How To Boost Organic Traffic By 40% | Internal Linking Case Study

This case study is about a white hat, tiered internal linking SEO campaign that helped us boost our organic traffic by 40%.

Not sure if we’ve emphasized this enough, but we’re a fan of case studies.

From marketing to influencer outreach case studies, we’ve certainly curated our share.

This time, I’m going to share with you the results of our latest project—a white hat, tiered internal linking SEO campaign initiated by our founder, Dave Schneider, and co-executed by our SEO Manager, Tarek Dinaji.

Only a couple of months since we started this campaign, we’ve already experienced an over 40% increase in organic traffic!

Now that’s some solid proof right there.

Take note that we didn’t make any other optimizations during the period we were working on our internal linking SEO campaign, so we’re pretty sure we can mostly attribute the traffic boost to that strategy.

Ready to dive in?

Let’s start.

What You Can Expect

Background Story
Step 1. Download all relevant articles you need for the internal linking SEO campaign using Google Search Console

Step 2. Use Google Analytics to find the pages that have high conversions and engagement

Step 3. Based on data on the spreadsheets, compare article stats to analyze which ones to categorize into which tier

Step 4. Export all blog article data (titles and URLs) into a spreadsheet

Step 5. Use an SEO tool to view SEO stats then sort pages according to their ratings

Step 6. Use VLOOKUP to retrieve data from 2 worksheets

Step 7. Fill in the proper items in the formula to activate VLOOKUP

Step 8. Sort the data to finalize which articles to consider as Tier 1 pages

Step 9. Put Tier 1 articles up in the best positions

Step 10. Link to Tier 2 articles from Tier 1 articles, Tier 3 from Tier 2, and so on

Time Frame


How Our Internal Linking SEO Campaign Began

Here’s a little background story for how our internal linking SEO campaign began:

Some time ago, Dave came across this article about creating site architecture using the silo structure.

In essence, you divide all the pages in your website into silos, or topic themes, starting from the broader category, and further dividing them into related, more specific subtopics.

The goal is to create a more seamless crawling experience for search engine robots, as well as to distribute the link juice from your main content pages more equally.

Now, Dave thought of a better way he could use this strategy.

What if he divided all of his pages not into themes, per se, but hierarchies?

That is, all articles will be categorized by order of priority from tiers 1 through 3.

Top money pages would have to be tier 1.

These are the articles that rank for the exact keywords you are targeting, bring in the kind of traffic you want, and convert the most—or at least, that’s what you want these pages to do.

Tier 2 pages are those that are doing pretty well.

They attract good traffic and rank for certain keywords, but not necessarily the exact ones or at the level that you want.

Still, they bring a pretty good amount of views to your site.

Tier 3 pages are the lowest-performing pages.

They don’t get that much traffic or engagement and don’t rank well for any keywords that matter to you but are written well and could serve the occasional niche reader.

All of the highest-priority pages should show up everywhere that counts—the headers, footers, categories, etc.

Then, these tier 1 pages would link to tier 2 pages, and tier 2 pages to all the other tier 3 pages, thus sharing visibility and link juice to all pages on the website.

Intrigued, Dave set out to test it on another site he was working on: AvocadoPesto.

True enough, after two months, his idea got validated when traffic for AvocadoPesto’s articles shot up by 20%!

Dave didn’t do any other optimizations during this period as well, so he was pretty sure the changes can be attributed to the only updates he made: internal linking.

Convinced by now of the strategy’s effectivity, the idea to replicate the same process for NinjaOutreach was born.

And so, this article will discuss with you how we executed our internal linking SEO campaign and answer the following questions step by step.

  1. How did we collect all the articles we need?
  2. What tools did we use?
  3. What characteristics did we look for?
  4. How did we decide which articles to put into tiers?
  5. How did we decide which articles are in which tiers?
  6. How do we go about linking to them in the actual articles?
  7. How long before we checked back to see if we’ve gotten any results from this campaign?

Started campaign: August 31, 2017.

As of October 23, 2017, we already got a 40% increase in Traffic and around December 15, 2017, it got to almost a 50% traffic increase.

Tools Used

Aside from Google’s free tools, below are the other tools we used to complete our internal linking SEO campaign:

  • Ahrefs - for identifying link authority.
  • Moz - for identifying Domain and Page authority (DA and PA, respectively).
  • NinjaOutreach - for exporting data (because it has automatic duplicate removal feature)

Step 1. Download all the articles using Google Search Console

To do this, go to:

Google Search Console > Search Traffic > Search Analytics

Once there:

Tweak to display 500 rows > Download results into a Google spreadsheet > Clean up results manually (remove duplicates, non-blog pages, etc.)

Step 2. Use Google Analytics to find the pages that have high conversions and engagement

Go to:

Google Analytics > Behavior > All Pages

Show 500 Rows, select View Full Report, then copy the data into a spreadsheet


Step 3. Compare article stats to analyze which ones to categorize into which tier

The stats you should look out for are:

  • Impressions
  • CTR
  • Bounce rate
  • Goal conversion

These give you the idea of how much value your article generates.

For example, an article with high impressions but low CTR means that Google thinks it’s a good article to prioritize in its SERPs, but the low CTR says that users who see it on the SERPs don’t find it relevant enough to click it.

Step 4. Export all blog article data (titles and URLs) into a spreadsheet

Since our site runs on WordPress, our SEO Manager Tarek used a WordPress plugin called Export All URLs to transfer all our data from the NinjaOutreach blog (titles and URLs) into a spreadsheet.

Exporting URLs using plugin

Step 5. Use an SEO tool to view SEO stats then sort pages according to their ratings

We used the Ahrefs Batch Analysis tool to see our SEO data.

We just grabbed the URLs from our sheet and pasted them into this input section.

We had to do this in batches because we can only apply batch analysis for up to 200 URLs.

We downloaded the results into a spreadsheet then copied only the UR ratings.

We then pasted this new data back to our original spreadsheet, making sure the UR ratings corresponded to the correct articles.

Next, we sorted them according to their UR ratings.

Note: UR rating is not the only factor for us considering which articles should be Tier 1. But it is one step to help us identify which articles are important.

This also helps us track the articles’ ranking improvements over time.

Step 6. Use VLOOKUP to retrieve data from 2 worksheets

VLOOKUP is a function that allows you to extract a column of data from separate tables by using an identifier that it has in common with another table.

These tables can either exist in the same worksheet, separate worksheets, or even different spreadsheets altogether.

When you’re working with a ton of data, VLOOKUP is a faster, more accurate way than a manual process. (VLOOKUP only works for data arranged in columns vertically.

For data arranged horizontally across rows, you can use HLOOKUP.)

In our sample SpreadSheet, we have three worksheets:

  • The All Posts worksheet, which contains all our blog post data imported from WordPress, and which should include all the final data that we need for the campaign
  • The AnalyticsData worksheet, which contains all our Google Analytics Data
  • The GSCData worksheet, which contains all our Google Search Console Data

In the All Posts sheet, we already have the Page URLs and the UR ratings we copy pasted from Ahrefs.

We still need other data from the other two sheets, AnalyticsData and GSC Data.

VLOOKUP will help us pull all that data together, and fast.

But first, let’s explain what our formula means.

The VLOOKUP formula (in Google Sheets) looks like this.

VLOOKUP(search_key, range, index, [is_sorted])

=vlookup” simply defines the name of the formula you are using.

What we need to define is each of the items inside the parentheses, because those are the items you’ll need to change as you go along.

1. Search Key / Lookup Value

For VLOOKUP to work, you’re going to need to designate a unique identifier that your separate worksheets have in common.

It serves as a way to make sure the data you’re retrieving from one sheet matches with the data in the other sheet.

2. Range / Table Range

This is the range of cells where the search will run through. The first column in this range should contain the identifier.

3. Index / Column Number

This is the number of the column that contains the data or value that you’re looking for.

4. [is_sorted] / True / False

Dictates whether an approximate (True) or exact (False) match will be accepted.

Step 7. Fill in the proper items in the formula to activate VLOOKUP

In this section, we’re going to explain how we filled in the elements in our VLOOKUP formula.

If you check in our sample document, you’ll see how we entered the pieces we needed, and our formula ended up looking like this.

So to recap.

We have three worksheets:

  • All Posts
  • AnalyticsData
  • GSC Data

What we want to accomplish:

  • Extract the Sessions data from our AnalyticsData sheet
  • Paste this data under the Traffic column in our All Posts sheet
  • Make sure the data is for the same article (hence using the URL as the identifier).

To do that, we first need to define a name for the Range / Table Range.

Naming the Range / Table Range

So, we will highlight the range that contains the Sessions column in the AnalyticsData sheet.

Next, click Data then Named ranges.

Define a name for your Range.

It should be something specific and easy to recall (in our case, we named it Analytics). Then, click Done.

Next, we went back to the All Posts worksheet and located the section (row or column) where we need the data to reappear.

We need our data from the AnalyticsData sheet to reappear under the Traffic column in our All Posts sheet.

The All Posts sheet is where we’ll be consolidating all the data we need so we will paste the VLOOKUP formula here.

Defining the Search Key / Lookup Value / Identifier

For the Search Key/ Lookup Value, we used the page URLs as our identifier, since all our worksheets have that value in common.

In our main sheet (All Posts) where we pasted the VLOOKUP formula, you’ll see that the cell number B2 contains our identifier, the page URL info.

So, we’ll enter that value (B2) into our VLOOKUP formula.

Again, this is a way to make sure the Sessions data we’re getting from the other sheet, AnalyticsData, is from the same article. (Defined by the same URL.)

Sessions Data

Defining the Index / Column Number

The column number of the Sessions data that we need (situated from within the AnalyticsData sheet) is 2.

So we put that value into our VLOOKUP formula as well.

Defining [is_sorted] / True / False

For this process, just set the value to False.

Again, to recap, this is what the VLOOKUP formula should look like based on what I’ve explained above.

And there you have it. We just basically copied this VLOOKUP formula and adjusted the input items as the number of data we needed to process increased.

You can download our sample sheet complete with VLOOKUP formula through here.

Step 8. Sort the data to finalize which articles to consider as Tier 1 pages

Sort the final data according to Goal value and Goal count to see which ones are money articles (the pages that make the most money for the business).

