a way to stand out while still remaining professional, and it doesn’t include smiley faces all over and nonsense talk. If someone is writing for a big publication like Forbes do you think they take their career seriously? I would guess yes, so the same stupid outreach templates that might work for some noob website owner is going to be laughed at (and cringed at) by respectable journalists. Again, the guru retards don’t want you to get in the door with the big players. The crap they feed you works for low quality garbage links because that’s all they want you to land. Let your personality shine in your emails, just make sure it doesn’t come across as creepy and goofy if you want a better chance of receiving a reply. 6. Always keep it short and sweet. An email that has two or three sentences will always have a better chance of receiving a reply than one with several huge paragraphs. It doesn’t matter if you are sending them an email with a success formula for printing money; if it’s a bunch of paragraphs it’s going to get deleted and you are going to miss your window of opportunity. Even though most journalists are very busy, they remember names. Once you blow your chance you are dead in the water. Next time they see something from you they will remember the crap you sent before and just click “delete” without even opening it. Look at the example in tip number two above. That was only two sentences and it triggered a reply back for a major journalist. This is someone that I am sure every SEO agency would kill to have an “in” with, and I got it with two sentences and a personal first email. Even after you have built a relationship and it comes down to asking for a “favor” or opportunity to get a mention, you need to keep it short and sweet. Trust me, I have heard from multiple journalists how they appreciate my “straight to the point” communication. Several have mentioned that, so that tells me it’s a huge key to stay on their good side and ensure they continue to open your emails and maintain the relationship. 7. Don’t ask for anything that requires work. They have ZERO time for you. You will not see a favorable response rate if your pitch goes something like, “Check out this blog post.. I think you will like it.” Do you think they have time to read every piece of content that is mailed to them? Of course not, because they have a job to do, and that job isn’t to get you links. Instead, your pitch should sound something like: I just read [link] about finding a dog trainer. We actually just wrote a blog post titled, “Top DIY Tips to Train Your Puppy at Home” and there is also an infographic to compliment the post. You can read it here [link] and you can use the infographic on your website by copying and pasting this code: [html code]. It tells them exactly what the content is about and where they can find it, IF they are interested. All of these tips need to be blended together for success. You keep it short and sweet, you tell them exactly what you are pitching, and you make it so simple for them to accommodate your request, while also providing them with some value in return. Put yourself in their shoes when reviewing all of these tips and they will make perfect sense. Cater to their needs and wants and you will make more connections and eventually build more links. 8. Do the work for them.. all of it! I’ll give you a perfect example of an email I sent to a lot of media contacts we have at SerpLogic, which was pitching an infographic for one of our clients. It resulted in several major websites picking it up and publishing it, while also linking back to our client’s website as we wanted. It’s important to know that these were not blind emails. These were all media members and writers that we already have a relationship with. Even though the barrier is broken down, it doesn’t mean that you can waste their time or expect them to do extra work for you. Make it as easy as possible for them to do what you want. Here is the email: Hi [name], We have a great infographic that I think your readers will love. You can view it here [link to it] and if it’s something you love, you can add it by simply pasting this code: [html code for the infographic, including a link to the website] Let me know if you roll with it! Tommy Look how simple it is. It gives them the link to quickly look at the infographic, which they will do and it will take them 10 seconds to decide if it is something they want to post. If they do like it, they can copy and paste the html code and instantly post it within 30 seconds. So, you make it so simple that they can publish content in less than a minute. If you think an intro paragraph to the infographic will help sell it, write it for them and include that. “Hey, I even wrote an intro to make your life easier” will get you an even better response rate! 9. Don’t waste time on people that are going to have zero interest in your website. (use common sense!) Just because you find out a way to connect with a journalist (email, social media, etc.) it doesn’t mean that you should pitch them every client you have or websites that they are going to obviously have no interest in. This wastes their time, makes you look like a fool, and will definitely prevent you from every building a relationship and scoring a link from them in the future. If they write about technology and startups they aren’t going to give two shits about your client that has a blog about dog training. If they write about parenting they aren’t going to give two shits about a piece of content about raising funds for a startup. You need to use common sense and always remember this piece of advice: You only have one shot to make a first impression. It’s fine to build a huge list of contacts and journalists, as it will come in handy eventually. just be very selective when it comes to actually pitching, especially to those that you already have a good relationship with. You can easily burn your relationships with untargeted pitches. Conclusion After reading through all of this I’m willing to bet you have a new appreciation for what it takes to land the big links from authority websites, such as Forbes and Huffington Post. This should also help clear up the common question regarding these types of links: “Why are they so expensive?” Why are diamonds so expensive? They aren’t easy to come by and they take a lot of time to create, just like the relationships required to get your hands on the best links. It’s supply and demand. Now, you could go dig for your own diamonds, but it’s going to be a long road and you might not end up with a diamond in the end. This analogy is just like authority link building. You can try, and it’s possible that you will secure some solid links, but there is also the chance of coming up with a goose egg. If it is something that you are going to try on your own, then use these tips to help improve your chances of landing more links each time you start a new SEO campaign. Good luck, and if you have any specific link building questions please drop them in the comments below and I will do my best to help you. Until next time.. Ciao for now!