35 WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed In Blogging

35 WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed in Blogging
35 WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed in Blogging

In this ever changing field, you can stay ahead of the curve with my WordPress SEO tips designed to provide you with what works to achieve results.

A great way to start the New Year – I heard from a very trusted colleague and want to share these wonderful search engine optimistion tips with you.  Over at www.onblast.com he got in touch to say Hi and Happy New Year.  We’ve not spoken for a wee while and really happy to hear from him and guess what?  Even though it has been longer that it should have been he wanted to share his latest post about WordPress and the secret tips of how to get success with blogging.  I am so grateful to him for sending me this I had to share it with you…ssshh don’t tell him!

So with that being said, welcome to the ultimate resource for WordPress SEO tips this side of a Tibetan monk who understands the mind of Google (I’m fairly certain he doesn’t exist).

WordPress is arguably the best blogging platform in existence, and it provides us with a lot of SEO tools that many of you may not know about.

Of course, there are an abundance of other practices in your structure and content that will also lend to a more optimized website, but we’ll get to all of that in due time.

For now, as the salad said to the dinner: “lettuce begin!”

The Secrets to Successful WordPress SEO (You’re Welcome)

“Optimizing your WordPress site is the first step toward real blogging success” [click to tweet]

It’s hard to believe anyone would give this out for free, but I’m Matt Banner, and although most people know me through my brother Bruce, you know, the big green guy (the Hulk) I’m sporting a brain that’s equally powerful and like him I want to use my power for good.

Hulk

(Source: Flickr)

Here’s what you’re going to learn by the end of this article:

Today’s Roadmap
  • A massive list of the best SEO practices out there
  • WordPress exclusive tips to maximize your blog’s potential
  • A sneak peek at the future of SEO and how you can prepare today
  • Step by step on How to Optimize WordPress with the Yoast Plugin

35 WordPress SEO Tips to Chew On

1) Pay attention how you structure your URL: as you create phenomenal posts, remember that WordPress allows you to tailor the structure of your permalinks (or URL) under the settings > Permalinks. You can utilize a custom structure (my recommendation) or pick something different.

Just know that the shorter, the better (i.e. onblastblog.com/get-more-traffic). You don’t need to fit every single word of your article title in the URL.

2) Install the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin: Of all the plugins out there, this is the one you need for your blog. This will help you keep track of your optimization and allow you to tailor other features of your blog without the need for multiple plugins. Yoast will keep your website clean and on track.

Yoast

3) Add Internal Links: When you’re working on a new post, make sure you link to other relevant ones on your blog to increase the networking structure and keep the other posts in the limelight.

This is one of those blogging best practices you should make a habit of doing when you first start your blogSee what I did there?

4) Optimize Images: This is relatively easy and comes included with WordPress. When you’re uploading and inserting an image on your blog, there are fields to provide an alternate text, caption, and description.

Use them all. These all add to the organic visibility of the image, so don’t forget to use them.

5) Content is for People First: Some bloggers get all caught up in throwing as many keywords into a post as possible, and while having your primary and LSI keywords present is certainly needed to help people understand what you’re talking about, ultimately the usefulness of your content will decide how well it performs in search engine results.

Make it well-written, unique, and above all else, useful for your readers.

6) Generate More Brand Mentions: Brand mentionsHaving your posts linked on other blogs is an important step in building a strong organically-focused blog.

Essentially, they are 3rd party recommendations that scream “What you’re doing is awesome”. That being said, you don’t need links from sites that aren’t in your niche or don’t relate to your topic.

Remember, your goal is ultimately about judging the usefulness of your site for users.

7) PageRank isn’t as Important as You Might Think: The way pages are viewed and ranked by search engines is part of a huge machine like algorithm. It’s been widely noted that using page rank as a ranking factor is no longer recognized.

8) Ensure your Title Tag Contains the Most Important Words: The title tag, which displays on Google and other search engines, shouldn’t just be the company name or the name of your blog. Each title tag should accurately describe what will be on that given page.

Practicing this will better improve your SEO and proudly display the content of the post.

Title tag example

9) Make Your Hyperlinks Keyword Phrases: This is a simple tip, but an important one. If you’re linking to an article about common mistakes bloggers make, don’t just say “click here”, use the phrase so readers know what they’re clicking on.

10) Long-Tail Keyword Phrases Beat Lonely Ones: Long tail keywordsYou can pick and choose keywords like you’re the king or queen of the apple bobbing contest, but the real way to utilize these keywords is by placing them in phrases that are relevant to your topic.

If you’re talking about cooking dessert dishes, then expand on that like so: “Our detailed recipes will help you craft the finest dessert dishes.”

11) From the Beginning, Your Design Should be SEO Focused: Your blogs design, whether it’s done by you or by a web designer, needs to be focused on organic search traffic.

While fancy colors and animations are nice, the search engines are looking at text and image descriptions, they might as well be color blind. Bottom line: Don’t get too cute or too fancy with flash and javascript.

12) Get your Site Indexed: Using a tool like Google Search Console will help you establish a clear connection between your website’s content and the Google search engine.

Navigate to Search Console and submit an XML sitemap to make sure your content is indexed as quickly as possible. You can easily create an XML sitemap with the Yoast plugin I touched on earlier.

13) Structure Your Site With Simplicity: A complicated and disorganized blog isn’t going to get a lot of readers or backlinks.

Don’t go crazy with folders and subfolders. Keep things organized and if people want to look at older posts, make sure that’s easy to do as well.

14) Always, Always Reciprocate: Sourcing other contentNot only is it common courtesy to link & reference other sites that have furthered the topic conversation you’re writing about, but doing so will help build your popularity and improve your authority (so long as they’re quality trusted sites that are applicable to the same topic) in your particular niche.

15) Content Needs to be Unique and of High Quality: You can write about the psychological profile of the common household cat all you want, but if the content isn’t of high quality (meaning no keyword stuffing, or a litany of grammar and punctuation issues) then you’re not going to see the results you want.

Creating content that does both of these things will be infinitely more noticeable to Google.

16) Choose a Single Main Keyword Phrase: Don’t try to create a single post that addresses multiple keyword phrases. Find one that most represents your content and use it sparingly in the post.

Branch off of that keyword with secondary keywords and relevant topics to further expand on the subject matter.

17) Your SEO Must Lead to a Strong CTA (Call to Action): Much like dousing logs in lighter fluid, it’s all for naught if you don’t light a match to ignite the flames. At the end of your posts, you should always leave the reader with something to do.

It could be a sign up for your newsletter, or an invitation to comment. It could also be an opportunity to purchase your products or services. Make sure this is present, and that it’s clear and concise.

18) Never Stop Researching: IdeasAnything involving SEO is only a present solution or tactic.

The landscape of this is always changing. With new updates to Google and Yahoo, the methods by which pages are displayed and ranked is always changing. Staying current on these trends and algorithms is the best way to stay ahead of the curve.

19) The Text Around Your Images Matters: As mentioned earlier, the caption, description and ALT-Text attached to your images helps them rank well in search engines.

What you’re saying when the image appears (the text around it) also matters. SEO is relying more on how things connect and less on specific keywords, so remember to make everything fit together.

20) Your Social Media Presence is Huge: Having your blog posts present on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites goes hand in hand SEO. Installing a social media plugin on your WordPress blog will also allow people to share your posts on their networks, further spreading the influence of your site.

21) Mix-Up the Types of Content on Your Blog: It’s not about text and pictures, you need to get more creative than that. Publish videos, record podcasts, and try new things with your posts. You never want to shatter the style or voice you’ve established, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stretch the types of content you deliver to other forms.

22) Use Clean and Simple Themes: Designed ThemeThink minimal.

The more code that search engines have to search, the harder it’s going to be for your content to stand out.

