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Note: This post is part of a series outlining my favorite seo toolbox for designing, implementing and evaluating an effective search strategy.
- Best Apps for Conducting SEO Technical Audit
- Best Apps for SEO Content Strategy
- Best Apps for SEO Analytics, Reporting & All-in-one Dashboard
- (You're reading this now!) Best Apps for Brand Building, Partnership Sourcing & Link Acquisition
I specialize in technical SEO, but that doesn't stop me from advising my clients on how to build their brand through high-quality partnerships. When bots index the internet for information, they are essentially performing a high-quality popularity contest. In order to make your site visible higher in search engines results pages (SERPs), you need trusted links and mentions that point to your site. The best way to get those links is through high-quality content and genuine relationship-building with influencers and publishers.
If you want to know more about how I approach this strategy, I recommend you go back and read my post, Boost Your SEO with Partnerships and Link Acquisition. Today I'm going to talk about my favorite tools for building relationships and your brand.
One thing to note, I always recommend that my clients work with a dedicated partnership and business development team. My job as an SEO consultant is to identify potential partners who can positively impact your search rankings. Then we bring in the business development people who have the relationships and the skills to contact influencers and get them on our side. This is a great example of how different teams can work together for the greater good.
Ahrefs Site Explorer & Content Explorer
(Starts at $99 USD per month)
One of the first steps to do a link building campaign is to understand where the competition is getting their links. Ahrefs Site Explorer allows you to do that very effectively. With this tool, you can input a competitor’s domain name and see who is linking to their site. This can help you to customize your strategy, and identify what types of sites and publishers you should target. This is a good way to find potential partners with whom you can build long-term relationships.
Once you know who is linking to your competitors, you can reach out to them with a pitch of your own. Basically you want to convince them that we do have a superior product and demonstrate why.
Use this tool to quickly see who is sharing relevant content on Twitter. Use that list to pitch those people and say hey, we have a better product. Having that list is an important part of your strategy for building partnerships. Once you have it you can tailor your own program for brand-building.
(Starts at $49 US per month)
Companies big or small can benefit from organic social media outreach. A lot of brand-building happens on social media these days. For Instagram, I love using Kicksta. It helps you grow followers by connecting you with relevant and highly engaged users.
Here's how it works: log into Kicksta with your Instagram account details, and enter a list of competitor accounts. The program does through all of the competitors' followers and connects with them. The process is pretty simple: the program will go through and like a handful of photos for each of these targeted users. You can also additionally target hashtags and locations. It creates just enough interaction to get the user’s attention, but not so much that it's creepy.
This type of marketing tool is something of a grey area. It's not illegal, but Instagram does discourage this type of automated interaction. On the other hand, Kicksta's process works within the framework of Instagram – and it works.
With Kicksta, you are getting real followers – not fake accounts. If the user feels that your brand is worth it, they might follow you back. That way, if a connection occurs, it is completely organic and you get a genuine, engaged follower.
(Starts at $40 per post)
If you want to get your content in front of targeted influencers, Quuu Promote is a great tool and relatively inexpensive. Once you create your content, submit it to Quuu Promote and their editors will review it and send it to publishers and influencers. What I love about this program is that they have a good list of influencers in a wide variety of categories including travel, tech, digital marketing – you name it.
When you submit your content URL, you also provide a template for Twitter and one for Facebook. Your submission goes through a review cycle and if the Quuu Promote team sees that it's a good content they can promote, they will share to all of the relevant influencers and publishers on their lists. The influencers then share your content and it looks like it comes directly from your Twitter or Facebook profiles. This enhances your social credibility and is great for brand-building.
One thing to keep in mind with Quuu Promote is the number of shares might be low. At the $40 per post entry pricing, you may get 100-300 shares. This also depends on the quality of the content and you write the "swipe copy"). But the upside is that you are getting targeted sharing. For example, if your content is travel-related, it will go out to influencers who are authorities on travel. Therefore, your content is being shared to a highly relevant audience of potential customers.
With Quuu Promote you are not getting fake hits, you will see your content shared via real accounts from real people with real followers of their own.
Link Building Agencies
($3,000 – $20,000 US per month)
In terms of boosting organic performance, establishing quality links back to your site is very important. You might have heard that the more links that you have, the better you will rank in search engine result pages. However, it is NOT that simple. It's way much more complicated than that.
Yes backlinks can help, but more importantly you need to focus on building high quality well-deserving backlinks. The best way to do this is to create strategic partnerships with influencers who will link to your site. However, creating partnerships of this nature requires an investment in research and relationship building, so it's usually best to work with a link-building agency. It's a good way to go because they already have pre-existing connections to relevant publishers, sites and influencers.
The downside working with an agency is that it can be expensive, and you need to vet the agency you're working with. Unfortunately there are a lot of less-than-best-practices in SEO when it comes to link building. And with agencies, you do get what you pay for. Don't just go with the cheapest one you can get. You want to acquire relevant and well-deserved links via genuine outreach. This is far better for your organic search results than blindly paying for links.
I hope this info is helpful to you! If you want to talk to me more about how I use these tools, or SEO in general, please send me a message!