9 Pinterest Strategies to Make Your Pins Go Viral

Designing beautiful Pinterest images that are high-quality and visually look great is important, that’s for sure, however creating viral pins requires more effort than just creating beautiful images.

The visual aesthetics aren’t the only thing makes a pin go viral. The look of a pin is actually only part of the formula that makes it go viral on Pinterest or not.

Pinterest may be more known as a social media network for sharing recipe ideas, blog posts, and décor inspiration. But, the site also doubles as one of the biggest search engines on the web. Your posts on Pinterest – aka “Pins” – live up to 1,600 times longer than on Facebook or any other platform:

The site also drives more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit combined. That’s a lot of organic traffic.

So, are you struggling to get a good amount of traffic from Pinterest, and need to know the secret to making viral pins?

Here are nine tried and tested Pinterest marketing strategies to create VIRAL pins

1. Optimize your name, boards and pins for Pinterest Search

Consider the importance of your business name when you start creating your Pinterest content. You want your business name to be long term and sustainable for your brand. Many branded companies make the mistake of using only their branded name for their Pinterest user account name. This is not ideal, as they lose out on people searching for them with other terms.

pinner search
Users search for Pinners when they are looking for specific brands and people to follow.

Add a descriptive keyword that you want to be associated with to the end of your business name to increase the chances of your Pinterest business account being found through a search for Pinners.

Put keywords in the titles of your Pinterest boards so other users can find them easily through the Boards search option.This doesn’t refer to the URL that Pinterest assigns you, but your “Business Name.” You can edit your business name by going to Settings, and then Edit Profile.

To increase the chances of showing up in Pins search results, include the keywords you want to be found for as early as possible in the description of your pin. How can you do this? To do this, find out which words people are using when they search for something on Pinterest. All you have to do is type words related to your industry in the search box and popular suggestions automatically pop up.

When I type in the word kitchen, autosuggestions like kitchen cabinets and kitchen décor pop up.

search term suggestions
Home Bunch’s pin of cream kitchen cabinets shows up in search results thanks to good use of keywords in the description.

Joining active group boards within your niche is also helpful. Group boards are often founded by active members with large Pinterest followings, with some luck and quality content, they’ll save your pins for their audience to look. This is a great way to attract eyeballs onto your content from Pinterest accounts larger than yours! Group boards are started and moderated by one account and then they can invite other Pinterest users to join the board and also pin to it. When so, done is invited to a board, it shows on their account and they can pin to the board.

Read more: Pinterest Tips: How to Successfully Create and Apply to Join Pinterest Group Boards

2. Use a scheduling tool

Pinterest can be a very powerful marketing platform, but it takes a lot of time and effort to follow the suggested 10-15 pins per day. And the easiest way we’ve found to do so is by scheduling Pins into a queue so that there’s always fresh content on deck. By far, the most helpful tool for scheduling and analytics has been Tailwind.

Tailwind is a complete Pinterest management tool with some pretty neat analytics options. In addition to scheduling and the standard stats, you can analyze your competitors, see trending pints, top repinners, and your most influential followers.

Tailwind review

Tailwind also has three unique built in features that can save you a lot of time when creating and scheduling pins:

  1. You can group themed boards into global boards for one-time, multi-board pinning: This feature lets you pin to one global board, and it’ll also go to lots of other individual boards assigned to it with one click. Thus, the global boards through Tailwind will be titled “boards” to distinguish them from standard Pinterest boards.
  2. The ability to space out those group pins in your chosen intervals to prevent redundancy: In this case, if you have 7 boards in a global board, the same pin can be pinned over a certain period of once a day, once every other day, etc.
  3. Your pin deck can be shuffled around while keeping the interval pins above locked in place at a given time: This feature allows you to upload up to 1,000 pins into your queue, click a button to randomize all of them, but still keep the interval pins in the bullet above locked in your chosen schedule.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that although Tailwind now has Instagram scheduling and publishing feature, most of the features are channeled towards Pinterest, and that’s the network we’ll focus more on for this Tailwind review and tutorial.

Pro tip: Create a free Tailwind account and start joining tribes to share your content and receive Pin saves from others within your niche! Let us know how you like Tailwind in the comments.

3. Create pin worthy images

I believe that this is the best way to get your pins re-pinned. Yes, content is king, and it’s super important to have quality content. However, on Pinterest no one is going to see your content right away. The first thing they will see is your image. The fact is that people like to pin visually attractive images. Every time you create a post, you should make sure you have at least one pin worthy image. Here are some tips for creating a pinnable image:

  • The image should have the post title placed on it you, with your blogs URL at the bottom of the image (just like the image in this post). You can use a free online photo editor such as PicMonkey to edit your images.
  • The image should be vertical. Vertical images stand out really nicely on Pinterest. I recommend a minimum size of 700px in width by 800px in height. You can always go larger, but I wouldn’t go smaller than that.
  • Use real photos – pins that use real photos as a background will get more traction than ones that use text over a plain background
  • Use light and visually appealing colors (think light blue, pink, or yellow) rather than neutrals or dark colors
  • Keep your pins under 5000 pixels high – the taller the pin is, the harder it is for pinners to repin it
  • Use catchy titles. Which pin are you most likely to re-pin? “How I Got More Traffic to My Blog” or “How I Doubled my Blog Traffic in 30 days” — I know I’m more likely to pin the second option. People are drawn to catchy titles, so make your titles catchy!

Tip: If you have older posts that you think deserve more pins, there’s nothing wrong with re-working the images used in the post. I’ve actually re-worked most of the images in my past posts so they’re more Pinterest friendly.

Read more: The 23 Best Pinterest Marketing Tools To Empower Your Pinterest Account

4. Re-pin useful content and old pins

It’s a fact that not every one of your followers is going to see all of your pins. That’s why it’s important to repin previous pins from weeks and even months ago.

If you’re gaining new followers fast, this tactic will help them discover great content from the past that’s buried under your other pins.

This is especially helpful for offline retail businesses because repinning old pins reminds people of products they may have forgotten about. According to a study done by Vision Critical, when participants were asked how Pinterest affected their in-store purchases, 17% responded, “It reminded me that I intended to buy that item.”

People usually pin their post once, and never go back to it. You want to make sure you are pinning your post multiple times. I recommend pinning your post to multiple boards that are similar to that pin.

I even recommend waiting a week or two, and going back and pinning your post all over again. I know some people may be against pinning to multiple boards because they think it’s annoying. To that I say, pop-up sign up boxes are annoying to some people, but they are proven to work. Pinning to multiple boards may be annoying to some people, but it works.

5. Find the optimal timing for your Pinterest posts

Once you pin an image or video, it’s immediately posted to your followers’ “New” pages. After that, you have a very short window of time for it to go viral on Pinterest. Some say as little as 20-30 minutes.

Does that mean hope is lost if your image doesn’t immediately go viral?

Well, not entirely. Your pins do stay visible on your pinboards, and occasionally one of them will get picked up by another user and may even get repinned a few times, sending you a small stream of traffic.

Still, the difference is huge. Compared to the amount of people who will see your image when it’s new, the number of people who will bother to pick through your old pins is much lower.

So, you need to think strategically about timing. Maximize your time in the Pinterest spotlight by pinning your images when the greatest number of people will see them.

For most niches, that’s between 6 AM and 6 PM, Eastern time, but again, that’s just a rule of thumb. The smart strategy is to look at your traffic stats for your own blog to see when you consistently get the most traffic, and then plan to pin during those times, because that’s when your audience is surfing the web and most likely to spread the word.

The bad news?

There’s not really a way to automate it yet. Until Pinterest releases its API to developers, it’s not possible to develop a pin scheduling tool, so you’ve got to be online and pinning during those Pinterest “peak times.” Sorry.

6. Join and pin to group boards

Remember, consistency is the key with Pinterest: if you pin new content to Pinterest once a day, you’ll gain new followers, and your Pinterest platform will grow. And the bigger your Pinterest platform is, the more people will click on links to your blog posts when you pin them (and the more traffic you will get from Pinterest). Group boards are a great way to share your pins and have them re-pinned. Find a group board related to your niche and ask to join. Instructions for joining the group board can usually be found in the boards description.

Pinners love new and original content, just like other social media users. So, instead of just repinning tired images from other users, find new stuff on the web to pin.

Tip: PinGroupie is a great directory for finding group boards related to your blogging niche.

Read more: Pinterest Tips: How to Successfully Create and Apply to Join Pinterest Group Boards

7. Collect and curate awesome Pinterest content

Your job on Pinterest is to gather and display awesome content in your niche – and that makes you a curator.

In the real world, professional curators gather, organize and display items for museums and galleries. Your job as an online curator is to do the same thing for your virtual audience.

Being a Pinterest curator means you pick the best images and then organize them in an interesting way that benefits your core audience. In other words, you cherry-pick all the best images related to your topic and pin them to your boards.

If you do a good job, it’ll help you build your authority, and people will eventually look to you as the go-to source for cool images on your topic. When that happens, you can bet they’ll come back to you again and again, giving you lots of chances to tell them about your blog.

So get the goods. And then pin the goods. Because when you’re a great curator, your audience will grow exponentially.

8. Sponsor legit Pinterest giveaways and contests

You can overdo contests on Pinterest, just as you can on other social media sites. And some folks may criticize you for “buying” followers using contests.

But I think you can run a Pinterest contest that doesn’t suck. Done well, contests on Pinterest can create buzz for your business AND be exciting and interesting for contest participants, too.

To run a contest that doesn’t suck:

  • Ask your followers and readers to create pinboards based on a theme you select. Harrod’s department store in London recently held a contest that asked their readers to create storefront ideas based on the theme of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee this summer. Better Homes and Gardens also ran a similar “Dream House” contest for their Pinterest followers.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t ask contest participants to do five different things in order to enter. Make it a two-step process: Create a board, and tell you about that board (whether it’s on Twitter, email, or blog comment)
  • Make sure you spell out the rules clearly on your blog. Then link to that blog post on a dedicated contest Pinterest board.
  • Open and close your contest on time.
  • Make a really big deal of announcing the winner. You want that person to get lots of good press, so publish the winner’s board on your blog, talk about it on Twitter and Facebook, and make a big fuss about it on Pinterest. The more you publicize your contest AND the winner, the more people will likely participate in your next contest.
  • Don’t do contests too often. Once or twice a year is plenty.

9.  Write high quality keyword descriptions

When you upload your image, you will want to make sure that the “alt-text” wording is where you place your keyword descriptions.  This is the default which is pulled onto the pin when shared by anyone who visits your site.

Making sure that you have the right keywords is important because it will help your pins come up through search. Also, most people will not edit your descriptions, ensuring that what you want your pin to say will remain intact.  For instance, you would not way “pizza dough recipe” for your description.

Instead, say “This is the ONLY recipe you’ll ever need for authentic, thin and crispy, Italian homemade pizza dough – naturally vegan and dairy-free, and just 5 ingredients needed!”

The second one contains many more of the keywords under which this pin will now be found.

Your pin description should match the blog post title, which can also help with a lot of your link building efforts. Pinterest wants users to have a good experience. When they click your pin image to open up the article, they want the article to live up to the expectations the user has for the link they are opening. The content of the pin should match the content of the landing page or blog article.

Read more: Pinterest Monthly Views: What Does it Mean?

There you’ve got it! The things you will need to do to try to help your pin take off and go viral!  If you have had this happen for you, please let me know – I’d love to help give you a little more pinning love myself!

The 23 Best Pinterest Marketing Tools To Empower Your Pinterest Account

Pinterest may be more known as a social media network for sharing recipe ideas, blog posts, and décor inspiration. But, the site also doubles as one of the biggest search engines on the web. Your posts on Pinterest – aka “Pins” – live up to 1,600 times longer than on Facebook or any other platform:

Although it is often lumped in with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. Yes, you can share images on Pinterest like you do on Instagram and Facebook, and it will refer traffic to your site. However, the way people use Pinterest and the way the algorithm delivers content is very different.

Why Pinterest can be helpful for your blog

Here are some Pinterest statistics that should make you sit up and take notice of the platform:

  • As of the Q4 2019, Pinterest has more than 335 million monthly active users
  • 90% of weekly pinners have used Pinterest to make a purchase
  • 40% of Pinterest users have a household income of $100,000
  • There were 600 million Pinterest Lens searches in February 2018
  • 59% of millenials have discovered products on Pinterest

People use Pinterest to plan moments in their lives and to research products and ideas to improve their lives. Much of Pinterest’s content is aspirational. People use it like a dream board of things they want to do and accomplish in their lives, personally and professionally. They are looking for products or services to fill their lifestyle and professional needs and enjoy viewing the images on Pinterest to get ideas and learn about trends. Given the way people use Pinterest to search and shop, most every business should investigate using Pinterest to expand their reach online.

With that being said, Pinterest can be a very powerful marketing platform, but it takes a lot of time and effort to follow the suggested 10-15 pins per day. And the easiest way we’ve found to do so is by scheduling Pins into a queue so that there’s always fresh content on deck. Here are some Pinterest scheduling, dashboard, and analytics tools to help you grow your Pinterest organically and quickly.

Read more: Pinterest Tips: How to Successfully Create and Apply to Join Pinterest Group Boards

Pinterest scheduling and dashboard tools

1. Tailwind

Tailwind is a complete Pinterest management tool with some pretty neat analytics options. In addition to scheduling and the standard stats, you can analyze your competitors, see trending pints, top repinners, and your most influential followers.

Pros

  • You can easily upload new content from different sources including Dropbox and iOS
  • The Smart Queue helps you to pin at the optimal times
  • Tailwind lets you create multiple posts at once from any page on the internet with the web Browser Extension
  • It helps you to quickly schedule pins with Board Lists
  • You can join like-minded people in your Tribes to share helpful content and grow your audience

Cons

  • No image cropping and editing
  • No interval scheduling (the ability to schedule images at set intervals like every 5 minutes)

Tailwind also has three unique built in features that can save you a lot of time when creating and scheduling pins:

  1. You can group themed boards into global boards for one-time, multi-board pinning: This feature lets you pin to one global board, and it’ll also go to lots of other individual boards assigned to it with one click. Thus, the global boards through Tailwind will be titled “boards” to distinguish them from standard Pinterest boards.
  2. The ability to space out those group pins in your chosen intervals to prevent redundancy: In this case, if you have 7 boards in a global board, the same pin can be pinned over a certain period of once a day, once every other day, etc.
  3. Your pin deck can be shuffled around while keeping the interval pins above locked in place at a given time: This feature allows you to upload up to 1,000 pins into your queue, click a button to randomize all of them, but still keep the interval pins in the bullet above locked in your chosen schedule.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that although Tailwind now has Instagram scheduling and publishing feature, most of the features are channeled towards Pinterest, and that’s the network we’ll focus more on for this Tailwind review and tutorial.

Pro tip: Create a free Tailwind account and start joining tribes to share your content and receive Pin saves from others within your niche! Let us know how you like Tailwind in the comments.

Pricing: free trial to start, $10/month afterwards

2. Buffer

Buffer for Pinterest browser extension

Find great images to Pin from any website and immediately add to your Pinterest schedule with the Buffer browser extension. Likewise, if you’re browsing Pinterest and spot something that’d fit for your board, you can Pin again with a click of a button.

Also, you can come back to your dashboard to see all the stats from your Pins—likes, comments, and repins—right alongside your other social media stats, saving you huge amounts of time by having all this in one place.

Pricing: Unlimited Pinning starts with the $10/month Awesome plan. You can also try Buffer for Pinterest free for seven days. 

3. Viraltag

viraltag

With ViralTag, you can browse from a preselected set of images or upload your own and schedule to Pinterest as well as Twitter, Facebook, and others.

Known as a social media marketing tool for automating content sharing, Viraltag allows you to manage multiple social networks, discover great content, schedule unlimited posts, recycle top performing content, collaborate with your team, and analyze performance – all from a single dashboard.

Pricing: Free for three social profiles. Paid plans start at $24 per month.

4. ViralWoot

viralwoot

Formerly called Pinwoot (and no relation to ViralTag, mentioned above), ViralWoot offers several interesting Pinterest features like scheduling via bookmarklet, follower growth tools, pin alerts, and even a bit of advertising.

Pricing: Free starter plan, then $12/month and up

5. Quintly

quintly-pinterest-analytics-tool

A good Pinterest tool for competitor page analysis is Quintly. You can also analyse your own Pinterest page with it. The results are displayed in graphs to help you compare your performance against your competitors easily.

You can also analyse your blog and other networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and Google Plus. As the graphs are all displayed in the same place your Pinterest results will be easy to compare against other networks.

The only problem is that it doesn’t track the clicks on your pins. This can be a problem as most businesses use Pinterest to drive traffic.

Pricing: Starting at $129

6. True Social Metrics

If you want to analyse more social networks (along with your Pinterest page) then True Social Metrics will be perfect for you. It analyses all the social networks Quintly does and it also has analytics for other networks like Slideshare and Vimeo.

truesocialmetrics-pinterest-tool

If your WordPress blog plays a key role in your Pinterest marketing strategy then you should try them out as they offer very good blog analytics.

The main problem with them is the price as to get Pinterest analytics you need to sign up for the Premium pack.

Pricing: Starting at $100 monthly

Read more: Pinterest Monthly Views: What Does it Mean?

Tools for growing your community

7. PinGroupie

Find group boards on Pinterest where you can join and contribute. PinGroupie has options for sorting boards by popularity so you can quickly see those with the biggest following, or most pins or likes.

Pricing: Free

8. Pinvolve

Here’s a cool time saver for those who share lots to Pinterest and Facebook: Pinvolve converts your Facebook photos into Pins and places your Pins on your Facebook page. Simple as that. The Pro version does it all automatically, or you can do a bit of manual moving around in the free version.

Pricing: Free, or Pro plans starting at $9/month

9. LoveList

The LoveList iOS app lets you scan any product’s barcode and create a Pin to share to Pinterest. Some fun use cases: Pin all the products from your product line, or create a wish list for your kids or your friends.

Update: LoveList appears to have closed shop.

10. Loop88

This Pinterest tool connects Pinterest influencers—those with big followers and engaged audiences—with advertisers and brands who want to spread their message on Pinterest. The result: Increased exposure, repins, and followers when an influencer shares your Pin with their audience.

Pricing: Contact for a quote 

11. PinAlerts

A free Pinterest tool that’s sort of like Google Alerts, will email you every time your website receives a new pin on Pinterest. You can decide how frequently you want to be alerted: daily, weekly or as it happens. The emails include a link to the latest pins with a description. Receive email notifications whenever someone pins something from your website or the website of a competitor.

Pro tip for creating VIRAL content: Join active group boards within your niche! Group boards are often founded by active members with large Pinterest followings, with some luck and quality content, they’ll save your pins for their audience to look. This is a great way to attract eyeballs onto your content from Pinterest accounts larger than yours! Group boards are started and moderated by one account and then they can invite other Pinterest users to join the board and also pin to it. When so, done is invited to a board, it shows on their account and they can pin to the board. Read more about how to join Pinterest group boards.

Image creation tools

12. Pinstamatic

With Pinstamatic, you can create a smart-looking pin out of anything: a website, some text, a Spotify song, a Twitter profile, a map location, and even more. Pinstamatic builds the image automatically for you, then you can share immediately to Pinterest.

What Makes Pinstamatic a Cool Pinterest Tool

  1. It is FREE
  2. Its easy-to-use, even for non-tech folks.
  3. You get neat pinnable images for quotes, photos and more in minutes.

Price: Free

13. Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. It is available on web and mobile, and integrates millions of images, fonts, templates and illustrations. One of our favorite image editing tools no matter the size, Canva has a ready-made Pinterest template complete with tons of different starter designs. The image comes out an optimized 2:3 aspect ratio, perfect for Pinning.

Price: Free

14. Pablo

Buffer has a built a quick-and-simple image creation tool that’s designed to make image building as fast as possible. You can start with some of our preloaded quotes or add your own text. One of my favorite features is the ability to add some branding by uploading a secondary image, in this case a logo.

Price: Free

15. Share as Image

With tons of useful customization options, Share As Image lets you build an image from text. With the Chrome extension installed, you can select text from any website and build an image based on your highlight. There’s even an option for a Pinterest-optimized canvas size.

Note: Share as Image has renamed, and is now available at https://getstencil.com

Price: $8 per month

16. Pic Monkey

A free image-editing tool—think of an online Photoshop lite—Pic Monkey can help you create just about any image you’d like, with any feature you might need. You can touch up and edit an existing image or create a brand new image from scratch. And perhaps my favorite feature of Pic Monkey is that you can get started without ever logging in or signing up; just click the “Edit for free!” link in the very top right corner.

Price: Free, or plans starting at $5/month

17. Piktochart

Piktochart’s interactive layouts allow you to build a complete infographic embedding charts, photos, and more. You can get started with a prebuilt template (and then customize yourself) or you can go truly bare bones and build the entire infographic however you see fit. Piktochart comes with a huge number of icons, shapes, and objects that you can easily add into your editor.

Pricing: Free

Additional infographic tools:

18. Quozio

A tool to help with creating images from quotes, Quozio works both as a web app and as a bookmarklet. In the web app, all you’ll need to do is enter the quote and who said it, then choose the Quozio template design that you like best.

