Backlinks should be a key part of your off-site SEO strategy. However, being off-site means you can’t control where links come from or how many you have. As such, the question is this:
How do you build an effective backlink SEO campaign?
How do you get influential bloggers to link out to you? In this article, I'll show you how to do it via blogger outreach and I'm going to break it down into 4 sections:
- How to Find Relevant Bloggers
- How to Build Relationships with Bloggers
- Tactics for Awesome Backlinks
- Analyzing Your Results
But first …
In a nutshell, backlinks = traffic.
Backlink building means that you are getting a link from someone else’s site that points back to your own. And the more credible and authoritative the sites that are linking to you are, the higher you will climb up the rankings.
However, backlink building takes time, patience, and effort. When you go down the route of using blogger outreach to create a quality backlink campaign, you need to be prepared to do what it takes to build relationships with other bloggers. And building relationships doesn't happen overnight.
But is it worth it? Totally.
What Is Blogger Outreach?
Blogger outreach is a form of influencer marketing, a type of marketing where you leverage an influencer’s fan-base for your own exposure.
In other words, you find someone in your niche who has amassed thousands of fans and tons of daily traffic and ask them if you can hop on their website or social media channels with a guest blog.
This is a great way to achieve maximum exposure and get more of the right eyeballs onto your own website – provided you choose the right influencer, that is.
Bloggers now have a lot of power, especially those who have massive social media followings. A backlink from their site to yours can work wonders for your SEO campaign, but building a strong relationship with bloggers can also:
- Drive more traffic to your site via social media
- Expand your network
- Boost the chance that other people will start linking to you
Blogger outreaching to build effective backlinks is a win/win situation. So how to do it? Let’s take a look.
1. How to Find Relevant Bloggers
The first thing you need to do is find relevant bloggers who are not only blogging about your niche but who are also active and have a lot of followers.
This is easier than it sounds, but it is also time-consuming. Before we move on, however, a good idea is to start a simple spreadsheet and use it to keep track of the different bloggers you come across who are influential on different platforms. It could look something like this:
Here are a few ways to do it….
a) Scour Blog Directories
You can find almost anything on the Internet which means, of course, that there are blog directories! These are resource pages or listings on which bloggers are able to add their sites and are there to help fellow bloggers and people like you find each other easily. All you need to do is pop over and find the ones that match what you’re looking for in terms of niche and size.
Some blog directories include:
b) Comment on Blogs
Finding bloggers amidst comments on blogs might sound like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but it’s actually easy. Why? Because you’ll find that a lot of people who comment on blog posts are bloggers themselves who were struggling with the problem that the author of the article has just solved.
You’ll find this all the time. So check in on some popular blogs, get your fine-tooth comb out, and go over the comments with it. It won’t be long before you come across a few bloggers to whom you can reach out.
c) Spy On Your Competitors
If your competitors are ranking well, there is a good chance that their backlink efforts are going well. People are linking to them. But who?
There are SEO “spy” tools you can use that let you spy on your competitors’ SEO tactics. You can literally see from where their links are coming. If people are linking to them, I see no reason why they wouldn’t be inclined to link to you, too.
SpyFu is an excellent SEO tool that enables you to take a peek at your competitors to see what they’re doing – including where they’re getting those crucial incoming links. You can download their most profitable backlinks and then devise a plan of action that will allow you to get some of this link love, too.
d) Just Google It
Good old Google never fails when it comes to finding relevant bloggers who will allow you to write for them! You just need to use the right keywords to find them.
For example, you can type in something like:
write for us <insert niche here>
That kind of search query should show some promising results.
Other queries you could try include:
guest post <insert niche here>
product review <insert niche here>
2. How to Build Relationships with Bloggers
If you want positive results from backlink building with blogger outreach, you have to forge solid relationships with bloggers. The deeper your relationship is, the more long-term benefits you’ll get from this. In other words, those incoming links will keep coming.
However, as we all know, reaching out to influential bloggers can be a tad scary. Here are a few ways to foster a good relationship so that asking for a link becomes a bit easier.
a) Get to Know Who the Blogger Is
I once wrote a piece of content for a client whose ultimate aim was for it to be posted on an influencer’s blog. She told me that she’d spent countless hours researching the blogger so that she knew this person and their market inside out.
Why? Because influencers are big deals. The more you know about them, the greater the chance they’ll work with you and link out to you. Whatever you write about, it absolutely has to be in line with their target audience, their values, and it needs to conform to their style.
- Do they usually post long- or short-form content?
- In what kind of tone do they write?
- Are they big on data?
b) Communicate Well
Communication is the bedrock of all relationships, and it’s just as true where blogger outreach is concerned.
