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Yoast SEO 15.4: Seamless integration with Elementor

Yoast SEO 15.4 is a special release — especially if you are one of the more than five million users of the Elementor WordPress site builder. In this release, you’ll find a seamless, easy-to-use integration of Yoast SEO with Elementor. Building websites and optimizing content for the search engines now in one workflow!

Elementor & Yoast SEO: A great match

Elementor and Yoast SEO are two of the most popular WordPress plugins on the planet. Both rank firmly in the top five WordPress plugins on WordPress.org. Both tools share a similar goal: helping people from all walks of life to make great websites. We both want to lower the barrier to entry into a world that is often seen as complex and technical. But joining these two wasn’t that easy and using Yoast SEO in Elementor was always a struggle. As of Yoast SEO 15.4, we’ve fixed that. We built a seamless integration with Elementor!

The Yoast SEO Elementor integration is fully-featured and free to use for everyone — no Premium required. You can find all your favourite tools in the new Elementor sidebar, available for you on the left-hand side of your screen. But if you have Yoast SEO Premium, you’ll also find your extra features in that same spot, like the internal linking suggestions, social previews and the related keyphrases.

Yoast SEO is now fully integrated in Elementor

Yoast SEO fully integrated into the Elementor sidebar

If you are an experienced Yoast SEO user you’ll feel right at home. As an Elementor user, you now get access to all the great Yoast SEO tools where you need them the most — right in the post editor. Now, you can make use of all our suggestions and feedback to build that awesome piece of content you are looking for. The analyses of Yoast SEO work in all fields and in every type of content.

Why should use you Yoast SEO in Elementor?

Yoast SEO is the leading SEO plugin in the WordPress space, offering a wealth of features that help your site perform well in the search engines. Yoast SEO doesn’t just improve the technical side of sites but also provides invaluable tools to write high-quality content and build a great site structure. One of the most important innovations is the content analysis that helps you improve your content by giving you advice in real-time — as you write.

As of today, you’ll also get everything you need to optimize the pages you make in Elementor for the search engines right at your fingertips. Awesome SEO features, a powerful toolbar, with real-time analysis of your content and feedback that makes sure that your content follows SEO and content best-practices.

Buy Yoast SEO Premium now!

Unlock powerful features and much more for your WordPress site with the Yoast SEO Premium plugin!

Get Yoast SEO Premium Only $89 USD (ex VAT) for 1 site

How to find the Yoast SEO sidebar in Elementor sidebar

Working with Yoast SEO in Elementor should come naturally. It is very easy and you’ll get used to it in no-time. Simply open up one of your pages or posts and hit the big, blue Edit with Elementor button.

The first time you open a post after installing Yoast SEO 15.4, you’ll see a notice a pop-up that announces the arrival of Yoast SEO. Simply follow it to get started. You can also open the Yoast SEO sidebar by clicking the hamburger menu from the main Elementor sidebar and clicking the Yoast SEO button. Lastly, you can reach it via the settings cog at the bottom of the left-hand screen. This opens the page settings and you’ll notice the Yoast SEO icon.

You can access the Yoast SEO tools in several ways

Here’s a quick screencast showing the Yoast SEO Elementor integration in action:

Yoast SEO 15.4 with a major new feature

The main focus of Yoast SEO 15.4 was this awesome integration with Elementor. It’s not easy getting tools like this to play nice, but we pulled it off. We hope fans of Elementor will be pleased by this integration and we hope this is the start of something beautiful. For people not familiar with Elementor, please check it out — it’s an incredible tool that’s more than just a simple site builder.

Read more: How to use Yoast SEO in Elementor »

The post Yoast SEO 15.4: Seamless integration with Elementor appeared first on Yoast.

Yoast SEO 15.4 is a special release — especially if you are one of the more than five million users of the Elementor WordPress site builder. In this release, you’ll find a seamless, easy-to-use integration of Yoast SEO with Elementor. Building websites and optimizing content for the search engines now in one workflow! Elementor &
The post Yoast SEO 15.4: Seamless integration with Elementor appeared first on Yoast.Read MoreYoast SEO, Yoast SEO Premium

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Local SEO for Nonprofit Organizations: 5 Tactics to Try Today

Posted by kellyjcoop

Many marketing channels are interruptive by nature, meant to divert attention away from a task, be it reading and replying to emails, perusing articles online, browsing social feeds, listening to the radio, watching TV — the list goes on. SEO is one of the only marketing channels (the only?) that serves to first deliver something, instead of asking before delivering. At its core, SEO is used to deliver helpful content to people actively searching for it. And, it can (and should!) be used to reach target audiences at the local and national level.

According to Google, searches for local places without the use of “near me” have grown 150% over the last two years — showing that, when people search, they’re increasingly expecting local results. This creates a powerful opportunity for those organizations primed to take advantage of it. Through the “search and deliver” dynamic of SEO, nonprofit marketers have the opportunity to reach local audiences that indicate their interest and engagement through their search behaviors. Nonprofit marketers can leverage this to engage supporters, drive donations, and share their nonprofit’s mission with the world.

So, how do you make the most of local SEO? Read on for local SEO tactics you can try today.

Before we dive in, it’s important to first understand what primary factors impact your nonprofit organization’s local search engine rankings. This can be distilled into four primary areas: relevance, distance, trust, and prominence.

Relevance: How well your website matches the search term a user searches for. If Google determines your business is an educational charity, then your website has a higher likelihood to rank for the term “education charity” in comparison to another business Google determines is a health nonprofit.

Distance: The proximity of your business to the searcher. As Google learns more about you and your whereabouts via the ever present homing beacon in your pocket — your smartphone — distance has become a top (if not the top) ranking factor. Essentially, the search engine result page (SERP) for “health nonprofit” in Portland, Oregon will be completely different from the result in Seattle, Washington. Heck, the SERP in the Portland ZIP code of 97219 will be different than the Portland ZIP code of 97209.



Trust: How trustworthy Google thinks your business is, based on its reputation. This could be determined by your review quantity and ratings, or the number of high-authority websites that link to your website. Quantity and quality of reviews, quality and quantity of linking domains, domain age, and quality of website content are a few ways that Google can determine trustworthiness.

Prominence: How often your business appears across the web. Examples could be a mention of your nonprofit online (by a local news outlet, for example) or a business listing on directory sites like Great Nonprofits or Charity Navigator.

Some of these are easier to impact than others — you can’t change the distance of your business to the searcher — so let’s dive in to five local SEO tactics you can implement today.

1. Create or claim a Google My Business page — it’s free!

Google accounts for 88% of all online searches, so making the most of Google is critical in developing a strong online presence for your nonprofit. Google has also reported that 46% of online searches have local intent, so doing what you can to amplify your nonprofit’s local search presence can have a big impact on your business.

