For as long as SEO has been a thing, the central focus has been link building – increasing the number of inbound links to pages on your site. There are plenty of ways to do this, and some are undoubtedly more effective than others. In the early days, “marketers” would use spammy tactics like flooding blogs with comments, leaving backlinks scattered across the web like pieces of unwanted litter. However, as search engines have got better at recognising genuine effort vs. mass-generated spam, it's become increasingly difficult to build links naturally without being penalised. Luckily, blogger outreach has remained an effective method, but it's also the hardest kind of link building you can do, and here's why:
1. You're Dealing with Humans, Not Algorithms
When you reach out to a blog or site owner in an attempt to network with them and hopefully land an appropriately placed link on their site, you're not tricking an algorithm, you're trying to impress an actual person. Furthermore, many of these webmasters have seen just about everything you can pitch at them, so it can be a tough crowd to cater to. In a way, just getting a spot on a blog or convincing someone to let you put your link on their site is a form of selling, so it's obviously more complicated than slapping a link in a forum signature or listing your site in a directory.
2. There's Lots of Research and Correspondence Involved
We're way past the stage where general and rehashed topics are approved and passed. In order to get the attention of a blog owner nowadays, you have to do your research to propose something that stands out from the sea of mediocrity. Furthermore, oftentimes the person you're trying to collaborate with will respond and ask you to either pitch a different idea or make adjustments to your current topic before they'll allow it on their site, so there's also flexibility required to facilitate the back and forth communication that's often necessary.
3. You Actually Have to Produce Something of Value
You can't just email someone and say “hey, will you put this link on one of the pages on your site?” and expect them to slap the link on a page by itself with no content surrounding it. Instead, you're going to need to find a way for the link to make it on the site in a natural way that provides value for the site's visitors. This typically involves putting the link in a piece of quality content that the webmaster will want to post. Of course, whether you can come up with something good enough will depend on how strict the blog is about their content policies, but in general the ones you stand to gain the most SEO authority from will be the most difficult to impress.
It Takes Time and Things Don't Always Go as Planned
Finally, blogger outreach isn't an exact science. Oftentimes it takes weeks for a blog post to be published, and in that time, there can be a lot of uncertainty and second-guessing whether it was actually worth your time and effort. Also, a percentage of the time you'll find that your attempts are rejected altogether, and those instances can be discouraging to say the least. However, even with all of the aforementioned hardships and challenges associated with outreach, it remains the best way to spread brand awareness and build legitimate links in today's competitive marketing landscape.
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