Whitehat link building for eCommerce (E158)

  • Jeff Oxford
  • Founder and CEO of 180 Marketing

Show Notes

  • eCommerce SEO is a different scale and size
  • Link build strategies
    • Product Reviews
    • HARO – Help a reporter
    • Guest Posts
      • Reach out, send your bio
      • Top blog lists
  • Budget
    • < $100 per link – Bad
    • $200-300 – More common whitehat links
      • Send examples of past links
      • Ask if they own the blogs




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the Business eCommerce I talk with Jeff Oxford about whitehat link building for e-commerce. This is a business of eCommerce episode 156.

Charles (00:20):

Welcome to the business of e-commerce the show that helps e-commerce retailers start launch and grow their e-commerce business. I’m your host, Charles Palleschi with Jeff Oxford. Jeff is the CEO and founder of one 80 marketing and SEO company focused exclusively on SEO and content marketing for e-commerce businesses. As Jeff on the show today, talk about link building specifically for e-commerce businesses. There’s definitely some nuances that make link building different when it comes to e-commerce. So I think he really digs into that and this is his focus. So he brings some great tips that I think really everyone should listen to. It’s something that link building isn’t talked about that often it’s something that I think a lot of folks kind of focus more on the on-page more and some, some other factors when it comes to SEO. But I think link building really is one of the keys to making your SEO strategy work.

Charles (01:14):

And Jeff really goes deep and specific when it comes to e-commerce link building. So I think you should watch the entire show. He gives three strategies on how to build links and some concepts on budget. And we should be looking at if you’re thinking of getting into us. So let’s get into the show and listen right to the end. He also talks about his product which I think is actually great. You should check out I’ll link to in the show notes. So let’s get into the show. Hey Jeff, how are you doing today? I

Jeff (01:42):

Am doing great. Charles, how about yourself?

Charles (01:45):

Doing good. Thanks for coming on the show. I’ve had a few guests there in the past. Talk about SEO, but kind of more of a focus on link building. I feel like that’s not something I’ve touched upon at least here in the past. So I’m kind of excited to get into that aspect of it real quick. First one, any marketing you’re the founder, how you’ve been doing SEO for, for how long

Jeff (02:07):

I would do an SEO for about a decade now, mainly on e-commerce sites. So I’m little side stories. I’ve built my own in the past, back in like 2012, built my own e-commerce sites, drop shipping sites had success there and then decided just to kind of pursue the e-commerce marketing side of it and focus less on the operations.

Charles (02:27):

How would you say? So when you say you focus on e-commerce, how is e-commerce SEO different than, you know, if I’m a SAS or whatever any other sort of company, how has e-commerce SEO different?

Jeff (02:40):

I’d say the bit, one of the biggest differences is just the scale and size. I mean, of course you can have a small e-commerce site. That’s just selling a few products. Maybe they have like a small catalog under 10 products. In which case that’s going to be pretty similar to how you’d approach SEO for a SAS or your typical brochure website. We, when you start having a website with, you know, hundreds of thousands of products and dozens or hundreds of categories, it’s a whole nother, separate set of challenges. And the biggest difference is just prioritization. Prioritization is super critical. You know, you don’t have all the resources in the world to make, you know, optimize every change perfectly. So you have to prioritize, you know, apply the 80 20 rule, which products and categories can bring the most results and traffic. Start there, you can’t build links to every single page. So you’ve got to choose which pages can benefit most LinkedIn links. It’s a lot of strategy analysis. Then there’s also some nuances that come with shopping cards, like there’s [inaudible] issues with category pages. If a product is going to be a multiple categories, is it going to be a duplicate content issue there? So there’s also some technical issues that you got to look out for with e-commerce SEO.

Charles (03:45):

Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, you used to probably folks doing like a brochure site, right? They might be yeah. 10 page five pages, 10 pages, and you can pretty much build links, optimize all of them, like in one go around versus e-commerce you can be talking a hundred thousand pages. That’s not even, that’s not even abnormal. Right. And some e-commerce sites, especially when you’re talking drop shipping. So how do you, how do you decide? So first, like building, we’ll get into that a moment, but it’s relatively it’s not cheap to do, right? Like in time or dollars, like it takes effort, it takes work. And if you had 10 pages, you could just hit all of them and you’re done. But if you have a hundred thousand, you’re not going to build links to a hundred thousand pages. Exactly. So you’re going to figure out where to even start off, like, how do you even, what’s the framework to even start thinking about, like, where do you build your links though?

Jeff (04:36):

This is a really good question and I wish more e-commerce sites would ask it because a lot of times, if you’re focused on the wrong, like let’s say building links to the page, you think you need to be building links to, but it’s not. You’re wasting those times and resources and link building will, you know, we’ll talk about this more later is the most complicated time consuming, expensive part of SEO. So you want to make sure every dollar that goes into link building is maximized. Typically what I w I, we, my self and my team would do is we go to a tool like H refs or Moz or SCM rush export, every single ranking on the website. Then you know, now we have all the keywords. We have the search volume for each of the keywords and the ranking. From there we put into like a pivot table, so we can see which pages are ranking the best, which ones have the most opportunity.

