SEO Articles

Pinterest introduces Idea ads and paid partnership tools

Pinterest introduces Idea ads and paid partnership tools

Pinterest has launched a new ad format – Idea ads – and a new partnership tool allowing creators to tag brand partners in their content. 

Idea ads. The new Idea ads follow a similar format to Idea pins, which were launched last year. Similarly, Idea ads are an immersive, multi-page format designed for advertisers “to showcase ideas in action.” When shoppers click on the ads they’re taken to the brand’s website to view relevant information. 

What the Idea ads look like:

The paid partnership tool. This allows brands to partner with Pinterest creators. The partnership allows large brands to collaborate with Pinterest’s community of creators and connect with their audiences. 

With the paid partnership tool, brands can review the tag and approve (or deny) the content. Brands will benefit from the authenticity of the creator’s content. Brands can also promote the creator’s content as their own Idea ad with paid partnership across Pinterest. 

Early adopters. An early launch of these tools showed that brands who worked with creators saw 38% higher brand awareness, and 37% higher Pin awareness. A few brands that saw success with this program in the U.S. are Gatorade and Scotch Brand. 

Gatorade. Gatorade’s goals were to help its audience stay interested and engaged. To do this, they launched an Idea ads with paid partnership campaign on Pinterest. By teaming up with popular fitness creators, they created ads providing workout inspiration, and reminders to stay hydrated. As a result, they saw 34 million impressions, 99k clicks to their feed. 

“Handing over the creative power to a Pinterest creator allowed for an authentic moment of fitness that could only come from that creator. It made our ads feel new, natural and engaging.” — Johanna Lugo, Marketing Assistant Manager, Gatorade.

Scotch Brand. Scotch had a goal to create a hands-on approach to back-to-school shopping. They wanted to showcase ads for making supplies like pencil holders, teachers’ gifts, and more. They found popular search terms related to crafts and created kid-friendly how-to videos using Scotch tape. The results were a 64% lower cost per impression than their initial goal, and a 4x higher click-through rate than their average benchmarks. 

Outside of the U.S., brands like Coty Canada and M.A.C Cosmetics have also seen promising results. 

The new formats and tools are now available in more than 30 countries. You can read the full blog post announcement here.

Why we care. Pinterest hasn’t really been on anyone’s radar lately. The development and launch of these new features was quite a surprise. Creators looking to monetize their social media content should take note. However, the results coming from the early tests show benefits to larger, already well-known brands, but what about the creators? It would be nice to see more credit given to the people who made Pinterest what it was pre-ad platform – a place to come for ideas and inspiration.

I can’t help but feel like this is another way for large brands to take advantage of smaller creators. Using them to build effective ad campaigns aimed at audiences they weren’t able to reach through traditional means. It sounds rather familiar. Either way, we’ll be watching. 

The post Pinterest introduces Idea ads and paid partnership tools appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

How to use Audience manager for better insights and optimization

Google Ads has been changing the definition and functionality of audiences, releasing a series of updates and emails that have seemed both cryptic and confusing.

Whether it’s due to data ownership, privacy, attribution, or new campaign types, Google Ads audiences have gotten a facelift.

The term ‘audience’ has been promoted 

Google recently announced some significant changes in its targeting lexicon.

As they’ve announced, the term “remarketing” is being replaced with “your data,” and all instances of “audience” have been changed to “segment.”

But despite what the chart implies, the term “audiences” is not in retirement!

Instead, the definition of “audience” within Google has expanded. It’s essentially been given a promotion to include several types of targeting beyond segments.

Rather than referring to specific lists or segments, “audience” is becoming a broader category that defines who should see your ads based on multiple criteria. 

An audience can now include any of the following:

Custom segments (people based on their search activity, downloaded apps or visited sites)Your data (people who have previously interacted with your business)Interests & detailed demographics (people based on their interests, life events, or detailed demographics)

Audiences can also contain exclusions and can be narrowed by demographics (e.g., age, gender, parental status, household income).

Using the browse / search wizard for custom segments and audience lists in the interface has always been a bit buggy. Sometimes you find what you’re looking for, sometimes you don’t.

