Link Request Email Tips from Eric Ward

Link Request Email Tips from Eric Ward
By Eric Ward | Updated 1/2016 posted on our blog with permission from the author.

I’m willing to bet that at some point over the past few years, you’ve received an email asking for a link that looked something like this one below.

[Note: Check out Eric’s other popular posts at Link Building Myths, Link Building Strategies, and What Makes a Web Site Link Worthy? while you’re here.]

Date: Thursday, November 9, 20xx
To: webmaster@yoursite
From: Someone you've never heard of
Subject: Link request
Dear site owner,
I was looking at your web site and think we should 
link to each other. If you are interested, please add 
the following code to your HTML:
[Insert this HTML code]
Thanks,
CompanyURL.com

As ridiculous as it seems, the above link request letter and/or variants thereof land in my inbox. Every. Single. Day.

A link request sent via email should include several elements. Collectively, all of them serve two key purposes:

1). They let the receiver know you took the time to look at and study their site
2). They make it as easy as possible for the receiver to decide whether or not to link to your site

Avoiding Delete…

Below is a list of items your link request should (or could) contain, followed by the reasons why. Although these may seem simple once you read them, the overwhelming majority of link requests I receive do not contain any of them. While in certain cases there are also other elements, for this week’s column, let’s focus on these below.1). A subject line that follows any stated directions given by the site owner you are seeking a link from. On many sites with topical collections of curated links (the About.com guides, for example) the editor in charge often states that when asking for a link, you should follow certain directions. One of these is typically a special subject line, like:

Subject: Request for review

If you’ve not taken the time to look at the recipient’s site carefully, and you don’t follow the link request directions, don’t be surprised when you don’t hear back hear from the recipient.  If no exact instructions are given, then you have a bigger challenge. My advice is do not put the word link request in the subject line, simply because there are probably 100 million emails with that exact subject line or something similar hitting inboxes and getting deleted every day around the world.

Below is a great example of a site that represents a fantastic link opportunity for those with the right content who actually follow directions. Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts – https://www.arts.gov/about-nea ) is willing to link to a very specific type of content. Go to the below URL or read the image below where I’ve highlighted the submission instructions.

https://www.arts.gov/lifetime-honors/nea-national-heritage-fellowships/make-nomination

link request example

An example of a site that represents a fantastic link opportunity for those who actually follow directions. The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)

The lesson is clear: Follow instructions!

2). The site owner’s name. It seems so simple, but take the time to look through the site you are seeking a link from, and find the site owner’s name.  Include their name immediately in your email, because if you don’t, chances are they will assume your email is automated spam. so he or she knows you’re not a spammer. If you can’t find their name, look for a phone number. Call them. Yes, actually use the phone.

In the above link request I received, it was immediately obvious this person had never been to my site, even though the email indicated otherwise. If this person really had been to my site, my name is the first thing he or she would have seen, and after a few minutes, they would see that I don’t offer a links page.

3). Your name. Again, it’s just common courtesy. The person requesting a link is a human being and so are you. A first line like “Hello, Mr. Ward. My name is John Smith” tells me that at least this person has taken the time to find out who was running my website and is nice enough to tell me who he or she is. It also shows me that he or she didn’t send that same email to 4,000 other people unless by some bizarre coincidence their names were all “Mr. Ward.”

4). The exact URL on their site where you hope to earn a link. “On your site, I see you have the following content (URL)”

(By now the reader of the email knows you know his/her name, site name, and URL. You obviously are not lying to them or spamming them).

Don’t show fake sincerity or imply friendship when, in fact, you’ve never met me. Be professional, courteous, and to the point. I really get turned off by email from people who act like we are buddies.

5). Your site’s name and home page URL. “I am contacting you about my site, called ‘SiteName,’ which is located at http://www.SiteName.com”

6). A SHORT paragraph that describes your site. Do not oversell your site or give them 76 reasons why they need to link to it. If they link to it, it won’t be your email that earned the link. The email alone cannot earn a link, but it can certainly cost you a chance to earn one. The link will come when they look at your site and determine whether or not your content is link worthy to them.

The email alone cannot earn a link, but it can certainly cost you a chance to earn one

7). The exact URL you want them to link to on your site. “Since I have a splash page that has some large images, you may prefer to use this URL for linking: http://www.SiteName.com/home2.html”

8). A valid email address and respond to any requests made to that address. “If you would like to contact me about this, please feel free to reach me at my personal email address below.” And please –PLEASE– use a real email address with a name in it. When I receive an email sent from linking-campaign@whateversite.com, I feel so special that I hit the delete key twice, just for good measure.

