Four tools to better structure your article for SEO and usability

SERPstat tool to help you optimize your content and keywords, and better structure an article

Writing a good article is not enough for search visibility and good user engagement. What really matters is how well you structure it in order to optimize it well and give clear answers to users‘ questions.

Here are four factors to consider when creating effectively structured content, and tools to use for each.

1. How to use your HTML headings

HTML headings are nothing new. In fact I was blogging on them over a decade ago (back then we referred to them as “semantic structure” which gives a good idea what they are for).

HTML headings got back into the spotlight recently thanks to Google’s featured snippet algorithm.

We have found that Google looks for an H2/H3 subheads to locate the best answer to the query (and consequently feature the page).

Since featured snippets are also powering voice search results for the most part, we’ve seen a flood of newer articles on structuring your content with HTML headings over the past few months.

Here are a few takeaways on how to use HTML headings correctly:

  1. Keep the content structure in mind. You don’t start your page with an H3 heading. Instead, it should H1 heading followed by an H2 heading followed by a few H3 headings. There can be several H2 and H3 headings within one article reflecting the hierarchy of content.
  2. HTML headings are your perfect sections to put your primary and secondary keywords in. It’s not just for SEO (although it is important): Your readers will skim through your content and seeing those keywords (that brought them there) in prominent places will keep them reading.
  3. When taken out of context, H2-H3 headings should give a good idea of what the article is about. It’s like a summary of a page.
  4. Each heading should be followed by a clear concise answer (e.g. a definition, a quick factual answer, etc.) This is for both search engines and readers to quickly find what they were looking for.

There are not many tools currently providing actionable optimization recommendations when it comes to content structuring. I usually turn to question research when I want to better understand how to break my article into subtopics.

To better understand how to word my headings, I am using Text Analysis by Serpstat. The tool is based on Keyword Clustering feature (which I highlighted here), so your first step would be grouping your keyword list using that section. Once you identify semantic groups of your keywords, select one (or several) of the groups and proceed to the Text Analysis step.

The tool will analyze on-page content of your top 10 organic competitors in Google and come up with the optimization recommendations to create a better-optimized copy (and structure):

Read a more in-depth explanation of the feature here.

2. How to better optimize each article section

SEO has moved beyond keyword matching. While knowing your primary keyword(s) is still very important, using it throughout your article is not enough to optimize it.

How to better structure each section of your article?

TextOptimizer, the tool I have already highlighted here, makes the topic research even easier with its latest update. The tool uses semantic analysis to come up with the list of related and neighboring terms that should be covered in your article or on your landing page.

On top of all, you can clearly see what you should discuss within each section of your content. To give you a better idea, let’s say you are working on a landing page for your [social media marketing] services.

TextOptimizer will search Google for that query, extract search snippets and, using semantic analysis, identify key concepts that will best cater to Google’s and its users‘ expectations. One of those identified terms is, say, “Business goals” which you may decide to cover under a separate HTML heading.

But what should be inside that section?

Clicking the phrase inside TextOptimizer’s dashboard will give you a very clear idea:

text optimizer dashboard to give keyword ideas for articles for better SEO

What you need to do now is to create a copy discussing several of these concepts inside your section covering “Business goals“.

3. Where and how to use your calls-to-action

In-content calls-to-action are often neglected. This is unfortunate because content is a massive lead driver, especially once you get it well-placed in Google’s search results (using the two tools above).

But how to turn your content into a conversion and / or lead generation channel?

Make the most of your in-content CTAs (including in-content two-step optin).

Finteza is the free analytics software with a solid focus on conversion rate optimization. It tracks your multiple CTAs and tells you exactly how your readers engage with them.

screenshot of Finteza, a free analytics software with a solid focus on conversion rate optimization. It tracks your multiple CTAs and tells you exactly how your readers engage with them

Finteza makes it super easy to add in-article CTAs to event tracking through their WordPress plugin:

Finteza plugin for wordpress to add links to event tracking

Tip: When adding your in-content events for tracking, name them based on the placement to better understand which of those perform better. For example, “article-top download”, “sidebar banner”, “post-text webinar”, etc.

