Like any other situation where the walking, talking search marketing Messiah sends out a Tweet; thousands of SEOs immediately jumped across the blogosphere to let the world know....nothing.
Just as many inexperienced SEOs went running rampant over the idea that Infographics were no longer valuable back in 2010 or that Google+ does not have a direct impact on search listings, we find ourselves in one more situation where too many people are reacting and not listening.
The concept in question sees search marketers reaching out to bloggers and/or webmasters, usually through an e-mail exchange, asking if they will create content around specific concepts in exchange for some form of goods.
As Search Engine Land reports:
"The technique is not about going to the site owner and selling links through the owner of the site. Instead, it is going directly to the reporter or blogger and getting them to “editorially” add links to sites without the site owner’s knowledge."
Now that you have read this statement that describes how this practice could be malicious, read it another three times.
Did you get the missing link (no pun intended)?
The idea here is NOT that SEOs need to worry about Google deindexing sites that practice this tactic, but just those that execute this strategy without being transparent or by being manipulative.
I have personally used this tactic on many occasions and guess what?! It works like a charm for advancing my client's traffic, visibility and rankings.
To show you how this tactic is executed correctly, check out these simple steps that I have personally used in my past explorations with P&G brands:
Product-Focused Linking Instructions:
- Research various blogs and websites that identify and align with your target audience. Make sure that as you go through building your list of potential hosts, you only select sites that have a great domain score, plenty of credible links and a huge social audience. This ensures that you are working with a great website that is actually endorsed by thousands of consumers.
Great tools to use for all of this are GroupHigh and Open Site Explorer.
- Once you have your list of potential hosts and their contact information, go ahead and draft a well-written e-mail that is specific to the site you are reaching out to.
DO NOT CREATE ONE GENERIC E-MAIL TO SEND OFF TO THE MASSES!!!
A great way to avoid appearing as spam is to give specific details of the site that you are interested in networking with.
"...I am in the midst of building a linking campaign for BrandAwesome and thought that you might be a great partner to work with. The fact that your site caters to affluent families and that you are heavily invested in publishing content through your blog, makes me feel that we have a great opportunity to provide value to both of our audiences..."
- Once you have established contact with your desired hosts, figure out what makes sense to offer in exchange for having them host content that links to your client's website.
My recommendation for making this as transparent and honest as possible is to have your client offer free products or services to the intended host's online users who perform a particular action, such offering an honest testimonial about the quality and use of the product.
By doing this, you are demonstrating that you are considerate of the consumer's needs before anything else.
Avoid giving away cash and do not offer a specific script for someone to read as they give their review, as this could be seen as too aggressive and manipulative by search engines like Google.
Whenever a disaster strikes, the best thing anyone can do is lend their support. So in the world of search marketing and SEO, getting your clients to donate goods to agencies like The American Red Cross in exchange for content allows you to:
- Work directly with entities that need support: Makes it much easier to get an immediate response and returned action.
- Gain tremendous positive PR for your client: Have the receiving agency take pictures of those in need holding up your client's products. Then ask them to post those images on their site with a caption that describes what is taking place in the image.
- Increase your client's online authority, visibility and traffic: Make sure you show them how to include a contextual link that directs users back to your client's site so that they can grow their backlink portfolio and increase their site's authority and visibility.
It's that easy and man-oh-man, it can be that pure and honest!
So next time you hear some SEO talking about how the oh-so powerful Google God Matt Cutts is taking names and kicking some search marketing butt, go ahead and read or listen to everything that is being offered.
The consequences of not doing so are dangerous to your reputation and career!