Use simple themes that are light on coding and run fast. This way your content is found faster and easier by search engines and ultimately by your readers.

23) Create an XML Sitemap: This is essentially a map of your website that Google can use to properly understand what pages you have.

Creating one of these can be done using an SEO plugin, or with other sitemap specific plugins, but regardless of how you do it, this is an essential action that will make your site infinitely more readable for search engines like Google.

24) Don’t Index Every Single Page: All the pages of your blog don’t need to be indexed as some of them are just, well, there. The ones that provide value to readers, the ones with content are the ones that should be viewed by search engines. That being said, if you index your category pages on your blog, consider adding a paragraph or two about what’s in that category.

This adds value to the page, and being that’s a detailed description, it will only show up for that category, this is key because simply placing a post teaser or teasers on the page will still allow that content to appear in other searches.

SEO WordPress Tips for 2015

25) Keep Your WordPress Up to Date: The updates for WordPress that come down the pipeline are important.

They ensure that your security is solid, but they also alter any possible errors or glitches in the coding that could be hurting your SEO ranking. You don’t want anything holding you back, but more than that you don’t want your site getting hacked.

26) Remove Defaults from Your Site: Configure SettingsWhen you’re first developing your WordPress blog, you’re going to see defaults that can hurt your SEO. For example, in the beginning, the posts are categorized.

As mentioned above, you can create category pages with their own unique content and index them for an SEO boost.

In addition to things like that, consider changing default messages like “Hello World!” and others that are put there as placeholders. These look unprofessional on a live website and your readers will recognize them as they stand out from the rest of your blog’s style.

27) When Customizing your URL, Remember Keywords: I mentioned earlier changing the URL from the default setting, but there’s something to be said about customizing them yourself to include the title of your blog post that remains as small and simple as possible.

Focus on the keywords and remove things like “and” “a” and “is” from the permalink.

28) Avoid Duplicate Content by Creating a Static Homepage: Identical content is the bane of any blogger’s existence. When you setup your WordPress site, the default is posting your latest content on the homepage. The problem with this is that showing the content on the homepage and in the respective post creates that dreaded duplicate content.

To fix this, create a page for blog posts and go to the reading settings. Once you’ve done this, choose between latest posts or a static page for the front page displays.

Each article you post should be represented by an excerpt, then double check that the discourage search engines from indexing this site is not selected.

29) Track Your Progress with Google Analytics: Analytics & GrowthUsing an analytics tool such as Google Analytics will help you monitor your progress.

you should always be aware of how well you’re doing, and this is the way.

The results of a tracking program will help you find 404 pages, see how long people stay for, and how much traffic you’re getting from search engines.

All of this information will help you better understand what’s working, and what isn’t. When you finally find that ‘secret sauce’ based on all of your efforts and the results to prove it, then your analytics account should look something like this:

Good Analytics Screenshot

30) Make Sure You’ve Got the Date Right: New and fresh content is great for SEO, but WordPress uses a default UTC time zone when you set it up. If this time zone isn’t correct for your location, your new content may not be noticed by search engines.

When searching for new content, Google check the time set on your WordPress, not the time and date it actually went up.All you have to do to fix this, is head into the settings > General and you’ll see the time zone. If you need help figuring out which time zone is yours, Wikipedia has a handy chart.

Looking Into the Future: How SEO is Evolving (And How You Can Stay Ahead of The Curve)

As time goes on, the way that Google searches changes constantly. In 2013 there were a number of updates for example, some small, and some large.

With each of these updates the SEO landscape changes and we must in turn change with it. While the changes are beneficial and contribute to the overall whole, they are still radical in some aspects. Here are the updates issued in 2013:

Panda #24: First update of the year issued on January 22nd.

Panda #25: This was the last update before the Panda update was added into the core algorithm.

Hummingbird: This was a major update to the core algorithm, modifying semantic search among other SEO tactics in a big way.

Penguin 2.0./2.1: These were both minor updates that didn’t touch the main algorithm.

So, why did I show you a list of oddly named updates? Well, of the five updates, two of them were fairly major. This means that several times per year, the way we understand SEO changes. I know, that seems scary, but you needn’t be afraid.

When it comes down to it, Google is just trying to make their search results the best they can be for users. Speaking of users, don’t forget to use a handful of these WordPress plugins to improve your reader’s experience on the site.

SEO Cycle

Staying ahead of the curve isn’t about reading every last update note (that would help though if you can understand them) it’s about understanding what Google defines as a high-quality website. If you meet these standards, then the search engine is looking for you instead of you looking for it. That’s gotta be a nice confidence boost.

So, with that in mind, here are characteristics of a high-quality site in Google’s eyes:

  • Original, Quality and Correct Content
  • Trustworthy and Credible
  • Nothing biased or one-sided (use perspective)
  • Minimal to zero consumer complaints
  • Content should be comprehensive and thorough

 

A low-quality or unoptimized website has paid links everywhere, way too many ads, and little to no content.

And you know what proves all of this? Your analytics account: The average amount of time a reader stays on your website, how many pages do they visit, etc.

What About the Future?

With time flying past us, we’ll be talking about 2015’s update logs before you know it, but we’ve already seen some big changes coming down the pipeline.

In order to keep you on top of how things are going, I’m going to give you some final tips that will help you stay at the forefront of these constantly changing times.

31) Promote Your Content

Promotional outreachI know, you’re probably thinking that you’ve heard the word “content” enough times to make your ears bleed, but hear me out on this one.

Older SEO resources will tell you that proper structure, keywords, permalinks, site mapping, and so on will be enough, but they’re not anymore. Those things are still important, in fact, they keep you afloat. They don’t, however, elevate you to greatness.

The SEO tips I’ve provided will act as your life jacket in the ocean of the internet, but you’ve got to reach out and grab something to hold onto if you want to take off.

This is done through marketing. When you write your posts, make them unique, powerful, and irresistible. Give people the power to share it with social media plugins, and spread the word! This is one of the best ways you can promote your blog and increase traffic to it.

A post on Quicksprout from Neil Patel stated that 95% of your SEO is attributed to your link profile.

What’s that about?

Essentially it means that you must produce top notch content and market it to your targeted audience, as well as similar websites in your industry.

This will help contribute to building up a link profile that Google approves of, which in return will allow your site to rank higher in the search engine results pages.

32) SEO and Public Relations Are Merging

I know, it’s scary, but this is the way of the future. In a video posted by Matt Cutts of Google fame, he spoke about the importance of integrating PR tactics into your SEO:

“Over time, backlinks will become a little less important. If we could really be able to tell, you know, Danny Sullivan wrote this article…or Vanessa Fox wrote this article, something like that, that would help us understand — okay, this is something that we can tell, 1) it’s an expert, 2) it’s an expert in this particular field.”

In essence, people want to know who is writing these articles. When Google Authorship was still around, these profiles would rank incredibly high, along with Wikipedia pages, and expert news articles.

Suddenly it became about more than the content, it was about who wrote it and what their presence is on the internet. While it may seem hard to grasp, it’s important that going forward, your content is optimized, marketed, and that the author of the post has an equal presence and profile.

33) Google’s Algorithm is Smarter Than You

Blast offYou may be a certified genius, but it means nothing when compared to the might of Google.

In May of 2014 they celebrated 16 years and in those years, numerous changes and modifications to the search algorithm have resulted in one singular truth: you can’t trick Google.

Back in the early days, there were tricks and workarounds that you may still see online, but check the date on those articles, because those things don’t work anymore.

A great example is co-occurrence which is one of the recent developments. This concept allows the search engine to predict how one phrase will spark other ones.

If those phrases are present, the page ranks higher for relevancy. So if I were to say “Mickey Mouse” then other phrases like “Disney World” “Magic Kingdom” and “Minnie Mouse” will relate to that original term.