A popular blogger's time is valuable. Not only should you be replying to their messages in a timely manner, but you should also clearly outline what you are looking to achieve with a guest post.
Here's an example from Ahrefs blogger Tim Soulo of a blogger outreach email that worked:
c) Link to Them First
Get the relationship started early by linking out to them ASAP. The more you do this, the more of an excuse you have later on to kindly ask if they’ll reciprocate.
You should also be tagging bloggers on social media and sharing their posts. The more you do this, the more you’ll get noticed.
d) Comment on Their Stuff
If you’re in a Facebook group, you’ve probably noticed that there are one or two folks who stick out. You know their names more than anyone else’s, and you know what they do and what they’re all about.
I’m in a Facebook group in which one particular member was so active with his comments that the group founder asked him to become an admin. Just think how many links this guy is now getting – all because he was active in a social group.
Find your bloggers and start commenting (authentically, of course!) on their stuff. This will help you to create a good relationship with them.
3. Tactics for Awesome Backlinks
You’ve found your superstar bloggers, you’ve caught their eye – and now it’s time to execute and do the things that will get you those simple but powerful links.
a) Create One Piece of Content and Add Numerous Experts
I love this tip, and it’s totally guaranteed to work every time. You’ve got a niche. Now pick a topic to write about. It could be anything.
Then decide on a format. Maybe you want to write an e-book or put together a long-form blog post or even compile a physical book.
Next, draw up a wish-list of potential contributors. Here is a quick checklist to help you pick the best ones:
- A contributor must be an expert on this topic
- A contributor must have a large social media following
That’s literally it. If you’ve already executed parts 1 and 2 in this article, you should know who you want to contribute – and there is a good chance that they already know who you are if you’ve got yourself noticed.
Reach out to each person on your wish-list of contributors and invite them to add a few words to your topic. Perhaps you could even let them have their own chapter!
Naturally, you will need to offer them something in exchange for their time, effort, and knowledge, and you might have to pay them if a link out to them isn’t enough. That’s fair enough, so do that if you have to. Alternatively, think about whether there is anything you could give them for free (like your product or service) in exchange for their contribution.
Once the book/blog/e-book is finished, let everyone know. They’ll be so happy they were featured as an expert that they’ll waste no time sharing it with their fans. You’ll get lots of links, and it’s happy days all around.
It probably won’t stop there either. The more you do this, the greater the chances that a blogger will ask you to contribute something for them. This will increase the likelihood of even more links.
b) Write an Awesome Guest Post
Guest posting (or guest blogging) is exactly what it sounds like and is the biggest blogger outreach tactic there is. You pitch an article to an influential blogger and ask if they'd consider posting it on their site.
Guest blogging on a site such as The Huffington Post or Entrepreneur is so invaluable that contributors generally don’t care that they aren't getting paid for their efforts. All they’re concerned about is link juice.
Vincent Dignan is one such guest blogger for The Huffington Post who uses this opportunity to link out to his own sites:
I’ve already covered how to find an opportunity to guest post (to recap, search “guest post <insert your niche>”). What you need to fine-tune now is your pitch as well as what you will write about.
The best way to do this is by understanding a few things about the influencer:
- What is their audience like?
- Who do they typically write for?
- What kind of content do they put out?
Also, you should be checking out the guest posts that are already up. What are they like? How popular are they? Which types of posts perform the best?
When it’s time to pitch your idea, make sure that you:
- Read their guidelines
- Personalize your e-mail pitch
- Explain who you are
- Talk about why you would make a great guest poster
Always remember that a guest post is not about you and your product. It’s about giving value to their audience. This should be clear in your pitch and in your subsequent post.
4. Analyze Your Results
Lastly, all your efforts will be for nothing unless you know what the results are.
Remember, your overall aim with blogger outreach is not getting to know great new people – it’s getting more traffic. As such, you need to track your results to make sure you’re doing this right. Otherwise, the most you’ll get out of it is a new online friend.
To track your results, head over to Google Analytics and create an Advanced Segment. You only need to create a single segment for all the domains you’ve guest posted for.
Then you can use Google Analytics to see what the data is from your backlink building efforts. This will let you know how successful or unsuccessful your campaign has been so far, including the amount of traffic and conversions you’ve got. Nightwatch, an all-in-one SEO tool, also offers advanced backlinks tracking:
Backlink building with blogger outreach is as simple as fostering strong relationships with bloggers and guest posting amazing content on their site. It’s a three-step process:
- Identify relevant bloggers
- Get to know them/catch their eye
- Guest post amazing content
To paraphrase from Field of Dreams, “If you build the relationships, the links will come.”
Don’t forget to share this article so that securing those crucial backlinks becomes easier for us all. Plus, it will make you look like a backlink expert.