Jeff (05:20):

And then from there, we’d want to pull in some more data, like go to Google analytics. You can export they, it’s hard to find this as e-commerce tab on most reports and in Google analytics where you can actually see the average order value, conversion rate per session value. And first, what per session value does is it tells you, okay, let’s say a thousand people come to the page and you made $5,000 in revenue. Well, the per session value is $5 per visitor. So basically what it’s saying is for every visitor to that page, you’re getting X dollars. So we want to get that metric because it’s showing the conversion potential and how much money you can for each page. There might be a page where the keywords you’re targeting have lots of search volume, Andrew ranking. Well, but maybe it doesn’t convert at all for you. Well, that’s probably not a page you’re going to focus on. So you want to get really strategic and pull in average order value, conversion rate, some of them conversion metrics. So that way you can find pages that not only have an opportunity to drive lots of traffic, but can also convert drive revenue.

Charles (06:21):

Yeah. I feel like the simplest way to look at it is figure out how to do more of what’s already working. Right? Like don’t try to go out there and figure out, right? Like, don’t try to like, just come up with some concept that might work, just figure out what’s working and then just do that, like right.

Jeff (06:36):

Double down on it. It’s so much easier. I mean, sure. You could kind of like spend all this time doing keyword research and like find, find all these other keywords, but the quickest way to get results with SEO is see what’s ranking between position like five and 15. That’s yours. That’s your sweet spot because every increase you get from then on out, you’re going to get exponential increases in traffic. If you’re not even ranking top 100, it’s going to take a long time before you get any traction for that keyword.

Charles (07:03):

That’s a good way of looking at it. Cause if you’re already doing, if you’re on, let’s say, you know, between five and 15, right. You’re on the, you’re the eighth result and you’re already doing well off the eighth. Now getting to the third result, you’re going to do astronomically better. And if you can get to first, second and third, then now you’re in the money. I like that. Yeah.

Jeff (07:22):

Yeah. That’s that’s 100%. It’s just you know, double down on what’s working and you know, maybe once you’ve solidified and got some really good positions you can start working on some new areas and new curious to explore, but always focused on lowest hanging fruit. SEO is a long-term play, but you can make it a short term play by focusing on what’s working. Well,

Charles (07:40):

I like that. Okay. So that’s how you know what to focus on, but let’s get into, I guess, link building, because I think some folks, when I’ve, when I was first exposed to this, it was kind of first taught that it was like this like kinda dirty concept that you’re not supposed to do, but everyone kind of does it. How would you even first let’s define what link-building is and what’s like right and wrong.

Jeff (08:02):

So LinkedIn link building is getting another website to include a link back to your website. So sometimes it’s called link back link. It all means the same thing. We want other websites on the web to link to you. It’s like it’s like a vote of trust. If, if a website is Lincoln to you, there must be a reason for it. You must have a good website or else, why would they link to you? It’s like the, the web equivalent of sharing in a way. So Google, the reason we focus so much on link building and the SEO world is every time there’s a correlation study done to see who ranks, where and why, and what are the biggest, the biggest ranking factors in Google, the number of backlinks to your website and the authority of those links is the number one ranking factor. And now when I say authority, a website like cnn.com has a very high authority website. It’s been around, it’s popular and it has lots of backlinks. But if someone creates a blog a week ago and they link to that has no authority, that’s not going to have any impact on SEO. So we want to look at both the quantity and the quality or in this case, the authority,

Charles (09:04):

This week’s episode is sponsored by Prisync. Prisync is a competitor price tracking and repricing tool that helps e-commerce companies make intelligent pricing decisions. Using the dashboard and daily Excel reports Online sellers can monitor price changes and immediately make pricing adjustments. Here’s some features that I love about Prisync. First is smart match. What smart match does is allows Prisync to search for our competitors and attach their prices right on your dashboard. So you can monitor their pricing changes against competitors. You already know about, they find competitors. You didn’t even know existed. Once you have that, you can configure your repricing rules. What this does is you can now set your prices to be based on the average price, the lowest price, the highest price of your competitors go up and down. And also you can say, don’t go lower than my cost by plus $5. Whatever you want to do, you can set these rules and pricing will automatically adjust your prices. Next is price change notifications. You can set rules to when prices change pricing will send you a notification alerting you of your competitors. Prisync changes last, but not least is a price history. You can then go in to the dashboard and look up all the pricing changes over time, the price, and because of monitoring that way, you know, just because it’s slower today, they might just be having a sale and it might come back tomorrow. You can see all your competitors on one charge. Super cool. I urge you to check it out. Thanks again for Prisync, for sponsoring this week’s episode. Now back to the show.

Charles (10:44):

Yeah. Google’s purposely done this, right? Every search engines, you can’t just game it, right? I can’t create a hundred blogs on Tumblr tomorrow.

Charles (10:52):

Point them all to my site and things are great. Like you used to actually be able to do this a few years ago. It was just, it was based a lot less on the quality of the links, but more just the quantity of links. Now, you know, if you have a link from harvard.edu, right. From the homepage directly to your site, you win. But, and then it’s also even divided by the number of links on that page. Right. So you’re talking if you’re on a popular site, but there’s maybe Huffington post right. Shoots really popular, but just each link is worth slightly less just because they have so many links coming out of it as well. Right?

Jeff (11:27):

Yeah. So it’s like, that’s the, you’re actually talking about Google’s initial page rank algorithm. So that will basically put Google on the map. Was this algorithm that they came up with that made their search results so much higher quality. And let’s say as a page with just your link. So it’s just like a deal you’re going to get a hundred percent of that page rank or that link juice. But what if that page had a hundred links on it? You’re going to get one, 100th of the link. At least that’s how the initial page rank algorithm was written.

Charles (11:56):

Okay. How about in 2021? What’s the, what is that like similar or has it changed?