Having an audience roll-up that can be consistently applied to multiple ad groups and campaigns will save you production time and keep your targeting consistent within your account.

Access your data in Audience manager

For best results, follow along in your own account by navigating to Tools & Settings > Shared Library > Audience manager.

Audience manager is the former home of audience lists, audience insights and audience sources. It now includes the following sections:

AudiencesSegmentsYour data segmentsCustom segmentsCombined segmentsYour data insightsYour data sources

This structural change reflects the new naming convention adopted by Google Ads, and also provides multiple paths to access the same information. 

While the interface may look more complicated, it’s actually been streamlined. There’s a bit of redundancy within Audience manager, which makes it easier to find key details without having to memorize a navigation path. You’ll find identical cards in multiple areas.

Now you know how to locate your data.

What can you do with it?

Look under the hood of your segments and data

Google Ads has different requirements for data list sizes and eligibility to run on different networks, which can be confusing.

You may have wondered about how your segments are populated, and how you can use your lists.

Audience manager can answer these questions.

Learn where your data comes from

From the Segments tab, Your Data Segments, click on your segment name to unlock a treasure trove of data and details.

You can see exactly how your segment is populated, with both the segment names and their sources. 

Review this section to make sure everything that should be included in your targeting has been added, and anything that could negatively impact the objective of the segment has been removed.

You can also review your Data Sources directly from the left navigation panel in Audience manager. 

Verify which data sources (first-party data) are in use and how they’re being used. You wouldn’t be the first marketer to discover the wrong accounts are linked or a connection is missing. 

Clicking Details on the lower right corner of the card will reveal even more information about the sources or properties, complete with parameters, attributes and sparkline charts to show usage data.

Review list size and eligibility

Audience manager will show which networks and campaign types your segment is eligible to serve against:

You can also see the list size over time (up to 180 days) for each network, as people are added to or removed from your list (based on membership duration or other criteria).

See your segment distribution performance

In this card, you’ll see how your segment performs across different categories, including:

Demographics (gender, age, parental status)Locations (country, city)Devices (mobile phones, computers, tablets)

Some distributions will also compare your segment to the benchmark, giving you a better idea of the segment variance.

Reality check your ‘Data Insights’

We love to be surprised by what our data tells us about our customers.

When we invest money in advertising and we get new insights about our market, it justifies the investment and informs future decisions.

But the Data Insights you’ll find in Audience manager are more “miss” than hit.

To illustrate, Google Ads says that my client’s converters are most often associated with the following In-Market segments:

Travel (trips to NYC, Indonesia, air travel by class)Events (corporate event planning, bridal wear)Fire? (fireplaces, BBQs & grills)

The index suggests that purchases of our product are 23x more likely than the general population to be in-market for traveling to New York City, and 13.7x more likely to be in-market for fireplaces.

It won’t surprise you to learn that the product has nothing to do with any of those segments. 

Might some of the segments correlate with product purchases? Sure. But not meaningfully. And not at a rate where targeting these extremely large segments would be better than targeting segments that directly relate to the product.

If you see an untapped segment that is relevant to your market, you can definitely add those segments to your campaigns and bid on them directly.

But if you can’t make a logical argument for why a segment would be a good target for your marketing, you don’t need to take action just because it’s included in this table.

Take action on your learnings

Outside of auditing your audience and data details, how can Audience manager improve your account performance?

Here are some edits you can make within Audience manager for a more optimized account.

Change the Members status

Open or close the Members status of eligible data segments directly from your data segments overview table.

Edit and apply segments to campaigns

You can make changes to custom and combined segments by hovering over the segment name and clicking “edit.”

For data segments:

Click into the segment name.Click the three dots in the top right corner.Select Edit.

You can also assign a label to your data segment, or even apply the segments directly to campaigns or ad groups. 

The ability to apply data segments from Audience manager is a time-saver – you don’t have to navigate out of Tools into your campaigns every time you want to edit an audience or segment.

Test new targeting based on your analysis

Reviewing Audience manager will inspire a lot of ideas based on what you observe and even what you observe to be missing. 