Are you convinced? I hope so. Creating and/or claiming a Google My Business (GMB) page is a great first step in leveraging Google — and it’s completely free. When you create a GMB page, your nonprofit is listed in Google Maps, your odds of getting listed in Google’s local 3-pack improve, and you’re more likely to improve your overall local search rankings, thereby ensuring that more people searching for your nonprofit (or nonprofits like yours) find you.

By creating a Google My Business(GMB) page, you tackle all four ranking factors outlined above, so if you can only do one of the tactics outlined in this blog post, do this one.

If you already have GMB pages claimed and completed for all your business locations, high-five! Go ahead and skip to #2.

Before you start claiming GMB pages, the first thing you’ll want to do is collect and organize accurate location data, or “NAP” (name, address, phone number), for all of your nonprofit locations. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to NAP:

  • Always use your real-world business name. The name you list here should match the sign on your door, your marketing collateral, etc.
  • Always use your real-world address. Don’t include information in the address line to describe the location; stick to your mailing address.
  • Use a local phone number whenever possible vs. a call center helpline.

Bonus tip: Depending on how many locations you have, keeping track of location data can get unwieldy fast. If you have more than a few locations, I highly recommend you (or someone in your organization) create and manage a single source, like a spreadsheet, that has all your business’s location data centralized and organized in one place.

After you organize your location data, you’ll want to go through and claim and/or update the Google My Business pages for all your locations. Here are step-by step instructions from Google. Things to keep in mind when completing your GMB listing:

  • Include a primary business category to describe what your business does to Google and to the people searching. If multiple categories describe your business, choose the category that most closely matches your ranking goals as your primary category. Then, you can add up to 9 additional categories for a total of 10. For help selecting categories, check out our blog post on How to Choose a Google My Business Category.
  • Select attributes for your business. There are a variety of attributes available for you to share more about your business, such as accessibility attributes, whether your nonprofit identifies as Black-owned or women-led, LGTBQ+ friendly, etc. The list of available attributes is pretty extensive, but select only those that are applicable, relevant, and accurate.
  • Write a thoughtful business description. You have 750 characters to describe what your nonprofit does and what makes it unique.
  • Include keywords in the business description. Focus on 1-2 high-value keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit, and avoid keyword stuffing (the unnecessary repetition of keywords throughout on-page SEO elements).
  • Add photos! According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions and 35% more click-through to websites. When selecting photos, choose authentic, high-quality photos that showcase your nonprofit.
  • Select a profile photo to note your preferred photo choice for search results. This isn’t foolproof — there is no guarantee that your profile photo will appear first — but it does indicate to Google which photo you prefer.

2. Claim your local business listings

The places you can create a business listing online are growing exponentially, from social networking sites to specialized, vertical-specific directory sites that allow people to research, compare, and share reviews of businesses, products and services. These online destinations present marketers with local citation opportunities — opportunities to get your nonprofit in front of more people.

In the past, amassing a large quantity of citations was a favored tactic when increasing local search rankings. Now, as factors impacting local search rankings evolve, the verdict is out on whether local citation quantity remains so important. Claiming and managing your online business listings may help your nonprofit rank higher for local search queries and it will help more people discover your nonprofit online. You will reach a larger audience by creating complete, accurate, and engaging experiences everywhere your target audience searches.

Not sure how you show up? You can use Moz’s free Check Presence tool to see how your nonprofit appears across the web.

3. Develop an online review strategy

Reputation is a valuable asset for any business, and that’s especially true for nonprofit organizations, where donations are given and sponsorships extended based on the organization’s reputation for doing good.

As more people turn to digital to find, research, and evaluate charities that align with the causes they care about, your online reputation becomes increasingly important. Online reviews are a facet of your nonprofit’s overall brand reputation, and should be managed accordingly.

In addition to the brand benefits, an active review strategy has the added value of increasing your nonprofit’s online visibility. Review quantity, recency, and quality are factors that help Google determine how trustworthy your website is, which is one of the ranking factors we covered earlier. Google has said high-quality, positive reviews can improve your business visibility. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to reviews:

  • Make it easy for people to leave reviews. You can create and share a short url for customers to share reviews of your nonprofit.
  • Solicit honest reviews. Sometimes all you have to do is ask! According to a 2019 study, 76% of people who were asked to leave a review do so.
  • Don’t solicit reviews in bulk — This is against Google’s policies. Google does not provide a definition of what they mean by “bulk”, but typically this refers to sending many requests at one time via an automated platform vs. a one-on-one request.
  • Don’t pay for reviews. This practice is also against Google’s policies.
  • Respond to reviews, even negative ones. When you reply to a review, it shows that you value the feedback, plus, conversion rates (clicks to call, clicks to directions, etc.) increase when companies engage with and reply to reviews.
  • Don’t be deterred by negative reviews. 90% of people are open to changing negative reviews if the issue is addressed. Again, sometimes all you have to do is ask.

4. Choose the right keywords to target

Keyword research, or choosing the “right” keywords to target, is a foundational aspect of SEO because it provides a roadmap you can use to optimize existing content, and produce new content in the hopes of ranking higher in SERPs. It requires an understanding of your target audience and how they’re searching for content online. The end-goal is to determine:

  • The specific terms your audience is using to search online.
  • The number of searches for a specific keyword over a given time period, or search volume.
  • What your target audience is expecting to find when they search for that term, or the searcher’s intent.

When targeting keywords, you want to focus on high-volume, high-intent keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit and that you could realistically rank for. This only begins to scratch the surface — keyword research is a BIG topic! — so if you’re ready to dive in to keyword research, I highly recommend that you check out The Keyword Research Master Guide.

Then, once you’ve identified your target keywords, remember to pick terms that best describe your nonprofit and include them in the business descriptions of your Google My Business and other local business listings.

5. Conduct on-page optimization

On-page optimization is the process of optimizing specific pages on a website for the keywords you want to rank for. This includes on-page SEO ranking factors like the content on the page itself, or the source code such as page title and meta description. Through on-page seo, you help Google accurately determine what your business is and what it does, and how relevant your website is to what people search for.

For example, if you have the term “global education” in a page URL, in the page title, description, and in the content of the page, Google is more likely to determine that the page is about global education and, your page will be more likely to rank for that term.

A few tips to keep in mind when it comes to on-page SEO:

  • Develop E-A-T content. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google uses this framework to determine high-quality content, and high-quality correlates with higher search engine rankings. There are a variety of E-A-T tactics you can leverage — for a run-down I suggest you watch E-A-T and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines — but in the end, it adds up to demonstrating your business’s expertise and legitimacy to Google.
  • Intentional keyword usage. It’s still important to include a target keyword in the title tag, description, headers, and through the content of the page, while avoiding keyword stuffing.
  • Page titles and descriptions aren’t just for rankings. Crafting a compelling page title and description can lead to better SERP click-through rates — more people clicking on your website from the search engine result page. You’ll want to pair an attention-grabbing headline with a description that is specific, relevant, and (most importantly) helpful.
  • Don’t forget about page load speed. Page speed is a search engine ranking factor and refers to how quickly your page loads for a user. You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your web pages stack up.
  • Avoid keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your website are all competing for the same keyword. You put yourself in the position where you’re competing with yourself for rankings! Not only is this inefficient, it can have negative impacts, such as making it difficult for Google to identify the “best” or most relevant page on your website for your target keyword, diluting backlinks, or decreasing page authority.

