Award Winning SEO: 3 Years in A Row

Firestarter SEO has been awarded Top SEO Agency 3 years in a row by Upcity.




How to Use Local SEO to Build Engagement?

As a local business, it’s important to step up your game if you want to get online visibility. Competition is getting more fierce and your website isn’t the only piece of the puzzle anymore. You need to focus on optimizing for local search and use local engagement tactics to help you get better online visibility. Hiring us is a great way to start, but working alongside us can help you get results faster.

Local SEO and Google AI

Before getting started, let’s take a second to discuss the relatively new connection between local search optimization and Google Assistant, or Google AI. Google has announced augmented reality (AR) will be added to Google Maps. Once you open the Google Maps app, you will be able to transfer to a first-person view of Maps with Street View to become more familiar with new locations. The new walking mode update will also allow for an augmented fox to help guide you through the unknown.

Maps are also getting new features aimed at increasing engagement, such as the “For You” tab. Inside this tab, users will find local restaurant recommendations based on what is trending in the immediate vicinity. Google will also be added a “match score” created with machine learning, to identify which places a user prefers based on their local geo-footprint and their past search behavior. This is designed to provide recommendations users will enjoy.

Businesses will also have more options to create user engagement with their Maps profile – where they now have Events, Google Posts, and Offers, there will also be the option to add more video, and include calls to action for booking appointments or ordering online.

Google Lens will also boost efforts because it won’t be hiding inside Google Assistant and Google Photos. With the increased functionality, we’ll now have smart text selection, style match, and real-time results, so customers can get more from their search results before choosing which establishment to interact with.

Start with the Google Knowledge Panel

If you don’t already have a Google My Business account, you need one right now. It’s what allows you to have control over how your business displays in Google’s search results when people are searching for you. However, it’s important to know that Google says simply verifying your business does not guarantee that it will appear in an outage panel. While verifying your business is important, concentrate on offering your customers the best possible service.

Google’s Knowledge Panel will offer a lot of information if you are able to show up on it. When you search for a business, you may see information regarding that searched Topic in a box that appears on the right side of the search results. This is known as the knowledge panel and is instrumental in helping customers to discover and reach your business. Inside the knowledge panel, customers will be able to find things like your website, directions, operating hours and more.

It’s also possible Google will include your business in a broad or knowledge panel that will suggest businesses that are in the neighborhood. You could be featured as part of a few listings with your reviews. Customers can then read more about your business by clicking on it.

Whether or not your business is featured in the relevance, and your business Providence. For instance, if someone is searching for a coffee shop and you are not a coffee shop in the area, you won’t show up in the knowledge panel.

The best way to have any kind of control over the information that is displayed is to make sure your Google my business profile is verified. Google often uses this source for information when putting together its knowledge panels. Make sure the information is not only current but is as complete as possible.

Look at Your Google My Business Timeline

Start monitoring your Google My Business Timeline. Google has now released the Q&A feature that allows people to ask questions about your business. However, business owners don’t get notified. This is why it is an important feature to pay attention to. Many of your prospective customers are already reaching out to you so all you need to do is respond.

Encourage Your Customers to Leave Reviews for Your Business on Their Preferred Platform

While encouraging customers to leave reviews on Google is important, it is not the only platform where people will leave reviews for your business. Instead of pushing one platform over the other, advertise several different options and allow your customers to choose the one they want to use. Focus on providing absolutely stellar customer service and you may find your customers are leaving reviews for your business on multiple platforms.

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. Make sure that you are paying attention to the best review sites for your locality or your niche. For instance, if you are in the construction or interior design niche, you may be better served by having your customers review your products and services on Porch, Angie’s List, and Houzz.

Use a Custom Trackable Link to Provide Directions to Your Business

Do you need to provide directions to help customers find your location? Create a custom link and place it on your contact page, footer, and Confirmation emails. When someone clicks the link to your driving directions, it is considered an engagement signal which will help boost your overall ranking and improve your SEO.

Automate Engagement With Your Prospects

Use a service like Zapier to set up your major search terms. Set up a zap so that when anyone mentions the keywords in a certain radius of your location, you can tweet them a coupon or a discount to encourage them to visit your business.