34) Social Profiles Matter More Now Than Ever

Social

When looking at sheer numbers of search inquires, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have upwards of two billion searches per day.

With all of these incoming searches, SEO is now becoming more social than ever. We always want to market our content, but now we need to market ourselves.

Just like the rise of PR in SEO, people are going to look for your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

Your persona and your reputation online through these sites will greatly affect the success of your blog.

Obviously you don’t want to be fake, but just like an embarrassing picture can sabotage a job interview, the same principle now applies to your readers. Put your best face online.

35) Future Concept: Entity Salience

A Google Research paper recently mentioned the concept of entity salience. This is some future level stuff but you can prepare for it now and it will pay off in the long run.

Beyond using keywords to determine relevance, this technique uses “entities” on the page, examining the known relationships between them to better understand the content.

Anything that is distinct or well-defined is an “entity.” If the relationship between entities is strong, it adds more relevance to the overall page.

Entity Salience

For example, if we’re writing about HBO, we could go into shows that the channel broadcasts like Game of Thrones, but we could go even further and establish entity salience by mentioning specific characters like Jon Snow or Arya Stark, or Ned Stark, thereby strengthening the relationships between these entities.

Setting Up Your WordPress for Success

Like me, if you’ve ever tried to fully optimize your WordPress blog for success then you would know first hand that you’ve driven yourself crazy trying to figure it out.

“What chu talkin about Matt?”

What I’m talking about is the irritating plugins, themes etc. that get in the way of our optimized WordPress blog.

Here’s a quick step by step tutorial on how to optimize it specifically using Yoast:

Step 1: Descriptions & Titles

Titles & Descriptions

WordPress SEO by Yoast features very useful settings that give you ultimate control over title & descriptions. This applies to all post & page types.

Step 2: Indexation

Indexation

Under “post types” ensure that posts and pages are both left unchecked so they are indexed. There’s no need to keep media indexed, however.

Indexation 2

Categories do not HAVE to be indexed. Deciding whether or not to index your category pages depends on whether you anticipate those pages to rank on search engines.

In addition to that, a category page (like any indexed page) HAS to have unique and valuable content that can’t be found elsewhere.

Meta Settings

Step 3: XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps

Please make sure you’re not using any other plugins that handle XML Sitemaps – this can cause confusion for your WordPress.

When you’re excluding post types and taxonomies, only check mark the types of pages you DO NOT want indexed. Performing this step the right way will help you with an optimized XML Sitemap.

Step 4: Permalinks

Permalinks

I would strongly advise you to strip the /category/ off of category URLs. The shorter and more succinct your URLs are, the better.

I would also enforce a trailing slash on all category and tag URLs as well as removing stop words from slugs. Slug is another word for URL.

After configuring the permalinks, your Yoast plugin is all set and optimized for success! Now, on to the meat of this article, my very own WordPress tips for you to keep in your back pocket.

Some Final Thoughts

SEO is always a subject that constantly changes. Just about every tactic sticks around in one form or another, but they always evolve.

Constant changes on a yearly basis can be seen, and things that worked six months ago won’t work now. It’s not something to be afraid of, but it is something to be aware of.

We can prepare for the future by staying abreast of changing elements in SEO and always focusing our content on being unique and high-quality for our readers. If you’re writing for them, you’ll never fail.

Keep these tips in mind, but never let them leave yours. Now that we know how PR is affecting SEO, we can also seek to improve our social media presence as we market our content.

These are all great WordPress SEO tips, so make sure you’re using them all as your make your mark.

It’s a lot to take in, especially the concepts of Entity Salience, but I promise, you’ve got this. Keep this blog bookmarked as we continue exploring the best ways to blog, and as always don’t forget to tell me about your opinions and your SEO tips in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Source: WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed In Blogging

9 Link Building Resources That’ll Increase Your Search Rankings by Neil Patel

Question: Which would you rather have — more organic traffic or better rankings?

It’s a trick question for most of us — we’d actually rather have both. That’s because both you and I know they can make a huge difference in our businesses.

As you probably already know, Google tends to rank pages higher in search results based on the authority of that page. In modern SEO, links build up the page’s authority and improve its SEO value.

Recent data estimates that the link popularity of a specific page accounts for 22.33% of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm.

What if you could access the most updated resources that’ll help you build the right links? What difference would that make in your investment, considering that about 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on link building?

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that building links with useful content is easier than most people think.

If you can develop and document your strategy, you’ll ultimately generate more authority links for your pages. Both content marketing and link building are like those interconnected steel rings magicians use — the ones that can’t be separated.

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In this in-depth post, I’ll show you 9 link building resources that you can tap into any time you want to get backlinks.

Download a PDF version of this 9 link building resources that’ll increase your search ranking.

These resources provide scalable link-earning techniques, tips and best practices that are proven to work. When you implement them, your rankings and site traffic will both improve.

1. Broken Link Building Bible (source)

All links are created equal, right? Actually, no.

Link building used to be easy. You could set up a few PBN (private blog network) sites and get a bunch of links that’d push your organic rankings to the top. But does it still work?

The honest guys says you shouldn’t do it. Ditch the idea of a PBN. Sooner or later, Google will catch up with you and push your rankings to page 107, or de-index your pages altogether.

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Instead, to get links that’ll actually improve your search listings, increase your traffic, and get you a higher click-through rate (CTR), you need to study the Broken Link Building Bible.

Broken link building is a white-hat and scalable tactic for getting the right kind of links.

At its core, it’s a content-focused strategy. You simply find dead (or broken) links, analyze the page for relevance, create more valuable content to replace the broken content. This helps site owners, editors and webmasters improve their site user experience by replacing broken links with a link to your page.

With the right approach, you can create an effective backlink campaign and automate broken link building, which will continually build momentum for your site.

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As you go through the Broken Link Building Bible, you’ll discover why broken link building is perhaps the most effective white-hat link building strategy in years.

However, understand this: Your success at getting the right links will entirely depend on how willing you are to research and analyze or audit different websites.Broken link building is all about making an impact. It’s about helping webmasters and making the web a better place.

Webmasters are always happy to fix broken links – if they find them. They know there’s a relationship between Google rankings and links but on big sites, finding broken links isn’t easy.

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A dead link — that is, a link that no longer works — doesn’t do the user or the site any good. In fact, too many broken links can have a negative effect on a site.

Having too many broken links on a page is a sign of a neglected or abandoned site. The Google Search Quality Raters General Guidelines view broken links as one of the ways to measure a homepage’s quality.

According to Moz, broken link building is a strategy that constructively addresses many of the competing interests in our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs. link building, inbound vs. outbound, etc.

2. Advanced Guide to Link Building (source)

I’ve had my fair share of SEO struggles. I struggled to get other sites to link to my posts. I struggled to keep up with Google updates. I struggled to reach the expected quantity and quality of links necessary to rank highly in Google.

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Those struggles taught me that achieving success online takes time. You have to be patient, and you’ve also got to create content that’ll help people get closer to achieving their goals.

One of the best steps I’ve taken since I started blogging is the creation of The Advanced Guide to Link Building, which I shared with the digital marketing world for free.

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If you’ve struggled the way I did in the beginning to build the kind of links that Google loves, you should study this guide. It’ll show you:

  • How to go about finding and getting those “perfect links”
  • The right way to create epic content that’ll help you build relationships with the leaders in your industry
  • How to identify and approach the authority sites you can get links from in just a few minutes
  • The hidden secrets to getting hard-to-come-by .edu and .gov backlinks
  • The step-by-step method of link-building outreach, which walks you through the process of initiating and building a relationship with influencers and pro bloggers

3. Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .Edu Links (source)

This resource was written way back in 2011, but it’s been consistently updated to match modern SEO best practices. It’s not your typical long-form post — it’s pretty short, actually — but it’ll show you:

  • Why educational links matter
  • How to create content that attracts .edu links
  • How to build relationships that help you get these links

Link building has evolved significantly since 2011. Lots of tactics that used to work have since fizzled out — e.g., article directories, duplicate or barely-rewritten content, etc.

