Link Building – The Ultimate Guide

Link building is hard

It’s also one of the most important parts of an SEO campaign.

Without relevant links pointing at your website the chances of ranking for competitive keyword terms are slim to none.

To build links you have to master many skills including:

  • Content ideation.
  • Content creation.
  • Design.
  • Email outreach.
  • Negotiation.

It’s not easy.

If you’re having trouble acquiring links…

This guide will show you the best ways to build white hat links that improve your domain authority, increase keyword rankings and explode your website traffic.

These are the exact tactics our search engine optimisation consultants use for our clients

[cmtoc_table_of_contents]

Why build backlinks?

According to Andrey Lippattsev of Google, the top 3 ranking signals used to determine where a website places in the search engines are:

  • Content
  • Backlinks
  • Rankbrain (Google’s machine learning algorithm).

Thankfully you don’t have to be a Google engineer to see the importance of inbound links.

A few searches on ahrefs (more on this later) will show you the importance of links for search engine rankings.

link building

The above screenshot shows the top 10 searches for “black leather handbags”, it also shows the number of links from referring domains (other websites to that page).

This screenshot is a good example of how backlinks play a part in ranking a website. You may notice the pages with the most backlinks don’t rank number 1.

This is because website 1 is better optimised for the search query. Look at the URL and title of result 1.

It contains the word black.

on page optimisation

The domain with the most links (result 3 doesn’t contain the word black in title or URL).

search engine ranking page

Website 3, 5 and 8 don’t contain the word black anywhere in the listing, yet they show up for this query, they’re also the websites with the most links for this search.

To me, this shows that websites 3, 5 and 8 are not as optimised for the search query “black leather bags”, but the backlinks they have are enough to get them on the first page of Google.

If you’re still not convinced…

Brian Dean of Backlinko carried out a study where he looked at 1 million Google search results to determine what factors if any correlated with first page rankings.

Backlinks scored pretty high on the ranking factors.

You can see his study here.

How many links do I need to rank?

Convinced by the power of backlinks yet?

Great.

By this point, you may be asking:

“How many backlinks do I need to rank for my keyword?”

Well…

It depends.

According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, Google has at least 200 ranking factors they use to determine where a result should show in the search listings.

Backlinks feature very highly in ranking factors, but you still need a strong technical foundation for your website to rank. Before going on a backlink campaign, I highly recommend carrying out a website audit first.

With that said…

You can use some SEO tools to give you an indication of the time to rank but these tools should only be used as a guide.

With the keyword “Dentists in London“, ahrefs.com tells you that you need around 40 links to rank on the first page of Google for that term.

keyword difficulty

But if we take a closer look at the results you will see there are some high authority domains listed.

The NHS and Yelp have massive domain authorities that helps them rank here (Yelp has 1 referring domain).

referring domain count

The other results though are from smaller domains and have fewer links.

In this instance, I don’t think it would take anywhere near 40 links to replace result 8,9 or 10 as their domain authority is so low.

Looking at their backlink profile confirms this.

Most of the backlinks from websites 8, 9 and 10 are directory links.

A few authority backlinks and you would take their place in the search results.

As a rough guide, you should at least look to match the domains you are competing with in terms of quality links (ideally you will want better ones) and bring your domain authority up to a similar level.

All links are not equal

If links are one of the best ways to rank a website, how come sites with more links are being outranked by smaller sites with fewer links?

Good question.

Not all links are created equal.

Think of a link as a vote of confidence.

A link tells Google and the other search engines, “yeah, this website is good”. If the vote (link) comes from a trusted source the link is going to be worth more.

Think of it this way…

If you were entering a singing competition, whose opinion would carry more weight in terms of how well you can sing? Beyonce Knowles…

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrMX7T_lfF-/

Or the chuckle brothers?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrgeqfbAvAH/

Google works in the same way.

A link from an authoritative and relevant website is worth more to your website than a link from a lower quality and unrelated one.

But how is a website’s quality measured?

Domain rating, page rating & relevance (DR, UR)

Domain rating (DR), page rating (UR) and relevance, ok what?

domain authority metrics

DR and UR are scored from 0 – 100 (The higher the better!)

Both are made up metrics by ahrefs.com

These metrics are allocated to a website and its pages based on the inbound links pointing at it.

Why should you care about UR and DR?

Google has repeatedly denied they take a domains rating or URL rating into consideration when ranking a page or website.

seo myths and lies

Personally, I don’t believe them.

From my own experience…

A website with a high domain rating will rank quicker than a brand new website.

And this makes sense.

Domain rating is calculated on the number of links pointing at a website.

We know that one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors are links, so it’s not that much of a leap to put the two together.

But that’s not to say you can’t outrank a domain with a better rating.

I do it all the time.

My SEO agency Cardiff page for example outranks websites with much higher domain ratings.

domain authority
Domain Rating 28 vs 57, 49 and 91

A website with a better domain or page rating in my opinion has an advantage, but by building white hat backlinks and having good on page optimisation, you can outrank them.

If you want to do this…

Links from quality websites in your industry or a supporting industry are a must!

Read that again.

If you own a dental practice and you receive links from lifestyle or health websites they are more beneficial to you than if you were receiving links from a sports or marketing blog.

A link from another dental practice would be even better, but these links are hard to come by.

Unless you get creative.

Most of the time these websites would be your competitors.

But… there are ways around this.

A dental practice in the UK and a dental practice in the USA won’t be competing against each other.

Take advantage of this and reach out to them and ask to write a post on their blog which links back to something on your website.

Both parties are happy.

They get quality content on their website, and you get a highly relevant link back to your website.

The above is known as a guest post.

I will talk about guest posting and 16 other link building strategies in more detail later in this post.

There are a few more topics you need to know first…

What are do follow and no follow links and why should you care?

do follow and no follow backlinks
No follow links and do follow links

Do follow links are the default link type unless they have been modified.

If this makes no sense, let me explain in more detail.

If I were to link to Neil Patel’s website (NeilPatel.com) with a do follow link the search engine spiders would land on this page and crawl to Neil’s website passing along any “link juice” this site has (remember we talked about votes above)

If you’re used to seeing code, a do follow link looks like the following:

do follow links
A standard do follow backlink.

No follow links tell the search engine spiders not to follow the other page and not to pass any link juice to the website that is being linked to.

A no follow link looks like the following:

no follow links
Notice the rel=”nofollow”

When building links to your website it’s always good to have a variety of do follow and no follow links. This will make the link profile of your site look natural.

When putting the effort into building white hat links you will want them to be “do follow”.

The effort you will go through to build links is high.

If a webmaster gives you a no follow link, you can be cheeky and ask them to change it!

Sometimes sites like Forbes or Huffington post will give you a no follow link and wont change it. In this case don’t worry, those sites should send you enough referral traffic to make it worth your while.

To wrap it up:

Do follow = passes link juice, increases your domain authority.

No follow = no link juice, but can be ok for sending referral traffic.

Got it? Let’s move on!

How to avoid black hat link building and useless links.

In this day and age, I can’t think of many industries with as many scammers as the SEO industry.

spam links

There are great SEO consultants and agencies out there, but many SEOs are cowboys.

I’ve heard of companies paying for SEO services for a few months and they haven’t received any reports, no KPI’s have been set and no results have been seen.

Others build spammy backlinks that cause their clients to be penalised.

The above happens more than it should.

If you build white hat backlinks as described in this post…

And do the work you are being paid to do, you will be ahead of 90% of the “SEO experts” out there.

Rant over.

If you do decide to be an honest link builder and you should, it may seem easy to go to the dark side and build black hat links.

They’re easier to create and can get you results quicker.

But…

When Google catches on to your shortcuts, Good night sweet prince.

If you don’t want to risk your website or your clients (or don’t want to waste your time) try an avoid the following link types, or spending too much time on some of them.

Forum Links – Don’t spend to much time on these

forum links
Typical example of a forum backlink

Forum links aren’t black hat and probably won’t harm your website and can send relevant traffic to your website, but…

The reason why I say to ignore building these links is they simply don’t move your rankings enough for the effort you put into building them.

I don’t like building forum links because:

  • Forums are usually spammed if not maintained (putting your link in the same place as people selling pills or gambling websites)
  • Forum links pass little to no link juice
  • Forum admins usually end up deleting posts or removing your signature if its to “salesy

Your time is better spent elsewhere.

Footer Links – Don’t spam.

Also known as sitewide links.

Coming from a web development background I know all about footer/sitewide links. You have more than likely seen them too.

These usually look like:

  • Website designed by…
  • Website made by…
  • Theme created by…

When I build a website I like to let people know that I built it, it helps me get my name out there and brings me additional business from others looking to get a website made in the same niche.

But Google is not a fan of these links and can penalise you for it.

Not too long ago, this very site was ranking for a design related term on the first page around the 7th or 8th result.

I decided to run an experiment with sitewide links and changed the normal “web designed by Weeare.co.uk” to an “Exact Match Keyword” (for example web design in wales) and within a week…

The site was no longer 7th or 8th on the first page it was 63rd.

seo rankings drop

I expected this to happen, but I wanted to test it.

Test takeaways = listen to Google!

If you must use sitewide links (I still use them as it sends clients to me) either add a no follow tag or just add a branded anchor text, in my instance weeare or weeare.co.uk

Directories – Useful for local SEO

Directories are large databases of websites (usually businesses) split up into different categories.

Think Yell or Thomson local (UK).

Submitting to directories can help with geographical searches

Submitting to directories can help with geographical searches but the “link juice” they pass is very small.

Don’t expect to rank only with directory links.

That said, directories help with something called NAP.

nap seo
NAP for Local SEO

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number and getting NAP citations is good for local SEO.

Google and the other search engines use this NAP data to decide what companies to show when someone uses a geographical search query like “barber shops near me”.

NAP citations are also important for spam reasons.

A spam website/fake business is far less likely to have NAP citations because they are not going to have an office location or phone number linked up.

My advice to you would be to not go overboard with building directory links. Just use moderated directories and you get the benefits above.

PBN – (Black Hat, Avoid!)

PBNs are one of the biggest link building strategies used in the last few years by grey/black hat SEOs.

But what exactly is a PBN?

A private blog network

PBNs or private blog networks are networks of sites built up for the sole purpose of linking back to a “money site” (yours or your client’s site)

The reason why PBNs are effective is the domains these links come from are from domains with authority (lots of links pointing at them), these domains for whatever reason have been left to expire by their original owners.

A new owner then comes in, builds a new site on top of that domain and links it back to the site they want to rank.

This is all done without having to earn links, as the previous owner has done it for you.

Sounds good right?

That is until Google nails you!

A site penalised for using PBNs

Recently I was contacted by another business who had hired an SEO marketing company whose primary tactic for ranking websites was using PBNs.

They had seen steady growth for justover a year, then…

They lost over 50% of their website traffic overnight and are now struggling to keep the lights on.

PBNs are risky, but there are other reasons I wouldn’t bother using them.

They’re expensive

To set up a private blog network you are going to need a lot of website domain names.

Typical domains sell for £10 to £2000 depending on the metrics and domain name.

600,000 backlinks at $2000

Look at the price on the domains above.

Let’s go back to the example we used earlier for the “dentists in London” keyword.

Although I don’t think it would take 40 websites to rank for this keyword lets just roll with it.

  • 40 domain names x $100 = $4000
  • Private Whois (to trick Google) 40 x $5 = $200
  • Hosting 40 x $12pm = $480pm
  • Content for website, 3-5 articles each at $50-$70 = $250 x 40 = $10,000

To rank for that one keyword, with a PBN you could be looking at a $15,000 investment upfront with a recurring fee of $480 a month for hosting.

For the term “dentist in London” it may be worth the investment as an extra 3 to 5 clients a month would likely cover it.

The above doesn’t take into account the amount of time you would have to invest either to build 40 websites.

It also doesn’t take into account the time it takes to find good domains to use.

backlinks

Remember the expired domain above with 600k backlinks?

Turns out it only has 200k and they’re all junk!

If you check that domain out on ahrefs you can see that the majority of those backlinks are from an Arabic website with images of dead people all over it.

How trustworthy will Google think your website is when its linked to from a site like that?

Not very, trust me.

Looking for non-spammy domains to link to your own website can take hours.

You’re better off putting that time into white hat link building, the results may take a little longer, but there’s no worrying if you are going to lose your website traffic overnight.

Paid Links – (Avoid!)

There’s a good chance you have seen these types of companies already if you have been looking at link building packages.

Companies that offer individual links on a one off fee basis.

paying for links, good or bad for seo
Links for sale – bad for SEO!

Right off the bat, paying for links is against Googles guidelines.

But the main problem I have with companies like these is they promise 100% manual outreach to real blogs and websites.

But that’s not usually what happens…

A link to your website usually turns up on some spammy site with no real traffic, or as we have discussed above also known as a PBN.

Authority Hacker did a great article on these types of companies: 5 popular link building services which explain this process in more detail.

Authority Hacker found most of their links ended up on spammy sites, PBNs and sites with no traffic or users. If you want to build links that aren’t spammy check out our very own link building service.

Blog Comments

Blog comments, in my opinion, should be used to drive relevant visitors to your site and not for SEO benefits.

The time taken to craft a well thought out blog comment that could drive traffic may not be worth it.

With that said, blog commenting does have its advantages.

To build links you need to build relationships. And what better way to build a relationship than to comment on a person’s website.

Take a look at the following screenshot:

Well thought out post

On Brian Dean’s SEO strategy post, a user by the name of Chintan left a well thought out comment and Brian responded.

Does this help Chintan’s SEO? No, but it got a reply.

If Chintan, kept posting well thought out comments on Backlinko, there’s a good chance that he would be remembered if he dropped Brian an email asking for a favour.

If I were to use blog comments in an SEO strategy I would use them for building relationships. Don’t use them for SEO purposes.

Automated link building tools

black hat seo tools

By now you should know that link building is hard.

Any tool that spams your website link anywhere isn’t worth your time.

Don’t use automated link building tools in 2019.

It’s the quickest way to get slapped by Google.

Web 2.0 – Don’t spam these

twitter web 2.0
Web 2.0, Set up your account, but don’t spam.

Web 2.0 is the process of building accounts on popular websites such as Youtube, Tumblr, Squido, Twitter, Facebook etc.

All big brand should have accounts on most of these websites, but where I see most SEO’s go wrong is by spamming their links all over them and relying fully on them for their SEO strategy.

This won’t work…

These links are not powerful enough to improve your search engine rankings.

Set up your accounts on the relevant websites, add your profile information and move on.

At best this shows that you’re a real business.

Link building strategies – That work

You have seen how to build bad links, now I’ll discuss how to build white hat backlinks that move the needle!

Get a cup of tea and we can dive into these link building strategies.

Link roundups

I will start with link roundups as these are one of the easiest links to score.

Link roundups are blog posts curated by other web masters in your industry rounding up the best posts of that month/week/day.

For link roundups to work you have to have something worth sharing.

A homepage or service page won’t work. Neither will a product page.

To be considered for a link roundup you will need to create a page that is not over salesy and informative.

An example of a link roundup can be seen on the snapagency blog

ecommerce link roundups

They have curated a blog post on the best articles on Ecommerce SEO.

These roundups can be found in nearly all industries.

If you can’t find one, look in a sister industry. Then pitch the owner of that website to consider your content for the next roundup.

