Tag Archive | "Partner"

SearchCap: Google search bar, new rich snippets & Bing partner program

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

Spectator to Partner: Turn Your Clients into SEO Allies – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

Are your clients your allies in SEO, or are they passive spectators? Could they even be inadvertently working against you? A better understanding of expectations, goals, and strategy by everyone involved can improve your client relations, provide extra clarity, and reduce the number of times you’re asked to “just SEO a site.” In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins outlines tactics you should know for getting clients and bosses excited about the SEO journey, as well as the risks involved in passivity.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. I am Kameron Jenkins, and I’m the SEO Wordsmith here at Moz. Today I’m going to be talking with you about how to turn your clients from spectators, passive spectators to someone who is proactively interested and an ally in your SEO journey.

So if you’ve ever heard someone come to you, maybe it’s a client or maybe you’re in-house and this is your boss saying this, and they say, “Just SEO my site,” then this is definitely for you. A lot of times it can be really hard as an SEO to work on a site if you really aren’t familiar with the business, what that client is doing, what they’re all about, what their goals are. So I’m going to share with you some tactics for getting your clients and your boss excited about SEO and excited about the work that you’re doing and some risks that can happen when you don’t do that.

Tactics

So let’s dive right in. All right, first we’re going to talk about tactics.

1. Share news

The first tactic is to share news. In the SEO industry, things are changing all the time, so it’s actually a really great tactic to keep yourself informed, but also to share that news with the client. So here’s an example. Google My Business is now experimenting with a new video format for their post feature. So one thing that you can do is say, “Hey, client, I hear that Google is experimenting with this new format. They’re using videos now. Would you like to try it?”

So that’s really cool because it shows them that you’re on top of things. It shows them that you’re the expert and you’re keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry. It also tells them that they’re going to be a part of this new, cutting-edge technology, and that can get them really, really excited about the SEO work you’re doing. So make sure to share news. I think that can be really, really valuable.

2. Outline your work

The next tip is to outline your work. This one seems really simple, but there is so much to say for telling a client what you’re going to do, doing it, and then telling them that you did it. It’s amazing what can happen when you just communicate with a client more. There have been plenty of situations where maybe I did less tangible work for a client one week, but because I talk to them more, they were more inclined to be happy with me and excited about the work I was doing.

It’s also cool because when you tell a client ahead of time what you’re going to do, it gives them time to get excited about, “Ooh, I can’t wait to see what he or she is going to do next.” So that’s a really good tip for getting your clients excited about SEO.

3. Report results

Another thing is to report on your results. So, as SEOs, it can be really easy to say, hey, I added this page or I fixed these things or I updated this.

But if we detach it from the actual results, it doesn’t really matter how much a client likes you or how much your boss likes you, there’s always a risk that they could pull the plug on SEO because they just don’t see the value that’s coming from it. So that’s an unfortunate reality, but there are tons of ways that you can show the value of SEO. One example is, “Hey, client, remember that page that we identified that was ranking on page two. We improved it. We made all of those updates we talked about, and now it’s ranking on page one. So that’s really exciting. We’re seeing a lot of new traffic come from it.I’m wondering, are you seeing new calls, new leads, an uptick in any of those things as a result of that?”

So that’s really good because it shows them what you did, the results from that, and then it kind of connects it to, “Hey, are you seeing any revenue, are you seeing new clients, new customers,” things like that. So they’re more inclined to see that what you’re doing is making a real, tangible impact on actual revenue and their actual business goals.

4. Acknowledge and guide their ideas

This one is really, really important. It can be hard sometimes to marry best practices and customer service. So what I mean by that is there’s one end of the pendulum where you are really focused on best practices. This is right. This is wrong. I know my SEO stuff. So when a client comes to you and they say, “Hey, can we try this?” and you go, “No, that’s not best practices,”it can kind of shut them down. It doesn’t get them involved in the SEO process. In fact, it just kind of makes them recoil and maybe they don’t want to talk to you, and that’s the exact opposite of what we want here. On the other end of that spectrum though, you have clients who say, “Hey, I really want to try this.I saw this article. I’m interested in this thing. Can you do it for my website?”

Maybe it’s not the greatest idea SEO-wise. You’re the SEO expert, and you see that and you go, “Mm, that’s actually kind of scary. I don’t think I want to do that.” But because you’re so focused on pleasing your client, you maybe do it anyway. So that’s the opposite of what we want as well. We want to have a “no, but” mentality. So an example of that could be your client emails in and says, “Hey, I want to try this new thing.”