Jeff (12:03):

It’s, it’s definitely plays a role, but it’s not as cut and dry. It’s not like, you know, 10 links. You got one 10th of each link juice, a hundred links. That’s kind of been toned down a bit where, whether there’s like one or 10, it’s probably knocked me that big of a difference. You’re probably still going to get full link value. I’d say if you start to get, if a page has like a few dozen links or over a hundred external links, you’re pro that’s. Those are the cases where he’s probably going to be diluted a bit.

Charles (12:29):

Okay. So then how do you actually, what is this, what is the process to actually go about getting more links? Right? Because you can email all these people. Do you get these emails every day saying, Hey, please link to my, whatever I know, like what a delete.

Jeff (12:43):

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. What is,

Charles (12:46):

What is the right way to do this?

Jeff (12:48):

It’s really hard. You mentioned how before on some, you know, you’ve had previous episodes and link billing, it doesn’t really get the spotlight as much as it should, which is odd because link building’s the number one ranking factor. And the reason for that is because it’s so difficult. I bet people listening to right now probably have no idea where to start with link building. And that’s because it’s just so hard. How do you get another website to link to you? So there’s, you know, we, I run a company, we only do SEO for e-commerce sites. So we’ve gotten, we found a few strategies that work best. I mean, you can do research and there’s dozens or hundreds of different link building strategies you can use. But there’s just a few that I found work really, really well. The first one that I always recommend is product reviews.

Jeff (13:27):

So basically what you do is you find relevant websites. You send them some free product. They’re going to take that product, take some photos, write a review on their website, and then end that review that probably going to link back to your site and to your product. So product reviews can work really well for that reason. This assumes that maybe your product is not too expensive. If you’re selling diamond rings, it, the hard cost might not be worth the link, but maybe you’re selling t-shirts you’re selling shoes or whatever it might be. And it’s kind of in, you know, it’s, it’s not your hard cost. Isn’t more than a hundred to 200 bucks. It it’s definitely worth doing

Charles (14:03):

So basically you’re looking at that. You’re essentially spending a product to bio-ink. Right? So if I send them a a hundred dollars product, I’m kind of hoping I give you a hundred dollar product, you review it, write a little blurb, I’ll get a little track from that. But the big thing you’re looking for is that inbound link, right?

Jeff (14:19):

So you can look at, look at it from that lens. And if, if Google kind of like, if Google is another thing, that’s kind of like, Google hates us doing link, building organic. It’s like, Oh, you’re buying links with product, like no bad. But if you say like, well, we’re giving them a product for free and we’re just paying them for their time to formulate the review and whatnot. It kind of puts on a different lens, but it’s all the same. You’re you’re sending out product, you’re getting links back. And what’s good about this strategy is sometimes the blog has a large audience. The, those lengths, maybe it doesn’t just help with SEO. Maybe it’s sending referral traffic to your website. Maybe you’re getting some conversions and sales from the link. So link building when done right. Can have multiple benefits.

Charles (15:03):

Yeah. I think it’s the wind done, right? Because I mean, what they really don’t want is just sitting here today. You have a new site and you have, you know, two sites linking to you. And then somehow, tomorrow you have a thousand inbound links. That’s like the worst signal you can get. Right.

Jeff (15:17):

It’s it’s gonna look odd if Google sees a whole bunch of links going to your site, all of a sudden, now I will, I will say there are exceptions. Like maybe you did a, you just launched a really successful Kickstarter and you’ve got a whole bunch of press and you get links from all these, if a new sites that’s totally fine. That’s totally natural. But you know, what, if you just paid to get listed in a thousand spammy directories, or you just got, had someone on five-year builds you a thousand spammy blog comments, that’s where it starts to cause issues and where sites can get penalized.

Charles (15:47):

Okay. So in the Proctor reviews, a nice power that is there is, it’s like a very natural it’s right way to explain it. The speed of it, the frequency is very natural, right? You can only get a few of those a week or a month. You’re not going to somehow just send out a thousand units and you’re gonna get a thousand links tomorrow. You’re gonna send out a handful this week, a handful next week, and they’ll come over time, over weeks and months, even. So they’ll, they’ll come in very naturally seeming, right? Yep. Exactly. Okay. Other than product reviews, what else, what else, if you didn’t work.

Jeff (16:19):

So for getting like high authority mentions, like maybe you want to get listed on some of the, some big popular blogs or publications, or like even like Forbes or what are some other like entrepreneur there’s ways you can do it fairly easily. So there’s something called help a reporter out or HARO for sure. Yup. Yup. The website for that is just help report a.com and it’s totally free. And it’s the easiest way to get these types of mentions. You, you sign up you interested in information about your, your business and your industry. So maybe you’re in the wedding industry. Maybe you sell you know, groomsmen gifts or wedding accessory, you know, whatever it might be. And you’ll get notifications of like every single day, you’ll get a newsletter of all these different journalists who are looking for like maybe like we did this for one client.

Jeff (17:07):

Like they sell gifts for groomsmen. They signed up for the wedding. They got all the wedding related inquiries. There’s one where it’s like, we’re looking for someone to write about how to save money on a wedding. And so, you know, they just submitted it got a really good link on retail, me nots blog. And it took, you know, five minutes of work. But there’s, there’s a trick with this. A lot of people know about help reporter out and journalists. They know when they’re going to post on this, their inbox is going to get flooded. So if you want this to work out, it’s all about speed. You gotta be one of the first people to respond. You know, give them, give them all information they need, right. Already write a bio about yourself, that you include it in there, your bio already have it hyperlinked to your website. So it’s a great way to get high authority links from really big publications, but just know it’s competitive. There’s a lot of other people that are going to be falling up and journalists are probably going to look at the first few entries.