Conclusion

These are just some tips of many, many potential ways you can leverage SEO to help grow your nonprofit organization. It may seem daunting at first, but investing in SEO is well worth it. And, it’s okay if you need help along the way!

If you’re at the stage where you’re currently evaluating a partner or tool for your SEO needs, ask the following:

  • Does the partner meet your value standards?
  • Do they support programs for social good?
  • Do they have special pricing for nonprofit organizations? For example, Moz offers discounted rates on Moz Pro and has a limited-time discount on Moz Local, available now through Dec 31, 2020.
  • Will the partner make your life easier?

There’s no time like the present: dive in to SEO now to reach more people with your message, improve conversion rates, find more sponsors, volunteers, and donors, and connect with more people who need you most.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Posted by kellyjcoopMany marketing channels are interruptive by nature, meant to divert attention away from a task, be it reading and replying to emails, perusing articles online, browsing social feeds, listening to the radio, watching TV — the list goes on. SEO is one of the only marketing channels (the only?) that serves to first deliver something, instead of asking before delivering. At its core, SEO is used to deliver helpful content to people actively searching for it. And, it can (and should!) be used to reach target audiences at the local and national level.
According to Google, searches for local places without the use of “near me” have grown 150% over the last two years — showing that, when people search, they’re increasingly expecting local results. This creates a powerful opportunity for those organizations primed to take advantage of it. Through the “search and deliver” dynamic of SEO, nonprofit marketers have the opportunity to reach local audiences that indicate their interest and engagement through their search behaviors. Nonprofit marketers can leverage this to engage supporters, drive donations, and share their nonprofit’s mission with the world.
So, how do you make the most of local SEO? Read on for local SEO tactics you can try today.
Before we dive in, it’s important to first understand what primary factors impact your nonprofit organization’s local search engine rankings. This can be distilled into four primary areas: relevance, distance, trust, and prominence.
Relevance: How well your website matches the search term a user searches for. If Google determines your business is an educational charity, then your website has a higher likelihood to rank for the term “education charity” in comparison to another business Google determines is a health nonprofit.
Distance: The proximity of your business to the searcher. As Google learns more about you and your whereabouts via the ever present homing beacon in your pocket — your smartphone — distance has become a top (if not the top) ranking factor. Essentially, the search engine result page (SERP) for “health nonprofit” in Portland, Oregon will be completely different from the result in Seattle, Washington. Heck, the SERP in the Portland ZIP code of 97219 will be different than the Portland ZIP code of 97209.