Money articles are the pages where visitors convert and also the pages that contain content with topics that are highly relevant for our target readers or that we want to rank.

These are automatically tagged as Tier 1 pages.

Next, we also looked at how much traffic a page has gotten as well. If the topic is relevant to our business, we can add it to our Tier 1. If not as much, it goes to Tier 2.

Tier 3 pages are the pages that rank low on both ratings.

Step 9. Put Tier 1 articles up in the best positions

Once we’ve identified which articles we wanted to be more visible, we put them up in the best places where our target readers will more likely see them.

These sections are typically our home page and page footer.

There’s also now a higher chance to convert using these new articles because we’ve ensured that they are the type of articles that resonated with our most profitable customers (MPCs).

Step 10. Link to Tier 2 articles from Tier 1 articles, Tier 3 from Tier 2, and so on

Rule of thumb: 1 link per 100 words.

The main goal is to surface the money articles at the top and make room for other Tier 2 and Tier 3 articles.

If the actual article content does not have an opportunity for linking straight from the body using relevant keywords, you can also add a “related story” section at the bottom and link out to a Tier 2 or 3 article.

Tier 1 in the header and footer, then under that tier 2s, then under those, tier 3s.

When linking out, the key is to make sure that they are topically related.

If it’s not contextual, don’t insert the link in an article just because a spreadsheet dictates that you need to.

What if an article doesn’t fit the context of the main post you will link from?

There are ways to get around this.

If an article you need to link to doesn’t fit anywhere in the main post you’re linking from, add the articles you need to by linking to them via sections like:

  • You Might Also Like This Article
  • Related Articles
  • Other Featured Articles
  • Related Stories
  • Related Reading
  • Etc.

You can also create a different category in your blog menu and add about 5 or 6 more Tier 1 articles.

You can even try other ways such as adding more categories, creating sub-categories in your home page, etc.

This is what we did, and so far, it has worked well for us.

For example, here's a screenshot of the header where we inserted some of our Tier 1 articles.

How many pages can you use for your Tiers?

Technically, it depends on how many pages you have that are doing great, and how much space you have to feature those pages on.

Allocating this would be like doing prime factorization.

It’s all a matter of how many links you can display per page of content.

In our case, the number of links we could display on our homepage limited how many Tier 1 articles we could have.

Since we could only display five on our menu and seven in the footer, that gave us space for 12 Tier 1 articles.

Second, if a site has thousands of articles, for example, then there should be at least a hundred Tier 2 articles.

That will give you enough real estate to link to your Tier 3s.

NinjaOutreach had around 300 total articles at the time we did our internal linking SEO campaign, so we divided those accordingly.

For every hundred articles, our SEO Manager Tarek selected 10 Tier 2 articles. So for around our 300 total, we ended up with 30 Tier 2 articles.

Also, since we did not have more than 10 linkable Tier 1 articles, we had to choose only 30 Tier 2 articles.

Try to link to all of your Tier 3 articles where they make sense but don’t sweat it if you can’t find any appropriate sections to put them in.


To analyze your internal linking SEO campaign results, you need to wait at least one month before recording progress.

However, you can observe immediate changes in Google Analytics.

Full changes should be visible within three months.

In our case, we saw some immediate DA/PA increase.

But as we’ve already shown in our intro, it was the almost 50% traffic increase that ultimately validated out strategy.


And there you go! A complete step-by-step walkthrough of the internal linking SEO strategy we used to boost our organic traffic by almost 50%.

If you want a TLDR version of this article, just download our condensed checklist here.

You can also download the sample sheet complete with VLOOKUP formula that we used here.

Try it out, and let us know how this strategy affected your traffic!

Hazel Mae Pan is Content Manager for NinjaOutreach. She is in charge of content writing, co-editing, and developing the strategy for the NinjaOutreach blog.

Bing Keyword Tool: How to Use This Cost Efficient Alternative

Were you ever aware that there is such a thing as a Bing keyword tool?

You’d be surprised.

While Bing does not have the search volume that Google has, it is a great way to improve Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) of your marketing performance through highly targeted and personalized Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads.

Bing also offers unique tools for PPC marketers, one of which is Bing Ads Intelligence.

Ads Intelligence is Bing’s keyword tool that provides valuable insight into the actions, needs, and desires of searchers.

This powerful tool is an Excel extension, so it offers a customizable layout right from within Excel.

The reason Bing’s keyword tool is valuable to any PPC marketing manager is that it offers an unmatched depth of understanding around all of your Bing PPC research.

Some of the features that stand out include:

  1. View traffic for daily, weekly, and monthly search query counts. This helps you find trends in search queries so you can optimize and plan for shifts in the market.
  2. Discover historical performance data for specific keywords, impressions, clicks, and cost. Bing’s keyword tool allows you to see historical data for up to 6 months.
  3. Uncover opportunities with the Searches with Your Keyword function. This allows you to see a list of search queries containing your keywords. This is usually only something that you can uncover once you start a campaign.

The Bing Keyword Tool in Action

Today, we are going to look at how a PPC manager of a pool service company in Orlando, FL can use this Bing keyword tool to improve their PPC performance and drive qualified leads to their site.

Specifically, we will find insights into keyword suggestions, identifying seasonal trends per keywords, and researching user age and demographics.

This data will help us build a robust PPC strategy, so we can drive more qualified leads to our site while also spending our Bing budget wisely.

Let’s dive in and look at the Bing keyword tool in action!

1. Bing’s Keyword Suggestions Feature

If you have been in PPC marketing for any amount of time, then you know the importance of aligning the search intent of your customers with the keywords used in your PPC campaigns.

However, one of the hardest things about PPC marketing is finding relevant keywords that align with the needs of your audience and meet the goals of your business.

There are plenty of keyword research tools out there such as SEMrush, Ahrefs,, etc., but all these work on third-party databases that are not always accurate.

Even Google’s Keyword Planner offers shaky results. On the other hand, the Bing keyword tool provides reliable data about related keywords based on a core set of keywords.

For example, you can use the Bing’s Keyword Suggestion feature to find profitable keywords to integrate into your Bing campaign.

For our pool cleaning business, I used a few keywords to build out our initial campaign. These keywords are:

  • orlando pool cleaning
  • swimming pool cleaning service
  • orlando pool cleaning service
  • swimming pool cleaning
  • pool cleaning service
  • pool cleaning

To use the suggestion tool offered by Bing’s keyword tool, simply click on Keyword Selection and choose the options that you want to integrate into your keyword research.

Once selected, you can see a variety of related keywords that Bing believes will generate traffic for you based on their extensive data set.

In our case, this tool allowed us to dig into the data to tell a story and understand how to use our PPC dollars in the most efficient way possible.

As you can see from the above screenshot, I organized the results by Clicks.

I did this for our pool service company for a few reasons, including:

  1. In general, one of the most significant constraints is search volume. Since we want to drive interaction and optimize with different layers (demographics, location, etc.), then we should focus on user engagement.
  2. Bing tends to have a much lower Cost Per Click (CPC) than Google or other Paid Advertising options. I often don’t spend the entire Bing budget due to low volume, so budgeting issues are not usually a concern.
  3. Bing’s keyword tool makes it easy to see what Match Type is aligned with each keyword in a given set. This means that we can manually find associations between Match Type, keyword, and user engagement easily, so I like to standardize the data by filtering for Clicks as a starting point.

Typically, whenever I build out an ad group, I include 12-16 keywords in each ad group.

I usually add Exact Match and Phrase Match variants of the same six core keywords.

Then, I choose a small set of 4-6 keywords to include as Broad Match Modified keywords.

This approach will vary based on your products, services, and market, but in general, I have found this method helps to ensure that ad groups are focused enough to maintain a low CPC but also has a wide enough footprint to reach target customers.

The Keyword Selection tab is a great way to build out a highly targeted, yet wide-reaching PPC campaign quickly and easily if you follow the above suggestions.

2. Understand Seasonal Trends

Like many companies, our pool cleaning company sees highly seasonal shifts in the purchasing habits of our customers.

Since our business is in Florida and we know that most Floridians use their pools in the Summer, it is likely that our customers will search for pool cleaning services during those peak times.

If you want to optimize your PPC ad spend and get a better view of our audience, then you can use the Traffic tab to quickly and easily see monthly and even weekly trends for each keyword.

From the above screenshot, you can see that in our case, there is a noticeable spike in searches in May and June 2017.

This could be for some things, but if, like us, you are looking to maximize your marketing dollars for a specific product or service, then you should consider shifting funds based on need periods.

Since there is a seasonal shift in search volume, we considered the needs of our customers on this platform.

We then customized our PPC and content strategy around the time of year, our customer needs, and the user intent.

3. Research Age Group & Gender

While many PPC managers treat Bing and Google the same, in reality, they are entirely different.

This means that if you are serious about optimizing your Bing PPC accounts, then you should consider unique keywords, PPC ads, and landing pages. But to create the right material, you need to think about who is viewing your ads.

There is a nifty feature built right into the Bing keyword tool to help you achieve this.

By accessing the section of the tool through More Research and then clicking on Age Group & Gender, you get the ability to use Bing’s database to understand who will be clicking on your ads.

Based on a core set of keywords, the Bing keyword tool will then show us a breakdown of the gender and age of people who will likely click on your ads.

For our example, you can look at the completed list below and see some interesting notes that can help us optimize our ad targeting, seasonality, ad copy, and landing pages.

  • The majority of our traffic for the keyword “swimming pool cleaning service” will be from 65-year-old women.
  • The majority of traffic from “swimming pool cleaning” will be from men between the ages of 35-64.
  • Engagement from “pool cleaning service” will mostly come from men between the ages of 50-65+.

Since age and gender can play a significant role in the overall marketing strategy of our pool cleaning company, we took note of these for further analysis.

Additionally, we also used this to directly influence our Bing PPC ads by looking at historical data to see if we should isolate specific details for our campaign.

Implementing the Bing Ads Intelligence For Smarter PPC Marketing

Since PPC marketing is a great way to drive qualified traffic to your site, you should use every advantage that you can take to ensure that your campaigns are fully optimized.