Charles (18:03):

Yeah. I think the note hair is just make it easy for them when you’re just talking to a journalist, like they’re going to get a lot of these and they’re going to try to sift through as quick as they can. And these are, they’re also on a time crunch, right? They want to write an article. They want to have this blog post or this article out by X. So you just want to make it, you just want to like tee this up and make it as easy as possible. I’ve seen people even have a a PDF with like the headshot about them. Like everything is already and they just attach it. So the journalist can just open it and they don’t have to go, you know, clicking on their different bio’s and find different things. They just have a one pager. Maybe just make it easy for them.

Jeff (18:38):

Yeah. That, that works really well. You said it, like if they have to reply to you to get more information, they’re probably not going to take the time to apply it. It probably is going to go to the next one.

Charles (18:45):

Yeah. Yeah. Cause the next one will actually have all the information. So he’s going to go down until they find the one, Oh, this one’s ready for me. Let’s do this. Don’t give him more work. Yeah. Cause, cause they’ll find someone who will not do that. So does it matter? So let’s say you’re selling wedding gifts, right. And you’re in Harrow and there’s an article for something about, you know, cooking or something totally like unrelated. Is it, does that still help getting a link from a site that has, you know, you’re in the wedding market, but let’s say you’re getting a link. You know, you just love to cook also. So you have a link about your AirFryer also pointing it and how great your air fryer experience was. Does that, does that not help?

Jeff (19:27):

Depends if there’s like an angle, they’re not. So for example, let’s say you’re, you’re a, you sell let’s say like we’ll stick with a wedding gifts side. And then maybe there’s a website that talks about you know, investing and savings and personal finance at first glance. It might not seem that relevant. It’s like, what does it have to do with weddings? But what if the article is how to save money on a wedding now, all of a sudden, like it’s, that’s a lot more helpful. That said though relevancy does play a factor factor and the value of the link. You know, if you get a link from a wedding focused blog, that’s gonna have a lot more value than if you get a link from a blog that talks about everything. So there’s a lot of lifestyle blogs out there that talk about like travel beauty, fashion, interior design those aren’t gonna have as much of an impact as a site that just talks about weddings.

Charles (20:20):

Got it. How about the blogs? Like when you see like a Tumblr or a medium sort of blog, does that still count or is that not as good at not good at all?

Jeff (20:31):

Meat medium is great because it has such a high authority, same thing with like Forbes entrepreneurs, like CNN, Huffington post, all these sites. I’ve very authoritative, so it’s going to help from that regard. So you’re going to get a lot of plus points for just the authority of the site, but they’re not relevant at all. So you’re not going get much relevancy points. So, I mean, if you were to ask me, it’s like a trade-off, you know, do you have a, a high domain rating site that’s not very relevant? Or do you have a lower domain, any site that is very relevant? Honestly I think the SEO impact is going to be pretty similar.

Charles (21:01):

Okay. So even maybe both right. That probably also protects you from, you know, next year when and if you want to talk about algorithm changes, but goals inevitably gonna change the algorithm. Right. And if you only have one or the other and they make that type less less valuable, you’re going to be on the wrong side of that.

Jeff (21:21):

That’s exactly it. Yeah. You’re hedging your bets. You’re diversifying, I’d say there’s nothing wrong with getting some high authority links from Forbes and entrepreneur. I think those are very good. I also think there’s nothing wrong with getting links from, you know, small authority websites that are smaller, that just talk about your topic. I think both are great. And having a diversified link profile is what’s going to get you the best results.

Charles (21:44):

Got it. So product reviews, Harrow, any other kind of strategies you’ve seen work well for e-commerce?

Jeff (21:49):

So one that works well for everybody is a guest posting. Now get I’ll preface this by saying guest posting has been abused. Everyone’s using it. A lot of times like there’s sites that it’s not really a blog, it’s just like a guest posting farm where every they’ll accept anything, they’re going to charge you a fee. They’re just doing it to make money it’s. And those types of sites that are just, you know, almost guest posting farm, where every single post, the guest posts and it’s on so many different topics. Those probably aren’t going to be as helpful, but we’re guest posting is good, is like the more higher level, legitimate scale. So if I wrote a guest post about e-commerce SEO for your blog, that’s totally natural. Your site’s about e-commerce. That that link is going to be very valuable. The content is going to be well-written and edit.

Jeff (22:39):

You know, you’re not going to let, just junk get posts on your website. So at that level, that’s where guest posting can be really good is, is fine. Like real blogs that are legitimate, that maybe they have some, an editor or a staff or staff writers on site. Maybe they also allow contributors like people guest post on Shopify as blog on occasion. Honestly I don’t think they allow it as much anymore, but like those types of links is perfectly good for SEO. And, and you can do this in your industry. There’s going to be blogs. They’re looking for like real industry experts. And if you’re selling a product, I’d imagine that in most cases you probably know a lot about the product. Maybe you’re involved in the manufacturing of it, and you really know the details of the, of the industry or maybe just selling it. You’ve gotten a lot of experience with, and you can talk about it. So if you have that experience and that knowledge, you can definitely do guest posting on a more legitimate level with bigger authority sites.

Charles (23:30):

How do you open the door to that though? I think that’s where a lot of people get stuck with a CSI. They want to post, you know, on shop fire. They want to post somewhere and they don’t even, you see random people and you have, unless like the link farms make it easy, you know, click here and you can have a posts. But I think the thing people run into with this strategy is they just don’t know where to start. Who do you find the editor? Do you like pitch them cold? Like, and what’s the right way to do it without you making, making it look like you’re just, you know, carpet bombing, cold emails to these out to the internet.

