A rigorous review of SEO outreach strategy and techniques
We designed this Outreach White Paper in order for the company to assess an SEO agency’s ability to develop a winning strategy and execute its techniques and processes the best way possible.
In SEO campaigns, the main goal of outreach is to design meaningful backlinks from off-site websites to the client website. As a result, these links aim to improve organic rankings and expose the company to new potential clients. On the other hand, SEO campaigns must broaden brand awareness and convince their clients that it is reliable. Outreach is more important than ever to successful SEO:
Backlinks are considered to be one of the strongest ranking factors in the Google search algorithm and wish to continuously do so. Without such a powerful profile, a companies’ website is competing for organic traffic at a significant disadvantage. As a result, leads and sales are surrendered to different candidates.
As Googles algorithm has progressed, companies must earn links by creating and selling high-quality content that needs a rigorous process of reporting its findings. Their specialists must use great skills in order to identify valuable assets and to convince them to accept and sell their content.
As a result, we are hoping to create greater organic search engines with a visible and potentially explosive growth in high-quality website traffic, sale leads and online income.
OVERVIEW OF OUTREACH STRATEGY
The goal of SEO outreach is link building: They are trying to create backlinks that enhance its organic visibility on Google and other search engines. As a result of its progress, the company upgraded visibility attracts more qualified traffic, thus increasing leads and online revenue production. Last, but not least, the backlinks themselves drive referred traffic from the host websites back to the company website. As a result, it creates a whole new stream of certified traffic and larger possibilities for a convention.
In order to do so, the SEO agency’s outreach team must cover the following bases:
Link Building Best Practices: Being conscious of what Google considers to be a good or a bad link.
Target Markets: Establishing a type of buyers the clients are trying to reach and finding out what motivates them to do business.
Publishers: Recognizing and reviewing authoritative websites and blogs which are similar.
Content Development: Establishing what type of content will appeal to off-site publishers, and assuring the content published off-site is consistent with and highlights the company important sales, marketing, and branding messages.
Publisher Communication: Convincing publishers to accept content with links, as well as, building strong publishing connections.
Review and Analysis: Evaluating the SEO performance of backlinks, publishing websites, and traffic/lead/revenue generation.
The following are the main drives for outreach:
- Relevance: Publishers must be useful to the clients and the content must be according to the target audience and should be connected to the client’s business.
- Value: In order to interest relevant publishers, earning high-quality links is mandatory.
- Creativity: This is highly important because the competitive link-building area needs to gain the respect of top-tier publishers.
WORTH NOTING: We need to mention that these 3 elements are not only prized by publishers, but also by Google and target audiences.
Google wishes that its users are satisfied with relevant, valuable and compelling content.
DETAILED REVIEW OF THE OUTREACH PROCESS
According to the section presented we identified six elements of the outreach process. For the process to succeed, the agencies must be proficient in each case. In the following sections, we are trying to give guidance and insight to help you assess an SEO agency’s outreach campaign process from start to finish.
- Link Building Best Practices
In the Google search algorithm, backlinks are of important value. Creating good links helps the improvement of the companies organic visibility – doing otherwise worsens visibility or has no effect whatsoever. To the outreach manager, it is important to understand what makes a backlink valuable. A key metric to review may include the following:
- Relevance: Is the content important to both the linking page and the linked-to page? To understand matter best, we give you the next example: A plumbing company publishes an article about crop circles on a science blog is not of big importance to the plumbing company website. Google will only recognize such a link as ‘black hat’ SEO intended to control its algorithm and will ignore it or even correct it.
- Trust: We must look for reliable websites such as .edu or .gov domains, leaving out those penalized by Google.
Popularity: Extending brand awareness is highly important for SEO-focused outreach campaigns.
Linking Habits: We need to look for signs that are not in good standing with Google. For example, an inordinate number of outbound links, irrelevant links or links that may be purchased.
Citation Flow: Lesser links pointing to a target website indicates unpopularity.
Trust flow: The higher quality of the links pointing to a website shows influence and with that, it earns trust. Link quality and be shown by using the same criteria as in this White Paper.
Citation/Trust Flow Balance: A handful of quality links are essential, otherwise it provides uncertainty.
Spam Sore: A measurement utility offered by Moz that recognize potential spam flags on a website.
Domain Authority: It is advised to look for high authority in terms of domain age, popularity and other significant factors.
Page Authority: We should look for page linking that have a higher authority in terms of its rankings.
