Repeat Steps 3-6 (until you’ve earned enough as many links as you can)
But, what if you didn’t have to repeat steps 3 to 6? What if you could build an outreach list so advantageous that you only had to send a few strategic email pitches to meet your backlink goals?
By taking advantage of the natural syndication networks that exist between online publishers, the power of a single email pitch is far-reaching.
The techniques you are about to learn will provide a competitive advantage over the competition when pitching your target publishers, giving you a unique understanding of how different news publications and writers are associated and connected.
Step 1: Start with great content
You can send the most well-targeted and well-written email pitch the world has ever seen, but if your content fails to excite, inform, or surprise the publisher, it will never see the light of day.
It’s important to start with great content—the rest will come easy. If what you’ve created is so intriguing and surprising that online editors want to share the content the moment they see it, you’ve succeeded.
What makes great content? Believe in the power of data. Present strong news hooks with data-driven stories to the publications and writers who are likely to be interested in the story.
Starting with great content allows you to generate the highest return on your investment, benefitting your brand or your clients with dozens to hundreds of links on their content campaigns.
Step 2: Optimize your list build
This does not mean sending a generic email blast to everyone in your network hoping that something will stick. This technique is a highly personalized approach that takes time—but the results are worth it.
There are two approaches you can take to optimize your list build: Finding influencers in your niche or vertical and understanding natural syndication networks to take your reach that much further.
Tactic #1: Finding media influencers in your niche
Let’s say you have the option of getting your content on one of two online publishers: Buzzfeed and CNN. Both great placements, right? You’re probably thinking that either features would be great press for your brand, and you’d be right.
But now let’s say the journalist who will cover your content at CNN is a recent hire with 256 Twitter followers, and the writer who will cover your content at Buzzfeed is verified on Twitter and has a following of about 30,000 people.
Now who do you choose? The answer becomes a little easier.
I have found that BuzzSumo is the best tool to quickly and efficiently determine the influencers with the most engagement in your niche.
Buzzsumo’s “Influencers” tool helps in the discovery of influencers interested in your topic area. From there, select “Journalists” to exclude bloggers and non-verified accounts, focusing your research on major reporters and online writers.
Because it’s so dangerous to over-optimize your anchor text and it’s also important to have, at least some, descriptive anchor text, the next step is to identify what type of anchor text you should attempt to secure.
It’s important to note that there are a lot of “best practices” suggested. Some examples are:
So an analysis on a keyword or niche basis is key to understanding how to optimize anchor text.
Anchor Text Variations
An SEO can optimize anchor text with seemingly endless variations, but the variations can be grouped into four buckets:
Topically relevant (keyword-optimized).
Call to action (CTA).
Some may also consider an image as a form of anchor, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll only focus on text-based links.
A company’s name or variations of its name is a common anchor.
A brand name can be combined with topically relevant or CTA anchors as well.
A basic branded anchor text example is: <a href=”https://www.searchenginejournal.com”>Search Engine Journal</a>
This approach has a tendency to be used in listicle placements, or for other product or company comparisons.
As you see for the link to the SEO Spider by Screamingfrog it makes sense to use the word “SEO Spider” as the anchor.
Another variation is a combination of brand and topically relevant anchor. In this example, SEJ’s anchor also includes “SEO articles” in the text.
<a href=”https://www.searchenginejournal.com“>Search Engine Journal’s SEO articles</a>
Most marketers think of this variation when discussing anchor text optimization, and needs to be used cautiously.
These anchors are topically relevant or include the target keyword(s) of the destination page.
Google states in the Link scheme guidelines that links with “optimized anchor text in articles” may violate the guidelines in certain scenarios.
Keyword-optimized anchor text has three variations:
My personal philosophy is that the anchor text should be set to whatever makes sense in the article and enhances the user experience.
Broad match does not exactly have the keyword but will have several variations.
An example of broad match anchor text is on Verywellhealth, on this article about “How to Choose the Best Health Insurance Plan for You,” the link points to https://www.healthinsurance.org/glossary/shop-exchange/.
As you can see in the screenshot the anchor text “small business health insurance exchange” is topically relevant to a subsection of the article but not the main keyword targeted.
A phrase match anchor may actually just be a long-tail keyword, the name of the article or the title tag of the destination page.
How-To articles tend to have this type of anchor text in the link profile.
As you can see with the screenshot of Ahrefs for https://people.howstuffworks.com/igloo3.htm, which ranks also for “how to build an igloo,” the anchor text includes “igloo building guides” and “how to build an igloo.”
Exact match has the exact keyword(s), typically 2-3 keyword phrases.
In this SEJ article, the exact match link looks like this:
Actually using the URL (e.g., https://www.example.com) of a page to generate a link is heavily used when citing or referencing sources.
Call to Action (CTA)
“Click here,” “read more,” “learn more,” or simply “learn more” are very common variations of CTA anchor text.
A Simple 4-Step Guide to Selecting the Optimal Anchor Text
First off, there is no one optimal anchor text distribution.
