Step By Step SEO Tutorial – Establishing Your Authority

Ready to get started with the next phase of the Shoot for the Moon Backlink Step by Step SEO Tutorial?


If you’re successful in landing a backlink from the largest authority in your niche, your business is going to benefit from that in a big way. You’ll get instant recognition in your industry and the perks that come with it.

More of the RIGHT KIND of web traffic.

The best way to earn a backlink from an authority is to become an authority yourself. Don’t stress over it either. Becoming an authority in your niche is a lot easier than you may think. In this section of the step by step SEO tutorial, I will share some ideas you can use to make it happen.

Table of Contents

Don’t Feel Like Reading This Step By Step SEO Tutorial? Watch the Video Version Instead!

Note: The entire video series is available for free at If you’re new to this Step by Step SEO Tutorial, I recommend you click here to start at the beginning. You’ll get more from your efforts if you do. It’s also important to complete the homework section in each chapter if you’re participating in the challenge.

In SEO, there is one metric more important than all the rest.

This metric has nothing to do with algorithms, on-page optimization, or anchor text strategies. It also has nothing to do with how fast your site loads, or how many backlinks you have.

What then is this secret metric?

Here it is:

Your Link Outreach Success Ratio with Influencers

In other words, the number of people with influence in your industry you must contact before you find one willing to link to your site.

The lower that number is, the more success you’ll have in generating targeted traffic to your website.

That’s the real secret to becoming a wizard at link building. Get better at your link outreaches with people of influence from within your community.

Which if you recall, is why I like this step by step SEO tutorial as much as I do.

It forces you to target the BIGGEST INFLUENCER in your niche. Once you create content that meets these influencers requirements, other influencers will follow suit.


You’ll be considered an influencer yourself at that point. Your content will be first class, your site will exude authority, and you will exude that same authority.

step by step SEO tutorial team Matt & Cathy LaClear

Everything I do in life is for my wife Cathy and our children. The mistakes I made earlier in my career were painful ones. But if you hear me out I’ll explain the lessons I learned that will help you improve on your quest for better links.

Step by Step SEO Tutorial Tip #1 – What You Can Learn from My Mistakes

When I first started using link outreaches to build links for clients, I failed big time.

No one responded to my requests.

Which meant if I wanted to get my clients backlinks I had to build them myself by hand if I wanted to keep them as customers.

So, that’s what I did.

Even though I got good at it, I still consider that decision one of the largest blunders of my online career.

What I should have done is stuck with my link outreach attempts until I improved my success rates.

Instead, I opted to pursue black hat strategies to fool Google, which put me always at the mercy of their algorithm penalties.

(Note: If you think your site has a penalty, check out my Google Penalty Removal tutorial. As you can imagine I have learned a thing or two about cleaning up black hat penalties, what I share there will be of use to you.)

That’s a mistake you don’t have to make yourself, though.

step by step SEO tutorial author with family

Step by Step SEO Tutorial Tip #2 – How to Get Past First Base with Influencers

Imagine for a moment that you run a major successful blog with hundreds of thousands of loyal readers.

Life is good.

You’re making more money than ever. Working fewer hours, spending quality time with your family, and you’re fit because you have time to work out and eat healthy foods.

After your morning Yoga/workout routine, you sit down to check your emails from the day before.

After checking your merchant account receipts (who doesn’t check those first!), you notice a dozen emails from people you don’t recognize.

All 12 want you to look at their content and then link to it from your blog and then share it on social media. Given the fact you built your blog up to where it is today by providing great content to your readers, you read them.

Immediately you recognize the wording on ten of them are copy and pasted clones of one another. The only thing different about them is the link shared at the end of them.

You delete those ten emails without replying.

The remaining two link requests look a lot more promising, so you reply to those.

Out of the two, you end up backlinking to one of their sites.

You are aware of both link builders now but have no clue who the other ten are.

Moral of the story:

The recipients of your backlink requests will first judge those requests by the email or message you send them. If you cannot get past this initial filter, your efforts with them are doomed. Have your ducks in a row before starting your link outreach program. That means establishing your authority and your site’s authority before you do anything else.