Jeff (24:01):

I’ll tell you the quick, quick and easy way. And then I’ll tell you the little bit more work, but it gets better results way. So the quick and easy way is show, show your, your expertise in your email pitch. So this you’re sending a cold email. You want to say like, you know, here are some articles I’ve written in the past so they can see like, Oh, and if, if you’ve written for other publications, like that’s going to make it easier for them to respond to you. And then also write like, have some bullet points for your experience in accolades, you know, been in the industry this long I’ve, I’ve spoken at this conferences. I’ve, you know, are we one of these, whatever it is, whatever makes you stand out, like have a few bullet points showcasing like that. You’re not just some schlub out of the mix.

Jeff (24:42):

That’s trying to get a back link that you can really write an article that increases value. And if you have some examples of articles you can written and you include those links if they’ve taken off and perform well, say like, Oh, I wrote this article that got this many thousand page views. I wrote this article that got this many shares on Facebook and Twitter. Anything that shows what’s in it for them. Cause if, if someone’s coming to them say, Hey, I want to write your article for free. I’m not going to charge you. I’ve done this in the past. I hear it’s a top notch quality and it gets a lot of results. You’d be like, sure, I got nothing to lose here. Like who would turn that down? Nobody would. So again, that’s that if you leverage your experience and credentials and, and that’s, what’s going to really help get those links with cold email.

Jeff (25:24):

Now I’ll tell you about the second method. The takes a little bit more work, but it gets better results method. So may make, make a list of every single blog you want to get a link from, maybe if you’re okay, we’ll stick with the wedding niche. For example make a list of like the top 50 or so wedding blogs. And then you’re going to turn that prospecting list into a piece of content. You’re going to call it top wedding blogs to fall in 2021, you can include a logo of each one, write a little check out their about page, write a little blurb about it, linked to their website, maybe linked to their social media profiles. And you know, it’s not that much extra work, just a few sentences per site. And then you’re going to reach out to everyone. You’re not going to ask for anything you just gonna say, Hey, you know, we, we love what you’re doing over there.

Jeff (26:07):

I just want to let you know, we put together a list of the top wedding blogs in 2021. You made our lists, congratulations. Here’s the article. If you want to see it. So this is a great way to build relationships. So that was to your question is like, how do you open the door? I found this is the most scalable way to kind of open that door and build relationships. It takes a lot of time to email each one individually with a personalized email. It takes a lot of time to blog, to comment on their blog post, to try to build a relationship. The best way I’ve found is creating these sort of top blog lists. Use that to open the door and in, so you’re going to have a piece of content which can rank really well, drive traffic while also building relationships.

Charles (26:50):

Yeah, I think that’s the thing with the what if our way it’s relationships, right? And you need to go into it knowing there’s going to be a process. This isn’t going to be, you know, you hit them, send them some, you know, document and it’s posted by next week. This is going to be the big blogs. Take time. They have a content calendar. So you email them in January. They say, great, this, this sounds really good for Q3. They’re like, wait, Q3 of this year. Like, yeah, it’s, you know, we’re out to Q3. This is how we do it. So I think just getting that in your head that this is going to take time. This is, this is not quick. This is definitely not like an easy money. You’re going to have all these links tomorrow sort of thing. This is going to be work.

Charles (27:28):

And the other thing you were saying is on the first strategy, showing other blog posts, or just any content they’ve previously done helps out a ton. You can even have content on your own blog. I’ve seen that done exactly. And just like, here’s my blog. Yeah. Here’s some great posts that I really like. I get pitched all the time for the show actually, and people want to come on and yeah, the ones that just send, like, you know, just like this, like one line little thing you’re like, eh, but when they’re like, I’ve been on these, I’ve done these podcasts before. Here’s some things that I wrote, he has my back like, okay, this person’s legitimate. They can bring some value here. Versus just a person with just that one line bio, it’s kind of all about them. They’re not really trying to show you what they’re gonna, what they’re gonna bring to the audience. That’s exactly it. Yeah. I think the thing you’re trying to convey is that if you, as the you know, the owner of the site, whether it’s a podcast or a blog that you’re going to bring this person in front of your audience and they’re going to make you look good, right? Like you, you, you want on that guest post, they’re gonna make your blog look better because they’re honest and it’s going to bring value. And that’s, I think the thing people are missing,

Jeff (28:38):

They’re going to write something that people were going to read. They’re going to want to share. It’s going to rank well, yeah. So they can have multiple benefits.

Charles (28:46):

Yeah. All right. So that’s three. I think the, the thing I think people are curious about getting into this is budget wise. Like what should they be assuming they should be getting into hair? And is this something you kind of do yourself? Is this something, you know, if you’re just starting, would you recommend, or is it just because it is a flywheel and it takes a long time to get the flywheel spinning.

Jeff (29:09):

So there’s, there’s two roads. You can go, you can do it yourself. If you have the time or maybe you don’t have the time, but you have a VA who has the time. And then there’s the you know, just hire someone to do it for you. So if you hire someone to do it for you, there’s kind of two categories. There’s the, the cheaper Fiverr eh, I’ll put this way, any length that, that you can purchase. Like they, they, they say they’re a white hat company, and they, you know, they, if they’re charging you like less than a hundred bucks, less 50 bucks per link I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s like not really an actual guest post link, but it’s a private blog network. Maybe they have a huge network of blogs and they’re just publishing you and link into it.