The complexity of search engine algorithms creates a massive obstacle for most marketer to completely reverse engineer Google’s algorithm and segment out all lurking or hidden variables to identify the exact profile.
However, my steps below will provide guidance, and that’s as optimal as you can get.
The Simple Steps
Identify keywords and rankings.
List and categorize top pages.
Get all anchor text for top pages.
Aggregate and categorize anchors.
Keyword rank tracking has its quirks, and this process assumes a basic level of understanding about geographic, mobile vs. desktop and search engine variables.
A simple way to set up keyword research to analyze top pages is:
Identify each of the niche/product/service/solution.
Group keywords by niche.
Run keyword ranking reports by niche so it’s easier at later steps to process the data in AWRcloud (I’ll explain why I use this next).
2. List Top Pages Across All Keywords
I like to use AWR Cloud’s Top Sites report by Advanced Web Ranking because it’s an inexpensive way to track thousands of keywords, and how fast it is to pull a report for top pages across multiple keywords.
The Top Sites report provides a list of pages that rank across several keywords at one time.
AWR Cloud has a not-so-easy-to-find report that will export all ranking pages across all keywords under “reports.” Create a template report for “top sites” to get all ranking pages, the position/page, along with each keyword.
Use whichever spreadsheet software you prefer, but I use Excel.
Use the following pivot table setup:
Values: Count of keywords.
Rows: Website or “pages”.
Columns: Search engine page (this represents the page in the search engines the top pages rank on).
The end result will be a list of URLs that rank on page one of the search engine you chose.
The screenshot from an Excel Top Pages report shows that this URL ranks on page 1 across 71 keywords: http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/online-schools/military-friendly.
From the pivot table list, select the top 10-20 to analyze in the next steps.
3. Get All Anchor Text for Top Pages
With Ahref’s Site Explorer you can upload a URL and get the anchor text.
Go to Site Explorer > Enter URL > Anchors.
Run this report for each of the URLs. Then export a CSV.
4. Aggregate & Categorize Anchors
This step requires a bit of manual labor, but is a very important part of the process.
Categorized each keyword will be manually based on the Anchor Text Variations above.
Like many analysis in content marketing and SEO, the categories are not always clearly segment-able into groups.
With the pivot table below, I had to combined some of the variations to get a proper distribution.
This analysis suggests that top-ranking pages tend to be influenced by branded anchor text, with a small percentage of topical anchor text.
Note: for the purpose of this review I only include a small sample set of anchors, but your analysis will require a statistically significant data set with hundreds of anchors.
Selecting the anchor text for your link building campaign has a lot of steps and should be influenced through analysis in order to build a natural link profile.
This process is a step in the right direction to avoid receiving a penalty while driving the short-term rankings needed to show organic traffic growth.
Featured Image: Created by author, March 2020 In-Post Infographic: Ignite Visibility Screenshots taken by author, March 2020
This is a tutorial on how to create Google My Business My Maps that will drastically impact your local SEO, as well as boost your rankings with your GMB. Google my business is one of your best assets as a business owner. GMB drives web traffic, calls, and driving directions to your place of business.
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
In a nutshell, Google Maps marketing is the process of using Google Maps’ functionality to make your business easier to find. Although this can be very useful (and expected) for large companies, it’s even more indispensable for smaller businesses. However, Google Maps marketing isn’t just about visibility – it’s about positioning, and not just that of your store. If used correctly (and strategically), Google Maps can play an important part in your digital marketing strategy.
What’s the Point of Google Maps Marketing?
The ultimate objective of Google Maps marketing is to achieve as high a placement as possible in the local business results listings on the Google Maps results on relevant Google search engine results pages. Let’s take a look at what this means.
Proximity Based Google Maps Results
The first type of Google Maps listing is that based on your physical location. With mobile search volume increasing, this type of search (and Google Maps result) is becoming much more common. If you’ve ever performed a search for a specific type of business from your mobile device, you’ll almost undoubtedly have come across a google my business listing.
We’re thrilled to announce that Danny Sullivan — yes, the Danny Sullivan — will be keynoting SMX Advanced 2020!
This will be Danny’s first time returning to the SMX stage since joining Google in October 2017.
In his keynote, Danny will share details about his transition from writing about Google to working at Google as Public Liason for Search. His current role is all about helping the public better understand Google search — and helping Google better hear and incorporate public feedback. This through-the-looking-glass presentation will offer an invaluable glimpse into the search engine’s inner-workings from the man who knows it best.
Danny then will join Search Engine Land Contributing Editor, Barry Schwartz, for a fireside chat and open Q&A. Don’t miss this rare (and awesome) opportunity!
More details will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Disclosure: Danny was a founding partner of Third Door Media, publisher of Search Engine Land and producer of Search Marketing Expo. He continues to own a minority stake in the company.
About The Author
Lauren Donovan has worked in online marketing since 2006, specializing in content generation, organic social media, community management, real-time journalism, and holistic social befriending. She currently serves as the Content Marketing Manager at Third Door Media, parent company to Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today, SMX, and The MarTech Conference.