You go, “Hey, I really like where your head is at. I like that you’re thinking about things this way. I’m so glad you shared this with me. I tried this related thing before, and I think that would be actually a really good idea to employ on your website.” So kind of shifting the conversation, but still bringing them along with you for that journey and guiding them to the correct conclusions. So that’s another way to get them invested without shying them away from the SEO process.

Risks

So now that we’ve talked about those tactics, we’re going to move on to the risks. These are things that could happen if you don’t get your clients excited and invested in the SEO journey.

1. SEO becomes a checklist

When you don’t know your client well enough to know what they’re doing in the real world, what they’re all about, the risk becomes you have to kind of just do site health stuff, so fiddling with meta tags, maybe you’re changing some paragraphs around, maybe you’re changing H1s, fixing 404s, things like that, things that are just objectively, “I can make this change, and I know it’s good for site health.”

But it’s not proactive. It’s not actually doing any SEO strategies. It’s just cleanup work. If you just focus on cleanup work, that’s really not an SEO strategy. That’s just making sure your site isn’t broken. As we all know, you need so much more than that to make sure that your client’s site is ranking. So that’s a risk.

If you don’t know your clients, if they’re not talking to you, or they’re not excited about SEO, then really all you’re left to do is fiddle with kind of technical stuff. As good as that can be to do, our jobs are way more fun than that. So communicate with your clients. Get them on board so that you can do proactive stuff and not just fiddling with little stuff.

2. SEO conflicts with business goals

So another risk is that SEO can conflict with business goals.

So say that you’re an SEO. Your client is not talking to you. They’re not really excited about stuff that you’re doing. But you decide to move forward with proactive strategies anyway. So say I’m an SEO, and I identify this keyword. My client has this keyword. This is a related keyword. It can bring in a lot of good traffic. I’ve identified this good opportunity. All of the pages that are ranking on page one, they’re not even that good. I could totally do better. So I’m going to proactively go, I’m going to build this page of content and put it on my client’s site. Then what happens when they see that page of content and they go, “We don’t even do that. We don’t offer that product. We don’t offer that service.”

Oops. So that’s really bad. What can happen is that, yes, you’re being proactive, and that’s great. But if you don’t actually know what your client is doing, because they’re not communicating with you, they’re not really excited, you risk misaligning with their business goals and misrepresenting them. So that’s a definite risk.

3. You miss out on PR opportunities

Another thing, you miss out on PR opportunities. So again, if your client is not talking to you, they’re not excited enough to share what they’re doing in the real world with you, you miss out on news like, “Hey, we’re sponsoring this event,”or, “Hey, I was the featured expert on last night’s news.”

Those are all really, really good things that SEOs look for. We crave that information. We can totally use that to capitalize on it for SEO value. If we’re not getting that from our clients, then we miss out on all those really, really cool PR opportunities. So a definite risk. We want those PR opportunities. We want to be able to use them.

4. Client controls the conversation

Next up, client controls the conversation. That’s a definite risk that can happen. So if a client is not talking to you, a reason could be they don’t really trust you yet. When they don’t trust you, they tend to start to dictate. So maybe our client emails in.

A good example of this is, “Hey, add these 10 backlinks to my website.” Or, “Hey, I need these five pages, and I need them now.” Maybe they’re not even actually bad suggestions. It’s just the fact that the client is asking you to do that. So this is kind of tricky, because you want to communicate with your client. It’s good that they’re emailing in, but they’re the ones at that point that are dictating the strategy. Whereas they should be communicating their vision, so hey, as a business owner, as a website owner, “This is my vision. This is my goal, and this is what I want.”

As the SEO professional, you’re receiving that information and taking it and making it into an SEO strategy that can actually be really, really beneficial for the client. So there’s a huge difference between just being a task monkey and kind of transforming their vision into an SEO strategy that can really, really work for them. So that’s a definite risk that can happen.

Excitement + partnership = better SEO campaigns

There’s a lot of different things that can happen. These are just some examples of tactics that you can use and risks. If you have any examples of things that have worked for you in the past, I would love to hear about them. It’s really good to information share. Success stories where maybe you got your client or your boss really bought into SEO, more so than just, “Hey, I’m spending money on it.”