4. How to use in-content structured markup

Finally, if you really want to make the most of your content structuring, schema.org is always a good idea. When it comes to content, there are only a few schema.org types currently officially supported by Google including reviews, recipes and news.

One of the non-supported types which I am inclined to use is HowTo schema which we already saw used by Google as an experiment.

HowTo schema we've seen used by Google for better structuring an article

[Screenshot by Aaron Bradley]

Yoast Plugin makes it super easy to implement.

Yoast plugin for HowTo schema

Tip: Use Yoast SEO plugin to easily add HowTo schema: Just keep adding steps until you’ve included all of them. This will help Google to better locate and interpret your instructions.

Content creation is the fundamental step in any digital marketing strategy, even in difficult niches. Make the most of your content development efforts with better structuring each page that goes up on your site.

What tools are you using to structure your content? Please share your tips!

The post Four tools to better structure your article for SEO and usability appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

B2B Brands Go Bold: 7 Great Examples of Interactive B2B Content

IBM Interactive Content Example

B2B Interactive Content ExamplesIf you’re not convinced that interactive content in the B2B space can work: Well, first check out these interactive content stats.

If you’re still on the fence, here’s an object lesson from a master of audience engagement:

Freddie plays that 100,000-person crowd like an instrument. You can feel the energy, even through a tiny YouTube window.

When you invite your audience to be part of the show, the results can be magical.

Now, odds are your brand can’t match the raw charisma of Freddie Mercury in tight jeans. But you can still get your audience cheering with interactive B2B content.

Here are a few great examples to light your creative fires and open your B2B minds to the possibilities of interactive.

7 Great Examples of B2B Interactive Content

What do we mean by interactive content? Generally speaking, it’s any content that requires more input from the user than simply scrolling or clicking links. In practice, there are a few broad categories:

  • Interactive infographics use animation, navigational elements, and customizable data sets.
  • Interactive eBooks can incorporate audio, video, and animation.
  • Quizzes ask users a series of questions and display results.
  • Calculators allow users to input and manipulate data to view potential outcomes.
  • Interactive video lets users make choices that affect the plot of a short film.

#1: IBM Takes Storytelling to the Next Level

We often talk about storytelling in B2B content. But it’s usually in the context of helping customers see what life with our solution could be like, or highlighting success stories. IBM takes the concept more literally in this interactive video.

It’s a fully-realized work of fiction, presenting an original story of a power plant operator struggling to bring power back on during an outage. The user has to help the protagonist make decisions (and learn about IBM’s app suite along the way).

The true mark of greatness for this piece is it’s compelling even if you know nothing about mobile apps for power plant management. It actually stands on its own while still being relevant to IBM’s target customer.

#2: NASDAQ Spices Up Case Studies

Customer success stories are some of the most valuable marketing material you have. When a buyer is doing research, though, they get repetitive fast: Customer had problem, tried our solution, got great results.

NASDAQ livens up their case studies in this animated eBook. Client testimonials zoom in; pages are easy-to-browse with extra detail hidden behind tabs. The layout helps NASDAQ highlight the most important parts of the case study, while still offering depth for interested customers.

Nasdaq Interactive eBook Example

#3: DivvyHQ Takes Us Back to the Future

TopRank Marketing helped create this interactive eBook for DivvyHQ. The challenge for this piece was to present a metric ton of content in an easy-to-browse and compelling format. We chose a lively pop-culture theme to unify the content. Then we focused on strong navigational elements that guide the reader while still allowing them to choose their own path.

DivvyHQ Interactive Content Example

The result? An instantly engaging piece that encourages readers to explore. As a bonus, we were able to use the theme for spin-off pieces like blog posts and promotions.

#4: HubSpot’s Website Assessment Makes the Grade

Automated tools are the next evolution of assessment-style interactivity. If your solution is web-based, you may be able to show customers specifically what you can do for them. HubSpot offers this web performance evaluation site that has proven to be a powerful lead-generation tool.

