Outreach Link Building: 7 Common Mistakes SEO Agencies Make

outreach link building for seo agencies
19Nov, 2018

How To Scale Outreach Link Building for SEO Agencies in 2019

Guest Post Outreach Link Building is very important in SEO. If it’s not properly handled, your resources might go to waste. It is ever-evolving that previous strategies will not have the same effectively. And it might be ignored for some time so that you can handle other aspects of your business, only to find out that you could have done more.

To deliver a paramount Return on Investment (ROI) for your agency, you have to make every process efficient while managing fixed expenses as your income is consistently clutched.

There are 7 critical mistakes that are commonly committed by different agencies. If these are observed and acted upon, your outreach will become more effective and will deliver better ROI.

Outreach Link Building

Mistake #1: Outreach is not being data-driven

Almost every aspect of SEO is data-driven. And outreach link building shouldn’t be any different. But many agencies do not measure their outreach.

Agencies should be tracking:

  • The number of emails sent
  • The number of opens
  • The number of replies
  • Number of positive replies
  • Number of paid opportunities
  • Number of “free” opportunities
  • Key metrics of sites agreeing to guest posts
  • Average turnaround-time
  • A list of won link targets for use later-on (this one is huge)

Here’s an article about the data that you need to track for an effective assessment for potential link placement: How to Audit Websites for Guest Post Placements

With the availability of some raw data, you can start to break down and split test each stage of the process, measure the performance of different team members, and identify who needs more training. You can also determine a better cost per link placement accuracy, depending on the outreach model used.

Mistake #2: Outreach Link Building is no longer about mass email

Outreach is no longer a numbers game, as from last year’s strategy of hiring VA’s and writers and run a cost-effective outreach link building team that delivers the links you needed has already changed.

Outreach should now be more personalised and tactical, as being able to prospect on a large scale is still important. It should be strategic because Webmasters have become more intelligent to spam-outreach.

Mass Email

As site owners are becoming more difficult to please, many agencies still leave their outreach up to a team of VAs, ready to churn and burn through thousands of contacts, wasting data, burning email IPs, and landing lower quality links.

You’re losing link conversions if you don’t incorporate personalised pitches or spend the time to find the right article idea to pitch. Additionally, you’re dropping the chance to have longer-term relationships where you can keep coming back to them with ideas for other clients of link prospects.

Your team should have the mindset of getting a link placement and nurture a long-term relationship.

Mistake #3: Content creation for Outreach is not optimised

When it comes to guest posts, the content you plan to create plays a major component of the pitch you send and its potential success.

Think about it: what’s the point in personalising pitches if the article ideas you are pitching are not hitting the mark?

There is a sweet spot in the content you want your outreach link building team to be created for successful pitches..

Primarily, the content must be relevant. It needs to reflect the site you want to link to. Likewise, it must be attractive to the audience of the target site.

There’s a strong chance that content that works for you and works for the target sites too when aiming a small niche. However, smaller niches will run out of target sites quickly, so you will have to look at different angles to target different niches and find the sweet spot that will become significant.

Example:

For a large fishing e-commerce store, any angling or fishing related site would be very niche relevant. But it’s a relatively small niche, and it didn’t take long to exhaust potential link opportunities. Thus, the next thing to do is identify content that would fit with other audiences that are not so obvious

A successful angling was pitching in the travel niche, some articles about destinations to go for people who love to fish.

Fisherman, Boat, Fishing, Sea, Water

Another effective tactic was aiming at women’s lifestyle websites, creating content on “what to buy your man for Christmas.”

Lastly, pitching content about how fishing is great to de-stress, get in touch with nature and to meditate. So self-help and spiritual niches are some very high-value links that were targeted.

Angling is one of the most popular hobbies in the US and UK.

Be able to think a little bit outside the box so that you can identify link opportunities.

Mistake #4: Quality of guest post placement diminishes from paying VAs by its quantity

It’s a given that the more cost-effective your agency can acquire links, the better your margins. But there’s an issue with setting up a completely price-focused outreach team.

Many agencies have teams of Virtual Assistants (VAs) running outreach, being paid $X per guest post placement with X Domain Rating (or your selected metric).

The issue with this is it drives down quality. As outreach has exploded, website owners are being bombarded, daily, with offers and proposals, and it becomes a sellers’ market. To comply with budget measures, VAs have no choice but to pick lower value sites. As a result, you could end up on sites built by other marketers who build these websites just to sell guest posts, which quickly become link farms.

So, the overall quality of your links will have likely diminished because of this seller’s market we’re currently in, unless your fee per placement has increased.

“Pure” guest post outreach, where you are pitching expert-level, specific content to high-value sites as editorials is also more challenging because editors are being blasted with proposals, so they become choosier.Office, Freelancer, Computer, Business

The freelancers doing the outreach are having to do more work on each placement.

Cost-per-link acquisition is important to every agency, but the landscape has changed and how you value the link and measure the cost needs to be adjusted too. It can’t just be driven by price, but it needs to be constantly assessed so you’re paying the right fee for your links to make sure that quality of placements doesn’t decrease.

Mistake #5: Outreach through templated email is ineffective

Site owners are not reacting to templated emails unless they are selling links on their site. Even site owners that sell links will be doubtful with templated emails because they are selective, and some will associate the spammy emails with poor quality sites.

Nowadays Gmail and other email filtering systems are on the lookout for templated emails to mark as spam, or in Google’s case to throw them in the “Promotions” tab, where they get lost.

Open rates are the worst for emails that end up in Promotions, and this has been supported by numerous studies.