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But educational sites have remained a viable source of high-quality links for any site.

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Incoming links from educational websites are often perceived as the most powerful links you can get. And getting a bunch of these links can skyrocket your search rankings.

It’s true that .edu links aren’t the only kind of powerful incoming links. There’s no proof that Google rates them universally higher than all other kinds of links. John Mu, a webmaster trends analyst at Google Zürich, clarified the issue:

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However, educational backlinks are powerful — just like links from any other high-authority domain would be.

Educational backlinks are hard to get. According to Felix Tarcomnicu,

The harder it is to get a backlink, the more value it will have.

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Sites with .edu domains typically have high authority as they’ve been around for a long time and have many trusted quality sites linking to them.

That’s why many of these sites are viewed as authoritative by Google. Therefore, getting links from these authority top-level domains improves search performance.

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Wordstream’s guide on using editorial linkbait to get .edu links is a must-read. It uses anecdotes to explain the relevance of educational links and show how you can create .edu link bait.

Link bait is simply content on your site that other sites link to willingly, because the content solves a problem.

When people link to your content page on their own initiative, it means you’ve created a linkable asset. The intersection between link bait and linkable asset is your sweet spot for converting your prospects into customers.

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It can be a blog post, a viral podcast, an infographic, or a helpful ebook.

How to get educational backlinks: High quality links make the difference. After Google launched Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates, quality became the defining factor of a link, as opposed to quantity.

So it’s no longer a question of how many links you need to rank. The challenge that most SEOs and site owners face is actually getting these quality links (e.g., .edu links).

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The vast majority of educational sites from top universities and colleges don’t accept guest posts. The ones that do accept guest articles are stricter than you can imagine. You can’t just write any post you want and get them to publish it.

So guest blogging is perhaps not the best or most effective way to get .edu links. But there are other ways that are proven to work.You can use advanced search modifiers to find education sites in Google. Your goal is to narrow your results down to educational results pages. Some of the search strings you can use are:

a).  site:.edu – shows you search results containing educational result sites only

b).  site:.edu “blog” – returns search results for educational blogs only

c).  site:.edu “forums” – if you want to participate in an educational discussion board

d).  site:.edu “comments” – for educational blogs with comments sections

e).   site:.edu “log in / create account” – returns .edu blog extensions that allow you to sign up as a user, for the purpose of commenting or other kinds of participation

f).   site:.edu inurl:blog “seo” – for educational blogs that understand SEO and would be interested in learning more about search engines

Let’s try one of the search strings:

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As you can see, the search results contain educational sites only. But it’d be difficult to get links from those sites. It’s much easier to get a link from a blog than a static web page.

So let’s drill down our search to focus on blogs:

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These results are more specific to educational blogs related to marketing. So if your site is related to sales or marketing, those educational blogs are your targets.

Broken link building is the easiest way to get your links from educational portals. All you’ve got to do is find dead links on these blogs, and suggest better content — your own — to replace it.

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Broken link building works. For example, Michael Chibuzor, founder of contentmarketingup.com, generated 27 links from .edu domains in 90 days.

Brian Dean has taught broken link building, and his students are seeing great results. Recently, one of his students, Emil Shour, set out to rank for his most profitable keyword.

He leveraged the skyscraper technique, and created an in-depth, long-form article in the employee wellness niche, entitled “121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas for Your Office.”

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Richard researched industry blogs that are relevant to employee management, found broken links, and sent outreach emails to all of them.

By doing this, Richard was able to push his post into a number #1 ranking and generated $100,000 in revenue. Richard also boosted his organic traffic by 348% in just 7 days.

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So how do you find dead links on educational blogs that you can capitalize on to get incoming links?

It’s easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible. Here are the step-by-step instructions:i).   First step: Go to Google and search for educational resource pages. These pages contain lists of links to external sites and contents.

This time, let’s find educational resources for small businesses.

The search string I used is “site:edu “resources” + blogs + small business

And here’s the results screenshot:

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You can see that the search results are relevant to small businesses only. This makes them viable.

ii).   Second step: Choose one of the resources and click on it. Here’s the page, with all the resources:

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Some of the out-going links on this page may be dead, but you can’t tell just by looking. And clicking on all of them one by one will take lots of time.

Instead, use a tool designed for checking dead links …

iii).  Third step: Go to deadlinkchecker.com. Copy the resource page address as it appears on the browser.

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Then paste the site address into the search bar and click the “check” button:

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Out of the 142 out-going links analyzed by the dead link checker tool, 8 of them are dead. Those are the links that return any of these error messages: 404 not found, 400 bad request, -1 not found, etc.

Next, prepare your content. Remember that since you’re concerned about small business, your content needs to be relevant to that topic. Otherwise, it might be difficult to convince the blog editor or administrator to swap out the dead link for your page.

iv).   Step four: Send a personalized outreach email. I’ve received several outreach emails that are obviously form letters. Sometimes, the exact same email I receive went out to 10 or more other bloggers.

Don’t do that. Instead, personalize your email subject lines when reaching out to educational blogs. This is key to better email open rates.

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Often,these people are academics, and any slight error or hint of deception will result in your email being deleted without being read.

To “personalize” means that you give it a personal touch. If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, address them by their first name.

Not everyone understands how to write persuasive emails to site owners and bloggers. If that’s you, don’t worry. Just use the email templates below and add the person’s name, if you know it.

When using any email template, keep these things in mind:

  • Write lowercase subject lines – I do this all the time because I want the email to seem casual as if it’s from a friend, not a robot.
  • Be creative – emails that are boring and lack emotional appeal won’t get opened or responded to.
  • Personalize – you have to include the person’s name and the website name in the email so it doesn’t come off as spammy.

Here’s a broken link email template you can model:

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If you didn’t find any dead links on your targeted educational resource page, don’t give up. Instead of sending a broken link email, you can simply send a basic link request email.

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If broken link building seems like a lot of work, or too difficult to tackle, there are other tactics that I’ve personally used to get .edu authority links:

  • Blog comments
  • Create a case study that’s relevant to the subject matter
  • Blogger recognition
  • Leveraging alumni news
  • Local resource pages
  • University discounts
  • Improve a section of a site
  • etc.

You can learn how to apply all these link earning tactics in Chapter 5 of the Advanced Guide To Link Building.

4. Linking Out Instead of Link Building to Rank in Google (source)

This helpful resource shows you why linking out is a strategy, not a tactic — because when you link out, you also get these benefits:

  • Enhanced awareness for your site and brand
  • Opportunities for other sites to link back to your page
  • Search engine awareness that you have a timely and useful resource
  • More helpful information for your readers

And so on…

Developing a link building strategy isn’t a cakewalk. Heck, even SEO experts  sometimes fail at link building.

Outbound links or links that point to external web pages from your own site can actually impact your blog authority. Just make sure the pages your links point to are relevant, useful, and have good standing with Google.

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At the heart of effective link building is the concept of giving.

In other words, you link to other sites, pages and case studies willingly.

Linking out instead of link building to rank in Google” is a helpful resource that doesn’t contain the traditional advice. Rather, it capitalizes on the principle of reciprocity.

According to Wikipedia, “reciprocity is a social rule that says we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. That is, people give back the kind of treatment they have received from you.”

For example, if you’re writing a guide to SEO, you should link out to authority sites that have addressed the topic before. As much as you can, link out to pages with high page authority – it’ll have a dramatic impact on your search performance and online visibility.