9). Your phone number. “Or, if you prefer, you can also call me at this phone number: (put your phone number).”

An Example…
Below is a sample of what a full link request email would look like. It’s from a long ago client but it is nearly identical to what I use successfully today.

NOTE: Due to the number of people who have copied, pasted, edited and completely bastardized/ruined the example outreach email I had included here, I’ve removed it. How’s that for irony?

What your email doesn’t say is just as important…

Any webmaster or site manager who receives the above email can tell immediately many crucial things about me and my link request:

  • I took the time to actually look at their site. How else could I call it by name?
  • I took the time to find out who runs the site
  • I reviewed the site for appropriateness. How else would I have known he had a “bird links” area?
  • I followed any link-request instructions. How else would I have known to put “Editorial submission question” in the subject line?
  • I didn’t send that same email to 25,000 people
  • I value their time by making it easy for them to know just what URL I wanted to be linked, and where
  • I respect the site content by subscribing to the site’s newsletter
  • I looked at more than just the home page
  • I am not afraid to put my phone number in the email; spammers won’t do that

There are many additional subtle points to this process, and many additional things I might need or have to include, but these are not right for every scenario, so let’s keep things as simple as possible for now.

The bottom line is that by recognizing the individuals on the receiving end of your link requests and showing them courtesy and respect, you have a far greater chance to get a response. When I receive link letters, I look for tell-tale signs that I was not singled out individually. If I spot an obvious bulk link seeker, I delete the email immediately.

And yes, this means you cannot automate this part of the process and yes, this means you have to create and send each link request one at a time. As you should.

Sometimes each site takes an entire three clicks and two minutes. Big deal. This is a lifelong link you’re seeking. Why would you short-cut this most human and crucial communication/exchange?


About The Author:

Eric Ward founded the Web’s first service to help introduce web content to the online world, back in 1994. Then lightning struck when Jeff Bezos asked Eric to announce and publicize Amazon.com’s debut launch. Eric subsequently won the 1995 Award For Internet Marketing Excellence (the industry’s “Oscar” back then). Eric creates and has executed content linking strategies for PBS.org, WarnerBros, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, The New York Times, TVGuide.com, Paramount, and Weather.com.

Today, Eric continues to offer link building training, workshops, strategies, and M/A counsel and publishes the content linking strategy newsletter LinkMoses Private. Eric and his methods continue to be written about in numerous publications and featured in college curricula. Eric has presented at over 160 industry conferences and symposiums. In 2015, Eric contributed to the book Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, and in 2013 Eric authored the book The Ultimate Guide to Link Building for Entrepreneur Press, now in its 3rd printing.

Going back further, In 2008 Eric was one of 25 people profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, from Wiley & Sons, Inc., written by Michael Miller, and in 2000 contributed to the book E-Volve-or-Die.com: Thriving in the Internet Age Through E-Commerce Management. Back in the Dark Ages (1997) Eric was named one of the Web’s 100 most influential people by Websight magazine. Eric also contributes to the LinkWeek column for search industry news site SearchEngineLand.com and has also contributed to SearchEngineWatch, Web Marketing Today, ClickZ, MarketingProfs, and print magazines Search Marketing Standard and Ad Age.

Eric, his wife, and three children live in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. Eric works alone by design and prefers to take a hands-on approach with his clients. You can learn more about his link building training, workshops, strategies and other services here, and contact him here.

Yoast Structured Data Training Review by Matt LaClear 7/13/17

In this post, you will learn how Yoast Structured Data Training helped me to get Rich Snippets displayed on my site’s SERP listings. I’ll get into what Rich Snippets are, why they are important to your business, and why I feel the course is worth the investment.

[Note: Make sure to check out my Yoast SEO for WordPress Training Review, Yoast Site Structure Training Review or my library of  Link Building Strategies when you’re done reading this post.]

Yoast Structured Data Training Review

Why Rich Snippets Are Important

Adding structured data will increase the traffic hitting your website. It does this by providing the search engines with a better understanding of the information on each page of your site. They then take this newfound knowledge and display it as a rich snippet on their search results pages, which results in more people noticing your listing and clicking over to your site.

