We know that social signals like a recommendation or mention by someone a customer knows holds more weight than a Google search result. So, why is link building is important? Getting your business’s name out there among influencers (people who are able to influence purchase decisions of other people) not only will mean benefiting from word of mouth, but if you are able to get links from these influential bloggers, it will help with your inbound marketing and SEO as well.
What Makes a Blogger an “Influencer” / What Makes a Blog a Good One?
I’m sure there are tons of factors that go into what makes an influencer, but here are some simple ways to identify them via their blogs:
- They keep their blog up-to-date (either daily or weekly)
- Their main page has a PageRank of at least 3 or higher
- They have relevant posts that have PageRank of 2 or higher
- Their most popular posts are being linked to by other bloggers (at least 25 unique backlinks)
- They are active in the blogging community (they talk about other related blogs, and other related blogs are talking about them)
- Their blog has a recognizable theme – they blog about technology, or parenting, or apps that help you parent, etc.
- Their blogs don’t have spammy ads popping up on their pages or in their text links
How to Find (Blogger) Influencers:
- Use Google to search for keywords and keyword phrases that you want to incorporate into your own content creation and search for bloggers who are talking about those things. For example: if you’re a digital marketing firm you’d be searching for bloggers talking about “digital marketing” or “Google AdWords”.
- Research/Stay up-to-date on news and events in your industry. Search for people discussing those news and events stories online.
- Utilize the blog rolls. A lot of blogs have a list of other blogs and bloggers they like, you can use these lists to find other relevant people in the space.
Make sure you are tracking what search queries you’re using in Google and which blog rolls you’ve explored, so that you don’t waste time searching the same areas of the net with the same keywords and keyword phrases.
Finding Affordable Influencers:
Though it would be great to get a review on a website that has national recognition, odds are that it will cost you a pretty penny to get reviews/links/etc. anywhere on it. So look for high quality blogs that are being written by one (or just a few) bloggers that have online recognition, but these blogs aren’t something as popular as say a newspaper or magazine or blog hub (usually means avoiding pages with a domain PageRank that is 8 or higher). An easy way to quickly identify these sites to avoid is if the site has categories that include sections like “lifestyle, sports, politics,” etc.
How to reach out to influential bloggers:
First, you must figure out if they do any of the following: reviews, guest posts, in-text links, or advertisements (If they don’t do any of those, or they do but they charge way too much, consider commenting on their most popular posts with links in your comment). If they do one of these, you have a better chance of them responding. If they don’t do one of these, make sure that the offer you’re making them in exchange for a mention is compelling and makes sense to offer them.
How to correspond with blog influencers:
- Be genuine and complimentary. Bloggers like to hear about the things they are doing well so make sure to give them props when props are due.
- Get to the point! The introductory emails should be very short, concise, and to the point. They shouldn’t be longer than five sentences max.
- Make a compelling offer (you’ll link to them, or do a review of a product/service they provide, etc.)
- End the email on a happy note, something like, “whether or not you’re interested, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your blog, and keep up the good work!”
- Contact them with your personalized email. Bloggers are much more likely to respond to you if they think they’re talking to a person and not a faceless business
Track your Correspondences!
Keeping good track of your correspondences will:
- Prevent you from contacting the same person twice after they’ve already declined an offer (bloggers HATE that)
- Remind you to check back in with some bloggers who haven’t responded, or who have responded but their responses have fallen off (a lot of bloggers are busy and forget to keep up correspondence with everyone they’re talking to via email)
- Allow you to make sure they are honoring their half of whatever deal you work out with them.
Link building is a long process, but if it is done right it can be really beneficial SEO-wise for your website. Make sure you aren’t spamming bloggers and that you tailor each email to the influencer you’re reaching out to. The key to link building is building relationships.