Jeff (29:54):

So for those that don’t know what some people do to game the system is they just build a whole bunch of blogs from scratch. And then they do link building for their own blogs that they control. And then they’ll sell links on the, on the blog networks. So that’s what we call private blog network or PBN. And that’s highly violated Google’s guidelines. If you’re just, you’re basically building a link farm. And the thing is if a lot of these sites are linking to the same sites that creates a pretty heavy footprint on the web and they can get penalize and, you know, you can get penalized if you’re kind of engaging with these low quality blanks. Okay.

Charles (30:29):

They can make their rank worse at that point. Like you could actually go backwards in the rankings.

Jeff (30:33):

Yeah. And then once you get hit with a link penalty, it is very difficult to come back. So it’s, I would not recommend it if you have an established brand. So that, so you gotta be careful, I guess if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. So if the price is like, like under 50 bucks per link, it’s probably a private blog network. It’s just, there’s no way the numbers work out. If someone’s going to do a guest, like let’s say, you’re talking about a guest posting, you know, it’s going to cost them money to write the articles and the cost, take them time to find the relevant sites. It’s going to take time to do the outreach. The blogger is probably going to have like some editorial fee for their time to go through and like review your content and publish it. So you act add in all those costs. And you know, you’d imagine this end, if someone’s selling this, they’re going to have to need a markup. So that’s why I say, if it’s under 50, a hundred bucks, it’s probably not legitimate.

Charles (31:23):

That’s a good way of looking at it. It’s going to cost you more than that. Just to write the article. Like, if you want to, if you just wanted to pay a writer for their time, right. Between the research, finding images, like edit, getting everything ready to go, it should cost you more than that. Plus I don’t know where you are, where you’re hiring writers from, but yeah, if you just think of it in those terms, it’s like, how much, you know, what are the pieces, right? Like what are the steps and how much would it just cost me to hire all these people? And yeah, it’s a hundred, or it could be more than a hundred bucks. Definitely more than a hundred. Okay.

Jeff (31:52):

So I’d say more common, you’re looking at like 200 or $300 range for like, if you’re hiring someone to guest posting for you, or you’re hiring a company to do all the research and outreach manager product review campaign. So I’d say that’s kind of the range that you can expect for, for good white hat links. Now. I bet there’s probably going to be some people out there that can do it for like maybe 150 bucks, but, you know, it’s, it’s, those are going to be very hard to find as long as you’re in the 200 to $300 per link range, that’s going to be a safe bet. So that’s, that’s the hired out approach. So you just estimate about 200 to 300 all in. Now, if you want to do it yourself

Charles (32:33):

Before you S before you enter the DIY. Yeah. Are there any questions you can w let’s you’re interviewing three of them, right. So you find between two or 300, what questions would you ask them to make sure they’re legitimate?

Jeff (32:45):

I’d say I’d asked the first thing I’d asked for is can you send the links that you’ve built in the past? Just to, to look at it and be like, this is, and then when you look at those, the main thing you’re going to look for is, is this look like a real website or does it look like it was just meant for link building? Does it like what’s on the about page? Is it actual say something about an actual person or is it just general language? Is there you know, sometimes they haven’t an address on the S on the, on the blog. Sometimes they have a phone number. Some, you know, the main thing you’re looking for though is like, does this look like it’s an actual person to do? Can I see like a headshot or a photo of a real person that’s supposed to rider here?

Jeff (33:20):

So that’s kind of one signal you can look at. I’d also just ask them, like, do you own these blogs? Or like how you find these websites? If they say, Oh, we, we own the blogs. That’s a private blog network. I would avoid it. If they say, you know, every can’t we treat every campaign differently. We’re going to go out. We’re going to find those manually. Now that that’s kind of closer to answer. You want to hear of something that’s gonna be more legitimate. So check out the links, look for links. They’re getting, and then also ask how they’re finding these websites.

Charles (33:50):

Okay. Yeah. I like that. Yeah. I think you basically just need to vet them right down to it. I was hiring a writer a while back and it’s like, Oh, you know, just so many, some examples. It was actually examples of people that were on this podcast that they had written before. And I was like, alright, this is a legitimate, like, I know those people legitimate. You’ve written for them. Like this, everything feels right here, verse. Yeah. If they send you these blogs and you’re like, what? Like, you, you see some of them, you get these and you’re like, these are like nothing. They’re just sites about lots of nothing. Yeah. That’s the ones that, yeah, exactly.

Jeff (34:23):

It’ll make you raise an eyebrow.

Charles (34:26):

Yeah. If you look at it and you’re like, I would definitely not read this ever then. Yeah. That’s when you run.

Jeff (34:31):

And also another thing that I’ll add to that is look at the topics. The blog covers, like, let’s say you sell dog food. Is the site about pets or is it like, you know, they have a post about pets and then the post below it’s about home loans and the post below. It is about like insurance.

Charles (34:46):

Yes. Yeah. They go back to the wedding gift guide. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And those are the ones they’re most likely it’s they own it. Right. Cause it just, they just taking a little everything. And basically you’re saying, look at all the links we created you and they can send you our ELLs and cool. You know, Chuck’s a box, but it’s not doing anyone any good. Yeah. Okay. So let’s say you want to do this just self or I guess, would you start with DOI or is this just based on budget? Right. Right.

Jeff (35:12):

It’s really based on budget and time. Do you have a lot of time, but no budget. You’re doing DIY a lot of budget, but no time, go ahead and hire someone.