Wrap-Up

The tips provided in this blog post will only be helpful to you if your website is easy for your Target audience to use. It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same computer skills and if you make navigating your website difficult for your users, they will choose someone else. Feel free to reach out with to us today to discuss your options for improving your local SEO in and around the Denver area.


9 Ways to Calculate ROI on Local SEO

9 Ways to Calculate ROI on Local SEO

Local SEO is how Denver area businesses can reach their prospective customers. Like traditional SEO, it takes expertise, finesse, and time. As much as we’d all love to be able to rank number one overnight, it just doesn’t happen. But if you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from your efforts, take a look at these nine ways to calculate your return on investment.

#1: Monitoring Your Changes in Rank

This is the obvious one. With major changes in rank, you know you’re getting a decent return on your investment. It’s a good idea to take screenshots to show the changes in ranking, so clients can see the difference. It’s easy to report ranking changes, but the visuals help drive the point home. Even if the rank increases slowly over time, progress is being made. Fast changes are great if you can sustain the higher rank over time.

#2: Increased Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Check the Google Search Console to see if you’re getting more clicks on the targeted keywords than you use to. Save the data in a spreadsheet since it doesn’t go beyond 90 days. The CTR is what matters because it’ll let you know if traffic is actually clicking through to your website. If you aren’t seeing improvement there, it’s time to re-write your title tags.

#3: Track Phone Calls from Web Leads

With call tracking software, you can have leads call a different phone number based on where they are coming to your website from. The tracking system will connect with analytics and counted as a conversion, and attributed back to the source.

As helpful as this can be, it’s important to display a consistent phone number for your business across the web because not doing so can negatively affect your ranking. Code your business phone number into your site with schema and monitor local citations to make sure tracking numbers aren’t picked up elsewhere.

#4: Track Link Interactions

Tracking link interactions will help you see if people are clicking to call from mobile search, which links on your site they’re clicking, clicking on your driving directions, and so on. Track click activity with consistent naming using event tracking in Google Analytics.

#5: Using a Thanks Page to Track Where Leads Are Coming From

Route visitors to a thank you page after a contact form is filled out. This way you can tell whether they’re coming from social media, Google AdWords, or another source. Then you’ll be able to see which methods are working for conversions so you can focus more efforts on those.

#6: Seasonal Business? Base it on Year-Over-Year

Comparing analytics data from month to month isn’t necessarily practical for a seasonal business. Pool cleaning businesses are booming year round in warm climates like California and Florida, but those same businesses are only open in the summer in North Carolina. You can’t look at winter data for North Carolina pool businesses and expect it to match the summer months.

#7: Monitor Search Queries

If you’ve completely redone some of the pages on your website, optimizing them for better keywords, or improving the optimization for the existing keywords, take a look at the search queries in Search Console.

Copy the data into a spreadsheet so you have it for historical comparison. After a few weeks, you may see an increase in impressions, even though your business hasn’t made it to the first page of results for your desired keyword phrase. Google can still show you information that proves your local SEO campaigns are working.

#8: Track Impressions in Google My Business Dashboard

You can only go back 90 days here, so you’ll want to log the data in a spreadsheet for safe keeping and long-term analysis. This way you can see the change from quarter to quarter, and from year to year.

#9: Calculating Actual ROI

This is a fairly simple formula you can use to check the ROI of each campaign you’re doing, to see if your numbers are improving with time. Let’s assume:

  • K = volume of keywords searched
  • S = % of searchers who become visitors
  • D = % of visitors who become leads
  • C = % of visitors who convert to customers
  • V = average customer value
  • L = Local SEO revenue

(K) x  (S) x (C) x (V) = L

ROI = (L – Cost) / Cost

So, let’s say 5,000 people search for “Denver dentist” ever month. It’s safe to say only a small percentage of those searches will end up visiting your site – and the percentage will, of course, depend on where you rank. If you rank higher on the first page, you’ll get a larger percentage of those visits.

For the sake of example, we’re going to show you what you could expect if you were number 10 (at the bottom of page one) compared to what you could expect if you ranked #1.