Templated email are just extremely ineffective compared to other strategies. With it, your agency is missing out on other opportunities.

Email Marketing, Online Marketing

More importantly, you are chewing through prospects at an unsustainable rate.

As an agency, you’ll need to be cautious with how much data you go through; you have a number of clients to run outreach for over an extended period of time.  Thus, you can’t afford to miss out on so many opportunities to get placements.

In several scenarios, using a hybrid of templated email outreach with some personification will have better results. This is supported by several studies which you can read more here…

Mistake #6: Not maximising your Outreach Link Building with follow-ups

You have to take care of your prospects list as it is the lifeblood of your outreach. Keep that in mind while knowing the importance of follow-ups because they help you to make the best of your prospect list.

Agency outreach teams, especially outsourced by teams of VAs, tend to send out an email, and not follow it up.

There are numerous reasons why your outreach email might have been missed the first time. Here are a couple of scenarios from a site owner/manager’s view:

Scenario 1 – The contact box or email address on your site feeds into your own inbox. You’re flooded with offers and proposals every day. You try to get through most of them, but sometimes, if you don’t recognise the sender, it won’t get opened. Other days, when you are less busy, you might open everything that hits your inbox.

Maximizing Outreach link building emails

In this scenario, the email is not really the highlight of the week, it’s simply bad timing.

Most of the time, a conversion is a matter of being in the “right time and right place” so keep sending emails until a feedback has been received with a NO or get unsubscribed.

Scenario 2 – You have created a separate email account and inbox for your site because you hate having your inbox cluttered with unsolicited email. You tend to log in to the inbox once or twice a week and scan through the emails, see if anything looks important or stands out. You might read through a couple.

In this scenario, it could be that the first time to send an email, it doesn’t stand out or the subject line doesn’t attract attention.

Send follow-ups because it might be noticed and read.

These are just 2 scenarios that the prospective site owner might have that means they miss your email and could well be interested in your proposal. You need to follow up until you are told to stop contacting them.

Mistake #7: Agency without a network for Outreach Link Building

Securing a network of freelancers is one of the most effective outreach from SEO agencies. Its goal is to have a central point of pre-evaluated outreach link building experts that either different SEO account managers can use for their clients. Or alternatively, to have an outreach manager who uses the network to deliver all the outreach they need for all their clients.

Having a network of freelancers offers consistency in terms of quality and reliability in terms of delivery. And in terms of outreach, having a network of freelancers is effective on so many levels.

 

Strategy, Chess, Board Game, Win

Different clients will have different outreach needs, thus achieving cost-quality.

Occasionally, you might need to target a few niche relevant, lower value links, for less competitive keywords or local SEO. Other clients might need to target more high-value links. Perhaps they are in more competitive niches or are looking to incorporate Public Relations (PR) and link building.

These require two different sets of skills and two different types of content.

You’ll probably need different freelancers to deliver these kinds of links, where a network is a benefit. You can call on different resources in your network for different activities without having to advertise and recruit on a case-by-case basis. You can also contact Authority Guest Post to help you scale your white-hat outreach link building campaign, they want to help as many SEO agencies scale their white-hat outreach backlinks in 2019.

Time is equal to cost. At the end of the day, it all boils down to cost. Having a network saves an agency money, and one of the ways it saves money is by saving time.

To be constantly recruiting, training and managing an outreach team and writers is time-consuming. If you were to build a network of freelancers with a process in place that means they manage themselves, you’re freeing up your most valuable commodity. Once a freelancer is trained to deliver the tasks to your standards, they understand the process, they are proven to deliver the appropriate quality on-time, then and only then they join your network, after which different members of your agency can use them as they need. They won’t need a lot of managing; they’ll just need some quality control to ensure they are continuing to deliver.

Bonus: Outreach outsourcing pitfalls are not avoided

Numerous agencies go for outreach service than building their own network or having an in-house outreach.

There is so much value in choosing to outsource outreach link building service. As outreach involved difficulties and constant changes, finding the right outreach service partner will get rid of ease these challenges.

Mouse Trap, Cheese, Device, Trap, Mouse

But outsourcing outreach has a major issue: Quality.

To begin with, outreach means many different things to different SEOs and agencies. Find an outreach link building service that matches your philosophy in terms of link quality, and keeps that quality throughout the relationship.

Outreach services extremely vary, but a dominant issue with many services is link quality. They tend to use DA as a metric, which is fine as one of many metrics, but often it’s not supported with RD, Backlink profile, traffic, social media activity.

It’s often just Domain Authority (DA) and niche relevant.

The problem with that is testing has shown that results from obtaining links from such sites are minimal.  A lot of people have reported getting placed on “outreach sites” that are just a little better than well-built PBNs. In most cases, there is a good chance that the guest post service is legitimate but because they limit their site verification process to DA and niche the sites end up being nothing more than a link farm.

Hundreds of internal pages sold as guest posts, diluting the value of the link, if Google hasn’t devalued the links anyway.

Summary

Outreach is constantly evolving. You need white-hat outreach links to make movements and to show clients the increasing rank.

But, a mass email templated process is no longer effective. Agencies need to keep definite aspects of mass email that allows them to measure depending on their requirements but otherwise looking to customise the process.

At the same time, they need to identify new angles and potential placements and propose content that brings relevance and engagement for the audience of the placement site.

guest post outreach link building team

Outsourcing requires to be well-managed. Ensure that your philosophy on outreach, and what determines a valuable site to secure a link from, matches your partner’s strategy. Ensure that they are delivering those metrics consistently.

Outreach can drain money and time, but implementing these changes will improve ROI and avoid those potential drawbacks.

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