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Reciprocity is one of the most vital of Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. We humans are basically hard-wired to pay back our debts, help those who offered us a helping hand, and generally treat others as they’ve treated us.

I’ve applied the principle of reciprocity to grow QuickSprout to over 700,000 monthly visitors, and generated tens of thousands of quality backlinks. I give away tremendous value in my content.

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When I write a post, I link out to anywhere from 5 to 20 external web pages that contain helpful and relevant content.

I don’t claim to know it all – that’s why I bring other expert’s view into my post. And it’s helped me earn more links and increase revenue since 2007.

Here’s one of my recent posts on neilpatel.com. I linked out to more than 20 external web pages that offer additional information to my readers.

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Linking out to relevant pages not only earns you editorial links, but it also improves your search rankings. A survey of major newspaper on the web found that those who link out tend to outperform others who don’t on several performance metrics.

Check popular sites like Digg, Reddit, Twitter & Tumblr – they all link out excessively, and yet they still get millions of visitors coming back again and again.

If you’re worried that linking out will harm your rankings, do you have any proof of that?

I’ll keep looking, but so far I haven’t seen any proof that linking out to relevant and informative sites/pages that users will benefit from actually hurts long-term rankings and revenue.

5. Low Hanging Fruit: Linkbuilding with Screaming Frog (source)

To a large extent, valuable content makes it a lot easier to convince webmasters to link to you. According to MarketingSherpa, “53% of businesses view content creation as the single most effective SEO technique.”

There are lots of opportunities to grow your site, if you just study your Google Webmasters Tools data and pinpoint the links coming in to your site.

Go to Traffic > Links to Your Site:

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Next, go to “More”:

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Finally, download latest links (limit is 100,000):

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Getting the right links may seem difficult, especially when you’re not producing enough content.

But if you consider the impact those links will have on your search rankings, you’ll invest in content creation and promotion.

The old way of creating content and expecting customers to just show up is no longer feasible. You need to spend about 70% of your time and resources on promotion – that’s the new and better way.

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Low Hanging Fruit: Link Building with Screaming Frog” is an in-depth post that reveals opportunities for getting the right links using Screaming Frog, a premium SEO tool for link reclamation and link analysis.

Screaming Frog is invaluable for architecture research. You can also use it to initiate relationships with bloggers and reporters, among other things.

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The tool can analyze your links and show you ways to pass more SEO value to your web pages.

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Knowing when to increase your link building efforts or slow down with that mission is critical. This is the whole essence of link velocity, which measures the rate at which other sites link to you.

There’s no single rule on how fast you should get links to your site. SEOs have differing opinions, but Google hasn’t said one way or the other.

The best approach is to create more content and increase your site authority. Content growth can solve your link velocity problems.

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For example, it doesn’t matter how many links Moz.com or HubSpot.com generate this week; Google won’t view those links as manipulative, because both sites have good authority and thousands of pages already.

6. Your Link Reclamation Sucks Like Irene’s Dyson (source)

Link reclamation is the easiest way to earn editorial links to your pages, from referring sites that mentioned your brand but didn’t link to you.

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Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, there are three sources of links you need to reclaim:

i).  Brand mentions: This means aspects of your brand such as your site, events, courses, etc. Other sites could be mentioning your site, without linking to it. Brand mentions are the future of link building. Through link reclamation, you can request actual links be added to mentions that already exist.

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ii).   Product mentions: Several sites, media portals, and discussion boards could be mentioning your product without linking to your sales page or homepage,

If you’ve got a great product, I can almost guarantee that you can reclaim 10 or more unclaimed links today. You can use the Rank Tank’s brand unlinked mentions finder tool to find these product mentions across the web.

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iii).   Personnel mentions: What about your team, your name, your nickname, or a professional title?

All of these provide another opportunity to reclaim unlinked personnel mentions and boost your search rankings.

If you want to dominate social media and claim brand mentions easily, by building relationships with social media power users, site owners, and bloggers, this guide — “Your Link Reclamation Sucks Like Irene’s Dyson” — will help you.

In an earlier Whiteboard Friday video, Ross Hudgens showed that that you can reclaim links from brand misspellings, brand monitoring, moving links to primary domain, etc.

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7.  Ultimate Guide to Link Building (source)

Without a doubt, links connect the web together. Links exist because there are websites, pages and portals that need to share information with users.

Who links to your site, and how they link to it are more important to Google than virtually any other Google ranking factor. Data from Searchmetrics suggests that the number of backlinks is the third most important factor in the UK Google ranking factors.

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In this book, Ultimate Guide To Link Building, Eric Ward shows you:

  • How to build links
  • How to gain authority and credibility for your website
  • How to increase your site traffic and rankings

Ward teaches with a deep understanding of link profiles, what makes them good, and how to maximize the quality of links that point to your site.

Ward uses illustrated case studies, expert interviews, and helpful resources in this book to drive his message home. You’ll find that getting backlinks can actually be fun, once you master the art of networking with bloggers.

Using some of the outlined whitehat backlink techniques, Dom Wells, founder of Human Proof Designs, built 59 quality links to his new site in 10 weeks.

And Inflow used email outreach (a tactic for connecting with site owners and getting them to reference and link to your page) to gain 96 links from 43 domains.

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8.  Link Building for Startups – Find Unlinked Brand Mentions at Scale (source)

Most startups waste time trying to get the right links when there’s a far more accessible opportunity right under their noses.

More links will improve your search performance, increase leads to your business and increase your revenue. If you don’t get links to your site, your search rankings, traffic and leads will suffer. And your startup will fail.

If you’re a startup entrepreneur, you’ll agree with me that you need to contend with a lot of competition.

According to Club Z, about 80% of startups fail to see projected return on investment, mostly due to a lack of planning and experience.

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Before you can drive targeted visitors from Google, and benefit from your site, you need to build quality links to your pages.

Guest blogging is a viable and free way to do just that. As you contribute to industry blogs, you can speed up your rate of getting links by simultaneously reclaiming your brand mentions.

For example, I could cite your domain name (e.g., dodocase.com) without linking to it. Before someone can visit that site, they’d have to copy and paste it into their browser, or look for it via a search engine.

But if the domain name was hyperlinked, when someone clicks on it, they’ll visit the startup site.

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If you’ve been consistently creating fresh and useful content and promoting your site through social media, there’s no doubt that other sites are mentioning your brand name. Don’t let these mentions be a waste; reclaim them.

And that’s exactly what you can learn from “Link Building for Startups – Find Unlinked Brand Mentions at Scale.”

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9.  How to Get Links on Resources Pages (source)

One of the most effective methods I use for getting links is through resources pages. With this tactic, Startup Company Lawyer got a link on the resources page of Johnson Cornell University.

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Although contextual links are desirable and powerful, you still need to diversify, because if all your links appear within the content, may not seem natural.

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I am a firm believer that there’s no single one-size-fits-all approach to link diversity ratios.

Depending on the domain authority and page authority of referring pages and their IP diversities, Google can use these factors to gauge and pass value to your links.

Different niches require different approaches to getting links. For example, building links to a niche site (e.g., a site focused on a specific topic or product) is a delicate process, because you’ve got to be mindful of the site – making sure they’re relevant even if they’re not too popular.

But for an authority site, it doesn’t matter where you get your links from. It could be from an entirely unrelated web page, but provided your site has some authority Google will likely not view this as spammy.

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How to Get Links on Resources Pages” is a helpful guide that gives you vital information on how to get the right links by capitalizing on resources pages – pages with plenty of linked-to resources (e.g., blogs, books, papers, resource works, images).

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Matthew Barby used the resource linking tactic to find link building opportunities for the travel blog he created with a group of friends, MeltedStories.com.

He got 15 new links from the sites he contacted, generated a decent amount of traffic, and grew his blog.