If you’re in position 10, you can expect about 3% of the search traffic. Of that hypothetical 5,000, that’s 150 visitors.

If you’re in position 1, you can expect about 40% of the search traffic for the keyword, which translates to 2,000 visitors. That’s well over 10x more, so it pays to rank higher.

So now, let’s assume that 5% of visitors, in both ranking positions, become leads because the majority of people who visit your website won’t contact you at all.  Now, you’ve got 7.5 technically, but I’ll round up to 8 leads at position 10, and 100 leads at position 1.

Now, not every single lead is going to become a paying customer; so let’s assume only 25% of those leads actually become a paying customer. In position 10, you’ve got two customers; in position one, you’ve got 25.

If your average customer value is $25, you’ve produced $50 in revenue in position 10 and $625 in position 1.

(5000) x (.40) x (.05) x (.25) x (25) = L = $625/month

Let’s say you’re spending $250/month in SEO services, so at the #1 position, you’re left with $375 in profit. That means your final ROI calculation would be $375/$250, or an ROI of $1.50. For every dollar you’re spending on SEO, you’re earning $1.50 in return – in the number one position. These numbers are completely arbitrary, but if we continue with the example, it’s easy to see we’d be losing money at position 10.

(5000) x (.03) x (.05) x (.25) x (25) = L = $50/month

In the #10 position, your final ROI calculation would be -200/250, or a loss of 80 cents on every dollar you’re spending on local SEO. You’d need to increase the average customer value to make it worth it. Spending less would make it harder to increase ranking quickly.

ROI comes in many shapes and sizes. Looking at more than one metric can prove that SEO efforts are making a difference.


Questions to Ask When Hiring a Denver SEO Expert

Colorado-SEO-servicesWe take our jobs very seriously here at FirestarterSEO. It’s our goal to provide you serve you as a leading Denver SEO expert. And because of that, we want to equip you with the knowledge to choose the right professional to consult on your SEO needs.

Even if that’s not us.

When you’re evaluate SEO services, you’ll want to ask several questions. There are plenty of frauds out there trying to pass off as an expert.

This list of questions will help you make the right decision and weed out any unqualified consultants. Ready to find a solid Denver SEO expert? Keep these questions close by.

Can I See a List of Current and Past Clients?

A reputable Denver SEO expert should always be open to sharing a brief list of clients and their contact information. If they don’t, run the other way.

These clients will serve as references to check out how effective the prospective consultant is at their job. It will also help you see whether they have held true to their promises and goals in the past. There’s nothing worse than getting into a contract with an ineffective fraud.

How Will You Improve My Search Engine Rankings?

You want someone that has a proven pathway to success. You may not understand all the tactical information they give, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking.

It’s easy to tell by their level of confidence and clarity whether they’ve been able to achieve results with this method in the past. You can also compare their general plan with the pitches of other Denver SEO experts to measure their qualifies.

Do You Care About Content?

Strong content is the foundation of a powerful SEO campaign. Make sure that your expert knows how to generate content that brings results.

Don’t be afraid to ask for writing samples that showcase their abilities, or writing samples of their content development partners.

Are You Experienced at Improving Local Search Results?

Local search is very important if you operate a local small business. You’ll want to have a consultant that is familiar with these tactics and can implement them for your business.

Ask what types of other Denver businesses they have created local SEO campaigns for, and inquire about how successful the campaigns were.

How Do You Measure the Success of SEO Campaigns?

You need to know how things change and fluctuate from month to month.

Always ask the prospective expert whether or not they offer monthly reporting and consultations. A reputable vendor won’t hesitate to share their victories and losses with you every month.

Are you looking for a Denver SEO expert to help you rank on Google? We’d love to help you out. Go ahead and contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer these questions for you, as well as any others you may have.


23 Reasons to Invest in Monthly SEO Packages

Here at FirestarterSEO, we believe in providing high-quality monthly SEO packages for our clients. These contracts serve as an integral part of your SEO strategy. Without it, you’ll fail to achieve the types of rankings your business needs.