Pricing: Free

Additional tools to create images from text:

19. Page2Images

Page2Images is a handy tool that takes a full-screen picture of a webpage and lets you easily download or add to Pinterest. There are a pair of bookmarklets that you can install by clicking and dragging the links to your bookmarks bar—one bookmarklet adds straight to Pinterest, and the other grabs the page as an image to download.

Pricing: Free

20. Over

We’ve touched on how to turn text into images. How about sprucing up an image with text over the top?

The Over app for iOS and Android lets you choose any image on your device and customize with text, fonts, colors, and type sizes of your choosing.

Pricing: Free

Additional mobile apps:

Pinterest tools for your website

21. Digg Digg WordPress plugin

If you have pages on your site that are fit to be Pinned—cool visuals or useful blog posts, for instance—it’s a great benefit to have an easy way for readers to share to Pinterest. We’ve added a Pinterest button to the sidebar of our blog posts, using the Digg Digg plugin, and we’ve noticed our blog post pins go from dozens to hundreds.

Pricing: Free

Other WordPress sharing plugins:

22. SumoMe Image Sharer

Among SumoMe’s suite of website tools is their free image sharer, which places a smooth sharing overlay on top of any images on your site, allowing people to quickly share to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

Pricing: Free

23. Pinterest widgets

This free list of tools from Pinterest allow you to quite fully integrate your Pinterest presence with your website. Here are the five widgets that Pinterest offers:

  • Pin It Button – allows people to pin things from your website.
  • Follow Button – allows people to follow you on Pinterest from your website.
  • Pin Widget – lets you embed one of your pins on your site.
  • Profile Widget – displays up to 30 of your latest pins on your site.
  • Board Widget – displays up to 30 of your favorite board’s latest pins.

Pricing: Free

Enterprise options

There are a bunch of cool tools and brands that were part of Pinterest’s Marketing Developer Partners (MDP) program. Many of the tools involved here were focused on enterprise businesses; Buffer and Tailwind were two of the small-business-focused tools.

Here’s a list of the others involved in Pinterest’s MDP.

  1. Ahalogy – Complete Pinterest marketing services
  2. Curalate – Image discovery tool
  3. Expion – Social media management, content, and analytics solution
  4. NewsCred – Content marketing software
  5. Percolate – All-in-one solution for all your marketing—planning, production, promotion
  6. Shoutlet – Social media marketing platform
  7. Spredfast – Software for digital marketing, TV, live events, and more
  8. Sprinklr – A suite of products to help with all forms of digital marketing

These are the Pinterest tools you can use to manage your page and overall presence. As aforementioned you don’t have to use all of them. Just browse through the main advantages and disadvantages of the tools. Then pick your favourite and trial them. Many of them have free trials. After you trial them you will find the perfect one.

Which of the above Pinterest tools have you used? What other Pinterest tools do you use to manage your page? Please leave your comments below.

Pinterest Tips: How to Successfully Create and Apply to Join Pinterest Group Boards

Do you use Pinterest group Boards in your marketing strategy? While they don’t work the same way they used to, there are still plenty of ways to use Group Boards for your business – AND there’s a new way to get many of the benefits you used to get from Group Boards.

Getting your creative work seen is vital if you want to grow and have people buy your work or hire you. Pinterest has become one of the most popular social media platforms for small businesses, and is one of the greatest sources for traffic and showcasing online content. The platform has since changed a lot since we have started using it, for a long time, back when you had to request an invite to join and there were no secret boards, and you could only sign in using your Facebook login. In recent years, Pinterest has become a valuable tool and is essential for helping businesses and online blogs to bring in traffic.

What is a Pinterest Group Board?

One of the things people teach is joining group boards. These are boards that are started and moderated by one account and then they can invite other Pinterest users to join the board and also pin to it. When so, done is invited to a board, it shows on their account and they can pin to the board. They can not, however, add members or remove pins, only the host of the board can do that. These boards then get more reach than your own boards, as they are seen by more audiences.

The host usually has terms for how to apply to join the board and rules to follow once you are invited.

Group boards can be very valuable to people fairly new to using Pinterest, as it boosts the reach of your pins.

Pinterest shows four main types of pins in anyone’s feed: pins from people they follow, popular pins, suggested pins, and promoted pins (paid ads).

Then there are three options of how to interact with any pin:  click through the pin to its destination (a blog or shop), repin it to one of your boards, or share it with someone else.

Whenever someone opts to repin a pin to one of their boards, the repin count on that pin goes up by one. Pinterest has an algorithm that takes those repins and factors a repin rate for each pinner. The higher a pinner’s repin rate, the better Pinterest thinks of them, and the more likely their pins are to get shown to someone else.

So, in order to convince Pinterest to show your pins to more people, you want everything you pin to get repinned as frequently as possible.

And here’s the thing–it doesn’t even matter if it’s your own, original content, or someone else’s pin; when you pin (or repin) any pin, and it gets repinned, it counts towards your repin rate!

How to Apply to Join a Pinterest Group Board.

About a year or so ago I decided to start my own group boards. To get things started I invited a few people I know and asked in design communities if anyone wanted t join, and the boards slowly grew. They now attract invite request almost daily, sometimes 3-4 requests a day. So being on the side of a group board host who gets a lot of requests for invites, I thought I could share some valuable tips for how to go about requesting an invite. Some people make my job harder and some want to join boards that they just don’t seem a good fit for. So these tips willl help you more successfully get invited to group boards.

It is always at the discretion of the host to accept you or not, but if you set yourself up for success, the more boards you will be able to be accepted onto. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a reply, some boards are just maxed out and some just get too many requests to keep on top of.

How to Find Pinterest Group Boards

  1. Check out a site like Pin Groupie. This site also allows you to rank groups by stats, to help you choose quality relevant boards.
  2. The way I like to find boards I would like to join is to check out accounts of people in my same niche or industry or have a similar audience. I then look at what groups boards they are on, and see if any appeal to me, and if they are decent boards with a good following, regular content being added and good quality content. Also if you can find a smallish board that a very popular pinner or someone big in your niche is on, these are perfect, as your content will go on a board that is listed on their account.  If you only know a few Pinners, you can widen your board search by then checking out the other people that are on the group boards they are on.

Start creating a list of boards you think are ideal and you would love to be invited to.

3. Take advantage of Pinterest analytics: one of the benefits of a Pinterest business account is Pinterest Analytics, which you can use to find more group boards.

Read more: Pinterest Monthly Views: What Does it Mean?

Once you’re logged into Pinterest, click Analytics in the upper left, then People You Reach, then Interests. Toggle to Your Followers not All Audiences. Then scroll down to see Brands: Businesses Your Followers Engage. Some of your results may be big companies, but most should be other people in your corner of the market who pin the same types of content you do.

Harness the power of Pinterest Group Boards with 3 killer strategies to find them! Pinterest group boards are a secret weapon for entrepreneurs, especially in the creative or social media worlds. But group boards can be hard to find and join. How do we do it? Here are 3 killer strategies for finding the perfect group boards for your business!

Don’t waste the free analytics Pinterest puts at your fingertips! Find out who your followers engage, then check out the group boards they are part of!

Other things to consider:

  1. Apply to boards that have a similar style to your own pins. When I got to review an account, one of the main things I am looking for is that their style is similar to mine and that their pins will suit the board. I am big on curating and creating a cohesive look. It doesn’t have to be the identical style, but needs to have a similar feel, and be able to compliment the other content on the board.
  2. Make sure you are willing to abide by rules, including the method for applying. Sometimes the owner will want you to join a Facebook group or email list or follow their account, before considering adding you. If the rules are too complex for you to keep up with following, or you don’t want to be part of what they want you to join, then it might not be the right board for you.
  3. If you want to also invite them to one of your own group boards, don’t send an invite without first asking if they would be interested. And don’t make them feel obliged to join your board. It can be as simple as saying ‘I have ‘this group board’, I’d be happy to invite you to if you are interested’.

How to Contact the Board Owner

First of all check what the host of the board has requested. Usually in the board description, they will have mentioned how you can apply and how best to contact them and any other requirements they have. So first, be sure to follow any instructions, and request an invite using the method they suggest. If they want an email or for you to fill in a form, then don’t go and send them a Pinterest message. Or if they ask for a Pinterest message, don’t go to their site and contact them direct. They likely have a system in place for adding people to their boards, so respect that, and follow the instructions.

Now some guidelines for the message you send them:

  1.  If they have their first name on their account, or it is easy to find on their website, USE IT. Just writing ‘Hi’ makes it look like you either didn’t do much research or that you sent bulk emails. If you can make it personal, it makes a big impact, because it shows you are genuinely interested in contributing to this person’s board. If you want to say something nice about their board, account, blog or business, do so, but keep it short and simple. It can be as simple as ‘Love your style’ or ‘ I really enjoy your blog’.
  2. Provide the email you use for Pinterest. Occasionally a username isn’t sufficient to add someone to a board. I often find with smaller accounts, Pinterest can’t find them based on name and the easiest way to add the person is with an email address. It is particularly importamt to provide this if it is different to the email you used to send the request. However, dont only send an email address and not an account link. I have had people only provide their email, and I almost instantly dismiss them because that doesn’t allow me to review their account and is very presumptive that I’ll just add them without first looking at their account.
  3. Keep the message short and to the point. Make it easy for them to find your details and make a quick decision.
  4. Provide your Pinterest link ( a clickable link not just handle). When I get an email from someone requesting to join my group board, I want to make the decision quickly. This isn’t a high priority task, so it needs to be as quick and simple as possible to do. When someone leaves the name of their Pinterest handle but doesn’t leave a clickable link, that just makes my job harder, I then have to manually copy, open up and paste it. I want one click to check out your account. Please make it easy for the host, don’t make more steps than necessary.
  5. Name the board you want to join. Sometimes the owner of the board has more than one group board, so if you are not clear on the board you want to join, they won’t know. Simply writing ‘I would like to join your group board’ is too vague. Be specific and show you have actually look at the board.
  6. If emailing consider your email subject line. Make it clear in the subject line that this is a Pinterest Group Board request, so they can easily spot it in their emails, and it won’t be dismissed as junk.
  7. Don’t send follow-ups, unless you can make it personal and you are very keen to get on that board and believe you have content that compliments the board. Often people don’t reply because they either are not accepting new contributors on the board or have decided you are not the right fit. So don’t harass them. I’d only follow up, if you really think it is the right fit, you are interested in the person and you are not pushy about it. e.g ‘Just wanted to be sure you got my message…[something brief about the board and why you want to join it, and your details]… if you are not accepting new contributors or don’t feel I am the best fit for the board, no worries.’

How To Create A Group Board On Pinterest

If you want to create your own group board. Then create a new board like you would any regular Pinterest board.

Once you have a Pinterest board you want to make into a group board. Click on the pen icon for that board.

Click on the pen icon on the board to edit the group board settings

This board can then be turned into a group board. Simply by adding other usernames or email addresses to the Contributor box and clicking Invite.  These collaborators can then add their pins to the board, after accepting your invite.

How to add a “Request to Join” Button on Your Group Boards

Did you know, you can also add a Request to join button to your Pinterest group boards? This button will let other Pinterest users request an invite to your board. Without the need to setup fancy forms or fill up your email’s inbox with requests.

It’s surprising how hidden this feature actually is! But it will work on both your normal Pinterest boards and group boards. Any board with this button is automatically converted to a group board. Without the need to do the steps I mentioned above.

  1. Go to a Group Board that you own. Next, find and click into the Pinterest board you want to add a Request to join button. (Do not click the pencil icon, just open the board like a normal Pinterest user would instead.)
  2. Click Invite next to your profile picture
  3. Click the hexagonal symbol next to “Invite group members”
  4. Turn on Group requests
  5. Click Done.

When someone wants to join you’ll get an email and push notification. You can accept or decline each request – do not forget to check your inbox because there can also be join requests in your inbox for Pinterest Groups.

Towards the center is a Collaboration setting. To enable the Request to join button on your Pinterest group boards this needs to be toggled on. Once this is toggled on and you click on Done to save your changes. The Request to join button will appear like this to other Pinterest users.

Small Business Social Media Marketing: How To Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements.

The major social media platforms (at the moment) are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. Social media platforms can be a great network to help your online business or website to drive organic traffic, promote products and services, or sell digital goods.

There are also a range of social media management tools that help businesses to get the most out of the social media platforms listed above. For example, Buffer is a platform of social media management tools, which can help you achieve success with your social media marketing. Whether you want to build a brand or grow your business, we want to help you succeed.

The Five Core Pillars of Social Media Marketing

1. Strategy

Before you dive right in and publish something on social media, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The first step is to think about your social media strategy.

What are your goals? How can social media help you achieve your business goals? Some businesses use social media for increasing their brand awareness, others use it for driving website traffic and sales. Social media can also help you generate engagement around your brand, create a community, and serve as a customer support channel for your customers.

Which social media platforms do you want to focus on? The major social media platforms, mentioned above, are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok. There are also smaller and up-and-coming platforms, such as Tumblr, Tik Tok, and Anchor, and social messaging platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. When starting out, it’s better to pick a few platforms that you think your target audience is on than to be on all platforms.

What type of content do you want to share? What type of content will attract your target audience best? Is it images, videos, or links? Is it educational or entertaining content? A good place to start is to create a marketing persona, which will help you answer these questions. And this doesn’t have to be fixed forever; you can always change your strategy according to how your social media posts perform.

To help you create a great social media strategy, here are our long-form, step-by-step guides on creating a social media strategy and social media marketing plan.

2. Planning and Publishing

Social media marketing for small businesses usually starts with having a consistent presence on social media. Close to three billion people (3,000,000,000!) use social media. By being present on social media platforms, you give your brand an opportunity to be discovered by your future customers.

Publishing to social media is as simple as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on a social media platform. It’s just like how you would share on your personal Facebook profile. But you will want to plan your content ahead of time instead of creating and publishing content spontaneously. Also, to ensure that you are maximizing your reach on social media, you need to publish great content that your audience likes, at the right timing and frequency.

There are now a variety of social media scheduling tools, such as Buffer Publish, that can help you publish your content automatically at your preferred time. This saves you time and allows you to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content.

3. Listening and Engagement

As your business and social media following grow, conversations about your brand will also increase. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their social media posts, or message you directly.

People might even talk about your brand on social media without letting you know. So you will want to monitor social media conversations about your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise and delight them. Otherwise, you can offer support and correct a situation before it gets worse.

You can manually check all your notifications across all the social media platforms but this isn’t efficient and you won’t see posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile. You can instead use a social media listening and engagement tool that aggregates all your social media mentions and messages, including posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile.

4. Analytics

Along the way, whether you are publishing content or engaging on social media, you will want to know how your social media marketing is performing. Are you reaching more people on social media than last month? How many positive mentions do you get a month? How many people used your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts?

The social media platforms themselves provide a basic level of such information. To get more in-depth analytics information or to easily compare across social media platforms, you can use the wide range of social media analytics tools available.

5. Advertising

When you have more funds to grow your social media marketing, an area that you can consider is social media advertising. Social media ads allow you to reach a wider audience than those who are following you.

Social media advertising platforms are so powerful nowadays that you can specify exactly who to display your ads to. You can create target audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviors, and more.

When you are running many social media advertising campaigns at once, you can consider using a social media advertising tool to make bulk changes, automate processes, and optimize your ads.

Create Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Step 1. Set social media marketing goals that align to business objectives

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals to Work Efficiently and Effectively

The first step to creating a winning strategy is to establish your objectives and goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure success or return on investment (ROI).

Each of your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

This is the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework. It will guide your actions and ensure they lead to real business results.

Track meaningful metrics

Vanity metrics like retweets and likes are easy to track, but it’s hard to prove their real value. Instead, focus instead on targets such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate.

You may want to track different goals for different channels, or even different uses of each channel. For example, Benefit Cosmetics drives brand awareness with its paid social campaigns, but measures acquisition and engagement for organic social posts.

Make sure to align your social media goals with your overall marketing strategy. This will make it easier for you to show the value of your work and get executive buy-in and investment.

Chart showing social media goals and their corresponding business objectives
Start developing your social media marketing plan by writing down at least three goals for social media.

Step 2. Learn everything you can about your audience

Create audience personas

Knowing who your audience—and ideal customer—is and what they want to see on social is key to creating content that they will like, comment on, and share. It’s also critical if you want to turn social media followers into customers for your business.

Try creating audience/buyer personas. These allow you to think of your potential fans, followers, and customers as real people with real wants and needs. And that will allow you to think more clearly about what to offer them. This is important for personalization reasons, as customers and audiences are more comfortable buying products they trust.

Gather real-world data

Don’t make assumptions. Think Facebook is a better network for reaching Baby Boomers than Millennials? Well, the numbers show that Millennials still outnumber Boomers on the platform.

social marketing demographic data
Social media analytics can also provide a ton of valuable information about who your followers are, where they live, which languages they speak, and how they interact with your brand on social. These insights allow you to refine your strategy and better target your social ads.

Jugnoo, an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws in India, used Facebook Analytics to learn that 90 percent of their users who referred other customers were between 18- and 34-years-old, and 65 percent of that group was using Android. They used that information to target their ads, resulting in a 40 percent lower cost per referral.

Step 3. Research the competition

Odds are, your competitors are already using social media—and that means you can learn from what they’re already doing.

Conduct a competitive analysis

A competitive analysis allows you to understand who the competition is and what they’re doing well (and not so well). You’ll get a good sense of what’s expected in your industry, which will help you set social media targets of your own.

This analysis will also help you spot opportunities. For example, maybe one of your competitors is dominant on Facebook, but has put little effort into Twitter or Instagram. You might want to focus on the networks where your audience is underserved, rather than trying to win fans away from a dominant player.

Engage in social listening

Social listening is another way to keep an eye on the competition. As you track competitor accounts and relevant industry keywords, you may notice shifts in the way these channels are used. Or, you might spot a specific post or campaign that really hits the mark—or totally bombs. Keep an eye on this information and use to it evaluate your own goals and plans.

Step 4. Conduct a social media audit

Examine your current efforts

If you’re already using social media tools, you need to take a step back and look at what you’ve already done and accomplished. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s working, and what’s not?
  • Who is connecting with you on social?
  • Which networks does your target audience use?
  • How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors?

Once you gather all this information in one place, you’ll have a good starting point for planning how to improve your results.

Your audit should give you a clear picture of what purpose each of your social accounts serves. If the purpose of an account isn’t clear, think about whether it’s worth keeping.

To help you decide, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is my audience here?
  2. If so, how are they using this platform?
  3. Can I use this account to help achieve meaningful business goals

Asking these tough questions will help keep your strategy on track and focused.

Look for impostor accounts

During the audit you may discover fraudulent accounts using your business name or the names of your products.

These imposters can be harmful to your brand, never mind capturing followers that should be yours. Report them. You may want to get your Facebook and Twitter accounts verified to ensure your fans and followers know they are dealing with the real you.

Step 5. Set up accounts and improve existing profiles

Determine which networks to use (and how to use them)

As you decide which social channels to use, you will also need to define your strategy for each network.

For example, Benefit Cosmetics’ social media manager, Angela Purcaro, told eMarketer: “For our makeup tutorials … we’re all about Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Twitter, on the other hand, is designated for customer service.”

For reference, here’s how other small and medium-sized businesses are using social tools to communicate with customers. Notice that Facebook and Instagram outrank even email for this purpose.

social media marketing
It’s a good exercise to create mission statements for each network. These one-sentence declarations will help you focus on a very specific goal for each account on each social network.

Example: “We will use Facebook advertising to target a specific audience in order to increase sales.” One more: “We will use Instagram for promoting and sharing our company culture to help with recruitment and employee advocacy.”

If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular social network, you may want to reconsider whether that network is worth it.

Set up (and optimize) your accounts

Once you’ve decided which networks to focus on, it’s time to create your profiles—or improve existing profiles so they align with your strategic plan.

  • Make sure you fill out all profile fields
  • Use keywords people will use to search for your business
  • Use images that are correctly sized for each network

Step 6. Find inspiration

While it’s important that your brand be unique, you can still draw inspiration from other businesses that are great on social.

Social network success stories

You can usually find these on the business section of the social network’s website. (Here’s Facebook’s, for example.)

These case studies can offer valuable insights you can apply to your own goals for each social network.

Award-winning accounts and campaigns

You could also check out the winners of The Facebook Awards or The Shorty Awards for examples of brands that are at the top of their social media game.

Your favorite brands on social media.

Who do you enjoy following on social media? What do they do that compels people to engage and share their content?

Consistency is key to helping your followers understand what to expect from your brand. They’ll know why they should continue to follow you and what value they will get from doing so. It also helps keep your branding consistent even when you have multiple people working on your social team.

Step 7. Create a social media content calendar

Sharing great content is essential, of course, but it’s equally important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share content to get the maximum impact. Your social media content calendar also needs to account for the time you’ll spend interacting with the audience (although you need to allow for some spontaneous engagement as well).

Create a posting schedule

Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns. Your calendar ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times.

Plot your content mix

Make sure your calendar reflects the mission statement you’ve assigned to each social profile, so that everything you post is working to support your business goals. For example, you might decide that:

  • 50 percent of content will drive traffic back to your blog
  • 25 percent of content will be curated from other sources
  • 20 percent of content will support enterprise goals (selling, lead generation, etc.)
  • 5 percent of content will be about HR and company culture

Placing these different post types in your content calendar will help ensure you maintain the ratio you’ve planned. If you’re starting from scratch and you’re simply not sure what types of content to post, try the 80-20 rule:

  • 80 percent of your posts should inform, educate, or entertain your audience
  • 20 percent can directly promote your brand.