Click Through Rates (CTR) play a significant role in SEO these days, so as your CTR improves so will your rankings. Which results in even more traffic hitting your site as a result of structured data you add to your site.

I Was A Complete Novice Going into the Training

In the past, I always failed and became frustrated whenever I tried to add structured data to a site. I’d get into the project, become confused, then upset, then hired out the work to be done instead. To say I was a structured data beginner would be a gross understatement.

At the end of the training, I had the Structure Data I needed installed and working. It took me a couple of hours to work through the course and it was much easier than I anticipated.

What Makes Yoast Structured Data Training Different Than Other Courses On the Topic?

Given the fact that I am not a coder by trade, I was nervous about having to learn Schema. I was also skeptical about the course being able to deliver on its promise to teach me what I needed to learn.

The course included 75 minutes of videos on how to set up structured data on a site. These videos made implementing Schema on my site a breeze. Joost de Valk walked me step by step through the entire process. When I had a hard time understanding a concept, I just rewatched the video segment that was giving me trouble. It made learning the course content a simple process.

Having the videos to refer to in the future guarantees I won’t forget how to add structured data to sites. PDF libraries are great, but I’m a visual learner, so I like the videos.

Speaking of PDF libraries, the reading assignments given throughout the training supplement the videos in a big way. After watching each video, I then read the homework, and again watched the video. Combined, the two are excellent teaching tools.

Like all the other Yoast Academy courses, interactive quizzes are given at the end of each module. These exams are set where you need a perfect score on them to move on to the next section of the course. At first, this seemed like a daunting task, but retaking the quizzes is simple, and educational. Whenever I got a quiz question wrong, Yoast provided detailed answers on why my answer was wrong. I found the quizzes to be as great a teaching tool as the videos and PDF’s were.

Yoast Partner, Marieke van de Rakt helped to clarify points in key spots throughout the course. Without Marieke’s input, I would have had a much harder time understanding the training. I’m not ashamed to admit that because, like I just mentioned, I’m not a coder. Needless to say, I found her role in the training helpful and much appreciated.

It Took One Day for Me to See Results from Taking Yoast Structured Data Training

After completing the course, it took a day or so before I saw the first Rich Snippet pop up on Google for my listings. It was later in the day when the second and third snippets appeared. Those all came as a result of implementing what I learned in Yoast Structured training.

As a result of what I learned from this training, my agency is now running Schema audits on our clients’ sites. We’re finding big time opportunities to increase their traffic levels. Those are opportunities I would have missed without Yoast Structured Data Training. If you run an agency yourself, I recommend you take the course. Period.

Yoast Structured Data Training Review – In Conclusion

You just learned how Yoast Structured Data Training taught me to get Rich Snippets on my Google search listings. You also discovered what Rich Snippets are, and why they are relevant (and important!) to your business. Finally, I shared why I think the training is well worth the money if you’re looking to increase the amount of traffic hitting your site or your clients’ sites.

Check Out the Cool Badge You Get for Completing the Training

Matt LaClear successfully completed the Structured data course!

Yoast Site Structure Training Review by Matt LaClear 7/1/17

There are plenty of training courses to turn to if you’re looking to beef up the structure of your website. Yoast Site Structure Training by Joost de Valk for $99 is one of them.

I bought the course and have gone through it through it several times now. What follows is my unbiased and unpaid review of it.

[Note: Make sure to check out my Yoast SEO for WordPress Training ReviewYoast Structured Data Training Review or my library of  Link Building Strategies when you’re done reading this post.]

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Why Did I Buy Yoast’s Site Structure Training?

Our agency started using the premium version of the Yoast SEO Plugin in May of this year. When we did, I noticed the plugin mentioned Cornerstone Content. It was a term I had never heard before, so I started researching it. Which of course, brought me to Joost and Marieke van de Rakt’s course.

Was I disappointed with Site Structure Training? You’ll have to keep reading to find out what I thought of it.

Why did I want to learn more about Cornerstone Content and site structure in general?

To be frank, I was looking for ideas on a site structure project I am helping with for EricWard.com. Given that LinkMoses’s site is over 20 years old, has several hundred pages and Eric has never once optimized his on-site content, I had both a challenge and concern on my hands. How to fix a train wreck of disconnected content while retaining the rankings Eric had earned over time.