Applying new audiences and segments to your campaigns will help you make even better decisions in the future. A few points to keep in mind:

Adding new segments to your account is not retroactive. If I add a segment for “in-market gardeners” today, I won’t get CTR or performance data for gardeners who clicked my ad yesterday. Metrics will only be included going forward.Get familiar with the difference between Observation and Targeting. Only one targeting method can exist within an ad group (for ad group targeting) or campaign (for campaign targeting). You can’t layer in both “observe” and “target.”Audience manager shows you how your targeting is set up, but not how your targeting performs. Review performance metrics of segments within your ad group or campaign where they’re applied. Depending on how your targeting and bid strategies are set up, you may be able to adjust the bid, or expand or customize the segment.

Audiences have a bigger role in Google Ads than ever

As Google Ads changes the definitions and functionality of audiences, becoming more familiar with Audience manager will be a powerful way to learn more about your data segments and sources.

Not only does Audience manager help ensure you’re reaching the right market with audiences consistently applied across your account, it can also give you insights for how to find new customers. 

As you generate new ideas based on your observations, choose to be “data informed” rather than “data driven” so that your optimizations are strategic and beneficial for your account. 

The post How to use Audience manager for better insights and optimization appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

How to improve E-A-T with semantic search

How to improve E-A-T with semantic search

E-A-T – expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – has become a buzzword,” said Dr. Marie Haynes, CEO of Marie Haynes Consulting Inc., in her presentation at SMX Advanced. “E-A-T is Google’s attempt to figure out which businesses and individuals are authentic.”

Despite working in search marketing for many years, Haynes noted she only recently thought about the ways semantic search – information retrieval in which both the contextual meaning and the intent of a query are taken into consideration – could improve a site’s E-A-T. Her time spent digging into the Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) helped make this connection.

Contrary to what some believe, E-A-T is not a single ranking factor, but rather a collection of signals Google uses to determine what content is high-quality and useful for searchers. And, according to Haynes, semantic search knowledge can help marketers optimize sites for this rating system.

“A lot of the things we’ve been saying Google can do can be explained with semantic search capabilities,” she said. “Semantic [search] relies on understanding the meaning of words, and we’ve seen how proud Google has been in their advancements in understanding language.”

Semantic search and its relation to E-A-T

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, which rolled out in 2013, was designed to revamp the way the search engine understands and ranks content. With an improved understanding of intent at its core, the update helped Google better evaluate the authoritativeness of sites through semantic search.

“Hummingbird was a change to Google’s engine, and when it happened, few SEOs knew about it,” Haynes said. “It gave Google’s algorithms the capacity to incorporate semantic search.”

Source: Dr. Marie Haynes

Before Hummingbird was implemented, Google was largely a lexical search engine, dependent on keywords. These search engines primarily focus on retrieving documents that contain these keywords, using PageRank to establish a hierarchy along the way. And while these mechanisms are still in play, the addition of semantic search has changed the game.

“You can have lexical search and you can have semantic search together,” Haynes said. “We don’t know exactly how Google is using the combination of these, but we know that back in 2013 when Hummingbird came out, they started to have the capability of doing it well.”

SEOs would be wise to study the changes Hummingbird ushered in, especially when it comes to the search engine’s understanding of language.

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

Processing…Please wait.


See terms.

function getCookie(cname) {
let name = cname + “=”;
let decodedCookie = decodeURIComponent(document.cookie);
let ca = decodedCookie.split(‘;’);
for(let i = 0; i <ca.length; i++) {
let c = ca[i];
while (c.charAt(0) == ' ') {
c = c.substring(1);
if (c.indexOf(name) == 0) {
return c.substring(name.length, c.length);
return "";
document.getElementById('munchkinCookieInline').value = getCookie('_mkto_trk');

Using semantic search and knowledge retrieval to improve E-A-T

Semantic search’s knowledge retrieval capabilities can help marketers improve the E-A-T of their content. According to Haynes, this is due to Google’s Knowledge Graph.

“Knowledge search gathers information from a richly structured database,” she said. “The best example we have of this is Google’s Knowledge Graph.”