If you want to move forward and dominate search rankings, then you need this kind of service. The search engines don’t stop evolving their algorithm, so businesses can’t afford to halt their SEO strategy.

Consider the following reasons to invest in monthly SEO packages:

  • A qualified professional can always answer your questions.
  • Monthly maintenance keeps you up-to-date with Google updates.
  • Benefits of professional SEO software without the hefty monthly fee.
  • Constantly discover new keyword opportunities for ranking.
  • Take advantage of a monthly strategy meeting to discuss creative SEO strategies.
  • Raise your rankings with frequent web page updating.
  • Access to professional writers to create new fresh blog posts for your business.
  • Increase traffic through targeted, keyword-optimized landing pages.
  • Get every piece of content optimized for better search engine rankings.
  • Interlace your website with strategic internal links for better UX and SEO.
  • Never see a 404 page with proper 301 redirect setup.
  • Make sure Google knows how to crawl with frequent site map submission.
  • Increase rankings through smart link building techniques.
  • Gain access to content distribution networks for a bump in traffic.
  • Have your business featured in top, high-quality web directories.
  • Announce newsworthy items through professional press releases.
  • Build links and brand awareness through strategy content marketing services.
  • Understand monthly progress with a comprehensive ranking report.
  • Know where you’re getting links from around the web with a monthly link analysis.
  • See how many people are visiting your site and how they find it with a traffic analysis.
  • Get a monthly crawl diagnostic to make sure Google is seeing everything right.
  • Receive a grading for each new piece of content based on its SEO value.
  • Know at least 30 days before a Google shift to make preparations for the update.

 

Those are just a few of the reasons that you should make this kind of investment. At the end of the day, it’s all about executing the right monthly tasks to rise in the rankings.
Are you ready to make a difference in your business? Would you like to increase traffic, conversion and revenue? If so, it’s time to take the leap. Contact us today to discuss our powerful monthly SEO packages. We’d love to hear from you!


How Monthly SEO Packages Boost Your Business

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) places your business in the top search results, which builds your traffic. Done right, this can help you acquire customers, increase revenue and reach a new level of success.

How does this happen?

Three words: Monthly SEO Packages.

These retainers boost your business in a powerful way. And the longer you wait to invest, the further you fall behind.

But before you throw money at the situation, business owners like yourself need to understand how monthly SEO packages boost your business. And that’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Access to Expert Advice

Search engines change the algorithms on a regular basis. Most of these go unnoticed, as they just make minute shifts and tweaks.

But other times these updates cause catastrophic effects on local businesses. Penalties sink your rankings, which in turn, destroys traffic numbers and conversions. And for a small business, this could mean the difference between success and failure.

That’s why it’s so important to keep an expert on call.

Having someone manage your SEO sets up a preventative barrier between your business and drastic search engine updates. That alone makes it a worthwhile investment.

Fresh, Relevant Content

Monthly SEO packages frequently include blog posts or articles.

This benefit affects more than just search engine rankings. It strengthens your brand, engages customers and converts leads into buyers. But only when done right.

In terms of SEO rankings, fresh, relevant content shows search engines that you care about the overall success of your site. By updating the content regularly through a blog, it also feeds the search engine new pages that it needs to crawl on a regular basis.

And with content marketing becoming such an integral part of holistic marketing plans, adding more fodder to your content endeavors is always a good thing.

Know Your Position

You need to know where your business stands at all times. It’s imperative that you keep a close eye on things like cash flow, employee morale and client/vendor relations.

The same holds true with SEO.

A vital part of good monthly SEO packages lie in the reporting aspect. Rankings lie at the core of SEO and serve as the best progress indicator. It shows you the effectiveness of your SEO professional and provides insight into the overall value of the investment.

Each month, you should receive a rankings report that outlines your rankings. This gives you a clear path of where you’re at and where you’re going.

Ready for Monthly SEO Packages to Boost Your Business?

Smart business owners understand the dangers of falling behind in SEO. It could leave your website penalized and without traffic.

At the end of the day, you need strong SEO.

Monthly packages can ensure that your website doesn’t fall victim to the next search engine update. It’ll also keep you up-to-date on the rapid developments in this industry.

