An effective outreach strategy will attract inbound traffic and is excellent for SEO. Inbound links improve your SEO and legitimate influencers on blogs improve sales conversion.
The problem is that outreach strategies have attracted some bad practices that search engines have taken exception to. Google has taken preventative action with the introduction of Penguin and thus changed the landscape of an outreach project.
It is the intention of search engines to use backlinks as a metric to rank websites. Their goal is to rank the best quality sites in order to improve the user-experience of the internet.
Modern consumers also benefit from outreach content. Recommendations through word-of-mouth are still the best forms of traditional advertising and consumers are more inclined to buy a product that receives positive reviews from independent third parties, i.e a blogger.
Blogs and influencers rank highly with consumers for trust, popularity and influence. As a result, they are in the top five per cent of resources consumers will review before deciding whether or not to purchase a product or use a company’s services.
Thus an outreach marketing strategy should not be overlooked. However, it is essential that the strategies you employ fall with search engine guidelines or you risk a Google penalty.
Where outreach went wrong
Bad practices of inbound marketing led to outreach getting a poor reputation. SEO agencies were approaching bloggers offering content with a link back to a company’s site and paying for it.
As a result, the internet is flooded with articles that provide impartial advice and favour certain company’s or products. Google class this type of content as spam and their spokesman, Matt Cutts, issued a warning not to pay for links or use low-quality sites.
The trust factor for consumers has also been broken and they may think twice about taking advice from blogs.
What effective outreach strategies can you take?
Outreach indicators are still used by search engines for rank purposes and will benefit your online business. Wily consumers also know which publications give independent reviews they can trust.
Therefore outreach campaigns are still effective if conducted properly. So what options do you have?
Write for third party magazines
Writing for third party magazine will not get you an inbound link, but will enable you to raise brand awareness, position yourself as an expert in your field, attract organic traffic and widen your online profile.
Ideally you want to write a weekly, monthly or bi-monthly column for an industry magazine that is well established and ranking well. If this is not possible, look for independent web owners that dedicate content to your specific industry.
Write for a blog
If you are not successful in your pursuit of an online magazine that will publish your content, you can always write for blogs that are dedicated to your industry. Most bloggers that are interested in improving their blog rank for personal gain will be glad of free content that helps their search rankings – providing the quality is good!
If you work in a field that is popular and there are a lot of websites to choose from, only approach two or three. Writing for too many third party websites will cause irregular patterns on your inbound links statistics and could attract a penalty.
Send products to bloggers to review
The other option is to approach blog owners with the offer of a free product or service if they write an independent review of their experience in exchange. This will typically result in positive feedback that can be trusted by consumers.
To do this successfully, you need to do some research before you choose which bloggers to approach. If your content is image based for example, a blogger connected to Instagram is a better option than if they do not have an account.
Be careful on this though, as sending products to bloggers in exchange for links is definitely a no-no. It’s still a paid link.
Likewise, if the blogger has a lot of Twitter or Facebook followers that are not likely to be interested in your content, they are not going to generate a lot of traffic or customers.
Google has assured us that they will not give up measuring inbound links, but the Penguin algorithm is becoming more sophisticated and will soon be able to detect suspicious activity with inbound links.
If you do decide to write guest posts, follow Google guidelines to make sure your outreach strategy is legit and will not attract a penalty.
Move It Marketing SEO Services
Move It Marketing are a boutique digital marketing agency with a love for organic search (and in particular technical SEO). We don’t dilute our efforts by working with a large number of clients, and provide a granular service with attention to detail. If you have experienced problems with SEO on your site, get in touch and we will take a look with a view to providing you with an initial mini SEO audit free of charge.