Website diversity: Google looks for a natural flow of the backlinks distribution. Target websites should never stop to be relevant and trustworthy.
Anchor Text Diversity: Overly consistent use of keywords in backlink anchor texts sends a wary signal to Google. For best results, it is advised to mix anchor text with keywords, company name, URL and other varied workings.
Agency Evaluation Tip: Asking for the research of the methodology used to evaluate links is essential. With that, we can certify that the methodology is useful and real.
- Understanding Client Target Markets
Usually, SEO agencies are technically proficient but unfortunately lack the creative ability to put their technical skills in usage for using outreach. To create and sell the client’s content for link-building purposes, the SEO agency must be creative and develop appropriate content.
Relevance is one of the key factors to persuade publishers to accept content and its usage. If the SEO agency lacks a clear understanding of the client’s wishes, the published content will strike as being irrelevant and untrustworthy. This will only lead to neglect of the backlinks.
A clearer understanding of the client’s market is mandatory. Client-specific information is less relevant than effective topics that involve discussions of broad industry-related issues.
Agency Evaluation Tip: In the initial phase of its SEO campaign, an SEO agency proficient in the outreach puts an emphasis on discovering the client. Without the criteria listed above, the agency will not be successful in marketing, managing or collaborating on its creative expansion.
- Identifying and Vetting Relevant Publishers
Besides to the technical vetting considerations listed in Link Building Best Practiced, other techniques are used to develop a hit list of potential off-site link building options:
- Insider Knowledge: The SEO agency collects input from the client’s staff to track down influential websites, blogs and social media sites in the client’s industry and related functions.
- Search Engine Queries: By managing a variety of evolved, specialized searches on Google and other search engines, the SEO agency can rapidly identify publishers that have a strong organic presence and that accept outside contributions.
- Competitor Backlink Analysis: The SEO agency is rapidly determined by important, quality publishing sites by reviewing the backlink profile of competitors.
- Social Media Monitoring: The SEO agency conducts keyword searches to recognize bloggers with influence. By doing so, agencies open up lines of communication with the online publications they write for and read.
- Referrals: As soon as the communication with potential buyers begins, high qualified publishers can be identified simply by asking for referrals. Competitions are usually amiable, so they do not mind giving a hand by providing referrals.
Agency Evaluation Tip: Ac common form of off-site backlink generation is guest blogging, which at some point received some bad press of spamming – publishing low-quality, non-relevant content purely as a link-building ploy. Nowadays, guest blogging is considered to be a strong SEO strategy but it must be conducted using high-quality content to create relevant links. Skillful SEO agencies acknowledge this and emphasize it in their sales presentation.
- Content Development
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
The following four-step process represents the creative process between the SEO agency and the client:
- Thematic Development: conditioning the ‘big picture’ themes the client wants woven or otherwise. More often, these themes have to do with branding; as an example, a green manufacturer will want to highlight themes regarding sustainability/conservation, on the other hand, a luxury retailer will want to avoid topics that suggest low prices.
- Topic Development: Determining specific topics to be pitched to publishers. In many ways, this is the ‘secret ingredient’ of successful outreach campaigns.
- Content production: Producing online content such as articles, infographics, slide presentations requires contributions from copywriters, editors, Web designers and/or Web developers. Usually, clients provide technical inputs and SEO agencies finalize them. Reviews and editing can be done in partnership. Nonetheless, some outreach content can and should be on-site content. For example, the outreach campaign could involve creating a highly detailed infographic for the client website.
- Content Performance Review: Reviewing is essential because this final step makes the difference between stagnant outreach and a dynamic one.
Agency Evaluation Tip: SEO agencies need a documented process for content because its development involves a lot of players and communication as well. Chaos may reign otherwise which leads to shortcomings in content quality.
THE SECRET SAUCE: TOPIC DEVELOPMENT AND PITCH TACTICS
As specified above, the competition to get articles published is fierce. In the first place, SEO agencies must consider clients and publishers want when constructing topics and structuring outreach campaigns. We can give the following examples to demonstrate the techniques:
- Updating an outdated post: The SEO agency aims for a target publisher’s website for an accomplished post that is out of date, then suggests the idea of having the client provide an updated article.
- Missing category: The SEO agency will look for missing links in the target publisher’s content offerings and interferes with the idea of filling the gaps.
- A missing topic within category: The SEO agency looks for a gap within a target publisher’s category of content, then it fills the gaps. Example: A packing design blog with a category for sustainable packaging, but lacking content for a tamper-resistant sustainable packaging.