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Conclusion

At the heart of every link building campaign is email outreach. Whether you’re involved in guest blogging, broken link building, social media networking, or blog sponsorship, you need to connect with people.

However, you can’t simply blast scripted emails to hundreds of people and wonder why only a handful of them read it and replied to you. So you also need to learn how to write high-converting emails.

Get personal. Your target audience wants to connect with you on a personal level.

That’s the quickest way you can build a loyal audience, get referral traffic, improve your search traffic, increase your email subscribers and grow your sales.

As usual, your comment is appreciated. Which of these resources have read, and what lessons can you take home and implement on your blog?

 

Source: 9 Link Building Resources That’ll Increase Your Search Rankings

The Broken Link Building Bible – Moz by Angular Marketing

The Broken Link Building Bible
The Broken Link Building Bible – by Angular Marketing Published on Moz

The broken link building strategy may be one of the most effective, white-hat link building strategies in years. In today’s post, Russ Jones outlines everything you need to know (really, everything) about how to effectively use this strategy in your next link building campaign.

As a link building tactic, broken link building is an effective, white-hat, scalable, content-focused link building strategy that builds links through finding broken links, recreating that broken content, and helping webmasters replace broken links with your corrected link.

Broken link building may perhaps be the most effective, white-hat link building strategy in years. In particular, broken link building is appealing because the success of the campaign is directly proportional to how much good you do for the web. You profit only if you create good content to replace lost or abandoned content that webmasters still want to link to. This is the type of strategy that marries so many of the competing interests our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs link building, inbound vs. outbound, etc.

Below, I attempt to organize as much as I know about broken link building tactics. Throughout the piece I mention tools that will help you make the broken link building process scalable and less monotonous. Let’s begin.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Prospecting
    1. Resource Page Targeting w/ Keywords
      1. Selecting Keywords
      2. Prospecting Phrases
      3. Scraping Search Results
      4. Extracting URLs
      5. Header Checks
      6. Opportunity Qualification
      7. Prospecting Tools
    2. Resource Page Targeting w/ Model URL
      1. Site Selection
      2. Backlink Acquisition
      3. Extracting URLs
      4. Header Checks
      5. Opportunity Qualification
      6. Prospecting Shortcuts
    3. Direct URL Targeting
      1. Site Crawling
      2. Opportunity Selection
  3. Content Creation
    1. Rebuilding Tools
    2. Raised Expectations
  4. Outreach
    1. Contact Finding
    2. Email Templates
  5. Conclusions & Community
  6. Credits

Overview

Broken link building is a link building tactic where a marketer contacts a webmaster who has a broken link on his/her site and recommends one or more alternatives that include his/her target site. For the purposes of this piece, we will use a pediatrician in Raleigh, NC as an example client.

Prospecting

The first step in any Broken link building campaign is to find relevant dead pages. However, there are different methods of prospecting depending upon the broken link building strategy you are employing. There are essentially three types of broken link building strategies:

  1. Resource Page Targeting with Keywords
  2. Resource Page Targeting with URLs
  3. Direct URL Targeting

We will cover each of these in the prospecting section. I will mention multiple tools throughout this post and will give descriptions of all of them at the end. Keyword Based

Keyword based is the the most common and, in my opinion, straightforward method of broken link building. The method involves searching Google for keywords relevant to your site’s interests, finding resource pages that link to content related to your keywords, extracting all the links from those resource pages, finding missing pages among those links, and finally qualifying those opportunities.

Select Prospecting Keywords Like so many things in SEO, we begin with keyword selection. A successful broken link building campaign lives and dies by the keywords used. There are a couple of characteristics we want to look for in an ideal keyword.

  • Categorically relevant: This characteristic seems obvious. The prospecting keywords need to be relevant. However, they don’t necessarily have to be relevant to your product like the key phrase “health resources.” The keywords could be relevant to your audience “resources for kids” or your geography “Raleigh resources.” Remember, you are finding resource pages with these keywords, you are not finding the final targets. You want to cast a wide net, which leads to…
  • Generally broad: This is where most campaigns fail. Our mock client is unlikely to find any resource pages for the keyword “raleigh nc pediatrician resources,” much less any with good link opportunities. You should choose key phrases that you would consider to be categories that your company might fall in, rather than the specific term.

Prospecting Phrases: Once you have identified your keywords, you will want to pair them with prospecting phrases. These are searches to use in Google or Bing to find relevant resource and links pages like “intitle:resources” or “inurl:links.” Below is a list of prospecting phrases you can use to help find relevant linking pages.

site:.gov
links
resources
intitle:links
intitle:resources
intitle:sites
intitle:websites
inurl:links
inurl:resources
inurl:sites
inurl:websites
“useful links”
“useful resources”
“useful sites”
“useful websites”
“recommended links”
“recommended resources”
“recommended sites”
“recommended websites”
“suggested links”
“suggested resources”
“suggested sites”
“suggested websites”
“more links”
“more resources”
“more sites”
“more websites”
“favorite links”
“favorite resources”
“favorite sites”
“favorite websites”
“related links”
“related resources”
“related sites”
“related websites”
intitle:”useful links”
intitle:”useful resources”
intitle:”useful sites”
intitle:”useful websites”
intitle:”recommended links”
intitle:”recommended resources”
intitle:”recommended sites”
intitle:”recommended websites”
intitle:”suggested links”
intitle:”suggested resources”
intitle:”suggested sites”
intitle:”suggested websites”
intitle:”more links”
intitle:”more resources”
intitle:”more sites”
intitle:”more websites”
intitle:”favorite links”
intitle:”favorite resources”
intitle:”favorite sites”
intitle:”favorite websites”
intitle:”related links”
intitle:”related resources”
intitle:”related sites”
intitle:”related websites”
inurl:”useful links”
inurl:”useful resources”
inurl:”useful sites”
inurl:”useful websites”
inurl:”recommended links”
inurl:”recommended resources”
inurl:”recommended sites”
inurl:”recommended websites”
inurl:”suggested links”
inurl:”suggested resources”
inurl:”suggested sites”
inurl:”suggested websites”
inurl:”more links”
inurl:”more resources”
inurl:”more sites”
inurl:”more websites”
inurl:”favorite links”
inurl:”favorite resources”
inurl:”favorite sites”
inurl:”favorite websites”
inurl:”related links”
inurl:”related resources”
inurl:”related sites”
inurl:”related websites”
list of links
list of resources
list of sites
list of websites
list of blogs
list of forums

Search Results Scraping: You now have the arduous task of finding all the results for all these prospecting phrases. Google is not fond of sending in automated requests, so you have a couple of choices. You complete the task by hand and use the MozBar to extract results, you can use a SERP scraping tool and risk Google’s ire, or you could look into use the Bing API, which would necessitate changing many of the search operators in the above list of prospecting phrases. Ultimately, you will want to pull down the top 100 results for each of the prospecting phrases you use. You will have quite a bit of crossover, so you will want to de-dupe those lists. You can use Virante’s free “Duplicate Deleter” tool to accomplish this, or you can simply use Excel’s remove duplicates function.

Link Extraction: Once you have a culled list of potential “linking pages,” you need to extract every external link from these pages and begin the process of finding all the 404s. You can also combine this step with the 404 header check using a tool like Domain Hunter+or Check My Links.

Link extraction:

Link extraction and 404 header check

404 / Error Checking: Once you have extracted all the links, you will have to check the headers on each link to determine whether or not they are 404s, our ultimate target. If you used Domain Hunter Plus or Check My Links, you can skip this process. The easiest way to do this is with a simple HTTP Status Code checker. There is a free bulk tool here. Just copy and paste all your URLs here, without the http:// and it will find all the 404s for you.