You could also try the social media rule of thirds:

  • One-third of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
  • One-third of your social content shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
  • One-third of your social content involves personal interactions with your audience.

Once you have your calendar set, use scheduling tools or bulk scheduling to prepare your messaging in advance rather than updating constantly throughout the day. This allows you to craft the language and format of your posts rather than writing them on the fly whenever you have time.

Step 8. Test, evaluate, and adjust your strategy

Your social media strategy is a hugely important document for your business, and you can’t assume you’ll get it exactly right on the first try. As you start to implement your plan and track your results, you may find that some strategies don’t work as well as you’d anticipated, while others are working even better than expected.

Track your data

In addition to the analytics within each social network (see Step 2), you can use UTM parameters to track social visitors as they move through your website, so you can see exactly which social posts drive the most traffic to your website.

Re-evaluate, test, and do it all again

Once this data starts coming in, use it to re-evaluate your strategy regularly. You can also use this information to test different posts, campaigns, and strategies against one another. Constant testing allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can refine your strategy in real time.

Surveys can also be a great way to find out how well your strategy is working. Ask your followers, email list, and website visitors whether you’re meeting their needs and expectations, and what they’d like to see more of. Then make sure to deliver on what they tell you.

In the social sphere, things change fast. New networks emerge, while others go through significant demographic shifts. Your business will go through periods of change as well. All of this means that your social media strategy should be a living document that you look at regularly and adjust as needed. Refer to it often to keep you on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans.

When you update your social strategy, make sure to let everyone on your team know. That way they can all work together to help your business make the most of your social media accounts.

Tried and Tested Social Media Marketing Tips

Ready to get started with marketing on social media? Here are a few social media marketing tips to kick off your social media campaigns.

  • Social Media Content Planning — As discussed previously, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Consider keyword research and competitive research to help brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. What are other businesses in your industry doing to drive engagement on social media?
  • Great Social Content — Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns supreme when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and interesting. The content that you share on your social networks can include social media images, videos, infographics, how-to guides and more.
facebook advertising examples
A great Facebook Ad should be consistent with the whole brand image
  • A Consistent Brand Image — Using social media for marketing enables your business to project your brand image across a variety of different social media platforms. While each platform has its own unique environment and voice, your business’s core identity, whether it’s friendly, fun, or trustworthy, should stay consistent.
  • Social Media for Content Promotion — Social media marketing is a perfect channel for sharing your best site and blog content with readers. Once you build a loyal following on social media, you’ll be able to post all your new content and make sure your readers can find new stuff right away. Plus, great blog content will help you build more followers. It’s a surprising way that content marketing and social media marketing benefit each other.
  • Sharing Curated Links — While using social media for marketing is a great way to leverage your own unique, original content to gain followers, fans, and devotees, it’s also an opportunity to link to outside articles as well. If other sources provide great, valuable information you think your target audience will enjoy, don’t be shy about linking to them. Curating and linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return.
  • Tracking Competitors — It’s always important to keep an eye on competitors—they can provide valuable data for keyword research and other social media marketing insight. If your competitors are using a certain social media marketing channel or technique that seems to be working for them, considering doing the same thing, but do it better!
  • Measuring Success with Analytics — You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your most triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them. And be sure to use the analytics within each social platform for even more insight into which of your social content is performing best with your audience.
  • Social Media Crisis Management — Things don’t always go swimmingly for brands on social media. It’s best to have a playbook in place so your employees know how to handle a snafu. Check out our guide to social media crisis management to see examples of the worst social media disasters, plus tips on how they should have been handled.

TikTok Explained: Perfect For Brand Marketing?

Social media has another big name entering the competitive world that is seemingly dominated by Facebook and Instagram.

Now, we have TikTok.

Boasting more than 500 million active users, TikTok is a mobile video-sharing app that stepped on the scene in 2018. Users can create and post short, looping videos set to music or sound bites – often with humor as the focal point. Like the other social platforms, TikTok features a personalized discover page, a home feed, user profiles, and a built-in suite of video editing tools. Because TikTok posts have a max length of 60 seconds, the end result is typically a quirky, highly concentrated form of entertainment that’s equal parts confusing and captivating.

What Is TikTok?

To understand TikTok, you have to look at it in the context of its forerunners, Musical.ly and Vine. Vine, the viral short-form video-sharing app launched in 2013, can be thought of as the originator of snack-sized viral video content. Vine put the wheels in motion for short videos to take off as a standard video format where creators could leverage the vertical orientation native to smartphones. (Snapchat and Instagram trailed this model with their own investments in video.)

In 2014, Musical.ly launched as a follow-up to the success of Vine, which Twitter acquired sadly shuttered in 2016. Users could create short videos with the added layer of lip-syncing. This approach, coupled with low production requirements, made it easy for just about anyone to create engaging content.

Fast forward to 2017, when Chinese tech giant ByteDance saw opportunity in Musical.ly’s content model. ByteDance acquired Musical.ly in 2017, and in 2018 rolled out to the international market with the name TikTok. By October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. and reached a record 1.5 billion downloads globally at the end of 2019.

What can you do on TikTok?

TikTok trends move fast. Blink and you might miss them. The platform doesn’t have the visual aesthetic of a curated Instagram grid – nor is it the place for serious issues (though some have tried). Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg thought he hit the mark in comparing TikTok to Instagram’s Explore page (according to leaked audio from an all-hands meeting). PSA: Instagram and TikTok are definitely not the same.

TikTok has managed to create a distinctive social experience that values spontaneity, humor, and relatability above all else. It’s turned social media into pure social entertainment.

Here’s how users are getting the most out of the app:

Video editing. TikTok has provided an entire generation of users with a crash course in video editing. The platform’s easy-to-use tools add a unique creative impact that doesn’t require the learning curve of an advanced video editing platform. Creators can choose from dozens of overlays, transition effects, filters, playback speeds, text options, and sounds. It gives just about anyone the ability to create an engaging video with just a few taps.

Playing with sound. The platform’s editing tools and advanced filters enable creativity by default, but a unique edge is the ability to add sound from a massive library of both licensed music and user-created recordings. After a video is posted, any user can rip the audio, re-create the parody, and throw it back into the TikTok ecosystem until the joke is dead. Similar to the way hashtags work to discover content, users can search for a song or sound to see the original content and all other videos it appears in. Sound on the platform inspires music video spoofs, funny lip-dubs, dance routines, and more.

Hashtag challenges. Viral trends start in the hashtags on TikTok. Hashtag challenges encourage users to attempt and share their own unique takes on challenges posed by different creators or brands – like Guess’s #InMyDenim challenge or Jimmy Fallon’s #tumbleweedchallenge. Challenge have proven to be an engaging way for users to easily create appealing content, while brands can use it as an opportunity to build awareness with consumers.

React videos. Users on TikTok have taken the concept of a reaction to a hilarious new level. With the ‘React’ feature, users can record their own reactions (with audio and video) to an existing TikTok video. The reaction video can appear side-by-side with the original.

Cringe-worthy content. Like a train wreck you can’t look away from, cringe videos feature awkward performances aimed at getting a laugh. It’s a format made famous on YouTube, and TikTok-ers are playing it on their own terms with injections of youth commentary and social satire. Still confused? Here are some examples.

How Does TikTok Work?

Essentially, users can shoot videos up to 15 seconds long, but they can also create 60 second videos by combining videos. But it’s not just pointing and shooting a video.

You can also add a lot of different elements to your content. For example, you can apply filters, add music, and edit your video – all within the app.

It’s important to address the assumption that TikTok is just for Gen Zers who want to lip sync and make silly karaoke videos. That’s not all this platform has to offer.

In fact, it’s being used by more than just teens. Brands are jumping onboard, as well as artists and celebrities.

How to Use TikTok

As you can imagine, using the app is fairly simple. That’s part of why it’s so popular. It is incredibly user friendly.

Here’s a simple breakdown of using the app.

1. Download the App and Start Browsing.

First, you need to download the app on your mobile device (duh). Once you download, you get instant access to their community.

From here, you can start browsing videos. This is a good first step because you can see how diverse the platform is. There are plenty of different types of creators and unique ways people and brands alike are expressing themselves.

2. Create Your Account.

When you’re ready to dive deeper, you need to make an account. The app allows you to use your email, phone number, or other platforms (like Facebook, of course) to sign in.

Your username is automatically generated, but you can change it by going to the settings in the right bottom corner of your screen. From the Edit Profile button, you can also add a bio and link your other social accounts.

3. Explore Your Feeds.

Now, you’re ready to explore the world of TikTok. The platform is divided into two main feeds.

  • For You: These videos are suggested to you based on your preferences and behaviors on the app, so the feed is more personalized over time.
  • Following: This is a feed of videos created by the people you choose to follow.

4. Start Engaging and Follow Accounts.

Just like other social media platforms, you can like, comment, and share content. The more you engage with content, the more the app learns about your preferences, so your For You feed is going to improve over time.

tik-tok-engagement-icons

You can also actively search for accounts and videos by tapping the magnifying glass on the Discover tab. You can filter by top viewed, usernames, video titles, sounds, and hashtags.

If you find accounts you want to keep up with, follow them by tapping the icon that has their profile picture and the red plus sign.

TikCodes are also useful for finding and following accounts. You can share your TikCode, where other users can scan it, which then gets them to follow you.

5. Shoot Your First TikTok.

Now, you’re ready to post your first TikTok! Simply tap the camera mode icon, then adjust the camera to face the right direction.

You see icons for the following features:

  • Beauty filters that help hide skin blemishes.
  • A timer to set up a countdown so you can shoot your video completely hands free.
  • A flash option to capture content in darker environments.
  • Speed functions that speed up or slow down the video.
  • Colored filters that adjust the color in frame.
  • Sound options to include sound effects or add musical overlays.
  • Other visual effects, including a ton of filters that can augment the surroundings or the subject of the video.
  • Time limit settings for each video.
  • Photo template options that create a slideshow instead.

Once you record your TikTok and made the finishing touches with editing, you’re ready to go live and start your channel. You can also create content based on challenges, which often trend through hashtags, and collaborate and create duets with other users.

Who’s using TikTok?

Gen Z runs the show. Younger audiences (ages 13-22) make up the majority share of TikTok users. As of September 2019, 42% of internet users in the U.S. aged 13-16 are on TikTok, according to eMarketer. Among ages 17-21, the percentage falls to 32%.

Source: eMarketer.com

Older generations (Boomer, Gen X, Millennial) have used social as a mode of staying up-to-date with friends, exploring interests in groups, and communicating through messaging. Gen Z, on the other hand, is carving out its own value in social as an unbridled medium for entertainment, confessionals – and, well, dark humor. It’s part of the reason why brands have to think differently about their content approach on a platform that embraces weird, ephemeral, off-the-cuff entertainment.

“At the end of the day, people come to TikTok for engaging content, and brands can’t make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously,” said Tressie Lieberman, VP of digital and off-premise at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle stands out as one of the brands that understand how users are approaching TikTok – and what types of content they’re looking for.

Is TikTok a Good Marketing Channel?

With such a new app, it’s always hard to tell how it will evolve. But given its massive growth, hitting over one billion downloads, it’s certainly going to be a hot platform for years to come. However, a lot of traditional marketing strategies are not applicable to TikTok marketing as its user interface does not offer a lot of room and opportunity for branded marketing. For example, traditional marketing practices such as search engine optimization and link building are practically nonexistent for TikTok.

What’s especially noteworthy from a marketer’s standpoint is the engagement the app earns. The average user spends 52 minutes on the app every day. Additionally, on average, users open their app eight times per day.

Can TikTok work for brands?

Now that TikTok has taken off in the U.S. – and looks likely to continue growing – brands are itching to get their messages seen. Before jumping into the memetic platform, businesses need to ask whether or not they should be marketing on TikTok in the first place.

For brands setting out to reach younger audiences with fun, challenging, or unusual content, TikTok might be the place. But it’s worth it to note that image-based ads and Instagram-style product endorsements won’t cut it when marketing on TikTok.

“You don’t want to show up and feel like an advertiser,” explained Lieberman of Chipotle. “It’s not about creating content for Instagram and then posting it on this platform; it’s about really using the power of this particular channel and sharing content that will resonate specifically on TikTok.”

Here are some of the ways brands are dipping into TikTok.

Advertising

TikTok’s advertising business is still in its infancy. The platform introduced a self-serve ad offering in beta last year, garnering enthusiasm from the brands who were first to test it out. The platform is still in beta testing and lacks some of the more robust targeting options and programmatic features that enable advertisers to automatically buy and measure ads.

For now, advertising on TikTok is only offered on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions). To get started, advertisers will need to create a TikTok ad account, after which a representative will grant access to the beta self-serve ad platform. Once in, the process for creating an ad is similar to other social platforms. Advertisers can define the campaign objective and select targeting rules based on age, gender, location, interests, etc. There is also an option to define the ad placement (TikTok, its affiliated apps – or both), as well as an option for automated placement (in beta).

Creative formats include:

  • In-feed native video ads
  • Brand takeovers (a full-screen ad that appears when a user first opens the app)
  • Hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters
  • Topview ads (similar to brand takeovers but uses in-feed content)
  • Influencer brand partnership

Social Commerce

In November, TikTok began testing shoppable video posts, making it possible for creators to place social commerce links in their posts. Users can then complete a purchase without leaving the app. For now, the option is still in beta with no current word on when it will roll out more broadly.

Sponsored Hashtag Challenges

Despite TikTok’s lack of a solid ad offering, brands are still finding ways to make their products known by leveraging the community at large (and we all know the TikTok community loves a good challenge). Sponsored hashtag challenges give brands the ability to create a video effect and pose a prompt to the community, which users can then play into with their own spin.

Brand use cases

Chipotle Mexican Grill 

Chipotle teamed up with its fans to create a series of challenges. Its first viral challenge kicked off in May 2019 after a customer filmed a video doing a lid flip, which Chipotle then posted to Instagram.

Chipotle launches new loyalty program | Nation's Restaurant News

The post racked up over a million views, prompting the brand to turn to TikTok to invite customers to try the lid flip trick for themselves with a branded hashtag challenge. The #ChipotleLidFlip challenge received over 104 million views, 111,000 video submissions, and over 59,000 participants during the campaign.

e.l.f. cosmetics

Makeup brand e.l.f. also found viral success with the hashtag challenge format. With over 3 million organic views of the #elfcosmetics hashtag on TikTok, the brand developed its own challenge to engage with the creator-driven community. The #eyeslipsface challenge “encourages raw and authentic videos that extend beyond makeup, and even beyond makeup users, with a focus on unleashing s(e.l.f.)-expression,” said a spokesperson at e.l.f.

Elf Cosmetics – Logos Download

While the vast majority of brands continue to push their polished Instagram content into Tik Tok, e.l.f. designed its campaign from scratch and was the first brand to create original music for a TikTok hashtag. The campaign broke the record for the most user-generated videos in a TikTok brand campaign and was the first sponsored brand to hold the #1 trend spot on TikTok. The campaign currently has 4.4 billion views and is growing.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most valuable facet of TikTok is its audience. They’re young, sure, but they want a digital experience that’s authentic, homegrown, and thoroughly entertaining. It’s part of the reason why reactions and challenges have taken off at warp speed. Instead of standing by and watching social play out from a distance, TikTok users are diving in head-first to leave their mark in near real-time.

“While other social platforms compel users to post carefully curated content, TikTok invites users to release their inhibitions, have fun, and get silly,” said Ashley Fauset, VP of Marketing for Stardust. “Today’s consumers are increasingly savvy when it comes to advertising. Brands should pay close attention to the differentiation between TikTok and other platforms, and craft their channel strategy accordingly.”

Pinterest Monthly Views: What Does it Mean?

Pinterest may be more known as a social media network for sharing recipe ideas, blog posts, and décor inspiration. But, the site also doubles as one of the biggest search engines on the web.

If your Pinterest content isn’t optimized for Pinners’ searches, you may be missing out. Keywords are building blocks for search engine optimization—and Pinterest is basically a visual search engine.

Using the right Pinterest keywords will help your content reach the right audience.

There are a few ways to do keyword research on Pinterest, like using guided search to see automatic suggestions or drawing inspiration from hashtags. 

In the last few years, Pinterest has become one of the top sources of social traffic for marketers, especially those running ecommerce sites. And that’s because, unlike other social media networks, Pinterest is a visual search engine.

Your posts on Pinterest – aka “Pins” – live up to 1,600 times longer than on Facebook or any other platform:

pin shelf life

Why you should ignore monthly views

Do you get excited when the number goes up? Or, perhaps you are wondering why your numbers are so low compared to other pinners?

You know what? Stop worrying! It’s just a vanity stat.

It’s common to see 1 million monthly viewers on a Pinterest profile. Sounds pretty impressive, n’est-ce pas? Unfortunately, 1 million monthly viewers DO NOT convert into 1 million visits to my website, or email subscribers. If it gave me a teeny weeny 0.01% conversion rate of 100 Pinterest coaching sessions sold every month, I would be VERY happy. Is this happening? Nope.

So, what does this number actually mean?

The number of monthly unique viewers is simply the number of times any of the pins you shared appear in a Pinterest feed. Whether people click on it or not. In fact, they may not even see your pin in the stream of pins they scroll through on their screen. It is also important to note that it does not only include views of your own content, but it also includes content you have saved from other sites.

A high number of monthly viewers is, of course, extremely flattering. It looks good and gives you “street cred”. It’s an indication that Pinterest is showing your content in people’s Pinterest feeds. If nothing else, a high number of monthly views is a sign that your content is consistently being shown for certain keywords. So, if this is you, you’re probably doing a great job of key-wording your pins!

However, a high number of monthly views is absolutely meaningless if they are not generating traffic to your website. After all, the purpose of distributing your content on Pinterest is to get more business! If people are seeing your pins but are not clicking on them or sharing them, then you need to modify your Pinterest tactics.

READ MORE

Instead of fretting over your monthly unique viewers, take a look at your website data in Pinterest Analytics each month. A good KPI to look at is the number of clicks and saves a pin is generating. Let me explain.

Why Your Business Should Use Pinterest SEO

Although it is often lumped in with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. Yes, you can share images on Pinterest like you do on Instagram and Facebook, and it will refer traffic to your site. However, the way people use Pinterest and the way the algorithm delivers content is very different.

Here are some Pinterest statistics that should make you sit up and take notice of the platform:

  • As of the Q4 2019, Pinterest has more than 335 million monthly active users
  • 90% of weekly pinners have used Pinterest to make a purchase
  • 40% of Pinterest users have a household income of $100,000
  • 45% of all women online are Pinterest users
  • 50% of new signups are men
  • Two-thirds of all pins represent brands or products
  • 73% of pinners say content from brands makes Pinterest more useful
  • 93% of users use Pinterest to plan purchases
  • 55% of users shop on the site
  • 34% of Americans ages 18 to 34 use Pinterest
  • Pinterest images reach 83% of US women ages 25-54
  • There were 600 million Pinterest Lens searches in February 2018
  • 59% of millenials have discovered products on Pinterest

(Sources: StatistaVentureBeatHootsuite and Hootsuite)

People use Pinterest to plan moments in their lives and to research products and ideas to improve their lives. Much of Pinterest’s content is aspirational. People use it like a dream board of things they want to do and accomplish in their lives, personally and professionally. They are looking for products or services to fill their lifestyle and professional needs and enjoy viewing the images on Pinterest to get ideas and learn about trends. Given the way people use Pinterest to search and shop, most every business should investigate using Pinterest to expand their reach online.

Tailwind – the best free tool to grow your Pinterest following and monthly viewers

Tailwind is a scheduling tool that is usually considered to be one of the best in the industry. This amazing Pinterest tool has ample functions that let you go in and schedule pins in bulk to be published over a set pinning calendar.

With Tailwind, you can:

  • Easily upload images
  • Schedule your pins at the best time
  • Measure and analyze the performance of your pins
  • Reach new audiences via Tailwind Tribes

Additionally, there are three basic things we love about Tailwind:

  1. You can group themed boards into global boards for one-time, multi-board pinning: This feature lets you pin to one global board, and it’ll also go to lots of other individual boards assigned to it with one click. Thus, the global boards through Tailwind will be titled “boards” to distinguish them from standard Pinterest boards.
  2. The ability to space out those group pins in your chosen intervals to prevent redundancy: In this case, if you have 7 boards in a global board, the same pin can be pinned over a certain period of once a day, once every other day, etc.
  3. Your pin deck can be shuffled around while keeping the interval pins above locked in place at a given time: This feature allows you to upload up to 1,000 pins into your queue, click a button to randomize all of them, but still keep the interval pins in the bullet above locked in your chosen schedule.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that although Tailwind now has Instagram scheduling and publishing feature, most of the features are channeled towards Pinterest, and that’s the network we’ll focus more on for this Tailwind review and tutorial.

Try Tailwind for FREE and receive 100 free pins and access to join Tailwind Tribes

Pro tip: Create a free Tailwind account and start joining tribes to share your content and receive Pin saves from others within your niche! Let us know how you like Tailwind in the comments.

What to look for in Pinterest Analytics

Head over to Pinterest Analytics and take a look at some different monthly figures for your website:

How to access Pinterest Analytics

Consider the following when taking a look at your Pinterest website analytics:

  • Which are the Top Pin impressions from the last 30 days?
  • How many are generating clicks to your website?
  • How many are being saved/shared by other pinners?