Eric Ward has great content on his site, though. The idea of having some of that content be cornerstone content fit what I had in mind for his new structure. Signing up for Site Structure Training was a no-brainer given the small one-time fee of $99 USD.

Was the Training Comprehensive Enough for My Liking?

To be clear, Yoast’s Site Structure Training is a course for beginners. It introduces the topic of what site structure is, and moves on to ways to fix wrong site structures. It does an excellent job on both fronts.  If you’re a veteran, you might have a hard time justifying the $99 USD.

What Format is Site Structure Training Presented?

Like the other courses Yoast offers, Site Training was easy to follow and understand. It has three modules, with over 54 minutes of video, six PDFs, and six interactive quizzes.

The exams I found to be exceptional training tools in their right. For every wrong answer that I gave I received a detailed explanation on why my answer was wrong. My brain responds well to that form of reinforcement. I find the quizzes quite helpful for that reason.

What Specific Nuggets Did I Learn from Taking Site Structure Training?

Did this course disappoint me in any way?

What I learned about cornerstone content was worth the $99. Which, as I mentioned, was why I bought the course.

What I didn’t expect was to learn as many nuggets about structure taxonomies as I did. After applying them, we saw a significant jump in engagement metrics on EricWard.com.  Some triple figure increases caught our attention too. 🙂

Do I Recommend You Purchase Yoast Site Structure Training?

If you run a website for your small business, learning proper site architecture should be a must. Your visitors will appreciate the effort, so will the search engine bots. Buying this course is the perfect first step in learning how to do that.

Check Out the Sexy Badge You Receive When You Complete the Training

Matt LaClear successfully completed the Site structure course!

Yoast SEO for WordPress Training Review by Matt LaClear 6/24/17

It’s not too often I write a review post about a training course, in fact, this may be my first ever. My Yoast SEO for WordPress Training Review is one you can trust given I am not affiliated with the company in any way. I am, however, a big fan of their plugins, and courses.

If you haven’t run across the new Yoast SEO for WordPress Training course yet that Yoast offers, I recommend you do. I recently took the course, and what follows is my full review of it.

[Note: Make sure to read my Yoast Site Structure Training ReviewYoast Structured Data Training Review or my library of  Link Building Strategies when you’re done reading this post.]

Your SEO Squad logo next to Yoast badge over the text, "Yoast SEO for WordPress Training Review."

If you run a WordPress site, you most likely have the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin installed already. You may want to bookmark this page and install it now if not.

It will help you attract more visitors from the search engines and social media sites when you do.

Once you do have the plugin installed, you must decide whether to upgrade to the premium version. It’s my recommendation that for the price, and with so much for you to gain, you do upgrade. Why I feel that way is a topic for discussion for another day.

If you have upgraded already, you may have noticed Yoast offers a paid course to help you learn how to use it. Given my deep respect for Joost de Valk, I paid the $99 USD and dove straight in.

What I Hoped to Get from Taking Yoast SEO for WordPress Training

Our agency has used the free version of the Yoast plugin on our client sites for years. We loved it, and it was always the first plugin we would install when taking over a new customer campaign.

A couple of months ago we realized that if we liked the free version of the plugin so much, we’d loved the premium more. So we upgraded our client sites and got set to start rocking.

The only problem was we were completely clueless at first on how to use the darn thing. After going through the help section, we got up to speed in short order and were off to the races.

After becoming amazed at how robust the tool was, I dug deep to find extra training on it. That’s when I found the Yoast SEO for WordPress training course.

What I hoped to get from taking it was simple. I wanted to glean as many nuggets as possible about the tool that I could put to use in our campaigns.

Did the course deliver on those expectations? Keep reading to find out.

What Specific Nuggets Did I Learn from Taking Yoast SEO for WordPress Training?

While taking the course, I had a client’s admin opened, and was making adjustments to it as I went along.

Which was satisfying, I must admit.

I liked learning how to connect Yoast SEO with Google Search Console. Combining the two tools are powerful, to say the least. The client’s site I had open had several hundred 404 errors the plugin displayed. Not only that, Joost’s plugin gave me an option to apply redirects to them.

From what I learned in Yoast SEO for WordPress training I was able to clean the mess up in a matter of minutes.

It was also nice having a guide to step me through the general settings of the plugin.

It was like having Joost de Valk peering over my shoulder and giving me directions on how to set everything up.

Talk about cool!