But, “Hey, I’m your partner in this. I’m your ally, and I’m going to give you all the information because I know that it’s going to be mutually beneficial for us.” So at the end here, excitement, partner, better SEO campaigns. This is going to be I believe a recipe for success to get your clients and your boss on board. Thanks again so much for watching this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and come back next week for another one.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

Search in Pics: Android candy dispenser, Google Jiu Jitsu shirt & Bing partner plaque

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more. Happy Thanksgiving cupcakes: Source: Instagram Android candy dispenser:…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

Earning the Link: How to Pitch and Partner with the 5 Publisher Personas

Posted by QuezSays

I stood up from my office chair, stepped behind it and leaned on its back with both hands so I could stare at the email from a new angle. I was silenced by the response of the blogger:

“We’ve had a recent policy change here, and we no longer offer followed links. It’s hurting our reputation and being flagged by Google.”

In that moment, the game changed for me. I’ve received some interesting responses from editors and bloggers about links before, but never as adamant and uninformed as this. I realized that I needed to develop a communication strategy for my emails to publishing partners about links.

The challenge

Content marketing is a great way to amp up the reputation and visibility of your business. This includes well-placed bylines on high-authority sites that cover your market place. From our perspective, it’s completely appropriate to receive an attribution link in return. Creating interesting, authoritative, and valuable content is something my team excels at — that’s not the issue. The issue is working with publishing partners who have preconceived notions about links.

Publishers, bloggers, and editors have a wide range of opinions when it comes to links and how they’re treated by Google. This can create challenges for content creators who want to submit their work to these publishers but are being refused a link back to their site in their author attribution. A variety of people find themselves in this situation — SEOs, content marketing professionals, freelancers, thought leaders, etc.

The fact that people have different opinions on links is not exactly breaking news. My CEO, Eric Enge, does a good job recapping how this nofollow madness came about.

So how do you communicate with publishers in these circumstances in a way that’s credible, respectful, and effective?

After placing roughly 150 pieces of content on a wide range of sites, I’ve learned that it’s crucial to identify someone’s perspective to effectively communicate with them. There are so many myths and misconceptions about links and how Google treats links — you never know what perspective you’ll be dealing with.

This piece will help you quickly identify the perspective at hand, personify it, and from there, help you strategically communicate to give you the best chance of attaining that well-earned attribution link.

Step 1 – Pitch properly

As Rand Fishkin said in his 2012 Whiteboard Friday, “Stop link building and start link earning.” This context is the foundation of all communication with publishing partners.

Practice good pitching etiquette and do your homework researching the site. There are many resources that cover this, so I won’t go in-depth here. However, I will touch on my pitching strategy because I truly believe in its effectiveness.

When I draft all of my pitch emails, I refer to a sticky note stuck to my monitor that outlines the four sequential questions an editor is going to have when they receive my email:

Sticky note.jpg

1. What does this person want?what they want.png

Answer this question in the subject of your email, and in the first sentence. Eric Enge suggests you treat this as your value proposition.

2. Is this credible?

is this credible.png

Ask yourself the question, “What would make my communication more credible in this person’s eyes?”

For example:

  • Name-dropping a big brand that is a part of the collaboration
  • Mentioning an accolade that your writer has earned (e.g. rated top Southern mommy blogger back-to-back years)
  • Highlighting other places the author has been published (e.g. monthly Forbes and USA Today contributor)
  • Mentioning a very specific piece of information that proves you’ve spent a lot of time on their site:
    • “Penny Pens has a lot of tips to share on how to road trip around the Midwest. I think this would complement your travel-heavy July editorial calendar. It would also build nicely off of Christina WritesALot’s piece on Choosing Travel Buddies Wisely.”
  • Speaking directly to their content strategy:
    • “I think that Bobby Beers UCLA Tailgating guide would be a great piece to help promote football ticket sales on your events page.”

Worth noting: If you’re unwilling to do the in-depth research that allows you to speak this way, don’t slapdash this communication. Go another route. “I read your recent article on plants and found it very interesting” doesn’t give you any credibility, and it can even hurt you by coming off as insincere. Emails like that already plague editors.

Don’t believe me? Check out Michael Smart’s article on how we’ve ruined the compliment approach to pitch introductions.

In fact, I’ve even seen software that mimics this approach for marketers that are trying to scale their outreach. The user selects the publication and editor and the software creates an email template that automatically pulls in the title of the last article the editor published. That is how manipulative the email outreach environment has become.