In the example above if you managed to get your roundup included in this post you would be getting a highly relevant link from a DA60 website.

link roundups link building

If you wanted to buy a link like this from one of those link sellers mentioned above look how much it would cost: (Swap DA with DR)

backlinks for sale

or

backlinks

With the right content and a single email, you could land a DA60 link worth £360/$500+

Not bad at all.

How can I find link roundups?

All industries have link roundups, unfortunately, they are not always called link roundups, but with a bit of imagination, you should be able to find a few of them.

If I were looking for roundups suitable for this post, I may type the following into the search engines:

  • SEO “best blog posts”
  • SEO “best pieces of content”
  • SEO “best posts this week”
  • SEO “weekly roundup”
  • SEO “best posts this month”
  • SEO “roundup”
  • SEO “round up”
  • SEO “link roundup”

Replace the word SEO with your industry or topic.

Record all the websites you find in Google in an Excel or Google docs file and save.

You can go back to this later to check the metrics on each site to make sure its a website you want to get a link from.

recording roundup opportunities

At a later time, you will also fill in this excel sheet with the blog owners name and email address (more on this later)

This is done so when you reach out you have all the details needed.

Finding roundups on twitter

You can also get creative with hashtags on twitter to find roundups.

Use the search function and type the following:

  • SEO #roundup
  • SEO roundup
  • SEO link roundup
seo link roundup

Things to look out for

Not all roundups are actual roundups.

seo roundups

Some blogs create roundups and link to only blogs on their website. Don’t reach out to these people.

SEO hacker’s roundup for example, is a roundup off all the posts they wrote about that year.

While Lillach Bullock’s SEO roundup links to other websites, this is the type of website you wan’t to reach out to.

Getting the link – Roundup outreach template

With all of the “templates” in this post, they are just a rough guide.

Templates are a starting point. I don’t recomend using them as is, adjust them to your audience.

The software I use for outreach lets me use a template and then edit each email to personalise it to the end user.

With that said you will want to outreach for a roundup post with something like the following:

Subject: Your Roundup

Hey [Person Name],

I came across your blog and noticed you publish roundups on [Your Topic] and I think I got something your audience may like.

[Tell them about your post, keep it brief] It’s a 20,000 in-depth guide on how to build white hat backlinks that increase search rankings and website traffic.

If you’re interested you can see the post here: [link to your post]

Let me know what you think,

Thanks,

[Your Name]

This template does a few things.

Firstly it’s truthful. We’re not telling the person we love their website or we are a massive fan (unless we are, then tell them).

Keep it real.

Blogs get BS’d on the daily, by pretending to be their biggest fan you already put them on the defensive.

If you have never been to their website before don’t lie to them.

You should have done your research by this point so just tell them, the content is a good fit and your audience may like it.

Tell them a little bit about your post and ask them to let you know what they think about it.

This isn’t a pushy email, and the ones that reply letting you know what they think will usually give you a link in their next roundup.

Simple!

Resource pages

Resource page link building is quite similar to a roundup but not as time sensitive.

I’ve had links given to me from 4-year-old posts using this method, whereas getting a link from a weekly roundup in 2016 is going to be a hard sell if you wrote a post in 2019.

resource link building

The above screenshot from Ricochets Science is an example of a good resource page.

It’s a high-quality site, and the resources link to other websites.

Unlike:

Pen State Extension, where the links only go to internal pages.

resource link building

Finding resource pages

Once again nearly every industry will have resource pages. It can take time to find them but the following queries are a good start:

  • SEO “resource pages”
  • SEO “related sites”
  • SEO “helpful links”
  • SEO “best links”
  • SEO “useful links”
  • SEO intitle:resources
  • SEO intitle:links

Getting a resource page link

To outreach for a resource page link you can use something like this:

Subject: Your Resource Page

Hey [Person Name]

I just came across your resource page [page link],

Some great resources on there, thanks for putting them together, I really liked the [one of the resource pages linked to] for [x reason].

I did notice that you didn’t have a resource which talked about [your subject] and was wondering if you would like to read a post I just put together.

It’s a 5,000-word in-depth guide on [subject] and would love to get your thoughts on it.

Let me know if you want me to send it over.

Thanks

[Your Name]

This template is different from what I see many SEO’s do.

Firstly it’s a different point of view on a subject (It doesn’t have to be, but I‘ve found something different usually gets the webmaster to respond) If you don’t have something different change this line to:

I did notice you had a link on [subject] but I’ve put a more in-depth guide together.

Not everyone is going to respond, but the ones that do will usually link to you.

When the webmaster responds follow up with:

Hey [Person Name],

Great, here’s the link [link to your article].

Let me know your thoughts on it.

If you think it’s something your readers would like to know about i’d love it if you could add it to your resource page.

If not, thanks for taking the time to look at it.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

The above template thanks the person for getting back to you, shows them where your content lives, and it tells them you’d love a link back if they think it would be a good fit for the resource page.

Once again it’s not too pushy.

And because you’re asking for an opinion from people who read and write about the topic, they sometimes give you additional feedback that will improve the article.

link resource building email outreach

Great feedback and a good link.

Guest posts

Guest posts are a great way of building backlinks, getting your name out there and driving referral traffic back to your website.

Guest posts although time-consuming, allow you to tap directly into an established websites audience, build brand exposure and forge great relationships with others in your industry.

I must admit, I’ve only done a few guest posts for this blog, one on Millo.co can be seen below:

guest posting link building

As you can see I started this site off with the intention of going into web development, but over the years I’ve slowly transitioned into an SEO consultant.

The beauty of guest posting is it allows you to post on semi-relevant sites in your industry and you still get the link benefit.

Millo generally covers freelancing topics.

I pitched an idea of how to get more clients as a freelancer using SEO and they accepted.

Here’s how you can find guest posts in your industry:

Finding guest post opportunities

guest post link building

You will need to use some of the following search operators to find guest posting opportunities:

  • SEO “Become a Contributor”
  • SEO “Become an Author”
  • SEO “Guest Post Guidelines”
  • SEO “Contribute to our Site”
  • SEO “Submit Article”
  • SEO “Write for Us”
  • SEO inurl:guest-post-guidelines
  • SEO inurl:guest-posts
  • SEO intitle:”write for us”

If you’re finding it difficult to find guest posting opportunities in your industry think of a shoulder industry.

I don’t imagine there are many emergency plumbing blogs out there, so you could look at interior design blogs and DIY blogs.

Guest posting outreach template

If you have put a list of the blogs you would like to write for, I’d recommend contacting these blog owners in batches of 10.

In my experience guest posting has a high response rate and you don’t want to waste an opportunity because you have too many people wanting content from you.

I’d also recommend replying as quickly as possible to these blog owners when they reply to get the ball moving.

guest post email outreach

With that said here’s an outreach template for scoring guest posts.

Subject: Submit a guest post

Hey [Person Name],

I see that you accept guest posts on your website, and i’d like to throw my hat into the ring for consideration.

My Names [Your name] and I’m a [job title] and i’d love to write for your website.

You can see some of my most recent work below:

[Link to blog 1]

[Link to blog 2]

[Link to blog 3]

I have some ideas that I think would work well for your website, let me know if you want me to send them over.

P.S I’m more than happy to promote the finished post to my 3000 twitter followers and email list.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Most guest post outreach emails start with some BS about how you are a massive fan of their blog and how it’s your life long ambition to write for them.

STOP!

No one believes this crap.

If you messaged me about printing off posts from this blog and putting it on your desk, not only am I going to ignore that email, but I’m also worried that you may try to wear my skin as a coat in the near future.

It comes across as creepy and puts you into the same category as the next image.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsTHMGpFHoF/

I’m not sure who writes these templates but in the real world, they just don’t sound real.

In your time on this planet can you count the number of times you have printed blog posts off and put them on your desk?

Me neither.

Once again, keep it real.

Just tell them that you’d like to write for their blog, and link to your best work which is in that industry.

You get bonus points if these blogs are on other sites, but if this is your first guest post, link to work on your own blog.

I really like the last two lines too.

Firstly you tell the blog owner that you have some good ideas, and if they like the quality of the work you have done in the past, they will ask you for them.

You can then do some research on what works well on that current owner’s site and pitch something similar.

If list type articles are on their blog, pitch them a “17 things you need to know about x” type article.

guest posting list style articles

If tutorials are posted often, pitch them a “how to do x” type article.

By asking the blog owner permission to see your ideas you are saving time on having to do the above for every blog you pitch.

And lastly, “I’m happy to share with my followers” line gives your email more value.

If you don’t have twitter followers or an email list. You can either take this out or offer to promote the post via paid ads on Facebook. (You don’t have to do this, but it does improve your success rate)

Not a writer? Do this.

I find writing difficult.

For this site, I write my own articles.

But for clients, I insist they have someone who can take care of content creation.

If you want to build a scalable link building company you will need someone else to handle the writing.

If a company hires you for link building but don’t have the capacity to write for you, I would suggest hiring a freelance writer from Upwork.

freelance writers for seo

The best thing about freelance websites like this is you can find writers in all different industries.

freelance writers

Good writers are hard to find.

You can expect to pay anything from $50 – $100 for an acceptable article.

You can get some writers for $10 a post, and some writers will charge you $1000+

Before finding a good writer you will go through some terrible ones.

When hiring writers you should do it in batches and give each of them a small task to carry out.

Fire the ones that are terrible and then use the better ones for your work.

Sponsored posts

Once you have done outreach for guest posting you are going to run into the following type of replies:

Bloggers know how valuable a link is and they have started to charge for them.

But remember…

Buying links is a big no-no from Google and sites buying links will get punished.

It’s completly up to you if you want to buy these links, as long as they are not marked sponsored posts and look native you shouldn’t have a problem.

I don’t buy links, I’m a firm believer that Google will catch these sites eventually.

If you are willing to risk it, by all means, use this tactic.

Just be careful and know that it could put your website in a spot of bother one day.

Some bloggers also disguise they are selling links by calling it something else like an editors fee. Check out the following email:

sponsored post link building

Link Reclamation

Over time your website will lose links.

backlink reclamation strategy

Having worked so hard for them in the first place, it’s important to keep an eye on your links and when you lose them try to find out why.

Maybe the page got deleted, maybe it’s moved or the site editor just removed your link.

If the site editor has removed your link you can try and reclaim it.

If the page is deleted there’s not much you can do about it.

Finding lost links

To find lost links and reclaim them you are going to need software like ahrefs or majestic.

I use ahrefs, easily my favourite SEO tool.

You can get a trial of ahrefs for $7, no excuses.

Sign in to your account and click on “site explorer”

ahrefs site explorer

Input the URL of the domain you want to find lost backlinks for, click the search icon and you will see the following:

ahrefs main screen

Click on the lost backlinks option and you will see a calendar which shows you the date you lost a backlink on and how many of them you lost.

losing backlinks ahrefs
Business Insider is losing up to 500 links a day. Wow.

Click on any of the days in which you have lost links and you can see what sites have unlinked you:

unlinked websites ahrefs

Now all you have to do is go through these links and see if the page still exists. If it does send an email over to the website editor.

Subject: Hey [Person Name], Can you help me out?

Hey [Person Name],

It’s [Your Name] from [Your website],

I was recently looking at all the websites that linked to me and saw that you used to link to me on this page [page with your link] but don’t anymore.

I was wondering would you mind putting the link back in, it would really help me and my business out.

I’m happy to re-share your article with my twitter followers.

If not, no worries at all.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Usually, there’s a reason why your link was taken out, but sometimes it could be removed by accident and a little email is enough to get it back in.

Don’t be taken back if the website editor tells you no, after all, they may have their reasons.

Broken link building

This is probably my favourite of all link building types.

what is broken link building
Finding a dead page and reaching out to others who linked to that page

Broken link building is the process of finding a broken link in your industry and reaching out to everyone that has linked to this broken resource and ask them to link to your content instead.

If you find a page with 300+ linking domains you have found yourself a gold mine of an opportunity.

Broken link building is an amazing link building strategy to add to your arsenal but it takes so much time (but it’s worth it).

Finding Broken Links

For this link building strategy, I will once again be using ahrefs, but you can use other tools like screaming frog and scrapebox.

ahrefs for broken link building
ahrefs for broken link building

Log into ahrefs and go to site explorer (we did this already for the link reclamation tutorial).

Once in this section add in a popular website that’s in your industry.

site explorer for broken link building

You don’t want to think too small for this, small websites hardly ever have links pointing at their content.

You may also want to look outside of your industry to a shoulder industry.

For SEO you could try marketing sites or business websites.

When doing this work for clients you may receive some pushback on the content you have to create for a broken link building campaign as it may not be what they usually write about.

But don’t worry, most blogs are filled with “10 reasons why you must give your money to us” type posts that do nothing for the business.

Type in a domain in your industry on the site explorer and click search.

Next click on “best by links” in the lefthand side menu.

broken link building

On the next screen select the filter by HTTP code and select 404

This may take a while so be patient.

When the results are in you should have something that looks like this:

broken link building guide

Find a post which would be suitable for your industry and click on the referring domains for that post.

If you don’t find any suitable posts or there were no broken links repeat this process with a new website.

If a page has less than 100 referring domains I would move on and try to find a broken page with more referring domains. (Depending on your niche you will have to adjust these numbers. Some industries you may only have 10 links to go after)

Broken link building is a huge resource hog and I usually get a 7% to 10% link acquisition.

For 100 referring domains you may get 10 high-quality backlinks.

Once you have found a post, make sure the sites linking to it are good quality. Otherwise, it will be a waste of time trying to get links from them.

In the referring domains section, click the filter to only show do follow links.

broken link building 2019

You will then see the potential linkers you can get to your content:

Techcrunch, Vice and Avvo all link to a broken page

As you can see from above, TechCrunch DR 92, Vice DR 91 and Avvo DR 90 all link to this page.

If you could create something similar and reach out to these sites you could potentially get some great links.

But how do you create similar content?

Head over to archive.org and input the website address (the broken link) of the content you want to recreate.

executing a link building campaign

You will then see a calendar with dates circled. These circled dates are when archive.org crawled the site. Click on these dates until you see the original post content.

broken link building using archive.org

Sometimes you can’t get to see the original post, but more often than not you will be able to.

All you need to do then is use the original post as inspiration and create a better post. Either add more content, make it look better or add new research.

You can even send a copy of the original post to your writer and tell them to work their magic. Don’t copy the original! but make your post quite similar.

All you need to do now is reach out.

There are a few ways of reaching out for a broken link building campaign.

Brian Dean of Backlinko uses a permission-based approach where he reaches out and asks the site owner if they want to see the broken links he found on their site

When the site owner replies he then hits them up with a pitch telling them about his resource.

While numerous other SEO link builders use a more direct approach, like the following:

Subject: Problem with your website

Hey [Person Name],

I was just reading your post [post title] ([post url]) and saw that you were linking to a dead page, I think it’s been deleted.

The link is halfway down the page, with the title [link anchor] and links to [link url].

If your looking for something to replace this link with I just wrote a similar article which goes into a lot of detail on [subject].

If you’re interested you can see my post here: [link to your post]

If it’s not a good fit, no problem.

Also, I’m happy to share the original article with my twitter followers.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Some people will ignore your email, some people will fix the link and not link to you and others will give you a link. See some examples below.

This reply made me laugh. They fixed the link but didn’t give a link to my client and were blunt too.

Nice and simple. DR60+ link.

Not only did I get a good link (below) for my client (DR40), but also a new social follower and the start of a relationship.

Broken link building takes up a fair bit of time, but if done right you can score high authoritative links in bulk.