From my experience, Bing Ads has a much lower CPC, higher engagement, and gets much better CPA compared to Google AdWords.

One of the coolest things about Bing’s keyword tool is the amount of detailed insight they provide users.

It’s a great way to find related keywords, discover seasonal trends to optimize around, and understand your customers on a level not often offered by search engines.

If you are using Bing Ads to grow your business, then you should start using the Bing keyword tool.

Not only is it free, but it’s also a powerful way to perform integrated research that helps you optimize your PPC campaigns for your business.

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant in Orlando, FL. With over 13 years of experience, he works with national brands to make his clients more money by creating awesome PPC campaigns. You can learn more about Chris at @CJGiarratana

Guest Post Guidelines by Google: STOP Looking for Backlinks

Those who appreciate the benefits of outreach and collaborating with high-authority websites to produce guest articles will be aware of the SEO value that comes with building healthy backlink portfolios.

While it’s undoubtedly great PR for you to be featured on top quality websites, additionally, search engine bots regard backlinks as a form of recommendation.

Thus, the greater numbers you acquire from leading websites pertinent to your business niche, the further “recommended” you become, and a consistent approach can result in substantial improvements to search engine rankings.

Google is on an eternal quest to be regarded as the gateway to the internet, the go-to resource for all search queries.

Thus, they only want to list the best, most trustworthy websites at the top of organic search results, ensuring a good user experience that keeps people coming back.

In order to maintain this quality, using backlinks as a barometer of excellence has always been considered a logical approach.

If one domain has twice the number of inbound links as a competitor - twice as many “recommendations” - then it stands to reason that their content must be better, meaning Google will reward their site with higher rankings.

However, it’s easy to see how such a rating system could be open to abuse, and “black hat” SEO merchants used to create hundreds of dodgy links from “thin” websites that acted as link farms.

They had no discernible audience and housed poor quality content, but linked here, there, and everywhere to manipulate the backlink currency.

Thankfully, in 2012, Google’s Penguin algorithm update clamped down on this issue, punishing websites that previously enjoyed success with link manipulation, restoring faith to how websites are ranked by giving more weight to the quality, rather than quantity, of links.

It was (theoretically) no longer possible to buy your way up the SERPs with unscrupulous link building tactics, and a genuine shift towards earning backlinks from trusted publications, closely related to the industry you operate in, took hold.

Google’s 2017 Reminder on Link Building

For the main part, Penguin has been excellent at improving the quality of Google searches, tidying up the grey areas to make the state of play increasingly black and white.

Yet, some practitioners of the SEO dark arts are still trying to game the system, forming “article marketing” campaigns where duplicate content (or near-duplicate content with minimal tweaks) is published on multiple websites, acquiring multiple backlinks without adding unique value.

One can see the perceived benefits of this activity - “sweating” content till the very last drop is drained, achieving widespread exposure with zero effort, getting tons of backlinks without bending over backwards.

But this SEO strategy is fundamentally dishonest and adds no value to the wealth of content on the internet, so Google frowns upon it.

Earlier this year, Google published their reminder on link-building in article campaigns, spelling out their stance on SEO spam.

Thankfully, they don’t discourage outreach and guest blogging on the whole, particularly when articles inform and educate.

At the end of the day, they welcome quality content that delivers value and is in line with the searcher’s intent, offering actionable advice to resolve search queries, and this is why outreach should be a central element of your integrated content marketing strategy.

However, the search engine giant is sufficiently concerned about these shady tactics and felt it necessary to re-highlight them:

1. Keyword-Rich Anchors

The wording of links (the anchor text) pointing to your site is an indicator of what your content is all about, and search engine bots use this signal as a shortcut to understanding, and subsequently ranking, your web pages.

For example, if Ninja Outreach hoped to rank highly for the phrase “outreach,” you’d expect to see variations of this term throughout the backlinks in their guest posts, perhaps pointing to service pages.

However, if you were to read the following sentence in a guest post, the link would certainly stand out:

“In order to get noticed online, it’s essential to prioritize outreach, ensuring you achieve brand exposure on the very websites your target customers are visiting.”

Seeing that in a guest post would definitely be a big red flag, suggesting the writer is overtly trying to rank for “outreach.”

So instead of promoting service pages (which could be viewed as an advertorial tactic), a more organic way of operating would be placing links to your relevant onsite blogs, adding value by pointing people in the direction of insightful further reading.

This would be a much better, less spammy use of anchor text:

“In order to get noticed online, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the multiple benefits of outreach, ensuring you achieve brand exposure on the very websites your target customers are visiting.”

If the blog posts you link to contain links to service pages, the proverbial “link juice” should still flow throughout your website, improving your overall search engine performance.

Focusing on long-tail anchors also appears more natural, whereas singular words stick out like a sore thumb, and it’s still possible to incorporate your target phrases into long-tail text, boosting your keyword relevancy for a wide range of related terms in an organic manner.

2. Republishing Content Across Multiple Websites

Where to begin? There are multiple adverse implications of littering the net with duplicate content, damaging your reputation and harming the SEO of your website, as well as those you submit copies to.

As mentioned earlier, Google’s raison d'être is to display the very best content at the top of search results, so if multiple sites publish copied or near-duplicate material, this will obviously cause confusion for the bots, ultimately meaning they’re likely to ignore your articles full stop.

Whether you’re an innocent newcomer to outreach or an unscrupulous marketer attempting to manipulate search algorithms, the main thing to keep in mind when creating guest posts is that word again: value.

If you publish the same content time and again across the web, with the primary intention of building backlinks, are you ultimately creating value for the wider internet community?

In a word, no, particularly if you’re also reaching out to websites that aren’t in any way related to your line of business.

To send the right relevance signals, it’s essential to target industry influencers for outreach, and offer them unique, exclusive content that adds value to their readership.

There’s a huge difference between bombing the net with “spun” content (making minor tweaks to save you the labor-intensive effort of writing brand new material) and repurposing an article by tackling it from a fresh angle, or discussing different examples to highlight your points.

There’s likely to be an upper limit as to the extent of new content you can consistently produce, but copying and pasting only amounts to time wasting, as you’ll risk the cold shoulder from Google once they catch up with you.

On the other hand, Google will also be suspicious if you only obtain backlinks from extremely high-authority sites.

The advantages in targeting premium sites are clear - they have engaged audiences and you stand to gain from their backlinks (recommendations) passing “link juice” to your website.

However, having a backlink portfolio that only consists of links from premium sites will look unnatural in the eyes of search bots, another red flag that suggests you’re trying to game the system.

Thus, it’s advisable to vary the websites you submit guest posts to, looking for a healthy mix of middle-to-high domain authority (DA) and trust flows (TF) - two of the metrics to bear in mind when managing your backlinks.



Variety is the spice of life, and it’s important to share the love rather than purely looking for backlinks from top tier publications, showing you’re interested in adding value to sites that have good (rather than exclusively excellent) metrics, especially those that are very targeted to your business niche.

It’s also wise to target a range of local and national publications as well.

3. Using Cheap Writers Who Don’t Have Expertise

A roadblock that frequently stops hard-pressed marketing managers from outsourcing their content writing is the expectation that nobody outside the business could possibly “get” the business, and therefore be capable of producing quality output that frames the company in the best possible light.

This may well be true for the majority of cases, and Google is clearly wary of letting down their users who click-through to a webpage that contains poorly written and inaccurate content.

If you hire cheap writers (you can find sites advertising $5 writing gigs), you’ll be laying the foundations for failure, putting your company’s prestige on the line, and Google will soon notice if you publish articles citing outdated or incorrect information, or, again, containing swathes of duplicate text.

It’s imperative to check the work of hired help, having an editorial process in place, scrutinizing sources and ensuring they’re well-briefed to create truly valuable content.

Professional writers should follow a clear research process when creating blog posts, helping them to write with confidence and authority, no matter how challenging the subject may be.

Neglecting this critical procedure will inevitably lead to low-quality content, and if you build backlinks based on bad writing, you’ll be setting yourself up for a fall.

4. Heed Google’s Advice or Pay the Price

If you want to see the benefits of inbound links, it’s essential to generate them in the correct manner, or else you run the risk of Google penalties.

Failing to toe the line means your website could be severely demoted in search rankings, and it’ll take much time, energy, and effort to restore Google’s faith.

You can no longer get away with blasting out 250 woolly words, packed with keyword-rich backlinks, as there’s no way your content could possibly say anything meaningful in so few words. Such a strategy will certainly set the alarm bells of Google search bots ringing.

Ultimately, if your outreach strategy is solely focused on generating backlinks, you’re asking for trouble.

Every guest post you contribute to third-party publications must add genuine value to the readership, providing unique insights, subtly promoting your business by way of actionable advice.

So stop looking for backlinks, and start thinking about how your guest articles can actually help targeted audiences.

Only then will you truly see the full potential of outreach marketing.

Magnus Linklater runs UK content marketing agency, Bespoke Digital, specialists in outreach marketing strategies. With 15 years’ experience in SEO and content, Magnus has long been an advocate of the “quality not quantity” approach to link building.

Links, Links, Links - Proven Tactics to Build Links

Is link building dead?

I’m sure like me, you’ve been seeing more of these link sceptic articles cropping up recently.

Some of them have strong enough points that it’s definitely got me thinking about our own SEO and content marketing strategies at NinjaOutreach.

So, we did our own research and some testing of our own.

Here are some of what we found:

  1. Brian Dean’s link building campaign, which he called the Skyscraper Technique, boosted his search traffic by 110% in 14 Days
  2. Google’s Andrey Lippatsev actually said that links are among Google’s top two ranking factors.
  3. Through our competitor link building campaign, which we started in 2016, we were able to acquire thousands of backlinks which contributed to our site reaching a domain authority (DA) of 50-plus.

Our conclusion?

Link building still works. If done carefully, it can bring your business tons of traffic and authority on Google.

And if you want to reach as many opportunities as you can, I’ll share with you some tactics we’ve used to build links, along with how we used NinjaOutreach to accomplish these link building campaigns much faster.

Links, Links, Links - Proven Tactics to Build Links

There are tons of ways to get links. In fact, some specialists have already compiled a list of hundreds of strategies.

