As many of us in the SEO world can attest these days, linkbuilding isn’t about getting you listed in directories; it’s about getting people to talk about your brand. In many cases, this means moving from a linkbuilding strategy to more of a content marketing strategy. (A lot of people throw around that phrase and continue doing the same BS. Don’t be fooled.) Thinking more in terms of a content strategy though doesn’t mean that you can’t grab some great low-hanging fruit on a weekly basis. Cue Google Alerts.
Why Google Alerts are Awesome
Google Alerts are awesome because they are easy and send you relevant links on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. One of the hardest things about getting people to add a link to your website is that you don’t ask people while the listing is fresh in their mind. The longer you wait, the less it seems like your brand actually read the article and the more it feels like you are simply linkbuilding. Google Alerts keep your linkbuilding outreach fresh and relevant. Also, it makes it incredibly easy. Your efforts are served up on a silver platter.
How to Set Up Your Alerts
There are a few ways to set up your Google Alerts. You can set them up to look for outside terms that might be relative but that isn’t going to give you the most likely opportunities. I like to set up my alerts to only notify me when it comes to branded terms. This makes it seem most likely that your brand found the article when Googling themselves and loved it so much that they had to reach out.
All that you need to do is go to Google Alerts and set things up. For your search, I recommend putting in your brand name in quotes to make sure that all of the mentions that you look for are incredibly relevant e.g. “Lido Beach Resort”. If you are dealing with a brand that has multiple locations, simply use your SEO brain to add a location tag onto your brand name e.g. “Hyatt Regency” + Tulsa. This will make sure that your results are not flooded by a national mention when you really only care about what is happening locally or regionally.
As far as frequency goes, you’ll end up very annoyed if you go with a daily update. Moreover, you won’t want to do outreach on a daily basis. What I suggest is setting up for weekly notifications. I also like to cast my net as large as possible for each of my clients when it comes to search. Therefore, these are the options that I go with in order:
- Search Query: “Branded Name” + Location(optional)
- Result Type: Everything
- Language: English
- Region: Any Region OR United States
- How Often: Once a Week
- How Many: All Results
Do Your Outreach
Set up a time period every week that you look through your Google Alerts. From there, email authors of articles directly. As the content is fresh in their minds, it’ll be refreshing to hear that you read it and cared enough to reach out. As always, don’t use a completely templated email. Mention a key element that proves that you at least skimmed the article.
Next, simply ask for your link, providing a valid justification for it. Side note, these links are a great time to look for internal links as they might be mentioning something specific that you do or service that you’re providing.
The end game here is relevant links on sites that mentioned you recently. It’s hard to argue against that. While search engines have gotten better at figuring out when you’re mentioned without a link, it will continue to be in your best interest to get the link. In my experience, this method has about a 20% close rate when done properly, far better than blind outreach.
As always, there are a lot of little tricks that you can use to make this method even better. I just wanted to give you the basics and wish all of my readers happy hunting.
Tim Welsh on Google+