Local bloggers

Local bloggers are great for local SEO clients.

Imagine you have a client in the restaurant business. You could do what every other SEO’r and their dog is doing and build local citations on Yell, Thomson local etc.

Or…

You could get local bloggers to write about the restaurant, its menu or you could even invite them down to the restaurant and review it.

Getting links from local blogs (even better if they’re food blogs) would boost your local rankings in no time at all.

When it comes to local blogs you can also pitch them on a guest post or you can offer to sponsor a post (grey hat).

Remember sponsoring a post can get you in trouble if Google finds out.

Finding Local Blogs

Finding local blogs is easy.

Enter your city name + bloggers.

local link building

Then select a few blogs that look active.

You can also run them through ahrefs to check their metrics.

Go to ahrefs, click on site explorer.

ahrefs site explorer
Enter your local blogger in here and click search

You should be looking at bloggers in the DR20+ range.

local blog link building

Above is a nice DR32 blog that could be worth a pitch.

link building for organic seo

Small DR and no traffic, not worth contacting.

blog link building

This one has a low DR 15, but has a nice amount of traffic.

It could be worth outreaching to this blog if they’re in a related niche as some of that traffic could become customers for you (or your clients).

Pitching local bloggers

With local bloggers, you can either ask them for a guest post which I covered earlier or you can use something like the following (grey hat)

Subject: Sponsoring Your Blog

Hey [Person Name]

My name is [Your Name] and I live/work here in [Your City].

The reason for this email, I’m looking to work with some local bloggers to help me get my business out there and I like the look of your site and was hoping we could work together.

Do you accept any sponsored posts on your blog?

I don’t need anything too obtrusive, a link from one of your old posts to my website would be great.

Let me know either way,

Thanks

[Your Name]

An agency that I subcontract for uses this exact pitch and it works like hell.

Most local bloggers are happy to link to you for a fee.

When they reply that they do accept sponsored posts for X amount…

Never accept the first amount.

Tell them that this is out of your budget but you’d be happy to pay [a price lower than they asked for].

Once again this is grey hat and Google will penalise you if you buy links.

The only reason I mention the above is it works so well and it’s near impossible to detect if you do it.

With that said, I don’t use this strategy for my site or my clients!

Infographics

Infographics can take a dull topic and give it new life.

Take a look at the following:

Infographic: What is Inbound Marketing?

Small bitesize information that keeps the user engaged. Great infographic from www.thewholebraingroup.com

Not only are infographics interesting but they can earn you hundreds of links without being penalised for duplicate content.

With that said, marketers have spammed infographics everywhere.

I have tried pitching infographics a few different ways.

The best success rate I have achieved is when pitching a blog that has posted infographics in the past as they are far more likely to accept them.

Designing an infographic

Not everyone can afford a £3000+ infographic for their marketing campaigns.

And if you suck at design like me, you’re going to need to look elsewhere for help.

Once again we can turn to a freelance website like Upwork or if you have a very small budget you can hire a designer on Fiver.com

infographic design services

Finding blogs that publish infographics

Not everyone likes infographics.

You can find blogs that have posted infographics in the past by using the following search queries:

  • intitle:infographic “SEO”
  • intitle:infographic SEO
  • inurl:infographic “SEO”
  • inurl:infographic SEO

Pitching an infographic

Once you have found a blog that posts infographics, you can reach out to them with something similar:

Subject: Infographic on your website

Hey [Person Name]

I noticed that you post infographics on your website about [subject].

I’ve had one recently made and I’m yet to publish it on my website.

It’s an infographic on [tell them about your infographic, keep this brief]

I’d love to get your thoughts on it and see if it would be something your audience would be interested in seeing.

If not, no worries.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

Research link building

Here’s a tactic that I got from ahrefs.

In certain industries, original research can attract a thousands of links.

If you’re in the position to be able to create one of these studies you can reach out to other sites who have talked about similar studies which are now outdated.

You can use the handy content explorer on ahrefs for this:

research link building

The study above conducted in 2014 has generated over 396 referring domains. And in the space of 5 years, you can bet the data in this post is out of date.

If you wanted to you could research all of the points in this post, create a new post and reach out to these referring domains.

Subject: Outdated post

Hey [Person Name]

I just read your post on [post topic & URL] and I saw you were linking out to [old data study].

I can see why you linked to it, it’s a great resource, but it was written in 2014 and is a little out of date.

I’ve just recently published a new study on [topic] and I’m just reaching out to a few people in our industry to have a look at it.

If you’re interested you can see it here [your link]

No worries if you’re not, but I’d love to know what you think.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

HARO Link Building

help a reporter out link building

HARO or Help A Reporter Out is a service where reporters ask a question and you provide them with an in-depth answer.

If the reporter likes your answer and uses it you usually end up with a juicy link from an authoritative website.

Sounds simple.

But it’s highly competitive and you can write the most thorough answer and you still won’t get picked.

Which is a massive waste of time!

But…

When these links come off you could end up with links from inc.com, Forbes, BusinessInsider etc.

If you want to learn more about Haro link building check out this post

Stolen Images link building

One of the easiest ways to get a link back to your website is when someone steals something from you.

In this case, it’s when someone steals an image from your blog or website.

Now you could go and sue them or you could use this as an opportunity to build a relationship with the blogger and get a link.

I guess it all depends on if the stolen image causes you a financial loss. In most cases getting a link back is more than sufficient.

Finding stolen images

Firstly go to Google images.

stolen image link building

Next, find the image you want to search for and drag it onto the search bar.

stolen images link building

Google will then list out all of the websites that are using your image. Go through them and see if they have attributed the image to you.

If they haven’t, add them to a list to contact later.

stolen images link building technique

Reaching out to the image bandits

These people already owe you, so be firm but fair when reaching out.

Subject: My Image

Hi There, (You Don’t need to find their name for this one)

I noticed you are using my image on your website [Website url], I’m happy for you to use this image if you attribute it back to my website [your url].

Thanks for your time,

[Your Name]

Then give it a day or two and check back.

Either you have an image attribution or you don’t.

If the owner ignores you, follow up reiterating that you’re happy for them to use the image with attribution, but if they’re not happy to do that then they need to remove your image or you will be seeking legal action.

Usually, this is enough to either get a link or stop the person from stealing from you.

Scholarship link building

Scholarship link building I feel has been abused so much over the last few years.

But, it still works.

scholarship link building
A look at Oxford Universities scholarship page

Most SEO consultants seem to believe that links from universities and colleges are worth more than a link from normal sites. I disagree.

Schools generally have good domain ratings and are hard to get links from.

If they give more power or not, scholarship link building can return brilliant results.

But, it can be costly! (at least £1000)

What you need to do

To set up a scholarship link building campaign you are going to need to set up a page on your website explaining:

  • What the scholarship is.
  • Terms and conditions.
  • Deadlines.
  • Scholarship amount.
  • The requirements on how to enter.

Take a look at lloyds Scholars for a general idea.

scholarship link building, an overused tactic?

Your page doesn’t need to look this good, but it should cover the basics above.

When creating a scholarship page you should think of what you want to achieve from it (except for links).

If your business is in the marketing industry you could ask the entrants to put together a 500-word essay on what business they would start for £10,000 and how would they market it.

You can then take all these entries and use them for content on your blog.

You could also share some of these entries on social media to build brand exposure.

Finding scholarship pages

Once you have your scholarship page ready you are going to need to find universities/colleges that have a dedicated scholarship page.

scholarship link building

To find these pages use to following search queries:

  • scholarship inurl:ac.uk (For UK readers)
  • scholarship inurl:.edu (For USA readers)
scholarship link building usa.

Go through each page and see if they link to other smaller companies and have a similar budget to yours.

When you have recorded all of these link opportunities start reaching out.

Subject: Scholarship Opportunity

Good Morning [Person Name],

My name is [your name] and I’m contacting you about the scholarship opportunity I have here at [My company]

My scholarship programme is for £1000 and is open to everyone studying [Subject], it can be used for the cost of living, books or electronics.

You can see more information here: [your URL]

I hope that you can add us to your scholarship page on your website and let your students know about our offer as I would love to give back to the community.

Once again the application page is here [your url]

Thanks

[Your Name]

After the scholarship link is live you will start to receive submissions.

Make sure you store these applications and go through them judging them on the best content submitted.

When you do pick a winner for your scholarship, be sure to take photos, announce it on social media and even contact local news outlets to see if they would be interested in running a story on your scholarship.

With the right offer, I have seen clients build over 200 high domain authority links using this method.

Education discount link building

I love this link building tactic.

Education discounts are great for e-commerce SEO.

education link building
Get links to your discount page and share the equity to your product pages

You could use this for a local business but it’s going to be hard to convince a university in London to link to a website based in Scotland just because you are offering them a discount.

I could be wrong, but i’ve only used this for my e-commerce clients.

The strategy

First set up a simple page on your website with a discount code and make sure to have links to your products or category pages on there.

staff discounts link building
A current discount page on a university website.

You want to do this so you pass the link equity from this discount page to your products or services, making them rank better in the process.

Once you have all of the above set up we can move on to finding the universities/colleges.

Use the following search operators to find universities with discount pages:

  • discounts inurl:ac.uk
  • coupons inurl:.edu

Go through the list of schools that have these pages, make sure they accept similar websites to yours and pitch them:

Subject: Discount for members of staff

Hey [Person Name]

I notice that you have a discount section on your website for your staff.

My name is [your name] and I own [your company]. The reason why I’m emailing you is I’d like to offer your team a discount on my products too.

My company sells [your product]. If you think it’s something your staff would be interested in you can get the discount code and more details from here: [your discount url]

It would be great if you could add the above link to your discount page[their website url] so that everyone’s aware of the savings they could have.

Thanks for your time,

[your name]

Education discount link building results

Here are the type of replies you should see:

education link building

Nice and simple, DR 85 link, and a DR80 below.

Boom!

dr80 link

Link building with free tools

If you have a budget to build a tool for your industry there’s a good chance you could hit a gold mine of links.

Tools you could create:

  • Mortgage calculators
  • Life insurance calculator
  • Weight loss counter
  • Celebrity comparison tool

You don’t even have to make something new.

Find a tool that sucks and has backlinks, make a better one and reach out to those who linked to the old tool.

A pretty simple strategy for building links, but it works.

Look at these tools and the links they have attracted.

free tool link building

The mortgage calculator above has gathered 1330 backlinks from 203 referring domains. Total traffic value per month is a shocking $232k.

making tools to attract backlinks

Another calculator, this one 551 backlinks from 220 referring domains. Total traffic value per month of $100k.

backlinks from free tools

Yep, another mortgage calculator.

This one only has 66 backlinks from 57 domains but has an estimated traffic value per month of $12,000.

And it’s not only mortgage calculators that do well.

Look at this page, it compares your salary against Kim Kardashian’s.

Check it out if you want to be incredibly envious.

kim kardashian salary tool

Not only is this fun and ties into what the website sells, but it also attracted a nice amount of links.

backlink checker ahrefs

226 backlinks form 105 referring domains.

The traffic levels are low for this page, but it doesn’t matter as this page passes all of that link equity to their other pages and they rank for many high volume keywords.

Reaching out and building links

If you build a tool that is better than what exists, chances are you will be able to get a good amount of links to it.

Outreach with an email like this:

Subject: Question about [post name]

Hey [Person Name],

I just read your post on [post name] at [post url] and I saw you were linking to [competing tool].

I think it’s a great calculator and I can see why you linked to it but I find it [hard to use, slow etc].

So I decided to build my own, you can see it here [your url], I’d love to get your feedback on it, and feel free to link to it if you like it.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

“A little birdie told me” method

I believe a good link building campaign should build a diverse range of links that are do follow, no follow, contextual and everything else in between.

This method I like to call “a little birdie told me” does exactly that.

For this to work you can either use Buzzsumo or ahref’s content explorer. If you can’t already tell I’m a massive fan of ahrefs, so I will be using that.

ahrefs content explorer for the little birdie told me method

Load up content explorer, type in a keyword that is related to the posts on your website or your clients.

In this example, I will use link building.

ahrefs then pulls up the most shared content for your keyword.

In the “a little birdie told me” method we want to find the most shared posts on Twitter.

Click the sorted by filter and select twitter shares.

content explorer ahrefs

The top shared posts are now at the top.

Some of these are false positives though and are website homepages.

Ignore those and find content that is similar to the piece you want to promote.

finding content on ahrefs

For this post I will use the above as an example, it’s not an exact match to this link building guide but for the sake of it let’s pretend.

The article above has over 5.8k retweets. Perfect.

Click on the “Who tweeted” button.

You will be shown everyone who has shared this post with their audience.

Now here’s where you can adjust the “A little birdie told me” method to your needs.

If you’re in an obscure industry it’s very likely you won’t be able to find posts with over 5k shares.

But as we are in the marketing industry we can filter this down.

filtering results ahrefs

Select the date range you want to filter by.

I think anything within a year is fair game.

Click apply.

You should then be left with a list that is interested in sharing the type of content that you create.

finding twitter sharers

The next part is painstaking.

Create a new excel spreadsheet, with the following headers:

  • Old Content Link
  • Account Name
  • Email Address
  • New content

The old content is going to be the link to the old article they shared.

The new content is going to be your content piece that you want to share with them.

The account name is their twitter @ name.

And we are going to manually find their email address and record it here.

using twitter for link building

Go to each user profile and see if they have an email address listed. If they don’t they will usually leave a link to their website.

Once you’re on that user’s website check out their contact page, the website footer or the about me page for an email address.

If you find one record it, if not, don’t worry I will show you a method in the “tools to make your outreach easier” section in a little bit.

Repeat this method until you have a list of influencers that you can contact and hit them up with a pitch:

Subject: What do you think of this post?

Hey [Person Name],

I just came across your twitter account and saw you share content like [old post], I wanted to reach out to you to see if you’d be interested in reading a more up to date post on [subject]

I just finished a 15,000-word ultimate guide on link building and would love to get your thoughts on it.

You can see the post here: [Your URL]

If you think your followers would like to read it a share would really help me out.

But no pressure,

Thanks

[Your Name]

P.S I’d be happy to share one of your posts with my own followers and email list.

Unlinked branded mentions link building

This strategy won’t work for everyone.

Weeare.co.uk is my own personal business website, and although I rank for some good keywords in my industry i’m not a big brand.

People are not writing about me or this website.

But if you have a client or you’re a relatively well known brand, you can use this method to a great effect.

So what is this link building strategy?

People will write about you or your brand on their website but not link to you.

It’s your job to find these people and then reach out to them and ask them to link to you.

To do this, load up ahrefs, click content explorer and type in your brand name. I will use Moz for this example

unliked brand mentions

This shows over 250,000 branded mentions.

The only problem, we have no idea if these websites are linking to Moz.

Over in the righthand side first, click the one article per domain.

one article per domain ahrefs

This cuts the results down to 57k, better, but we still have work to do.

Next, click on the filter “highlight unlinked domains” and type in your domain name.

This will then highlight any domains that don’t link to you.

unlinked mentions link building strategy

Rather than going through each post individually searching for highlighted domains you can export the domain names to a spreadsheet ready for your outreach process.

exporting linking domains via ahrefs

Go through these websites and filter out any that don’t meet your standards.

You’re now ready to outreach.

Subject: Thank you for the shoutout

Hey [Person Name],

Just came across your article [article where you are mentioned] and wanted to say thank you for mentioning me.

I noticed that you didn’t link to my website and I was wondering if you would be able to, this would help me get my name out there.