Trust: How trustworthy Google thinks your business is, based on its reputation. This could be determined by your review quantity and ratings, or the number of high-authority websites that link to your website. Quantity and quality of reviews, quality and quantity of linking domains, domain age, and quality of website content are a few ways that Google can determine trustworthiness.
Prominence: How often your business appears across the web. Examples could be a mention of your nonprofit online (by a local news outlet, for example) or a business listing on directory sites like Great Nonprofits or Charity Navigator.
Some of these are easier to impact than others — you can’t change the distance of your business to the searcher — so let’s dive in to five local SEO tactics you can implement today.
1. Create or claim a Google My Business page — it’s free!
Google accounts for 88% of all online searches, so making the most of Google is critical in developing a strong online presence for your nonprofit. Google has also reported that 46% of online searches have local intent, so doing what you can to amplify your nonprofit’s local search presence can have a big impact on your business.
Are you convinced? I hope so. Creating and/or claiming a Google My Business (GMB) page is a great first step in leveraging Google — and it’s completely free. When you create a GMB page, your nonprofit is listed in Google Maps, your odds of getting listed in Google’s local 3-pack improve, and you’re more likely to improve your overall local search rankings, thereby ensuring that more people searching for your nonprofit (or nonprofits like yours) find you.
By creating a Google My Business(GMB) page, you tackle all four ranking factors outlined above, so if you can only do one of the tactics outlined in this blog post, do this one.
If you already have GMB pages claimed and completed for all your business locations, high-five! Go ahead and skip to #2.
Before you start claiming GMB pages, the first thing you’ll want to do is collect and organize accurate location data, or “NAP” (name, address, phone number), for all of your nonprofit locations. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to NAP:
Always use your real-world business name. The name you list here should match the sign on your door, your marketing collateral, etc. Always use your real-world address. Don’t include information in the address line to describe the location; stick to your mailing address.Use a local phone number whenever possible vs. a call center helpline.
Bonus tip: Depending on how many locations you have, keeping track of location data can get unwieldy fast. If you have more than a few locations, I highly recommend you (or someone in your organization) create and manage a single source, like a spreadsheet, that has all your business’s location data centralized and organized in one place.
After you organize your location data, you’ll want to go through and claim and/or update the Google My Business pages for all your locations. Here are step-by step instructions from Google. Things to keep in mind when completing your GMB listing:
Include a primary business category to describe what your business does to Google and to the people searching. If multiple categories describe your business, choose the category that most closely matches your ranking goals as your primary category. Then, you can add up to 9 additional categories for a total of 10. For help selecting categories, check out our blog post on How to Choose a Google My Business Category.Select attributes for your business. There are a variety of attributes available for you to share more about your business, such as accessibility attributes, whether your nonprofit identifies as Black-owned or women-led, LGTBQ+ friendly, etc. The list of available attributes is pretty extensive, but select only those that are applicable, relevant, and accurate. Write a thoughtful business description. You have 750 characters to describe what your nonprofit does and what makes it unique. Include keywords in the business description. Focus on 1-2 high-value keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit, and avoid keyword stuffing (the unnecessary repetition of keywords throughout on-page SEO elements). Add photos! According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions and 35% more click-through to websites. When selecting photos, choose authentic, high-quality photos that showcase your nonprofit.Select a profile photo to note your preferred photo choice for search results. This isn’t foolproof — there is no guarantee that your profile photo will appear first — but it does indicate to Google which photo you prefer.
2. Claim your local business listings
The places you can create a business listing online are growing exponentially, from social networking sites to specialized, vertical-specific directory sites that allow people to research, compare, and share reviews of businesses, products and services. These online destinations present marketers with local citation opportunities — opportunities to get your nonprofit in front of more people.
In the past, amassing a large quantity of citations was a favored tactic when increasing local search rankings. Now, as factors impacting local search rankings evolve, the verdict is out on whether local citation quantity remains so important. Claiming and managing your online business listings may help your nonprofit rank higher for local search queries and it will help more people discover your nonprofit online. You will reach a larger audience by creating complete, accurate, and engaging experiences everywhere your target audience searches.
Not sure how you show up? You can use Moz’s free Check Presence tool to see how your nonprofit appears across the web.
3. Develop an online review strategy
Reputation is a valuable asset for any business, and that’s especially true for nonprofit organizations, where donations are given and sponsorships extended based on the organization’s reputation for doing good.
As more people turn to digital to find, research, and evaluate charities that align with the causes they care about, your online reputation becomes increasingly important. Online reviews are a facet of your nonprofit’s overall brand reputation, and should be managed accordingly.
In addition to the brand benefits, an active review strategy has the added value of increasing your nonprofit’s online visibility. Review quantity, recency, and quality are factors that help Google determine how trustworthy your website is, which is one of the ranking factors we covered earlier. Google has said high-quality, positive reviews can improve your business visibility. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to reviews:
Make it easy for people to leave reviews. You can create and share a short url for customers to share reviews of your nonprofit. Solicit honest reviews. Sometimes all you have to do is ask! According to a 2019 study, 76% of people who were asked to leave a review do so. Don’t solicit reviews in bulk — This is against Google’s policies. Google does not provide a definition of what they mean by “bulk”, but typically this refers to sending many requests at one time via an automated platform vs. a one-on-one request.Don’t pay for reviews. This practice is also against Google’s policies. Respond to reviews, even negative ones. When you reply to a review, it shows that you value the feedback, plus, conversion rates (clicks to call, clicks to directions, etc.) increase when companies engage with and reply to reviews. Don’t be deterred by negative reviews. 90% of people are open to changing negative reviews if the issue is addressed. Again, sometimes all you have to do is ask.
4. Choose the right keywords to target
Keyword research, or choosing the “right” keywords to target, is a foundational aspect of SEO because it provides a roadmap you can use to optimize existing content, and produce new content in the hopes of ranking higher in SERPs. It requires an understanding of your target audience and how they’re searching for content online. The end-goal is to determine:
The specific terms your audience is using to search online. The number of searches for a specific keyword over a given time period, or search volume.What your target audience is expecting to find when they search for that term, or the searcher’s intent.
When targeting keywords, you want to focus on high-volume, high-intent keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit and that you could realistically rank for. This only begins to scratch the surface — keyword research is a BIG topic! — so if you’re ready to dive in to keyword research, I highly recommend that you check out The Keyword Research Master Guide.
Then, once you’ve identified your target keywords, remember to pick terms that best describe your nonprofit and include them in the business descriptions of your Google My Business and other local business listings.
5. Conduct on-page optimization
On-page optimization is the process of optimizing specific pages on a website for the keywords you want to rank for. This includes on-page SEO ranking factors like the content on the page itself, or the source code such as page title and meta description. Through on-page seo, you help Google accurately determine what your business is and what it does, and how relevant your website is to what people search for.
For example, if you have the term “global education” in a page URL, in the page title, description, and in the content of the page, Google is more likely to determine that the page is about global education and, your page will be more likely to rank for that term.
A few tips to keep in mind when it comes to on-page SEO:
Develop E-A-T content. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google uses this framework to determine high-quality content, and high-quality correlates with higher search engine rankings. There are a variety of E-A-T tactics you can leverage — for a run-down I suggest you watch E-A-T and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines — but in the end, it adds up to demonstrating your business’s expertise and legitimacy to Google. Intentional keyword usage. It’s still important to include a target keyword in the title tag, description, headers, and through the content of the page, while avoiding keyword stuffing. Page titles and descriptions aren’t just for rankings. Crafting a compelling page title and description can lead to better SERP click-through rates — more people clicking on your website from the search engine result page. You’ll want to pair an attention-grabbing headline with a description that is specific, relevant, and (most importantly) helpful. Don’t forget about page load speed. Page speed is a search engine ranking factor and refers to how quickly your page loads for a user. You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your web pages stack up.Avoid keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your website are all competing for the same keyword. You put yourself in the position where you’re competing with yourself for rankings! Not only is this inefficient, it can have negative impacts, such as making it difficult for Google to identify the “best” or most relevant page on your website for your target keyword, diluting backlinks, or decreasing page authority.
Conclusion
These are just some tips of many, many potential ways you can leverage SEO to help grow your nonprofit organization. It may seem daunting at first, but investing in SEO is well worth it. And, it’s okay if you need help along the way!
If you’re at the stage where you’re currently evaluating a partner or tool for your SEO needs, ask the following:
Does the partner meet your value standards? Do they support programs for social good?Do they have special pricing for nonprofit organizations? For example, Moz offers discounted rates on Moz Pro and has a limited-time discount on Moz Local, available now through Dec 31, 2020.Will the partner make your life easier?
There’s no time like the present: dive in to SEO now to reach more people with your message, improve conversion rates, find more sponsors, volunteers, and donors, and connect with more people who need you most.Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!Read MoreThe Moz Blog

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Top Content Marketing Trends 2020 – SEMrush Study

Top Content Marketing Trends 2020 – SEMrush Study

How often do you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose the best strategy for further action? We sincerely believe that a successful content marketing strategy should be backed by data. We conducted research covering the most popular topics, hashtags, searched keywords in the content marketing industry.

How often do you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose the best strategy for further action? We sincerely believe that a successful content marketing strategy should be backed by data. We conducted research covering the most popular topics, hashtags, searched keywords in the content marketing industry.Read MoreContent Marketing, MarketingSEMrush blog

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What are rich snippets?

Maybe you’ve heard about the concept of rich snippets. SEO experts seem to think everyone knows exactly what they are. But, for SEO newbies, a rich snippet is a really vague term. What is it exactly? Time to explain what they are, why they’re important for SEO and how you can get them for your site.

Before you read on, we’d like to mention that we’ve launched a free Structured data for beginners training course! Why are we mentioning this? Because adding structured data to your site can help you get your own rich snippets. In this course we explain what rich snippets are, what structured data is and how you can implement this on your own site:

What is a rich snippet?

A snippet is a result Google shows to the user in the search results. To give you an example: I was searching for a good recipe for homemade ice cream and googled it. After that, Google showed me a results list with normal snippets and rich snippets — or rich results as they are now called. To give you an idea of the difference, a normal snippet usually looks like this:

A simple, run of the mill snippet in Google

As you can see, Google shows the title in blue, the URL in black and a description of what the page is about. This is what we call the snippet, the thing Yoast SEO helps you optimize with our Google/snippet preview.

A rich result or snippet shows lots of extra information between the URL and the description. It can look like this:

A recipe rich result for the same query as the one above

In this snippet, a picture of the ice cream is added, you can see the rating of the recipe, the time it takes to prepare this type of ice cream and the number of calories it contains. So it contains much more information than the normal snippet does. And that’s why we call it a rich snippet.

There are lots and lots of different types of rich results, depending on your site and the content you’re providing. Some topics, like recipes, also come with other types of rich results like the carousel:

A recipe carousel on desktop — you’ll see these even more often on mobile

Why are rich results important for SEO?