Source: Dr. Marie Haynes

The Knowledge Graph helps marketers understand the relationship between entities. By optimizing sites according to entities and their relationships (rather than focusing solely on one keyword and its variants) SEOs can make it easier for Google to relate your content to established entities in its Knowledge Graph.

“I’ve been fascinated by the way Google can use entities in its Knowledge Graph,” Haynes said. “We’ve been making recommendations based on what’s written in the QRG – trusting that somehow Google could algorithmically accomplish these things. What we were really doing was improving E-A-T based on a knowledge of semantic search.”

“When you’re improving Google’s understanding of the entities associated with your business, that’s improving your E-A-T,” she added.

Watch Marie Haynes’ full SMX Advanced presentation

Not registered for SMX Advanced? Get your free pass here.

Already registered for SMX Advanced? Log in here.

The post How to improve E-A-T with semantic search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

How to train entry-level SEO hires so they can contribute right away

Entry-level in the SEO world can mean many things.

It may mean that candidates have little to no experience.

Or it may require a handful of SEO work years under their belt. 

The majority of SEO jobs (64%) don’t require a college degree, according to Backlinko’s SEO Jobs Report. But most require two to five years of experience.

Many SEO agencies lean heavily on entry-level or newbie SEOs. That’s because it’s more cost-effective.

This business model can work but it typically will require intensive training.

You must always protect the quality of your work and keep clients happy.

You don’t want to run into a situation where your junior SEO is giving guidance that is not on par with the SEO experience of even your client base.

Assuming you’ve already qualified your hires through some critical SEO interview questions (modified for an entry-level candidate), and assuming that your candidates have the soft skills required to be successful at SEO, here are some ways to get your new SEO hires up to speed and contributing.

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

Processing…Please wait.


See terms.

function getCookie(cname) {
let name = cname + “=”;
let decodedCookie = decodeURIComponent(document.cookie);
let ca = decodedCookie.split(‘;’);
for(let i = 0; i <ca.length; i++) {
let c = ca[i];
while (c.charAt(0) == ' ') {
c = c.substring(1);
if (c.indexOf(name) == 0) {
return c.substring(name.length, c.length);
return "";
document.getElementById('munchkinCookieInline').value = getCookie('_mkto_trk');

Make sure new SEO hires are up-to-date with industry best practices 

Right off the bat, you want to make sure they understand SEO best practices and concepts. If they have little experience with SEO, that means getting them trained in key areas.

Different types of SEO learning resources accomplish different things. For example: 

SEO training courses can offer a broad overview of SEO as a whole or key areas of SEO (for example, technical SEO, on-page optimization, writing content for SEO, etc.). While a general intro video is a good place to start, your trainees will benefit from a structured course. When it’s from a trusted resource, this is a great way to get entry-level folks up to speed on important concepts.In-depth articles and e-books can give a unique perspective on an SEO issue or topic in a short amount of time. There is no shortage of SEO experts who contribute thought leadership either on their own websites or on third-party industry sites.SEO industry news sites are essential daily reading for anyone working in our industry, no matter your level. They can help your entry-level SEOs get familiar with what’s happening now with Google and search marketing in general. SEO is a fast-moving industry with lots of changes, so encouraging your staff to spend time reading these websites as part of their continuing education is critical.SEO events can offer an intensive deep dive into SEO. These multi-day events (either online or in-person) contribute to any SEO’s education, especially if they’re a newbie.

Beware of just sending your newly hired junior SEO into the wild to find their own educational resources. Provide a list of trusted sources they can learn from. But encourage them to come to you with opportunities they are interested in as well. 

Most importantly: Give them a training budget. Investing in them is an investment in your SEO agency.

Make sure new SEO hires are trained on your SEO methodology

Some new SEO hires may bring unique skills to the table, and you do not want to inhibit them from doing so. 

But make sure they have a framework with which to work. Being armed with industry best practices starts your SEO new hire off on the right foot.

Beyond that, most agencies have a way of doing things. Training on your agency’s procedures and preferences is a matter of making sure you have those practices documented so that your new hires can get up to speed right away.

This also includes the ways that your agency manages projects (this is almost as important as the work itself).