I’m a small business owner like yourself and it really would help me out in growing my business.

If not no worries, I do appreciate the shout out in the first place.

P.S If there’s anything I can do to help your website please let me know.

Thanks

[Your Name]

The infamous skyscraper technique

I left the skyscraper technique to last as it’s one of the most known link building techniques.

If you haven’t heard of the skyscraper technique here’s what it is:

The skyscraper technique involves finding a piece of content in your industry that ranks well and then creating a better version of it.

You can create a better version of content by:

  • Making the content more in-depth.
  • Having a better user experience.
  • Creating content in a different medium.
  • Having updated statistics.

When you have your new piece of content you outreach to the others in your industry who linked to the old content piece and make them aware of the new content.

Finding content to skyscrape

This is by far the hardest part of this technique.

Finding content to make better is easy, but finding content that has a good amount of links is hard.

Once again, we will use ahrefs content explorer to find content with a good number of links that we can improve on.

Go to ahrefs, use content explorer and type in a seed keyword that you would like to rank for (but more importantly get some quality backlinks)

In this example, I have used the seed keyword “wedding planning”.

Which gives us over 200,000 articles.

Let’s narrow that down.

skyscraper link building

Use the referring filter to find articles with over 70 domains (adjust this for your industry)

In the wedding niche it’s easy to find content with a lot of referring domains. If you’re in the plumbing or legal niche this may be more difficult.

Next, scan the results and look for low-quality articles with good links.

skyscraper technique

The above article has over 104 referring domains and generates 29k visitors a month. The article has only 759 words and looking into the article the information is basic and reads like a massive wall of text.

To skyscraper this article I would add more content, flesh it out more and avoid huge walls of text.

I’d also break up the content with more images, headlines, quotes and lists.

Skyscraper link building outreach

With your new content piece ready, find all the linking domains above and reach out to them.

skyscraper technique link building

You can use something like the following:

Subject: Great Article

Hey [Person Name],

Just finished reading your article on [topic] ([url to article]), and noticed that you linked to the knots article “what to wear to a wedding” ([the url to the page]).

It’s a great article, it made me want to write my own version.

So I did.

I’ve made a more up to date and more in-depth version, you can see it here if you are interested: [your article url].

Feel free to reference it if you like, if not no worries.

Thanks,

[your name]

Skyscraper content takes a lot of time to make and outreach takes longer, but it’s a great way of building links.

Anyone looking to execute a link building strategy should look to see if they have the content already to outreach to other websites, if you don’t get a writer to help you to create one.

Link building outreach tools & tips

White hat link building is hard and time-consuming.

Here are the tools I use to make the process easier and quicker.

Voila Norbert

How do you find these websites email addresses when they’re not listed on the website?

Enter Voila Norbert

voila norbert for link building

Voila Norbert is easy to use.

Sign up for an account, enter the person’s name who you are trying to contact and the domain name.

Click “go ahead, Norbert.”

Wait a few seconds…

Norbert will then show you any matches it has found with the percentage of the address being found is correct.

I think it’s a great tool and it’s not too expensive either.

If you’re just starting out link building, you can sign up for a free plan which gives you 50 requests.

As you grow your SEO agency you can then upgrade to the paid plans. Which can be seen below.

tools to find email addresses

1,000 leads or the valet plan is more than enough for 5-10 SEO clients.

If Norbert can’t find an email address I use a second tool named Hunter.io

Hunter.io

Hunter.io is another excellent tool for finding email addresses.

I use both Norbert and Hunter when prospecting and don’t have a preference to which as they both do an excellent job.

email prospecting with hunter

With Hunter, sign up for an account and then enter the domain you want to find an email address for.

In the example above I entered my own domain name and within seconds it spits out my email address.

Perfect.

Hunter.io is once again priced competitively.

Their free price plan starts off with 100 requests. After that, you are going to need to upgrade your account. You can see Hunters pricing below.

hinter.io email prospecting tool price plans

Finding email addresses manually

In every link building campaign, you are going to come across sites that the above tools can’t find email addresses for.

When that happens you will need to manually find the email address.

This slows the entire process down, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

Firstly, go to the site you want a link from and look on their contact page.

I’ll use my site in this case, I don’t want to anger other webmasters by putting their emails here.

avoid contact form swith email outreach

As you can see, there’s no email listed here.

We could use the contact form, but you will usually be sending your message to a non-decision maker or a general email box, not good for our link acquisition rate!

Next, have a look for an about page.

Most webmasters or bloggers will have their email addresses on their about page (not me, I don’t have one).

My next step is to look at the website footer for terms and conditions or privacy page, usually this is found in the footer.

Sure enough…

finding email addresses manually

Email address found!

This won’t work all the time, but sometimes it does.

Finding email addresses on social media

Still can’t find that pesky email address?

Don’t worry it’s out there somewhere.

Probably on their social media channels.

Load up the person’s website and open all of their social media channels in a new window.

Now scroll through and look for that email address.

Within seconds you have the decision makers email address.

Instagram seems to be the best source for this technique, not sure why but every blogger seems to list their email address on it.

Email outreach software

If you want to do link building that scales you will need to use outreach software at some point.

Although you shouldn’t be sending the same robotic templates out to everyone, A template is a good place to start.

For best results, modify the template to each person you outreach to.

The software I use for sending emails is Mailshake

mailshake email outreach

Mailshake saves hours of time for every one of my clients.

I 100% recommend it if you’re looking to build white hat links in a scalable fashion.

Mailshake Pricing

Mailshake offers two pricing packages per user.

You are also going to need to pay for one user per client. 10 clients = 10 users, etc.

Mailshake tutorial

Mailshake is easy to use.

But if you need a little help use this tutorial below:

Canned Responses for Gmail

If you haven’t got the budget to pay for Mailshake, canned responses is a good alternative.

It takes more time to do, and the process is manual but it still works well.

Heres how to set up canned responses in Gmail.

First, log into your Gmail account, click the cog icon and then settings.

set up canned responses in gmail

Click the advanced tab.

canned responses tutorial

Enable canned responses.

enable canned responses in gmail

Make sure to save your new settings at the bottom of the page.

gmail canned

Next, create a new email. Copy the text from one of the templates above. Along with the subject line. If you have an email signature delete it for this part (it will pull through later).

You should see three dots next to the bin/trash icon.

Click the three dots and go to canned responses > new canned response.

setting up a new canned response

Save a name for this template.

If it was the email template for skyscraper name it skyscraper. If it’s an email for a guest post name it guest post and so on.

canned response template set up

To send an email all you have to do is now click those three dots, go to canned responses and under insert, click on the template you just created.

The final step is to replace the content in the brackets with your content.

How to link – Anchor text ratios

If we go back 10 years, Google used to heavily rely on anchor text in a link to determine what a page was about.

anchor text ratios

If you wanted to rank for the best web designer in London, you could have spammed various forums, blogs and websites with the same anchor text “web designer London” and more often than not you would rank.

But like everything black hat, Google caught on.

SEO’s now try to mix anchor text ratios so that their link building looks more natural.

But honestly…

White hat link building often leaves the anchor text out of your control, most of the time you only get to choose your own anchor text when you guest post.

The following anchor texts are a guide to what types of links can be built.

Exact match link

An exact match anchor as discussed above is the keyword you want to rank for in a link back to your website.

For example:

exact match anchor text

Out of all the link types, this is the one you don’t want to over optimise and use too much, otherwise, you could face a penalty from Google.

Natural link

In my experience, these are the most common link types gained when doing white hat link building.

A natural link means that your anchor contains none of the keywords you are trying to rank for.

An example can be seen below:

natural backlink profile

Title backlinks

Title links are usually acquired when you land link roundups or when someone references your post as further reading material.

Title backlinks use the title you created for your post.

For this post, a title backlink would look like the following:

title backlinks

Naked URL

A naked URL link type is an anchor that doesn’t contain any keywords but just a naked link, this can be seen below:

maked url anchor text

Keyword + Words

A keyword + other words anchor is the keyword you are trying to rank for plus additional words.

This is a great way of building links with your keywords in without it looking spammy.

If you are trying to rank for SEO London, for example, you would use something like the following:

seo agency

Best and agency are additional keywords surrounding your main keyword you want to rank for.

Branded backlinks

These should be your meat and potatoes of your backlink strategy.

For the American readers:

“These should be the foundation of your backlink strategy

There’s no doubt that Google favours big brands in the search.

Often these big brands have no links to their inner pages and the on-page SEO is ok at best.

So why do they rank?

Because they are a brand, and Google trusts big brands.

In my opinion, your ultimate goal should be to build a brand with your search engine marketing campaigns.

Rand Fishkin of Moz said something similar (Sorry Rand, couldn’t find your exact quote after I read it) to:

“Create a brand so good that branded search volume is higher than all non-branded search volume combined”

Rand Fishkin of Moz (Paraphrased)

To build branded anchor links use the name of your business:

branded anchor text backlinks

Branded + Keyword

Branded links with your keywords are another great way of linking to your website without looking spammy.

If I wanted to link to this article with a branded + keyword anchor I would use the following:

branded + keyword anchor text

Other anchor text types

There are many other ways people will link to your website including:

  • Via images.
  • With no text.
  • With random words from your article.
  • With statistics from your article.

and much more.

What I would say is don’t get too hung up on the above.

As long as your building links naturally you won’t have a problem with your anchor text ratios being too high.

Link building guide conclusion

Link building is hard.

Most small businesses won’t invest the amount of time or money to carry out these link building strategies either.

link building harder than a rubiks cube
Is link building harder than a Rubik’s cube? More than likely.

When you see other SEO agencies doing link building for less than £500/$500 a month you know they are not doing any of the white hat strategies listed above and they are using some shitty PBN service.

That’s a bad thing for their clients, but for you as a SEO consultant it means you’re ahead of the pack.

Competing against other SEO consultants and agencies charging $99 or (£99) a month for SEO will also be difficult.

Don’t let this put you off.

If you implement the above link building strategies for your clients and charge a fair price they will be over the moon with the results you get them.

But I won’t lie to you…

Sometimes you will fail.

failed link building strategy
10 hours work for 1 backlink. Ouch!

You may create a link building campaign and spend days on content and outreach and receive less than a handful of links.

Other times you will score 30+ links for similar content.

successful link building campaign
69 Referring domains, estimated traffic increase of 402.

Not all of the above strategies will work for every client, if one doesn’t work don’t get discouraged. Try another.

All of this is part of the link building game.

If this article has helped you, please feel free to give it a share by using the social sharing buttons on this post.

If you have any questions about link building or SEO drop me an email.

Thanks for reading.
Ricky.

How to calculate return on marketing investment (ROMI)

If you want to measure the overall effectiveness of a marketing campaign a return on marketing investment (ROMI) is the calculation you will want to run for your business.

ROMI is a subset of ROI (return on investment) and in its basic form, it looks at revenue increase compared to the investment that was made by the business to get there.

Years ago it was difficult to see where the increase in revenue was coming from but these days with tracking pixels it’s much easier to see the users journey through your website mainly the entry points (a landing page from an ad or SEO marketing) to the exit points (checkout or contact page). 

By following a users journey from discovery to sale it’s much easier to see the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

How is ROMI used by marketers?

romi calculation example

Some of the businesses that we have talked to in the past have been running pay per click ads, social media campaigns, email marketing and organic SEO and have had no idea which of these was bringing in the most revenue for the company or which was wasting valuable resources.

Understanding where your revenue comes from and the marketing spend can allow a business to focus on the areas which can bring them more revenue while decreasing the spend in other areas which are ineffective.

When a business knows its ROMI it can then justify its marketing spend and distribute the marketing budgets across the areas which are going to be the most profitable for that business.

ROMI is also useful for benchmarking a campaign and then using that data to improve future campaigns.  

Calculating return on marketing investment (ROMI)

To calculate the return on marketing investment and see if your investment was profitable or you ended up wasting money you can use the following formula:

ROMI Calculation Example

ROMI = ((income from marketing – marketing expenditures)/ marketing expenditures) * 100

You can use the above formula to calculate the ROMI from a campaign. If you want to calculate the revenue you would also include the costs of the goods that you sell. For that calculation you can use the following formula:

ROMI = ((income from marketing – cost of goods – marketing expenditures) / marketing expenditures) * 100.

Depending on your situation you can use either to calculate your return on marketing investment.  

A real-life example could look something like this:

A monthly SEO marketing spend could cost £2000, which generates £50,000 in sales. Without factoring in the cost of goods using the ROMI formula it would look like this:

ROMI = ((50,000 – 2000) / 2000) * 100 = 2400%

In this instance for every £1 spent on marketing, you would get a return of £24.

Why is ROMI important to a business?

While some marketing agencies thrive on creating memorable campaigns it’s also important to be able to prove if a campaign was a success or not.  

When you can work out your ROMI it’s then much easier to make a decision to keep working on that campaign or to try another avenue. Using the example above for every £1 spent you should expect to earn £24 back, with this data you can then make educated decisions when considering the budget for future campaigns.

Without this data, money may be invested in the wrong area which will slow the growth of your business.

Challenges of using ROMI as a metric.

As you can see from above, calculating your ROMI has many advantages and can help your business decide where to spend its marketing budget, but there are challenges of using ROMI as a marketing success metric and one of which is marketing measurements are influenced by a wide range of factors which are outside of your control.

The weather, seasonality, natural disasters, viruses (Covid-19, I’m looking at you!), sporting events and so much more can have an impact on your sales and marketing. 

Marketers can also be narrow-minded when it comes to metrics and may only focus on the short term gains, in our example above you may have generated £50,000 in sales but there could be a high lifetime value associated with those sales. 

Let’s say in the example the company spent £50,000 and made £50,000 back, with costs this campaign would have been a loss on paper, however, if the lifetime value of these sales meant many repeat sales over multiple years this could be a very successful campaign.

The return on marketing investment doesn’t take this into consideration and it also fails to consider the brand awareness that this campaign would have achieved.

ROI vs ROMI vs ROAS

return on marketing investment

We have included this section within the post because we often hear them being interchanged with each other. ROI or Return On Investment is the general term used when talking about the money invested vs the money that was generated from the investment.  

ROAS or Return on Ad Spend is another marketing term that is interchangeable with ROMI and it’s generally used within PPC agencies or advertising agencies rather than SEO agencies.  

ROAS is calculated in the following manner:

ROAS = income from marketing / marketing investment

Conclusion

If you choose to market your product or service through PPC, SEO, Email, Cold Calling or Social media it’s important for a company to know how much costs are involved and how much revenue is generated through that channel.

When a business knows how to calculate return on marketing investment (ROMI) they can then work out which channels are bringing in the most profit. By using ROMI you are able to see if a campaign is worth continuing and can even use the campaign’s metrics as a benchmark in the future.  

Marketers should be conscious of any outside influences that could have a negative effect on the success of their campaigns. Natural disaster, viruses, diseases, sporting events and seasonal trends can all have an effect on a campaign one way or another.

At Weeare we provide organic SEO marketing services to our clients, if you would like to improve your websites organic reach please get in touch with us and we can provide you with a free website and marketing video audit.

SEO for Carpenters and Joiners

Are you a carpenter or a joiner with a website that could be doing more to generate more leads for your business?

Here at Weeare, we offer high quality, white hat SEO services for carpenters and joiners that helps generate more business through their existing websites.

As you know, carpentry and joinery is a competitive market, and small businesses like yourself are always looking to outdo one and other to land more jobs and contracts through any means necessary.

