SEO is hard work. And that’s an understatement.
It’s long. It’s tedious. And no one seems to want to reveal how to do it the right way.
I first dove into SEO in 2013, when I went out and got the book The Art of SEO by Enge, Stricchiola and Spencer. I attempted to read the one-and-a-half inch behemoth cover-to-cover and failed miserably. I don’t know how many of you have tried reading a textbook from start to finish, but it is not a pleasant experience and may invoke headaches and nausea. I’m not even sure I retained a single thing by the time I got to the end.
And then I was supposed to put this information into practice?? Where do I even start with that? Of course, there are no step-by-step guides that give you a starting point and an ending point with guaranteed results. For the longest time SEO was so intimidating to me that I didn’t dare get any more than my feet wet.
I’m sure everyone has some huge mountain in front of them, in one way or another, that feels too intimidating to climb. As they say, the journey begins with a single step, but in the case of SEO, where’s even the first step? Everyone suggests a different strategy, with no guaranteed results.
So here’s the solution I came up with, after tons of research and conversations with several industry leaders.
I took the most used SEO strategies—the ones with the most proven case studies—and condensed each of them into bite-sized activities that are consumable during the course of a day.
I have 12 on the list I’m going to share with you. Each day, I pick an activity to complete. Each activity is different, but helps build my link building profile in some way. The result, after a few weeks, is a profile that extends far out and reaches many different types of communities.
LINK BUILDING ACTIVITY SHEET
Do one activity each day; get results in many ways!
Activity 1: Manage your Twitter account
Step 1: Find new users. Use tweepi.com to find targeted users that are most likely to follow you if you follow them. Try to follow around 40 of them.
Step 2: Connect with influencers. Find around 20 high-profile users that are likely to follow you and share the same target community as you do. Follow those people.
Step 3: Engage with influencers. Find as many opportunities as you can to engage with their newest tweets with useful information and compliments.
Step 4: Put together a list of viral content related to your company and industry. These can be images, videos, or articles. Use hashtagify.me to discover the most popular hashtags associated with this type of content.
Step 5: Using Buffer or SocialPilot, schedule these posts for peak hours of the day for the next 3 days. Schedule ~3-4 articles per day. Include the hashtags you found in each post.
Step 6: Take a look at retweets from previous Twitter content and respond with a friendly thank you.
Activity 2: Manage your Facebook page
Step 1: Connect and engage with ~20 influencers. (See Manage your Twitter Account steps 2 and 3.)
Step 2: Schedule quality content for the next 3-4 days (See Manage your Twitter Account steps 4 and 5.)
Step 3: Choose one piece of quality content to promote using Facebook Ads. Use the Boost Post button to promote this content.
Step 4: Take a look at previous Facebook posts and invite people who liked the content to like your page.
I haven’t yet found a guide online on how to quickly and efficiently manage your Facebook page that’s not a waste of time. If you know of one, let me know! I’ll be trying my hand at writing a Quality Article on this subject soon.
Activity 3: Manage your LinkedIn account
Step 1: Schedule quality content for the next 3-4 days (See Manage your Twitter Account steps 4 and 5.)
Step 2: Perform a LinkedIn search for people most likely to buy the product you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling design services for experiential marketing companies, search for account directors of experiential marketing companies.
Step 3: Using a personalized script, invite these people to connect with you. Comment on their current city, or their school, or some other aspect to further personalize the invite message. Try to invite around 40 people.
The most helpful information I’ve found on how to manage your LinkedIn account has been found in John Nemo’s extremely informative book, LinkedIn Riches. You can download it for free here. I plan to condense this subject into an easy-to-read article in the near future.
Activity 4: Promote some newly-written content
Step 1: Schedule 3 tweets promoting the content during the peak hours of the day—morning, noon, and evening. Include hashtags.
Step 2: Post it once on Facebook. Include hashtags and optionally user tags. These posts are the best posts to promote (See Facebook Account Management step 3).
Step 3: Schedule different posts focusing on the content (a quote from it, your thoughts on it, etc.) throughout the week. Schedule at least one post per day on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the next week.
Step 4: If there are other outlets you can think of that would do well in receiving a mention of the content (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn groups, social channels, other social media sites), post it there as well.
Step 5: Using a personalized script, message each of your LinkedIn followers who would potentially be interested in the new content notifying them about it.
Step 6: Create and send highly personalized emails to send to our list of influential bloggers (See Create a list of influential bloggers) if the content is of high enough quality. Do this with the goal of building the relationship with them.
Link Building and Social Media aren’t the only ways to build your audience. Generating a constant stream of content is just as essential. Every time you create a new blog entry, infographic, podcast, or video, make sure to follow these steps. Your content is useless if no one sees it.
