Outreach prospecting for high-quality links

Backlinks - we all need them, so we're going to look at one of my favourite processes to find the people who can give them to you.

Blogger outreach

Don't bother building links like it's 2010 and expecting to get lasting results. Sure, it may be still possible to use some manipulative backlinking strategies to give a site a push in Google results.

But it's a bad idea.

I'm talking about:

PBNs
Web 2.0
Blog comments
Guest posts*
Paid links**

Google has done a fairly good job already of devaluing spammy links, and is constantly taking it further to push the high-quality and trusted sites to the top of search results and drop sites that use dodgy techniques to manipulate search rankings.

So, what kind of backlinks do we want?

The best kind of backlinks are the ones that authority sites in your industry use as citations, or as recommended further reading on a topic.

Why?

Because backlinks are a fundamental way that Google determines if a website is trustworthy and providing quality information.

So to get those links we need to know who is actually likely to be interested in your content in the first place. Then create content specifically targeted to their interests - doing this makes acquiring high-quality links easy.

And it works!

I've acquired hundreds of links for my clients from journalists who write for massively high-authority sites!

You need to actively put your content in front of those people once it's published, and in many cases - ask them for the link.

This is what blogger outreach is all about.

So today I'm going to share a process I use to make sure I'm finding ultra-qualified prospects to reach out to. For a more beginner friendly article on finding loads of qualified outreach prospects, check out my Beginner Outreach post.

We’ll be using one of my favourite tools to do this - Buzzsumo.

Let’s get down to business.

*Guest posts can totally be a legit SEO strategy - writing great articles and having them published on quality sites will help you build authority, but mass guest posting on lower quality sites can and does result in manual actions from Google.

**Paying for advertising placements on websites is a totally normal thing, but ads usually have a nofollow or sponsored tag. Paying for loads of links without those tags can eventually lead to a manual action, or for links from those sites to be devalued, meaning you've wasted a load of money.

Step 1 - Find Shared Content

Once you’ve logged in to Buzzsumo, go to the Content research section and put in a keyword for a topic in your industry - I’m going to look for “Taco Recipe”.

Buzzstream

So we do our search for “Taco Recipes” and Buzzsumo will come back with a list of the most shared articles with that in the title from around the world. Now sort the results by the number of Twitter shares - Buzzsumo only provides user info from Twitter.

Next we’ll take the top result, and click “View Sharers”, and we now have a list of everyone who’s shared that article on Twitter. If we click on “Followers”, the table is sorted by who has the most Twitter followers - You can tap into this audience by writing about something that person loves to share!

So take the top result - the article that’s been shared the most times - and click “View Sharers” to get a list of all the people who have shared that article. Sort the list by number of followers. The people at the top of this list are the people who have the power to get your content in front of tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

Easy, simple, done, right? Just make a post about tacos and email all the people on that list…

Wrong.

We don’t want to spam every single person who’s shared that post. They might have just been feeling like tacos and wanted to share that one post. The people we want are the ones who consistently shared posts about tacos (Then they’re more likely to share ours too) AND have loads of followers.

search outreach prospects

So for now we’re going to Click “Export” and choose .CSV to download the list of sharers with the most followers.

Once your CSV has downloaded, go back to our first results page with the list of articles sorted by number of Twitter shares, and repeat the process, exporting the sharers for the top articles until you have at least 10 CSV files, but 20 will get you more actionable data - the more the better

Now move all your CSVs to a new folder.

Step 2 - Going Old-school with CMD

Move all your CSVs to a new folder and open the folder in command prompt.

Merge outreach lists

You'll be faced with a black box that looks like it came straight from the 90s, but don't fret, all you need to do is type: copy *.csv tacos.csv

This will merge all of your downloaded CSVs into a single sheet called tacos.

Step 3 - Sort your Sharers

Now we're going to open up the new merged spreadsheet, I prefer Google Sheets over Microsoft Excel, as it automatically saves every time you make a change, and is always backed up to the cloud.

Right click on column G and insert a new column to the right.

linkbuilding list

To keep the top row at the top, highlight it and click View > Freeze > 1 Row.

This just keeps everything tidy and eay to find.

Now in cell G2, type: =countif(G:G, G2), and press enter.

Then in hover the mouse on the bottom-right corner of the cell, a little + should appear. Double click on it to copy the formula to the who column.

Countif to find duplicates

Now simply sort column H, and you'll be left with an ordered list of who shared the most popular articles in your original topic the most, along with their twitter handle and website, if they have one.

So What's next?

Well, now we know WHO we want to write content for and WHAT it's going to be about (tacos), the next (way more difficult) part is to create the actual content.

Good luck.

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