Now that you’ve got an idea of what rich snippets are, let’s discuss why you should have them. Rich results or snippets stand out from the other snippets in the search results. They look much nicer and users will instantly get more information, just by looking at them. This is great for the visibility of your site, but it can also increase your click-through rate. Take it from Rich, he knows all about it!

Hi, my name is Snippet. Rich Snippet. Rich snippets are snippets that have a higher click-through rate. People just prefer to click on the results that give them more information.

If the click-through rate of a snippet increases, you’ll get more traffic from that search result. Not because your position in the search engine changed, but just because more people click on your result. They just stand out, like me!

But that’s not all. In the long run, rich snippets will affect your ranking as well. As more people click on your result, Google will notice that people prefer your page above other ones. Which tells Google that your page is a good result for that specific search and that will definitely improve your rankings in the long run!

So, be awesome like Rich Snippet in his snazzy suit and work on your rich results!

How do you get rich snippets?

Google can show rich results or snippets if you add structured data to your site. Structured data is a piece of code in a specific format, written in such a way that search engines understand it. Search engines read the code and use it to create rich results. Learn more about structured data and how to implement it in our free Structured data for beginners training course.

Yoast SEO can help you get started!

Adding structured data to your website can be quite daunting. But we’re here to help! Our plugin comes with a powerful framework for implementing structured data. Yoast SEO builds a structured data graph for every post or page on your site. A graph is a complete piece of structured data that helps search engines understand the contents of your page or post.

Yoast SEO also offers different structured data content blocks — for FAQs and how-tos, for instance — to help build specific types of content. This way, you can get rich results for these particular types of content. Everyone will be able to get started with structured data and get those rich results!

Read more: Structured data with Schema.org: the ultimate guide »

The post What are rich snippets? appeared first on Yoast.

Maybe you’ve heard about the concept of rich snippets. SEO experts seem to think everyone knows exactly what they are. But, for SEO newbies, a rich snippet is a really vague term. What is it exactly? Time to explain what they are, why they’re important for SEO and how you can get them for your
The post What are rich snippets? appeared first on Yoast.Read MoreRich Snippets, SEO Basics

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When (and When Not) to Outsource Link Building

Posted by Alex-T

Have you ever outsourced link building? How did you like the experience?

To be honest, mine was terrible. Allow me to share my story.

When I had a typical 9-to-5 job as a marketing director at SEMrush, we made a decision to get more links from the top resources in our segment. We ended up hiring an agency to help us build these links. The agency was charging us an outrageous $13K a month, but, unfortunately, the high price didn’t equal quality. They weren’t capable of writing anything meaningful, not to mention publishing their content on trustworthy industry blogs. What made things worse was the fact that I brought them on board.

Needless to say, we stopped working with this agency. We decided to give another one a try, thinking that this time luck would be on our side.

Well, we were wrong. Although the second agency charged us nearly three times less and promised premium quality work with superb links and stellar results, the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. We ended up getting links from irrelevant content published on sites that wrote about everything, from the ten best sex positions to the ultimate guide on cleaning your toilet.

As ridiculous as it may sound right now, back then, I didn’t feel amused. These two failed attempts at outsourcing link building left me convinced in two things: getting high-quality links is a job to be done internally, and outsourcing is simply pouring money down the drain.

Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you that my opinion on outsourcing has changed. Since these two unfortunate scenarios with outsourcing, I went from working for SEMrush to being a freelancer, and, when the amount of work started to grow, I launched my own link building agency, Digital Olimpus. As I gained more experience in this field, I started to realize why our attempts at outsourcing failed so miserably.

At that time, I didn’t know the ropes of link acquisition. We weren’t thinking ahead to establish strict requirements to prevent us from getting links from low-quality sites. Thus, as I went through trial and error, I gathered some unique insights about the pros and cons of link building outsourcing. Today, I’d like to share these insights with you so you can better understand which option is the right one for you — to hire an agency or an in-house link builder.

When is outsourcing the right choice for you?

Here’s my perspective as the owner of a link building agency.

The majority of our clients come to us because they don’t have the time or resources to set up a decent link building process by themselves. Most of the time, their current focus is shifted towards some other business goals, but they still understand the value of links and have some pages that are trying to rank well on Google.

Usually, our ideal client knows what kinds of pages they want to boost via links, and they understand how SEO works. In most cases, they have an SEO team that has a lack of resources to step into link building, so they’re looking for someone who could help them get some juicy links.

So, at the end of the day, our clients pay for our knowledge and experience. But there are also other reasons why companies may choose to outsource link building to an agency as opposed to hiring an in-house specialist.

1. If hiring an experienced link builder is too expensive

The first reason to outsource link building is in the recruitment costs.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a junior-level link builder is about 30-40K, while those who are extremely experienced will be looking for an estimated yearly salary around 100K USD. As for the hourly rate, the lowest would be $13, while more experienced link building specialists expect you to pay them as high as $16 an hour.

Besides salaries, you also need to consider other points. For example, your in-house link building specialist would also need content developed specifically for link building purposes, which should have its own separate budget. Apart from that, to do the job properly, they need to have access to backlink analysis tools, like Ahrefs (costs $99/month), SEMrush (also $99/month), Moz (starting $99/month), and Pitchbox (starting from $300/month). All in all, you’ll have to pay for these tools, which alone will cost around 6K a year.

To put a long story short, hiring an in-house link builder will cost you a pretty penny. Moreover, it might take you quite a while to find the in-house link builder you’re looking for. So, while you’re searching for one, you could give an agency a try to get your link building strategy started.

2. If you need to get links straight away

The biggest difference between hiring an in-house link builder vs. an agency is the speed of acquiring links. Usually, an agency already has a tried-and-tested link building strategy, while an in-house link builder still has to develop one.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why our clients are choosing our fellow link building agencies and us. We have a well-established process of building links, but most importantly – we’ve already developed meaningful relationships across particular industries and niches. So, in some cases, it doesn’t take us longer than a few minutes to secure a link.

However, if you decide to do link building by yourself, you shouldn’t expect instant results. On average, it takes 3-4 months to start getting at least 10-20 links every month. Besides, it might take you a while to find the right and meaningful way to connect with other sites, and to learn how to pitch your ideas properly.

I should say that, even for my agency, it’s always a big issue to open a new niche and start building a decent number of links per month. The first few months are resulting in 2-4 links, and that for sure can’t be described as a decent flow of links.

3. If you need help educating your team on how to build links the right way

The exchange of knowledge and experience is another reason to outsource link building. It’s definitely why I outsource some tasks, and work closely with those who have substantial expertise in the areas where I don’t feel as confident.

Paying for knowledge is an excellent way to spend money, especially if you lack time. For example, I understand how long it would take me to learn before I could do technical SEO myself, so I’d rather hire someone to help me with that instead. And, while we’re working together, I’ll take this opportunity to enhance my knowledge as well.