Create a checks and balances system

Letting any new hire’s work go unchecked could lead to issues for your brand’s reputation and your business’s bottom line.

To protect your clients and your brand, make sure that more senior staff are included in any projects the new hire is working on for a period of time. A senior SEO working alongside the entry-level SEO can ensure that the work is sound.

This also allows the senior staff to mentor new hires as they collaborate on a project.

There is no better SEO training than hands-on experience, and this mentorship will offer education on both the way you do SEO and how to handle clients.

The post How to train entry-level SEO hires so they can contribute right away appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

Why Schema needs to be a graph

Why Schema needs to be a graph

More and more people, and more and more developers, are talking about structured data, and We talk and have talked about Schema for quite some time at Yoast and we’ve built loads of things with and on top of it. Recently, the proposed block protocol standard started talking about integrating with Schema, and WordPress’ core team is also taking an interest; see this discussion on Github. metadata is a machine-readable and interpretable version of what’s on a page. We at Yoast are very proud of the schema markup Yoast SEO generates. The main reason we’re so proud of it is that we go to great lengths to ensure that when a machine reads it, it interprets it correctly. To do so, we have determined that Schema should always be one inter-connected graph.

What a good graph looks like

Let’s say we have a page with an article, and that article contains a HowTo. We’ll assume that the HowTo is the “raison d’être” of the article. Our Yoast SEO graph, when parsed, would look like this:

HowToPart of ArticlePart of WebPagePart of Website

The Article and WebPage would have one or multiple authors, publishing dates, images, the website would be owned by an organization, etc. There is a ton of metadata in our Schema, which is super helpful to search engines. Some of the data is page level (like language), some of the data is usually site level (like publisher), and this all works out fine because we tie it all together.

In many Schema implementations, these parts are not tied together as a graph. They are thrown out as separate blocks. So instead of the nice hierarchy above, you’d get:


And in the case above, that might actually be fine. I say might for a reason. What if the HowTo is actually only a tangential part of the Article? There are cases where it becomes even more critical. Let me give you an example.

When Schema becomes destructive

This is, unfortunately, a case I encountered in real life. A website had a product page for a single product. Below that product, it listed five related products, things commonly bought together, etc. The component used to show those related products’ output Schema for those five products. It didn’t tie into the rest of the page’s schema. So you got this:

Product (main product)WebPageWebSiteProduct (related product 1)Product (related product 2)Product (related product 3)Product (related product 4)Product (related product 5)

Product schema is responsible for getting a site the nice rich snippets that show star ratings, price, and availability of products in the search results. In this case, search engines didn’t know which product to pick; in fact, Google’s rich result testing tool won’t even give you a result. When you look at this schema out of the context of its design, there’s no way to know which product is the main product on the page because the Schema wasn’t tied together into a single graph. The result is a loss of rich snippets for these pages. A change that was directly attributable to a loss of sales.

Fixing it meant connecting the five related products to the main product with isRelatedTo properties, removing the Product part of their output, and then declaring the main product as the mainEntityOfPage. The point here is that those product blocks needed to behave differently based on context and their relationships to other blocks on (and information about) the page. This is the sort of understanding that you need to be able to build working Schema output.

The geeky bits: how we tie it all together

In our graph, we tie all elements together by specifying their relationship. To do so, we reference graph “pieces” as we call them, by @id. A WebPage has an attribute isPartOf, referencing the WebSite piece. An Article has an isPartOf referencing the WebPage. In fact, an Article by default also has an attribute mainEntityOfPage that references the WebPage, declaring itself as the main entity.

If you add a HowTo to that mix, it would declare itself the mainEntityOfPage of the Article. If the HowTo is part of a page that doesn’t output Article schema, it would do the same but automatically attach itself as the mainEntityOfPage of the WebPage. This way, a search engine can parse the graph and see exactly what is going on. That means that each block needs to be aware of its context when its schema is rendered.

So: Blocks and Schema are not one and the same

While blocks in the new WordPress editor are great for use with Schema, they require an extra level of parsing and a layer of business logic to be tied to the rest of the page. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just outputting schema for each block and leaving it at that. The idea currently being discussed on the WordPress core GitHub, to tie Schema to Patterns, is, in my opinion, a bit too… Simplistic. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it needs more work. The same is true for discussions around the Block Protocol.