- Explaining on a thinly converted topic: The SEO aims for topics on a target publisher’s website that is under-covered and pitches the idea of elaborating on them with an article.
- Rebuttal/opposite side of an argument: Publishers often want to instigate conversation. Accordingly, the SEO agency looks for opinion pieces on a target publisher’s website, and then pitches the idea and gives a possible alternative solution.
- Targeting engaged publishers on social media: The SEO agency recognizes people who have interacted with the client’s content on social media and asks them if they are willing to publish an article specifically for their website.
- Hot news and trending topics: The SEO agency can recognize hot news or trending topics within any market niche, and then pinch content that offers factual statistics and/or expert opinion and analysis to target publishers.
Seasonal or holiday-themed content: Topicality is extremely relevant to publishers and readers. For example, ‘Sustainable Packaging Ideas for Christmas’ often displays more weight with publishers than topics with no holiday topics. SEO agencies must always plan in advance, in an organized way. Usually, it takes 30 to 90 days in advance before the holiday.
Agency evaluation tip: A synopsis of the pitch and the performance metrics are included in a successful pitch campaign.
For a practical outreach, mass customization must be the SEO agency’s philosophy. Personalization and scalability are needed in developing a challenging approach because they are extremely important.
Personalization: Emails formulated in advance are common but ineffective. A personal approach is needed in order to demonstrate the understanding of their unique needs.
Scalability: The SEO agency must have the staff and processes in their right order to formulate and deliver pitches and a follow-up on pitches on a large scale. As campaigns become more and more successful, the scale grows as well.
As presented above, an effective outreach means a rigorous review of the publisher’s website in order to identify their specific content needs.
Email pitch templates must be distinctive to communicate an understanding of the website’s content needs and to integrate the publisher’s contact name.
Researching publisher backlink requirements are critical. Some publishers do not agree with self-promotional links, licks in the body of an article, or any sort of links. Creating content that ignores publisher link guidelines will not only be denied but also will create ill will.
Agency evaluation tip: An SEO agency should be able to calibrate the number of pitches and content placements it executes over any given time period. A potential client should comprehend how many overall pitches and placements its campaign would need as a percentage of the agency’s whole. Otherwise, clients may feel that the agency does not have the bandwidth to support it.
Review and Analysis
Expert review and analysis of outreach performances are an asset to successful outreach and SEO campaigns. Specific data points related to outreach such as the number of direct backlinks are concrete, where others are quite difficult to peg. Still, tracking data to get the whole picture of the results is important.
Backlinks created: The Starting point for any outreach analysis is the number of links which are produced directly or indirectly from each outreach placement. Direct links are backlinks from the publishing website and indirect links are backlinks from other websites that duplicate or mention the content.
Social Shares: Are used to point out to indirect backlink creation and are an important asset in measures of reach. Social sharing data is gathered through multiple online monitoring tools, but, the accuracy of social share data is usually fairly high, but it can also be understated.
SEO keyword performance: In order for the outreach campaign to be productive, as backlinks are created, the home page links should lift overall domain authority and the interior links should lift the organic ranking of the associated pages.
Pitch to placement ratio: Genuine flaws may exist in the outreach strategy of execution if a campaign generates 500 pitches, for example, and receives one placement. Agencies should monitor this not less than once a month.
Placement quality performance: Flaws may exist in the outreach strategy, execution, or the content itself if placements are occurring with only second or third-tier publishers.
Agency evaluation tip: Accurate monthly monitoring and reviewing an SEO agency’s outreach gives tremendous insight on how thoroughly it is monitoring its own campaign activity.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SEO OUTREACH AND PR:
SEO outreach primary concern is improving the client’s organic search engine visibility to generate website traffic, while PR focuses on the content that improves the client’s image. The SEO impact of a PR campaign is rather not existent and the PR impact of an SEO outreach campaign is genuine, but not the focus.
ARE THERE GOALS BESIDES BACKLINKS AN SEO OUTREACH CAMPAIGN SHOULD FOLLOW?
A well-organized outreach campaign incorporates branding messages and leads to social sharing or its content. Brand awareness, greater brand affinity, and more credibility are some of the outcomes. On the long run, clients measure outreach effectiveness in terms of traffic.
CAN OUTREACH BE DONE EFFECTIVELY IN-HOUSE?
A successful outreach campaign requires expertise and time. Lacking elements like a well-staffed SEO team, content strategies, copyrighters, editors, Web designers, Web developers, and PR personnel, the company will get better and faster results only by engaging a competent agency.