For this exact reason, we have a few contractors on our team who are working on other projects, but gladly share their unique strategies and approaches with us. It’s like a breath of fresh air – their experience gives us new perspectives on building high-quality links.

By the way, if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, it might take them quite some time to learn how to work with such contractors, while a link building agency would already have well-established relationships with them.

So, with all that said, try to perceive outsourcing as a learning opportunity. If you already have some experience in link building, you don’t necessarily need to ask an agency to educate you. Instead, you can follow their strategy if you see that it’s working. We have a few clients who follow this logic, as they do link building in-house while still being under our guidance. Sure, one day, they might start building links independently, but it feels nice that we paved that path for them.

4. If you want links that would take you ages to acquire by yourself

Again, it’s all about the connections and how well you can build relationships with them. If you don’t have a tight circle of partners, you can’t expect quick results from your link building efforts.

Usually, the best link building agencies already have a great network of partners. However, it’s still very important to double-check that an agency operates within your niche and has some meaningful connections.

But even if the agency hasn’t worked in your niche before, don’t give up on it just yet. Most likely, the agency might still be able to network faster due to existing relationships with partners and word-of-mouth power.

Still, even for an experienced agency, developing the network of connections in a new and unexplored field will take some time. We’re always very transparent when it comes to telling a client that we haven’t yet worked within their industry, but some clients are ready to wait. However, your needs might be different, so always bring up this question to avoid misunderstandings.

5. If you need to scale your current link building efforts

Sometimes brands realize that link building can be a good strategy for them, but they might not fully understand how to approach it, considering the specifics of their industry and niche. If this is your case, the agency will help you select the right angle and review your current link building needs objectively.

Another pain point that makes our clients ask for our help is building links to problematic targets. Some pages — commercial ones, for example — are hard to build links to in an organic way. In my recent blog post, I talked more on the topic of building links to commercial pages and a few examples of how it can be done. But if you struggle with acquiring links to some pages, you can outsource this task to an agency, which will find the right way to address these difficulties and tackle them.

When outsourcing isn’t your best option

As someone who went through an unpleasant experience with outsourcing, I should say that you really have to know what you need when hiring an agency. This might be the first and most crucial reason not to outsource link building – you should know what to expect.

However, there are also other situations when outsourcing link building will be a waste of time and money. Let’s take a look.

1. You’re looking for digital PR and consider it link building

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of potential clients who ask for articles on leading sites in their industry just for the sake of having their brand mentioned by a popular resource. While getting links from such websites would be good for your brand image, this is a task for PR.

Here’s the thing: Links acquired from such resources are usually very weak from an SEO standpoint. Besides, there are cases when guest contributors sell links from these sites. In one of them, a well-known writer who worked for Forbes and Entrepreneur sold links under the radar, which is forbidden by Google’s guidelines.

As a result, links to such websites rarely bring any benefit, because they don’t carry the SEO value we are usually looking for.

From an SEO standpoint, the best links come from websites that are not involved in such suspicious activities. In addition, don’t be quick to trust influencers, since they often sell links on their websites as well.

Instead, try to find a website that doesn’t have guest posts. Google typically favors guest posting, while pushing the websites which are only used for link building to the bottom of search results.

2. You don’t have a solid SEO strategy and you just want to build some links

Many clients don’t understand that link building and SEO are interconnected. When it comes to link building, you need to remember that the results only come if you make links to the right pages from an SEO standpoint.

What does that mean? Such pages should target the right keywords relevant to your business, and that don’t have an insane level of competition. Also, content that is allocated on those pages should match user intent.

Just for context, it takes 10 times more time to get a page with commercial intent to the top of Google results, especially if the top 10 have informational intent.

Ideally, you should understand how many links you need in order to close the current link gap; otherwise, it might take ages for your page to rank well on Google. By analyzing what kind of links your rivals have already built, you can set up the right requirements for your link building agency.

3. You have very strict requirements and an agency can’t hit that mark

Sometimes, clients underestimate their link building needs. But other times, their expectations can be way too high, and it turns into a real problem. Let me give you some examples.

Once, we had a client that wanted us to implement a whole new link building approach just for his campaign. Everything should have gone great, except he forgot to tell us that he would need a unique approach, and what we were capable of providing at that time wasn’t what he was interested in.

Naturally, our partnership ended on that note. We decided to return the funds to this client and move forward. Now we do an in-depth interview with every client to give them a very detailed overview of our link building approach and our capabilities.

The same problem can occur in a few other cases:

  • You want links that will be allocated only in particular content. Ask the agency if it gets links through guest blogging. If not, this is not the best option for you.
  • You have a list of sites from which you want to get links. Contrary to what you might expect, link building isn’t an exact science, and it’s hard to predict or guarantee that a link will be secured on a particular site.
  • You want links only on pages that have already built a solid number of links and are already ranking well on Google. That’s a smart strategy, but it should only be done internally, since getting a link on such a page might take ages.

So, as I mentioned before, ask the agency about its capabilities before you outsource link building. It would be fair for both sides if you and the agency have clear expectations of the final result.

4. You expect to receive referral traffic from links that an agency will be building for you

Unfortunately, there’s minimal chance that referral traffic will come. Digital marketing experts confirm that there’s a very slim chance that even guest blogging on leading sites will bring you a solid flow of referral visitors.

Nowadays, steady referral traffic only comes through sources of organic traffic. A good example is this article with a list of SEO tools by Brian Dean that receives over 7K organic visitors per month:

Certainly, tools listed in Brian’s post are all getting some traffic, too, as those visitors are browsing through them and would love to learn more about them.

In general, we rarely see that our clients are getting referral traffic. Getting a good link is one scenario, but getting a good link that will send referral traffic is a whole other story.

In my opinion, building the links that will most likely send you a solid flow of referral visitors requires an analysis of current sources of referral traffic to your competitors and industry leaders. Then, you must try to understand the reason behind this traffic, whether it’s an active audience, being featured in a newsletter, etc. But the entire process differs from the link building strategy we usually follow.

5. You’re too busy to communicate your feedback to the agency

If you expect the link building agency to deliver the results you expect, communication is key. Outsourcing is not about delegating the task and forgetting about it. It’s about close collaboration.

With that said, be prepared to have to go on a number of calls with an agency just to figure out the link building strategy you will follow, not to mention other related meetings that will occur in the process. It is especially important if your link building needs are very specific.

So, let me reiterate – ongoing communication is crucial for building juicy, high-quality links. If you don’t have time to talk with the agency and articulate your needs and expectations properly, outsourcing link building is not the right option for you.

6. You don’t have a sufficient budget

If you are planning to hire an agency to outsource link building, you should evaluate your financial situation first, because it will cost you a fair amount of money.

To give you some context, we only take long-term contracts starting from $10K because one-time partnerships don’t help bring permanent link building results. In general, the entire process of building links should be ongoing, and your website should continuously show a rising link growth graph:

So, no matter how hard you try, the lack of a systematic approach to link building means no tangible results, and the client won’t get any profit from these links. That’s what made me understand that single-time link building is a waste of time and money.