This is the kind of data you should be looking at to help you evaluate your ROI on Pinterest.

Image - Top Pin Impressions last 30 days
Export the data and calculate the click-through, save and engagement rates as in example below:
Image - calculate engagement rates

How to Calculate Marketing Metrics

  • Click-through rate = Clickthroughs / Impresssions
  • Save rate = Saves / Impressions
  • Engagement rate = (Clickthroughs + Saves) / Impressions 

Identify the highest converting pins. Notice that pins that perform well are not necessarily those that get the highest number of impressions. Another interesting point to note is that for some pins the clickthrough rate is considerably higher than the save rate and vice versa.

Possible Explanations

  • Click-through rate is higher than Save rate: The image catches people’s attention, but content may not correspond to their expectations. The pinner decides not to save it. Or, perhaps the pinner was just curious and never really intended to save the pin. You may want to try modifying the message on your pin, so that there is no expectation mismatch.
  • Save rate is higher than Clickthrough rate: People are less tempted to click on this content. Instead, they save it. My guess is that this is inspirational content, where people are looking for ideas and collecting them for future reference, without necessarily clicking through to your website.

The Top Pin Impressions report gives you a good idea which of your pins resonate with your Pinterest audience. You should regularly check this data to check how your pins are doing and adjust your tactics whenever necessary. Identify which of your own pins are most popular. You could share these more often. Consider creating new images for existing blog articles, to give them a fresh look and feel and share them again.

Go to your Profile’s (not website) Top Pin Impressions. Do you only see other people’s pins here? Take a closer look and try to identify why they are doing so well. Is it possible to apply this to your own pinning strategy? 

Are you using the right keywords, so that your pins turn up in the desired search results?

You can also benchmark this type of data over a much longer period of historical data. Simply select a larger date range and export the data for further analysis:

Image - Selecting a wider date range for impressions

Get down to the detail in Google Analytics

The Top Pin Impressions from the last 30 days provides you with a list of the 50 pins with the highest number of impressions over the last month, i.e. the highest number of “appearances” in Pinterest feeds or search results. However, this does not provide you with the full picture. For that, Google Analytics is a mine of information to help you analyse how Pinterest is driving traffic to your website. There is so much information that it can be a bit overwhelming. You can start by looking at the following reports:

  • Acquisition > Social to look at number of sessions generated by Pinterest. A session is a given time frame during which a user is active on your website (e.g. browse pages, download resources, etc). What percentage is this of the total traffic you get on your website?
  • Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals gives you more detailed information such as new users and average number of pages viewed during a session. It also shows you which Pinterest feeds are sending you traffic (pinterest.com, pinterest.ca, pinterest.co.uk, pinterest.fr,…) If you are targeting a specific territory, this is interesting to know.
  • Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages > At the top of the table, add “Source” as a Secondary Dimension to the report. You now have a list of your most popular web site pages and the source that sent this traffic to your site. 

Rather than closely observing the number of monthly unique viewers on your Pinterest page, analyse the actual traffic Pinterest is sending to your web site. So, whether your monthly viewer number is high or low, it is important to understand that this is NOT a good measure of your success. Instead you should…

  • Regularly check actual traffic via Analytics on Pinterest and Google.
  • Check Pinterest Analytics to see which pins bring in most traffic.
  • Check the keywords for your pins and update if necessary.
  • Share more of what’s working.
  • Create new images for existing blog articles.
  • Learn from successful pins.

Understanding Pinterest

Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing, Sarah Hoople Shere, chatted with Alisa Meredith of Tailwind, sharing their latest updates and answering viewers’ questions. Hearing how Pinterest works directly from a key insider helps us understand how the search engine serves up content. According to Shere, Pinterest is investing more resources to serve content creators and help them optimize their use of the platform.

How Pinterest Serves Up Content

Besides being shown to people who follow you, how do people find your pins? Shere explained Pinterest SEO and best practices for getting found on the search engine.

Here’s how your content gets distributed on Pinterest. When you pin an image, it gets shown to your followers first. Through the following tab, that happens more quickly than it did in the past. From there, Pinterest can gauge how well the pin performs and then show it to others through searches and recommended pins in their home feed. Shere noted that if you pin an image to more than one board, pin it to the most relevant board first. The pin from the first board will get shown to your followers.

Shere’s number 1 piece of advice is to make sure the pin is engaging and relevant to your followers. They are the ones that will give the signal that it’s a good piece of content that should be distributed more broadly. Her second piece of advice is to follow universal SEO best practices to make sure it’s relevant to other pinners that might be interested in it.

The People You Follow Tab

Pinterest has an option to navigate from your default Smart Feed to show pins from people you follow. This option to view pins in your “people you follow” feed (also known as the Following tab) gives the user more control over what they see in their feed. You’ll see the first few pins from people you follow, in reverse chronological order. If you’ve been using Pinterest for a few years, you’ll remember that you used to see pins from those you follow as your default.

Pinterest home feed and following feed

You can think of this as Pinterest’s way of helping the platform be more social in that users have the option to view pins from people they know and follow – friends, bloggers, and businesses. It’s refreshing when you consider the changes to Instagram and Facebook and their algorithms which serve up content they “think” we want to see based on their algorithms.

As a content creator, this is a great way to get your content in front of people who follow you. Post consistently, and your followers will begin to recognize your pins and feel more connected to your brand over time.

Consistency Over Volume

Shere explains that there’s no such thing as pinning too much. However, she advises that they prefer consistency over volume. It’s better to pin 5 images each day than to pin 15 on Monday and another 15 on Friday.

In the event that pinners do pin a ton of pins at one time, they’ve accounted for that with their new algorithm. In your followers’ feed, they will publish the first 5 pins that you post that day; then they will show 5 pins from someone else that your follower follows as long as those accounts have pinned that day, etc. Then further down the feed, they will show your next 5 pins after content from other accounts that your followers follow.

When Does a New Day Start on Pinterest?

When you’re figuring out when new pins for that day will start to show up in your followers’ feeds, you need to know that the new day starts at midnight UTC (which is 8pm EST.) That’s when the “first 5 pins of the day” will show up in your followers’ Following tab.

Comments Will be Unified Per URL

In the past, pins with comments and photo tries were published underneath each instance of that pin, if it was pinned directly from the website. Now, they have consolidated comments into one stream. This shows that a pin has greater engagement than if the comments were spread out among several different pins from that one URL.

They’ve also added the ability to like and reply to comments. Pinterest is attempting to be more “social” by giving users new ways to engage with content. The comments and the “tried it” feature are great for content creators since they provide social proof that an idea is helpful or that it works.

Time of Day Doesn’t Matter, but…

Shere explained that the time of day that you pin doesn’t matter. However, the first 5 pins that you save each day will get the most reach. You may notice that your audience tends to engage more during a certain time of day. Watch your analytics to determine when that is, and then post those first 5 pins of the day at that time.

Essential Elements of Pinterest SEO

Keyword Rich Descriptions

The most important place to use keywords is in your descriptions. Think about what your audience searches for on Pinterest. Use those keywords in your descriptions, with variations of the keyword phrase. Include keywords about the pin as well as keywords around the theme of your pin. A good example of a keyword rich description is: “This chocolate fondue recipe is great for your next chocolate-themed birthday party and will have chocolate dessert lovers begging for more.” Great Pinterest descriptions include very specific topical keywords as well as broader search terms. You want to avoid keyword stuffing though so that your description is natural and engaging.

You can do quick keyword research within Pinterest by typing in a core keyword in the search bar. Similar to the way Google recommends keywords, Pinterest will recommend keywords under your search query. This will give you an idea of keywords that pinners are searching for.

Screenshot (213)

If you click on one of the suggested search terms, you can drill down further and discover related keywords and themes that you can use in your content and your pin descriptions.

Screenshot (214)

Your pin description should match the blog post title, which can also help with a lot of your link building efforts. Pinterest wants users to have a good experience. When they click your pin image to open up the article, they want the article to live up to the expectations the user has for the link they are opening. The content of the pin should match the content of the landing page or blog article.

To increase click-throughs to your website, direct readers where to go by using calls to action. Ask them to click to read the article or click to see the recipe. Also be sure to include your URL in the description and in the URL field when pinning new content.

Effective Pin Images

The optimal ratio is 2:3, or 600×900 pixels. If you go taller than that, your pin may get lower distribution and may get cut off in the app. Squares also work, but vertical pins work better because you’re getting more space in the feed.

Regarding the content of the pin image, users are looking for help contextualizing the information. Using lifestyle images, tasteful branding, and limited helpful text which hints at the original content is suggested. Tasteful branding is adding a little brand awareness to your pin, including a small logo or URL and on-brand colors. It ensures that as your pin is distributed over time, that your branding isn’t lost (especially if pinners change the description of the pin) and people can always try to go back to the original source. URLs or logos are best placed in the bottom or top center of the image.

Pin Fresh Content

A brand new pin, whether it’s from a new article or an old article, is considered fresh content. Your followers will want to see fresh content from you. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a scheduling tool or pinning natively on Pinterest, all content is treated the same. If you’re using a scheduling application, you don’t need to worry that your content will be served up less frequently.

Other Places for Keywords

Use keywords in your profile, board titles, and board descriptions. Cover all of the ways someone might be looking for your pins, your boards, and a person like you. Include keyword-related hashtags.

Yes, Pinterest now supports hashtags. When users search by hashtag, the pins are served in reverse chronological order. So, fresh pins appear at the top of the search. Pinterest has found that pins with hashtags do get more distribution the first day they are pinned. You can add up to 20 relevant hashtags to a pin description. Focus on semantic hashtags – general themes that people will search for. Pinners search for hashtags and click on hashtags within pin descriptions, so they are using hashtags to discover fresh content both ways.

READ MORE

Direct Pins vs. Repins

If you’re wondering which holds more weight, having your image pinned directly from your website or re-pinned, there isn’t much of a difference in how Pinterest evaluates the pin’s engagement. You want both as they both signal to the algorithm that the pin has value to those looking for ideas about your pin’s topic. Both direct pins and repins will help your pin show up in search and as a recommended pin in the home feed.

Focus on Analytics

Use analytics to determine what pins are most engaging and relevant to your audience and make adjustments. You’ll need a business account to view your analytics. You will also want to claim your website on Pinterest and embed the code on your site, as well as enable rich pins.

Underperforming Pins

A common question among Pinterest users is, “Should I delete underperforming pins?” Shere’s answer is “no.” Pins with a low number of repins will not hurt your other pins’ chances of being distributed. She also advises that an underperforming pin that doesn’t do well initially may gain traction later on. There’s no value in spending time deleting underperforming pins.

Tips for Getting More Followers

Followers are a small portion of the people you reach on Pinterest. In your new business profile, check out the number of followers you have and your total reach. Most of your pin distribution takes place with people who discover your content (through searches and their home feed) and aren’t yet followers.

Now that users have the following tab and can more easily view pins from people they follow, content creators may want to focus on creating content their followers will engage with. As mentioned before, engagement from your followers will signal to Pinterest that your pin should be distributed to more people. Shere advises that the quality of your followers is more important than the number of followers. It’s better to have a low number of highly engaged followers than a large number of followers that rarely engage.

To build your followers, Pinterest is rolling out features to help recommend you to pinners who like your type of content. To help Pinterest recognize that you are a high-quality content creator and that they should recommend you to pinners, make sure you have a business account, claim your website, pin regularly, and have an optimized profile and keyword rich board descriptions.

Other steps to draw followers to your account include:

  • Having a Pinterest follow button on your website
  • Make sure your followers on other channels know you are on Pinterest and give them a link to follow you
  • Embed the pin in your blog post and ask your readers to indicate that they’ve tried it by leaving a photo comment on the pin
  • Join Pinterest boards
  • Start your own board and invite people
  • Use compelling images and infographics to create a brand identity
  • Follow your competitor’s followers
  • Optimize your profile name with keywords

25 Content Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Website’s Rankings

As of 2018, 84% of US companies with 100+ employees use content marketing tactics. While this doesn’t come as a surprise, it does emphasize how vital content marketing is for brands in 2020 and beyond. Yet, it’s all too easy to find yourself in a content marketing rut. Content marketers tend to have their own routine, using best practices for content creation, distribution, and analysis. However, if your practices remain stagnant for too long, your brand and content become outdated. Although you may be a well-oiled content machine, it’s imperative to analyze recent content marketing trends and experiment with new techniques and tools. To help you discover new tools and stay ahead of content marketing trends, we’ve prepared a content marketing checklist for 2020. Use these tactics, ideas, and tools to give your content marketing strategy a much-needed boost for this year.

Сontent Marketing Checklist 

1. Leverage micro-influencers

2. Analyze Your Competitors’ Tactics 

3. Analyze User Experience 

4. Find the Best Content Topics with Topic Research 

5. Document your content marketing strategy

6. Match Content with Each Stage of the Customer Journey 

7. Develop additional info graphics and illustrations

8. Collaborate with your sales team

9. Browse Forums to Find What Your Customers Are Interested In 

10. Create SEO-Friendly Content with SEO Content Template 

11. Speak with Customer Support to Identify Client Problems

12. Take Advantage of User-Generated Content 

13. Create Short Videos for Social Media Marketing and User Content

14. Organize a Webcast on YouTube 

15. Create More Interactive Content 

16. Optimize Articles in Real Time with SEO Writing Assistant 

17. Publish Research or Articles Based on Statistical Analysis 

18. Publish Comprehensive and Useful Guides 

19. Collaborate with Other Brands in a Joint Marketing Promotion 

20. Tailor Your Content for Mobile and Voice Search

21. Find Your Best-Performing Articles with Content Audit 

22. Transform Multiple Articles into an eBook 

23. Update Blog Posts with Good SEO Potential 

24. Improve Your Online Reputation by Brand Monitoring

25. Support the Most Important News and Events

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. 

Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.

The vast majority of marketers are using content marketing or growth marketing strategies. In fact, it is used by many prominent organizations in the world, including P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere. It’s also developed and executed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe. Why? Because it works.

Specifically, there are three key reasons — and benefits — for enterprises that use content marketing:

  • Increased sales and high customer acquisition
  • Cost savings
  • Better customer experiences leading to more loyalty

Marketing is impossible without great content

Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of marketing:

  • Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
  • SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
  • PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
  • PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
  • Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.

25 different content marketing strategies to try in 2020

1. Leverage micro-influencers 

Did you know that 81% of marketers find influencer marketing to be successful? This year, find micro-influencers who resonate with your audience and partner up for a promotion, giveaway, or campaign. 

While micro-influencers have anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 followers, research has shown these accounts drive higher engagement rates than their celebrity-status counterparts with millions of fans. In fact, MediaHub, a digital marketing solutions firm, reported retail and entertainment clients received about 50% higher engagement using micro- influencers. The firm also found influencers with 1,000 fans drove an 85% higher engagement “lift” than those with 100,000+ followers. 

Why are micro influencers so effective? Because they can be considered experts in their specific niche. They could be a food blogger, traveler, a local fashionista, or a fitness guru – just to name a few. These smaller, more focused niche experts connect on a deeper level with their audiences and generate greater engagement

However, be sure to follow all FTC regulations and rules surrounding influencer marketing efforts. 

2. Analyze your competitor’s tactics

When you feel your content becoming repetitive or monotonous, it’s time to look for inspiration. Start by analyzing your competitors’ tactics and discovering how to adjust your content strategy to stand out from the crowd.

Identify a section of your content strategy you’d like to improve and analyze how your competitors accomplish these objectives.

Then, begin brainstorming ways to outperform your competitors using their tactics. For instance, if your competitor writes blog posts on a specific topic, take it a step further and develop a content series featuring videos, downloadable guides or create interactive content. 

3. Analyze user experience

In 2020, user experience is no longer an afterthought; it’s a necessity. Your content should adapt to the user’s device, meet and exceed their informational or entertainment needs, and user experience should play a leading role in your website’s information flow.

Review your website’s user experience and find ways to improve. Perhaps you can streamline the buying process by bundling content together? In fact, in a 2018 Demand Gen Report, 52% of buyers strongly agreed brands should package relevant content together to help expedite their research phase.

Other areas of user experience to analyze can include content flow, page load speed, and accessibility for devices and impairments. All of your content marketing efforts must create a unique and immersive experience for your audience. Analyze User Experience

4. Find the best content topics with topic research 

Are you struggling to find content topics that resonate with your audience and drive traffic to your website? The Topic Research tool identifies trending topics within your target audience and helps you create quality content around them.

By adding this tool to your content marketing checklist, you’ll receive content ideas based on: 

• Questions your audience asks about a particular topic 

• Headlines which resonate the most within a particular market 

• Articles your audience is interested in You can also filter topics by popularity, efficiency, difficulty, and volume to help narrow down your content ideas. 

5. Document your content marketing strategy

Did you know that only 39% of content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy for their organization? Among top-performing organizations, however, this number increases to 65%.

It’s been proven that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them; the same concept applies to documenting your content marketing strategy.

In 2020, find time to write down and review your organization’s content strategy, goals, and efforts. Then, analyze your content marketing progress. Are you on track? Where can you improve? 

6. Match content with each stage of the customer journey 

Customers require different types of content at each stage of the buyer’s journey. For instance, at the awareness stage, your audience may watch videos to learn more about your company or products, while at the decision stage, they may look for case studies to help them make a choice between products.

If your current content marketing strategy only satisfies one aspect of the customer journey, reevaluate your strategy to match your content to each phase, as a large number of your potential customers may not be able to reach the final stage and make a purchase. Remember, the buyer’s journey extends past the initial purchase. Retain loyal customers by building a relationship with them through your content. 

7. Develop additional infographics and illustrations 

While reviewing your content marketing checklist for 2020, consider adding more infographics and illustrations to your blog content or website. 

Did you know the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual? Audiences want to consume information right away. 

With this in mind, infographics help relay pertinent information faster and more easily. Rather than reading an entire article, readers can instantly receive the information they need by viewing an infographic. 

8. Collaborate with your sales team

You can do all the research in the world, but your sales team truly knows what your customers need. Facilitate a conversation between your content marketing team and the sales staff to collaborate on new types of content that fill a need and educate buyers in 2020.

9. Browse forums to find what your customers are interested in 

Another tactic to add to your 2020 content marketing checklist is browsing forums for new information about your audience. Look for industry or relevant forums your customers are active on and see what conversations they’re engaging in. Then, use this insight to guide your content marketing strategy by analyzing their pain points, motivators, and topics of conversation. 

10. Create SEO-Friendly Content with SEO Content Template

Content marketers understand the importance of search engines and optimized content. After all, 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. Expedite the content creation and optimization process in 2020 with the SEO Content Template tool. Using the targeted keyword you input, the tool generates a content template based on the top ten results in Google search.

In your personalized content template, you’ll also receive: 

• Related keywords to feature in your content 

• The recommended content length and readability level 

• Relevant backlink sources 

• Metadata optimization tips

 With the efficiency of the template tool, you can spend less time creating and more time orchestrating content for your 2020 strategy. 

11. Speak with Customer Support to Identify Client Problems

Customer support teams solve problems every day; they know what issues your customers face and what solutions are necessary. Make their day a little easier and keep customers happy by creating content that educates and directs them to the answers they need. 

12. Take Advantage of User-Generated Content

With everything involved in a successful content marketing strategy, you may feel like there’s not enough time in the day to consistently create new content. Instead of developing content by yourself, take advantage of user-generated content.

Your loyal fans are already tagging you on Instagram, writing about your brand on their blogs, and posting about it on social media, why not use this genuine content for your own efforts?

Curate the best user-generated content and add it to your editorial and social media queues. This tactic offers a win-win situation for content marketers. Not only are you generating a library of content resources, you’re also improving your online reputation by using content created by real customers.

74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions, and 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. 

13. Create Short Videos for Facebook and Instagram

In the span of a single day, more than 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook, and 80% of users can recall a video ad they’ve watched in the past month. You’ll be surprised at how many new users you can reach through your social media posts if you stick to a consistent schedule and build a community within your social media networks.

There has never been a better time to leverage the power of video and add Instagram and Facebook videos to your content calendar.

Also, if you happen to create long-form videos such as webinars or video recorded podcasts, don’t hesitate to use smaller segments on social media. By dividing longer videos into short, sharable clips, you are actively building your social media content library and distributing your content to an audience who may not have seen the full version. 

14. Organize a Webcast on YouTube

Reach new and current customers in real time by going live on YouTube or other social media platforms. In 2020, show viewers behind-the-scenes content, host an informational webinar, or deliver your video content in real time.

Plus, live videos on YouTube provide marketers with the ability to also interact with users in real time. During your webcasts, ask questions, respond to audience inquiries, and create a dialog with viewers.

And, according to a survey by Venngage, 40% of online marketers stated that of their visual content assets, infographics performed best and drove the most engagement. 

15. Create more interactive content

Between Buzzfeed quizzes and Instagram stickers, interactive content is all the rage. And research by the Content Marketing Institute found that 81% of content marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content. Interactive content can serve a purpose at every point in a customer’s journey, from initial awareness to the final purchase. 

Try utilizing different forms of interactive content, such as calculators, assessments, and contests, to see which type your audience reacts to best. 