There’s minimal interaction required — the user puts in a URL and an email address— but the in-depth results are more than compelling. It’s a great example of how to win customers by providing value up-front.

#5: VenturePact Elegantly Answers a Common Customer Question

Calculators are an often-overlooked type of interactive content. In this case, a calculator helped VenturePact fix a leak in their marketing funnel.

VenturePact discovered that price was their potential customers‘ number one source of hesitation. Many of VenturePact’s prospects balked at requesting an estimate before they had a general idea of how much the agency’s services might cost.

VenturePact’s mobile app price calculator asks detailed questions about a potential product to generate a rough estimate of cost, then invites the user to fill in a form for a more detailed estimate.

Venture Pact Interactive Calculator Example

#6: Prophix Showcases Actual Intelligence

Audio is an under-explored component for interactive content. It’s easy to assume our audience is going to have us on mute. But audio can make content more compelling, especially influencer content. It’s easier than ever to capture audio, with tools like Zencastr. It makes sense to add that component wherever you can.

This interactive eBook for our client Prophix uses influencer audio and a computer-generated “virtual assistant” to make the material more compelling. We saw an unprecedented level of interaction with this piece; our analytics showed people were spending a great deal of time and clicking deep into the asset.

Prophix Interactive Content Example

Read the full case study to learn more about our approach to this interactive content campaign.

#6: SnapApp Gamifies Lead Collection

Lead capture is a balancing act: If we ask for too little data, we could be capturing underqualified leads. If we ask for too much data, people will run away screaming. This Candyland-themed piece from SnapApp—which happens to fall into the interactive content tool category—solves the problem in an elegant fashion.

SnapApp Interactive Content Land Example

On every stage of the game, you get two to three pieces of marketing advice and one question to answer. The questions are all stuff that’s useful to SnapApp: How big your team is, what your role is, etc. It’s a lot to ask, but the useful info and whimsical experience make it a fair trade for the customer.

Bonus Example: TopRank Marketing Breaks Free of Boring B2B

TopRank Marketing wants to make 2019 the year that boring B2B finally goes extinct. To help things along, we created Break Free of Boring B2B. It has advice from folks like Ardath Albee, David Meerman Scott, Brian Fanzo and more… and laser-powered grizzly bears, sharks, and pugs in sports cars.

Click Here to see the Break Free from Boring B2B Guide in Full Screen Mode

Ready, Freddie? Let Boring B2B Content Bite the Dust

These examples prove that interactivity boosts content effectiveness no matter what your goals might be. Whether it’s creating awareness, educating customers, driving leads, or attracting talent, content is more engaging when it invites the reader to play along.

Speaking of interactive content for B2B brands, our own Lee Odden will be digging into this topic at the upcoming B2B Marketing Exchange conference in Scottsdale, AZ during his presentation: Break Free of Boring B2B with Interactive Influencer Content, which is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

The post B2B Brands Go Bold: 7 Great Examples of Interactive B2B Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Entity – Markenstrategie, Branding, Website und Geschäftsausstattung

Mehr Bilder…

Thesis Solutions ist ein Berliner Unternehmen, das komplexe Webplattformen und Applikationen für digitale Geschäftsmodelle entwickelt. Nach einem strukturellen Umbruch sollte die Marke strategisch geschärft werden und ein neues Naming und Branding erhalten.

Aufgabe war, Leistungen, Werte und Anspruch des Unternehmens durch Corporate Design und Corporate Language zugänglich zu machen. Die Hauptzielgruppe: Start-ups mit anspruchsvollem digitalen Geschäftsmodell, aber ohne Entwickler im Gründerteam.

Im Rahmen eines markenstrategischen Prozesses erfanden wir die Marke neu: Auf Basis der Markenwerte wurde Thesis zu Entity. Der Claim „visions to reality“ fasst Markenversprechen und Kernleistung: individuelle, hochwertige Software, mit deren Hilfe große Ideen Wirklichkeit werden.

