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This year’s Brighton SEO really emphasised the relationship between SEO and outreach as link building remains a key part of any strategy to improve search visibility, and, more importantly, drive traffic to a business’s website. Here’s what was said:

There is more to measuring outreach

It is easy to be impressed by simply having content placed on a website or digital publication, and while that does deserve a pat on the back, if it doesn’t provide results for you or your client, you need to be asking yourself, “What is the point?”. Chelsea Blacker from BlueGlass discussed some tips that help you reap further rewards from your outreach activities.

Measure return on investment (ROI)

Sometimes it can be difficult working out the direct ROI following an outreach campaign, but with the formula below, you’ll be able to show those who look at the bottom line how worthy the link building activities are:

Tailor your metrics

When you are measuring the success of a campaign it is important to identify what stage of the buying cycle you are targeting.

For campaigns gauging interest in a business (See), you should be measuring:

  • Organic rankings
  • Organic traffic
  • Social traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Inbound links
  • Retargeting lists

For campaigns encouraging audiences to consider a product or service (Think), you should measure:

  • Sales leads
  • Sales accepted leads
  • Content downloads
  • Mailing list
  • Phone enquiries

For campaigns where you are encouraging conversions (Do), you should be looking at:

  • Revenue
  • Transactions
  • Cost per conversion
  • Bounce rate
  • Abandoned checkouts
  • Exit pages
  • Event attendees

Measure the whole ecosystem

As well as measuring the link between your business and the publication or website, take a look at the wider picture. This might include:

You should build time into a strategy to do a thorough report on any links obtained as part of your marketing efforts. Useful tools to help with measurement include Coverage Book and Buzzsumo.

Go local

With everyone competing to be seen and heard on high domain-authority sites - i.e. websites that rank well in search engine result pages (SERPs) - the quality of inbound links can diminish. Greg Gifford discussed the opportunities available locally as local SEO differs from that of large sites with thousands of inbound links. For instance, when optimising for local listings, Google doesn’t care whether a link is follow or no-follow, and trust flow and domain authority are far less important.

There are many local outlets that you should consider approaching as part of your marketing activity, including:

  • Meetups
  • Directories
  • Review sites
  • Event sponsorship
  • Resources
  • Blogs
  • Newspapers
  • Charities
  • Clubs and organisations
  • Calendar pages
  • Interviews
  • Business associations
  • Food banks
  • Shelters
  • Schools
  • Ethnic business directories
  • Guides
  • Homeowners Associations
  • Neighbourhood Watch sites
  • Art festivals

When it comes to building links, it is best to look at how you can create long-term, real-world value with other local businesses so it is difficult to replicate. Ways you can do this include:

  • Paid sponsorships
  • Donating time or volunteering
  • Joining a local group
  • Sharing useful information
  • Thinking creatively for random opportunities

Pulling your competitors’ links can be useful, but if you want to win the link competition, you need unique ones. Think about your existing relationships or what you’re already doing and see if you can take advantage of them, remembering to focus on the value that you will give to the other business’ customers.

Build relationships with journalists

It can be frustrating when you send out that perfectly curated press release to have the journalist not include a link in an article, but it makes sense why they wouldn’t. Journalists are measured by the amount of shares an article has had, so why would they want to encourage readers to move away from the site they’re writing for by directing them to another website? Hana Bednarova shared some insight into how you can make sure journalists include links in their coverage:

Build and maintain relationships with journalists

As well as dedicating time in a campaign to sending out a press release or sharing content, you should spend time forging relationships with journalists. This activity can be the difference between you or your client being included in a publication. To create relationships you could do the following:

Once you’ve created a relationship, you need to keep it maintained, which can include sending them a birthday/Christmas/congratulatory message, asking how their holiday was or just sending over content you know they will find relevant.

It is not just about impressing journalists

A journalist isn’t the only person you need to impress; journalists need to be able to show their editor, publisher and, most importantly, the readers why a story is newsworthy. Do your research by taking a look at their media kits and ensure that what you are providing is going to interest them.

Don’t show them all your cards

It can be tempting to show off everything in a press release, but doing this doesn’t give journalists a real reason to link to your website. Press releases should be used similarly to profiles on dating websites - you want to entice them into getting to know you more. For example, if you’re sharing the results of a survey, share the most insightful data with the journalist via email and create a dedicated landing page/blog post to showcase the rest of your data. That way if they’re interested and want to find out more, they have to reference your website and link to the information.

If you build it, they will come

Any business worth their salt will have an outreach plan built into their marketing strategy. Doing this successfully can be a tricky task, but dedicating the right amount of time on the right activities for your company can pay off in helping you reach your business’s objective. An outreach campaign that is well constructed and executed will help your business in many ways; it will:

  • Build up your brand image, helping your target audience to see you in a positive light
  • Demonstrate that you are an authority in your industry, which will build trust among potential customers and clients
  • Improve SEO and help build a presence online
  • Help to drive leads, making your business profitable

If you’ve not got an outreach plan in place, we can help. Contact I-COM on 0161 402 3170 or fill in our contact form and we’ll get back to you.