If you want to implement Schema, you have to be willing and able to determine the whole context of a page. That business logic is complex, interconnected, and continually evolving as Google, and other consumers alter and evolve their standards. This logic cannot live in each individual block, in individual pieces; it needs a “brain” that understands all the moving parts and can describe a cohesive graph of all those moving parts. Like this one.

We take great pride in what Yoast SEO does in that area, and we offer a Schema API that allows other developers to tie into that and add their own implementations. We have also written a full Schema specification of just how our output works and why. Without this “brain”, a block-based approach will struggle to meaningfully and safely describe a page.

The post Why Schema needs to be a graph appeared first on Yoast.

Read More

Using digital PR to earn links and rank for your target keywords

So what comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Links continue to be an important organic search ranking factor. However, Google frowns on “link building” and states that the best way to build links is to create great content.  

If you build it, they will come. But how will they find you if you don’t rank, to begin with?

Ideally, when your site starts gaining authority and ranking well, your pages will start showing up in the SERPs, and you’ll gain links naturally.  

However, you can’t achieve this without some initial outreach and digital PR.

Let’s review the steps to create a digital outreach campaign.


You’ll need to do some prep work before starting outreach.  

Browser extensions

Install the following extensions to your Chrome browser:

SEOquakeSEO Meta in 1 Click

Select outreach personas

You’ll need to determine who will be your outreach coordinator and make sure they have a strong social media presence.

From having a good bio and profile image to having active social profiles, it’s important that they are credible and trustworthy to elicit answers.

Make sure your outreach persona has:

Credible email (e.g., [email protected])Active social profilesA personal website Strong LinkedIn profileExamples of published contentCompany email signature

All of these are signs of authority and will influence whether people open and answer the emails.

Select outreach targets

What pages should be promoted to receive inbound links? What keywords/anchor text should be used for the links?

In the past, it was common to build links using keywords in the anchor text. This can result in link penalties, so it’s important to vary your URL/Anchor text combinations to avoid being on the receiving end of manual action from Google.

It’s important to use a combination of brand terms, noise anchors and miscellaneous words for inbound links.

You should continuously track your pages and keywords using a tool (e.g., Semrush or Google Search Console) to identify potential targets for link building.  

You can select pages that are trending up, keywords that are within striking distance, as well as keywords that are sliding in rankings.

Build your outreach list

The first step is to create a list of potential sites to reach out to.  

Use sites from your content research

During your topic and audience research, you probably came across many sites that discussed relevant topics about your industry. In addition to adding all of these sites to your list of potential target sites, use tools like BuzzSumo to further expand that list.

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

Processing…Please wait.


See terms.

function getCookie(cname) {
let name = cname + “=”;
let decodedCookie = decodeURIComponent(document.cookie);
let ca = decodedCookie.split(‘;’);
for(let i = 0; i <ca.length; i++) {
let c = ca[i];
while (c.charAt(0) == ' ') {
c = c.substring(1);
if (c.indexOf(name) == 0) {
return c.substring(name.length, c.length);
return "";
document.getElementById('munchkinCookieInline').value = getCookie('_mkto_trk');

Using search operators to find sites on Google

The goal here is to uncover sites that have shared similar content in the past. To do so, you want to use search operators to build queries that will uncover the types of sites you need.

For example, for a site that offers online degrees, you could start off with broad keywords like “education,” “college,” and “online universities.” You’ll then want to qualify those terms by adding search operators, such as “education” + “infographics.”

Knowing how to search will greatly impact the effectiveness of your outreach campaign, so it’s definitely worth spending the time to gain more in-depth knowledge on how to use search operators.

Here are some ways to use search operators to turn up great outreach opportunities:

Quotation marks (”…”) for exact-match searches.  

“guest author”“write for us”“submit”

The tilde (~…) before a word to generate similar topics and ideas.  

Inurl:guest-___ tends to yield good results, as many sites put “Guest Post/Blog/Writer/etc” in the title of the post, which ends up appearing in the URL.