Opportunity Qualification: There are two things you will want to determine about each potential opportunity to vet them for quality: relevance and backlinks.

  1. Backlink acquisition: Once you have found a set of 404 pages, you now have to filter them to determine which are actually strong targets. The more backlinks pointing to a 404 page, the more opportunities you have for link replacement. These linking domains will be the sites you contact to replace the broken link with your own. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest at the moment is likely Majestic SEO’s bulk backlink checker. Remember, at this point you are trying just to get an idea of those with the most links and ignore those with very few. This will limit the amount of time you have on checking relevance.

  2. Relevance analysis: Now you filtered your list of 404 opportunities to those with a good number of unique linking domains. Let’s say that number is 50 or more. You now have to determine the relevancy of that content. You can do that a few ways:

    • Visit the Wayback Machine (also known as the way back machine) to find cached copies of the URL in history. If the page is well linked and did not block web crawlers, you should be able to find the content here.

    • If this is not available, you can look at the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. You can use SEOMoz Open Site Explorer to get an export of the anchor text.

    • You can look at the URL itself for hints as to how relevant the content would be.

    • You can visit the linking pages to see if those links have descriptions of what the previous content was.

Prospecting Shortcuts: There are two tools that you could use to jump over a lot of these steps.

  • Broken Link Index (brokenlinkindex.com): This tool by iAcquire allows you to find tons of potential 404 pages from their gigantic database of opportunities. Unfortunately, all of the link qualifications have to be done one at a time, although you could export the list and automate the process if you are savvy.
  • Broken Link Builder (brokenlinkbuilding.com): This tool by CitationLabs is not free, but allows you to perform all of the actions above in an automated fashion. Just type in your kewords and it performs all of the steps above, from finding opportunities to qualifying them based on links and relevance. This is by far the most robust broken link building tool currently available and a huge time saver.

Resource Page Targeting w/ Model URL

Unlike using keywords, this method starts with a known site and mines their backlinks to relevant resource pages that, in turn, produce broken link building opportunities.

Site / URL Selection: This is by far the most important part of the process. Choosing the right site will make or break this strategy. I do want to give a nod to Garrett French for pointing this method out to me a few months ago. There are a couple of factors you want to use in identifying the perfect site or URL.

  • Non-commercial: In most cases, you want a non-commercial source. If the site has a direct incentive to acquire links, chances are there will be too much manipulated link noise in their backlink profile to properly mine them for broken link building opportunities.
  • Authoritative: If the site is not authoritative, it likely has attracted few links from resources that aggregate important links on the web. These are the resource pages from which we will find 404 opportunities. If they aren’t linking to your selected URL, you are wasting your time.
  • Relevant: Obviously, the site needs to be relevant to your industry. You can use this technique to find great opportunities based on nasa.gov, but unless you are SpaceX, you probably have no business doing so.

Backlink Acquisition: Following the example above of a Raleigh, NC dentist, let’s assume that we selected the American Dental Association (ADA.org). Using Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, or A Hrefs, export all of the links pointing back to this site. This list of URLs should be treated in the same way as the list of URLs in the keyword method that were pulled from searching Google with prospecting phrases. You can now skip to the Link Extraction section in the previous description and follow from there. The steps are identical, no need to repeat them.

Direct URL Targeting

This is the least scalable of the strategies and is used specifically to target a single link prospect. Unlike the previous two methods where you are trying to find potential broken content to replace and your link prospects are those who link to that broken content, in this method you have already chosen your link prospect and you simply want to find broken links on his/her site as an excuse to start a conversation. I hesitate to include this strategy because it is weak and unscalable, but it is a part of the grouping of strategies known as “broken link building” so I will include it.

Let’s assume that you are the Raleigh, NC dentist and you have decided that all you really want is a link from ADA.org. You feel that you have some great content they would link to if only you had a reason to open up a conversation that didn’t sound completely like begging. Well, the first step is to try and find a broken link on their site so you have a reason to reach out to their webmaster.

Site Crawling: Site crawling can be problematic because you must balance your need for relatively quick responses and a general respect for the site owner’s bandwidth and uptime. Do not turn on a crawler that you are not certain follows polite crawling policies and obeys robots.txt. Your best bet would be one of the following:

  • Xenu Link Sleuth
    A classic SEO tool, Xenu Link Sleuth makes it easy to spider a site and find broken links among other problems.
  • Screaming Frog SEO
    Quickly becoming the spider of choice for many SEOs, Screaming Frog can quickly spider your site to diagnose everything from duplicate content to 404s.
  • Deep Trawl
    Often overlooked, Deep Trawl is a worthy adversary for solving on-site issues.

Opportunity Selection: You now have a list of broken links on your ideal linking website. Identifying the best opportunity will greatly increase the likelihood of succeeding with this strategy. Here are a couple of pointers.

  • Choose a broken link opportunity where the link is external. This does two things: it makes the webmaster feel like it is not his/her fault unlike an internal link and it creates a 1:1 ratio of removing an external link and hopefully adding your external link. A webmaster is far more likely to replace a broken external link with another external link than to replace an internal link with an external one.
  • Try and choose a broken link on the same page as the one your link would most fit. This is most likely to occur if your ideal linking site has a resources section.

Content Creation

The next step in the broken link building process is creating content that matches or improves upon the broken page. The first step you will need to take is actually determining what the broken page is. We assume that you have already vetted this page for relevance so you should have a general idea, but getting as specific as possible will help you create content that meets the expectations of all of those who previously linked to the now defunct resource. There are two tools that can help with this right off the bat…

Rebuilding Tools:

  • Wayback Machine: The Wayback Machine at Archive.org allows you to see much of the web as it existed in history. This is your first and best bet for finding the content. Pro-tip: Use Majestic SEO’s historical index to find when the links were acquired, and then choose the date in Archive.org that corresponds with this date. This will help you know the mindset of the linkers if the content changed over time
  • Warrick: Warrick is a little known tool by the Comp Sci department at Old Dominion that helps you rebuild an entire website by searching through public proxies/mirror caches to find copies of lost content. This is particularly good for rebuilding content that was blocQked by robots.txt. Unfortunately, Warrick is a perl program that may be difficult to operate.

Raised Expectations: Chances are the site for which you are replacing content has greater authority in the industry than does yours. Chances are it is less commercial, more informative, and more trustworthy in general. If you want to acquire a decent return on investment, you need to focus intently on content quality.

  • Expect to improve upon the content that was created.
  • Update relevant statistics.
  • Add new citations and sections.
  • Consider reaching out to the original author for more information to add credibility.

Outreach

So, you have found your opportunity, created your list of link opportunities, and you are ready to start outreach. Here is how to make the most out of that link list you have.

Contact Finding: There are a growing number of resources for automating the process of contact discovery, although each comes with it’s own set of issues.

Email Templates:

There are many strategies you can employ in the outreach, here are a few of them depending on how transparent you want to be. We find, in general, that if you write good enough content you can be very transparent.

  • Act as a user who happened upon the broken link
  • Mix your link in with other valuable, related links
  • Offer the replacement in a follow up email

Below is an example of a broken link building outreach email. The most important part of the outreach process is that you should tailor your outreach at least to the specific campaign and industry if not to each target specifically. If you can add even a sentence of plausible, relevant customization to each email you send out you will greatly increase your conversion. I promise you if you copy and paste this template you will waste a lot of your opportunities, no matter how good it is.

SL: quick note – dead resource on your site

Hello,

I’m a licensed (industry specialist) and a health writer – I recently visited your site while researching for an article I’m working on…

This is a note for your webmaster, as I found a dead resource on your site that visitors like me surely miss.

It’s on this page: http://www.theirsite.gov/linksandresources

I got an error message when I tried to click on this site: http://DeadURL.org/index.jsp

It looks like they made a change to their home page but didn’t update it… anyhow, the correct link is here: http://www.FixedURL.org/

And while you’re updating your page, I wondered if you’d be open to including some further resources that could help people struggling with similar issues.