Um den Programmierprozess zu visualisieren, entwickelten wir einen Code. Animiert auf der Website eingesetzt, vermitteln er die Expertise von Entity. Die Code-Elemente wurden außerdem zu einem Icon-Set weiterentwickelt, um Produkte und Services zu illustrieren.

Agentur
Helder Brand Design

Source:: designmadeingermany.de

How to Implement AMP (If You Really Must): A Quick-Start Guide to Accelerated Mobile Pages

Who is AMP for? diagram from AMPproject.com

How to Implement AMP (If You Really Must): A Quick-Start Guide to Accelerated Mobile Pages was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Both searchers and search engines want webpages to be lightning fast. So it’s no surprise that page speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.

Multiple studies have shown that page load time also heavily impacts a site’s bottom line: conversion and revenue.

Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is one way to speed up your webpages for people using mobile devices.

AMP can present additional benefits: appearing in the AMP carousel in Google search, and offering a better experience to searchers.

AMP search results in Google

Google marks AMP results with a lightning bolt, and some SERPs include an AMP carousel.

Is AMP Right for Your Site?

Originally, the AMP solution was intended for media sites. Google wanted to help news stories come up almost instantly from the search results.

Over time, AMP has spread to other types of sites — particularly advertisers, ad-technology platforms and ecommerce sites as well as publishers.

Google recommends AMP primarily for these types of sites. (image credit: AMPproject.com)

Today, many websites can benefit from implementing AMP. Retailers and many others use AMP to serve landing pages fast. And ads in this format have a better chance of being seen.

If you’re looking for a way to make your webpages faster, AMP may be right for you.

You don’t need AMP at all for webpages that are responsive and fast enough already. Google’s Gary Illyes has said this publicly.

What are alternatives to implementing AMP?

  • Content Delivery Network. CDNs work by bringing the heaviest resource files on a site closer to the end user. Less distance to travel means faster delivery, so your pages display more quickly on a mobile device.
  • Fully implemented HTTP/2. The HTTP/2 protocol speeds up data transport on the web. So if your market has 4G or 5G internet speeds and your website is HTTP/2 enabled, then you probably don’t need AMP at all.
  • Progressive Web Apps technology. PWAs can make your website behave like a native mobile app. https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/ We have written about these before (see What Is a Progressive Web App).

Here’s a story to illustrate that HTTP/2 statement.

One of our consulting clients, a U.S. company, converted several thousand of its webpages to AMP. Four staff members worked for five weeks to complete the project.

The result? Their AMP pages displayed slightly faster to mobile searchers. But the website’s rankings and traffic were unaffected. In hindsight, their time and effort would have been better spent creating new content.

The AMP solution makes the most sense in countries/regions with slow network speeds. For example, our Bruce Clay India office has helped implement AMP for some clients there with good results.

If you believe AMP is right for you and you’re ready to start, I’ll outline the basic first steps.

How to Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages

To implement Accelerated Mobile Pages for your website and track results, there are three basic steps:

  1. Create the AMP page template.
  2. Roll out the AMP page.
  3. Track with analytics.

We’ll look at each step in detail below, and I’ll also link to AMP documentation for more info.

Once you have decided which parts of your site should be AMP’d, here are the basic steps to creating, publishing and tracking AMP pages.

1. Create the AMP Page Template

The first step in implementing AMP is creating a webpage template.

AMP integrates with many different publishing platforms. You can view the list in AMP’s Quickstart guide and choose your content management system to get more details.

You can build AMP templates from scratch. Or you can convert existing HTML pages into AMP format. The documentation gives information on all the options.

Pointers for creating an AMP template:

  • When creating a page template for AMP, ensure that it meets AMP specs. You can find guidance on HTML format and more at the AMP specifications page.
  • When styling the page, you won’t have JavaScript at your disposal. Include as many custom <amp*&rt; tags as you need to make the layout look good. That includes using responsive images, video and audio (see AMP replacements for details).
  • Keep it simple. After all, the point of AMP is to have a clean, stripped-down webpage.
  • Include some sort of navigation to your domain on each page. You can link from a logo, image or text. Because AMP pages are served from a Google cache, giving searchers a link is essential to try and keep them on your website.
  • If you need to keep ads on your webpages, you must migrate them. Use the amp-ad component. If you cannot use <amp-ad&rt;, then do not include ads in your AMP templates. (You can read more about advertisements on AMP here.)
  • Finally, validate the AMP page. Just one error or warning will keep the page out of the AMP cache. So validation is a crucial step. Check out this page for common validation errors.