16. Optimize articles in real time with SEO writing assistant 

As a content pro, you spend a great deal of time optimizing content. But have you ever wondered just how optimized your content truly is? When you use the SEO Writing Assistant, your Google Doc or WordPress content is analyzed in real time for effective optimization tactics.

By utilizing the SEO add-on, you’ll receive optimization recommendations based on the targeted keyword of your choice. And, since the metrics are interactive, you can see your progress as you edit. 

17. Publish research or articles based on statistical analysis 

As you begin to align your content with the customer’s purchasing process in 2020, also consider publishing articles featuring original research or industry-related statistics.

As customers research your business and products or services, they’ll want validation that they’re making a wise decision. Showing your knowledge of the industry can help support this confirmation and position your brand as an industry leader. 

18. Publish comprehensive and useful guides 

In 2020, almost every business offers added-value content, such as downloadable guides, to potential and returning customers. This year, make it your goal to publish the most comprehensive and helpful guide available in your industry. Think about areas where your customers might have questions, need assistance, or want to learn more about, and develop guide topics from these results. 

19. Collaborate with other brands in a joint marketing promotion

Make it your goal to work together with other brands during 2020. Find brands that share your goals and values (but aren’t your competitors), align with your industry, and would be willing to collaborate on a promotion. Using this partnership, you can run a giveaway or contest, join forces to fund and publish new research, or develop interactive content for your mutual audiences. 

20. Tailor your content for mobile and voice search 

Thanks to recent technological advances, voice search is the future of search marketing. In fact, comScore reported that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. If your content isn’t optimized for mobile devices and voice search features, it won’t be found by future customers. 

21. Find your best-performing articles with a content audit 

This year, make it a priority to identify and leverage your top-performing content using the Content Audit tool. This audit tool reviews your website content based on a series of criteria including backlinks, social signals, user-experience data, authors, content length, and metadata.

In addition, the Post Tracking feature also allows you to track external content performance based on backlinks, social shares, and keyword rank. Once you know which content is performing well, use the other tools and tactics mentioned in our content marketing checklist for 2020 to make it stronger and reach new marketing goals. 

22. Transform multiple articles into an ebook

Do you have several high-performing articles with a similar topic? If so, combine these articles into an informative eBook. Website visitors looking for more information during their initial purchase research will appreciate having an authoritative resource available on the topic. However, do not simply copy and paste the articles together as a shortcut. Your eBooks must provide a seamless content experience with a single narrative. In addition, ensure your articles are up to date before including them in an eBook. 

23. Update blog posts with good SEO potential

As the Internet transforms and advances, so too do our SEO techniques. This means your older content may need a bit of an SEO reboot. This year, take the time to review old content with the potential to rank for relevant keywords and give it a bit of an SEO boost. Look at everything from the media to the metadata and discover how you can improve upon this content for the purpose of ranking higher and driving more traffic to your website.

24. Improve your online reputation by brand monitoring 

In today’s digital world, brand reputation is everything. Manage and track your company’s online reputation using the Brand Monitoring tool. This tool identifies mentions of your brand online, as well as those of your competition. By using the tool, you can discover new opportunities for your content, keep an eye on competitors, and refer situations to customer service, if needs be. 

25. Support the most important news and events 

Have you heard of the content marketing tactic known as “newsjacking”? This content technique involves creating and optimizing content around the latest industry news and events, with the goal of ranking on search engines, being shared on social media, and starting a conversation around the news. Set a Google alert for specific topics, keywords, or brands and add news content to your 2020 strategy.

That’s it! We’ve shared our 25 most successful tips for creating successful content marketing material for your users! Let us know which techniques and strategies you’ve tried, and suggest your favorite strategies for us to write about!

Everything You Need to Know About Search Engine Optimization (The Ultimate Beginner Guide 2020)

Organic traffic and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand in hand. But how exactly can you provide bountiful returns for all the hours you’ve spent writing content? By optimizing. Optimize content, optimize keywords, and optimize strategy. SEO is a constantly changing game, and the best practices used a year ago today are not always the best practices now.

We intend to give you a concise, in-depth overview of what SEO is, why it is important, how Google functions, and a guide to what you can do. This article is not a definitive guide to every aspect and subtlety of SEO — search engine optimization. This is a vast subject that cannot be fully covered in a single article, but we will do our best to give you the overview of SEO.

Definition of SEO

SEO is the art and science of persuading search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to recommend your content to their users as the best solution to their problem. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic and the purchase of paid placement. This is done by growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. There are three types of SEO practices that are commonly spoken about: White hat SEO, Black hat SEO, and Grey hat SEO.

Learn more about them in our recent posts explaining each type of SEO:

If you want search engines to offer your content in results, you need to do three things:

  1. Ensure these search engines understand who you are and what you offer.
  2. Convince them that you are the most credible option for their users.
  3. Make your content deliverable.

How high in the rankings and how often you appear is merit-based; these engines will show the results they consider to be the best fit for their users.

Not to be mistaken with SEM

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the practice of marketing a business using paid advertisements that appear on search engine results pages. This is usually done when advertisers bid on keywords that users of services such as Google and Bing might enter when looking for certain products or services. Advertisers then have the opportunity for their ads to appear alongside results for those search queries.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

These two terms are commonly associated with each other. While both skills require a lot of similar fundamentals, the main difference stems from cost.

Generally, “search engine marketing” refers to paid search marketing, a system where businesses pay Google to show their ads in the search results.

SEO is different because businesses don’t pay Google for traffic and clicks; rather, they earn a free spot in in the search results by having the most relevant content for a given keyword search.

Both SEO and SEM should be fundamental parts of your online marketing strategy. SEO is a powerful way to drive evergreen traffic at the top of the funnel, while search engine advertisements are a highly cost-effective way to drive conversions at the bottom of the funnel.

Why is SEO important? 

Search Engine Optimization brings you the most precious traffic (also known as organic traffic), which is “free” — when a search engine shows your content to its users in the organic part of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you do not pay for the ranking. When the user clicks on the result and visits your site, you do not pay Google for a visit. And that briefly describes what is SEO used for.

How to Mine Your Blog for More Keyword Rankings & Traffic with ...

On that same SERP, there are often paid results; they are identifiable by the ‘Ad’ icon to the left. When a user clicks on a paid result and visits the site, the advertiser pays the search engine for that visit.

So for ads, you pay to be the top, front, and center, and with organic search results (“SEO results”, if you prefer), you are top, front, and center through merit, and it is free.

The big advantage of SEO traffic is that, if chosen Search Engine Optimization strategy is effective (and we will look at how to make that happen below), then it is an ongoing source of free traffic.

How Search Engines Work 

The fundamental aim of search engines is to satisfy its users. They want to provide the best results when a user searches for something. When someone uses a search engine, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, they are looking for the solution to a problem or the answer to a question. These engines want to provide the most helpful, relevant, and credible answer or solution.

Keywords

In SEO, we often refer to ‘keywords’ — this is slightly misleading. ‘Search queries’ is a much better term. We are not looking at individual words; we are looking at combinations of words that express a problem or a question.

Note: even when a user searches with just one word, they are still expressing a problem or question — they are just not being very clear! 

What is your audience searching for?

To work effectively on your SEO, you need to figure out what your potential customers are searching for. Find the phrases that they use to search, and then create content that brings a clear, simple, and helpful solution to the problem that the user expressed. SEMrush offers a tool that allows you to find out based on your market and your competitors. 

Keyword Magic Tool by SEMrush

Google Versus the Rest of the Search Engines

Google dominates search in most countries across the globe, almost to the point of being a monopoly, particularly in English. In English, worldwide, 88% of searches on desktop are on Google. On mobile, that figure is a whopping 96%. Bing and Yahoo combined account for 1.5% of searches on mobile and 8% of searches on desktop. That makes Google vastly dominant. And by far, the most important search engine you should be focusing on.

most popular search engine in the world

So, as a business with a website, your reliance on Google is pretty much a given. Great SEO is not an option. It is a necessity.

How Google Works

Google says, “we are organizing the content of the web.” That is a lovely way of putting it. Google organizes the content of the web to be able to deliver to its users the best answer to their question or solution to their problem. You can look at this as Google being a reference system for all the information on the web. It keeps references to every page (and the information it contains), and then when someone asks for specific information, Google can point them to the content that best supplies the answer or solution. 

It is very helpful to approach SEO from the perspective that you are providing solutions to Google’s users, and you are asking it to recommend your solution. 

Google is striving to recommend the most relevant answer from the most trustworthy source in the most appropriate format for its user. So consider the following when you are writing your content, and ensure that it is:

  • Relevant – Google aims to match the best answer to the question it has understood. That is relevancy in a nutshell.
  • Trustworthy -Google wants to send its users to content from a source it is confident will satisfy its user — a credible brand or person it trusts.
  • Consumable – This is an awful word, and I apologize, but Google wants to send its users to the kind of content they want to engage with, in a format they can consume. 

Matching User Intent to Truly Useful Content

So here are two things Google needs to match. On one side, user intent: when someone searches on Google, they are expressing a problem they need a solution to. But they often express that problem incompletely or ambiguously. Google tries to understand what they mean. What is their intent? What is the specific problem they are trying to solve? Google needs to understand the question or the intent. We will look at that in more detail a little bit later.

On the other side, what is the best content to satisfy the user, given their intent — the most accurate and most helpful and useful content on the world wide web that reliably solves that problem? Google needs to understand the available solutions, their relative merits, and their appropriateness. And this is what SEO is practically about. SEO is your means to present your content to Google in such a way that it is confident that your solution is the most helpful, the most trustworthy, and the most appropriate for their user. In short, convince Google to recommend your answer or solution.

Google’s Algorithm

The word “algorithm” can seem scary, but it is simply a computer code that understands the question and evaluates the relative merits of the answers. In SEO, we are mostly focused on the second part. We aim to send the right signals to Google’s algorithm to convince it that our answer is the best, most useful, and most appropriate for the question it has understood.

Google Updates

You have certainly heard about Google’s updates. The most famous are Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird. It is very essential to understand several things:

  1. Google is constantly updating its algorithm on a daily basis. But most of these updates are small and won’t lead to noticeable changes in ranking or traffic for individual brands like yours.
  2. From time to time, Google implements major updates. These can affect your site’s rankings and traffic quite drastically.
  3. Some updates in the past were specifically aimed at reducing the impact of cheating by some brands and websites. It gave these updates names — Panda (related to the quality of content) and Penguin (about quality of links) are famous examples.
  4. Today, Google announces most major updates, and you can find those announcements on Twitter via @searchliaison.

Machine Learning in Google’s Algorithm

As the name suggests, “Machine learning is functionality that helps software perform a task without explicit programming or rules.” Google gives some examples of tasks machine learning may perform: 

  • Personalize product recommendations based on customer behavior
  • Look for keywords in massive numbers of text documents
  • Enable software to accurately respond to voice commands

Machine Learning at Google

RankBrain and BERT are the most famous machine learning updates. Rank Brain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system Google uses to help sort through its search results. BERT is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP), and it stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is used to understand the nuances and context of words within searches, and it helps provide better matches to the queries with more relevant results.

Quality Raters

Google has thousands of quality raters, and they are used to help improve the search experience. According to Google, “quality raters are spread out across the world and are highly trained.” Google is always experimenting with search results, and they use feedback from third-party search quality raters to make sure changes are useful.

So what are the raters looking for when they are analyzing the results? Let’s find out.

Quality Rater Guidelines

Quality Raters are considered “highly trained” because they are expected to follow a very long and detailed document — 168 pages as of January 2020 to be exact — that explains what constitutes a good result and what raters should look for to identify bad results. The document is worth reading because it sets out what content Google wants to serve its users and how Google judges the fit-for-purpose content quality. It does not tell us what the ranking factors/signals are or exactly how the algorithm works (more on that later).

Google's guideline for page quality

These guidelines are updated frequently.

Here is a brief overview of what Google raters are looking for to identify quality content (and by extension, this is an overview of what you should aim to achieve).

Intent of the Query

When looking at the results, the raters stay focused on the intent of the user — the problem they are aiming to find the solution to. So they are asking themselves, “Is this result a good solution, and does it help the user?” If Google is to recommend particular content as a solution, that content must have beneficial value to the user in the search for a solution to their problem. The content must be user-centered and user-focused. 

Credibility Signals (known as E-A-T).

Google uses the acronym E-A-T — Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — which could also be expressed globally as credibility. They are judging credibility or E-A-T at three levels — the page, the author, and the website. Furthermore, they are looking to see if the content is credible in the context of the solution it aims to provide. 

E-A-T is incredibly essential to Google; in the guidelines, they use the words expert, authority, and trust (or variants) over 200 times.

Let’s look briefly at each component of E-A-T.

  • Expertise – Is the information accurate? Should this writer or brand write about this topic?
  • Authoritativeness – Is the author well-respected in their field? Is the brand widely recognized in the industry? Is the content referred to elsewhere on the web by other authoritative websites, brands, and people?
  • Trustworthiness – Do the brand and the writer have a good reputation and is the content reliable? 

YMYL Pages

YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life. It is a very important concept for quality raters. As Google explains in guidelines, this term describes pages or topics that “could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” Here is a list of such topics:

YMYL Pages classification

Google claims to have “very high Page Quality standards” for such pages because low-quality YMYL content can directly affect readers’ well-being.

Quality of the Content, Page, and Site

Google wants to send its users to websites that give a great user experience (UX). The raters look carefully at the quantity and quality of the content, the user-friendliness of the design, and the navigation of the site.

The raters also identify explicitly bad content — they will flag content that is low quality, or has no credibility, or is outright misleading. Google aims to exclude this type of content since it does not give a good user experience for their users.

Here is a screenshot of the quality scale they use:

page quality rating tasks

Google Ranking Factors 

Google’s algorithm takes thousands and thousands of signals into account when evaluating a page to determine where it should rank for a specific user query. 

When we talk about ranking factors, we are simply identifying which groups of signals have the most influence on how well a piece of content will perform in Google search.

From your perspective, we are identifying which aspects of your content, website, and reputation you can improve to most effectively boost Google’s opinion of your content, and thus gain a higher position in the search results. 

Here are the main Search Engine Optimization factors you need to get right to help your content to rank higher in Google (there are more than 200, so we have only detailed the most important ones in this guide).

On-Page Search Engine Optimization

As the name implies, on-page signals are those that Google finds on the page of your website. They are the aspects that you control directly, and so the easiest to get right. 

Technical Search Engine Optimization

  • Speed – People don’t like to wait, so Google wants to send its users to a page that loads fast. Make sure all your content loads quickly, even on a slow internet connection.
  • Schema.org markup – Put simply, schema.org markup explains your content to Google in a format it can easily digest and understand. Schema.org markup is a BIG help to Google, and it can also prove invaluable in helping you rank at the top of SERPs when these include a Featured Snippet or Quick Answer. 
  • Mobile-friendliness – The content needs to look great and provide a good user experience on mobile devices. Google’s index is now mobile-first, so usability on mobile is a major influence on rankings.
  • Security – A secure site is a credible site. 
  • Code quality – Google needs clean, clear code to be able to digest and understand your content efficiently and effectively. To date, Google can “understand” some programming languages better than others (i.e., HTML over JavaScript); however, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using the latter on your site. It just means you need to ensure Google can access its contents efficiently in every case. 

Content Optimization for SEO

  • Titles – The meta title and heading on the page are very critical signals to Google.
  • Rich content – As the web becomes more multimedia, people expect richer content, and Google wants to provide that to them. So Google is looking for more than just reams of text. Google wants to see images, sound, video to make their user’s interaction with the content better. 
  • Content copy – As we saw previously in the section about Quality Raters, Google is looking for quality, accurate, credible content that serves a real purpose and brings benefit to the user (content that has a beneficial purpose). And, in the context of the user’s search query, content that answers the question or solves the problem that the user has expressed to Google. 
  • Internal linking – Needs to be clear, logical, and simple. Google relies on internal linking to identify which content on your site is most important, and it also relies on internal linking to find all the pages on your site. 
  • Freshness – Regular updates of your content indicate to Google that you are providing up-to-date information. Once again, it wants to satisfy its users with relevant and accurate information.
  • Outbound links – Google uses these to check that your information is accurate and also to confirm the credibility of the author and website. Despite what you may hear, outbound links (to authoritative and relevant sources, of course) are a positive signal to Google.

Off-page Search Engine Optimization

Off-page SEO factors include those signals sent to Google not by any changes you made to your site’s code or content but from third party websites. This is why this category of factors mainly includes links or mentions of your pages on other people’s sites or social media profiles.

Inbound Links 

This is the biggest off-page factor — links to your content from relevant, authoritative sites are a very strong signal to Google that the content is popular and worthy. We can consider links as “votes” — people link to content from their websites or their social media accounts because they appreciate it. More links = more “love.” And if you think back to the part about E-A-T, links indicate that this piece of content, this website, and this author are a trusted, authoritative source of information. That is why building a reliable backlink profile is one of the pillars of Search Engine Optimization.

  • Link authority – Earning links from highly authoritative sites is more valuable than earning links on websites with a lower Authority Score.
  • Link relevancy – Google prefers links from relevant sites — usually in the same industry, or news sites or review sites that cover multiple industries in a credible manner.
  • Page relevancy – Google looks at the content surrounding the link and evaluates how relevant that piece of content is to your content. Links from highly relevant content send a stronger signal.
  • Anchor text – Relevant anchor text (the text that people click on to visit the link) is an important signal because it helps Google better understand the context of each link. 

Social Signals

Sharing on social platforms, and the general social buzz around your content is a signal to Google that the content is useful and appreciated. And when recommending content as a solution to its user, useful and appreciated are high on the list of priorities. 

Unlinked Brand Mentions

A mention of your brand is a signal to Google, even without a link. Google understands that someone is talking about you when they use your brand name. Obviously, you are looking for mentions with positive sentiment in a relevant context. 

Influencer Marketing

When influencers in your industry talk about your brand and cite your content, they are essentially vouching for you. That peer approval from a trusted, authoritative expert will help improve the credibility of your brand, your author, and your content in Google’s eyes. Once again, we are looking for relevancy — approval from an authoritative figure within your industry.

Trust Signals

Trust signals indicate to Google that your brand, your products, and your content are appreciated by your users/customers. Trust signals are things like product and service reviews, positive mentions in forums, comments on your blog posts, etc. In short, any positive activity by your users around your products, brand, or content.

How SEO Works 

One of the most popular questions is What is SEO and how it works? The first part of this question was briefly answered above, so let’s take a closer look at How Search Engine Optimization works. This section covers what you can do to improve your chances of being recommended by Google as the appropriate, relevant, and helpful answer to the question a user has asked.

We can divide this into three main areas: technical, content, and backlinks.

Basics of Technical SEO

Technical Search Engine Optimization is all about the quality of the infrastructure that delivers your content. Good technical SEO means that Google will find your content easily, and that content will be easy for it to digest and understand. 

What are your top priorities for technical SEO? 

  • Crawlability – Google needs to be able to access your pages and digest your content. The term “crawl” basically means access and read a webpage. If Google cannot access your content, it cannot offer it in its results. Examples of crawlability issues are not allowing Google to crawl your pages — a file called robots.txt is where you can give or refuse permission to Google to access specific pages of your site. Another issue for crawlability is having pages behind a paywall, or login page — Google cannot access those pages and so cannot know what content they contain. 
  • Indexability – Once Google has seen your page, it needs to be sure that you want it to show that page to its users. The noindex tag in the head section of your pages allows you to indicate to Google whether or not you want it to consider a specific page for its search results.
  • Site architecture – You need to organize your site in a manner that makes it easy to understand sections and catégories and make it simple for Google to navigate through every single page on your site. If there are pages on your site that have no internal links pointing to them, Google will have trouble finding those pages. And even if it does, it will consider them as relatively less valuable than pages that do have internal links. Great site architecture is also a big bonus for user experience. 
  • Schema markup – This factor is fundamentally important. Think of it as Google’s native language. Schema markup explains your content to Google in a manner it understands, making it easy to digest and understand. Google has a tool to test the schema.org markup on your pages.
  • Speed – Every page needs to be fast. Users don’t like to wait, and Google knows that; It wants to recommend faster pages to its users since they give a better user experience. Google has a tool to test your pages for speed.
  • Mobile-friendliness – Every page on your site needs to be mobile-friendly. Users need to be able to consume your content easily on a mobile device. Google evaluates your content according to its performance on a mobile device, so it is vital you get this right. Google has a tool to test your pages for mobile-friendliness.
  • User interface – As we saw earlier in the raters section, Google wants to recommend sites that appeal to users both in the design and the comfort of use. Your site layout needs to ensure that when the user lands on your page that they find it attractive, they understand at a glance what your page offers, and they grasp the navigational options that they have. You want them to interact with your content and then want to investigate further. In short, you want them to stay. 

Content SEO 

Meta titles and meta descriptions – These areas of a page determine, in many cases, what Google shows its users in the search results. 

An accurate meta title that describes clearly and unambiguously what the content of the page offers to the user is supremely important — it is the reason they click on your result or not. MORE ON THISWhat NOT To Do When Writing a Meta Description Post Gabka Koscova  

Meta titles and meta descriptions are essentially sales copy that needs to pull the user in, and also help Google better understand the content and purpose of each page. Ideally, the meta title will include the main keywords the user searched for. This is essential for Google’s algorithm, but also for the user; people feel more at ease and are more likely to click on text that contains the words they used in their search. 