3. Is this valuable?

is this valuable.png

And

4. Will this work?

will this work.png

Ask yourself what details would be worth including here. Is the detail crucial to the communication? Would including it prevent the recipient from misunderstanding your offer or not responding?

For example, when I pitch writers that work for a big brand, sometimes I mention that we’re not interested in giving or receiving any compensation for the contribution I’m offering. I’ve had experiences where the editor sees the name of my Fortune 100 client and immediately thinks that I’m offering a sponsored post. Or they think that my writer wants payment and will immediately write off the opportunity because they don’t have the budget for another writer at that time.

By answering these questions clearly and in this order, I’m helping the editor quickly determine if this is an opportunity that interests them. Assisting editors in being able to make that determination quickly, and prioritizing that over being persuasive, is the best gift you can give them. It shows that you respect their time and will keep the door open for future opportunities. It’s how to begin building trust in a long-term relationship.

Side note: Talking about links during pitching

I generally don’t talk about links with an editor upfront and often wait until they’ve had a chance to see the completed content. First of all, the attribution link is only one of the benefits we’re looking for (reminder: the others are reputation and visibility). It just doesn’t seem fair to talk to the editor about your author attribution before they see the piece. They don’t know you and want to see that you can deliver something valuable and non-promotional first.

It can also come off as unnatural to some editors. Do you really want to risk having your email mistaken for one of the hundreds of spam emails they regularly get promising “high-quality relevant content in exchange for only one dofollowed link!”? Unfortunately, talking about links right away can sometimes trigger an editor to see your content opportunity as low quality.

Step 2 – Earn the link

Once the editor requests your content, work with the writer or content creators until you have something that you’re proud to represent. Ask yourself this question: “Is this link-worthy?” If the answer isn’t a resounding “Heck yeah,” then you won’t have the leverage that you need later on if you end up in a sticky situation (i.e. if you aren’t given a link or you’re given a nofollow link). In those situations, you need to make a powerful request to remedy the situation. Are you willing to make that request for a piece of content your team created half-heartedly? That’s up to you. You need to decide what type of content you want associated with your personal brand.

In short, there are no shortcuts. Earn the editor’s respect and earn the link.

link building vs link earning.png

Step 3 – Write a simple “white-hat SEO” author attribution and submit

For example:

  • Usually no more than two to three sentences
  • Avoid direct-match rich anchor text
  • Link to a page that has high relevance to the author or the content
  • Don’t include more than one to two links

Step 4 – When encountering a nofollow link or missing link, communicate strategically

Once in a blue moon, when you check to see if an article you’ve submitted has been published, you’ll find a nofollow tag or a missing link.

What you SHOULDN’T do in this situation is send an email that justifies or explains why you deserve the link, or why the link is important to you. Don’t make an assumption as to why the link isn’t there. You don’t know what happened.

What you SHOULD do is make a simple request. There is no need for the email to be longer than three sentences:

“Hi Max, thanks for making Sally McWritesALot’s article look so great. It looks like the link in her attribution is nofollowed. Can you remove that nofollow tag?”

The editor’s response will give you hints on how to proceed. Below, I’ve outlined some of the flavors of responses you might get, with a publisher persona associated with each one that will help guide your communication strategy.

Skeptical Sally

skeptical sally.png

  • How to identify:
    • Skeptical Sally might respond with something like this (real examples I’ve received):
      • I don’t allow follow links on the site in sponsored or guest content. As I’m sure you are aware, it can dramatically damage our Google ranking. I love Andrea’s piece, but can’t risk a portion of the site … this is my full-time job — and one that I love. My Google ranking can affect future business opportunities.
      • We do not allow dofollow links any longer; this is in an effort to abide by SEO best practices for our blog.
  • Skeptical Sally’s perspective:
    • Sees links in general as very risky, especially a link that may be associated with a brand
    • Due to their policy change, she now plans to put a nofollow tag on every outbound link, “just to be safe”
    • Has an immediate skepticism of people asking for links
  • Communication strategy:
    • Move on. It is unlikely that Skeptical Sally will be open to a new perspective about links. If you try to educate her on the issue or talk through it, she may even get offended. Oftentimes, it’s just not worth impacting the relationship. After all, there may be ways to collaborate in the future that don’t involve content links (social media cross-promotion, interviews, etc.). Best to say thanks and move on. You still get the reputation and visibility benefits of the article that was published, but you now know that Sally’s site isn’t one where you can expect fair attribution.

