Make no mistake about it, after Google Penguin was released, the name of the game when it comes to SEO is outreach. This is the conclusion tried and proven SEO veterans have arrived at. The old tricks no longer work.
Well, you can try them, but let me tell you, they will give you a one way ticket to Google penalties.
The bottom line with modern SEO is editorial control. You have to get links from third party websites that your competitors usually can't get links from. This means that you have to get in good with the editors of those sites.
How do you go about doing this? Well, it really all boils down to giving them something in exchange for a link. I'm not talking about money. After all, Google frowns on paid links.
If Google finds out that you are buying link placements on third party blogs, they will not only penalize the places linking to you, but they will also penalize your site. This is a nonstarter. Instead, you should "pay" for your link in the form of free content.
The most obvious example of this is a guest post. You reach out to bloggers and ask them what kind of content they're looking for. You send them that content along with the link to your site. If they like the content, they publish it on their blog.
Now, the understanding is that you're not going to submit that same content somewhere else. Instead, the content that you give them is unique to their blog.
If you get enough of your contributed blog posts published, you build a nice network of backlinks to your target website. These backlinks can dramatically improve your search engine rankings.
Sounds good so far? Great. Unfortunately, most online entrepreneurs doing SEO outreach plain suck at it.
The Hallmarks of Worthless SEO Outreach Campaigns
A lot of marketers and online publishers trying their hand at SEO outreach plain suck. They really do. They would send an email saying, "Hey, I have this website and I'd like to know if you can publish a guest post I will write for you on this topic. Let me know soon."
I'm telling you, if that is the gist of your email, you're wasting your time. Such practices have all the hallmarks of worthless SEO outreach.
Hallmark #1: You sent an email first
You have to understand that when you send an email to somebody, most of the time, if they don't know you, they will ignore your email. Worse yet, they might even flag it as spam.
You have to save the email for last. You have to email a publisher only after you have established some level of relationship.
This is why I suggest that before you send an email, get on their radar by commenting on their blog, engaging them on social media, or getting introduced by somebody they already know. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time by sending an email first.
Hallmark #2: You're obvious about guest posting
The first thing that you need to understand is that business relationships require a relationship first. In other words, you have to introduce yourself to them. How credible are you? What kind of value do you bring to the table based on your website? Who exactly are you in their niche?
Because if the people you're reaching out to think that you're just this random person, how seriously do you think they would take you? Here's a spoiler: they won't. They probably get hundreds of outreach emails every single day. Your stuff will fall between the cracks.
You have to introduce yourself using your successes. So you basically say, "My name is so and so, I run this blog, which is a leading blog in our niche. Here are some links from some of the most credible websites in our niche."
Alternatively, you can say, "Here are some of my past posts." And the posts must be able to speak for themselves in terms of quality, credibility and authority.
You have to introduce yourself. You have to create a context for your expertise, otherwise, people will not take you seriously.
Hallmark #3: You dictated to them
Another hallmark of really worthless SEO outreach is when you dictate to somebody you're trying to get a link from. You're telling them, in no uncertain terms, "Hey, publish my content. Here's the subject matter."
I'm telling you, even if they think you're credible, even if they think that you can possibly add value, they're going to get turned off. Nobody likes being dictated to.
So the workaround to this should be obvious. You should let them lead. You should ask them, "Do you have any content needs? What kind of subjects would you like content on? Do you have some content ideas?"
Ask them for a list. Let them lead. This way, they would think that the whole guest post arrangement is their idea. They would think that they're the beneficiary.
Keep the tips above in mind. Beware of the hallmarks of worthless SEO outreach campaigns. Don't engage in them. They are a waste of time.
Do yourself a big favor and read the workarounds and alternatives I discussed above so you can take your SEO outreach campaign's success to the next level.