You can’t afford not to make the investment.


the ultimate guide to google penalties

Ultimate Guide to Google Penalties

The-ultimate-guide-to-google-penaltiesGoogle is constantly refining their ever so secret algorithm to improve the search engine results. As part of this process, they have waged a war on spam. As Google attempts to catch the internet liars and cheaters, innocent companies and websites are sadly affected and hit with manual spam actions and spam filters. As website owners attempt to recover, it becomes critical they begin by understanding what went wrong and how to fix it. Lucky for all of you, Firestarter SEO has put together The Ultimate Guide to Google Penalties: your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about Google penalties. Our goal with putting this together is to save you time on researching the why and how, so you can spend more time implementing the how. Good luck to you all!


Social Media and SEO: Content Distribution

Often I am asked questions like “Does posting on my Facebook page build me links?” Or “Does social media help with SEO?”. These are great questions and the general answer is, yes. However, it is important to understand which social media platforms help the most and how each one assists with search engine optimization. Each social media platform has it’s own benefits and treats content differently. Here are some of the most utilized social media services and a breakdown of their SEO value.

Facebook

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.25.33 AMFacebook is an interesting breed. Does Facebook have a direct impact on SEO? The answer would be, maybe. Part of Facebook is currently blocked from Google’s crawlers, which means a lot of the content on Facebook is not read or indexed by search engines. So it can’t be stored in Google’s virtual filing cabinet. If users have adjusted their privacy setting within their account, Google is completely banned from crawling their personal profiles and information. However, according to Search Engine Journal other Facebook posts seem to be finding their way into the Google index including limited view profiles, Fan Pages and their associated comments and posts, and comments left on third party websites using a Facebook widget or plugin. Also, when an article on your blog is liked or shared on Facebook using a social media add-on, it is highly likely that Google can read this, sending out a social signal. And as it’s been said, higher shares and likes correlate with higher rankings.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.25.06 AM

Twitter

Twitter’s links are tagged with a no-follow, meaning they do not pass any link value. The key with Twitter is having the right people follow you. If an influential person is following you and retweets your content, the likelihood of getting links built to the content within is high. Often when an article we write is tweeted and retweeted by highly influential people, other writers will write blog posts in response to ours and cite our original post as a reference. Overall, the relationships built through Twitter are much more powerful than Twitter itself.
Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.38.11 AM

Google+

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.39.21 AMSharing content on your Google+ page has the largest direct impact on search engine rankings. There are some obvious reasons for this. First, Google is a little biased (aren’t we all) and they are pushing users to utilize this platform. However, there are other reasons Google+ can be valuable from an SEO perspective. Posting on G+ allows your content to be indexed immediately. This was one of the promises given with the Google Buzz product, which has essentially been gobbled up and incorporated into Google+. And as we all know by know, getting your content indexed is key.

Pinterest

Pinterest has the potential to spread content like wildfire. When we pinned a image incorporated into a guest post for one of our clients, it was repinned over 40 times in 30 minutes. Again, like many other social media platforms, Pinterest’s links are nofollow. So the value of the link comes from its ability to be cited in someone elses blog or website, not in the link from Pinterest.com itself.
Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.44.28 AM

LinkedIn

I love LinkedIn. I believe LinkedIn is a golden nugget for business’. I don’t care if Google does or does not crawl it, every business should utilize it. With that said, it is reported that Google loves to crawl LinkedIn Profiles, which makes it a double whammy! Having a LinkedIn profile for your business is a big win. It adds legitimacy to your website and company, it creates another method of entry for your site, and it gives you a link. In fact, I have seen ranking changes simply because a LinkedIn profile was created and linked to the business’ website. The link itself is again a no-follow. However, this may be a good example of co-occurrence, where a legit authoritative site is citing a company or person so Google gives it weight.
Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.45.51 AM

In the end, social media is best used as a tool to distribute content, not build direct links from. In SEO, two things are certain. One, Google loves great content and two, Google likes links. Turns out these two things go hand in hand! Distributing award winning content provides opportunities for earning links. And the more a webpage is shared, liked, tweeted, pinned etc. the more visibility is has, which means the chances of people reading it and building natural, relevant authoritative links to it increases ten fold. I find it no coincidence that shares and links have the highest correlation to website rankings, and neither should you!