Pseudo-Smart Steve

pseudo smart steve.png

  • How to identify:
    • Pseudo-Smart Steve might respond with something like this (real examples I’ve received):
      • The [client] link is just to [client] and will appear spammy to Google. Big red flag.”
      • Other language to look out for — any mention of “PageRank sculpting” or “retaining link juice”
  • Pseudo-Smart Steve’s perspective:
    • Has absorbed some SEO advice from outdated or unreliable sources
    • Knows that links are important, and wants to cash in on the best way to use them on his site
    • May attempt some type of “page sculpting” strategy to prevent precious PageRank from leaking off of his domain (note that this notion is a myth)
  • Communication strategy:
    • Make an attempt to educate these people, standing shoulder to shoulder with them. Sometimes they are just doing the best they can with the knowledge that they have and are open to new information.
      • For example, if the editor responds, “We prefer to nofollow as it retains the link juice,” then perhaps there is an opportunity to send them a link to a resource that will explain that the PageRank that would have been distributed to that nofollow link is NOT redistributed, it is essentially wasted (such as this Matt Cuts blog post).
      • Important – I wouldn’t recommend explaining SEO concepts in-depth over email. What would be more credible and powerful is to make your point in a sentence or two and then provide a link to a resource that backs up your point from an obviously credible source (Google’s blog, something that contains a quote from Google, a reputable study, etc.). Empowering an editor with the information they need to make their own decision is powerful and helpful.
      • Here are a couple of recently published resources to have bookmarked in case you are in a situation like this:

Here’s the extent I’d recommend explaining something in the email itself (real example):

  • Me: “Regarding the link, you can nofollow if it’s an absolute sticking point for you. However, we do feel that since the link is going to a relevant page (where you can find more writing by Julia), there won’t be any risk. Also, there are millions of websites linking to [client], so we feel from that standpoint, it’s not really going to raise any red flags.”
  • Editor: “OK — that all works. The nofollow link really isn’t a sticking point … I appreciate your feedback.

Savvy Shelby

savvy shelby.png

  • How to identify:
    • Responses that comment on how a topic relates to user experience, engagement, visibility, or other editorial areas
  • Savvy Shelby’s perspective:
    • Knows what she needs to know about links — that they are important to people, relevant to search engines, and are a form of currency when working with writers and freelancers
    • Knows that there are things that she doesn’t know about links — that search engines and technical marketers know a lot more than she does about exactly how links work
    • Knows that user experience is what really matters — that if a link doesn’t feel valuable to a user and isn’t a gesture to reward a contributor for a brilliant piece (trusting the contributor enough to know that it won’t be harmful), it may not be something she wants to include
  • Communication strategy:
    • If the link was omitted entirely, explain why including that link will positively impact user experience.
      • Will it provide author credibility?
      • Help users find more content that the author has written?
      • Expand on the topic somehow?
    • If the link has a nofollow tag, let the editor know that the author you are working with prefers to have the freedom to include a followed link in their attribution. This is why it’s so important that you’ve earned the link and provided incredibly valuable content to her and her audience. Trust must have been built by now.

Side note: Make this editor your best friend. They are your most powerful publishing partner.

Oblivious Oliver

oblivious oliver.png

  • How to identify:
    • There may not be specific language to look out for here, besides hints that suggest complete apathy or a lack of editorial structure or direction. Look for off-topic content or grammatical errors during your initial research. You probably don’t want to do a lot of work (and build an association) with a site that doesn’t scrutinize the work of their guest contributors.
  • Oblivious Oliver’s perspective:
    • Doesn’t know anything about links or an association between links and search engines
    • He’s willing to do almost anything with links, as long as it doesn’t make the page look bad
    • May be so hungry for original content that he’s willing to sacrifice quality in general
  • Communication strategy:
    • If you’re just realizing that you’re dealing with an Oblivious Oliver at this stage, it may be a sign that you’re not doing enough detailed research on the site upfront. Perhaps there were some hints within content on his site that you could have picked up on.
    • Regardless, at this point it doesn’t matter. Follow through on your word to deliver a high-quality piece of content and move on to the next opportunity.

