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“The point is not how we use a tool, but how it uses us.”
― Nick Joaquín, Culture and History
As technology advances in complexity and scope we are always trying to cut corners and outsource our tasks to the overwhelming variety of SEO tools available on the market. Guess what: Link Building and especially Guest Blogging is the one SEO process that you should definitely refrain from automating.
Guest blogging focuses on the personal approach and as such it does take time and detailed research. While it does require creativity and patience, it is a powerful tool towards building a quality backlink profile for your site. Inbound links are an important ranking factor, part of the search engines’ algorithm. Thus you should go for a strategy that brings long-term benefits. In the case of Guest Blogging this means investing your time in building mutually beneficial relationships with bloggers. And this is something no current tool can help you out with. Here are three common misconceptions about Guest Blogging that you should cross out from your agenda:
1. Personalization is a waste of time
Have you ever used a standardized template to outreach to bloggers? You must have, there are some pretty attractive ones being shared online. Did you make some changes in their format or did you just adopt the given structure as a golden rule that you follow blindly, filling in only the blogger’s name, a couple of links to their posts and your topic suggestion in the open fields? Now is the time to break that annoying habit – open up for the personalized outreach and enjoy a higher response rate, a better number of accepted guest post suggestions and approved articles. You do not believe us? Let’s see why this really works:
Of course there are other individuals of the blogger community who are sustaining their blogs just for the sake of profit: if you outreach to such a blog owner you will be most definitely asked to pay a “donation fee” or “advertising costs”. Hence, you would have to set aside a budget for that. The good news for your budget is that you should not use these sources to begin with – paid links are not highly tolerated by Google.
Last but not least, there is another group of blog owners that are looking for ANY type of content – you should avoid these at any cost, too. Often they start a blog with the sole aim to quickly raise its rankings in order to start earning from it or to use it as a part of a “link farm”. A link from such a blog could get your rankings in trouble rather than help them. Not a good shortcut to take. But don’t take our word for it – Matt Cutts of Google can give you a piece of his mind, too.
2. Psychology of Persuasion has nothing to do with blogger outreach
Guest Posting is a great example of high quality Content Marketing. In order to excel at the blogger outreach step of the link building process, you need to keep in mind essential marketing strategies that have proven to work overtime in attracting audiences and winning their attention. You must master the Psychology of persuasion. The first and most important aspect of successful communication is to convey a simple, brief and profound message. That is – do not go into lengthy speeches. Instead, go straight to the point and make it count – let your words have substance; do not waste them and the blogger’s time.
Go for the unexpected and surprising. Audiences love a movie with a sudden plot twist – why don’t you incorporate this successful approach in your blogger outreach, too? Using a special nickname that you have stumbled upon in some of the blogger’s posts to address them or communicating on some shared experiences, tastes and even fears will attract their attention. Chances are they are going to be able to relate better to you, too.
Be credible and trustworthy. The blogger has exposed their world before your eyes and it is your turn to prove that you have honest reasons to approach them. Show them your work and links to your previous posts – they will appreciate that. Attempt to trigger blogger’s emotions with your unique message. Do not overdo it, but try to add this essential spice to the winning mix of ingredients. After all it’s the emotions that distinguish us from computers and the personal approach definitely beats the spammy standardized outreach.
Finally make sure to tell a story. Present yourself – tell the blogger who you are, how you have found the blog, how you have decided to contact them; describe the adventure you have had before you have finally come up with the idea to drop them a line.
3. Customization affects quantity of blogs outreached thus it immediately lowers the ROI
The main obstacle that hinders people from focusing on white hat Link Building and Guest Posting is that the customization process requires a lot of time and efforts. This immediately leads to the shrinking opportunity to outreach to a larger number of blogs. The time spent on searching for the proper industry- or area-relevant blogs, the hours devoted to studying the blogs and their owners and the personalized outreach and communication process requires a lot of resources. Resources that often SEO specialists prefer to avoid investing in. However, against the common belief, the lower quantity of outreached blog owners under the personalized approach does offer, in our experience, a higher return of investment. The higher response rate of highly customized outreach emails unanimously overwhelms the costs of the bigger effort made. Support that with high quality content and chances are that you’ve got yourself a successful Guest Posting campaign.
Link Building is a SEO strategy that has come a long way and has greatly redefined its purpose and goals over the years. As the search engine algorithms improve their spam and low quality detection, link builders are looking for a way to optimize their efforts and to elaborate their working processes. Once, forum posting and blog commenting used to bring the indispensable link juice that sites needed to raise above the competition. Today these tactics have become obsolete and everyone should work harder in their attempt to popularize their sites and increase their online visibility. We suggest focusing on link equity, long-term value and personalization. In fact, link building has come a long enough way to seriously consider its portion in the more general marketing strategies of a company. As Rand Fishkin at Moz sums its up – it is all about looking at the big picture and trying to optimize your Content Marketing instead of fixating on acquiring new links. Optimizing your link building strategy is essential to adapt to the ever-changing online environment. As Matt Cutts, explained in one of his recent interviews: “There are best practices, and you need to make sure you get the basics right, but it is true that a lot of SEO is now circling back around to good old fashioned marketing.”
Tom Haverford from “Parks and Recreation” once famously said “I have never taken the high road, but I tell other people to ’cause then there’s more room for me on the low road.” We on the other hand, suggest the “high road” techniques above because we believe in them. We don’t care how much space will be heft on the “low road” because it will always be a road to disaster in the world of SEO. As a matter of fact, even Siddhartha’s “middle way” is no good in the never-ending rat race with search engine algorithms – one should always use only best, most natural practices in SEO in order for the tricky bots not to catch up with their vain self-promotion. It is paradoxical in a way, isn’t it? Search engines want to measure “naturalness” while marketing, by nature, has the vain purpose of promotion. We suggest keeping that paradox in mind but not getting fazed by it. Just do the highest quality, most natural campaigns you can.
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