The full search terms might come out looking like this:

• “guest post” “real estate”

• “write for us” real estate ~auction

• “foreclosures” inurl:guest-post

• ~home auctions “guest blog”

Now that you know how to find keywords, it’s time to start using them!

Create a spreadsheet with potential link opportunities

By using BuzzSumo and searching Google with search operators, you’ll be able to create a list of potential sites to reach out to and pitch your content. 

Once you have collected and added them all to a spreadsheet, your next step will be to verify the quality of these sites to ensure that they have strong authority metrics. 

You want to look at:

Semrush:Authority Score# of Keywords RankingOrganic Traffic  Majestic:Trust Flow: A number predicting how trustworthy a page isCitation Flow: A number predicting how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it

If you don’t check these metrics, you may waste valuable time and resources contacting and writing for sites that won’t help your link profile.

This is where your Chrome browser extensions can help by placing this information at your fingertips.

Find contact information

Now that you’ve added the metrics and have modified your list of target sites to make sure they are qualified, you’ll want to look for contact information.

Don’t stop by going to the “Contact Us” page. Look for other contact info such as direct email addresses, social media profiles and possibly even WHOIS info. You have to be thorough in this step.

Sending an email to the main site’s contact form may mean that your request ends up in the customer service department, or worse, their spam folders, where it doesn’t get forwarded to the right people.

Without trying to spend too much time navigating around the site, look carefully for their contributor guidelines and add the URL to your spreadsheet for tracking purposes. For example, there may not be a page for contributors, but perhaps the Twitter profile for the editor may be listed on the site, so you can use Twitter to contact the editor directly.

Writing pitch letters

People receive a lot of junk in their email, and many sites are constantly receiving requests for guest posting from humans and spambots alike. For this reason, it’s crucial that your pitch letters stand out and showcase transparency.

Here are some of the elements that help pitch letters stand out: 

Try to keep your letter brief and easy to read/scanPersonalize the letter wherever possibleBe friendly and approachable – small talk goes a long way. People want to know you’re a real person, not a robot sending auto-generated emailsUse perfect grammar – you can’t offer to contribute to other sites and use poor grammar. Double and triple-check your grammar!Link to examples of your work, preferably articles posted on authoritative domains.

Now let’s discuss the letter itself:

FROM: Use a company email address to make your email more credible and trustworthy.

SUBJECT: Short, catchy subjects will draw the “open”

BODY: Now, you need to mix all of the elements discussed above into the email:

It’s important to spend enough time crafting these outreach letters to have a chance to succeed.

Start outreach

Using email marketing tools such as Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign is not an effective way to send outreach emails. Many will go to the spam folder or will cause your email server to be banned.

Instead, use your email server or Gmail to send out your outreach emails. This is why it’s important to be thorough and meticulous in the steps above.

With a list of target sites and email templates, start sending out emails and marking the date that you sent the emails in a spreadsheet so you can keep track of what sites were contacted and when.

Once you start receiving responses to your emails, it’s easy for your inbox to become absolute chaos.  

Methodical organization is key at this stage to keep all conversations moving forward.

Label emails

When you receive a response, go ahead and label your emails. Here are examples of labels you could use:

Interested Not Interested Pay to Post 

This way, you can separate emails that require responses and move the ones that don’t need responses to a different folder.

Categorize positive responses

Create a folder and/or label for all of the positive responses. Some of the folders can be:

Send Topic IdeasAccepted TopicReady for ContentSubmittedPublished

Now that everything is labeled and organized, you can actually take the actions required for each conversation. These will require sending topic ideas to people who accepted your request, ordering content with your writers, and sending follow-up emails.

Topic ideas

From the first email response, you need to cultivate a relationship with other website owners.  

When they respond and agree to accept an article, the first step is to spend some time on their site, becoming familiar with the type of content they share. What is the site’s theme? Who is their target audience?

You’ll need to spend some time researching so that the title you pitch will be relevant, interesting and appealing to their audience.

The ideas you pitch should also include something thematically relevant to your target landing page and keywords so that the link placement to your site is natural.