2. Roll Out the AMP Pages

I like the idea of testing one or two types of pages from your website on AMP first. Ideally, include some pages that rank so that you can see if Google is serving the AMP version in mobile search results.

Depending on your site’s crawl rate, it could take a couple of days before Google finds, checks and indexes the AMP version of the page.

Let the rollout run for at least one month (longer if you can do it). As long as your pages are getting traffic, you’ll build enough data to ensure that rolling out AMP sitewide is worth it.

3. Track with Analytics

You’ll want to track the performance of your AMP pages. Since AMP analytics will be different from normal Google Analytics, read this guide to understand how it works.

You can track pages via in-house or third-party analytics. Many analytics vendors have built-in configurations for amp-analytics.

You can use amp-pixel for simple tracking and amp-analytics for everything else.

Technical recommendations as you’re setting up tracking:

  • Make sure to use the canonical URL and other variables to define what should be recorded. This is essential to understanding any traffic increases or decreases due to AMP.
  • Use the extraUrlParams attribute in amp‐analytics to add a query string parameter to the canonical URL like “type=amp” or something similar. This will make it easy to differentiate AMP pages from normal webpages in analytics, or to create a custom segment if you need to. This way, you can compare total traffic on pages before and after the AMP launch.

Side Note: How Accelerated Mobile Pages Work

If you’re wondering how AMP pages can possibly appear to load instantly, it’s because they are optimized differently than a regular webpage.

Below I’ve summarized optimizations that AMP does to reduce the amount of work a browser must do to display a page. (See the full list on the AMP Project site.)

Here’s what the AMP process can do:

  • Execute asynchronous JavaScript only – It doesn’t wait for big files to load.
  • Size resources (such as images, ads and iframes) statically – The browser knows exactly how the page will be laid out from the start.
  • Don’t let extensions block rendering – The page doesn’t have to wait even if there are extensions coming.
  • Keep third-party JavaScript out of the critical path – Things like ads are restricted to sandboxed iframes.
  • Allow inline CSS only – Bloated CSS files don’t delay the page.
  • No HTTP requests until fonts start downloading – Keeps fonts efficient.
  • Minimize style recalculations – All DOM reads happen up front to lay out the page.
  • Only run GPU-accelerated animations – The graphics processing unit handles visual animations (transform and opacity), reducing strain on the CPU.
  • Prioritize resource loading – The most important resources (above the fold) get downloaded first.
  • Load pages via prerendered content – Above-the-fold content may be available even before a user selects it, so it appears instantly on click.

Concluding Thoughts

AMP is one way that you can speed up your webpages and offer a better experience to mobile users.

If you’re ready to amp up your webpages, follow the basic steps in this article and the AMP documentation to get started. You might even be able to attend one of Google’s AMP Roadshow workshops (see worldwide schedule here).

But my advice for most sites is: reconsider.

Unless this is critical to your business, please do not implement AMP.

The time you invest converting your webpages to a different format could be better spent creating good content that will serve all of your users.

Now I want to know if you’ve implemented AMP and what tips you have for our readers. Let me know in the comments below.

Source:: bruceclay.com

Link reclamation: A practical guide for turning unlinked brand mentions into links

screenshot of Google News filtered by past 24 hours or past week, to be used when finding relevant content for link building

Your latest content campaign has been covered by a top-tier global publication… but there’s no link! Your brand (or your client) has been mentioned, but that’s all.

At this stage, do you simply accept the brand value of a mention and move on to target your next link prospect? Or is there a process you can follow to at least try to get a link added in?

Sadly, unlinked brand mentions are one of the biggest challenges when building links through content marketing and digital PR. It’s more common than many link builders would like to admit.

