In the past, email has been used for team communication and sending electronic postcards, or email marketing. Finally, after years of link building and SEO such as building links from web directories, social bookmarking, creating content and publishing it on websites and waiting for links back or doing on-page optimization and waiting for it to have a positive impact on my website, it’s now important to begin to explore different ways to perform SEO using other resources.
The following article explores more productive ways to use Email for improving SEO and link building.
Broken Link Building
If you follow popular SEO gurus, you’ve probably heard about broken link building. In a nutshell, broken link building is a form of link building that takes advantage of broken links in a website – not a website’s internal links, but it’s external ones.
Broken external links are caused by three main reasons:
- The website they link to has closed down.
- The page they link to was deleted.
- The page/content they link to has been moved but not redirected.
For a typical web user these kinds of links are a nuisance, but to an SEO this is a shining pot of gold.
The process is very time consuming as you have to find pages with broken links and the right person to contact before sending them an Email. If you write great subject lines, your email is more likely to get read. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a better way to get their attention.
While this strategy is time consuming and often depends on luck, it’s very rewarding too, because old pages tend to pass more authority as they are more likely to have links from other pages. Just make sure to target the ones that have good Page Authority, or PR.
Some tools to help you out:
- Domain Hunter Plus (Google Chrome Extension)
- Check My Links (Google Chrome Extension)
- Buzz Maker (For faster contact acquisition)
- Scrapebox (Yes, the one that received bad press)
- Xenu Link Sleuth
- Screaming Frog
Tutorials on how to use them for broken link building are readily available online.
Resource Page Link Building
Resource page link building is one of the most over-looked link building strategies out there. Some websites have created pages which only link to other websites. While it may sound like something that could get you penalized, don’t be concerned. It’s one of the most legitimate ways to get a link.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Find link prospects: Take advantage of a search engine’s power and gather all possible link prospects through query prospecting.
2. Know their authority: Gather important metrics, like the page’s PR, or Page Authority by Moz. Prioritize pages with higher PA (Page Authority) or Page PR. It is important to gather these metrics because if we spend precious time reaching out to webmasters it’s better to have an idea of the benefits we can receive.
3. Measure the relevance of the page as the more relevant it is to the resource page, or the domain, the more chance there is that the webmaster will link back to your page. Your authority is also important. If you are PR 0 and you are reaching out to a more authoritative domain, it’s hard to ask for a link, so be sure to approach sites with similar authority to yours. If you are a startup for example, and are currently PR 1, you will most likely receive a link from domains with PR’s ranging from 0 to 3. It’s a good idea to prioritize establishing links from pages with higher PR than yours also keep a record of other high authority links for the future, so you can aim to achieve a link from them when you are authoritative enough.
Here are examples of queries you can use to find resource pages:
- “keyword” inurl:links
- “keyword” “related urls”
- Keyword “related sites”
You can also speed up link prospecting by using tools such as Buzzstream or Scrapebox. You may be aware of Scrapebox’s bad reputation but there’s more White Hat use than Black Hat use to it.
Guest blogging is a win/win link building tactic that requires great content that acts as a sacrificial piece. While “sacrifice” might seem like too harsh a term to use it really does work that way. When you have great content and your website is not authoritative yet, the best place to publish your articles isn’t on your own website. This may sound a harsh, but it’s true. Writing something great takes time so although it may seem futile to just give it away to another website, when you get a link back it pays dividends if it is a relevant website.
By guest blogging you take advantage of somebody else’s traffic and authority to spread the news about your website and build your own authority. The traffic coming from a relevant website is most likely to stick and convert than a traffic coming from somewhere else.
Here’s how to do it:
- Create great content that is unique and engaging.
- Make a great list of relevant websites through query prospecting.
- Trim your list down by identifying which website is worth your time. You can set aside the too-authoritative-sites for now and save them for future campaigns.
- Get the attention of the webmaster by emailing them and notify them that you have great content that is yet to be published.
- Send the content for review.
Content promotion is an indirect way to build links that is also done using email. If you’ve written and published an amazing article on your blog your next step is to promote it.
If you’re wondering who you should reach out to, and assuming you already have a list of subscribers, try sending an update about your new content via Email and ask for their thoughts. You won’t always receive feedback, but you will still gain traffic.
Alternatively, you can search for websites that you think will find your content interesting. If you are into dog training you might avoid spending your time by promoting your content to websites that are in the air-conditioning niche.
This is a great way to spread the word about your content and if any of the people who receive your content link to it, then you hit the jackpot! This is dependent on the quality of the content you are promoting, of course, so make sure to promote content that is engaging and fresh.
Relationship Link Building
This is the new type of link building. In the past, link building was only done using social bookmarking, directory listing, and spamming blog comments, but today these methods don’t work as well.
As the name of the strategy suggests, this form of link building prioritizes building a link (relationship) directly with the webmaster. If done correctly, it’s not just links you are getting, but a network also – a network that will take your business even further.
This form of link building is yet another way to make the most of email.
Relationship building is an ongoing process that you have to nurture. If you’re planning to use this kind of strategy, make sure that you are good at stalking. You must be good at showing others that you are interested in them and below are some things you can do to show your interest:
- Follow them through social media
- Engage in conversations with them
- Answer their questions – you can also create content catering to their questions and notify them about it, which may help you to acquire a link earlier.
- Read their posts
- Tweet/share their post
In short, find a way to get them to notice your interest in them. You are more likely to gain a friend by being friendly rather than waiting for people to befriend you.
Content Ideation and Creation
Email interviews with dozens of webmasters who you have built relationships with can be a great resource for content ideas and creation. You can acquire content ideas by asking your customers what is it they want to know more about. The customers on your list might be busy so you have to craft your message carefully, or even compensate them for taking part in it.
It is believed that you normally receive replies from 10% of people on your list, so make sure to send you queries to as many customers as possible. You may receive different replies, but make sure to take all of them into consideration. Remember that customer response is valuable.
To have a better idea which content ideas to prioritize, take the point-system approach. Go through each idea and understand the whole point about it before listing it and giving it one point.
Prioritize the idea based on how many times it was mentioned. This way you will be aware of the impact the content you are going to create will have.
Ask website users for feedback
You can do this in Analytics but if you don’t have spare time for analyzing data, you can directly ask your customer’s for feedback. Again, craft your message carefully and get straight to the point – remember that their time is valuable so making it easy for them to respond to you is crucial.
Let’s say that you already have three great ideas to optimize your website but are unsure how it will impact your website’s performance. You can ask your customers which of your ideas they prefer. You can make it as simple as a multiple choice response. Remember to give them an alternative response like a blank line so they can state their reply in their own words if their answer is not in your provided list. Doing so will give you better ideas for optimizing your website for maximum impact.
Remember to always measure the result.
Email: a classic yet effective tool
There are many of ways to use email for SEO. The examples presented here are some of the easiest ways to make email work for you. What other ways do you take advantage of email for SEO purposes?
Feel free to share them below so we can talk about it more.
Scott Donald is the Chief Strategist at CreativSEO and works with companies wanting more exposure online and specializes in website performance optimization.