Charles (35:21):

And it’s usually one of the, although it’s

Jeff (35:22):

Usually one of the other

Charles (35:24):

Okay. So let’s say you want to do the DRR DIY Rouse. What’s that look like?

Jeff (35:28):

Yeah. So I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll give a quick overview of what, how you build a link. So first step is prospecting. You’re going to have to find prospects and relevant. So the easiest way to do that, and I’ll use guest posting for this as an example easiest way is just like I’m sticking with a wedding gifts, wedding gifts, just type in wedding blogs in a Google. You’re going to find lists of like, you know, top 50 wedding blogs, top 100 wedding blogs, that strategy I mentioned earlier, it’s, you know, it’s could have been done in your industry. You want to find these lists of blogs out there as a starting point. It’s going to save you a whole bunch of time of prospecting.

Speaker 4 (36:03):

So you find these lists, you just kind of

Jeff (36:05):

Add everything up. You should have close to a little more than a hundred prospects by now. The next thing you’re going to do is send your emails. We talked about this before. Well actually let me back up for one second. You got to find the contact details of who you’re going to contact. So you can do it the manual way. Go site by site, just go to the contact page, try to find the email address. Maybe they don’t have an email address and it’s just a contact form. You know, I usually have a spreadsheet where I keep track of everything. I have the the domain and then I have the email address. And if they don’t have an email address just paste in the contact form URL. But there’s a tool I recommend is called hunter.io really popular in the industry.

Jeff (36:45):

You can just paste in a bunch of domains and it’s going to give you a whole, it’s going to give you the email address for each one has a massive database of email addresses can save a lot of time going site by site, trying to find the contact information so that that can save some time there. So let’s say now you have a list of a hundred websites. You have the contact details. Now you’re going to send your pitch. And we talked about this earlier, highlight your value, highlight where you can bring to the table, your experience provide examples of posts you’ve written in the past. Add some bullet points about your knowledge, your awards, and accolades that also include in that pitch. Some suggested topics that you think would be good for their blog. So that’s another thing, like get the ball started early.

Jeff (37:25):

Don’t wait for them to come back to you. Like, you know, just kind of move, move to conversations along by actually giving them some topics and ask if there’s one that, that they want you to move forward with. So then you send your pitch, you’re going to get some responses. There’ll be like, Oh, I really liked this topic. Let’s move forward with that. Then you’re going to write the article or you can hire someone to write the article for you. And then and that article, you’re going to include a link somewhere in the content, back to your website. You’ll submit it to the blogger. They’re going to review it. They’ll publish it. And boom, now you’ve got to link back to your website.

Speaker 4 (37:59):

Nice and easy. Right? Nice and easy.

Jeff (38:02):

Now here’s, here’s where it gets tricky. Prospecting can take a lot of time. Those lists will, you know, that will get you maybe a hundred or so blogs, but you know, if you average, maybe your response rate, maybe your link rate reach out to a hundred blogs. You’re only getting 20 to 40 backlinks. What happens after you’ve reached all those blogs? Well, that’s where prospecting can really take a lot of time. You’re going to have to do digging into a lot of keywords. You know, just kinda mainly searching and Google can find it that way so that, that can take a lot of time. And as I mentioned, kind of contact could take time, but Hunter can help with that this year. If you’re looking to like streamline the process a little bit, I think you mentioned it at the very beginning, but there’s a tool that I built called link hunter.com.

Jeff (38:46):

Now the reason I built this is I, on my main thing is I run an e-commerce SEO company, but people come to me, they want link building. Maybe they can’t afford a few thousand dollars a month to hire an agency. I kept before. I’d always thought to say, no, we can’t help you. I’m sorry. These are minimum has been now I have something I can point them to because they kept saying over and over there’s people who are just getting started, that they want this. They know they need it, but they can’t justify it. So we’ll link Hunter. Does you choose how you want to build camp? How you want to build backlinks. Maybe you want to do product reviews. Maybe you want to do guest posting, whatever it might be. Those campaigns already built into it. So you do guest posting, you intro a few keywords.

Jeff (39:23):

Maybe you type in like wedding. If you sell wedding guests, maybe type in interior design, if you sell furniture and then link Hunter is going to go, it will find all the prospect of websites for you. It has some SEO metrics in there, so you can see how much SEO value each website give you it’s powered by Hunter’s API. So it’s already included. You’re going to get all that email data. And it has all the email templates that we’ve personally found work really well built into the system. So it streamlines the process. You can literally have a LinkedIn campaign up and running in less than two minutes. So if you have absolutely zero, nowhere to start that’s that kind of, it’s built to kind of have a structure to walk you through it. So you get results. Other than that, there’s some great resources like backlinko.com has a lot of good information about link building. And then H refs has a, a H R E F s.com has a very good blog about link building. So there are two resources if you’re looking to educate yourself more.

Charles (40:18):

Yeah. Both of those blogs, you mentioned a Travis and link Hunter, their blogs, and also there are a YouTube channels which has been great. They’re fantastic. I was actually just wearing a dress shirt. I changed for this podcast, but yeah. Yeah, I think what people, they, they kind of, they fire off that initial email and don’t realize that there’s going to be some, like, fall up this me some work I’ve had folks even email. And then also like track me down on like LinkedIn or Twitter and just showing that you’re not just, like I said, like earlier, just like copper bombing the internists. Cause that’s you get these emails all the time, just like, I want to write for your blog. And it’s like this like off topic, Daniel, like, whatever. But when it’s like, like you said, here’s a couple ideas I have and you can tell they real, you can tell they don’t really read the blog. Cause a lot of people do this. Hey, I read your blog post about the third blog post down. It’s always like, it’s always like the third down. Cause they don’t want to say a first one.