But, seeing a link added in to an article after it’s been published can be easier to achieve than many assume.

You just need to know when it’s right to ask for a link, who you need to reach out to and what you should say. We’ll cover all these things below.

Content-led link building is hard — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It often takes blood, sweat and tears to launch a campaign which earns significant numbers of links. And it’s for that reason that link reclamation should be a tactic which is executed as standard. After all, if you’ve put the effort in to land coverage in the first place, it makes sense to follow additional steps to secure a link if that’s what it takes.

How many people use link reclamation?

To demonstrate a point: I recently reached out to my Twitter and LinkedIn networks. I asked a simple question: ‘Do you use link reclamation alongside your content marketing campaigns?‘

The responses surprised me…

Always: 29%
Sometimes: 47%
Never: 24%

Of those who took the time to respond, only three in ten are executing link reclamation as standard on every campaign.

Perhaps more surprising is that one in four aren’t using it at all.

Given some of the comments left alongside the poll, this is something which many turn to if they have time — rather than working it into a wider link building process.

Think of the links which could have been earned but which were simply let lie as brand mentions.

What is link reclamation?

Link reclamation is a simple but efficient tactic to turn brand mentions into links; usually those earned as part of a content marketing or digital PR campaign.

As SEOs, we understand the value of authoritative, editorial links and the impact which they can have upon our campaigns — just as much as we understand how hard it is to even earn coverage from top-tier publications in the first place.

That’s why it can be frustrating when we discover a brand mention which doesn’t link.

What’s really important to remember, however, is that, in many instances, journalists aren’t purposefully avoiding linking to you or your client. For one reason or another (whether that’s trying to speed up the publishing process, a question as to whether a link is really needed to tell the story or others…) articles sometimes go published without a link.

As an industry we need to accept that there’s little we can do to change a journalist’s own processes and publication criteria. What we can do is take action and follow a series of tried and tested steps to try to land that link.

After all, the hard work of getting the coverage in the first place is already done. Turning a brand mention into a link is surely easy in comparison, right?

I’d like to say yes. And in many cases it is. However, I’ve also seen some horrendous examples of link reclamation gone wrong, usually because of a lack of understanding as to whether a link is actually deserved or not.

How do you find unlinked brand mentions?

One way to find unlinked brand mentions is to use ahref’s content explorer and follow their tutorial here. Combining a CSV export with Screaming Frog to compile a list of web pages which mention your brand but which don’t link.

If you’re actively promoting a content marketing or digital PR campaign, however, you’ll undoubtedly already be looking for the latest coverage.

One of the easiest ways to find this is through Google News. Filter by ‘Past 24 hours‘ to see coverage picked up in the past day, or set to ‘Past week‘ if you’re looking to find additional articles and features.

This will often throw up a number of unlinked brand mentions which you then can use link reclamation tactics for to try and turn them into a link.

Don’t forget to set up Google Alerts both across your brand name and campaign headlines as well to easily be alerted to further unlinked mention opportunities to explore.

When should you ask for a brand mention to be linked?

It’s not always right to ask for an unlinked brand mentioned to be turned into a link.

Despite what many may say, a journalist doesn’t owe you a link. Not even if they cover your campaign.

A link’s purpose is to take a user from A to B and, in order for that to make sense to be in place, it typically needs to add value of some sorts.

To put this into a working context, let’s look at a few different scenarios here.

  1. Your brand (or client) has been mentioned in an article in reference to a study which you conducted and which the article directly mentions. There’s no link but many of the statistics and findings have been revealed.
  2. A journalist has featured an infographic which you produced (and embedded it) but hasn’t linked. They have credited your brand.
  3. Your brand has been referenced alongside a quote which you supplied to a journalist to add further weight to their story around a subject.
  4. Your brand has been mentioned out of context. In this case, let’s base it around a Tweet which circulated last year; one of your physical stores has been mentioned in an online newspaper, only in reference to a robbery taking place over the road from it.

In which instance would you say you’re well-deserved of the link?

Scenario one.

