You’ve sent out campaign after campaign with some success, but six months down the line, you feel you’ve exhausted every avenue you could with a client and your link building strategy is coming to a halt.
By Ella Patenall
The pressure to build links and improve rankings is on and you are considering doing what you always pride yourself on not doing: Black hat SEO.
However, black hat SEO is very unlikely to help your rankings and very likely to get you penalised. There is a lot more to effective SEO than gaining backlinks. You could expand and diversify your outreach strategy for continued success.
Focus on on-site SEO
It’s a simple but over-looked solution. Some SEOs are so bogged down in gaining backlinks they don’t consider how their on-site SEO is impacting on rankings.
Each page should be carefully optimised for its keywords, with attention not to ‘over stuff’, which could see your rankings get demoted.
Consider whether each page offer the content the user would want to see? Does it effectively answer their queries?
Furthermore, are the meta tags saying what they should? Your website code shouldn’t be neglected. Check meta titles, h1 and h2 tags and meta descriptions. These should be useful and relevant to your reader whilst including your keywords naturally.
Website UX is becoming ever more important. SEO is concerned with giving users the most relevant results. But it doesn’t want to rank a website at the top which is difficult to use and navigate and that is unattractive. Such websites result in high bounce rates and low time spent on page.
A few tips to improve UX could be A/B testing the website, gaining and acting on feedback, including a variety of content on your page, make your call-to-actions clear and implement responsive web design.
Investigate popular but low competition blog topics
Having a blog is great way to attract organic traffic to your website and get your site ranking for its’ key terms.
Use Search Console to see what people are typing into the search bar to find website. This can help you figure out effective blog titles to attract people typing in these keywords.
Make a note of the top 30 search terms. Have you blogged on these topics? How much general search volume do these words receive per month? Find the ones which are likely to be popular but haven’t already been written on a million times and produce well-written content on them.
Diversify your outreach
Guest blogging can be effective, but it’s a slog. You might be contacting 30+ blogs a day with very little success. Once you’ve written for the main, high authority websites which accept blogs, it becomes harder and harder to reach new blogs accepting content (without forking out for it!).
So, consider new avenues. Offer infographics or carry out surveys and outreach the results. If you don’t have a budget for research, write interviews or day in the life stories.
A simple way to build links is through journalist requests. You can access these on Twitter (#HARO, #Journorequest). These consist of journalists and online editors who are seeking comments, usually urgently. You can provide comment from your client and include a link to your website (usually) resulting in an easily gained link.
Build content relationships
You’ve blogged for them once and you got a follow link for it. Great. Now what? If you are gaining a lot of traffic from guest blogging on this site, it’s worth making it a ‘regular gig’.
Repeat links arguably won’t do a huge amount for SEO in terms of backlinks. But the resulting traffic and further links from citations make it a strategic move and will help in building relationships.
Utilise the power of social media
Share your content on social media (with images included). High quality and relevant content will guarantee traffic to your website.
But, sharing content is not the only way to utilise social media effectively. Use it as a tool of networking. Engage in conversation, comment and share other people’s content and start conversations by asking questions.
Social media sites such as Twitter are used heavily by PR people and journalists looking for comments from specialists. Hashtags such as ‘journorequest’, ‘HARO’ and ‘PRrequest’.
Don’t revert to black-hat SEO
Don’t let black hat SEO tempt you. Google has wised up to such strategies. Forget paying for links, forget swapping links, forget keyword stuffing and definitely forget hidden text.
SEO aims to deliver the best websites, the best and most relevant content to its users and is quick to penalise anyone who tries to beat the system.
If your SEO work is a one-man (or very small team) operation, seek the assistance of freelance writers and graphic designers to help you out. This might not seem cost-effective at first, but once you start outreaching more content written by people of different specialities and send excellent graphics to accompany them, it will have a positive impact on the success of your outreach.
As you can see, there are many ways to revamp your stale outreach strategy. It is important to consider what the end goal of your outreach is – backlinking, exposure, engagements, or a mixture of the three? Then you can use a mixture of methods to meet your requirements.