If you stick with me another few minutes, I’ll share what I finally did to get past this initial filter.

Cold Fact: If You Lack Authority Influencers Will Avoid Your Outreach Efforts Like the Plague

You will need to establish yourself as an authority before anyone will treat you like you are one.

step by step SEO tutorial be-the-authority

The best way I know to increase the success of your link outreach ratios is to become an authority in your niche. When you do, high-quality backlinks will follow.

Why do you need to have Influencers perceive you as an authority in your niche?

So, they backlink to your site, that’s why. That backlink will generate direct traffic to your site from the influencer’s site. It will help improve your search engine rankings on Google and Bing.

Not only that, the Influencer might even send an email to their list with a link to your site.

When that happens, you better boost the resources on your web hosting. Otherwise, the flood of traffic will crash your site.

Lots of good things happen when an Influencer reacts positively to your outreach to them.


What exactly is an authority?

It’s someone who people pay attention to and who’s opinion they respect and even trust.

Authorities gather links and opportunities; non-authorities gather applications from fast food joints.

Step by Step SEO Tutorial Tip #3 – How to Establish Yourself as an Authority

If you want to become a successful link builder, you need to learn how to get people who matter the most to pay attention and respect you.

That’s not as easy to do as it sounds.

If you’re attempting to build backlinks without first establishing your authority you’re burnt toast.

Stop Hiding Your Knowledge Behind Price Tags and Opt-In Forms

Want to become an influencer? Become a teacher!

First, you redesign your website, so it becomes your virtual classroom. Then you start treating your site visitors like they’re your students.

Most website owners make the mistake of hiding their expertise behind price tags and opt-in forms.

The problem with this approach is that most of the Influencers they reach out to will never have access to that knowledge.

Because they hide their expertise, their authority also remains hidden.

Do Teachers Have Authority?

For sure they do!

Teachers gather high-quality links the same as authorities do.


Teachers are authorities!

step by step SEO tutorial train yourself to teach

Some say those who can’t do, teach. But when it comes to building backlinks, that theory falls apart. The best way to become a doer when it comes to building high-quality backlinks is to teach.

Do this mental exercise to understand why this is true.

Close your eyes and think back to who your favorite teacher was in elementary school. Once you have him or her in your mind’s eye, hold them there for a second.

Now imagine your favorite teacher from high school is standing next to him or her.

Now ask yourself this question:

Which one of these former teachers did you hold in higher regard? Chances are you are having a hard time making that distinction.


Because they were your authorities and you respected them both.

We’re All Preconditioned to Respect, Listen, And Respond to Teachers

As children, we were told to respect our teachers. If we acted up, we received discipline in some form or another. Whether it was a paddle, a pile of erasers to clean, or a stack of sentences, we got the point lightning fast.

It happened early in our lives, and there’s not much we can do about it.

Except use it to our advantage.

Step by Step SEO Tutorial Tip #4 – Setting Yourself Up as A Teacher

The good news is just about anyone can become a teacher. All it requires is to have a heart geared towards wanting to help others.

Help people with your content and you become a teacher. Just like that.

A Percentage of Influencers Will Recognize Your Authority Once They Visit Your Website

With that in mind, here are a few things that will help you establish yourself as a teacher.

Your Social Posts Need to Teach, Not Sell

If you’re like most online marketers, most of the content you post comes from your social media posts.

In fact, a lot of backlink outreaches take place via social media. The first contact Influencers have with you may just as easily be your social posts as it is your website content.

If you waste that opportunity, you may never get a chance to regain it.

First impressions sometimes last a lifetime.

So, EVERYTHING you post on social media needs to contribute to building yourself up as a teacher.

You do that by teaching on your posts.

That counts for retweets too. Don’t just retweet a post you liked. Share instead why your followers should read it and why you’re sharing it with them.

Does the material you post on your social media accounts build you up as a teacher? If not, you might want to do something about that.