Some carpenters will look to advertise in trade magazines, newspapers or even on the radio, not only is this expensive but it’s also very hard to track and see what is working and what is not. SEO, on the other hand, allows you to track your investment quite easily.

What is SEO and how can it help my carpentry business?

seo for joiners

Great question.

More than likely someone has told you that you need seo for your carpentry website. But if you don’t understand what that means, don’t worry. I just about know the difference between a dovetail joint and a butt joint (I had to google it too).

SEO is a technique used by search engine optimisation consultants like ourselves to get your website or our own (this article, for example, has been seo’d for the keyword “seo for carpenters and joiners“) to show up on the first pages of the search engines in order to drive more sales for us, and we can do it for you too.

For example when someone types in:

Carpenters in “your town/city”

Your website would then show up and if the person searching that term lands on your website there is a good chance you can get them as a client.

SEO allows you to target the right kind of people that will become customers.

SEO is one of my favourite ways of generating new business as the people searching for your service are close to making a purchasing decision.

Unlike traditional marketing methods such as radio, tv, billboards, newspapers etc, SEO is an invasive way of marketing. You are not interrupting peoples day, instead if you hire the right marketing consultant you are showing up at the right time when someone wants to buy your service.

Why SEO marketing and not PPC?

seo company for carpentry company

PPC or pay per click marketing is another great way of advertising and in my opinion if your budget stretches far enough you could be doing both. But if you can only pick one, I would go with SEO, for the simple reason as soon as you stop spending with PPC marketing your leads dry up.

With SEO, if your campaign has been run successfully and in a white hat way (think good guys vs bad guys) then your website doesn’t automatically lose rank when you stop paying for seo services.

We have ex SEO clients that still rank for their keywords years after finishing their SEO services with us. If you’re asking why did they stop, simply they reached that first page and there was nothing else we could rank them for.

What can SEO do for my carpentry business?

carpentry marketing firm

“Carpentry London” for example gets 100 searches from people a month. “West London Carpentry” gets another 100. “Carpentry companies London” gets another 100 searches. “Carpentry services London” another 100, “bespoke carpentry London” gets 80 searches, and the list goes on.

With a little research, you could easily find enough keywords to get over 1000 searches a month for the services you provide and that’s on the low end. But for the sake of this article, let’s just say your website gets optimised for those 1000 website searches and only gets 20% of the overall clicks which is low. So now you have 200 people landing on your website every month. Out of those 200 people on average you can expect 4% of those to turn into customers.

Potentially that could be an extra 8 customers a month. Now depending on your average customer value that could be an extra £8000 or £120,000 per month.

As you can see, even if you have enough clients, you could start generating more higher ticket sales for your carpentry business.

Another advantage of SEO is it allows you to optimise your website for your most profitable services or the services you enjoy most of. For example if your most profitable service was custom staircases then you could create a page on your website and start SEO’ing it to make it rank better while leaving out services that don’t make you that much money.

How much does SEO for carpenters and joiners cost?

circular saw

Like carpenters and joiners, our prices are bespoke to each client and depend a lot on your competition too. If your competition is low then our monthly fees will reflect that as it will take us less time to improve your search engine positioning.

Carpenters in more competitive locations such as London, or carpenters who work nationally would need more work to improve their search rankings.

If you would like to learn more about our SEO consultancy services and would like a free quote and a consultation call please get in touch.

5 SEO tactics to avoid in 2018

Getting your website to show in the search engines like Google to your customers is hard.

In fact, if you were to do it yourself I would be amazed.

I think the equivalent for me would be to fit a new boiler in my house while doing tricks on a unicycle.

Most small businesses set up a website and forget about it, which is unfortunate. But for you, that can be a great thing.

If your competitor has a badly optimized site, the good news is you should be able to leapfrog above them with ease. It doesn’t matter how many employees they have, how high the turnover they have or any other advantage you think they may have.

A badly optimised website can be outranked. Which can mean, more website visitors and customers for you.

Hiring an SEO agency in Cardiff can be difficult.

If you were to explain to me that I needed a three-way valve and a water control assey for my boiler then I would say ok, go ahead. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what they were, why I needed them, or how much they would cost.

SEO can be the same.

Some agencies will talk you into needing services you don’t need. So here, in this article, we will give you some tips on what SEO tactics you should avoid in 2018. When hiring search engine optimisation consultants you can then ask them if they do any of the following:

1) Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is an old technique that used to work 10 years ago, but like every trick in the book Google caught on very quickly.

Yet I still see agencies keyword stuff to this day. Keyword stuffing is as basic as it sounds. The SEO agency would put a certain key phrase in the code of your web page hundreds of times, that way the search engines would think the more times a keyword is used the more likely the page would be relevant to that keyword.

So if I wanted to show up for the keyword: SEO Cardiff, I would write SEO Cardiff into the code of the website 100’s of times. Don’t do this in 2018 or Google will slap you as hard as they can.

Keyword stuffing is a bad practice and should be avoided, if your existing agency is doing this you may want to talk to one of our digital marketing consultants.

2) Spam comments

Everyone hates spam, I know I do.

Every day I log into this website and see some spam comment trying to link back to their website.

There are a few reasons not to spam. One it’s annoying, two even if you do get a link back to your website it won’t be relevant and lastly, blog comments are usually filled by others doing the same thing, which reduces the quality of your links.

Don’t spam the comments section, you’re wasting your time and everyone else’s.

3) Blasting links/ buying links

Google doesn’t like people who buy links from others, they especially don’t like people who buy 100,000’s of links to point at their website.

Don’t spam your link everywhere like this or you will be punished. Don’t buy links either or once again Google will whoop your website back to the 4th page.

Build relevant links by writing a blog post for others and sharing it on social media, other website owners may also share that post and put it on their website and link back to you.

Relevant links can boost your website rankings, spam comments can’t.

4) Nonmobile friendly website

Is it still 2001? If it isn’t then your phone should work on mobile devices.

One of our clients has a website that is accessed 80% of the time by mobile users. Now imagine what would happen to that business if it didn’t cater to them. Well, 80% of the people on that website wouldn’t buy their products. Crazy, when you think about it.

I’ve seen others argue on other SEO blogs that having a website that isn’t mobile responsive actually doesn’t affect your website in the search engines. I’m calling BS right now! And I’ll tell you why.

Having to read a website on a mobile device that isn’t mobile-friendly will cause your visitors to leave your website in seconds. We have all been there, I’m not wasting my time zooming in and out looking for something on your website when I can click backward and go to your competitor’s site and use it with ease.

Google monitors how long a person stays on a site and when they leave quickly they assume the page that the user landed on wasn’t what they were looking for because they left very quickly.

The result is your website loses its rank. If you don’t have a mobile responsive website in 2018, talk to us about our web design services.

5) Anchor link abuse.

An anchor link is a link that points to another web page. For example, an anchor link could be “Web design Wales” or “Cardiff SEO” or even “Yoast SEO Tool

All of the above point to different website pages. If you are manually creating links throughout the internet and are pointing them back to your website but you are using the same anchor links all the time then you are abusing the link creation process.

Build links naturally and Google won’t punish your website, abuse them and they will.

Rounding all of this up.

Ok so to round all of this up, basically don’t hire a rubbish SEO agency that is using tactics that were popular when Britney Spears hit the scenes for the first time.

And if you are planning to market your own business yourself then just keep in mind all of the above. I honestly wouldn’t recommend it though as it takes years to learn SEO. Especially the technical aspects that need to be implemented when building your own website.

Hopefully the above will help you when deciding to hire an SEO agency. Just remember to make sure to ask questions, and even ask the SEO agency for past examples and typical time frames.

Just recently we had an inquiry for SEO Services, where the person had asked another SEO agency for a rough time frame. That agency had quoted 4x the amount of time that we had estimated. Which would result in you spending thousands of your hard-earned money when you wouldn’t need to.

SEO – What is SEO Marketing?

What does SEO stand for?

SEO can be complicated, because of that we thought it would be a good idea to ease you into the subject by explaining what SEO stands for.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation.

Search engine optimisation or SEO for short is what allows your website to be found online (it’s what our search engine consultants do!).

When I say found online I mean when a user goes to a website like Google or Bing and types in a query, a list of websites are then displayed which are related to the users query.  Below, is a query for the term “Web Design Wales

seo cardiff

This above screen is known as the search engine results page, or in SEO tech speak its known as the SERPS.

Per search page, you are roughly going to see 13 links to websites. Some of these links, usually 3 of them will be paid adverts, the other 10 will be what Google calls organic links. So to show up in the SERPS you can either pay per click or be found organically (SEO), that is where SEO comes in.

What is SEO marketing?

SEO marketing is something that people do to get found in these search result pages.

SEO marketing allows your website to show up higher in the search results than your competitors. The reason why you want to show up higher in the search results is that the higher your website shows, the more website traffic your website will receive.

And of course, the more website traffic you receive the higher the chance that those visitors are going to turn into customers.

SEO Potential – Can it make you money?

The potential for SEO can literally change your entire business.

Most businesses I meet have a website, but 99% of them don’t get any business from them. The main reason is that their SEO sucks so bad that their websites wouldn’t be found in a million years.

To work out the potential effects that SEO could have on your business let’s use some quick maths.

Let’s say an average customer is worth £1000 to you over their lifetime. Let’s also assume that your product gets searched for over 800 times a month, and your website gets half of this traffic through SEO techniques.

Now, let’s assume that your website converts at a low rate of only 5%. That would give you a potential of 20 new customers a month (400 / 5%). If each customer is worth £1000 then SEO has the potential to earn your business an extra £20,000 a month.

Now let’s say to earn that money you would have to invest in SEO services. Our SEO packages start at £2000 a month and can go up to £5,000.

What does a SEO do?

An SEO marketing consultant has many caps and has to multitask to do them all.

Firstly a SEO marketer has to do keyword research. Keyword research is when a marketer takes a look at all the potential keywords a user would type in to find your site.  Would a potential customer use the keyword plumber or plumber in location, this needs to be thought about before starting a campaign.

The SEO marketer will then rank these keywords in a position of earning potential and difficulty. A good SEO marketer will then give you advice on what keywords you should be target for your budget.

An SEO marketer would then optimise your existing website for those selected keywords.

Finally, the SEO marketer would build backlinks to your website so that Google knows you exist and can rank your website as it should.

SEO in business and how it can help you

SEO is vital to all businesses in my opinion.

There are other ways to drive traffic to your website without the need of SEO such as social media marketing, pay per click marketing, Facebook advertisements, Twitter ads and much more.

I believe that search engine marketing is much more profitable and should be at the forefront of any businesses marketing plan.

For Weeare we don’t run any paid ads, we rely on SEO to bring us clients and it works like clockwork. We know that we only need a certain amount of website visitors each month before we land a sale.

A well-optimised website can do that for your business too and I would highly recommend investing in SEO services if you are looking for an increase in website traffic and sales.

Useful SEO Tools for your business

As a small business owner, your time is limited, I know because I am a small business owner like yourself. For me, there is a handful of tools that all SEO marketers need. Here are some of my top SEO tools and what they do.

Google page speed insights:

Enter a URL (your website address) and it will tell you how well your website is optimised for speed on a desktop and mobile devices. In the real world, I’m not too sure how big an effect this has on SEO, but it’s from Google so I would recommend getting your site into the green.

The link for page speed insights is:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Google Analytics:

Google analytics is great. Not only does it track all the website visitors that land on your website but it also tells you the type of device they use, how long they stayed what pages they visited and so much more.

If you have a website and you want to learn more about the browsing habits of your users check out Google analytics below:

https://analytics.google.com

Opensite Explorer

Opensite explorer is a bit of software created by Moz. Moz are the go-to experts when it comes to anything new with search engines, I highly recommend checking them out if you want to learn more about SEO.

The opensite explorer tool by Moz tells you where websites get their links from. You could put your competitors URL in here and then reverse engineer and try to pick up similar links. This is a great way of ranking your own website.

Opensite explorer can be found here:

https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

Google keyword planner

Remember at the beginning of this article where I said SEO marketers would find keywords and decide if they were going to be profitable or not, well here is how they do it.

The Google keyword planner allows you to enter a keyword, for example, “plumbers in Cardiff” or “SEO Agency in Cardiff” and it will then tell you how many people are searching for that keyword.

Give it a try at:

http://adwords.google.com/keywordplanner

What is an SEO Company/Agency

An SEO company/Agency such as ourselves is a company that specialise in search engine marketing and can help people like yourself earn more money from their websites.

SEO agencies do all of the above allowing you to concentrate on your own business. If you would like to hire an SEO agency, you can get a free SEO proposal here.

How to get more visitors to your website with SEO

You have a website, it’s sitting pretty in cyberspace but the sales or enquiries are small to nonexistent. What is happening? Your web developer didn’t explain that you needed to market your website?

With over 3.5 billion searches performed on Google every day you are missing out if your website isn’t optimised for them.

Search engine optimisation or SEO for short can turn your useless website into a fully functioning sales machine. Here are some top tips on what you can do to improve your search engine rankings and get more visitors to see your products and services, if you don’t want to do any of this yourself talk to our search engine optimisation consultants today.

1) Target the right keywords.

Keywords are what your potential customers type in to find your business. For your website to be found you need to target the right keywords.

In the past, we have seen clients target very high competition keywords. For example, a client who sells plumbing services in Cardiff should not target just the keyword “Plumbing”.

There are a few reasons for this. One it’s way too competitive. You will never rank for the keyword plumbing alone. No chance.

Secondly, it’s not targeted. Someone in Manchester could be looking for someone to fix a pipe in their bathroom. Would it make sense for you to target someone who lives 5 hours away just to fix one pipe?

Your keywords should be relevant and highly focused. A more suitable keyword for the above client could be “Plumbers in Cardiff” or if we want to get ultra-focused “corgi registered plumbers in Cardiff”.  Another example that we could use is our business.  A bad title would be “SEO Marketing” a good title could be “Affordable SEO Marketing in Cardiff”

2) Get other websites to link to you

No one will know your website exists if you don’t tell them about it. You can outreach to others in similar fields and offer them something relevant if they link back to you.

An example using the plumbing above could be contacting a bathroom company and asking them to link to your site if any of their clients need plumbing services, you could also link back to theirs so your clients could purchase the bathroom equipment from them.  Not only does this help other small businesses and you make great connections, but it also helps your website to become more trusted.

Another good example is to outreach to bloggers. A personal trainer for example who may sell their own supplements could outreach to health bloggers and offer them a sample of products for a review.

Within a review, the blogger will then link to your website a few times. Send samples out to 20+ bloggers and you could get back 30/50+ relevant links to your site. Increasing your trust in Google and also your website traffic.  If you need help reaching out to others our SEO consultants can help.

3) Submit a Google Sitemap

Creating a sitemap for your website is simple, head to a website like:

https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

Enter your website, download the file and then submit this to the Google Sitemap page:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home

Doing this will allow Google to find and index all of your pages on your website.

4) Create relevant content

Great up to date and relevant content means that Google will continue to check your website for new pages. The more content you create the more Google will visit your website and index your pages.

A good way of creating content is by blogging. Now, this may sound scary, but just put some content out there and monitor your increase in website traffic.

I’m not a writer, I’m a developer and I don’t enjoy writing new content for this site, but doing so allows me to get more traffic and better search engine rankings. It also informs my website visitors that I know what I’m talking about.

