I just finished reading Whiteboard Fridays’ post over at SEOmoz on the article spinning/marketing-spamming problem. As always, you guys are in front for a reason. I’ll be first to admit that as a marketer, I’m always looking for ways to position companies for a better brand voice, to reach their audience faster and quick advancements, or as my close friend says The Fast Eddie ways, in ranking always pull my attention.
At the end of the day, my clients want results they can measure on a basic level of ranking, visits, and conversions, and they want them now. Sometimes the path of least resistance can be most alluring. Article spamming and other methods outlined in this week’s whiteboard Friday were on-point. The risks and short-lived results, that could end in a fatal SEO marketing plan and/or mucking up our precious search engines relevancy models, are just not worth it.
Instead of debating article spamming, I want to create a simple path to eliminate your need to continue these spamming practices and give you quality backlinks, higher conversion rates, and build your brand up – not tear it down.
- Find top 5 bloggers; absorb their message delivery and community engagement
- Engage your community and build quality relationships
- Write posts highlighting bloggers authentically
- Let bloggers know you posted it
- Reap the rewards
1. Find Top 5 Bloggers; Absorb Their Message Delivery and Community Engagement
The first one on the list is to find the top 5 bloggers in your industry and watch what they do. In other words, find the top 5 bloggers in your industry who you like and want to mirror, as far as quality in message delivery, and watch how they engage. I personally admire bloggers who are clear, positive, respectful, speak with poise and humility, and aren’t judgmental or harsh in their opinions – that’s what I look for. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find your own voice if you look for a blogger with qualities that reflect your own heart. When searching for leaders, you can find industry blogs by typing in search engines, looking at forums, social networks, etc. If you do the research it won’t take long to find the people who are leaders to you.
I personally like Matt Cutts a lot. He’s somewhat mainstream as far as leaders in my industry go, but I’ve always been very drawn to the way he delivers his messages. He’s humble, smart, and I feel I can relate to him. There’s also Rand Fishkin whose delivery is powerful yet humble and poised which never fails to grab my attention. These two are industry leaders who are powerfully aligned in the community I engage in.
However, it may be easier to engage a lower level expert who’s highly involved and well connected than some of the superstars. Don’t get fixated on the idea you must use the top 5 as defined by the industry. For example, my old boss/co-worker/friend is well-connected in the community, I love his message and delivery, so he’s one of my top 5 bloggers to watch. Those, like Matt and Randy, with near superstar status are not very likely to respond to comments directly outside their small pool of allies. Set realistic goals. Some industries’ leaders are much easier to engage with than other industries’.
2. Engage Community and Build Quality Relationships
Start by participating on their blogs or the places they engage with their community. To start, comment on stuff you like or align with an opinion. I recommend adding value by staying away from stuff like, “great post keep up the great work” mainly because you’re likely to get canned as a spammer and hurt your reputation. Instead, highlight parts you like and ask questions on related information within the post or community. Engage the people. Let the community see you and trust you based on your interest level and knowledge on subject matter. You can tell you have gained traction when you’ve made contact with top bloggers, the community is referencing you and you’re a regular. Kinda like Norm on the old TV show Cheers. Everyone knows your name. You don’t need to be a celebrity, just be known and trusted so that when you say something it’s heard and absorbed.
Doing this with the top 5 will take a little time, but it’ll anchor you and put you naturally in a place where you’re known and respected, which is the catalyst to getting quality links.
With the top figureheads on your side to pass along what you write, you’re exposed across countries in a way that 1000 articles spread across 10,000 article sites never could. It ‘s better to have one blogger, with a highly ranked website, quote you on a post that won’t lose value over time than to have 10,000 backlinks from articles that will be lost, devalued and break down your site’s trust.
3. Write Posts Highlighting Bloggers
Once you’ve become known, write a blog post about these 5 bloggers and how influential they’ve been to you and why. Don’t blow smoke up their butt, write about true insights and qualities you’ve picked up as a result of their experience and expertise. For example, Hugo Guzman, an old boss/co-worker/friend, has been blogging about an SEO guru for some time, and he’s continually inspired me to focus on quality content and authentic community engagement. He truly is an example of how real SEO’s live and interact online. Bring to light those reasons your top bloggers have influenced you. People love to hear good stuff about themselves and it’s good karma. This will create a strong mold in your relationships with these people.
4. Let Bloggers Know You Posted It
Now that you have written your blog post, let the bloggers know you’re grateful for what they’ve done for you and that you’ve highlighted them in a post about the top 5 bloggers that influenced your blogging career. Again, people love to hear authentic good things about themselves. They’ll likely share with their massive communities what you have to say. So, next time your posts will be noticed and backlinks will flow naturally, especially if your posting about related, new, and popular topics.
5. Reap the Rewards
That is the path. Engage the experts, become part of their world, and the next time you post a blog post on your site it will evolve naturally into quality backlinks far better than the low rung spam techniques fatal to your SEO planning. Before you know it, you may be the expert. Reap the rewards.
PROPS: I want to give thanks to a great post I read the other week called “The Lazy Man’s SEO“, it’s been a big influence on my post written here.