Compelling Content Title
http://www.clientsite.org/compellingcontent

Compelling Content Title 2
http://www.clientsothersite.com/compellingcontent

Thanks for your help and for providing great resources!

Best,
First Name Last Name
Industry Credentials
clientsite.org

Anthony Nelson has some fantastic templates here from his excellent piece “Broken Link Building Guide from Noob to Novice”.

Conclusions & Community

Like nearly any link building technique, sweat equity is ultimately going to make the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. The devil is always in the details. With that, I would like to see that this becomes a living document. Broken link building, while not a new technique, is becoming more and more scalable. As more agencies, consultants and business owners jump on the bandwagon, their voices need to be heard as well. Subsequently, I am requesting that if you know any tips or tricks that you feel free to include them in the comments here. Thanks, and happy broken link building!

Credit Where Due

While I would like to pretend that most of my knowledge came from divine inspiration or on-the-job learning, the truth is that many thought leaders have chimed in on broken link building. This posting can be attributed in part to conversations with or content provided by the following great SEOs:

Jon Cooper
Garrett French
Anthony Nelson
Matt Zaffina
Paddy Moogan

Source: The Broken Link Building Bible – Moz

Do You Use Your Website Search to Help Your SEO?

The secret of how SEO and Website Search go together.
Do You Use Your Website Search to Help Your SEO? by Mike Moran

I do lots of SEO projects. Not so typically, I also do a lot of website search projects. But I hardly ever do them for the same clients. One reason is that IT people typically run website search while marketers typically manage SEO. But the few clients I work with that do SEO and website search together have discovered the secret I am about to share with you.

As Google and every other search engine has made it more and more difficult to know which keywords searchers use to find your pages, you need to go after more and more data. One of the richest and easiest sources of data is website search.

You control your own website search, so no one can take the data away. Website search engines find only your own pages, so you don’t have to wade through tons of irrelevant keywords to find the ones that pertain to your content. And those search engines also give you linkage between what searchers are looking for and which pages from your site come up. Those choices might not match Google’s choices, but they are better than nothing,

But the biggest reason to mine your website search data for keywords is the simplest. These are a list of words that your customers think you actually have content for.

Even when they are wrong and you have no content for a keyword, even that is instructive, because your customer thought you should have content. Perhaps these are gaps in your content that you need to fill.

Now, when you look at your website search keywords, you do have to make a few adjustments. While a Google searcher might search for quicken loans, when they arrive at quicken.com, they might search for merely loans. Expect searchers to use fewer of your brand names (and especially not your company name) when they are on your website–it already sets that context.

If you aren’t looking at website search keywords to drive SEO targets, you are missing one of the most obvious places to look.
[This article first appeared on Business 2 Community on 4th January 2016]

Source: Do You Use Your Website Search to Help Your SEO?

3 Tools to Finding The Perfect Keywords for SEO

3 Easy Steps to SEO by Richie Contartesi January 4, 2016

Finding keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) that have the right balance of search volume, popularity, monetization potential, and competition might seem like magic to some people.

You might think that an SEO professional just taps his magic wand on a hat and out pops the best keywords, just like a rabbit out of a real magician’s hat. The reality, though, is that there’s no magic involved, just pure science and statistics. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage a few free tools to find the perfect keywords for SEO for your site or blog post. It all happens in three easy steps, with three free tools.

Tool 1: Check Google’s Key Word Planner Tool

The first thing you want to do is log into Google AdWords and see what the Key Word Planner Tool comes up with for your site or blog post. When you log into Google AdWords, just navigate to Tools and Analysis > Key Word Planner > Search for Keyword and Ad Group Ideas and put in a few keywords relevant to your site. You might enter in a few keywords related to your site as a whole and then, if you already have an idea in mind for your blog post, a word or phrase related to that concept. Once done, click on Get Ideas and check the tab labeled Key Words Ideas. Here, you’ll see keywords related to your idea, and you can begin to mine those for gems that you might use to center your new page or blog post around. That’s not the end of the story, though, so keep reading.

Tool 2: Making sure your keywords are relevant with Blog Social Analyzer

You might get quite a few keywords from the Key Word Planner Tool, and you want to make sure that the keywords you’re targeting are relevant to your particular site. After all, the more relevant your keywords are, the more people are going to share them on social media. Relevance will also determine how often people will link to the post or page, and the more likely it is that people who research for these keywords and end up on your site will be the perfect customers.

One way to check the relevance of the keywords is to see which content has shown the best performance on your site, and try to find similar keywords for the new page or post you’re working on. Using the Blog Social Analyzer tool, you can easily find out which of your current pages or posts are the most popular. Once you know what relevant content has performed the best, you can work to ensure your new content is focused around keywords with a track record of great performance.

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Within the Blog Social Analyzer tool, you can determine what kind of topics performed best on your particular site. Is your blog or website more attuned to basic users looking for introductory information, or do your users seek knowledge about advanced topics? By looking at which pages or posts were shared the most on social media, you can get a hint of that. Once you’ve gotten a few ideas for relevant keywords, it’s time to look at search volume.

To check out search volume, we’re going to go back to the Key Word Planner Tool that Google provides us with, and find out what we’ve got to work with. With your keywords entered, you’ll see the average monthly searches in a bit of a hodge podge of results, because Google automatically sorts by relevance. This means, unfortunately, that you’ll often see results that have very, very competitive keywords that have a ton of search volume, like “social media site” with 18,000 monthly searches. That’s way too competitive to try centering your blog post around, though, so you want to look at the long tail search phrases that are relevant to your proposed content.

So, target those long tail search phrases and click one time on Average Monthly Searches, then click again to see the keywords with the lowest search volume. Avoid those keywords like the plague most of the time, because there just isn’t enough search volume to make them worth your while. Scroll towards the bottom of the page, looking for keywords that have more search volume but not so much as to be far too competitive. Fine tuning this really depends on how often you plan on posting, or how much content, but remember that if you find 10 keywords with 70 searches per month and incorporate those keywords, you’ll be looking at 700 monthly searches.

Within this same search of keywords, you can also check the commercial value of the keywords. Obviously, you want people to come to your site and buy what you’re selling, so you want to check the traffic you might get that will convert. One way to see that ahead of time is to look at the commercial intent, and see what the Average Cost Per Click is. This shows you the average cost per click of someone bidding on that key word in AdWord, which tells you which of your keywords will have the most commercial value.

Just by way of example, let’s say from your Blog Social Analyzer digging you found that people really liked basic content about “SEO” as well as deeper content about “Business SEO.” You might find that “Business SEO” has an average cost per click of $9, while “SEO” is closer to $0. You’d want to center your post around “Business SEO” in this case, because it has stronger commercial intent.

Tool 3: Checking competitiveness of your keywords with MozBar

Finally, you should find out how competitive your keywords are. Sometimes, even a long tail keyword with low search volumes is still too competitive to try ranking for. The MozBar, available for either Firefox or Chrome, will help you out here. Once it’s installed, search Google for your proposed key word and you’ll see Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) listed for each of your search results. If you see a lot of page authority of 50 or above in the top 10 results, then you might be looking at a keyword that’s too competitive to rank for. On the other hand, a mixed bag of Page Authorities in the 20s, 30s, and even higher (as long as there are some lower numbers in there) can be good to try ranking for.

The next thing to look at, though, before you get too excited is the Domain Authority. If the Domain Authority is really high across the entire top 10 list, this might also be something difficult to rank for. Again, a mixed bag of high and low results is what you’re looking for to find just the right balance of competitiveness.

Source: 3 Tools to Finding The Perfect Keywords for SEO