Of course, it’s not as easy as one, two, three. You’d need to do some heavy prospecting and outreach—and that’s where time can just slip past (and fast) under your nose.

Good luck if you’re going to do this manually.

But if you want to get things done faster, you can get ahead by using a tool. And that’s what we made NinjaOutreach for.

In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to use NinjaOutreach to expedite your link building campaigns.

I’ll also discuss the top link building tactics that, from our personal experience, gave the most impactful results.

All of these are white hat and, incidentally, are also tactics that you can accomplish the fastest with NinjaOutreach:

Broken link building

Broken link building is a white-hat link building tactic where you identify sites that have broken links in their posts.

These broken links should refer to an item or content that’s similar to yours so you can then notify the webmaster about the broken link and recommend your own working link as an alternative.

In this case study, they were able to acquire 17 backlinks in just one day!

Here’s how you can use NinjaOutreach for that.

Prospecting for broken links with NinjaOutreach

Let’s say you wrote a post about “brand storytelling,” and you want to find other brand storytelling posts with broken links in them (or that are broken links themselves).

Go to NinjaOutreach Prospecting > Promotion Opportunities tab and type your keyword “brand storytelling.” Click the box for Exact Match then hit Search.

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Click the filter and set the Domain Authority (DA) to at least 30. That way, you get more high-quality prospects.

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Review your prospect results, then click Save All.

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Choose the first 50 prospects, then add these into a list or create a new one.

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Any duplicates will be removed from the results if you redo your search.

So depending on the time you have, redo your search and keep adding more prospects until you accumulate a list of at least 100 to 3k.

Now export your CSV, open it, and look for the column that has the page URLs. In this case, it’s column G.

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Next, you need to check the links for 404s.

To do that, You can use a 404 checker like this chrome extension.

Once you install it, you can load each of your target pages and run the extension. It then scans each page and highlights any 404 links in red.

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Check the 404s to see if the content it’s linking to is similar to yours, which makes it okay for you to suggest your own working link as an alternative.

If it fits, keep the prospect in your CSV. If it’s a negative, delete it from your sheet.

Keep doing this until you’ve reached at least 50 prospects or exhausted your search results.

After this point, you can actually start your outreach to the webmasters that have broken links.

However, if you want to add more prospects to your list and thus, up your chances of getting positive responses, it’s best to trace other people who’ve used the same broken URL too, which you can do by putting the link in a backlink checker like Moz.

How to add more broken backlink prospects

Going back to your original spreadsheet, copy all the URLs in the column that has the page URLs. In this case, it’s column G.

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Next, open up a free bulk link checker such as this one, which allows you to check up to 50 links. Copy paste the page URLs into the form field and click submit.

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Once the results are in, sort by Status so that all 404s are grouped together. Those are your broken links. Tag them in your spreadsheet as broken.

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Now that you have identified all the broken links, it’s time to find out everyone else who might have linked to these dead URLs.

To do that, you can use tools like MOZOse, Ahrefs, or Majestic.

For this example I took one broken url, and used Moz’s free OpenSiteExplorer to identify all the other bloggers that linked to this dead page.

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Now, you can export these results into another CSV and import to NinjaOutreach.

When importing, just choose MozOSE in the Provider Format.

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This adds more new prospects to the list.

To review your prospect list, go to Prospects > Your Lists of Prospects, and click the Prospect list you need to review.

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Once you’ve finalized your list, it’s time to do your outreach.

How to set up a broken link building outreach campaign

To start your outreach, integrate your email with NinjaOutreach first.

Next, you’re going to need a proper template.

Got to the Outreach tab and click Templates to see our list of template examples.

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To access even more templates, you can click Create Template, then Load Pre-Written template.

The dropdown will show you even more templates to choose from.

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Below is one of our pre-written templates that you can reuse or modify.

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Once you’ve decided on a template, you just need to set up your campaign and you’re done!

At this point, you can either sit back and wait for any replies, or you can set up another link building campaign.

Competitor link building with NinjaOutreach

Competitor link building is much like broken link building, but with a subtle twist. Instead of using keywords about your target topic, you search directly for all the bloggers who have linked to one or more of your competitors.

The rationale: if a blogger has written about or linked to a business or product similar to yours, chances are, they may be interested to check you out for comparison.

To start prospecting, create a list of other sites or products that you think are similar to yours.

For example, if you’re a digital marketing tool, run a search for that keyword.

Below is a query you can use with an advanced search operator to exclude your site from any results.

[Your Topic] -site:[Your Website URL]

Ex. digital marketing tool -site:

You can do this search on the NinjaOutreach platform or Google.

If you use NinjaOutreach, you can review the search results from there, delete bad ones, and save the prospects that fit into your list.

If you use Google, set Google settings to display up to 100 results.

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Import the results to your NinjaOutreach account. Here’s how.

Review your list by clicking Prospects > Lists of Prospects.

Here are more tutorials on how to manage your prospects:

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Sort your list by number of backlinks so you can target which sites to prioritize—the ones with the most backlinks, of course.

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From your list, pick a URL and paste this into a backlink checker tool. In our case, we use Ahrefs.

Enter the URL into the search bar, choose the Exact URL option, then hit Search.

Click the Backlinks section to show backlinks, click All links, then choose the Live links option.

You can also choose to show only the Dofollow links, which we did. Otherwise, you can simply show All links.

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Once done, just click the Export button to download the results into a CSV then import this CSV into your new outreach list.

Here’s more on how to import and export lists with NinjaOutreach.

These new prospects are the ones who’ve linked to your competitor and it’s time to review their articles so you can craft a proper outreach plan.

For example, if you found a tool roundup article, this is a pre-written NinjaOutreach template you can use or modify to reflect your particular situation.

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Set a followup email and wait for responses.

How to set up an expert roundup link building campaign

An expert roundup is a massive list-type post where you reach out to a bunch of influencers and, in exchange for a backlink to them, you ask for these expert’s input about your topic—usually a question in their niche that they can easily answer.

A good number to go with would be to feature at least 30 to 50-plus experts.

You will quote them and link to them. Once your post is published, you reach out to these experts one more to inform them that the post has been published, give them a URL, and a Click to Share link for  their social media.

If the experts took the time to contribute to your roundup, it would also be in their best interest to help you promote it, so if you get a good response rate to your roundup request, then it’s a win-win situation.

Doing expert roundups has been one of our most effective link building tactics.

It’s free, can potentially feature a ton of influencers, and are most likely to get backlinks from these high-powered experts as well.

Say you want to create an expert roundup about SEO trends for 2018, for example.

Prospecting is pretty much the same. Just go to Prospecting > Social Influencers/Most Shared Content/Find Leads, enter the keywords of your niche, and filter the results on key metrics such as DA, engagement, followers, etc., to make sure they have a large following and will drive you traffic.

To set up your outreach campaign along with your automated follow ups, read this.

To manage your campaigns and lists, read this tutorial.

How to manage an expert roundup campaign

Tip #1

To manage your campaign deadlines, create a dedicated list and add a tag for the deadline of the response to your campaign.

This way, you’ll be constantly reminded every time you see it.

Go to Lists > Lists of Prospects then click Create List. Name your list and save your prospects in there.

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If this doesn’t work, go back to your list, click the bulk actions checkbox at the top left, then click the edit button.

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If you need to set separate deadline tags for the prospects in your list, check the boxes on the far left of the prospect card then click edit.

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Enter your tags in the tags input field, don’t forget to hit Enter, and click Save.

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Now, every time you see a prospect card related to your expert roundup, you’ll see the deadline in the tags area.

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You can also filter prospects in your list according to their response deadline.

Just go to Filter lists > Tags and choose the deadline from the dropdown.

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For more on how to filter for tags and relationship labels, read this.

Tip #2

Another thing you can do is to bulk tag all your prospects as No Response at the start of your campaign.

As before, check the bulk actions checkbox, then click Edit.pasted image 0 15

Add the tag No Response, hit Enter, then click Save.

Later on, when you want to follow up, you can do a filter on the tag No Response, and you’ll have all the prospects neatly lined up.

Hint: You can also go to Filter Lists > All Contacts

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You can then choose to follow up with prospects who have done either of the actions in the dropdown below, such as those with follow-ups due, have opened your email, clicked a link, etc.

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Tip #3

As responses come in, go to the prospect card of those who replied and overwrite the their no response tags with a yes response.


This way, you can easily filter by prospects who responded later on and you’ll know exactly who to reach out to once the post is published.

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We’ve given you the tips. Now, we’d like to give you some of our outreach template recommendations for expert roundups.

For your initial outreach, you can use the following.

Here’s one example from Brian Dean:

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And one of our own at NinjaOutreach:

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So, you’ve published your expert roundup post and it’s time to thank your influencer participants.

For those kinds of follow-ups, we also have the following template recommendations. Modify them as you see fit.

Another example from Brian Dean:

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A script we’ve used internally:

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Link Building Campaign through Resource Pages

Resource page link building is the process of looking for high-authority resource pages relevant to your niche.

You send the webmaster a pitch to add your website to its list of resources, which means you also get a backlink.

If done right, resource page link building can be a great 80/20 link building strategy.

They are powerful pages to get a backlink from, and yet it’s easy to get listed.

This is because the pages themselves are intended to be resources, so admins are always looking to add links to them.

As long as you have a valuable resource, you have a good shot at getting a link.

We’ve done a ton of resource page link building at NinjaOutreach. For example, this link on DA 62 site, Prezly:

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Now prospecting to create a decent sized list and doing outreach to all these prospects is now walk in the park.

That’s why in our campaigns, we’ve always used NinjaOutreach to get things done faster.

Below, I’ll teach you how you can use our tool for your own resource page link building campaign.

How To Find Resource Pages With NinjaOutreach

Say you want your website to get listed in resource pages for marketing.

The most effective way to find people who have resource pages is through the Prospecting tab.

Just go to Prospecting > Find Leads then click Filter > All Featured Pages, and choose Resource Page.

This will filter the results to show only Resource Page types.

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Next, just enter your niche keyword, click Exact Match, then hit Search.

Since you’re not using any advanced search operators at this point, you’re likely to get more results.

You can manually filter, sort, or review your results, then add any prospects that fit into your list.