You could write about topics such as the top 10 general questions you are asked about your business, or you could explain how your product/service works. The most important part is to get creative and think of content that your visitors will read and share.

5) Post your content on social media

Other marketing consultants will argue that social media doesn’t directly affect SEO. Whatever the case, sharing your content on social media can lead to other websites linking back to yours. And like discussed above the more relevant the links pointing to your website the more Google is going to trust your site and increase its rankings.

Conclusion

The above tips are a great start to help you improve your website traffic and ultimately sales. However as a business owner there is only so much you can get done in a day, if you would like an SEO agency in Cardiff to help with the promotion of your website please get in touch.

10 Ways to get more customers with SEO

SEO is the art of getting found online.

The whole point of SEO (search engine optimisation) is to optimise your website so that the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing know what your website is about.

SEO is the technique of getting your website found in these search engines, (our seo consultants can help you with this!).

All search engines have something called the search engine results page, Or SERPS for short. This is where a bunch of competing websites are listed in order of relevance to what the user is searching for.

seo services wales

The higher up in the SERPS the more traffic that your website will receive for that keyword. The lower your positioning the lower the amount of traffic that your website will receive.

SEO is the process of making sure that your website is visible when a user searches for something related to your company. When done correctly SEO can improve your website traffic and ultimately sales.

It is important however to realise that SEO is a slow process. It can take months to see an impact, but the end result is worth it.

An example of this can be seen with our own website. A search term that we have been trying to rank for has taken us 8 months to do so. That keyword gets over 400 searches a month, and each click on our site according to the Google keyword planner is worth £6 a click. Therefore that one keyword would cost us £6 x 400 = £2400 each month if we were to pay for advertising.

£2400 each month is a lot to pay out on advertising for some small businesses.

Our SEO services however wouldn’t have cost anywhere near this figure, so you can see the power of SEO and its potential ROI.

If you are a small business owner and you have a website but it doesn’t bring you any leads then your SEO could be the problem. If you would like to talk to us about our SEO services then contact us here.

Otherwise, if you fancy having a go of it yourself then here are 10 SEO tips that you can implement right now to get more traffic to your website.

1) Optimising your page title

seo in wales

Your page title plays a massive part in your SEO rankings. It also affects the click-through rate (people that click on your link on the search engines). It is really important to optimise your title you should include the main keyword that you want that page to rank for.

You should also aim to keep the title length under 60 characters long. If you go over it won’t be the end of the world and the sky won’t fall but it will be cut off and your click-through percentage will go down.

Some SEO experts also recommend having your main keyword at the beginning of the title as it has more power there. In testing this theory we have seen a small difference in ranking. If you can make your keyword fit, for example, “SEO Cardiff | affordable SEO in Cardiff” makes sense to the user.

Title tags to avoid would be along the lines of “MyCompanyName” or “Homepage” chances are your visitors don’t care about your business to search for you as they don’t know you exist.

“Homepage” on the other hand is a bad title because you are not telling your users or the search engines what your website is about. ( I see this all the time, it’s a must avoid)

2) heading tags should be optimised.

If your using a content management system like WordPress then this is an easy fix to add to your web pages or posts.

In WordPress, you can turn text into headings by highlighting the text and then clicking on the content editor and selecting heading 2. This will turn that into a heading two title which notes that this heading is important. H1 is the most important but there shouldn’t be more than 1 h1 heading on a page. So put your most important keyword in an H1 tag.

3) Heading structures – H1 to H6

seo wales

As mentioned above the heading tags are ordered by what is most important. H1 being the most, H6 being the least important.

When we develop websites we develop our sites to include the page title within the H1 tag. That means that the most important keyword is put inside the page URL and H1 tag by default.

If you are not using heading tags in your website or website posts go back and add them. You will be surprised how much they affect your keyword rankings.

4) Keyword density

seo wales

It is often said to write for people and not search engines.
I’m calling this bull right now.

You won’t get any readers if your post isn’t found by the search engines.

Keyword density is the number of times you mention the keyword in which you’re trying to rank for.

Many years ago, black hat SEO’s would do a technique called keyword stuffing where they would put tonnes of the keyword into a page and hide the text, this would then cause the main search engines to rank them highly. Thankfully the search engines caught on and this no longer helps rank websites.

Websites can actually be punished for having a high keyword density. Yoast did a great post on this and according to them a keyword density of over 4.5% is too high. They recommend anything from 0.5% to 2.5%

If you want to know what your keyword density of any post is I highly recommend downloading and installing the Yoast SEO tool.

5) Optimising images

seo in wales

Only something we have started doing recently is optimising our images for search terms. We have already seen a small increase in search rankings.

There are a few ways in which you can optimise your images.

The first is simple. Rename the image file to your keyword. Instead of img3001.jpg rename that image to dentists_in_cardiff.jpg

You can also optimise your images by giving it a title and alt tag. Make sure to include your keywords in both of these and it will help your visitors and search engines know what the page on your site is all about.

6) Optimising videos

Videos are a great way to keep your users on your website for longer.

The longer a visitor stays on your website the better as it shows that your website is relevant to the term the user was searching for.

You can however optimise your videos even further to give your site a boost in search rankings. A great way to do this is to add your keywords into the title tags and description.  Many businesses shy away from video marketing because they think it’s too expensive for them, however, the cost of video production has come down over the years and as a small business owner video content can be worth the investment.

7) Add more content

The more content we have on the website the more chance potential customers are going to find you.

More content also means that we have a chance of ranking for more search queries. Websites that don’t blog are missing out on traffic.

If you want to rank well in the search engines I highly recommend adding a blog to your website. You don’t have to blog every day either. Find a frequency you can stick to and keep at it.

8) Submit your sitemap to Google

google sitemap

By submitting your website sitemap to Google you are telling them what pages exist on your website.

By doing so the Google bot knows to include these pages in their search engine rankings.

Submitting your pages to Google probably won’t increase your search engine rankings, but it will allow pages that have been missed to rank. It doesn’t take long so I would recommend doing it.

9) Website speed

website speed

Your website speed can increase your search position. One way to increase your website speed right now is to leverage caching.

A good tool to use to cache your website is the W3Total cache. But be warned it doesn’t help on all websites and can even break your website.

Another way to improve your website speed is to optimise all of your site images so that they are not too big and take an eternity to load. If you wish to optimise your image sizes check out optimizilla.com

10) Build links

Link building is still the best way to increase your search engine rankings. Contact other websites who relate to you and ask them could you write a blog on their site and then get them to link back to you.

Relevant links from relevant businesses and websites can help you shoot up the search rankings page.

Non-relevant links on the other hand can damage your search rankings.

A great way to also get links is to find other blogs in your industry and comment on their posts, leaving a link back to your site in the process. But don’t be spammy, no one likes spam.

Our Conclusion

Above we gave you 10 SEO tips that you can implement right now to improve your search engine positioning. Our final piece of advice would be to have patience. SEO can take months of hard work to get positive results for your business.

If you don’t have time to carry out the above tips or want a helping hand please talk to us. We have helped many small businesses like yourselves get found online.

How a family run restaurant outranked the big guys & how you can too

Not being found online is most business’s idea of a nightmare, wouldn’t you agree?

La Bodega, unfortunately, found themselves in the same situation as many,  They had paid for a website previously, but it was now gathering dust rather than collecting bookings. We were hired to change that, and we did.  Through the combination of our website design and seo services we took them to page 1.

La Bodega’s old website was nothing to celebrate about. It was old, it didn’t work on mobile devices and online bookings were low. Search engine rankings for the business were also terrible and La bodega was nowhere to be seen on the first, second, third or fourth page of the search engine results for restaurants in Merthyr Tydfil.

La Bodega like many other businesses are sold websites that do nothing for their business and in our opinion, the main reason for this is not that people intentionally go out of their way to take a businesses money and run, but simply because they don’t really know what they are doing and don’t know what they are doing will cause harm.

Someone could easily build a free website or even build a website for their business for less than £50. These websites may look fine, but no one will ever find them.

For your customers and La Bodega’s to find them they needed to be on the first page of the search engines. To be on the first page a combination of events need to occur such as:

The website must be built to be search engine friendly.

Without going too technical a website needs to be programmed correctly with the correct tags and fields within it to let the search engines know what the website is about. Otherwise, you are making it difficult for the search engines to find your website.

This was true with La Bodega. These simple tags were not included within the website code, because of this Google and the other search engines had no idea that La Bodega was a restaurant in Merthyr Tydfil.

A lot of themes have the correct fields and tags within them, but sometimes the people who tend to buy these cheap themes have no idea on how to input the data correctly.

A lot of our competition still uses website themes and they have no idea on how to correctly optimise a website for the search engines. This is so frustrating for us as these websites over their lifetime will do nothing for their owners.  It takes money from you and makes us all look like thieves.

A website that uses a theme may look great, but if no one finds it then it is like opening a brand new shop, having the best possible interior only for the entrance to that shop to be hidden behind 4 brick walls.

Doesn’t work on mobile devices

The original La Bodega restaurant was strange in the fact that sometimes the mobile layout worked and then it didn’t. It was as if the website had a life of its own.

Since 2015 Google has been ranking websites based on their user experience. A website that would not work on a mobile device would cause a negative user experience (frustration) and would therefore be a negative when it comes to search engine rankings.

The new La Bodega restaurant now works on mobile devices and because of this, it has helped with the search engine rankings. If your website doesn’t work on mobile devices then you should really think of getting a new website. Being non-mobile-friendly in 2017 is a massive no-no.

No backlinks

Backlinks are still very important when it comes to search engine optimisation (if you need help with your marketing talk to our search engine optimisation consultants). For those who don’t know what backlinks are, they are links from other websites pointing back to yours.

The reason why backlinks are important is that they tell the search engines:

  • What your website is about
  • If your website can be trusted.

Initially, La Bodega only had a small number of backlinks, but we were able to reach out to others in the same industry and get some links to La Bodega which helped increase its search engine positioning.

We managed to get good trustworthy links from websites such as Wales online, just by reaching out to them and telling them about the new website.

If your website doesn’t have any backlinks there are a few ways of getting them. One of the best is to reach out to other businesses that are in a related field to yours.

For example, a painter and decorator may have a website that could link back to yours if you’re in a plumbing and electrical field, the way you can link back to yours is by asking them could you write a blog about something their audience may be interested in. This creates more content for their website which is good for them and the backlink pointing to your original website is good for you.

The more relevant the links and the more trusted the source the better.

Conclusion

By helping La Bodega improve its website by making it mobile-friendly, search engine friendly, building backlinks and developing the website from the ground up we were able to give it a good foundation when it came to marketing the website.

Within a few weeks, the change was drastic. La Bodega was no longer on the 5th+ page of Google, but was sitting on the front page for various search queries. This increased the website bookings and now the restaurant is much fuller than ever before.

If you have a website that is doing nothing for your business then you may want to check on some of the mentioned problems above. By fixing these you are giving your business a better chance of getting more customers online.

If you would like your business to rank higher in the search engines and to improve your online sales/inquiries/website traffic be sure to sign up to our newsletter below.

5 Things We Need To Know Before Designing Your Website

Your website in our opinion is your most valuable sales tool, it works for your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. It never takes a week off to go on holidays, doesn’t need time off to sort out the kids and it will never phone in sick. So getting your website right is our main aim and to do so there are a few things we need to know before designing your site.

1. Website Goal

All websites should have a goal; if they don’t, they don’t offer any value for money. Before working with you, we will discuss your new website goals or purpose. If your thinking that you don’t know what your website goal would be, then here is a small list that could apply to you:

• Increase brand awareness
• Increase sales
• Increase online bookings
• Increase online sales
• Sell products online
• Build an email marketing list

All of the above goals would be a good place to start, we would be able to analyse what you are currently doing and then work out a strategy on how to reach your new goals.

2. Your budget

In our opinion, we are the best web design agency in Merthyr Tydfil and we will even challenge those bigger agencies in wales, we provide great value to our customers and have helped every one of them increase their search engine visibility since hiring us. For that reason, we are not cheap. Our custom work is built to solve your business needs and we need to know how much you are willing to invest early on.

By knowing your budget we can tell you what we can and can do for your business. We only work with businesses we know we can help. We wouldn’t take on a project if a budget was too low to hit your goals, because it wouldn’t be fair on you as you would not see any return on marketing investment.

Talk to our search engine optimisation consultants today if you need help with your marketing campaigns.

3. Your customers

We don’t build websites for your business; we build them for your customers. They are the ones that are going to be using the website. We will discuss in detail with you all about your customers, their needs, and their problems. By understanding who your customers are we can start thinking of designing a website for them.

You’re an expert on your business and your customers, so we would want you to tell us all about them and what they are looking for when they land on your website. This allows us to structure the content of the website to meet your user’s needs.

4. Your competitors

We are experts on design, development, and digital marketing but you’re an expert on your business and your competitors, you will know more about your industry than we ever will and because of this, we will ask you to draw on your experience and tell us what you think your competitors are doing right, what they are doing wrong and if there is anything they are doing right that we could use on your website.

By helping us understand your industry we are able to build a bigger picture that will ultimately allow us to create a website that works for your business and its customers.

5. Your marketing strategy

Are you going to market your new website yourself? Will you use an agency like us to do the marketing for you? Which type of marketing would you like to use? PPC, SEO, Social Media.

Building a new website is not a guarantee that your business will do any better online, you will still need to market your website. All of our websites are built to be search engine friendly, but in some industries that is not enough, and when that is the case we tend to use search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies to help you outrank your competitors.

To find out if we can help you generate more search traffic check out our page SEO cardiff

Why do I need a web designer?

If you are asking yourself right now why do I need a web designer, it shows that your on the fence, you either want a website for your business and don’t know what’s the best option or you are unconvinced that spending a lot of money on a website design is suitable for your business.

Firstly, I would say don’t worry, you are not the first person to be asking why do I need a web designer, and you won’t be the last. With this article, we will look at exactly why you would need a web designer.

1. Your competition all have websites that look better than yours.

One of the main reasons why some people act on something in life is that someone they know has something and they want it. In terms of website design it could be your competition:

• Has a better-looking site
• Gets more business from online
• Makes more money than you
• Has a website that works on phones

If any of the above are true then you will need a website designer because chances are they have paid a good web development agency to carry out work for them, and if your business doesn’t have a good website you are getting left behind.

Your website is one of your most important sales tools, it works for your business 24/7 and if you have a website that looks old and untrustworthy then you could be losing thousands in revenue.

2. Improved conversions.

A good website designer should know what elements are needed on a website to convert more visitors into customers, if they do not then you are going to end up with a website that once again loses your business revenue.

If making the most out of what you have is very important to you then you should consider getting a website designer to help you design your website so that your customers will love it.

Businesses with lower budgets will often turn to someone they know from down the pub to design their websites and then will wonder why someone would pay £5000+ for a website, but the truth is Dave from the pub maybe a nice guy, but what does he know about SEO, Conversion Optimisation, UX, Responsive design and development and so on.

A cheap website may look like better value for money, but usually, they end up costing the business in the long run. One of our clients had a website that was badly designed and developed. After hiring us we gave them a new website, provided them with our SEO services and within the first year, the website alone had made the business a 4000% return on marketing investment (ROMI).

3. You need a website that works on all devices.

Designing and developing a website that works across all devices such as iPhones, iPads, desktop computers and laptops can be very difficult. In our experience we have never seen a website built by someone with no design or development experience work as it should.

If mobile traffic is important to your business (it should be) then you will need a website designer to help you build a site that works great on all mobile devices and all of the latest browsers.