What’s the verdict?

All in all, I should say that hiring a link building agency is worth every penny, as long as it has the experience you’re looking for, of course. Just from the rational standpoint, it’s much harder and more cost-intensive to do link building by yourself, especially if you have little knowledge of it.

There are also other perks of outsourcing link building. First and foremost, when you’re hiring an agency to build links, you’re paying for the speed of acquiring links. An agency already has all the connections to get links faster, in addition to a well-established process of building links in general.

Nevertheless, evaluate your needs first. Outsourcing might not be the best option for you if you are more interested in PR, not link building. You might also want to check what the agency can offer, as your requirements might not fit its profile. And, of course, outsourcing is not an option if you don’t have time to communicate with an agency or you have insufficient funds for such partnership.

However, in general, if you ask me now if outsourcing is worth it, I would say yes, but only if you are committed. Remember, outsourcing link building to an agency shouldn’t be a one-time occasion. If you want ongoing results, you need to commit to a long-term, close cooperation.

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Posted by Alex-THave you ever outsourced link building? How did you like the experience?
To be honest, mine was terrible. Allow me to share my story.
When I had a typical 9-to-5 job as a marketing director at SEMrush, we made a decision to get more links from the top resources in our segment. We ended up hiring an agency to help us build these links. The agency was charging us an outrageous $13K a month, but, unfortunately, the high price didn’t equal quality. They weren’t capable of writing anything meaningful, not to mention publishing their content on trustworthy industry blogs. What made things worse was the fact that I brought them on board.
Needless to say, we stopped working with this agency. We decided to give another one a try, thinking that this time luck would be on our side.
Well, we were wrong. Although the second agency charged us nearly three times less and promised premium quality work with superb links and stellar results, the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. We ended up getting links from irrelevant content published on sites that wrote about everything, from the ten best sex positions to the ultimate guide on cleaning your toilet.
As ridiculous as it may sound right now, back then, I didn’t feel amused. These two failed attempts at outsourcing link building left me convinced in two things: getting high-quality links is a job to be done internally, and outsourcing is simply pouring money down the drain.
Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you that my opinion on outsourcing has changed. Since these two unfortunate scenarios with outsourcing, I went from working for SEMrush to being a freelancer, and, when the amount of work started to grow, I launched my own link building agency, Digital Olimpus. As I gained more experience in this field, I started to realize why our attempts at outsourcing failed so miserably.
At that time, I didn’t know the ropes of link acquisition. We weren’t thinking ahead to establish strict requirements to prevent us from getting links from low-quality sites. Thus, as I went through trial and error, I gathered some unique insights about the pros and cons of link building outsourcing. Today, I’d like to share these insights with you so you can better understand which option is the right one for you — to hire an agency or an in-house link builder.
When is outsourcing the right choice for you?
Here’s my perspective as the owner of a link building agency.
The majority of our clients come to us because they don’t have the time or resources to set up a decent link building process by themselves. Most of the time, their current focus is shifted towards some other business goals, but they still understand the value of links and have some pages that are trying to rank well on Google.
Usually, our ideal client knows what kinds of pages they want to boost via links, and they understand how SEO works. In most cases, they have an SEO team that has a lack of resources to step into link building, so they’re looking for someone who could help them get some juicy links.
So, at the end of the day, our clients pay for our knowledge and experience. But there are also other reasons why companies may choose to outsource link building to an agency as opposed to hiring an in-house specialist.
1. If hiring an experienced link builder is too expensive
The first reason to outsource link building is in the recruitment costs.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a junior-level link builder is about 30-40K, while those who are extremely experienced will be looking for an estimated yearly salary around 100K USD. As for the hourly rate, the lowest would be $13, while more experienced link building specialists expect you to pay them as high as $16 an hour.