Hint: You may want to sort or filter by a Domain Authority to make sure you are prioritizing the highest authority pages.

Now for more targeted (but lesser) results, you can run your search with any of these advanced search operators.

[Your-Topic] inurl:resource


Marketing inurl:resource

[Your-Topic] inurl:category/resource/


Marketing inurl:category/resource/

[Your-Topic] intitle:resource


Marketing intitle:resource

You can also pair them with variations of what Moz calls Prospecting Phrases.

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Marketing inurl:“suggested links”

Marketing inurl:“related sites”

You can try variations of these using “resources,” “resource page,” and “tools” as well.

Once you find what you need, you can add and manage your prospects straight from within NinjaOutreach.

If you don't find what you need from within the platform, you can make the same searches in Google, then just import the results into NinjaOutreach.

NinjaOutreach will automatically remove any duplicates.

Once you’ve finalized your prospect lists, it’s time to set up your outreach campaign.

As I’ve mentioned, before embarking on any outreach campaign you’ll need to integrate your email address with NinjaOutreach first.

Below is an example of a script we’ve used in our own resource page link building.

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So, there you have it!

The topmost effective link building tactics that we’ve used, tested and proven with NinjaOutreach.

Try it out with the tool and let us know how you do.

As always, for any other questions, our Support Ninjas are always ready to assist you.

Hazel Mae Pan is Content Manager for NinjaOutreach. She is in charge of content writing, co-editing, and developing strategy for the NinjaOutreach blog.

How To Do Competitor Analysis - A Key Part of Keyword Research

By doing a proper competitor analysis, you can learn from others' experiences and mistakes.

Keywords are just one of the many things to explore about your rivals, but they’re certainly something to start with.

Keyword research is the foundation of search engine optimization. But creating your keyword strategy without keeping an eye on your competitors is just playing blindly.

Competitor analysis is needed in any of these cases:

  • you are just launching a website and want to research your niche, competitors and the demand.
  • your did some paid promotions, but ROI suddenly dropped and you need to find out why you are behind your competitors.
  • you are successful and firmly standing on your feet, but want to understand current trends.

Questions you can answer through competitor analysis :

  • How many and which keywords should I target?
  • Which of them will be the most effective?
  • Which keywords have I missed?
  • Which keywords are my competitors targeting?
  • How much do they spend on PPC?

In Brian Dean’s guide to keyword research, you'll find everything you need to know about the importance of keywords in SEO and some keyword research basics.

1. Knowing your competitors gives you confidence

First of all, you will want to take a look around to understand what is happening in the market. Of course, this can not be done by just typing your keywords in Google.

Who are your competitors? These are the sites who rank for the same keywords and target the same audience as you.

Type in your site's url in Serpstat’s Competitor Analysis tool, and here they are ready to be explored.

You can choose between 13 databases in 13 regions, so there is a possibility to find competitors for each country.

Your rivals might be extra difficult to beat. Simply knowing this doesn’t make it any easier, but at least you know what to expect and can calculate your risks.

Click on each to see what keywords they rank for. Most of them will work for you as well.


You can manually edit the competitor’s list by adding or removing competitors.

Click on Change the List of Competitors box, enter a new competitor or remove an existing one.

2. You will easily find missing keywords

To start, most SEOs Google’s Keyword Planner or Keyword Tool to find keywords for their websites.

When it seems like you have already found as many as you can, it’s time to see how your direct organic competitors approached this.

Go to Missing Keywords n URL analysis.

Missing keywords are phrases that your competitors rank for in top 100 but which are not present on your domain.

Now you can change this and fill this “gap”.

But don’t simply copy all the keywords you’ll find in this list.

Depending on the search volume (in the second column) and competition strength (third), you can pick those that are worth targeting.

This usually means there will be the balance between how popular a keyword is and how difficult it is going to be to rank for in the top 5.

Grouping Keywords

Keywords grouping or clustering is a promising keyword research technique that can keep you one step ahead of competitors.

Keyword grouping is dividing keywords into different semantically related groups or clusters.

In simple words, if two words are likely to appear on the same page at the same time or in the same text, they will be likely to appear in one cluster.

Keywords clustering helps your optimization in many ways. First of all using groups of keyword increase exposure, click-through rates, conversions and lowers PPC price.

Since the Google Hummingbird update in 2015, SEOs started to pay attention not only on a keyword itself but also on context and topics.

In 2017, just putting your keyword all around the page won’t most definitely do.

As Google becomes more “intelligent”, it shows more theme-related results rather than pages with an exact same keyword.

If Google now concentrates on context, so should we. But that doesn’t mean we have to abandon keywords.

The perfect strategy is to combine two approaches - old-school (keyword-concentrated) and new-school (topics and context).

Clustering keywords is what really helps to shift our focus of keywords and turn to topics.

Think of this as a word association game. Every keyword is a path to many other keywords.

So you have already found plenty of keywords.

But optimizing each web page for only one or two keywords is not a good thing to do.

Now it’s time to break them into groups.

After keyword research, the clustering tool will divide keywords into small semantically related groups.

Then they should be spread across pages of the website to achieve higher rankings in the search engine results.

When attempting to rank for a whole group of keywords instead of a single one, you can optimize your pages to target not a single keyword but a whole group.

How are those keywords relevant to each other?

There are not simply synonyms!

But you will often find synonyms in a common cluster.

Serpstat will automatically create groups for your list of keywords, which you can modify, update and edit.

Go to Tools, choose Keywords grouping and load your keywords.

3. You will know objectively how good you are

When comparing your rankings with your rivals’ rankings, you need to see the full picture.

If you compare rankings for just a couple of keywords, the information you’ll get may be completely misleading.

Let’s get a list of all the keywords you and your Competitor X both rank for.

Go to SEO Research -> Domain vs Domain.

Here you can add two of your competitors at once to compare a number of keywords and the visibility of your and your rival's domain.

There will be some high-volume phrases and if you manage to rank higher than your competitors for them, that will give you a big advantage.

Here are the common keywords.

I highlighted some keywords, which are not the most important, but it's interesting to see how Pepsi and Coca Cola rankings vary.

As you see, these keywords don’t bring much traffic.


In this example, both domains have nearly the same amount of keywords. But the rankings for some of the mutual keywords vary dramatically.

That’s a completely different scenario from the Pepsi and Coca-Cola situation (just take a look at Volume and Competition in PPC columns).

4. You’ll Save Money on PPC

Even if you are not running a PPC campaign, analyzing competitors’ ads can bring you tons of information.

If someone targets a keyword in PPC, that means it has a potential to bring in a lot of traffic.

Go to PPC Research and choose Ad Examples/Competitors/Keywords, depending on what you would like to explore.

I advise to sort keywords by Cost Per Click and explore starting from the cheapest.

Here you may find some keywords that are cheap but still can bring traffic.

To summarize

  • Identify your direct organic competitors
  • Discover your competitors’ keyword rankings
  • Compare the rankings, visibility and a number of keywords
  • Find missing keywords
  • Find your PPC competitors
  • Find competitors for a certain keyword
  • Group your keywords to rank for a certain number of phrases at once
  • Investigate traffic drops and visibility changes for the competitor’s domain you are interested in
  • See if your campaign is going in the right direction.

5 Can't Miss Off-Page SEO Tactics To Build Your Brand

SEO is divided into on-page and off-page optimization.

On-page SEO is all about working on your website’s meta tags, page titles, page speed, interlinking, and more.

Off-page SEO is about optimizing your brand reputation online and offline using quality links, content, social media, and good relationships with influencers and customers.

These, in the long run, can result in high search rankings, increased traffic, and positive brand mentions on the web.

Both actions are crucial to the success of SEO.

To get a comprehensive and detailed picture of a website, you can use on-page SEO audit tools, such as SE Ranking, Google Analytics and Ahrefs.

When done optimizing your website from a technical perspective and with local on-page optimization, it’s time to improve your off-page SEO.

We should note that for off-page SEO, links should be the means but not the objective. Many webmasters often make the mistake of treating off-page SEO only in terms of link building.

It is also important to look at it alongside other factors, such as anchor text, website speed, the number of inbound links, and pagerank, among others.

In this article we provide 5 key offsite SEO tactics you should focus on while building strong online brand reputation.

#1. Build relationships with social media influencers

There’s a sector of the online marketing society that insists social media is of no use for your brand.

But this is absolutely not true. If done right, social media can be an asset for your brand. It can help you build strong connections with influencers with a lot of followers and fans.

Social media influencers play an important role in simplifying your work for a number of reasons:

  • Influencers help you build stable relationships and credibility. People trust their content and recommendations.
  • Influencers can greatly increase your reach and positioning online.
    Them mentioning your brand or product in their social media posts will result in users starting to recognize your brand or product.
  • Good influencer relationships are winning partnerships for the long haul. Influential people will keep on mentioning you or your brand in their online publications.
  • Easily reach your target audience through relevant influencers. You don’t need to spend additional money on testing or finding your audience.
    The right influencers already have the audience you’re looking for on social media.

The best way to find influencers for effective off-page SEO is to know them in person, via tweets, group chats, and at events.

You can also use Ninja Outreach, Buzzsumo, or Mention for find social media influencers with a simple search.

In the future, stable connections with influencers can help you build quality content that can be of great value for your target audience.

To create long-standing connections with influencers, here are some useful tips:

  1. Select 5 influencers in your niche and start following them. For example, follow on Twitter, subscribe to their blog, like their FB pages, and connect with them on LinkedIn. Follow them everywhere they can be.
  2. Leave eye-catching comments on their online publications. Think of your comments like an email. Influencers value engaging dialogues with their readers.
  3. Link to their articles whenever the opportunity arises. Let them know about it.
  4. Add value to their activities, such as providing insightful comments or helping them answer reader questions, and don’t expect anything in return.
  5. Reply to autosenders. Bloggers always want to know how to help you. This gives a good opportunity to connect with influencers.

#2. Participate in forums, discussion boards and blogs

If you want to get noticed by your readers and influencers, take an active part in relevant blogs and forums. Leave comments that can attract the eye of bloggers and influencers.

However, comment blogging is becoming less popular these days because of the abusive practices of some webmasters.

They use commenting to get as many links as possible to boost their sites’ rankings.