4. You don’t want a slow website.

Slow websites can lose your business so much money. It is estimated that if a website takes longer than 2 seconds to load then the visitor will leave, possibly costing that business thousands in revenue.

Slow websites are caused by a number of things including:

• Bloated Code
• Non optimised code
• Non optimised imagery
• No browser caching

Without getting too technical and putting you to sleep quicker than a sleeping tablet ever will, the code within a website is very important. It is important to the user, to the search engines, and to the overall quality of the website. Bloated code is code that has too much code within it and is generally caused by bad developers using themes.  Bloated code can cause havoc with search engine optimisation, which can mean less traffic and sales.

You will need to hire a web designer who knows what they are doing if you want to avoid bloated code. Some agencies claim to create websites from the ground up but you know that is a lie when you check their code because it is bloated.

At Weeare we create all of our websites from scratch and keep the lines of code we write to a minimum, this allows us to create fast, search, and user friendly websites. If you like the sound of that then you’re going to love what I have to say next.

To generate more sales and traffic check out our SEO Cardiff Page.

Why isn’t anyone coming to my website?

Have you ever asked yourself why isn’t anyone coming to my website?  I bet you have, because you’re not the only one.  Right now there are thousands of people searching for the product or services that you offer, but they are not coming to your website for a wide variety of reasons.

In this blog post, we will look at the most common problems that business owners face when attracting more visitors to their websites, then we will look at how you can fix them.  If you’re in too much of a rush, you may just want to check out our search engine optimisation service

1. Your website content sucks.

Your website content is very important when it comes to ranking in the search engines. Search engines love unique content, they love interesting content and they love content that fulfills a need.

The search engines use many different processes to determine if your website content is relevant to the search terms the user has input. If a user clicks back out of your site very quickly then the search engines know that your website is not relevant to that search, and therefore over time, your ranking will go down.

Visitors can leave your website for a variety of reasons, the big ones being:

• Hard to find what they need
• Content not relevant
• Content hard to read
• Website design is out-dated
• Content stuffed with keywords

The last point in the list is something that you should take care in doing when creating your own content. Many years ago you could rank on the search engines by stuffing your articles with keywords that you wanted to rank for and to an extent this method is still used, but some businesses go over the top.

If you stuff your website content with keywords then your visitor is going to get annoyed and then leave your site, never to return. Instead of writing your content for the search engines, write your content for your visitors first. You can still sprinkle keywords here and there but don’t over do it!

2. Your SEO sucks.

Many of our competitors in the website design and development industry are very good and achieve great results for their clients, but some of them absolutely suck, I believe the right term would-be cowboys. Now a cowboy website builder usually buys a theme from a site online, changes a logo, adds your content and charges you anything from £99-£1500, they often talk a good talk, so be careful!

The site built by the cowboy in some cases may even look good and you wouldn’t be able to tell any different, but just like a swan, under the surface tells a different story. Your website could contain junk code and link to all different types of files that you don’t need. This slows your website down, and web page speed is a known factor that influences search engine rankings.

Cowboys usually don’t know anything about coding a website, and have no idea of search engine best practices. We have lost count of the amount of times we have came across a new website build that lacks even the basics of on page optimisation(SEO).

If your on page search engine optimisation hasn’t been done or doesn’t target the right visitors then your website is just going to sit out there in cyberspace collecting dust.

If you want to fix your seo, check out our page SEO Cardiff

3. You are not social.

Social media marketing is a great way of getting more clients and customers to your website. You can share great content with potential clients in an instant. Being social on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram can help people find your website without being at the mercy of the search engines.

4. Your website looks like it was built 15 years ago.

Would you drive around in an old van that was falling apart, was blowing black smoke out of the exhaust and white smoke from the engine all while having your logo plastered on the side of the same van? Hopefully the answer is no.

You wouldn’t want to represent your business as unprofessional and the same should hold true for your website.

Not only is an out-dated website bad for search engine optimisation but an old ugly website doesn’t give your visitors the confidence they will need to make a purchase through you. Your potential customer can get 10 quotes from 10 different companies in the next hour, if your website doesn’t look good then your business is not getting the sale.

5. Dave from the pub made your website

Dave, nice man, saved you a few quid on your old website, but what he more than likely did was put off potential customers, losing your business potentially thousands, but before you go an shout at Dave it wasn’t really his fault.

Everyone knows of a guy who knows of a guy who can make a website. We have heard it many times before, when we talk to potential customers we will often get one or two per year that say “why would I pay that? When … from … can make it for …” Rather than haggle over the price we try to explain that even though you could get a website for £99 would you rather a website that costs £99 and is never found by your customers or a site that costs £5000 that has a 3000% return on marketing investment (ROMI) for your business?

Good websites are not cheap, if that means you have to invest extra to get the website that your business deserves then you should consider it, you won’t regret it.

Is your web development agency killing your business?

Being a web development agency means that we are in a highly competitive market. Being a development agency that focuses primarily on WordPress development increases our competition even more, but as we have blogged about on numerous occasions not all web development agencies are created equal. In this article we will look at how using “Wordpress templates” instead of having a custom built web layout can not only effect your search rankings, but damage them.

Lets start this article by saying a well designed and configured WordPress website can be brilliant for SEO. Googles own Matt Cutts has even gone on record to say that

“If you do everything on WordPress, you are pretty much covered. WordPress has virtually everything you would want your site to have as far as SEO goes…”

but the truth is that WordPress simply is a content management system which allows you to store your content. Ultimately the way your content is displayed will determine if your site is SEO friendly and not WordPress it’s self. Your websites theme/template will be responsible for displaying your content and if the template is not configured correctly then your business will not rank as well in the search engines.

WordPress as a CMS is used by over 74 million websites, and is the most popular choice for business websites compared to any other category of websites. With such a huge number of websites using WordPress there are a huge variety of themes to choose from. These templates are often used by web agencies because using them cuts the development time down considerably which ultimately means more profits, but to you as the customer it could be a huge sacrifice in performance in the search engines.

You may think that the free themes would be the ones most likely to be the offenders, but the truth is many WordPress themes are created with a zero understanding of SEO, this includes both free and premium themes. Even more shocking there are web development agencies that sell these themes as search engine friendly sites.

If you hire a web development agency that uses themes then you could be damaging your business. Top rankings in the search result pages could take longer or could not be possible at all. And if you pay for a monthly SEO service and your website is built on a theme that is not SEO friendly then you could be paying for extra months where a good quality site wouldn’t have needed. This means your business is paying more for better search results rankings that may not be achievable.

Rather than just talk about some theory, or what some other internet marketing site has said we would rather put our knowledge to the test and display the results for you. So no more theory, lets test the difference in a custom based website to a pre bought theme.

If you would like to have an agency help you with your search engine optimisation please feel free to get in touch.

The Experiment

I have been conducting this experiment for the last 4 weeks and even at this short time period there is a clear winner. For this experiment I have used 2 separate domains so for example:

http://www.website1.com

http://www.website2.com

For the purpose of this experiment I wont be sharing the domains or the keywords used because both sites are actual real sites that are used to generate business for us at Weeare. I will say however we have done everything possible to make the results of this experiment fair and all the results are 100% real.

The Keywords

I have chosen 2 different main keywords for both domains with equal amount of searches (400) along with a keyword competition score of 20 which is moderately low. Each keyword if they were to rank for their desired terms on the first page and in the first few results could mean an extra couple of hundred to low thousands in income each month.

Here is how the keywords look starting off, I have blurred the actual keywords so that this article doesn’t bring me any additional competition.

As you can see at day one both keywords have not been found or ranked by Google, Bing or Yahoo. The custom built website is shown with the blue line, while the website using a well-known WordPress theme that many agencies in wales use is in red.

image1

In the past from my own experience I have seen websites indexed within a few hours and with keywords that are not too competitive even rank on the first page, so I was curious to see how long it would take each site to rank for their targeted keywords.

2 Days later

Within two days the custom built website had been indexed on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Where as the site using a well know theme still hadn’t been found by any of them. This can be seen below.

image2

As you can see above, Google indexed the site at result 38 which depending on ads could mean the 3rd or 4th page, while Bing gave it result 35 and Yahoo 20.

2 Weeks later

I decided to let both sites sit for 2 weeks before doing further SEO work, mainly because I became busy with another project.

Week 3

On the start of the third week I began with the off page SEO. For each website I started building natural back links from trusted relevant websites, what’s important to note is that for each website I tried to get links that would have the same power or link juice so that the experiment would still be fair. I continued to do this slowly over the next 7 days before checking rankings again. After the 7 days were up I then checked the rankings and what I found was quite unexpected.

image3

Week 4

As you can see from the image above the custom built website has improved its rankings on each search engine while the website using the theme has still not been indexed a full 4 weeks after being made and optimised. This was shocking to me as on the one hand the custom website is rising up the searches slowly while the other still isn’t index. The search engines don’t even know that this page exists. Imagine if your customers didn’t know you existed!

At this point I thought that the website had been sandboxed or penalised, so I logged into the Google webmasters admin area and checked, but there was no penalisation and the site could be found in the searches but it just wasn’t ranking for the keyword chosen. Meanwhile the custom built website was increasing dramatically, and it was nearly ready to break into the first page on Bing.

Experiment conclusion

4 weeks is only a short period of time, but the results are already clear to see. The custom made website is ranking much quicker and much higher than the website using a pre built theme. Now you maybe thinking that I used a bad theme on purpose to skew the results, but the theme in question is a top selling theme with thousands of downloads. Now I cant mention the theme because I don’t want to be sued, so you will have to trust us that we are telling the truth.

The search results for the custom website are still not hitting the first page, but everyone who has experience in SEO knows that it takes a little time, but based on the current rankings and data I would predict that the keyword in this experiment will hit the first page within the next month and from past experience I would estimate a top 3 ranking the month later.

As for the pre bought theme, I couldn’t estimate when it will start to rank.

In the same time period I also set up some other pages with a range of keyword competition scores and within the 4 weeks the custom website is already ranking well for the keywords, this can be seen below.

last

From above you can see that in the same time period where a pre bought theme has been used and hasn’t been found by the search engines I have managed to:

  • Achieve 8 top 10 rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo
  • Achieve 2 number 1 rankings in Google and Bing

Your business on themes

So how does all of this affect your business?

If your using a theme that isn’t search friendly. Isn’t mobile responsive, and has junk code which slows down your entire site then your business is suffering because of it. Your website is being punished, and even worse you could be spending money on SEO that you may not need to. Don’t let a bad website kill your business.

If you would like to talk to us to see if your website is killing your business then please do, we would love to help.

For more great tips and tricks on how to improve your online presence sign up to our newsletter below and get online marketing tips sent straight to your inbox before any one else gets to see them.

PPC vs SEO for Small Businesses

In this article, we will look at PPC vs SEO and give you enough information for you to make a decision on what would be best used for your business and why. So let’s begin.

PPC vs SEO – both PPC and SEO allow your website to be found on search engines. It is estimated that 81% of people will find your website through a search engine. For this reason alone it is important for your business to be on that front page and SEO and PPC are two different ways of achieving that.

SEO

SEO, Search engine optimisation, organic search, organic results, etc. Whatever you call it SEO is a technique to get your website on the front page of search engines.  If you’re interested in getting more traffic check out our post: SEO agency Cardiff

PPC

Pay per click, sponsored ads, purchased links, etc are another way of getting your website to the front of the search engines.

Pay per click link clicks as the name would suggest cost you every time a person clicks on one of your ads. For example, if we were to be bidding on the keyword web design wales then every time someone clicked on our ad we would pay a small fee to Google.

PPC vs SEO

PPC and SEO when done correctly can both get you to the first page of the search engines and both can be profitable to your business. Both methods however have advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of SEO

SEO will help your website increase in organic listings, and research has found that organic listings are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked on than paid advertising. This means that if your website were to rank for a keyword organically and you were bidding for that keyword through PPC then your organic listing would receive 8.5 times more clicks than the paid ad.

SEO also doesn’t cost you per click, with SEO services you are charged to get on to that first page of Google but every click you will receive is then essentially free.

Disadvantages of SEO

SEO takes time, a new site can even be sandboxed for 30 days, and then ranking a site from there can take longer. Changes to search engine algorithms can also adjust your site’s position on the search pages. That is why it is very important that if you hire an SEO company then hire one that doesn’t practice black hat (bad) techniques as your site could become penalised and it would lose its rankings.

Advantages of PPC

If SEO is slow then PPC is fast, PPC can get you onto the search engine front page within a day. You set your campaign, select a budget and when approved you can get traffic to your website right away.

PPC also converts better. Studies have shown that PPC ads convert 1.5 times more than organic search pages. This is because PPC allows you to send your visitors to a landing page that is highly targeted to that visitor.

Disadvantages of PPC

PPC is quick but it’s also costly, You can get on the front page of the search engines within a day, but to get the costs down and create a campaign that is making you a profit can take a while.

Every click that you receive from a PPC add costs you money. This could be anything from a couple of pence to a few pound per click.

PPC vs SEO conclusion

If I only had to choose between PPC vs SEO I would go for SEO as ranking high for a targeted keyword is going to be very valuable to your business. SEO is slower but once your website is ranking then each additional click is not going to cost you anything.

That is not to say you should ignore PPC because I think that both SEO and PPC have their place in business and ideally you should be considering both for your business.

If you would like to discuss getting more targeted leads to your business or would like to find out more about our SEO Services in wales then click here to talk to us today.

For more great tips and tricks on how to improve your online presence sign up to our newsletter below and get online marketing tips sent straight to your inbox before anyone else gets to see them.

Long tail keyword research for small businesses

What are long-tail keywords and how can they help your business?

In this article, we will look at how long-tail keywords can help your business online.

Long-tail keywords are keywords that are often 3 or 4 keywords long that are very specific to the service that you are selling. They are very targeted and can be very profitable for your small business.

Long-tail keywords also target customers who are late in the buying process, this means that they are keywords that consumers use just before making a buying decision.

If your looking for seo services for your business check out search engine optimisation cardiff

The Buying process

1. Consumer becomes aware of a product.
2. Consumer looks for more information on the product.
3. Consumer looks at alternatives for the product.
4. Consumer makes a decision to buy.
5. Consumer buys the product.

In the above buying process, long-tail keywords target users around step 4. At step 4 the user has decided to purchase the product and will then start to search for more targeted keywords, I.E long tail.

The consumer may have started at step 1 with the search “Web Design Wales”, they would have looked at the results, compared them and then by step 4 their searches would have become more targeted and they would have begun searching for “Restaurant website design in Cardiff

If you compare the searches:

• Storage
Self Storage Newport

You can see that the long tail search is more specific, and that person making the search knows what they want and at this point, they’re ready to purchase it.

The Good News

Long-tail keywords have a higher commercial intent and they are also easier to rank for. This may throw you slightly but it’s true, an example of this can be seen below.

Let’s say you sell hiking tours up the Brecon Beacons. You may consider targeting a generic phrase like travel. This may seem logical to you as the type of person looking to go on a hiking tour maybe a tourist. However, if you tried going after the world travel you would come up against the following companies:

• The Guardian
• Travel Republic
• Telegraph
• Travel Supermarket

Looking at the above companies it’s clear to see that it would be very difficult to knock these companies off their positions without a massive budget and a lot of time.

The keyword travel probably gets hundreds of thousands of searches, but the keyword travel isn’t targeted to your audience. People searching for travel could be looking for travel insurance, plane tickets, summer holidays and a wide range of other services.