If you’re unfamiliar with who Joost is, I recommend you acquaint yourself with him quick like. Then pay attention to every word that comes from his mouth. He has a brain you do not want to ignore.

What he teaches on rel=prev/rel=next elements is worth the price of the course by itself. Buried content is not doing your site any good until you do something about it.

Those are just a few of the nuggets I took from the course. There were many more of course, but those were the three big takeaways for me.

Was the Course Comprehensive Enough for My Liking?

Having been the industry for more years than I care to admit, I have taken my share of training courses.

The training has 11 modules, covering everything you need to learn to become a Yoast SEO expert.

The course covered several topics I was oblivious to about on-page SEO, and this is what I do for a living.

Learning about SEO is one thing, it’s something anyone in the industry does on a constant basis. Being able to follow along a course that teaches you how to set up a powerful plugin is much different.

Was the course comprehensive enough for my $99?

You bet it was, and I’d be willing to wager it will be worth your $99 as well.

Was Yoast SEO for WordPress Training Easy to Understand?

One would expect a course on a topic as complicated as Tech & On-page SEO would be boring, or hard to comprehend. Especially when the principal instructor is someone as brilliant as Joost de Valk.

This course was anything but hard to comprehend. Joost is an excellent teacher or has great writers, or both even. Whatever the combination of skill sets, the course is easy enough for a beginner to do.

In fact several of our teenagers work for the agency over the summer, we trained them with Yoast videos.

None of the teens had a problem learning the contents of the course. As a result, they might know more about On-Page than you do at the moment.

If they can do it, so can you.

What Format is the Course Presented In?

The course was well put together and organized logically. It consisted of explainer and instructional videos, plus a quiz I needed to pass at the end of each module.

I won’t hide the fact I had to retake a few of the quizzes.  Yoast requires a 100% score before you can proceed to the next module of the course. Even getting answers wrong on an exam was a learning experience though. Yoast did a superb job explaining why the answers I chose were incorrect, and the others correct.

Did I Learn How to Use Yoast SEO for WordPress from taking the Course?

You better believe I did, and I’m applying all that knowledge to my client’s campaigns. It’s far too early to share case studies, but we see four-figure increases on KDP’s already.

Note: I will publish the case studies once more time has passed to ensure the integrity of the reviews.

Do I Recommend You Take the Course?

Whether or not you think Yoast SEO for WordPress training is worth $99 USD is definitely up to you.

I’m just telling you it was worth that and more to our agency.

When completing the training you will earn a badge just like this one to show your new found skills off to your readers! Happy Rankings, Friends!

Matt LaClear successfully completed the Yoast SEO for WordPress course!

How Persistent Should I Be With Link Prospects?

How often you follow up with your link prospects is your business of course.

Many in our industry treat candidates like sides of beef. Instead of seeing people, they see targets. Where they may see an email address, a smart link builder will see an opportunity to grow their business.

How many cold emails should you send a prospect before giving up on them?

None!

Your chances of earning a response from a big league prospect via a cold email are just about nil. So going that route to gain links makes zero sense.

That’s why we NEVER reach out to prospects cold at our agency. It doesn’t work for us. Instead, we only send our requests to hot prospects who are receptive to the idea.

How we manage to set that up is a strict secret of course. It’s locked at home in my underwear drawer, so I know it’s safe.

You can refer to Chapter 14 in Eric Ward’s Link Building Book to see where I got the idea for our outreach approach. If you haven’t bought the book yet, you should. Even though Eric wrote it a few years ago, every word in it is still one hundred percent applicable.

[Spoiler Alert – That chapter in Eric’s book (and our outreach system!) involves relationship building.]

How often should you follow up with your link prospects?

That depends on whether you read Eric’s chapter yet. If you haven’t and you’re still asking that question, I doubt you care to learn the answer to it anyways.

SEO Glossary – Updated for 2017

Welcome to our SEO Glossary!
 
If you can’t find the definition you came looking for, please contact us so we can add it.
 
Study hard, the vocabulary test is on next Friday! 😉

 

Image depicting a brain wearing glasses pointing to the following text, "SEO Glossary."

Link

A link is a shortcut to another address on the web. Most search engines consider a link to be a sign that the site receiving the link is of value.

Dofollow

All standard links are dofollow links. Which means that Google counts the link as a recommendation.

Nofollow

If for some reason, you don’t want a link to be dofollow, you would mark it with the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tells search engines to ignore this link. One common place where people use nofollow is when they’re setting up a comments section. This prevents people from using your site to build up their backlink numbers.