For example, Search Engine Journal and Marketing Land have turned off their comments section to reduce spam activities.

If you don’t want to be marked a spammer, try to leave thoughtful comments and provide more details in conversations to better guide your visitors.

LinkedIn, Reddit and Quora are essential online platforms where you can follow relevant discussions based on the topics your readers are interested in.

The relationships built on these platforms can lead to organic traffic and improve your online reputation.

If you participate on a regular basis, people will begin to recognize you. This, in turn, improves your brand’s visibility and possibly direct more traffic to your website.

#3. Create a strong social media presence

Social media is invaluable to your off-page SEO strategy. Social media can boost your brand’s profile and help you speak directly to your target audience.

This technique allows you to build quality relationships and gain insights into what your audience are searching for.

Because social media is necessary for brand accessibility to customers and followers, take into account the following:

  1. Platforms. Figure out what platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram) are best for your brand.
  2. Assessment. The ability to measure your marketing activities against main targets and KPIs is necessary for achieving key insights for future campaigns that include social media. For example, Google Analytics or Quintly provide marketing analytics and show the main engagement metrics for each post on social media.
  3. Strategy. How often will you post? Which social media channels will you use? What tone of voice will resonate better with your audience?Your strategy should integrate the basic principles of your brand. Also, make sure to answer any questions or interactions from clients as soon as you can. Using social media tools like Buffer or Hootsuite lets you manage all your social profiles using just one dashboard, as well as interact with your followers or customers faster.

Social media marketing is easier than it seems if you focus on 3 factors:

  • Be available. Monitor any mentions about your brand and respond to all comments in a timely manner.
  • Stay human. People expect human interaction online, not cookie-cutter responses to their questions.
  • Be proactive. Social media is one of the best avenues to be seen as a valuable source for the online community.

Unresponsiveness on social media negatively impacts not just SEO. That’s why brands need to be proactive about it.

#4. Watch out for web searchers’ intent

You may have heard of the proverb "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Which means it's easier to get what you want by flattering people and being polite than by making demands.

And this is really appropriate for SEO. People will want to purchase your product or service, provided they know about them first.

Even the best services fail to meet customer expectations because they don’t address what the target audience is looking for.

So write and share content that’s optimized with the keywords the audience uses to find your product or service.

While ensuring your descriptions, titles, and keywords fit the searcher’s intent, also focus on where the content will be shared and discussed.

Here is a recent tweet from Rand Fishkin: “For uncovering searcher intent? Search, refine, broaden queries, talk to people, read discussion threads, have empathy.”

To discover what people are searching for, use tools like Google Autosuggest, the SE Ranking keyword suggestion tool, and AnswerThePublic.

#5. Use guest blogging for building rapport

Guest blogging is a good tactic not only for building links, but developing good relationships with influencers, top publishers, and editors.

If you do it right, quality links will come along. The best way to find top publishers in your vertical is to read and leave comments on the blogs of these publishers.

As soon as you have made a good rapport, find out whether you can guest post for the website.

Just be persistent and use different channels to reach out to editors and publishers.

Guest blogging plays an important role in your marketing so invest time and effort to it.

Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting notes that guest posting for SEO shouldn’t be a primary objective, so that even when all the links are deemed useless by Google, “the indirect impact remains very powerful.”

Bottom line

The above-mentioned off-page SEO tactics are good ways to optimize your online brand via content, relationships, and links that appeal to search engines.

Share what’s working for you in the comments below.

How to Use Google Search Console to Improve Your SEO

Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a valuable SEO tool not only for SEOs but also for other professionals like marketers, business owners, app developers, and designers.

All SEOs, digital marketers, and webmasters are using it like a must-have for doing SEO.

According to Neil Patel, GSC is to SEO what oxygen is to humans. You need it. Your site can’t live without it.

How to use google search console

How GSC helps website owners

GSC is a free Google service and manages a website’s search functionality.

It generates complete reports about the total number of visitors, their demographics, as well as the technologies used to visit your website, such as the browser type and the devices used (desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet).

This information helps webmasters rectify crawl errors, if any.

Before I discuss all the GSC menus in detail, I would like to discuss a mandatory step every GSC user must follow to use the menus efficiently.

GSC setup and verification process

Before you start using Google Search Console, it’s necessary to follow the steps for setup and verification, much like registering your site URL in GSC.

You will be required to create a GSC property for each version of your website, including:

  • https://
  • or any other subdomain you have

When done creating properties for all the versions of your domain, you will get a complete view of the issues your site experiences, if any.

You can also create subfolders to gauge the health metrics of a specific section of your site, particularly if if you possess a large website.

Site verification is the next step of this process. You can use a suitable verification method to verify your property from the multiple verification methods below:

  • HTML file upload. This requires you to upload an HTML file of your website.
  • HTML tag. This involves adding a meta tag to the website’s homepage.
  • Domain name provider. This expects the site owner to sign in to their domain name provider.
  • Google Analytics. This simply suggests that the user use their Google Analytics account.
  • Google Tag Manager. This allows users to use their Google Tag Manager account for verification.

Although all of the above verification methods work, Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are the most commonly used and by far the easiest ways to verify your site.

Now you are ready to use Google Search Console to improve your SEO. GSC possesses four main menus, namely:

  1. Search Appearance
  2. Search Traffic
  3. Google Index
  4. Crawl

Below, I am discussing GSC’s menus in detail to give novices a basic idea about how they can use it to improve SEO.

1. Search Appearance

Search Appearance shows the webmaster how his website is set up and how it will look like in search results.

In addition to GSC setup and verification, website appearance also depends on a number of code snippets like rich cards, rich snippets, and frameworks like accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and the usual HTML corrections.

All of these elements are important and can help the website stand out in search results.

This menu is further subdivided into five components, which are discussed below:

  • Structured data
  • Rich cards
  • Data highlighter
  • HTML improvements
  • Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)

Structured data

Websites that embed structured data in the form of rich snippets into their HTML code enhance site content.

This enables Google to categorize these URLs for better indexing. Google uses structured data to serve up “rich” results that show rating, votes, and reviews to tempt visitors.

Rich results will inform prospects whether a website is useful or not even before opening the URL. Visually rich results bring more traffic.

Presently, Google supports rich snippets for articles (only on AMP), local business, music, reviews, recipes, TV, movies, and videos.

How to use structured data to improve SEO

Developers can easily create rich snippets with all of the cited features present on a website.

Moreover, developers can also refer to for help on code snippets.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to create rich snippets.

Additionally, GSC’s search appearance and structured data section will guide where you have made a mistake in creating your rich snippets code.

It also provides a tool that allows users to test live data.


Rich Cards

Despite working like structured data, rich cards create more appealing visuals for better user engagement.

This, in turn, increases the site's traffic and sales.

For example, Dutch car insurance website realized an increase of 28% in SEO search share (CTR).

The implementation of rich snippets by Autoverzekering resulted in more revenue with higher returns.

You can view the case study here.

Currently, rich cards are deployed for recipes and movies only.

Carefully check the image below to understand the difference between rich snippets and rich cards.

How to use rich cards for SEO

Similar to creating rich snippets for structured data, developers can create rich snippets either for recipes, movie information or for corporate contacts.

In fact, you can use rich cards to show a wide range of information in search results like breadcrumbs, preferred site name, logos, social profile links, books, events, and local business.

Below, I am sharing an example to display the contact information of an organization.

If you start browsing Google Search Gallery for sample code snippets and select Corporate Contacts from the sidebar menu, you will find something like the screenshot below:

And when you click “see markup,” you will get the sample code, which will look like the image below.

You can use this code and follow the guidelines to create rich cards for the content you want to display.

Again, GSC’s Search Appearance menu will guide you on rich card coding mistakes and also update you on the total number of cards you can use to enhance.

Moreover, you can test live data with the help of Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Data highlighter

The data highlighter works like structured data to enhance the content.

The upside: It doesn’t need a developer for coding snippets in HTML.

The downside: This tool has certain limitations and asks users to write individual tags for every URL.

It will not be the right choice if a website carries thousands of URLs.

How to use the data highlighter for SEO

As it doesn’t involve writing codes, you will need to follow a few simple steps to incorporate data highlighting into your site.

Simply click on “Start Highlighting” to begin.

A popup will appear where you can enter your website URL and choose the data (articles, reviews, events, local business, products, movies, events, and TV shows) you want to highlight.

Once selections are made, Google renders the page in GSC to allow for highlighting relevant data. You may select text and images on pages you want to highlight.

This will highlight titles, images, text, and rating on specific pages.

After that, Google notifies you to highlight data on other pages and help create page sets.

Site Links

Site links are the links shown on Google’s search results. (See screenshot below for an example.)

They are displayed to help users with site navigation. Google analyzes the link structure of a site for shortcuts to save the user’s time.

Site links are generated automatically, but only when Google’s algorithms deem the links of a website useful for readers.

In case a site’s structure doesn’t allow the algorithm to find good links, Google will not show them in search results under the main URL of website.

HTML improvements

This is a kind of report and uncovers any problem areas that Google has detected while crawling/indexing your site.

This tool can flawlessly find duplicate/long/short meta descriptions, missing/duplicate/long/short title tags, and content non-indexable by Google.

How to use HTML improvement reports for SEO

All you need is to fix all the issues Google has enumerated in the HTML report.

However, understanding this report requires a basic understanding of SEO rules like the proper length of meta titles and descriptions while avoiding blocking critical content by robots.txt or .htaccess files.

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)

A new addition in GSC, AMP is the technique used to build fast-loading HTML and JS pages that render quickly on mobile devices.

With the growing number of smartphone users, it becomes necessary to reduce the page load time.

Google thus introduced the AMP HTML to help web managers remove pages that are loading slowly on mobile devices.

How to use AMP for SEO?

The following are the standard steps to use AMPs for SEO.

  • The process starts with creating webpages according to AMP specification.
  • Next step is hosting AMP at a relevant URL in the main site.
  • Now test the URL via the AMP test tool for validation.
  • Markup the content with structured data and monitor AMP report for errors in the Search Console.

2. Search Traffic

Search Traffic is the second important GSC menu that provides deep insights into ranking, site keywords that appear in searches, backlink matrix, Google penalties, and the mobile usability of your site.