Consider your social posts like homework assignments for anyone choosing to accept them.

Plenty will accept them.

All this tactic will cost you is your effort. There’s no excuse not to put it in place.

Serve Instead of Seeking to Be Served

When you make the mistake of pitching instead of teaching you put your needs ahead of your reader’s needs.

Humans have a sixth sense that makes them naturally avoid anyone exhibiting this behavior.

You might not recognize the fact you’re doing it. But everyone else will. You can count on it.

Self-sabotage is ugly, as well as painful.

Don’t do it.

How I Shot Myself in The Foot

Early in my online marketing career around 1997, I relied on email spam to sell my eBooks to real estate agents.

I did it because it worked.

As years progressed it kept working, but complaints started coming in as fast as the money did. Spam became an ugly word. But I still chugged forward.

Towards the end, I was sending out one million emails a day on a bullet proof server.

Back then I did nothing to establish myself as a teacher. Instead, I slammed email ads out by the millions and lived off the sales.

Why do I bring this up?

Had I taken the time to teach real estate agents back then I would have made far more money than I had.

Instead, I had my tutorials hidden behind price tags. Whenever someone needed help from me, I gave them a link to my sales page.

If they bought, they learned something, if they read the eBook. If they didn’t buy, they just walked away with a bad taste in their mouth.

My mistake?

Ignoring the people who were getting a bad taste in their mouths because of my marketing efforts.

I should have paid attention to them. Had I, those upset individuals would have taught me several lessons I could have used to make my business stronger.

Like how spam was a bad idea. Also by only attempting to sell to prospects instead of first focusing on teaching them.

It took me almost 20 years as a full-time online marketer to learn that lesson. You just learned it for free. 😉

Seeking to Help Those Who Need it is Not Only an Effective Marketing Tactic, it Also Makes You Feel Great About Yourself

Feeling good about yourself keeps your energy levels and ideas soaring. Helping others makes the world go around.

It does, I learned it in science once.

Have you ever shot yourself in the foot? Don't. It hurts!

Have you ever shot yourself in the foot? Don’t. It hurts! Bad!!

Step by Step SEO Tutorial Tip #5 – Your Link Outreach Attempts Must Not Undermine Your Authority

Just a bit ago I shared how my initial attempts at manual outreach link building failed.

At the time, I thought the reason for it was because the content we created wasn’t good enough.

That had a lot to do with it for sure. But there was something even more elementary I was missing that was killing my efforts.

I was using a copy and pasted outreach email message I found on a post.

Talk about stupid!

If I was using the template word for word, how many other people were also doing the same?

I suspect hundreds, if not thousands.

Since there are only so many Influencers on the web, they can recognize the template quicker than a speeding bullet. When they do, they delete the email and move on to the next one.

It doesn’t matter how excellent the content on your site is either. If you put zero effort into crafting your message, the Influencer will never reach your site.

They have no time to view bad sites. There are millions of them.

Authorities Do Not Beg for Links

When you send out link requests, make sure to let the Influencer know what they will get out of linking to your site.

Does it fit well with his or her content? Do you do a deeper dive on content they covered that you think their readers will enjoy?

If so, make that the focus of your outreach message to them.

Lead with anything else you’re just begging for links. If the Influencers gets a whiff of it, you will stand no chance at getting them to perceive you as an authority.

Keep Your Outreach Efforts Organized

Keeping track of where you’re at with your link outreach efforts is important.

If your awareness campaign is going to be successful, you must reach out to Influencers. Otherwise, you’re double burnt toast.

Remember, the outreach campaigns with the best ratio in that metric will win the most traffic.

Most often these follow-up messages will consist of thanking an Influencer for linking to you. Or reminding them of your content if they haven’t responded back to you.

To pull all this off, you need to be as organized as possible. You need to know who responded to your outreaches and who did not. Plus, you need to find out who linked to you and who did not.

Fail to do this, and you’ll end up looking like anything but an authority.


You’ll end up looking unorganized when you send out the wrong follow-up message to a link prospect.