URL Anchor Text

The anchor text is the word or phrase that someone clicks on to follow a link.

Google Algorithm

Google Algorithm is a system for determining the order that websites show up on Google. Which takes a variety of things into consideration, including content, backlinks, and quality.

Google Penguin

An update to Google’s ranking algorithm that penalized black hat linking tactics.

Google Panda

Panda was another algorithm update that weeded out low-quality sites from search results.

Matt Cutts

The former head of the web spam team at Google. Matt Cutts was a common source of information about best practices for link building.

Eric Ward aka LinkMoses

Eric Ward started building links before Google came on the scene. He is one of the top link builders in the world.

Google Hummingbird

Another SEO algorithm, this one not only considers synonyms for words and context.

Authority Site

Authority sites have a large number of backlinks from other high-value sites. Most authority sites have high trust and PageRank, so they usually end up at the top of search results. An example of an authority site is Wikipedia.

Domain Rank

This metric attempts to determine how a domain will rank. Sometimes referred to as domain authority.

Ahrefs

A tool for checking backlinks. It also allows people to keep tabs on their competition.

Majestic

Another tool for checking backlinks. Majestic offers a suite of tools that also allows people to stay on top of their competition.

Trust Flow

The metric trust flow is used to determine how trustworthy a link from a website is. This is decided based on the quality of sites that link back to a site. In other words, the quality of sites linking to a site determines if a link out from a site is also likely to be of quality.

Citation Flow

Like trust flow, citation flow is a measure of how many sites link to a website. Unlike with trust flow, the quality of sites linking to a site isn’t involved in this metric.

Black Hat

Black Hat tactics take advantages of loopholes or vulnerabilities in a system. While they are not illegal, if found out, they will result in penalties.

White Hat

White Hat Tactics are above board and considered completely acceptable by search engines.

Gray Hat

Gray Hat Tactics are usually aboveboard but could result in site penalties down the road.

Web 2.0

The second generation of the Internet many refer to as Web 2.0. It marked the beginning of the use of social media and the transition from static to dynamic content.

Profile Link

A profile link is when you add a link to your site to any profile you have.

Forum Link

When posting on a forum, some people include a link to their domain. This can help backlink numbers, but it can backfire if done on the same site.

Internal Link

Links that are internal are links to other pages on a website, such as on a contact page or an about us page.

External Link

External links are links to pages on sites that are on a different domain.

Sitewide Link

Links that are present on every page on a website are sitewide links. They are often linked to About, Contact, or Home pages.

Contextual Link

A contextual link is a link located in the written content of a web page. The anchor text usually relates to whatever the subject of the link is about. A link to a cat food website might have a link text of “cat food for mature felines.”

Private Blog Network – Black Hat

Also referred to as PBNs, private blog networks are a black hat method of link building. The practitioner buys expired domains, and create private blogs. They then write blog posts and post backlinks on. Google is aware of this tactic, and they have been finding and penalizing sites that use it.

Guest Blog Post

When someone who is not the owner of a site has someone else, who usually runs their site, create content for a blog.

Tiered Linking

Tiered linking involves using layers of backlinks to boost a site’s reputation.

Tier 1 Link

Sites that link to your website are tier 1 links.

Tier 2 Link

Sites that link to sites that link to your site are tier 2 links.

Link Wheel – Black Hat

Creating a link wheel means generating many sites that link to each other. This increases the backlinks for each. This is usually easy for Google to detect and penalize.

Blog Comment

Comments that left at the bottom of blog pages are blog comments. Many sites use them to increase social interactions on a site and build a community.

Search Engine Optimization

Often known as SEO, this is a method of ensuring that a website shows up at the top of search engine results. The practice involves a combination of signals and is used by just about every SEO Agency in the world.

Email Outreach

A traditional method of reaching out to link prospects is email outreach.

Broken Link Campaign

Links become broken all the time as domains expire or businesses fail. A broken link campaign involves finding these broken links on sites you want a link from. Then contact the webmaster and suggest your link as an alternative.

Expired Domain – Black Hat

Many webmasters register expired domains for above-board reasons. Often though, it’s part of a black hat effort to use it as a source for backlinks.

Google Webmaster Tools

A suite of tools that allow you to keep your site running. It checks how long it takes for your page to load or if it’s mobile-friendly. Plus, you can create and submit a sitemap to Google and ensure that Google can crawl all the pages on your site.