When there’s a clear opportunity to add value with what’s on the other end of the link, there’s no debating that a link should be in place and it’s easy to justify why. The good news is that, in many cases, the link will already be in place when there’s clear value to the user and is an important part of the wider article.

Scenarios two and three are the ones where most link reclamation activity happens. Those where a link references the original campaign or the brand who has supplied a quote. In most cases, the link isn’t already in place here because it isn’t vital to the story. However, the link is in context and can be requested as a way to cite a source.

Scenario four is where link reclamation should be avoided. The link is of no value to readers and doesn’t make contextual sense.

Always be mindful as to whether it makes sense for a link to be added in to an article. Ask yourself; “would a link add value to a reader?” Otherwise, you’re wasting your time trying to reclaim an out-of-context mention.

You need to be able to clearly outline where a link should point to.

Note: requesting homepage, category or service page links is often not as successful as those to content pages as it can be seen as overly commercial.

You also need to be able to justify why it makes sense to be in place to maximize your success rate at link reclamation.

Who should you approach with your request?

You need to make sure you’re making your request to the right person to increase your chances of seeing a brand mentioned turned into a link.

Your options of who to approach are usually:

  1. The journalist who wrote and published the article
  2. Their editor
  3. The publication’s corrections desk

You see, most go straight back to the journalist who they pitched the original story to, however this isn’t always as successful as it could be.

Why?

Journalists are busy people.

Once they’ve hit publish there’s a good chance they’ve moved onto writing their next article and have more or less forgotten about what they last put together. And we simply have to accept that. They have new priorities and they’re not about to go and drop everything to add your link back in.

Of course, that’s not to say that reaching back out to a journalist doesn’t work, simply that they’re not always the best option.

You could reach out to the editor of the section. However, again, they’re busy individuals and adding your link in likely doesn’t come as a high priority.

A corrections desk’s role is to make amends to articles which have already been published.

This makes them, at least for me, the first people to reach out to.

You’ll find corrections contacts listed for most publications. If we take a look at Metro’s ‘Contact Us‘ page (found in their footer), we see:

contact info for Metro.co.uk, shows email for a corrections desk which can be the best option for reviewing unlinked brand mentions

The address clearly states that the purpose is for complaints or corrections. sSending your link reclamation request here often ensures both quick action and an increased chance of success.

Say you send to the corrections desk and either get no reply after three days or you don’t see the link added in. (Note that you often won’t be notified that a link has been added to the article after you request it through the corrections desk — so be sure to keep checking yourself.) In this case, you might go back and reach out to either the journalist or the editor (or both; essentially giving you three chances at getting that link).

What should you say to maximize your chances of getting the link?

I’ve spent hours in the past reworking emails, but am confident that the approach which I now take works well, at least across my own clients and campaigns.

I’ve learned that a successful link reclamation email includes the following:

  • A polite THANK YOU for covering your campaign, brand or client (manners really do go a long way)
  • A clear reference to the title of the article which contains the brand mention
  • A link to the article which contains the mention
  • The link which you want added in to the article
  • A simple justification as to why the link adds value to readers

And, in practice, here’s what that looks like for me:

example email of how to ask for a backlink to a currently unlinked brand mention, particularly where it adds value to the reader

It’s simple, straight to the point and polite; however what it does perfectly is justify why a link would add value to the article and should be added in.

In this particular example, the link was added into an article on USA Today within 2 hours of sending the email.

Earning extra links for your brand

Link reclamation is something, as far as I’m concerned, should be done alongside all content marketing and digital PR campaigns to help you maximize the number of quality links earned.

Once you understand what works (and what doesn’t) in terms of who to approach and what to say, you’ll find that it’s something you can spend half an hour on each day and see results from.

At the end of the day, links still work in SEO. And there’s every argument to be made to put in that extra bit of effort to earn more from your (already put in) hard work.

James Brockbank is Managing Director of Digitaloft, a multi-award winning SEO, PPC & Content Marketing agency. You can find him on Twitter @BrockbankJames.

The post Link reclamation: A practical guide for turning unlinked brand mentions into links appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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