After some time away, we're back with call #6 with Ryan Spadafora!
Admittedly, Ryan is coming along slower than the other 2 participants in Niche Site Project 3. In this call, things get heated when I call Ryan out for being a slacker.
As many of you know, Ryan is often working 2 jobs in addition to playing a full-time role of husband and dad. When you throw in the other day to day things that life brings, it's tough to carve out time for content creation.
Honestly, I'm guessing many of you can relate to Ryan's time-crunched reality – which is why he received so many votes from our readers to be selected as a student.
Building a profitable website around a full life is not easy!
The good news for Ryan is, even though he's only published a handful of articles on his site – they are very good. Ryan is a little frustrated that his progress has been slow, but I encourage him to not forsake the quality of his writing because he's getting impatient and just wants to publish as much as possible.
Ryan's site will have a lot of evergreen content that will be relevant for years to come, so investing the extra time to make it excellent is a wise choice.
Today I talk to Ryan about building backlinks for his site. In my own sites, I've had some pretty good luck with getting high quality backlinks – which to me is way more important than the quantity of links to my site.
As I mentioned, many of the ideas I share were things I originally learned from this post on Backlinko a few years ago. In the call, I share which ones work best for me, and how I put them into action.
High quality links have SEO value, but links are ultimately about traffic. So even if you get a “no follow” link from a high traffic, relevant blog that doesn't necessarily pass on “link juice” it is still a good link – because it drives traffic to you.
So I'm really only concerned about quality and relevance. If I can pick up a link from a really relevant blog that doesn't have much domain authority (yet), I'll happily take that link.
Typically, I start out by getting a handful of high quality, manually reviewed directories that I'll submit my site to like Alltop. I also suggest taking a look for industry-specific directories as well, like the one I found for baseball in our call.
After that, I've really got 3 particular areas that I spend my time on:
Heads Up Emails
These are very simple. After you publish a post, send a quick email to everyone you quoted, linked to, or featured in some way and give them a “heads up.” I'll usually keep it short and specific, so it feels personal (because it is.)
So I might say something like:
Happy Monday to you!
I'm writing to give you quick heads up that I just published a new article about proper stretching and I included one of your ideas about how to stretch your hamstring. I think your reverse toehold stretch technique is excellent!
Anyway, just wanted to say “thanks” for sharing those tips. Here's a link to the post if you want to check it out:
Have a great day,
Heads up emails sometimes result in a backlink, many times get a social share, and almost always make a positive connection with another person in your industry – which is key for long term growth and becoming an “authority” in your niche.
Broken Link Building
You've probably heard of broken link building by now, and it's one that I like to use on my own sites.
As I show in the call, I use a Chrome extension called “Check My Links” and then do some different search queries to find pages of links, resources, blog rolls, favorite sites, etc. in my niche.
I'll check that list for broken links, and if I find one I'll send a nice email to the site owner and let them know.
This tends to work well because people are appreciative that you pointed out a problem on their site, so they are often more receptive to your link request than they would be if you just randomly emailed them and asked for a backlink.
Many times, you are emailing people who have established domains and sites with some authority – so you can really pick up high quality links using this method.
That email might look like this:
I hope all is well! I was checking out your list of favorite recipes today and wanted to give you a heads up that the link for a Banana Smoothie recipe isn't working.
Also, I've recently added my own recipe for a banana creme pie (really my grandma's recipe) and I'd be honored if you'd consider adding it your list!
Either way, keep up the great work and have a nice weekend!
You can write whatever kind of email you want, I just try to keep it short and really polite as a general rule.
Help a Reporter Out
This is another free strategy, and is probably the one I've personally had the most success with. I've been able to get links from really powerful news outlets for different sites, simply by responding to a journalist's request for information.
Start by going to the HARO website and sign up to be on their email list (for free).
You'll get 3 emails per business day, and I'd suggest scanning those emails for any queries that are relevant to your site or your industry. If you have some insight to add, respond back to the reporter and put together your best response.
As I shared with Ryan, I try to really nail it on my first response to them. If appropriate, I'll share links to statistics and sources to support my answer. My thought is that if I'm the most helpful response they get, I've got a good chance of being included in the story.
HARO is an excellent way to get links that your competitors won't be able to touch.
Frequency of Link Building
Near the end of the call, I shared some tips on how much time Ryan should spend on link building. At this point, Ryan should be focused almost completely on content building. However, I suggested that he sign up for HARO, send his “heads up” emails for the things he's published, and do the one-time submissions like high quality directories as soon as possible.
I know backlinks matter and can really help, but I've also built successful sites where I did hardly any of this! My main focus is the keyword research and strategy, as well as creating excellent content that deserves to rank for those keywords.
So if you still have a new site with very little content like Ryan, I'd suggest spending the vast majority of your time building out the site instead of doing outreach – especially if you're working 2 jobs and have a family 🙂
Watch the Coaching Call
You can watch the coaching call below. Or if you prefer to listen to the audio, you can download it here.