It is actually the most useful menu for SEO.

Search Traffic is further subdivided into six components, which include the following:

  • Search analytics report
  • Links to your site
  • Internal links
  • Manual actions
  • International targeting
  • Mobile usability

How to use Search Traffic to improve SEO

Search analytics report

This report gives you details on how often a site URL appears in search results.

It also shows how often specific keywords are clicked, how they rank geographically, as well as their click-through ratio.

Links to your site

This feature reports the site’s total number of backlinks, as well as the keywords used for the backlinks.

The most valuable insight in this report is that which gauges the quality of your backlinks, which then guides you to choose links of good quality and disown bad and spammy links.

This will also help you create relevant backlinks to quality sites and increase user engagement who land on your site through ads that are already linked to your site.

Internal links

Google uses the total number of internal links to a webpage to rank important pages in a website.

This increases the search engine ranking of that particular page.

However, internal links should be made sensibly and naturally to boost the ranking of content-rich and informative pages.

Diligently check links pointing to internal pages to make sure they exist. If the page no longer exists, rectify the problem with a 301 redirect.

Manual actions

This report informs you of Google penalties incurred through the use of black-hat techniques.

Manual penalties are more severe compared to algorithmic penalties and require you to take extensive actions.

As soon as you fix all the issues and update your site’s pages with quality content, you must submit a reconsideration request to get your site ranked again in the SERPs.

Go through Google’s quality guidelines to understand Google’s standards for webspam.

International targeting

In case your website contains translated or modified content for a country or region outside your main location, international targeting will help you attract viewers from other geographies.

Your developer can incorporate the hreflang tag to notify Google to display appropriate pages according to geography and audience.

This feature also generates a report on the accuracy of hreflang, which will help you fix and optimize code issues.

Mobile usability

This Search Traffic menu feature identifies the problems your users might be experiencing while viewing your website on mobile devices.

It reports issues like overly close elements, content and images wider than the screen, or whether the text is too small to read.

As smartphone usage continues to increase, mobile optimization is essential for good ranking. To improve SEO, mobile usability challenges must be fixed to enhance user experience across all devices.

3. Google Index

This menu talks about the total number of indexed pages a website has.

It generates a report that showcases your site’s indexed URLs, blocked URLs (via robots.txt), and URLs which have been removed.

This information will help you resolve indexing issues and remove blocked URLs from appearing in searches.

How to use Google Index to improve SEO

  • Content keywords
  • Blocked resources
  • Removed URLs

Content keywords

As we already know, keywords play an important role in indexing and SERPs.

The Google Index menu generates a report on keywords in the content.

Exploring keywords in detail will let you sort out your site’s top pages and keyword location on particular pages.

The report also pinpoints which pages rank low, so you know which content requires on-page SEO optimization (introducing keywords and variants in the title, headers, alt tags, and content).

Blocked resources

Don’t block Google from accessing JavaScript, CSS, JQuery, and image files if you want it to index and render your pages correctly, and thus improve your search engine rankings.

Remove URLs

Although SEO is done primarily to improve your Google rankings, there are pages you may want to keep private.

This tool in GSC will inform Google’s bots about the links you don’t want indexed.

In the “Temporarily Hide” field, indicate the links you want removed from the cache or search results.

This even allows you to temporarily hide specific URLs that you want indexed in the future.

It can also remove URLs containing thin content. This will eventually improve SEO rankings.

4. Crawl

Crawl is the GSC menu that generates a very useful report on how often your website is being crawled by Google’s bots, the last time Google crawled your website for errors, broken pages and files on the website, sitemap robots, and URL parameters.

It also contains the indispensable Fetch as Google tool.

How to use Crawl to improve SEO

Crawl errors

This report identifies crawl errors like server errors (e.g., request timed out or situations when the site itself blocked Google), soft 404 errors (when the server failed to return a 404 page for URLs that don’t exist), URLs directing to a nonexistent or irrelevant page, and blocked URLs for Googlebot-Mobile. Fixing these errors will surely improve SEO.

Crawl stats

This is a Google crawl report for your website showing crawled pages, page load time, and kilobytes downloaded.

Webmasters can use this information to improve site performance, alongside working on site speed and publishing fresh content regularly to attract more users.

Fetch as Google

Fetch as Google is the tool that allows you to see how Google fetches and renders your URL. Simply enter the URL you want to fetch and hit the Fetch button to see whether the URL connects or encounters errors, redirects, or any security loopholes.

You can use this tool to fetch the page on all devices: desktops, smartphones, and mobile XHTML/WML. After fetching, fix any errors, and submit to Google for indexation.

Robots.txt tester

The robots.txt file notifies search engines of pages that should be crawled or not. Google’s crawl bot views pages with robots.txt files and crawls pages that are not disallowed.

It also reports errors and warnings, and allows you to test blocked pages.

Click here should you need to learn how to write a robots.txt file.


This feature fine-tunes your sitemaps.xml while confirming all the URLs are indexed. It lets you inform search engines of the changes you have made in the URLs of your site.

URL parameters

If you don’t know how to code, don’t use this tool. This feature allows you to differentiate pages in different geographies.

Final word

If used properly, Google Search Console is a powerful tool for all SEOs, digital marketers, and business professionals seeking to improve the search engine ranking of their site.

The above tips should set you in the right direction with GSC.

Jim David is an SEO expert for past 3 years. He loves to explore content marketing as well as on-page SEO strategies. Being an SEO expert, he often writes informative articles and blogs to share information with fellow marketers. He is currently doing SEO for a logo design company in UK.

Want Free Backlinks? Put These 6 Elements in Every Post

The notion that quality content will naturally earn free backlinks is a fallacy.

Thankfully, there are 6 elements that can actually build free backlinks.

What is the most criminal fallacy in the world of SEO?

If you answered, “the idea that quality content naturally attracts backlinks,” congratulations!

You’re right.

For years, SEO experts have hammered on about how high-quality content earns free backlinks.

And yet,

any experienced blogger can quickly list plenty of high-quality articles they’ve written that got zero free backlinks.

Quality content does not earn free backlinks. And it’s simple to see why, once you flip the situation on its head.

Bloggers do not link to other sites because they value the quality of the content.

They link to each other’s content because it’s beneficial for their own purposes.

The best type of content for backlinks is content that other bloggers can use on their own sites.

If we want other bloggers to link to us, we have to give them something valuable that they will want to use on their own site.

Infographics are a famous example (though they have lost considerable value over the recent years due to overuse).

Another fantastic example are maps. Some experts say they’ve earned hundreds of backlinks just from creating images of maps.

And still another example is bite-size charts, the kind Neil Patel uses in every article.

What all these content types have in common is that they are reusable content assets.

They are:

  • Content that other bloggers can’t recreate quickly, cheaply, or at all
  • Reusable - in other words, they can be used in multiple articles

These types of content are the real sources of free backlinks because other bloggers can see the value of using them in their own posts.

Give other bloggers something of value that they can use, and you will draw backlinks in bulk.

If you want to earn free backlinks, include these six things in every post:

#1. Produce content assets that are appealing, difficult to create, and reusable

The key to using your content assets to build free backlinks is creating content that cannot easily be reproduced but that is reusable on other blogs.

Infographics are the classic example, for the following reasons:

  • They are appealing (provided they look professional and show interesting information).
  • They are not easily recreated. (It takes time or money to produce a quality infographic.)
  • And they are reusable. Simply provide an embed code and other bloggers can reuse the infographic on their own blog with a backlink.

Again, not easily recreated, appealing, and reusable are the keys.

Provided content meets these three criteria, it will have a good chance of earning backlinks.

So how do you make use of this?

Take another look at your latest post, or the post you are currently writing.

Ask yourself:

Could I communicate the information in this post in a way that is not easily recreated, appealing, and reusable?

If so, create the content that meets those three points.

And if graphics are not your strong point, I find tools like and to be a great tool for quickly creating high-quality images.

They offers lots of templates that speed up the process.

#2. Take original, high-quality photos

One of the best sources of backlinks is images.

There are countless blogs online that have mid-level domain authority from backlinks that point to images.

And oftentimes, those images were not even created by the blogger but lifted from resources like DeviantArt.

Why do images earn free backlinks? Because they help other bloggers produce their own content.

Depending on a blog’s niche, it can be incredibly difficult to create high quality-images.

Imagine how difficult it would be for an astronomy blogger to produce high-quality photos of planets every time they write an article.

This, of course, is an extreme example.

Nevertheless, it can be time-consuming, hard work, or just plain impossible to produce high-quality images that are applicable to certain subjects.

Therefore, if you do produce high-quality images, there’s a good chance other bloggers will use those images and provide a link to you as the source.

If you are unable to create unique images yourself, there are workarounds. The most obvious solution is to simply pay for stock images.

A better solution is to find an amateur photographer who is interested in your niche. Offer them exposure in exchange for the images.

You get the images (and the backlinks they produce). The photographer gets exposure. It’s a win-win.

#3. Testimonials and reviews

Another good source of free backlinks is testimonials and reviews. Give a product a positive review, and the manufacturer is likely to link to your article.

The same is true for testimonials. Lavish praise on a professional’s work, and they will likely want to tell their customers about it.

This is why “Best of…” posts are so popular. They are an easy way to earn backlinks.

Testimonials hit our three key points:

  • A positive review or testimonial is highly appealing.
  • They are not easily recreated in many cases, as it could be difficult for a product to attract many such reviews.
  • And they are easily reusable because the recipient can simply copy and paste a quote with a backlink.

The problem with “Best of…” articles is that they can seem unnatural.

The solution? Don’t write “Best of…” roundups. Instead, include a couple of testimonials inside an article.

For instance, if we’re creating content about copywriting, give testimonials or reviews to one or two copywriters or copywriting products in the post.

This will limit the number of external links on the page while attracting backlinks, and the backlinks will likely be high-quality and very relevant.

Once you’ve created testimonials and reviews, send out emails.

Here’s an example:

#4. Do your research and load your articles full of facts

Another type of content that bloggers will link to in droves is facts and research.

Any blogger worth their salt knows to include sources to validate the information in their articles. Those sources have to come from somewhere. Be the source. Get the link. Simple.