Guest Posting Guidelines

When writing guest posts, there are many factors that attribute to whether it succeeds or fails. Below we have outlined some of the “must haves” in today’s SEO world. Following these guidelines will help each guest post written and published become more beneficial to the SEO being implemented and the likelihood of the post being shared.

Link to Authority Sites

Link out to relevant pages on authority sites once per post in addition to our own link. Linking to authority websites within the client’s industry gives the article more legitimacy. For example, if I were writing a post for a search engine optimization company, I could cite and link to Search Engine Journal.  They are a highly respected source in the SEO/PPC world, have authority with Google and are relevant to my company’s industry. I would of course also link to the client’s site. So in this example there would be a minimum of two links: one to the client’s website and one to the authority site.

Implement Citations

Use citations to make your links look more natural: citations are simply the text that surrounds your link. If search engines such as Google see a particular keyword appear next to your link time after time, it tells them that your site must be about that keyword. For example: I am going to link to Firestarter SEO.

Instead of doing something like this: “For more information on Denver SEO, go to Firestarter’s website.”

Instead I’d do something like this: “For more information on Denver SEO, head on over to firestarterseo.com.”

Since the words “Denver SEO” appear next to the link, it shows search engines that your link must be related to Denver SEO. Overall, make sure you take advantage of citations when inserting links. Use generic, branded, or the URL as anchor text instead of the target keyword and instead complement the generic link with keyword-rich surrounding citations.

Include multiple subheadings

Breaking up content with subheadings is both visually appealing and easier to read. When a visitor lands on a page, they scan it quickly to find out whether it’s relevant to them and if it’s what they are looking for. The first thing they will read is the subheadings. Subheadings also have more weight in the eyes of search engines since they usually end up being h2, h2, or h3 tags instead of regular body copy. With that being said, be sure the main points are included in these subheadings.

Bullet Points & Lists

Like subheadings, bullet points and lists:

  • Make the content easy to skim
  • Are more visually appealing than long blocks of text
  • Are great for “to-dos” or “how-tos”

Engage the Readers

Encourage people to leave comments on your posts. Engaging the reader and encouraging them to do something such as comment, makes the post feel more personal.

Add multimedia

BORING Rubber StampAdding multimedia like images and videos break up the content and make it less intimating and BORING! It also gives the visitor a break from reading and allows them to either listen or look instead.

Post Long & Unique Content

Post long (600+ word) content 100% of the time, no excuses. In fact, the longer the better! However, 600 words is the minimum. Content also needs to be 100% unique, not spun or plagiarized. If you are quoting someone, then of course there is going to be “duplicate content” found. However, if that’s the case, just be sure to cite the person or source in the article. An awesome and free plagiarism tool to check your articles can be found here.

Implementing these seven simple but powerful tips and tricks will transform your guest posts. Oh and one more thing…ENJOY WRITING THEM AND HAVE FUN!!! Articles don’t need to be boring. I mean who wants to read a boring lame article, right?!

We are always open to ideas and feedback, so if you have any regarding guest posting, please feel free to drop us a line!

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What to Look for When Seeking Guest Post Opportunities

Guest posts are an excellent way to spread your knowledge and gain brand recognition and awareness. For the majority of our clients at Firestarter SEO, we produce and publish at least two high quality guest posts a month. However, not all guest posting opportunities are created equal and it takes time, resources and research to find great guest posting gigs. Today, I am here to share with you the process I follow each time I’m on the hunt for a new guest posting opportunity.

Niche

First and foremost, I research blogs and websites that are in the same niche as my client. For example, we work with several companies in the home improvement/construction industry, so I spend a lot of time contacting individuals and companies who own interior design websites, home improvement blogs and DIY blogs. This is not necessarily easy or enjoyable, but it must be done. And don’t be discouraged if a website you contact never contacts you back. It happens more often than not, but you’ll never know until you try! I don’t waste my time contacting non-relevant websites, because just like we talked about back in January in this blog post, co-citation may be the future of SEO. Google is becoming smarter each day and they are beginning to notice whether your article and the site it is published on is relevant to one another. If they are, Google will award you. If not, Google might deem the entire article as garbage, diminish the link juice, and perhaps even punish you. How do you feel about them apples? That’s what I thought, not good. So overall, stick to the client’s niche.