You may be thinking ok, travel isn’t that good but what about hiking tours? Once again even though your offering hiking tours you are going to go up against huge companies with huge budgets, the keyword also once again isn’t that targeted, because people searching for hiking tours in France aren’t going to be interested in hiking tours in Brecon.

Taking the long tail approach you would want highly specific keyword searches relating to your product so for example:

Brecon Beacon mountain hiking tours
• Beginner hiking tours in the Brecon Beacons
• Guided hiking tours Brecon Beacons

Now being a web developer I know nothing about hiking or if the Brecon Beacons has hiking tours so please forgive me, but I think I’ve made my point. By being more specific with your keywords you are going to face less competition while targeting consumers later in the buying process.

Long-tail conclusion

Long-tail keywords generally have fewer searches a month, so it is worth taking into consideration that targeting long-tail keywords will mean that your website will have less traffic than other websites targeting broader keyword searches. Personally, we like to target both broad keywords and long-tail searches, we believe this gives us the best of both worlds.

Whatever method you decide to use there is no substitute for keyword research, you will have to determine which keywords have enough traffic to be profitable for your business. For us, 1 customer could be all we need to be profitable for that month, whereas it could take 20 people for your business to be in the green for that month.

We believe that every business should be looking for long-tail keywords that work for their business. If you would like to discuss how long-tail SEO could help your business, then talk to us today.

google places for business

What is Google Places for business?

Google places is a free business listing provided by Google, you can think of it as an old school directory which is far more targeted to people searching for your services. Google places for business allows your business to be found by potential customers in your local area. It also allows past clients to be able to review your services, which over time will help build trust in your business.

Google places for business has been around for a while now and you will have seen the results shown in the search results page.  Think of a Google place as some free traffic.

Google local shows businesses close to you that you are searching for, for example, if I were to search for web design Merthyr, website design Pontypridd or SEO Cardiff then businesses in that local area relating to the searches would be shown.

Why is Google places important to your business?

Google places for business is important to your business because the people searching for your services locally are usually far into the buying process, this means that they are looking for your services with a high intent to buy.

Google places is excellent for both small local businesses and big corporations such as McDonalds. Google local shows your customers the nearest location to them. Other main advantages of Google local include:

• Google Places is placed at the top of the search engines, if your business shows here then your listing is one of the first businesses that potential customers will see. A Google Place listing is like SEO, but it’s instant.
• Google Places for business on a mobile phone will show the nearest location along with an option to be able to call the business, or get directions to your business location.
• Past reviews give your business credibility, instantly building trust with your potential clients.
• Local users looking for services that you offer are more than likely going to purchase your services rather than another business further away.
• Ranking at the top of the search engines in Google Places is going to give your business/website more exposure and website traffic.

What to consider when submitting your Google Places listing.

Google places were introduced to make finding local services quickly and easily, therefor you should not try to influence the results in any way. You should make sure that the information you submit is accurate to your business. Failure to do so could mean that no one finds your business or you could be penalised for trying to game the system.

Google Places for Business – Setting Up

Google Places takes hardly any time at all to set up, and If you want to set up a free Google listing for your business then check out the link below.

https://www.google.com/business/

If you need more traffic to your business you may want to check out our search engine optimisation cardiff service, if you just want to chat talk to our consultants today

Small Business SEO

What is small business SEO?

Small business SEO is the optimisation of your business website in the search engines.

If that still went over your head then let me break that down even further.

Everytime a search is made in one of the search engines such as Google, Bing or any of the smaller search engines you will be presented with a page full of results. This page is known as the search engine results page or SERPS for short. This means the results you see on the first page will have been optimised for the search query. So for example.

Dog walkers merthyr tydfil” will show the website pages that have been optimised for the search query “Dog walkers merthyr tydfil”.

This technique is known as search engine optimisation or SEO for short. SEO is optimising your website for potential customers when they are searching for your product or information.

For a small business owner SEO can mean the difference between a constant flow of customers to having a website that does nothing for your business.

If you have a small business website that doesn’t bring in any customers then your SEO is not working, or maybe your site is not optimised at all and sadly if you don’t rank in the search engines then your website may as well not exist.

If the above is the case you may want to check out our SEO Cardiff service.

How will SEO benefit your small business?

Right now there are potential customers looking for what you are selling. There is someone, somewhere with their bank card in their hand waiting to hand over their money, but if your not at the top of the search engines then those customers are spending their money with your competitors.

When explaining what Search engine optimisation can do for our clients websites I first like to ask them; “how much is a single customer worth per month to your small business?” then I provide them with some data. So if you’re a dentist in Cardiff and your looking for extra customers then let me run some search numbers by you.

There are over 3020 searches a month for “Dentist Cardiff”

1990 searches for “Cardiff Dental”

150 searches a month for “Penarth Dentist”

The list could go on and on, from a quick 5 minute search you can see that there are thousands of searches each month for dental services in Cardiff, now if you’re a dentist with a website that isn’t optimised for any of those terms then you are throwing away money.

For smaller businesses in smaller areas of Wales there are still a lot of people searching for what you have to offer. For example there are over 80 people a month searching for legal advice online in Pontypridd.

60 people from Pontypridd a month are looking for a law firm.

There are 610 people a month looking for “Swansea builders”

Or 860 possible customers looking for “Builders in Cardiff”

I could search all day but there is honestly no point. Whatever industry you are in, big or small there will be someone online searching for your service. The job of SEO is to get you in front of those people so that they can choose to purchase from you and not your competitors.

To make this example easier, lets just say there are 200 customers a month searching for the product you sell, and lets say 1 customer is worth between £2000 – £5000. If your website were to get just one of those 200 searches a month then that could mean that your small business could be earning an extra £60,000 a year. That is the power of SEO.

Is small business SEO expensive?

Like everything, small business SEO costs money and the cost of small business SEO will be determined on the competition of the keywords you want to go after. Small business SEO can also take a few months to see a return on investment but the rewards can last for years and the ROI can be amazing.

At WeeAre we research what keywords we believe are achievable to rank for and depending on your budget we will choose words or phrases that you will want to rank for in the future. We tend to choose a wide variety of keywords so that you can rank for lower competition phrases which have lower amounts of traffic as well as phrases with higher competition and higher search volume. This results in getting traffic as soon as possible.

We bill for our SEO services on a monthly cycle. We feel this gives you the maximum flexibility so that you are not tied into any lengthy contracts. We want you to be happy with the service that we provide and not pressured into anything you don’t want. If you would like to discuss starting an SEO service today then contact us.

If your still not decided on if SEO is for your small business then keep on reading.

Why Small Business SEO is important

There are many ways to get customers to your business. Yellow Pages, Radio and Newspaper ads, flyers, online ads etc. But the problem with all of the above is that they cost money every time you want to use them. Yes SEO costs money, but when you get to that first page, every click that gets sent to your website doesn’t cost you a penny. Compare that to online ads which could cost £0.50 to £20+ a click depending on your niche/industry. Online ads or PPC are effective, but depending on your industry it could cost you a lot of money to compete with your competitors.

SEO on the other hand is like free traffic. Once you are on the first page then each and every lead sent to your website doesn’t cost you.

SEO without a doubt is the most cost effective way of bringing new customers to your business. SEO is also very targeted, people searching for the service you are offering want to spend their money, compare that to putting an ad in the local newspaper, how many of these people are interested in buying what you are selling?

If you run a search in your industry right now, for example “dog trainers in wales” and you see your competitors on the first page then you know that they are spending money on SEO each month and that is why they are outranking you and taking money right out of your pocket. SEO can’t be achieved by luck, it takes good quality research and planning to be executed correctly. So how exactly does SEO work, and what can you do to compete with your competitors?

How does SEO Work?

Search Engine Optimisation is broken down into two separate areas, both equally as important as the other. The first being on page optimisation.

On page optimisation is everything that is on your website, this could be the text, imagery and even the code that makes up your site. This is why it is very important that your website is built to be search engine friendly. If the search engines cant read the code on your website then it is going to struggle to know what your website is about, and because of this your website is going to find it hard to rank.

If you hire us to build your website then you will be thankful to know that all of our sites are built to be search engine friendly, they are also built to be mobile responsive as standard. Your website should be mobile responsive as this is also a ranking factor that the search engines take into consideration when deciding where to place your small business website.

Getting your on page optimisation is essential if you want to rank your small business website for any keywords or search terms. On page SEO tells the search engines what your site is about, the importance of certain keywords on the site and how to understand the keywords that you have chosen. If you help the search engines to understand your site then you are already in a good position to move forward to the second part of SEO.

The second part of SEO is off page optimisation. This is primarily made of links pointing to your website. This could be from other relevant blogs or social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and many more.

Off page optimisation done wrong can ruin your online presence. Get your off page optimisation wrong and not only will you not rank but you could face a penalty and have your website black listed from the search engines. Poor link building practices have ruined businesses time and time again, Don’t fall victim to a cheap SEO service which may do your business more harm than good.

We have been practising different SEO techniques for years and we follow good link building practises and because of this our clients rank and our sites don’t get penalised. We can create quality links to your website through a few different techniques, one of which is creating quality content that others want to link to.

If you would like to hire us to improve your rankings in the search engine then you can contact us here.

Other things to consider for your small business SEO.

This section can become a little technical at times so if you are reading it and you start to think I have no idea what I have just read then don’t worry. You don’t have to understand the next few paragraphs, I have included them so you can get a better understanding on what we do, but this section is optional.

The software that your website is built on can affect your SEO quite a bit. For example, we build all of our websites on top of a content management system called wordpress. You probably have heard of wordpress as it powers over 23% of the websites on the internet. Companies like NASA, CNN and Forbes all use wordpress and there is a good reason for this.

Out of the box wordpress is easy to use, and makes managing your on page optimisation easy. You can change the permalinks which is the link of a post after your domain. For example a site could be

Yoursite.com/post?=123

Or with wordpress

Yoursite.com/dog-groomers-in-wales

Which of the above do you think tells the search engines what your web page is about better?

WordPress Plugins for SEO

If your not a techie then you may also want to skip this section, but if your interested in learning a little about what plugins are and how they can assist you with your SEO for your business then keep on reading.

A plugin is an additional piece of software which can be added to your website. WordPress offers some great plugins that can assist your small business SEO attempts, one of which we use is a plugin called Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO allows you to create sitemaps which the search engines loves.  Yoast also helps with on page optimisation as it tells you the keyword density of your articles, where your keywords should be and much more.

SEO and your business credibility

Think back to a time where there were no search engines, just a big yellow book that ruled the business world. Yep, The Yellow Pages. If you were looking for a plumber in Wales would you go for the guy on the first plumber page or the 7th? Most people went for the first guy as that guy seemed more credible. The same applies to the search engine result pages. If your on the 2nd page then your customers don’t even know you exist. Get on the first page and your business suddenly becomes more trustworthy.

A good SEO campaign can build trust with your clients, your business is seen as more credible and if you sell a service or product this can only help the sales process.

SEO is good for business branding

SEO first and foremost is about getting traffic to your website and then converting those visitors into customers, but SEO can also help with branding.

Most searchers don’t search just once for a product or service they will search many times. Quite often the terms in which the user will type will change so one search could be “dog groomers wales”, the second time they search they could look for “dog grooming services in wales” and the third time “dog grooming in wales”. All three searches are slightly different, but if your website is showing for all three terms then you will instantly gain more credibility with that searcher and chances are they are going to click through to your business.

SEO and ROI

SEO doesn’t interrupt users when they are listening to their favourite song in the car in the mornings, it doesn’t interrupt users from finding out who killed who on their favourite TV show. Instead SEO allows you to market only to people who are looking for your product or service. These people want what you are selling, they just need to find you first. With SEO you don’t have to convince a potential customer that they need your product, you just have to convince them that you’re the right company to purchase from.

Small business SEO Summary

Phew, if you got this far then you should now have a better understanding of what small business SEO is and hopefully you now know what SEO can do for your business. If your still confused on small business SEO don’t worry you don’t need to know the difference between on page and off page optimisation. SEO can be a complicated subject, but even by getting the basics right you could get ahead of your competitors.

If you think you need your help with seo, check out our Cardiff SEO service that we offer.

5 Reasons why you should use social media for your small business

In this article we take a look at why you should use social media for your small business.  We look at 5 reasons why you should be using social media to boost your business online.

1. RETURN ON INVESTMENT

You constantly have an online presence with social media, you don’t pay for slots or domains. Your page makes you accessible to your customers at no cost to using social media. Many smart marketers utilise the traffic flowing through social media and many networks offer direct, targeted marketing which is nothing like we have seen from traditional marketing techniques.

This is a much more personal method of segmenting potential customers and enables an organisation to implement remarketing strategies with higher ROI’s as it’s easier to understand their respective markets with the vast information at their disposal through social media.

2. SEO

While social media offers your customers an additional channel to connect with you, social media can help influence how high your website ranks in search engines such as Google.

If you have interesting and compelling content to share, you can post this to social media and, if people are interested they can interact with these posts through ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ etc. This reaction causes what is known as social signals which allows search engines to take this into account when establishing what website ranks higher than the rest, having a sprawled foundation with traffic flowing from various places across the internet this would hold an organisation in higher stead than another organisation with an excellent website but no social presence.

For more info on SEO, check out our SEO Cardiff post.

3. FREE MARKET RESEARCH

Traditional market research consisted of questionnaires, or ‘tell us how we did’ on the bottom of receipts, but, NO MORE! When a business establishes a decent social media following with interactive followers, a business can see the daily changes in consumer attitudes to products, trends and behaviors. This will allow planning for the future and longevity of the organisation as changes in the market are much easier to spot at the early stages of, lets say production; imagine spending your entire winter attire budget on woolly hats when your social media feed is filled with people wanting the newest wigs which protect your hair (sounds crazy but it may happen!).

4. YOU CAN BE UNIQUE

How difficult is it to communicate your USP? (unique selling point), the answer is extremely if you don’t know how or if you don’t possess the tools required to accomplish such a feat.

If you view PaddyPower’s Twitter. They are a gambling website who has established relationships through speaking to their target market as if they were friends at the pub. They do this by posting content that relates directly to current affairs that their consumers are interested in and also put it across in their own personality where people feel as if it’s just one person behind PaddyPower’s Twitter account – this is the goal. PaddyPower’s competitors do not come close to this level of personal marketing and is the reason why many gambling companies are now starting to copy this method, if they are, then YOU should be also.

5. PROVIDING VALUE

If you can provide a truly valuable service to your target market then you will be able to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Whether that’s educational and entertaining blogs, posts, or tweets, if you are solving a problem or providing information, you’re adding value that customers will appreciate. This is often confused with monetary value through discount codes, BOGOF offers etc. Monetary value is the easiest method for businesses but begs the question – if your doing it, then so is your competition, so how valued will your customer feel and will your customer even remember you to spend that voucher? I doubt it.

Summary:

If you think of social media marketing as a tool for your business and not what teenage boys and girls use to keep up with the Kardashians then you will be giving your business the opportunity to thrive in the online world, which has a population many times more than the town/city you currently reside – more people = more business.

There are plenty of businesses and articles online that can help you get started but the most important thing to take away is that, you and your business should be yourselves and reflect your goals and values, this will attract the right customers to you and will be much more beneficial in the long run in terms of return on investment which you can then utilise for future marketing strategies.

For more great tips and tricks on how to improve your online presence check out our search engine optimisation page.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close