If you use BuzzSumo, you can try searching multiple relevant keywords, and BuzzSumo will sort the articles by total shares, which can help you surface the content that resonates with their audience.

Deliver content

As soon as the target site approves your topic, it’s time to get your article written. You may have a dozen open conversations taking place simultaneously; it’s important that you get your content written and sent to the site in a timely manner, or you may lose the chance of getting published.

Ideally, your articles should be at least 750 words long, include a link to your site and to other relevant authoritative sites, and contains a couple of links to other relevant pages of the target’s site.

Add optimized images and cite their source!

Following up

When you send articles to be published to other websites, you may need to send a few follow-ups to make sure the target sites received and has all the information they need. You may want to create a task or reminder for yourself to follow up a few times until the article goes live.

Sometimes, you may not hear from the site owner, but if you review the site, your article may already be published.  

If you don’t hear back from them, it could be that the article wasn’t relevant, and they preferred to drop the communication. Or it could be they went on vacation or got busy, and your emails drowned in their inbox.

Send out 2-3 follow-ups, and if you don’t hear back after that, you can mark your article as available and pitch it to a different site.

Promoting your published content

Getting content published on other sites can be an arduous process, but gaining editorial placements in targeted, authoritative is worth it!

Now, you’ll want to promote your published article.

Share the article in your social media profiles and tag the site where your article was published.  

If you have a budget for content promotion, consider boosting the post with Facebook ads to increase the readership and traffic to your article.  

You can also use each published content piece as “social proof” when pitching other sites.

Influencers and media

Influences have two things that every brand needs:

An audienceCredibility

Consumers have learned to trust influencers and follow their recommendations, and guess what? So does Google.

Working with influencers can be a powerful way to gain authoritative links and citations, as well as gain social proof and increase brand awareness. These links and mentions will diversify your link profile and improve your site’s authority score. 

Let’s go through the steps toward creating and implementing an influencer marketing strategy:

Identify relevant influencers

Investigate the metrics of each influencerStudy their profiles for relevance to your brand identity

Develop your influencer marketing strategy

Determine your budget and potential incentivesDevelop campaign KPIsCreate a campaign brief, including any relevant assets such as social media images and sample posts

Pitch influencers

Reach out to influencers with an effective pitch letterTrack conversations with your influencers (make sure you respond in a timely manner)

Track the results of your campaign

Potential KPIs to track include impressions, clicks, transactions, audience growth and newsletter signups.

Now that you have the inside scoop on influencer marketing, it’s time to get researching!  

Finding influencers and media contacts

Research: You can use tools (e.g., BuzzSumo, Traackr, Izea) to create a database of possible influencers to contact.Create a connection: Before sending them a pitch, you should consider following them on social media and liking or commenting on their content. This way, your name will become visible in their feed before you contact themPersonalize your pitch:  When you do reach out, make sure you send them a personal email, so it’s obvious you’re not sending an automated email to a million people.Agreement: Once you’ve talked to the influencer and negotiated an agreement, we highly recommend getting the details and deliverables signed to create accountability.  Some influencers may ask for a payment, others for product and others can become affiliates.  

Adding authoritative links and citations to your backlink profile can have a substantial impact on your site’s visibility.  

Digital PR

You should always be thinking about producing unique content that will be of genuine benefit to your audience and industry.

Some ways of producing this content include:

Conducting surveys: You can use SurveyMonkey or Google Surveys to run surveys and share your findings with graphs and metrics and share these with the media.Sharing industry research: Track patents being published in your industry and share them and discuss the potential benefits and impact.White papers and e-books: Write comprehensive white papers or e-books delving into specific topics in your niche.

Once you produce these assets, you can promote them using outreach and work with influencers to help you extend the reach of these assets.

It’s a powerful way to earn media mentions and coveted links.

Track your progress

Track your outreach efforts by looking at your backlink profile periodically and seeing how your authority score changes over time.

What links have had a significant positive impact on your score? What is your link velocity? Are you continuously earning more links than you’re losing?

It’s important to keep a close eye so you can amplify your strengths and overcome weaknesses in your link profile.

The post Using digital PR to earn links and rank for your target keywords appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More