Jeff (41:15):

Yeah. They always start with, I love your blog or, Oh my gosh, your blogs is amazing. It’s like, yeah, you haven’t read anything.

Charles (41:21):

You definitely haven’t read it. Yeah. I love this one with that. And like you just scroll down, like you hit the scroll. Well you found some random thing. You cut and paste them. I get it. I get the game. But when they have an article on there that you can, Oh, this would actually be pretty good. And you think, and you actually think like this is something we should be writing. And you’re like, Oh, if that person thought of that, I could, you know, fine. They can just write it. Like that’s easier. So it really needs to be something that when you see the title, you’re going to say, Oh, that actually is something we want on the blog. And the audience would like, like, this is something we sh I wish I thought of that. And as soon as if you make the editor to say, I wish I had thought of that, then they’re going to say yes, because it’s just easier than having, you know, their writer do it.

Charles (41:59):

They’re going to say, well, you thought of it. Let’s let’s do this. So I think that’s really the thing when it comes to that. And yeah, I’ve actually, I think someone maybe on the show is talking about link Hunter. Yeah, just having someone like that, that just kind of gives you just a starting place because I think people just, they get really bogged down in that and they don’t realize also, even though you have these tools, it’s a numbers game, right? Like you’re going to have to, you know, like you said, your plan on emailing a hundred and you’re going to get, I don’t know, 20 responses. And out of that, you going to get like two or three blog posts. So it’s,

Jeff (42:32):

Every time there is a numbers game and like kind of, we talked about before you can increase those response rates and increase those link rates with relationship building. So, I mean, if I wanted to get a link from your website, I bet if I wrote an article about top e-commerce podcasts and then I mentioned you on it and I actually wrote something custom and I, I listed out some of my favorite episodes. I’m like, Hey, just like, no I added to this list. I really like what you’re doing. And it shows that I listened to it. You’d be like, Oh wow, like this, this, this isn’t just like, know some random person like this, this person actually has some credibility. And they took, they took the time. And then if I did my link pitch, you’re probably going to be way more eager to respond than if I was just nobody reaching out cold.

Charles (43:15):

The biggest thing actually being on the other side, I’ll tell you the biggest thing is and this is the last day. I know we’re close on time here, but when I personally get those pitches, I always like when they include that LinkedIn and Twitter in the bottom, and if they have any mutual connections of mine that already goes a hundred X higher, I look and just, you know, click on their Twitter. Okay. You’re connected to some of the other e-commerce folks. Okay. LinkedIn, you connect, you know, cause obviously if you are in the industry, have a bunch of these connections, as soon as you see those mutual connections, you’re like, all right, like you have something in the more, the more, the better if it’s folks, you know, in real life, all of these different things just had someone on the podcast too. We have real life connections, right? Like he, we’re connected to actually folks that I know personally. So then all of a sudden it’s very different and it just goes right to the top versus the ones when you click on the LinkedIn and you’re like, all right, you have no connect. You actually have zero connections. You go on their Twitter. They haven’t posted since, you know, 2016. And you’re like, eh, and they have no connections in the e-commerce industry. You just know, okay. I know get what you’re doing. So that, that always helps.

Jeff (44:21):

That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. It makes perfect sense.

Charles (44:25):

Yeah. So, okay. Well this a tip right there. So have mutual end if you’re in the industry, it also natural. That’s the other thing, right? If you’ve written on 10 different e-commerce blogs, you’re most likely to be connected to their editors. If you’ve been on a bunch of podcasts, if you’ve been doing a bunch in the industry, you’re going to have connections in the industry. So same thing that it makes, it looks natural to Google, it’ll look natural to the editor, to whoever’s kind of running the blog of the podcast as well, because they’re going to do the same research and just start to see is this natural? Is this real? So I think that’s really kind of what it comes down.

Jeff (44:57):

And if I hear that and try to like, you know, turn that into an accident for someone like myself or some listens podcast right now, you know, try to build those connections in your industry, you know, add people on LinkedIn you know, build relationships cause that you don’t know how it’s going to help you in the future.

Charles (45:12):

Sure. Yeah. And in those connections, just start talking to people. I think that’s what I did really early on. Just kind of follow people on Twitter and things like that, and just started being part of the conversation. And you naturally stop building connections, meet meeting people then at conferences and going, Oh, we talked online and you know, it, all of a sudden becomes this real organic thing that now you’re in the industry and you know, each other, and it’s not just this cold thing of it’s the first time you saw each other, it’s say, okay. Oh, we did speak actually at that time, you know, last year on Twitter somehow, and now we’re meeting in real life and now yes, sure. Of course we can have guest posts. So that’s really how to make kind of natural. Agreed.

Jeff (45:50):

Yeah. I mean in-person conferences always going to be great for that too.

Charles (45:54):

Yep. Awesome. I think it’s a good place to leave us if people want to find you. So one 80 marketing.com but also link builder, which is kind of some of those.

Jeff (46:03):

Yeah. I guess I kind of taking a step back. So like if, if you are in the, I have a lot of time, but no money link hunter.com because you have the money, maybe you don’t have time and he wants them to do it for you. One 80 marketing.com.

Charles (46:18):

Okay. That’s awesome. I will link to both of those and I like how you know, your audience, right. It’s money, money, but no time time, but no money. Exactly. All right. Thanks a lot, Jeff. It was great having you on the show, Charles. Thanks for having me.

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