This technique used to be abused by bloggers who would produce false facts for link-bait. Now that Google is taking measures against fake news, it’s important that our facts be truthful.

To truly take advantage of this technique, we need to attract traffic from bloggers who are looking for facts. That way, those bloggers find our articles and use them as citation.

One way to do this is to include a few choice keywords, like “research,” “facts,” and “science.” These will help bring the right traffic (other bloggers) to our site, whereupon they will use our facts in their articles, giving link attribution to us as a source.

#5. Express commonly held ideas, thoughts, or feelings in appealing ways

The key to our backlink strategy is creating content other bloggers can use.

Logically, we can attract more potential backlinks by making our content applicable to more bloggers.

To do this, create content that communicates commonly held ideas or feelings.

The obvious example of this is memes. Memes get shared because they express an idea, thought, or feeling that millions of people experience at one time or another.

For instance, the Morpheus meme (“What if I told you…”) is applicable to a million different situations.

This strategy is not exclusive to memes.

Any content that expresses commonly held ideas, thoughts, or feelings in an entertaining or valuable way has a good chance of attracting a healthy amount of backlinks.

Another good example is image quotes. The most famous quotes are used by thousands of bloggers at one time or another.

If you create the best image for that quote, there is a very good chance other bloggers will use that image in their own articles, with a backlink pointing to your site.

#6. Use interviews to get expert advice on common problems

Genuine experts carry a lot of authority in their niches.

Getting interviews with these authority figures is a surefire way to substantiate your articles.

But do interviews hit our three criteria for attracting backlinks?

Interviews are appealing because they offer authoritative information and because most people interested in our niche will also be interested in our interviewee.

Everyone who is interested in SEO, for example, is interested in hearing the latest expert insights on the subject.

Interview an expert and there’s a good chance other bloggers in your niche will link to the article.

Interviews are also not easy to recreate, depending on the interviewee and the answers you manage to get them to provide.

Interviewees will not agree to every interview, so if they agree to yours, it could very well become a highly valuable content asset.

And interviews are easily reusable.

Just make sure you put a message on the blog post saying that quotes may be taken from the interview provided a backlink is provided.

Interviews meet our criteria. And indeed, interviews are a valuable source of backlinks.

A simple look at the latest news articles will bring up countless citations to interviews, most of which provide backlinks.

But how do you actually get interviews?

As a journalist of more than ten years, my experience is that it’s best to be introduced to an interviewee via a mutual contact.

If there is no such contact, however, the next best bet is to appeal to the interviewee’s heartstrings.

Tell them why your interview genuinely matters.

Explain how it is in their best interest, and relate it to subjects they care about.

And remember, even famous people have souls.

If you let them know that this interview truly matters to you and for more than just financial reasons, there is a good chance they will say yes.

I find the following email sufficient for most purposes.

Content that is appealing, reusable, and not easily recreated will bring a significant number of free backlinks

Focus on creating content that hits these criteria, and you will earn free backlinks in bulk.

Paul Harrison is a copywriter and online marketer based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada . His passion is helping independent creatives and businesses to succeed online. Get in contact with Paul at

The Incredible Benefits Of Second Tier Links For Your SEO

When I went to BrightonSEO last year, some of the speakers said link building wasn’t important anymore.

They said it was not a significant ranking factor and we should be focusing our attention on other factors.

However, other speakers (and I agree too,) believe link building continues to play a crucial part in SEO.

In this post, you will learn why I think second-tier links are important.

I’ll show you some examples and tell you how you can get more secondary links to improve your rankings and your traffic.

Wait a minute, what are second-tier links exactly?

From experience chatting to SEOs, talking about first-, second-, and third-tier links can sometimes bring up some confusion.

While you may not be able to describe what these different type of tier links are, you’ve probably been using them already.

First-tier links are website links that directly link to your website.

For example: If you’re writing a guest post on behalf of your company, the links you include in the content that link directly to your website will be first tier.

The image below shows links we have achieved through writing guest posts and being mentioned on a site. This data is found through Moz.

newly discovered links on moz ose

Second-tier links are links that are directed to your guest blog that contains links to your website.

For example: You share a social media message linking to your guest post that links to your website.

The social message link is a second-tier link. When other websites are linking to your guest blog, these links are examples of second tiers, too.

Some SEOs don’t like spending time on second-tier links because they think these links don’t offer any ranking benefits.

But if they’re sending traffic to your guest post, and people are then clicking on your website link in the author bio, you’re getting valuable traffic to your site.

Regular traffic is considered an important ranking feature.

Second tier links are still important and this is why…

More authority

When you’ve written a guest blog for another site, you can receive some ranking benefits of being associated with a higher domain authority site.

But it doesn’t just stop there. If other high domain authority sites are linking to your guest blog, you’re then getting the benefits, too.

Just because they aren’t first-tier links doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable.

Helpful tip: Discovering you’ve got high authority websites linking to your site is a good “conversation starter” when asking to write a guest blog for a high DA site.

If you know a high domain authority website has linked to your guest blog, it’s clear they like what you’ve talked about before.

You can mention you’ve seen they have linked to your work, and you can ask if they are interested in getting an article from you on their site.

More referral traffic

It doesn’t matter if the link on your guest post is a nofollow link because it doesn’t stop referral traffic from visiting your website.

Second-tier links give you the opportunity to get even more readers to see your guest post, and hopefully visit your website/blog, too.

More relevance

Second-tier links automatically link you to other sites.

The website you’ve written a guest post for will already have relevance to your site (that’s why you chose to write for it, in the first place), and the other sites linking to your guest post will very likely be relevant to your topic, too.

When talking about ranking factors, Google has said relevance is crucial.

Being relevant with keywords and link building helps the search engine understand what your site is about.

When your website is associated with more sites in your particular niche/industry, it helps Google pinpoint where it belongs.

More customers

Potential customers and readers will be able to find your site with secondary links.

When other sites link to your guest content, it’s highly likely they have an interest in your industry.

People from those sites will see your guest post, and there is a chance they will visit your site, too.

And most importantly, the people who are coming from these second-tier sites are using relevant keywords and are your ideal customers.

They are ideal visitors because they are already interested in the subject niche and have taken the time to visit your site for more of your knowledge and products.

Therefore, very valuable contacts to have.

Secondary tier links in action

I’ve collected some examples to show second-tier links in action.

This blog on is a guest blog entitled “How to Stop Spam Bots from Ruining Your Analytics Referral Data” by Jared Gardner.

In the bio at the bottom of the guest post is information about Jared and a link to his website, Red Door Interactive.

In the profile bio, there is a link to the writer’s website.

To see second-tier linking in action, I researched how many links are linking to Jared’s guest post.

Using Moz’s link tool Open Site Explorer, I can see how many and what types of referral links there are.

Moz ose link inspection

In the Page Link Metrics section, there are 50 root domains linking to this guest post.

That means there are 50 websites potentially bringing readers to this blog, and it’s likely they will visit the author’s website, too, particularly if what the author wrote resonates with those readers.

Through, the author has written for a popular and highly regarded site in his industry.

The 50 sites that are linking to this blog will likely bring high-quality traffic, too.

Another benefit of second-tier link building is the opportunities continue to grow long after you’ve written a guest post. Just last month, 5 new sites linked to this guest post, providing 5 additional routes for relevant readers to find it.

Newly discovered link on moz ose

These websites have just been discovered.

These websites are bringing relevant people in your niche to your guest post and giving them the chance to find your website.

This shows second-tier links in action.

How to increase your second-tier link building

From what we’ve just covered, it’s clear that links from secondary sites offer many benefits.

But how do you increase the number of second-tier links to your site?

Do social sharing

Promote the guest blogs you’ve written on social networking sites. As soon as your article is live, you should be promoting it to your networks anyway.

Just because you’re sending traffic to another person’s site doesn’t mean you’re not getting the benefits, too.

These secondary links from social sharing will bring interested readers to your content.

Helpful tip: To get the best out of social sharing, make sure you’re posting on social platforms that are relevant to your ideal readership.

Make sure the site owner you’ve written the content for does their own social sharing because it’s likely they have a different following to yours.

Encourage them to retweet or share your social posts. After all, you’re promoting their site.

The more publicity the site owner receives from social networks, the more readers who will read your guest blog and likely visit your site, too.

Reach out to relevant sites

Be selective with the sites you want to write for.

Before you send an outreach email, spend some time going through the prospective website.

Do they have the same type of readership as yours?

Do they discuss similar topics that you have on your site?

While second-tier links are important, you want links that will bring in relevant traffic.

You want people reading your guest content and then visiting your site.

They will only do that if they are genuinely interested in what you’re talking about.


PR campaigns are perfect opportunities to promote your business and to get secondary links.

Get newspapers and magazines to write about you (or your business).

These articles will be read by interested readers, and if they link to these PR sources, they will instantly become second tier.

It’s important to contact newspapers and magazines that are relevant to your industry.

This way, you’ll likely get more people who are interested in your business and what you have to say.

And if they like the sound of your business (or you), they will promote the newspaper article on their social networks or even on their own sites, creating more secondary links.

The importance of secondary link building

While you might automatically want to focus your outreach time on creating first tier-links, you shouldn’t completely ignore the opportunities of secondary links.

In SEO discussions, the topic of link building is always brought up. Some people think it’s not important anymore, but it’s clear it is still relevant and shouldn’t be disregarded.

Link building is still a ranking factor but you must follow Google’s guidelines to avoid harmful penalties.

Along with link building, there are many other SEO ranking factors, and it’s important to use different strategies to improve your site’s overall rankings.

Other factors to consider are Page Authority, anchor text, uniqueness of page content, and many more.

To help with your SEO efforts, it’s worth reviewing all these ranking factors to see how easy they are to implement and if you have the resource to carry them through.

Make a list of the most important, the factors that will make the most difference to your efforts and get to work!


Next time you’re planning your outreach campaign, consider how you will approach secondary link building.

If you’re creating helpful and relevant content, you will automatically see an increase in second-tier links because most people like to share information they think is helpful.

Rikki is the director at Digital 22. He is an inbound marketer with over 8 years experience and has qualifications from Hubspot, Google, Bing and The Chartered Institute of Marketing.