Heading – The title the user sees when they land on your page is a critical signal to Google. Like the meta title, it needs to be clear and unambiguous and include the terms the user searched for. Again, this is an important signal to Google, but also reassuring and helpful for the user.

Writing style – Keep your writing simple, clear, and focused. Keep sentences short, break the content into logical chunks, and stay on topic. Help readers get right to the solution to their problem. Organize your content so that the value it provides is easy to identify, understand, and engage with.

Rich content – Include rich content such as audio, video, and illustrative images whenever feasible. Google is not capable of understanding the content of images or videos. So, when you do include these richer formats, accompany them with the appropriate meta tags to help Google and those with visual impairments understand what the image/video is about. You could also include a written version to make it easier for users who prefer written content. 

Outbound links – These kinds of links lead to sources that confirm the accuracy of your content and that validate your credibility and the credibility of the author. 

Authorship – Identify the author explicitly where appropriate. If they have great E-A-T, this will bring credibility to the content.

Taking it further, your content does not live in isolation. It is vital to see each piece of content as part of an overall, coherent content strategy. As soon as you do that, you are thinking in terms of content marketing.

What makes great content?

As Bill Gates once said: “Content is King,” and that is still true. What does that mean for you in terms of Search Engine Optimization? The better the content, the higher positions in SERP you will claim. That is simple! But what differs poor content from great?

Great Writing

For all content (written, audio, and video), correct grammar, proper spelling, and a clear style are essential both to Google and the user consuming it. Write naturally, write for your audience, and don’t be tempted to try and trick Google by adding the words you want to rank for multiple times (called ‘keyword stuffing’). That tactic does not work, and it makes for bad user experience. Google wants to exclude this (they explicitly tell their quality raters to reject it). And with recent developments such as BERT, Google is becoming very good at understanding natural language. 

Relevancy

Having content that truly addresses the problems your audience is facing is vital. If you want Google to recommend your content to its users, that content needs to bring value to them. That means being highly relevant information and providing a helpful solution to the user’s problem or question. On a wider scale, consistently creating relevant, helpful content that solves users’ problems demonstrates to Google that you understand your audience and that you are striving to bring beneficial content to them — and that breeds credibility. 

So focus on bringing real value to your audience with every piece of content you create. To bring real value, you need to focus on user intent.

Search Terms

What are your audiences looking for? An SEO specialist must clearly understand his audience to provide only the best keywords and topics for upcoming content. You can find out the search terms, or keywords, they use by looking at tools such as SEMrush, and also by asking your sales and support staff what questions people ask them. 

When you put together a solid and researched list, think very hard about the intent behind their searches and questions. Sometimes it will be obvious? Often, searches and questions are ambiguous, and the intent is not immediately obvious. You need to understand your audience and provide valuable content that serves the intent of their query.

What formats of content are appropriate? 

Different types of content are appropriate for different stages in the funnel, different users. and different user contexts (location, device, etc.). A good content strategy will contain a mix of the different formats I am about to describe. 

Lists – Both people and Google love lists. They are easy to digest, easy to understand, and easy to engage with.Types of content - Lists

Types of content - Tables

How-to guides – These are perfect for providing a step-by-step approach to a specific query. 

Long-form guides – These may involve a lot of work, but this type of content can really help your audience understand a specific or a wider topic in depth. 

Tables – Tables of data or information on your pages are easy for Google to understand, and they are also incredibly useful and helpful to your audience when they need to process data in relation to a topic.

Graphics – Images, photos, illustrations. Google is including these in the SERPs more and more, especially on mobile. Plus, images – when appropriately used and tagged – can drive visits from Google’s image search, which is particularly popular with some industries and types of queries (i.e., fashion or travel). 

Infographics – Infographics are images that contain information (usually illustrations + text) that makes them standalone content. They are great as content to push out to your audience via social media as they can generate great engagement. And, they are also a great way to build links.

Video – Google is including more and more video in search results. This is particularly true of how-to videos.

Additional benefit: If you post your videos to YouTube, then you benefit from greater brand visibility and referrals on that platform. YouTube is the second most visited website on the planet.

Podcasts – These are audio-only content. Podcasts are on the rise and very popular, especially within specific niches. Like videos and images, Google shows them in the normal search results.

Types of content - Podcasts

Webinars – A webinar is a live online meeting or presentation that is open to the public. It is a great way to engage and build your audience, but they also provide great longer-term content because, after the live event, you can post it to YouTube as a video people can watch at any time. 

Ebooks – downloadable books, usually in the format of a PDF, that brands often give away for free. They are perfect for in-depth content that is too long for an article, and they can be used in a clever way to acquire more information about your audiences. Ideally, you would have a landing page with an introduction to the ebook then require an email sign up for the user to download the ebook. This not only gives you valuable SEO-related traffic but also allows you to collect prospects’ emails for future marketing efforts.

What is Link Building – The Basics

Backlinks are incredibly important in Search Engine Optimization. Due to the amount of referring domains, Google understands your reliability and the authority in the chosen niche. In this section, I will explain the importance of links in SEO and try to explain the art of link building.

Links in SEO 

For better ranking in Google, your content needs to have inbound links (also known as backlinks). It may have some internal links from your own site, but they only indicate the importance of the content within the context of your site. They don’t help Google see it’s importance in the context of the wider world. Inbound links from relevant and authoritative sites indicate to Google that your content is popular (peer approval), authoritative, and trusted. These are all very strong signals to Google that your content is a good result to recommend to its users for relevant search queries.

An important concept here is “from relevant and authoritative sites.” When looking to obtain inbound links, especially for a new website, webmasters tend to focus on quantity. However, quality in the form of acquiring links from websites with high authority, which are relevant to your content. should be the priority.

In 2012, Google released a very strong algorithm update called Penguin that aimed at eliminating “link cheating” (meaning to prevent sites with spammy link profiles from ranking high). In 2017, they announced that the process of identifying, and then ignoring these spammy links is now running in real-time, which means that any link to a site’s pages that is considered low quality will be ignored and will not help to rank.

How to Build Links

In a perfect world, your amazing content will earn links on merit without any effort on your part. People (website owners, journalists, bloggers, your fans, etc.) will link to your content because, after finding it and consuming it, they consider it to be a valuable resource for their audience. 

However, the world is imperfect, and this simple process doesn’t happen naturally very often. Link building is simply helping that process along.

Link building consists of identifying people with the capacity to link to your amazing content (website owners, journalists, bloggers, etc.), pointing them to your content, and encouraging them to link to it from a relevant page on their site; sounds simple. And it is. But it is also time-consuming. Contacting people, building relationships with them, and convincing them that linking to your content is beneficial to them and their audience all take time.

What are the best candidates for link building?

Sites that would potentially see value in linking to you, who will be relevant to your business, and have the necessary authority are often sites your audience uses. So if you can get an understanding of which websites they visit, which authors they read, and which industry thought leaders they engage with, then you have a good idea of the sites and people that you can approach. 

Take note, when looking at opportunities for links, relevancy is the number #1 factor you should consider, then the #2 factor is credibility, and #3 – is popularity. To really help your SEO efforts, you are looking for links from quality, relevant content, preferably on websites that are authoritative in your industry, and if possible, popular. 

Outreach

Once you have identified who you want to link to you, you ‘simply’ need to reach out to them and point your content out to them, indicating why it would be valuable and interesting for their users, and suggesting a link. If you have targeted correctly, this process can be quite natural (this process can be slow since people will rarely link to you when you first contact them, as mentioned above). 

For it to work, your content HAS to be of great quality and bring value to their users — exactly the same conditions that we mentioned for Google earlier. 

Quality content that brings value to users is what everyone is looking for — website owners, journalists, influencers, bloggers, Google, and even us as users. 

Guest Blogging

Writing articles for other relevant and authoritative websites not only can help build an author’s reputation but also allows you to create inbound links from a trusted, authoritative source. This is one of the best opportunities for an SEO specialist to build a backlink

Ideas for Engaging Content That Earns Links

  • Pieces using data – Create content that includes unique and helpful (or interesting) analysis of data, especially original data.
  • Emotional – Content that appeals to people’s emotions is great for earning links.
  • Humorous – If you can hit the right note and your humor appeals to your audience, then this type of content is a big winner for gaining merited links. It is also great for creating a buzz and gaining brand visibility on social media. 
  • Collaborations – Create content that includes an industry influencer/leader: quotes, co-authorship, and interviews are three great examples. This type of content will have authority ‘built in’ since you are associating your brand to a recognized and relevant industry leader. With this type of content, you already have one link right out of the box — from the party you collaborated with!
  • Authoritative/definitive pieces – Creating this type of content is tough but pays dividends when done right. If your content covers a topic thoroughly and accurately, it brings value to the target audience, and that makes links easier to get. 

How Social Media Helps SEO

Is social media part of SEO?

Whether social media activity, including likes, replies, comments, and shares directly help with ranking is not clear. For most major platforms, we know that Google crawls a great deal of the content. However, there is so much content being generated; Google cannot catch all of it. For example, according to The Social Skinny, there are 510,000 comments, 293,000 status updates, and 136,000 photos added on Facebook every minute. But Google is crawling and indexing these sites and large amounts of their content. So we can safely assume that a healthy presence with ongoing engagement from a relevant audience helps SEO.

Additional benefit: Social media is vital to your marketing efforts beyond just SEO, so having a well-thought-out social media strategy is an essential aspect of your digital marketing strategy. Social media activity helps enormously with building your reputation, brand awareness, and your audience. Over time it is a great channel for maintaining contact with your existing audience, expanding your reach, and distributing the content you create. 

How fast does SEO work? 

Search Engine Optimization is a long term strategy. As we saw earlier, SEO has three main pillars — technical, content, and backlinks. For your strategy to bear fruit, all three need to be solid, and that doesn’t happen overnight. 

Some of your efforts will pay-off in the short term after they are implemented. Changing meta titles, headings, or improving the content on a few pages are typical examples. 

Other efforts, such as implementing Schema.org markup across a number of pages, creating a substantial volume of informative content, building links, or attracting positive reviews, take time and will pay off in the long term.

No one single thing will revolutionize the performance of your SEO strategy. All the elements I described above work together, and it is the combination of all the signals Google reads that will make the needle move for you.

Conclusion 

Is SEO dead?

Almost every time Google makes an update to its algorithm or to its SERPs features, this question is trending. The answer is “no.” But SEO does not exist in isolation. It is one (very vital) pillar of your digital marketing strategy. New customers will see your brand multiple times before deciding to do — not only in Google search but also on many other platforms such as social media, TV, radio, YouTube, on review sites, Google My Business, etc. As you now know, these can all help with your Search Engine Optimization, and they all bring benefits to your business in their own right and, therefore, can all necessary for your digital marketing strategy to be successful.

So, an intelligent digital marketing strategy will use SEO to help drive other aspects of your marketing, and vice versa.

What are the most important elements of an SEO strategy? 

For your SEO strategy to be successful, you must trigger as many of the signals that Google is looking at as possible. A helpful way of looking at how all these individual actions fit into an overall strategy is to think in terms of serving the three following pillars: 

Understanding, credibility, and deliverability.

Understanding – if you want Google to recommend our content as the most suitable solution to their user’s problem, it must understand clearly and precisely what it is you are offering. Actions such as clear copywriting, adding schema markup, relevant inbound links serve the purpose of helping Google understand and be confident it has correctly understood what it is you are offering. 

Credibility – If Google has understood that multiple pieces of content offer a solution that brings a similar level of value to the user, then it will recommend the one it perceives as the most credible. Actions such as improving E-A-T, link building, linking out to relevant sources all help with your credibility and the credibility of your content.

Deliverability – Google wants to recommend content that provides a great user experience – fast, attractive, great quality, and in the most appropriate format according to the user’s specific needs at that time (geo-location device, bandwidth, etc.). Actions such as mobile-friendliness, download speed, using videos, and text in your content all help to ensure Google considers your content deliverable.

Every SEO action you take will serve one of these pillars.

Recent Posts

The Importance of Domain Authority For Your Website

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the “ranking strength” of a website over time. Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings and has no effect on the SERPs.

Check Domain Authority

Every website administrator or owner knows the importance of ranking high on search engine results pages (SERP). The higher up you show up in people’s searches, the more traffic you’re going to get. This is a fact that is not just super-logical, but also unavoidable. You simply cannot hack this. Now, your rank depends to a great extent on a little something called domain authority. In this article, we’re going to explain the concept a bit closer and see what you can do to increase domain authority in order to rank higher on Google.

Domain Authority Explained

Domain authority (DA) can be defined as the relevance of a website in its specific field, niche or industry. This relevance is calculated automatically, using complex analytic algorithms. It is scored on a scale from 1 to 100, where a lower score means lower domain authority.

Domain Authority Technical Explanation

Domain Authority is based on data from our Link Explorer web index and uses dozens of factors in its calculations. The actual Domain Authority calculation itself uses a machine learning model to predictively find a “best fit” algorithm that most closely correlates our link data with rankings across thousands of actual search results that we use as standards to scale against.

Since Authority is based on machine learning calculations, your site’s score will often fluctuate as more, less, or different data points are used in the calculation — for instance, if Facebook were to acquire a billion new links, everyone’s PA and DA would drop relative to Facebook. For this reason, keep in mind that you should always use Domain Authority as a relative metric to compare against the link profiles of other sites, as opposed to an absolute value scoring the efficacy of your internal SEO efforts.

Moz

What is a Good Domain Authority?

Websites with a score between 40 and 50 are considered to have an average domain authority. Sites with a DA of 40 or lower have poor domain authority, 50 to 60 is good and over 60 is excellent domain authority.

Generally speaking, sites with a very large number of high-quality external links (such as Wikipedia or Google.com) are at the top end of the Domain Authority scale, whereas small businesses and websites with fewer inbound links may have a much lower DA score. Brand-new websites will always start with a Domain Authority score of one.

Because Domain Authority is meant to be a predictor of a site’s ranking ability, having a very high DA score shouldn’t be your only goal. Look at the DA scores for the sites you’re directly competing with in the SERPs and aim to have a higher score than your competitors. It’s best used as a comparative metric (rather than an absolute, concrete score) when doing research in the search results and determining which sites may have more powerful/important link profiles than others. 

We won’t get into technicalities of how the DA score is actually calculated, as the concept is rather complex. We should, however, mention that, in general, domain authority encompasses four dimensions:

  • Prestige of the site and/or its authors
  • Quality of information on the site
  • Centrality of the site and its information
  • The amount of competition in the site’s particular field.

How to Check Domain Authority

Before we dig deeper into increasing domain authority, let’s see how you can find out your website’s current domain authority and then take it from there.
Domain authority, as a concept, was devised by Moz, a marketing and analytics company that also developed the tools for measuring DA. They offer a nice full suite of tools you can use to check domain authority but there are also plenty of other tools that use Moz API to offer these insights.

A very useful and well-developed DA-checking tool is Ahrefs, which is a paid service but one that returns excellent insights. The other tool we really like is Majestic, marketed as “The planet’s largest Link Index database”. It’s also a paid service with three different price tiers.

When it comes to domain authority, SEO score is of significant importance as well. To check out how your website measures up with Google, use SureOak – a professional tool that measures different aspects of your domain’s performance. Designed to help you rank higher and grow faster, SureOak offers a large number of free online SEO tools that can transform your online presence.

If you really want to work on your domain authority, you should definitely opt for one of these tools, otherwise you may not get actual, actionable insights.

How to Increase Domain Authority

Finally getting to the juicy bit of the story about domain authority, we’re now going to look into a few things everyone can do to improve their website’s domain authority.

Step 1: Build Quality Backlinks

Domain authority is all about linking. More specifically, about backlinking. You need to get backlinks, and you need to build them, and you have to pay attention to their quality.

Basically, the more backlinks you get, the better. The same goes for the ones you build. Always try to link quality websites, the ones with good or excellent domain authority. Also, make sure your links are relevant. For example, if you’re in the restaurant business, links to sites about skincare simply won’t do.

Finally, go through your links and see if any of them is bad, broken or irrelevant. You don’t want anything to do with sources that can end up damaging your domain authority.

Step 2: Improve On-Page Content

Remember that the motto “Content is King” still applies. Your website needs to have high-quality content that is linkable and therefore attractive not just to other sites but to Google crawlers as well. The logic is simple – the better your content is, the higher the chance a high-authority site will link to it. And keep in mind that good content means content that is relevant, creative, informative and well-written. And, of course, 100% original.

Step 3: Increase Internal Links

In the race to get good links from other websites, we often neglect internal linking. This is a very serious mistake since internal links are extremely powerful. They show our visitors where the relevant content is and they keep them from leaving the website due to frustration. Not to mention the technical fact that internal links help search engines index your site more easily.

Step 4: Improve Your Website Speed

Everyone hates slow-loading sites, from users to the bots search engines use to index your website. There are plenty of things you can do to improve your site speed, which will ultimately result in a lower bounce rate and a higher domain authority.

Step 5: Increase Your Social Engagement

Social signals are a major ranking factor. To get those signals, you need to get your content out on the most important and the most relevant social platforms, and to have people engage with it. By engagement, we mean likes, reposts, shares, comments and so on. Also, your site visitors have to find it extremely easy to share your content, should they feel like it. This, for one, means placing social buttons on strategic places on your pages. Also, find a way to encourage people to post comments and questions to your posts. This is one of the sure ways to increase domain authority.

Step 6: Become an Authority

This one actually requires some of the previous steps to be fully realized, especially creating quality content and having strong social engagement. In any case, the fact is that authoritative websites, with authors regarded authorities in their respective fields, simply have a higher domain authority.

Becoming an authority in your niche will not only increase your traffic significantly but it will also significantly improve the quality of links you’re getting. And that, we know, is essential for high domain authority.

Why did my Authority change?

Because Domain Authority (and, for that matter, Page Authority) is comprised of multiple metrics and calculations, pinpointing the exact cause of a change can be a challenge. If your score has gone up or down, there are many potential influencing factors including things like:

  • Your link profile growth hasn’t yet been captured in our web index.
  • The highest-authority sites experienced substantial link growth, skewing the scaling process.
  • You earned links from places that don’t contribute to Google ranking.
  • We crawled (and included in our index) more or fewer of your linking domains than we had previously.
  • Your Domain Authority is on the lower end of the scoring spectrum and is thus more impacted by scaling fluctuation.

You can read more about how to interpret these (and other) fluctuations in Authority scores here.

The key to understanding Page and Domain Authority fluctuations is that these metrics don’t exist in a vacuum — they depend on many positive and negative factors so that even if a given site improves its SEO, its Authority score(s) may not always reflect it. A good metaphor to help understand why is how “best of” rankings work. Let’s look at an example:

If Singapore has the best air quality in 2015, and improves it even further in 2016, are they guaranteed to remain at #1? What if Denmark also improves its air quality, or New Zealand (which, say, had been left out of the rankings in 2015) joins the rating system? Maybe countries 2–10 all improved dramatically and Singapore has now fallen to #11, even though they technically got better, not worse. Because there are many other factors at play, Singapore’s ranking could change in spite of any action (or inaction) whatsoever on their part.

Domain Authority (and Page Authority) work in a similar fashion. Since they’re scaled on a 100-point system, after each update, the recalculations mean that Authority score of a given page/site could go down even if that page/site has improved their link quantity and quality. Such is the nature of a relative, scaled system. As such — and this is important enough that we’ll emphasize it once more — Authority scores are best viewed as comparative rather than absolute metrics.

Bottom Line

As a metric, domain authority does have certain limitations and definitely can’t serve as the only measuring factor. Still, it’s a metric that does create more than a considerable impact and therefore should not be neglected.

In addition, as a tool for assessing the SEO potential of a website, domain authority remains high up among the factors you simply cannot afford to ignore.

Domain authority is easy to measure using one of the many available tools. It is easy to improve, with relatively little effort. It’s also something that keeps us from forgetting the ongoing importance of proper external and internal linking.

Finally, domain authority can help us see how we fare against the competitors in our niche or industry and then fix whatever needs to be fixed in order to do better.

Now that you have learned a thing or two about how to increase domain authority of your website, your website rank should improve significantly. Remember to apply these steps consistently, and good luck.

Link Building for SEO: Which Strategies Work in 2020 (and Which Don’t)

Ranking on the search engine results page isn’t easy. When you are competing against companies with seemingly endless marketing budgets, you need to figure out how to be more effective with your given marketing resources. Thankfully, link building is a great organic way to build traffic and have your website content begin ranking on the search engine results page.

If you intend to rank a website on Google search results in 2020, you can’t ignore the importance of link building and the need to put together a solid strategy that will help you earn high-quality links. In fact, links remain one of the top three most important ranking factors out there.

That said, whether you are a total SEO beginner and are learning how to build links for the first time or have been doing it for years and just want to find new tactics that still work, there are literally dozens of approaches you can take.

In this guide, you will learn how to build links with strategies and tactics that are still effective and that will help you to earn those top-ranking positions, as well as knowing those that will see you wasting time and resources and that could potentially have a negative impact on your organic visibility. 

We will share quick win tactics alongside those that need a little more time and planning, but that can truly help you to get those ‘can’t buy’ links.

