It seems by now that everyone knows what is SEO. However, many companies do not have an in-house expert, and even by following “N steps of an effective SEO strategy to rank first” businesses do not even make it in the first three pages of search results. With that in mind, I’ve decided to share one a bit less usual approach that I’ve tried myself and that has helped me save big time.
Ever since backlinks, guest posts and press releases have proven to influence the website’s position in search results, everyone started focusing expressly on that, without getting the essence of the type of backlinks, pages where to guest post, and the real goal of the press releases and their copy. Based on my experience, I can group SEO issues and mistakes as follows:
- You have a difficult keyword, for which it seems impossible to achieve the ranking goal, even with a relatively high budget (let’s say this goes with about 5 thousand dollars per keyword).
- You have a decent budget, but cannot find websites to post on, that would be relevant for your keyword.
- You have a decent budget and a list of websites that you’d be good to post on, but cannot find the contact information of the right people who can get your post live.
- You have a limited budget only, and cannot find websites posting on which would be both affordable and reliable.
- You don’t have a SEO expert on your team who would always act in response to any changes and make the needed moves to get the company website rank in top and keep it there.
It is honestly hard to say which of these has the biggest or the smallest effect on the achieved results for every single company. However, the issue mentioned last is quite common. That is one of the particular reasons why I decided to share my knowledge with you. For a better understanding of my advice and suggestions, I will provide the example of the target keyword ‘travel agency’, also based on a SEO budget of USD 5,000.
Using Ahrefs, I looked up the needed data about my targeted keyword:
What can we learn from this? First of all, we should notice that the global search for this keyword is 122,000, of which about one third is coming from the US. It has a medium keyword difficulty, and the fact of being composed of two (key)words makes it a bit easier to rank. Moreover, Ahrefs tells me directly that I’d need at least 35 domains referring to my website in order to be shown in the top ten results (in other words, to be shown on the first page).
The SEO budget allows me a bit more than just 35 domains. Moreover, I am willing to have a more stable ranking, and therefore will make the effort to achieve results according to the following plan:
- 25 banners on website homepages
- 25 sidebar image links
- 50 sidebar content links
- 50 guest posts.
This sums up to 150 backlinks to my website for the given keyword. To further grow my chances of getting a good rank, I would set a goal of a minimum domain ranking (DR) 45, permanently updated English websites with at least 100 backlinks each. The types of websites I’d choose in this case are forum websites, educational blogs, informational websites, tourism related product or company websites, and tourism-related websites.
To accomplish the plan and meet the requirements that I’ve set, I’d have to look up about 5 thousand websites. Technically, I’d have to find many more and select afterwards the ones that correspond to my criteria. This would’ve taken me forever, and with the budget I have, it is much easier to buy this data instead of wasting both time and money on manual research.
So I apply to Global Database (my own preferred company directory) to get the following information:
- Tourism Companies (USA — 7,000 Companies)
- Media Companies (USA — 2,000 Companies)
- Bespoke List of all websites that contain the keyword ‘Travel agency’ repeated 10 times (about 4,500 websites)
- Bespoke List of Travel Forums (about 500 Travel forums with executives contacts)
- Bespoke List of Travel Blogs (about 2,000 Travel Blogs with executives contacts).
In a few minutes I end up having the needed data downloaded as an Excel file, and it’s time to get back to Ahrefs. Here I upload the collected domains, but it takes me a while as Ahrefs allows only 200 domains at a time in their Domain Batch Analysis tool. Anyways, soon I have the list of domains and all relevant data. Again, using Excel, I sort out the suitable ones according to the required domain rating and number of backlinks. Not a surprise, that out of a list of around 16,000 domains, I finish up with approximately 5K.
Using the VLOOKUP Excel function I match the remaining domains with the company information file that I’ve downloaded earlier from Global Database. Now I have a comprehensive list of relevant websites with all the contact data I need right at hand. An aspect I like most about simply buying the company information from business directories is that you get the direct contact information of the people in charge. So if I make my offer to a decision maker, e.g. CMO, copywriter, content manager and any other relevant position, I have a much higher chance of achieving the desired result rather than having my emails gotten by an assistant who will purge them together with many other emails that he or she will simply consider spam, instead of a business collaboration offer.
I write the offer email templates for each type of website separately. In brief, I let the addressees know who I am and why I am contacting them, tell exactly what and where I’d like them to post and how much I am able and willing to pay. Using CRM, I schedule when, to whom and what emails should be sent at a pace of 500 emails daily, and keep track of the results. With a good offer, this kind of campaign should deliver a satisfying response rate, allowing me to achieve what I need to be displayed for the ‘travel agency’ keyword on the first page.
Overall, a part of the budget in the very first month (reminder — I had a 5K monthly budget from the beginning) was spent on purchasing the datasets, and on payments to the first website owners who’ve accepted my offer right away. The following months, payments mostly cover the costs of banners and backlinks’ maintenance. I can say that it is a pretty good deal with little time and effort spent.
The tools I used for this campaign:
The advantage of using this SEO strategy is that it will lead you to make data-driven decisions and actions, while not requiring too much knowledge or experience in search engines. And it truly saves a lot of time. Hope this helps and it will be nice to hear some feedback, your own experiences, so I’d be glad to see your comment below.