Besides salaries, you also need to consider other points. For example, your in-house link building specialist would also need content developed specifically for link building purposes, which should have its own separate budget. Apart from that, to do the job properly, they need to have access to backlink analysis tools, like Ahrefs (costs $99/month), SEMrush (also $99/month), Moz (starting $99/month), and Pitchbox (starting from $300/month). All in all, you’ll have to pay for these tools, which alone will cost around 6K a year.
To put a long story short, hiring an in-house link builder will cost you a pretty penny. Moreover, it might take you quite a while to find the in-house link builder you’re looking for. So, while you’re searching for one, you could give an agency a try to get your link building strategy started.
2. If you need to get links straight away
The biggest difference between hiring an in-house link builder vs. an agency is the speed of acquiring links. Usually, an agency already has a tried-and-tested link building strategy, while an in-house link builder still has to develop one.
In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why our clients are choosing our fellow link building agencies and us. We have a well-established process of building links, but most importantly – we’ve already developed meaningful relationships across particular industries and niches. So, in some cases, it doesn’t take us longer than a few minutes to secure a link.
However, if you decide to do link building by yourself, you shouldn’t expect instant results. On average, it takes 3-4 months to start getting at least 10-20 links every month. Besides, it might take you a while to find the right and meaningful way to connect with other sites, and to learn how to pitch your ideas properly.
I should say that, even for my agency, it’s always a big issue to open a new niche and start building a decent number of links per month. The first few months are resulting in 2-4 links, and that for sure can’t be described as a decent flow of links.
3. If you need help educating your team on how to build links the right way
The exchange of knowledge and experience is another reason to outsource link building. It’s definitely why I outsource some tasks, and work closely with those who have substantial expertise in the areas where I don’t feel as confident.
Paying for knowledge is an excellent way to spend money, especially if you lack time. For example, I understand how long it would take me to learn before I could do technical SEO myself, so I’d rather hire someone to help me with that instead. And, while we’re working together, I’ll take this opportunity to enhance my knowledge as well.
For this exact reason, we have a few contractors on our team who are working on other projects, but gladly share their unique strategies and approaches with us. It’s like a breath of fresh air – their experience gives us new perspectives on building high-quality links.
By the way, if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, it might take them quite some time to learn how to work with such contractors, while a link building agency would already have well-established relationships with them.
So, with all that said, try to perceive outsourcing as a learning opportunity. If you already have some experience in link building, you don’t necessarily need to ask an agency to educate you. Instead, you can follow their strategy if you see that it’s working. We have a few clients who follow this logic, as they do link building in-house while still being under our guidance. Sure, one day, they might start building links independently, but it feels nice that we paved that path for them.
4. If you want links that would take you ages to acquire by yourself
Again, it’s all about the connections and how well you can build relationships with them. If you don’t have a tight circle of partners, you can’t expect quick results from your link building efforts.
Usually, the best link building agencies already have a great network of partners. However, it’s still very important to double-check that an agency operates within your niche and has some meaningful connections.
But even if the agency hasn’t worked in your niche before, don’t give up on it just yet. Most likely, the agency might still be able to network faster due to existing relationships with partners and word-of-mouth power.
Still, even for an experienced agency, developing the network of connections in a new and unexplored field will take some time. We’re always very transparent when it comes to telling a client that we haven’t yet worked within their industry, but some clients are ready to wait. However, your needs might be different, so always bring up this question to avoid misunderstandings.
5. If you need to scale your current link building efforts
Sometimes brands realize that link building can be a good strategy for them, but they might not fully understand how to approach it, considering the specifics of their industry and niche. If this is your case, the agency will help you select the right angle and review your current link building needs objectively.
Another pain point that makes our clients ask for our help is building links to problematic targets. Some pages — commercial ones, for example — are hard to build links to in an organic way. In my recent blog post, I talked more on the topic of building links to commercial pages and a few examples of how it can be done. But if you struggle with acquiring links to some pages, you can outsource this task to an agency, which will find the right way to address these difficulties and tackle them.
When outsourcing isn’t your best option
As someone who went through an unpleasant experience with outsourcing, I should say that you really have to know what you need when hiring an agency. This might be the first and most crucial reason not to outsource link building – you should know what to expect.
However, there are also other situations when outsourcing link building will be a waste of time and money. Let’s take a look.
1. You’re looking for digital PR and consider it link building
Over the years, I’ve met a lot of potential clients who ask for articles on leading sites in their industry just for the sake of having their brand mentioned by a popular resource. While getting links from such websites would be good for your brand image, this is a task for PR.
Here’s the thing: Links acquired from such resources are usually very weak from an SEO standpoint. Besides, there are cases when guest contributors sell links from these sites. In one of them, a well-known writer who worked for Forbes and Entrepreneur sold links under the radar, which is forbidden by Google’s guidelines.
As a result, links to such websites rarely bring any benefit, because they don’t carry the SEO value we are usually looking for.
From an SEO standpoint, the best links come from websites that are not involved in such suspicious activities. In addition, don’t be quick to trust influencers, since they often sell links on their websites as well.
Instead, try to find a website that doesn’t have guest posts. Google typically favors guest posting, while pushing the websites which are only used for link building to the bottom of search results.
2. You don’t have a solid SEO strategy and you just want to build some links
Many clients don’t understand that link building and SEO are interconnected. When it comes to link building, you need to remember that the results only come if you make links to the right pages from an SEO standpoint.
What does that mean? Such pages should target the right keywords relevant to your business, and that don’t have an insane level of competition. Also, content that is allocated on those pages should match user intent.
Just for context, it takes 10 times more time to get a page with commercial intent to the top of Google results, especially if the top 10 have informational intent.
Ideally, you should understand how many links you need in order to close the current link gap; otherwise, it might take ages for your page to rank well on Google. By analyzing what kind of links your rivals have already built, you can set up the right requirements for your link building agency.
3. You have very strict requirements and an agency can’t hit that mark
Sometimes, clients underestimate their link building needs. But other times, their expectations can be way too high, and it turns into a real problem. Let me give you some examples.
Once, we had a client that wanted us to implement a whole new link building approach just for his campaign. Everything should have gone great, except he forgot to tell us that he would need a unique approach, and what we were capable of providing at that time wasn’t what he was interested in.
Naturally, our partnership ended on that note. We decided to return the funds to this client and move forward. Now we do an in-depth interview with every client to give them a very detailed overview of our link building approach and our capabilities.
The same problem can occur in a few other cases:
You want links that will be allocated only in particular content. Ask the agency if it gets links through guest blogging. If not, this is not the best option for you. You have a list of sites from which you want to get links. Contrary to what you might expect, link building isn’t an exact science, and it’s hard to predict or guarantee that a link will be secured on a particular site. You want links only on pages that have already built a solid number of links and are already ranking well on Google. That’s a smart strategy, but it should only be done internally, since getting a link on such a page might take ages.
So, as I mentioned before, ask the agency about its capabilities before you outsource link building. It would be fair for both sides if you and the agency have clear expectations of the final result.
4. You expect to receive referral traffic from links that an agency will be building for you
Unfortunately, there’s minimal chance that referral traffic will come. Digital marketing experts confirm that there’s a very slim chance that even guest blogging on leading sites will bring you a solid flow of referral visitors.
Nowadays, steady referral traffic only comes through sources of organic traffic. A good example is this article with a list of SEO tools by Brian Dean that receives over 7K organic visitors per month:

Certainly, tools listed in Brian’s post are all getting some traffic, too, as those visitors are browsing through them and would love to learn more about them.
In general, we rarely see that our clients are getting referral traffic. Getting a good link is one scenario, but getting a good link that will send referral traffic is a whole other story.
In my opinion, building the links that will most likely send you a solid flow of referral visitors requires an analysis of current sources of referral traffic to your competitors and industry leaders. Then, you must try to understand the reason behind this traffic, whether it’s an active audience, being featured in a newsletter, etc. But the entire process differs from the link building strategy we usually follow.
5. You’re too busy to communicate your feedback to the agency
If you expect the link building agency to deliver the results you expect, communication is key. Outsourcing is not about delegating the task and forgetting about it. It’s about close collaboration.
With that said, be prepared to have to go on a number of calls with an agency just to figure out the link building strategy you will follow, not to mention other related meetings that will occur in the process. It is especially important if your link building needs are very specific.
So, let me reiterate – ongoing communication is crucial for building juicy, high-quality links. If you don’t have time to talk with the agency and articulate your needs and expectations properly, outsourcing link building is not the right option for you.
6. You don’t have a sufficient budget
If you are planning to hire an agency to outsource link building, you should evaluate your financial situation first, because it will cost you a fair amount of money.
To give you some context, we only take long-term contracts starting from $10K because one-time partnerships don’t help bring permanent link building results. In general, the entire process of building links should be ongoing, and your website should continuously show a rising link growth graph:

So, no matter how hard you try, the lack of a systematic approach to link building means no tangible results, and the client won’t get any profit from these links. That’s what made me understand that single-time link building is a waste of time and money.
What’s the verdict?
All in all, I should say that hiring a link building agency is worth every penny, as long as it has the experience you’re looking for, of course. Just from the rational standpoint, it’s much harder and more cost-intensive to do link building by yourself, especially if you have little knowledge of it.
There are also other perks of outsourcing link building. First and foremost, when you’re hiring an agency to build links, you’re paying for the speed of acquiring links. An agency already has all the connections to get links faster, in addition to a well-established process of building links in general.
Nevertheless, evaluate your needs first. Outsourcing might not be the best option for you if you are more interested in PR, not link building. You might also want to check what the agency can offer, as your requirements might not fit its profile. And, of course, outsourcing is not an option if you don’t have time to communicate with an agency or you have insufficient funds for such partnership.
However, in general, if you ask me now if outsourcing is worth it, I would say yes, but only if you are committed. Remember, outsourcing link building to an agency shouldn’t be a one-time occasion. If you want ongoing results, you need to commit to a long-term, close cooperation.
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