Google Search Console

The new name for Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Analytics

A set of tools that Google offers that allows you to keep track of visitors to your site. It also tracks where traffic comes from and how long people stay on a site, among many other things.

URL Shortener

A tool that creates a much shorter version of a link, which makes it easier to share on social media.

301 Redirect Link

There are several types of redirects, and a 301 redirect is one that indicates a website or web page has moved. It passes on 90 to 99 percent of ranking power.

Throw Away Site – Black Hat

A website that someone intends to use for black hat methods without risking a penalty to their main site.

Press Release

A press release is a statement about a business issued to the public, often through a news media source.

GSA Link – Black Hat

GSA Link is an automated link building program used for black hat purposes, but Google can detect its use, and penalties are usually severe.

Keyword Phrase

Keywords often refer to a single word that someone searches for. A keyword phrase may include many words that someone is searching for.

Money Keyword

A money keyword is one that drives the best traffic to your website. The keyword needs to be one in which it draws visitors who are most likely to convert or make a sale.

LSI Keyword

Short for latent semantic indexing keywords, these are synonyms for keywords. An example of an LSI keyword for used cars would be pre-owned vehicles.

On-page Optimization

Things that you do on your website, including creating keyword content, optimizing HTML to include header tags and ALT tags and using SEO friendly naming methods, to improve your search engine ranking are on-page optimization.

Off-page Optimization

Off-page optimization includes things that you do off of your site to improve its search engine ranking. Backlinking efforts are an example of off page optimization.

Link Velocity

The speed that a page is linked to by other sites is the link velocity.

SAPE Links – Black Hat

SAPE Links is a link network that was used for black hat link building purposes. Users of the system have been penalized by Google.

Editorial Links

Links that are created to your site from another site without your requesting it are editorial links.

Social Signals

Social signals are indications of how popular an article or blog post is on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. They include likes, shares, and retweets, but the extent to which social signals affect search engine rankings is debated.

EDU Link

These links end in .edu instead of .com or .net, and they are for educational institutions. They can be used for everything from grade schools to universities.

GOV Link

Ending in .gov instead of .com or .net, GOV links are to government owned websites. They may be local, state or federal websites and organizations.

Google Disavow Tool

A tool that allows you to inform Google that you don’t want the search engine to factor a link from a site into your backlink efforts or your search engine ranking.

Disavowed Link

If a link to your site is from a site that Google considers to be low quality, you can disavow the link using a Google form to keep that backlink from having an adverse effect on your search engine ranking.

Infographic

A visual image that presents data. Most infographics include a variety of charts, graphs, and pictures to convey a substantive amount of information.

Image Link

While the majority of links are text links, where people click on text to go to another site, you can also create a link where people click on an image to visit another website.

Dwell Time

The amount of time between someone clicking on a search engine result and returning to the search engine result. In theory, a shallow dwell time means that someone did not find what they were looking for, so the link shown may not be relevant to a keyword or search term.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of people who leave your site without visiting another page on your site.

Questions to Ask the SEO Company You Are About to Hire

Hiring an SEO company to help promote your website shouldn’t require a degree in rocket science.

Picking the wrong agency might lead to disaster, which is why it’s important to ask several critical questions before you decide to hand any money over to an SEO provider.

Image of man with hands in the air, and text above his head reading, "Questions to Ask the SEO Company You Are About to Hire."How Will Your Staff Help My Website Earn Links?

Ask the agency how they plan on acquiring new backlinks to your site. If they can’t answer your question quickly, and in great detail, then politely end your meeting with them.

Seriously.

Earning new links to your site is critical to the success of your SEO efforts, any agency that sounds the least bit fuzzy regarding their tactics either does not know how to earn links or is planning black hat activities. Both of which are your cue to move on to the next agency on your list.

If they can detail their linking strategies, check them against these Link Building Best Practices put together by none other than LinkMoses himself. If not, keep your search alive until you find an agency who will meet those standards.

Who’s Responsible For Your SEO Strategy?

Some SEO firms will make decisions that move your business closer to black hat techniques, while others will follow the best practices put forth by Google.

There’s no meaningful way to gauge the risks unless you have a full appreciation of the prevailing philosophy their link building team follows.

It’s also important that the buck stop with one individual. That person better should be an excellent communicator and an even better problem solver.