The biggest takeaway here is the simplest one: Email communication around controversial or misunderstood topics (such as links) is difficult. Because of this, it will benefit you to keep your communication in simple editorial vernacular until you have earned the right to talk about links — by providing something valuable. When you identify a Savvy Shelby, cultivate the relationship. And for the rest, I hope that this guide empowers you to respond in a manner that’s more effective and will get you results.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

Search in Pics: Ghostbusters car at Google, premier partner cups & dog pizza for lunch

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more. Google served Chicago-style dog pizza for lunch: Source: Google+ Black and…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

Bloggers & Acquisitions: How to Finance and Partner with an Existing Blog

Posted by John-Henry Scherck

A few months ago, Rand Fishkin wrote a post about the benefits of buying a blog. It's a tactic I have become a big fan of – it's effective, efficient, and scalable. By purchasing/financing a blog you can work hand-in-hand with an established site that already has an engaged readership and a social following.

One thing to keep in mind, the end goal here isn't links. Do you get links? Sure! You get a ton! But this isn't a tactic to pump a contextually relevant blog full of anchor text links. This is a blueprint to align your site with an established publication, partner on content, and build your brand. This is a strategy to grow a business, not just a back link profile.

Prospecting

(Credit: Flickr user ToOliver2)

Target a niche blog that pertains to your vertical - It's best to target a site that is about one very specific subject that pertains to your money site. If I was working on a site that sold beer brewing kits, I wouldn't go for a general beer blog. I would prospect for blogs that cover a specific aspect of beer, like home brew recipes or rare beers. 

http://in4marketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/a304e__1349637279_e8728dceb9a5cc5603299dafe7c9113a.jpg

(Credit: Flickr user Tim Patterson)

Every site ranking for "beer blog" or other generic head terms that pertain to your industry is going to get hammered by link requests on a regular basis. When you target something niche, you are going to cut down on the amount of link requests they receive, and they may be more open to talking with you. I like to target sites that cover my secondary and long tail keywords. 

(Credit: Flickr user Tax Credits)

Look for a blog that is not monetized – There is no point in trying to purchase a blog from someone who is guest posting, doing product reviews, and hosting giveaways several times a day. When prospecting, find a site that publishes a lot of original content for the sole purpose of benefiting their readership and sharing a unique perspective. 

Target a site with one writer – During the acquisition process, it will be easier to sell a single person on the idea of financing their blog. Also, managing workflow, deadlines, and payment is much easier with one person as opposed to a group of writers.

Research the prospect with a microscope - If it's a serious prospect, I will read through the last four weeks of their blog and then do the following searches

  • site:blogimresearching.com AND [client name]
  • site:blogimresearching.com AND [head keyword] OR [secondary keywords]
  • site:blogimresearching,com AND [CEOs name] OR [spokesperson name]

I look for any inclination that the blogger has been exposed to the brand before. How do they feel about the industry and your client's executive officers? I read the posts for tone, which I admit takes a lot of time. This is going to be someone promoting your brand, so you need to pay attention. If the mentions aren't extremely favorable, move on to the next prospect. 

(Credit: Flickr user Victor Bezrukov)

Go for something established, but not a powerhouse - You are not going to be able to sponsor or buy a top blog that pertains to your industry. In my experience, it's best to target up-and-comers. Don't be too picky. If they are a solid writer, I would take a Domain Authority of 35 or higher with 40 or more linking root domains.

Outreach Phase

The term "buying a blog" is scary, remove it from your vocabulary when communicating with target sites. I like to refer to it as a "promotional partnership." Craft a quick personalized letter that comes off as professional and friendly, here's one of mine:

Always ask for a phone call in the introductory email. It's imperative to become a real voice in their ear and not just another thread in their inbox. This shows the blogger that you are willing to invest your time and attention towards them. If they have posts that have been picked up by major publications, it wouldn't hurt to reference those achievements either. 

The Response

Acquisition Phase

Off the bat, I like to let them know that this proposed partnership isn't about links and anchor text, it's about driving traffic. 

Before you go any further, it's important to get a screenshot of their analytics, if they have no traffic there is no point in going through with the partnership.

That's way better than I hoped for.

To seal the deal, I offer to pay for their hosting and the time it will be taking them to work with us to grow their audience. It's critical to go over all of your expectations with them. Let them know that they are free to have other advertisers on their site, but that they shouldn't engage in advertising with any of your competitors.

IMPORTANT: GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING!