  • What is Link Building?
  • Why is Link Building Important For SEO?
  • What Are the Key Elements of a Successful Link Building Strategy?
  • White Hat vs. Black Hat vs. Grey Hat Link Building 
  • Toxic Links and the Potential Negative Impact of the Wrong Strategy
  • Link Building Strategies You Need to Know in 2020
  • Quick-Win Link Building Tactics
  • Traditional Link Building Tactics
  • Link Earning Tactics
  • Paid Link Building Tactics
  • How to Use Outreach for Link Building
  • Easy Ways to Discover Link Building Opportunities
  • Metrics to Measure the Success of Link Building

If you want to learn how to build better links than your competitors, then read on…

What is Link Building?

Link building is a key part of any successful SEO strategy that involves getting other websites to link to yours — a simple hyperlink from one site to another. It is also agreed by many that it is one of the hardest parts of ranking a website, whilst one of the most rewarding when you get it right. 

Not familiar with how links work?

When website A links to website B, it s a strong hint to Google’s algorithm that it deserves to rank higher for relevant keywords, and you might hear these referred to as inbound links, backlinks, external links, or, quite simply, just links. 

You can think of links from other websites like votes.

The more high quality links that point to your website (and form part of your backlink profile), the higher you should rank on Google, and, therefore, the higher level of organic traffic you should receive. 

However, links aren’t all created equal, and some can even cause your website to decrease in visibility, something that we will cover shortly. 

There are many different tactics that you can use to build links, some easier to execute than others, and knowing where to get started can sometimes be difficult, especially when you are aware that some can do more harm than good.

Why is Link Building Important For SEO?

Link building takes time and effort. There is no hiding from that fact.

It is also hard to get right, meaning that those who can successfully execute tactics to build better links than their competitors typically see significant growth in organic traffic and revenue.

And that is why you need to understand why links are so important and should account for a considerable portion of your SEO campaigns’ resources.

We delved deep into the importance of link building for SEO in our guide to backlinks, which you should check out for a detailed introduction to the what and the why behind this key pillar of any successful campaign.

However, the main reasons why you need to make sure you are placing a strong focus on link building as an SEO are:

  • You will rank higher on Google and other search engines.
  • Google will find new pages on your site faster.
  • You’ll enjoy increased credibility and trustworthiness as a business.
  • You could benefit from targeted referral traffic.

You can’t ignore link building, and you need to make sure you are rolling out tactics that give you a competitive advantage, something that we will show you how to do in this guide.

What Are the Key Elements of a Successful Link Building Strategy?

There is more to link building than it may seem, and not just in terms of the complexity of those tactics that deliver the best results and impact. 

When planning a link building strategy, you need to remember that not all links are equal and that there are key elements that drive forward success. 

You shouldn’t be building links blindly. 

By that, we mean that you need to know what a great link looks like for you and fully understand that the more effort you put into getting the right links, the better impact you will see.

Here are some of the key components that you need to focus on that make up a great link building strategy to help you understand what a great link profile looks like.

1. Contextual Links

Links on a page that are more likely to be clicked are typically those that hold the most value and can have the biggest impact on rankings and the way that Google measures the value of a link is with PageRank, and its ‘reasonable surfer model’ parent indicates that different features associated with links change how this flows. 

Bill Slawski explains this as:

If a link is in the main content area of a page, uses a font and color that might make it stand out, and uses text that may make it something likely that someone might click upon it, then it could pass along a fair amount of PageRank. On the other hand, if it combines features that make it less likely to be clicked upon, such as being in the footer of a page, in the same color text as the rest of the text on that page, and the same font type, and uses anchor text that doesn’t interest people, it may not pass along a lot of PageRank.

— Bill Slawski

Contextual links, those placed in the body of a web page’s content as opposed to the footer or sidebar, as an example, are typically higher quality links and are key to a successful strategy.

A contextual link is the clickable text (usually the keywords) found within the written content of your webpage. If used effectively, contextual linking can be proven a very strong SEO linking strategy for your website. Not only that, contextual linking earns you high credibility and popularity among users as well as search engines.

Contextual linking can be done for internal as well as external resources i.e. linking your inner webpages and/or give references to other websites. Both have their own paybacks.

2. A High Percentage of ‘Followed’ Links

Not all links pass PageRank and impact a site’s rankings. 

Links can have different attributes applied, with the main ones you need to know to be nofollow, sponsored, and UGC links.

Links that have a rel=”nofollow” attribute give a hint that Google should not crawl them and that they should not associate the two sites from a ranking perspective. 

Rel=”sponsored” attributes indicate that a link has been paid for (and therefore should not pass PageRank).

Rel=”UGC” showcases links that come from user-generated content such as forums and comments and indicates that these links are not editorially placed and may be manipulative.

If a link is referred to as a ‘followed’ link (or sometimes, a ‘dofollow’ link – even though this is technically not the right terminology), it means that there are no attributes in place that prevent PageRank from being passed and a great link profile should contain a high percentage of these, so long as they come from quality sources.

Summed up, follow links are links that count as points, pushing SEO link juice and boosting the page rank of the linked-to sites, helping them go higher in the SERPs as a result. On the other hand, a no follow links do not count as a point in the page’s favor, does not boost PageRank, and doesn’t help a page’s placement in the SERPs. No follow links get no love.

3. Editorially Placed Links

Editorially placed links are simply those that exist because a third-party has taken the decision to add a link from their website to yours, rather than because of payment, some other incentive, or that you were the one responsible for placing it and did so to increase your rankings.

An editorial link is a one-way link placed within the body of a content that is given naturally by other websites to specify a resource. Basically, it’s a form of citation on the web, which generally indicates that the destination of the link is the original source of the procured data, idea, concept or statement.

The most effective links are editorially placed, and Google themselves highlight in their guidelines that links that don’t fall under this categorization can be deemed unnatural.

 

4. A Focus on Links From Unique Referring Domains

A great link profile will see links coming from a higher number of unique referring domains rather than the same few time and time again.

It is widely reported that having links from a higher number of unique domains can help a site to rank in prominent positions, with Nick Eubanks commenting in this blog post that, “Often times when I see sites ranking with much lower authority, they tend to have a much stronger ratio of linking root domains versus their competitors.”

A successful strategy should always place a focus upon tactics that will see a link building campaign earn links from new domains that have never linked before to increase the number of unique linking domains. 

5. A Strong Topical Relevance

Links should be from websites and content that is closely related to your own site’s topic, and this is another great example of ensuring that you are not just building any links, but rather the right ones.

Remember that links originally existed on the web to navigate a user from page A to page B, and on this assumption, why would a link take you to something that wasn’t topically related?

It doesn’t make sense, does it? So be sure to follow this stance with your link building efforts. 

A great way to get yourself into this mindset is, when prospecting for link opportunities, is to ask whether you would still pursue it if Google didn’t exist or use links as part of its algorithm. 

If the answer is yes, perhaps because you would expect it to send quality referral traffic or help to increase your brand’s awareness or authority — this usually means it is from a topically related website where your audience hangs out online. 

If you would answer no, it is a good indication that the link isn’t relevant to your business. 

6. A Natural Anchor Text Mix

Anchor text is the text used to link from one page to another. Most naturally, it’s known as the clickable text in a hyperlink. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text be relevant to the page you’re linking to, rather than generic text. The blue, underlined anchor text is the web standard, as it’s the most common.

Naturally, when linking to a website, you would likely reference the brand name, the article title, or perhaps even just use ‘click here’ or similar. That said, Google’s algorithm utilizes anchor text as an indication of what a page is about and, therefore, it can influence rankings. 

However, Google’s guidelines clearly state that optimized anchor text (using your main target keywords or commercial terms) is a violation of their guidelines, and excessive use of this is a known contributor towards both manual actions and algorithmic filters being applied. 

Your link profile should contain a natural mix, with no obvious spike of links using optimized anchor text.  

White Hat vs. Black Hat vs. Grey Hat SEO and Link Building 

Types of SEO: How They Impact Your Business

If you are new to SEO and, more specifically, link building, you may have come across references to black hat, grey hat, and black hat tactics.

These need addressing, even though we will look at some of these approaches in more depth further into this guide.

Quite simply, white hat SEO uses tactics that strictly abide by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and take an ethical approach to earn top-ranking positions. It places a strong focus on optimizing for human audiences and is seen as a long-term approach to earn sustained visibility on the search engines. 

On the other hand, black hat SEO uses those that violate these guidelines and try to rank a site higher with manipulative tactics, usually looking to gain quick wins. Black hat SEO is usually frowned upon, and can actually hurt your site rankings if you are not cautious of your link building practices. Google employs a webspam team whose core focus is to ensure that websites using black hat tactics do not rank.

Grey hat SEO sits somewhere in the middle, using tactics that could be seen as manipulative and are riskier than white hat tactics, yet aren’t as obvious a violation of Google’s terms than black hat.

Toxic Links: The Potential Negative Impact of the Wrong Strategy

State of Links 2019: SEO Questions that Google should answer

Toxic backlinks are the unnatural links that harm the search rankings of a website. Google’s Penguin update focuses on penalizing the websites that have a bad backlinks profile. If your website has a huge toxic backlinks profile, there are chances that the SEO company you had hired or are still working with is responsible for it. There are companies, which gather spammy links to give their clients a sudden rank boost, which could be harmful in the long run. You may come across several SEO firms which are not updated about the latest industry practices and are not adhering the webmasters guidelines. Associating with these companies for SEO can cause a severe damage to the health of your website.

If you build the wrong links and use risky black hat tactics, you run the risk of having toxic links in your backlink profile that could negatively affect your rankings and organic traffic.

But you need to be aware that using the wrong tactics to build links can have disastrous consequences.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • If Google determines that you are building links that violate its Webmaster Guidelines, you could see your site impacted by either a manual action or by an algorithmic filter (most likely Google Penguin), both of which can see your site drop rankings.
  • It is not unusual for it to take months, or even years, to recover from such a negative impact.
  • Time to recover is one thing to be aware of when balancing low effort, high-risk tactics with those that are lower risk but need a higher investment in effort.

The most successful strategies deliver sustained success, and you need to be using tactics that aren’t going to see your hard work impacted by a webspam filter or fall foul of a manual review. 

Toxic or say unnatural links can negatively impact the SERP rankings of the website and if Google notices that the site has high number of such links, it can also exclude the site from its database. Non-removal of toxic backlinks can also invite a Penguin penalty.

Link Building Strategies You Need to Know in 2020

Link Building Strategy: Tips for 2018 - Relevance

To build the right links that actually have a positive impact on your organic rankings and traffic, you need to make sure you are using the right strategy. 

But first, you need to be clear on the difference between strategies and tactics and explore each of these.

  • Strategy = what you are going to do.
  • Tactics = how you are going to do it.

Applied to link building, different strategies typically balance different levels of effort and resource with the potential rewards and returns (i.e., the more difficult a tactic is to implement, the better results you will see as it is harder for competitors to do the same), as well as the level of risk surrounding either algorithmic or manual actions taken by Google.

Link Building Survey

20 stats that will change the way you survey your customers ...

A few months ago, 850 SEO professionals revealed the link building strategies and tactics that they are relying on the most, with a wealth of interesting findings shared.

In fact, we were a little surprised that guest posting remains the most popular tactic. 

But, all too often, we rely on the tactics we are the most familiar with and know the best. With that in mind, let’s cast the net a little wider and explore what five different strategies look like before diving deep into the tactics, hopefully introducing you to some new ways to build great links.

Quick-Win Link Building

It is a common misconception that all link building approaches are resource-intensive. That is simply not true, and while many certainly are, if you are looking for tactics that can help you quickly pick up some good links, you will find plenty of quick-win opportunities. 

  • Low hanging fruits are usually the easiest links to get, and that means they are also those that your competitors will also reach for first. (That is not to say you shouldn’t be building these links, because you should.)
  • A quick win strategy often sees a high return for the lower effort you will need to put into the tactics.
  • These wins are what builds a solid foundation and put you on a level playing field with competitors who have already put these tactics to work.

However, you need to be realistic and understand that this strategy is rarely enough on its own, in competitive sectors, to see you land top-spot rankings. 

To take your SEO performance to the next level, you usually need to pivot your strategy towards others once you have landed the quick win opportunities. 

Traditional Link Building

5 Efficient Ways to Optimize Your Link Building - TechWyse 'Rise ...

Traditional link building tactics rely on you manually placing a link through your efforts. As in, the link building is typically in full control of the outcome of the tactics, as opposed to relying upon a journalist or other third party to want to link out to your site.

And that is exactly why these tactics are often referred to as ‘manual link building.’ But let’s get one thing straight; links that you are in control of usually aren’t the highest quality. 

  • In the eyes of Google, any links that are not editorially placed (the decision being taken to link being made by someone else) are manipulative.
  • Therefore, they are likely to either have less of an impact on rankings, be straight up ignored, or, if the tactics are executed at scale, could harm your site’s performance.

That said, these aren’t bad links, as such, and they can absolutely drive benefits such as referral traffic or help to position you as a thought leader, aside from an SEO impact — just be sure to take the time to understand the tactic properly, know the risks associated with them and use carefully. 

Another point to make is that, as with quick-win tactics, a strategy based around traditional link building tactics is likely to be one that can pretty easily be copied by competitors. It is not going to give you a significant competitive advantage.

Link Earning

If you really want to gain this competitive advantage through links, you need to adopt a strategy that will see you earn editorially placed links. 

Link earning tactics are high effort but give a high reward. You need to be prepared to invest time and resources into earning links; doing so will see you land links that competitors will struggle to replicate. 

And let’s not forget that Google has been telling us for years, as part of their Webmaster Guidelines, that:

The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community.

Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.

— Google Webmaster Guidelines (Link Schemes)

When you earn a link, a third party is actively taking the decision to do so, meaning they are linking because there is a reason to do so; that adds value to their own audience. 

These are the true holy grail of link building and the tactics that are essential to success in competitive niches.

Paid Link Building

Despite being a straight-up violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and a tactic that is clearly defined as a link scheme, paid link building is still relatively common in 2020 for the simple reason that it guarantees results. 

Earning links is hard work; there is no denying that. And even manual link building and the wealth of quick-win tactics available still require effort to see results. Some things to remember:

  • Using paid links is, in the opinion of many, lazy link building.
  • Paid link building is a clear manipulation of Google’s algorithm and a low effort yet extremely high-risk tactic. 
  • Most paid for links end up coming from sites that are not topically aligned, that have a high count of outbound links, and are generally low quality. 
  • Aside from this risk, don’t forget that if you can buy links, so can your competitors. 

There are, of course, a few exceptions to the rule here — those being when earning links to support your SEO strategy isn’t the primary focus, and you are either looking to land referral traffic or build your brand authority and are doing so with sponsored placements and advertorials on quality sites and have either a rel=“nofollow” or rel=“sponsored” attribute in place to prevent negative impact on your search rankings. 

As a general rule though, paid links purely to help increase your rankings should be seen as a no go.

Black Hat Link Building

Black hat link building strategies are often aimed to manipulate search engine rankings and, as we outlined above, often focus on unethical tactics that directly violate Google’s guidelines and utilize those methods defined as being part of a link scheme.

  • There is little, or no, focus on the user, rather, looking to game the algorithm.
  • These tactics usually result in a manual action or algorithmic filter being applied, and, as algorithms continue to develop, they can also see links that don’t trigger such an adjustment and are simply being ignored. 
  • Black hat strategies aren’t sustainable and shouldn’t be considered a viable option to pursue in 2020.

We won’t be sharing or exploring black hat tactics in-depth. We wouldn’t want to give them any exposure as they are not tactics that we believe should be used, especially unless the risks are very well understood.

Common Black Hat Link Building Tactics to Be Aware Of

300+ Free Caution & Warning Vectors - Pixabay

However, it is important that you are aware of the type of tactics that fall under black hat strategies to ensure you can avoid them if they are recommended by anyone you are working with, or you come across while learning more yourself.

Keep aware of the following factors when considering black hat SEO and linkbuilding.

  • Paid links that pass PageRank
  • Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
  • Large-scale article marketing and guest-posting campaigns that use keyword-rich anchor text
  • Low-quality directories that exist solely to build links from
  • Keyword-rich links that are embedded within widgets on other people’s websites
  • Links obtained from hacked sites
  • Links built using automated programs or services
  • Requiring links as part of a Terms of Service or contract
  • Comment spam
  • Widely distributed footer or sidebar links

Quick-Win Link Building Tactics

Try out these tactics below if you are looking for low effort, high reward tactics that won’t take much time or resource investment to implement.

They are all valuable tactics that make sense to focus some of your efforts on due to their ease to obtain.

1. Broken Link Building

target url error example to find broken links

This strategy involves finding relevant pages in your industry that could link out to you and that have broken outbound links. You can reach out and suggest that the broken link is updated to point to a relevant piece of content on your site.

A tried and tested link building tactic that is really easy to get started with, and that can drive some quick-win results is broken link building. What are broken links? Simply put, they are links that do not work and won’t lead you to the intended webpage.

A real quick way of doing this is to monitor your competitors’ backlink profile for broken links, and you can learn how to do this with the SEMrush backlink audit tool in this guide to finding a competitor’s broken backlinks

2. Reclaim Lost & Broken Links

Over time, links get lost or broken for various reasons that are totally out of your control. 

It could be that an author updates a piece of content and removes the link, that it simply gets lost during a site update or even that the page becomes a 404 or is 301 redirected.

It could even be that a page on your site that has links pointing to it becomes a 404. And links pointing to a 404 page won’t be counted as part of Google’s ranking algorithm.

For whatever reason, you need to monitor your site’s lost and broken links and take action to reclaim them:

  • Reach out to your original contact at a site and try and get a link added back in or fixed when the issue is their end.
  • If you find that a page on your site has become a 404 and is creating broken links, either redirect this URL to the most suitable page, put the original page live again, or reach out and ask for the link target to be updated.

You can find and monitor broken and lost backlinks with the SEMrush backlink audit tool.

3. Unlinked Brand Mentions

backlink audit tool for link building example

Most businesses find themselves mentioned in the press from time to time for one of many different reasons, with some natural references and others coming about as a result of your PR team’s efforts.

It is not uncommon for this coverage not to link and to just be a brand mention, but it is often easy to see this turned into a link with only minimal effort.

The hard work of securing coverage in the first place has already been done.

You can find brand mentions using the SEMrush Brand Monitoring tool to receive notifications whenever someone mentions you but hasn’t linked to your site.

You can then politely email the person who mentioned you and ask them to add a link in, making sure you demonstrate how the link adds value to their readers — this will help make their decision easier. 

You won’t always get a link added, but for only minimal effort, those that you do manage to land with this tactic make it worth your while. 

4. Link Repositioning

A great tactic that comes recommended by Ross Tavendale in his Weekly Wisdom on technical link building — this is link repositioning.

This is not a tactic that is often talked about, but one that can be utilized relatively easily and help to make your existing links work harder.

Quite simply, analyze the links pointing to your homepage and pull down any that talk about specifics of the products or services that you offer. Ones that would be more suited to linking to an internal page in your site, rather than the homepage.

As Ross recommended:

What I would do is look at all of the links pointing to my home page and analyze that content to see if any of that is actually about our blue widgets.

Some of it probably is.

I would contact those people who have written about my blue widgets, and I would say, “Hey, you have linked to the home page. Thank you so much. You are an absolute legend, but it is a bad user experience. People are clicking, going to the homepage, and they can’t see what you have just written about my blue widget. So, can we get them to point to this one?”

And most of the time people are nice enough to update the link and actually put it to the landing page.

— Ross Tavendale

This is also a great tactic if you launch a series of regionally focused sites, having previously had just one global site. 

Let’s say you launch a new website for your business that targets customers in the UK. Analyze your link profile and look for .co.uk domains, then reach out and ask for these links to be updated to your new regional site. 

5. Association & Membership Links

Are you paying to be a member of an industry association such as your local Chamber of Commerce?

If so, such organizations often showcase and link out to their members, and if you are not already listed, it usually only takes an email to request that you’re added. 

6. Supplier Links

If you sell other people’s products, there is a good chance that your suppliers and manufacturers link out to retailers from their own websites, and these can be really quick win links to attain.

Pull together a list of all of your manufacturers and suppliers and work through their websites to see whether they are linking to stockists and retailers. If they are, are you included? 

Often you will find that these aren’t updated as frequently as they should be, and retailers are missing. If you don’t see your store listed, reach out to your contact at the supplier and ask whether they can facilitate getting you added. 

7. Reverse Image Search Link Reclamation

Example of a reverse image search

Have you created infographics or published bespoke photos as part of your content strategy in the past? 

Perhaps you have got an established industry expert within your business (or your client’s) that is often featured in the press?

Head over to Google Images and run a reverse image search. 

If you find that there are sites that are using your image but haven’t credited you with a link, reach out and ask them to add one it. 

8. Q&A Platform Links

Remember, we said that link building should be as much about focusing upon tactics that send you great referral traffic and help to build your brand as impacting your search rankings?

While these will only land you nofollow links, using Q&A platforms like Quora and Reddit are great ways to build links that send targeted traffic to your site. These links will also help to diversify your link profile.

Get involved in relevant communities on these platforms, and be sure to add value. This isn’t about jumping straight in and adding a link but sharing relevant content and suggestions to help other users who have questions.

Here’s a great guide over at Search Engine Journal from Julia McCoy, where you can learn more about using this tactic as part of your strategy.

9. Internal Linking

This is a slightly different tactic. 

Often when we talk about link building, our efforts are focused solely on building external links, but a real quick-win tactic can be to spend time improving and optimizing your site’s internal linking structure.