If you can’t talk to this person directly, take your business elsewhere.

What Is Your Metrics for Success?

Success is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve without first having agreed upon parameters that will define the success of the agency’s efforts.

Quantifiable goals need to be in place. If you’re looking to increase active daily users, it’s important that the SEO Team’s reports track that metric and not something else.

Here are the metrics I track. If the vendor can’t hang with that, then send him or her back to their sad little cubicle.

How Will I Be Kept Informed of Site Changes?

The folks working on the SEO for your site will likely need to make changes to both content and the underlying structure of the site. It’s important that modifications being fully documented and properly authorized.

All interested parties also need to be kept in the loop. If you have a separate company handling web coding, database administration and hosting, they’re likely to want to know when and where the professionals will be poking around within their systems. They may also need to authorize admin-level access to servers.

How Will Your Keyword Research Conducted?

Knowing what your users are hunting for is critical to crafting your marketing strategy. Search engine optimization companies for small business have a broad range of tastes regarding the tools they prefer to use for researching keyword phrases.

You’ll also want to know how the agency plans on communicating keyword recommendations to you. One organization might offer dashboard access to such reports, while another may only present specific recommendations within reports sent to you. Whatever approach is employed, you’ll want an existing record of all keyword recommendations.

Are You Prepared to Make Adjustments Over Time?

The world of SEO is one of constant flux. Search engine providers are trying to stay ahead of unscrupulous tactics, while everyone else is trying to catch up.

It’s important to know that the firm in charge of your SEO campaign will be prepared to make changes, sometimes on the fly.

You’ll also want to have an agreement in place for how the agency will bill you for these adjustments and what manner of authorization will be necessary to implement them.

How Do You Stay Current With Trends?

At a bare minimum, the SEO company you hire should be encouraging its employees to read the Google Webmaster Central blog regularly. The GWC Blog is where Google itself informs the SEO industry about best practices and changes.

How Will Your SEO Company Bill Me?

Everybody in the SEO world likes to charge in different ways. Some, especially freelancers, like hourly billing, while others may favor monthly retainers or even yearly billings.

How Does User Interface Factor In What You Offer?

A capable SEO firm will take a long look at your user interface. Increasingly, the time users spend on your web pages is becoming a vital ranking factor. The SEO professionals you hire should demonstrate a willing to address these issues early on in the process.

Conclusion

Finding the right SEO company for your job means weeding out the bad ones. By asking the right questions, you can get a step closer to forming a partnership that will last for years.

What is a Golden Link Prospect?

If you are not currently building relationships between your company and the BIGGEST NAMES in your industry, you may be wondering what the difference is between a normal link prospect and what our agency calls a Golden Link Prospect (GLP).

A Golden Link Prospect will cause you to do BACKFLIPS when they link to your site.

If you’re in the personal development niche, it will be people like Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. In SEO, it will be Brian Dean, Rand Fishkin, Joost de Valk, and Eric Ward. In health, it would be Dr. Mercola, maybe even Dr. Oz.

 

A Golden Link Prospect’s Link to Your Site Will Help Your Business in Three Ways:

  1. You’ll receive referral traffic from their website. You’re going to get visitors from their link when his or her readers click it. Maybe even a lot of them.
  2. Your search engine rankings will improve. Which will result in even more prospects hitting your website and buying your product or service.
  3. The largest authority in your niche will get to know who you are. That’s going to give you the ability to network with this authority.

Effective networking with Golden Link Prospects is a big part of the SEO service we provide to our clients. This not only helps us earn awesome links for our clients but, also, helps facilitate them building a long-term relationship with the GLP’s.

Those long-term relationships may very well end up generating a lot of revenue for their businesses. It’s the type of backlink that could be the gift that keeps on giving, giving, and GIVING to your business.

Will Scoring a Backlink from Your Golden Link Prospect Be Worth the Effort You Spend?

Imagine two vendors with identical products, pricing, and web designs. The only difference between them being one of their sites has a link from a Golden Link Prospect, and the other doesn’t.

Who wins that revenue fight?

If I were a betting man, I would say it would be the vendor with the great link.

Not only will he receive more web traffic than the other supplier, but his conversions will also be higher because he took the time to rock out his site content to earn that backlink.

So, he will get more traffic, he’ll get more conversions, that’s why I think he would win that fight. That’s why it’s important for you to earn links from the main authorities in your industry too.