(Credit: Flickr user NobMouse)

I recommend having the blogger agree to the following in writing

  1. Since our experts' opinions are useful and informative for your readership, we would like X amount of posts every month to feature them for an expert opinion or interview. These posts will link to relevant portions of the client's site in an effort to reinforce the overall message of your posts.
  2. One badge, with the client's branding that links over to the client's site with the alt image text of the client's choice shall be placed on the homepage for the duration of the partnership
  3. Site will be paid X on the 1st of the month as long as all publishing deadlines are met.
  4. Site will not engage in any advertising with the following sites: (list of competitors)

Once that's signed, the real work begins.

Mentoring Phase (Ongoing)

Now you have to follow through on the promise to grow their audience. These recommendations can be time consuming for both of you. I like to make one recommendation per month to improve their blog. Here's a starter list of things you can do to help out your blogger.

  1. Clean Up Their Site - Run their site through Xenu and send them the broken link report. Have them download Check My Links for Chrome so they can easily find and clean up their 404s from the Xenu report. 
  2. Help Them With Indexation  - Look over their site and provide them with a new robots.txt file that blocks out unnecessary directories with duplicate content. (like /tag/ and /category/)
  3. Make Them an XML Sitemap – I like to use Screaming Frog for this, just make sure to take out any unnecessary pages. 
  4. Send Them Guest Post Opportunities – Those HARO opportunities that might not be right for your client are probably perfect for your partner blog.
  5. Identify Influential Peers - Use Followerwonk to find influencers in their space. Encourage your blogger to interact and engage with the influencers you've identified through social media and insightful blog comments.
  6. Optimize Their Evergreen Content – Get a user account for their Google Analytics and see which old posts are still getting search traffic. Rewrite the title tags and meta descriptions of these evergreen posts for increased click through rates. 
  7. Give them social media advice - My favorite social media guide for small business is The Social Media Workout Plan (TM) by @manamica. It's extremely actionable and very easy for anyone to follow, including bloggers. 
  8. Teach Them About Google Alerts – Show them how to set up topical Google Alerts so they will have a constant stream of relevant news stories that could inspire their blog posts.
  9. Give Them an SEO Education – Blogs need SEO help too; the Beginner's Guide to SEO is the best entry level resource out there. 
  10. Grow Their Commenting Community - Have the blogger implement Livefyre or DISQUS for increased commenting on their site. 

Content Creation Phase (Ongoing)

Every month, your blogger should come to you with a new topic that they want to write about that pertains to your client's industry. It's your job to get a representative from your client's company to get you a quote in a timely manner. As long as you don't slow down the blogger's creative process, they should like working with you. After all, you are providing them with authoritative industry opinions for their content.

If the blogger ever has writer's block, I like to use UberSuggest to create an evergreen post concept. If you need some tips on using the tool, Amanda Orson wrote a great post on how to use Followerwonk to create content.  

Although it's a lot of work at first, this beats the headaches that come with maintaining a flimsy microsite that could get penguinized at any moment. With this strategy you get a real site, with real readers, that are being exposed to your client's brand on a daily basis. It can drive conversions, educate consumers, and help build a loyal brand following. This isn't just and SEO strategy; it's a business strategy. 

(Credit: QuickMeme)

This isn't the only marketing initaitive we have going for this client, so I can't say if this single strategy lead to undeniable success. There have been a lot of other efforts to push them into mainstream press. However, here is a screenshot from their analytics that shows the conversion rate of the traffic from the partner blog:

This relationship is driving revenue. 

Our client is experiencing growth because of a real relationship that we have created with a trusted and authoritative site. Overall, their rankings have gone up, they are seeing more conversions, and they love that we are creating content that gets read by their target demographic and not some "Top 10 Signs You Are…" to place on a low level blog in exchange for a single link.  

Savvy clients are starting to care less and less about PR3 links on pay-to-play mom blogs or infographics you have to throw down $ 150 to post on the equivalent of a content directory. As an industry, our clients are relying on us more to be real marketers. Inserting our client into a target demographics’ preferred and trusted media source has helped grow their business, brand, traffic, and trust. This may not be traditional SEO, but it's working.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off

SPONSOR MESSAGE: Need a Great Link Building Partner?

Need a Great Link Building Partner? Relevant, white hat links, every month www.pageonepower.com.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.




Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in Latest NewsComments Off


Advert