You see, internal linking is important to properly distribute PageRank throughout your website, and if you have earned links to certain pages but haven’t maximized the impact of those links by passing authority and link equity to other related pages, you could see some noticeable gains with this tactic.

Internal linking, while it takes time and effort to do properly, is totally in your control and something that you can do today, without any input needed from third parties at all.

Why not check out our step-by-step guide to building an internal linking strategy that works?

Traditional Link Building Tactics

There are tactics that were once widely used and abused that have come under scrutiny in recent years. This is usually because they don’t result in earned links, rather those where the link builder has an active involvement in the placement of the link.

Now don’t get us wrong, these tactics won’t necessarily result in toxic links pointing to your site, far from it.

You just need to understand how to use each one and at what point you should stop scaling the number of links built in this way, as well as considering other benefits that these links can bring. 

1. Directory Submissions

Example of a spammy directory used for link building

There was a time when directories were set up solely as a way to build links. How would this work? Well businesses would submit your website URL and its details on the web in a directory under a particular category

They look something like this:

Pretty spammy, right? 

There is no value here for users, and this site obviously exists just to link out to others. You don’t want to be building links from directories like these. 

But, you shouldn’t dismiss the tactic as it is still a great way to land some great links, especially if you operate in a tight niche or are a local business.

Look for regional specific directories or those that exist within a niche where the primary purpose is to help users to find a suitable business — common sense will usually tell you whether it is worth being featured on.

Just ask yourself, if you were a potential user, would you find it useful? 

If yes, it is probably worth having a link from.

2. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging, also called “guest posting,” is the act of writing content for another company’s website. Generally, guest bloggers write for similar blogs within their industry in order to:

  • Attract traffic back to their website
  • Boost their domain authority using external links to high-authority domains
  • Increase their brand credibility and awareness, and
  • Build relationships with peers in their industry.
showing write for us in the SERPs to help with link building
An example of where to find opportunities for guest blogging

Google’s Matt Cutts announced the death of guest blogging in 2014, but that was in relation to the way the industry was abusing the tactic to build links from article bylines on any site that would take their content.

The tactic remains a great way to earn links in 2020, so long as it is approached in the right way and that you understand it is not a tactic that will scale up massively.

Forget links for a moment, and having your content published on a relevant blog where you share valuable insights and expertise is a great way to build your profile. The fact that you will usually earn a link to back up who you are is an added bonus.

In fact, a quick search on Google using one of a few different operators can reveal a whole host of guest posting opportunities. Here is an example of “write for us”.

Just remember that if you can easily find opportunities to pitch guest posts to, so can your competitors. And that means that any links you do earn might not give you the competitive advantage that other tactics can.

3. Press Release Distribution & Content Syndication

Google has openly said that they ignore links that come from press releases. The reference here was to using press release distribution services that essentially syndicate your content across a number of different sites. 

While this is a tactic that may have had some value once, times have changed, and if you are using PR wire services only to build links, there is a good chance you won’t see any value.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be pitching out to the press to earn links and coverage, far from it.

4. Blog Comments & Forum Links

You may have noticed that blog comments and forum links are mentioned as types of links that violate Google’s guidelines. 

This is very much another “it depends” tactic. 

Don’t go leaving comments on irrelevant blogs with a link back to your site; that is just straight-up spam, as is leaving links in forum posts that don’t add value.

That said, you can still earn traffic from well thought out and relevant comments and forum posts, but this comes when you approach the tactic as a way to add value to discussions and link only when it adds value. 

5. Reciprocal Links

Reciprocal links — you link to me, and I’ll link to you — are another tactic that is outlined in Google’s definition of link schemes and violations of the guidelines, but that is when it is done at scale.

If you have got an opportunity to link to and send referral traffic to a partner in your industry, and they will do the same in return, it is not going to harm you.

Just don’t go exchanging links without considering relevancy and the context. 

Link Earning Tactics

Earned links are like the holy grail of link building.

Why? Because someone is making a conscious decision to link specifically to your website, rather than anyone else’s. 

Using link earning tactics is a way to gain a competitive advantage and land links that your competitors could only dream of — and that they will struggle to replicate.

These are very much advanced tactics, but ones that deliver the best results if you are prepared to put in the effort to learn how to leverage them for success. 

1. Digital PR

Fast becoming the go-to link building tactic for many SEOs, digital PR came about as a way to earn high authority links from press publications by using PR tactics. 

Quite simply, it is the most effective way to naturally earn significant numbers of high-quality editorial links, at scale, and involves creating engaging linkable content assets and using PR pitching and outreach to persuade journalists to cover these stories in their articles and link back to the source.

But there is more than one way to run a successful digital PR campaign, and we will look at four of the most effective approaches.

Data-Driven Studies

Example of a data set publishers could use for link building

When you build a digital PR campaign around data, you are ensuring that you have got a wealth of engaging stories to pitch to the press. 

The most attractive stories and pitches to journalists are those that include something that they couldn’t easily do themselves. They are busy people, often tasked with writing 7 or 8 articles per day; and that includes sourcing quotes, images, producing copy, and more. 

  • Using data means you are sharing unique stories that are backed by findings from a study or research piece, and journalists absolutely love this.
  • Data sources to use in your campaigns can range from your own internal data through to trusted third-party public data sets, such as those from data.gov — the US government’s home of open data.

For inspiration, check out this study into the world’s hardest working musicians by a music college that analyzes tour date data from Setlist.fm for the most popular Billboard artists to reveal which artists toured the most and played the higher number of shows.

This digital PR campaign earned links from over 30 publications.

Infographics

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A few years ago infographics made it really easy to earn links from top-tier press publications. In fact, even simple ‘how to…’ infographics could relatively easily pick up significant numbers of links with just a little bit of outreach effort.

Times have changed, and you are unlikely to see much of an impact with simple advice-led and opinion-led infographics (think how-tos and listicles, etc.), but that doesn’t mean infographics aren’t still effective. 

Things to Remember:

  • There just needs to be a story.
  • The infographic should be used as a simple way to visualize your content in an easy-to-share way. 
  • An infographic is just a format, but when used as a way to tell a story, you can still see success.

As an example, this simple infographic that reveals the potential Instagram earnings of the Too Hot To Handle cast has been featured on top-tier publications, including Daily Mail and OK.

Surveys

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If you are looking for a way to launch a digital PR campaign that gets people talking, surveys can be a great way to find out the public’s perception of a topic. 

Aligning more to traditional PR tactics, yet still, a way to land coverage and earn links from the press, you can poll the public through platforms such as OnePoll and Pollfish.

Just be sure to write up your findings (and ideally visualize them) as a content asset, rather than simply just pitching out the results as a press release, as a way to ensure you earn links and not just brand mentions.

Interactive Assets & Tools

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If you have the resources to do so, launching interactive assets and tools can be a fantastic way to earn high-quality links from the press in impressive numbers.

Just check out this simple tool that lets you calculate your potential earnings as an Instagram influencer that has been linked to more than 300 times.

When you create an engaging, interactive tool or piece of content, you essentially making a link an essential part of the story.

Imagine a journalist mentioning a great tool but not linking to it. It wouldn’t make sense, would it? By making links a vital part of the story, you are working to maximize links and minimize brand mentions. 

2. Resource Link Building

resource page link building example

Sometimes, you don’t need to create assets, studies, or data-driven campaigns to earn links.

If you can identify where your business itself can add value to your audience, you can leverage this to build links from resource pages, with great examples being those from travel and tourism boards, universities, and local governments.

Competitor analysis can often help you to find resources that are linking to your competitors but not to you, and you can then take this one step further to search for similar opportunities yourself.

See this page of career resources from Oxford Universities? 

It includes a number of external links to job boards and recruitment specialists, making it a perfect target for those working in that sector. 

You just need to make sure that the link that you propose adds value to the page, that could be either through a content piece or guide or simply your business’ core offering.

3. Case Studies & Testimonials

testimonial link building example

Using case studies and testimonials can be a great way to earn links simply by writing a short summary of why you love the product or service.

This tactic is often based around existing relationships and offering to share your thoughts on their offering to help them to sell more or even just giving their permission to feature you, but in doing so, you will often land a link in return, with a great example being Squarespace’s customer testimonial pages.

4. HARO & #journorequest

If you are not monitoring HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter, you could be missing out on opportunities to land press coverage (and links) for your client or business. 

Every day, journalists and content creators turn to these platforms to find sources for their articles.

Submit a Query - Reporter Center - Help a Reporter Out

They are looking for businesses just like yours to add value and expert-led insights into their content, and it is a tactic that you should be taking advantage of.

With HARO, you will receive three emails each day, Monday to Friday, that include categorized requests (or those just from a category you have requested to receive notifications for).

If you believe that you could provide a great response to the request, go ahead and send it over. 

You won’t find all of your responses are used, but it is a relatively low-effort tactic that can drive big results in terms of landing authority links. Just make sure you are only responding to requests where you can truly provide expert comment.

#journorequest works in a similar way, rather with journalists using the hashtag on Twitter to obtain sources.

To learn more about how to use HARO to build links with success, here is a great guide for you to check out.

5. Newsjacking

Reactive PR, or as it is also known newsjacking, is a technique used by PRs which involves reacting to breaking news stories quickly, and spotting opportunities where you or your client can provide credible comment on that topic or story. 

The term “newsjacking” was popularized by David Meerman Scott and basically involves brands ‘piggybacking’ off news stories to direct attention to a piece of content, or to earn coverage or links for a brand’s homepage. 

Newsjacking is all about being quick to react and ensuring that you are not trying to shoehorn a comment or piece of content to relate to a news story that isn’t relevant to your brand.

6. The Skyscraper (& Reverse Skyscraper) Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is one that was coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko, and it has gained immense traction within the SEO and link building community in recent years.

You can read a full tutorial on how to use the tactic here, but it involves three steps:

  • Finding link-worthy content that has performed well.
  • Producing a piece of content that is even better than the original.
  • Reaching out to people who covered it and asking them to link to your improved resource.

It is based around creating the best piece of content on a topic and leveraging it to steal links from those whose content you have improved upon.  

Brian has even produced a great video to walk you through the steps of using the tactic.

But what is not often covered when people talk about the Skyscraper Technique is what could be referred to as the reverse Skyscraper technique. 

It is based on a similar principle, but rather than finding content that performed well, why not look for content that didn’t perform well but that has the potential to. Essentially, pieces that could be great, but that were executed badly. 

Then, go ahead and create the best piece of content around this topic and tell relevant webmasters and publishers about it.

7. Content Round-Ups

Have you created a great post as part of your content marketing strategy?

It is not uncommon to find content round-ups in pretty much any industry. In fact, there are even monthly round-ups in the digital PR and SEO industry, such as Content, Curated, and The Weekly SEO.

Essentially, round-ups are just lists of the best content in a sector over a period, and they are often pretty easy to find using search operators on Google, such as:

  • “Keyword” + intitle:“weekly roundup”
  • “Keyword” + intitle:“roundup”
  • “Keyword” + inurl:roundup
  • “Keyword” + “best blogs of the week”

You will need to make sure you have already created great content that is worth being featured and reach out to suggest it for inclusion. 

8. Interviews

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a92eb54913dee7e532edb3478d464d92.png

If you have got an industry expert within your business or your client’s business, securing interviews with industry-specific publications can be a great way to not only earn a relevant link but also to position them as a thought leader within the space.

Here is a great example from Small Business Trends for you to get an idea as to how the tactic works in practice.

Google search operators are a great help in finding these opportunities and don’t just limit yourself to written interviews. Videos and podcasts are also great and will often be accompanied with a link back to the guest’s website. 

9. Expert Round-Ups

Example of expert roundup

Despite being a tactic that was done to death a few years back, expert round-ups can still be a great way to earn links.

You will need to round up a series of experts within your industry (it is almost like a reverse content round-up, where you are the one creating the content) and pose a series of questions to them and turn it into an engaging piece of content that collates the opinions and insights of industry leaders.

Once you hit publish, go ahead and let everyone who contributed know that it is live, and pitch key headlines and insights to the press and other relevant publishers. 

You will naturally find that some of the experts who contributed will link to it from their ‘as seen in the press page or similar, and there’s also often interesting angles and debates that industry publications love. 

Here is a great example where experts shared their Google Shopping tips that earned 13 links. 

So long as you choose the right experts, who have some level of credibility, it is still a great tactic to use, while also helping to position your brand as thought leaders. 

Paid Link Building Tactics

To be clear, any links that are paid for violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines unless they are marked using either rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” attributes to prevent them from passing PageRank. We have already highlighted the risks of paid links, which are used as a lazy tactic, and we won’t be sharing these here.

That said, there is still an opportunity to use paid links to build your brand and earn referral traffic, which is what these tactics are intended for.

1. Sponsored Blog Posts

Let’s say there is an influential blogger in your industry who has made a name for themselves and earns thousands of page views every month from your target audience.

It is unlikely that they are going to link to you (at least upon your request) for free. Why would they? They have spent time building an audience, and they are not going to give that exposure away for nothing.

You might want to work with influencers in this way to publish a sponsored piece of content or blog post. Essentially, where they will feature and link to your business in return for payment.

  • This can be great at exposing you to new audiences and earning referral traffic.
  • Make sure that the link uses the rel=”sponsored” attribute to clearly mark that it is a paid collaboration.
  • Advertorials with top-tier news publications work in the same way.
  • These aren’t links for SEO, rather links for exposure and brand building.

2. Gifted Product Reviews

You are maybe not aware, but in the eyes of Google, links that are earned as a result of a product being gifted to a reviewer are classed as being paid. 

Whilst there is no money changing hands, there is an implied transaction to the value of the product. 

Similar to sponsored blog posts, gifting products to influencers can be a great way to expose your brand to new audiences, just make sure that any links include a rel=”sponsored” attribute. 

3. Sponsorship

Sponsoring a local sports team, meetup event, or conference, as an example, is also a tactic that is fairly commonly used to build links.

It is unusual for sponsored not to be featured and linked to in these instances, and again they fall into a grey area.

Just make sure that the event or organization that you’re sponsoring aligns with your business, and you will enjoy benefits aside from just a link, but if you are only sponsoring as a way to land a link, you need to ask yourself whether that investment could be better spent elsewhere, especially if the links you will get don’t topically align.

4. Scholarships

scholarship links

Offering scholarships as a way to build links is another tactic that’s been abused and, indirectly, it is a paid link building tactic. 

It simply involves putting together a reasonably-sized scholarship fund (think $1,000 +) and listing the requirements and offering on a dedicated page on your site, before reaching out to colleges and universities that list current scholarships and hoping that they link out. 

It is popular because it is a proven way to land links from educational institutions and those you wouldn’t normally get links from, but it is one that has been abused and overused in recent years. 

This fits very much into the ‘grey hat’ category as, whilst you are not paying directly for a link, it is the primary reason why you are setting up a scholarship fund. 

Just be sure not to abuse the tactic, and it can still help you to build some great links. 

Starbucks’ scholarship page, as an example, has earned links from over 700 unique domains.

How to Use Outreach for Link Building

In almost all link building strategies that you will use, you are going to need to use email outreach as a way to open up opportunities and discussions and to actually land the links.

From pitching to the press to running an outreach campaign to land guest posting opportunities, it is all different variants on the same process. 

To truly master link building, you will need to get good at outreach (or work with someone who is).

What is Outreach?

Outreach for link building is simply when you identify people in your industry (be that influencers, journalists, bloggers or webmasters) that might be interested in linking to you and reaching out to them to build a relationship and explore opportunities for them to cover your content.

But content can mean many different things.

It might be that you’re outreaching to offer exclusive interviews with your company’s CEO, your latest data-led digital PR campaign, or to pitch guest post ideas. 

Outreach is simply the process of finding and connecting with those potential prospects who might link to you. 

Top Tips for Successful Outreach

There are a few key elements of successful outreach and, while it is a detailed topic that’s covered in-depth in guides like this, you need to focus on:

  • Finding and identifying the right prospects.
  • Writing engaging subject lines that see your emails actually get opened.
  • Writing convincing outreach emails that encourage the recipient to take action.

It is a process that easily lends itself to testing out approaches of your own, and that should be tailored to the specific link building tactic you are using.

Always be sure to personalize outreach emails and clearly outline the action that you want them to take is.

Are you wanting them to add a link to an existing article, cover your story for the publication they write for, accept your guest post proposal? Be sure to make it clear.

In fact, a 2019 study by Fractl highlighted the value that publishers see in pitches:

publisher survey
Study conducted by Fractl

Outreach is very much a tactic that is vital to helping you build and earn great links, it just takes time to perfect your approach.

However, one thing that underpins the success of any outreach campaign is the quality of your outreach list. It is important that you are prepared to put in the time and effort to find the right prospects, using tactics such as:

  • Analyzing your competitors’ backlink profile.
  • Finding journalists who covered other stories in your industry through Google news.
  • Using a media database to find relevant prospects.

Building a smaller, but targeted, outreach list often drives better results than larger lists that often feel like you’re throwing as much as possible against a wall and hoping something sticks.

Do your research and know the way that your outreach pitch adds value to the recipient. 

3 Easy Ways to Discover Link Building Opportunities

We have been through a whole load of link building tactics, and hopefully, you have now got some ideas on how to use these to build great links.

But how do you get started finding opportunities?

1. Using Google Search Operators

Whether you are looking to use guest posting, link round-ups, or even niche directories, Google is often the best place to start.

You will not need any tools, and you can usually find tonnes of opportunities in just minutes.

You can then use search operators to return the results and opportunities that you Are looking to find.

Looking to write guest posts? Try these:

  • [keyword] intitle:“become a contributor”
  • [keyword] intitle:”write for us”
  • [keyword] intitle:”guest post”
  • [keyword] inurl:”writer-guidelines”

Want to find content round-ups to share your latest piece with? Try these:

  • [keyword] intitle:”round up”
  • [keyword] intitle:”weekly round up”
  • [keyword] “best blogs of the month”

Or to find resource link opportunities, try these:

  • [keyword] (intitle:”resources”| inurl:resources)
  • [keyword] intitle:”useful links”
search operators for link building

2. Run a Backlink Gap Analysis

You can use the SEMrush backlink gap tool to find opportunities to land links that your competitors have but that you don’t.

backlink gap

In fact, it is a great way to identify the links that could be helping your competitors to rank and, if there is a link in place to them, there is a good chance you will also be able to grab a link from the same site.

Add up to five competitors to the tool, and you will even see recommendations made to help you analyze more links.

backlink gap results

You will then be served a goldmine of insights into your competitors’ link profile, including those who have earned the most links, the Authority Score (AS) of each, and which sites have landed links from the domain.

This is a really quick and easy way to find prospects where you have got an increased chance of landing a link, as well as giving you the insights needed to reverse engineer your competitors’ strategies to figure out the tactics they are using to build links. 

3. Find Your Competitors’ Most Linked-To Pages 

Whether you are looking to use the Skyscraper technique to create an awesome piece of content and steal links from your competitors’ page, having the insights around the types of content that your competitors (and others in your industry, even if they are not a direct competitor) are using to earn links is valuable to help shape your own strategy.

If others in your sector are using data-driven digital PR assets, you should be doing the same to attain links of a similar quality (or better), as an example.

You can find the pages on other sites that have been linked to the most using our Backlink Analytics tool, heading to the indexed pages tab and sort by the number of referring domains.

You will now see the site’s most linked-to pages. 

how to find most linked to pages

You need to use common sense and skip past ‘policy’ pages, and the like, but it offers some insights that you could be using in your campaigns. 

Metrics to Measure the Success of Link Building

The success of a link building campaign can look like different things to different people.  

It all comes down to the goals of your campaign. However, it is important that you understand the metrics that should be considered when setting these goals.

It is dangerous to focus on the raw numbers of links built as you will find that this sacrifices quality. And, you need to be using competitor insights to determine the link gap between you and others and make sure you are building the right links that actually increase your rankings.

But when looking at metrics, you want to consider using one or more the following:

  • Authority Score (SEMrush’s own metric that grades the overall quality of a website and tells you how impactful a backlink from a site can be for your SEO).
  • The ratio of follow to nofollow links (Ideally, your link profile will contain far more follow links than nofollow links).
  • Topical relevance (How closely aligned to your business are the sites that you’re landing links from? Links that come from closely aligned content are typically more value).
  • Unique referring domains (You don’t want to be just earning links from the same domains all the time and should focus on increasing the number of unique referring sites in your link profile).
  • Toxic links (This is another SEMrush metric that indicates whether a link could pose a risk to your site’s rankings. You ideally don’t want any toxic links in your link profile, but if you do, you will need to clean them up).

You may also want to consider goals such as brand exposure, links, and placements on certain publications, referral traffic, and more — it is all about measuring those things that matter to you as a business. 


Go Ahead and Start Building Better Links!

Now that you have been given detailed insights into the link building tactics that work and those that do not in 2020, it is time to get started. 

If you have never built links before, hopefully, you are now eager to get started and are looking forward to landing your first link. If you have been link building for years, hopefully, you have been inspired to try out a new tactic.

No one ever said that link building was easy because it is not, and the tactics that you should be using continue to evolve.

But we hope that by having a whole host of approaches at hand, you can ensure you are building a diverse link profile and maximizing opportunities that come from all different angles. 

Become a better link builder, and you will be in demand. It is the tactic that most SEOs find the most difficult, and any proven successes you can showcase make you all the more valuable to potential clients or employers. 

Happy link building!