Budget

As my Dad always says, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can help.” Having a large monthly link-building budget is of course helpful in SEO since like any other business, there are costs incurred. When it comes to guest posts, money is allocated to mainly copywriting, managing the project and compensating the blog owner if necessary. However, a large link-building budget is not feasible for all companies, especially for smaller local companies like the ones we often help here in Denver. In this case, the next step I take is weeding through all of my media kits and emails and crossing off the ones that are out of my client’s budget. For example, I once contacted Apartment Therapy, a well known interior decorating website with a PR 7 and over 100,000 unique viewers per day. Talk about awesome, right?! Well, if you have a $10,000 link-building budget then YEAH! Let’s just say that media kit doesn’t get opened too often around here. So obviously budget is a large driving factor and an important element to consider.

Page Statistics

After I have a list of niche blogs within my client’s budget, I take all of them and run them through three SEO tools to acquire specific statistics. First, I record the page rank. I use three separate page rank tools, all stored on my browser toolbar for easy access, to make sure they all agree. If you simply do an internet search for “page rank plugin” you will find plenty of options to install for your particular browser. Second, I run them through MOZ’ Open Site Explorer. This tool is available to the public for free and gives you the URL’s domain authority, page authority, linking root domains, and total links. For each of these metrics, the higher the better.
Finally, I acquire the Alexa traffic rank and any regional data available, from Alexa.com. In this case, the lower the better for the traffic rank score.
As I gather this data, I keep track of it in a spreadsheet. That way I don’t have to repeat the process each time I’m considering that site, saving myself time and sanity. In general it’s wise to have a diverse link portfolio, so every link you acquire doesn’t have to be a PR 5+ with an 80+ page authority and domain authority. Sometimes it’s okay to post on a PR 0 or PR 1, site. However, if this is the case, make sure the site has other things going for it like traffic and esthetics.

Traffic

Posting content to any old website for a backlink in return, is not enough these days. The site you guest post on should be one that people actually read on a daily basis, comment on and share with their friends. Take a quick tour of the site to see what it’s social status appears to be. Use these questions as a guide:

  • If they use Google Friend Connect, how people are following them?
  • What’s the average amount of comments per post?
  • How many times have their posts been tweeted, liked, 1+, and pinned?
  • Do they have sponsors? Are any of them well known?
  • Check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts. How many followers and/or likes do they have?

If you have an account with MOZ, you can also check the total number of Facebook shares, Tweet, and Google 1+’s using their Open Site Explorer tool again. However, this if not offered for free to the general public, you must have an account with them. If the website or blog has legitimate traffic and followers, mark it as a keeper! If the social interaction is slim to none, put it on the back burner.

Esthetics

This portion is somewhat personal because everyone has different tastes and preferences. However, from a general point of view ask yourself, “Does this look like a professional built website?” I usually find that sites with several pages, a decent amount of well written content, images, and no links jammed into the footer or sidebar are decent. Beyond that, I look at the overall look and feel of it. Does it look clean, well-kept (no broken images), and updated on a regular basis? For example, this site once contacted me offering guest posting opportunities at a low price. The minute I saw the URL, it was questionable. The minute I opened the URL, it was out. Why?

  • It has no pages/navigation
  • The images are broken
  • The left sidebar is stuffed with links
  • The URL is: www.poruntrabajodigno.com. Need I say more?
  • The overall look and feel is outdated and ugly

Bad, right? Yeah, I know. Steer clear of sites like these. They are not worth your time, content, links or money.

Once you’ve completed those five steps, you’ve most likely narrowed your list down to the best of the best guest posting opportunities available. Remember to keep track of all your data in a spreadsheet to help you next month when you are again on the hunt. Does anyone else have suggestions or tactics they use when seeking guest posting opportunities? If so, let us know! We’d love to add them to our list.

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