The quickest way to lose your authority with an Influencer is to beg. The second is to be lazy with your outreach attempt.

The third is to be disorganized.

BuzzStream To the Rescue

Keeping your link outreach campaign in order is easier than ever thanks to BuzzStream.

Their system allows you to:

Research influencers, manage your relationships, and conduct outreach that’s personalized and efficient.


BuzzStream beats the everlasting tar out of using a spreadsheet to manage your campaign.

It’s easy to use, affordable, and they offer a 14-day free trial at the time of this writing.

Check them out while their free trial is still available.

Don’t Attempt Link Outreaches Until Your Site Resembles a Virtual Classroom

You can have the best software and email messages in the world, but they won’t do you any good until your site is in order.

In the next chapter of this step by step SEO tutorial, I will give you some tips on how to make that happen. But I’ll touch on it a bit now.

It’s easier than you may think it is.

Step by Step SEO Tutorial Tip #6 – Setting Your Website Up to Become a Virtual Classroom

Getting your site set up so that prospects view it as a resource is simple. But most marketers fail at it.

Here’s what you do:

Write A Book

One of the surest methods to establish your authority as a teacher on your website is to write a book.

Of course, the topic of the book will need to be one that advances your authority.

You will also need to display an image on your book and a link to where to purchase it. That way your site visitors will be sure to see it regardless of what page they visit.

The Influencers you send link outreach emails to will see it as well Which will not hurt your link outreach success ratio!

Write A No Opt-in Required Tutorial

If the idea of writing and selling a book seems too daunting of a task you could write a tutorial instead. Like I did with this post. 😉

They are a lot easier to write. Trust me.

Just make sure you don’t hide the tutorial behind an opt-in form. Otherwise, the Influencers will miss it when they hit your site.

All Your Website Content Must Teach, Not Sell

Imagine you’re back in high school. It’s the first day of school, and your teacher hands you a sales letter pitching her tutoring service instead of the textbook you expected.

Instead of receiving an education tool you received an advertising pitch instead.

Now ask yourself this important question about the content on your website.

Is it a textbook, or a pitch letter?

Be honest with yourself.

Your visitors want to learn, does your content teach them?

When your visitors hit your site, they need to find a teacher and textbooks. Give them what they expect.

When an influencer checks your site out, they’ll do so by reading your content. If it pitches, you can count on the fact that it will not result in your earning a link.

If they find content that educates in a clear and concise manner your chances of receiving a backlink from them increases dramatically.

Quit Trying to Impress Your Visitors and Just Start Teaching Them Instead

A funny thing happens when you stop trying to impress others. You start to influence them. It’s weird I know and came as a complete shock to me when I discovered it.

The same goes for the visitors to your site and the Influencers you contact in your outreach campaigns.

The best way to impress people is by becoming a teacher. The best way to become a teacher is to start teaching people.

step by step SEO tutorial time-for-review

End of Part Three – What’s Next?

Getting Influencers to link to your content will be huge for your business.

Your surest route to success is to transform yourself into a teacher and your website into a classroom.

You do that, and your outreach success ratios with Influencers will climb higher than you can imagine.


  1. Look over your website with a neutral eye and answer the following questions. Do you have teaching lessons on it? If so, do you lightly touch on topics or dive deep into specifics?
  2. Go back to your golden prospect’s blog and ask yourself those same questions.
  3. List five tasks on your legal pad you could teach your prospects to do that will make their lives easier. These can be either macro tasks or micro tasks. Don’t worry about creating the lessons yet. For now, you just need to list them down to get ideas percolating for later.
  4. Read 4 Techniques for Earning Links to Your Site
  5. Study Link Expert Eric Ward Talks Fear and The Evolution of Links
  6. Watch Website Navigation for Link-Worthy Content Assets — with Eric Ward, Shari Thurow & Garrett French
  7. Proceed to the next chapter of the step by step SEO tutorial.

If you have any questions regarding this step by step SEO tutorial, suggestions, or areas you disagree with me on I want to hear from you. Post them as comments below. Thanks

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