Activity 5: Create a list of influential bloggers
Step 1: Using a tool such as keyhole.io or BuzzSumo, create a spreadsheet of 50-100+ influential bloggers and tweeters. Choose people that regularly post content on blogs and social media directed at your consumers.
Step 2: Choose 10-20 to be your target high-value influencers, and put them on the top of the list.
Step 3: Find the email addresses associated with these people. If you can’t find their email address, use their Twitter or Facebook handle instead.
Step 4: Put the list of influencers into a spreadsheet format so we can keep track of when we’ve emailed them, and their reactions.
Creating a spreadsheet of well-known individuals, or influencers, that are most likely to share your content may be one of the most important activies in the world of content marketing. Here’s a couple resources that cover this activity in more detail:
Activity 6: Communicate with website owners
Step 1: Go through your list of influential bloggers (See Create a list of influential bloggers) and note the ones that have websites with regularly updated content.
Step 2: Leave 5 to 10 interesting comments that address a certain point of the article or ask a question.
Step 3: Email the website owners and ask for a link to a piece of high-quality content that you wrote. Let them know you’re a fan and would appreciate a link to your content.
Activity 7: Build links using the Skyscraper Technique
Step 1: Choose a piece of high-quality content of yours and note its target keywords.
Step 2: Type the target keywords into Google and write down the top results.
Step 3: Using a backlink tool, make a list of the backlinks pointing to those results.
Step 4: Find each site’s email address and email them using a predefined template, asking them to link to your superior content.
Activity 8: Contact links to sources
Step 1: Choose a piece of high-quality content of yours, and search the content for external links. Make a list of websites that the content links to.
Step 2: Hunt down the email addresses associated with those websites.
Step 3: Email the website owners and inform them that you’ve linked to their content. Website owners are usually happy to share content that has linked to them.
There is nothing that makes content creators happier than hearing that their content has been helpful. If in your blog or publication you reference someone’s work, let them know. In most cases, they’ll be more than happy to help you out in return.
Activity 9: Submit content for exposure
Step 1: Using Google, create a list of 15 places that accept blog post submissions. (Examples include BlogEngage, BizSugar, and Triberr)
Step 2: Choose a piece of high quality content of yours worth sharing on other sites.
Step 3: Submit the content to each website, being careful to follow their submission guidelines.
Activity 10: Send out guest blog requests
Step 1: Using your list of influential bloggers (See Create a list of influential bloggers), do a Google search for each blogger’s name plus phrases indicating a piece was republished. List the sites that come up from this search.
Step 2: Next, make a list of popular publications that write articles on your topic. Filter the list by checking to see if these publications republish content. Add this filtered list to the list of sites from step 1.
Step 3: Finally, search for sites that accept guest posts. Then, check how popular the blogs are and whether they are worth guest blogging to. Another easy way to determine this is to check the number of comments on blog posts. Add the sites you find to the list of sites from step 1. That list should now have around 40 different sites that you can potentially guest blog to.
Step 4: If you feel it would make a difference, show your support to each site by leaving constructive comments on their last few blog entries, and sharing the blog on each of your social media pages.
Step 5: Judging on what you’ve seen from the blogger’s recent articles and writing style, determine a topic of which they would enjoy featuring on their website.
Step 6: Making sure to follow the submission guidelines and to email the appropriate editor, construct a personalized pitch to send to the publication.
Step 7: Schedule a follow-up email (or two or three) in case they don’t respond.
Activity 11: Build links using the Broken Link Building Method
Step 1: Create a list of pages that used to be popular, but no longer exist on the Internet or have been rebranded. Use a Google search to achieve this. Try to find around 10 links.
Step 2: Using a backlink tool, find backlinks to each broken link you find.
Step 3: Reach out to the owners of the backlinked sites and inform them that the page they linked to is broken. Recommend that they link to your page in the email you send.
Activity 12: Build links using Resource Pages
Step 1: Discover resource pages on your topic by using Google to find them. Try to find around 20.
Step 2: Do a little research on the page and decide if it is worth your time to pursue a link from it.
Step 3: Decide on a piece of quality content you own that would fit well on the resource page.
Step 4: Find the site owner’s email address and send them a personalized email requesting they link to your content.
Even an activity per day can be hard, so I’ve broken them further still into steps. Choose an activity, then follow it step by step until you’ve done your work for the day. Make this routine, and eventually your work will build up.
In addition, I’ll be going through and creating tutorials on each and every one of these activities, so they’re dead simple and foolproof to follow. Want to be the first to read them? Just sign up for the mailing list below.
Building an SEO profile is more like a bush rather than a tree—it mainly grows out, not up. Do a little (or a lot) of work each day, and watch connections bloom in all sorts of places.