2018 IRCE

2018 IRCE.

Back to Speaking

Thank you for joining us at the 2018 IRCE Conference.

We are excited to share our knowledge and help your brand along your eCommerce journey. As promised please see the guide below along with the PowerPoint deck. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at ron@visiture.com.

How to Attract Bonafide Backlinks that Boost SEO

Cory is the owner of Air Sea Containers, a leading retailer for dangerous goods packaging products and services. Air Sea Containers has been family-owned and operated since 1991. They help to safely transport dangerous goods world-wide by providing compliant shipping materials.

Selling through his online platform is a huge component of their business, and search engines are a vital customer acquisition channel. In his role at Air Sea Containers, Cory runs all of the direct-to-consumer marketing efforts, which includes acquiring customers through the website. He approached Visiture to help with his SEO strategy, and we began our partnership in November of 2016. Since, we have worked on creating high-quality backlinks through developing a content marketing system to separate the company from their online B2B competitors.

Air Sea Containers Goals

Air Sea Containers depends on their eCommerce direct-to-consumer storefront to drive sales. In their industry, there is heavy competition when it comes to acquiring customers online. SEO stood out as a tactic for Air Sea Containers to utilize to be different than their competitors and drive more customers to their online storefront.

Before our partnership, they were not ranking for their major keyword phrases while a lot of their competitors were. The company had previously engaged with several SEO firms and had worked themselves on technical SEO tactics and on-site optimization, but they still were not making the headway that they wanted nor were were they amassing the volume of keyword rankings. Large online retailers were were they amassing the volume of keyword rankings, so they knew they had to do something different to separate themselves and be successful.

Air Sea Containers knew they wanted to be more creative and unique to stand out from their competition. When they started researching different SEO factors and tactics, they found content marketing and learned that it was a great way for online retailers to attract high-quality backlinks. They also realized that many online retailers were not focusing on content marketing for various reasons, whether it be that it’s too difficult, it’s hard to understand or master, or that it requires a large commitment and patience.

Being a B2B online retailer, it is quite difficult to create content for marketing and SEO purposes. One reason being that their target market is smaller and harder to find. The research, time, and effort is quite daunting especially when creating both on-site and off-site content since the product offering is technical and contains many regulations. After getting in trouble with regulators because the content that other SEO firms created was inaccurate, they turned to Visiture to help them out.

Together, Air Sea Containers and Visiture worked to build an effective content marketing system using content writers and outreach specialists in order to create both on-site and off-site content. Editorial content created drove high-quality backlinks to their inner category and product pages, which helped to raise their search engine rankings, which in turn created an increase in traffic and revenue.

Backlinking Results

The content marketing system and campaign that we implemented was very successful. It acquired high-quality backlinks, which drove keyword rankings in Google, online traffic, and most importantly online sales. Air Sea Containers’ content marketing campaign created five off-site content articles (pieces that resides on external websites) and six on-site content articles (pieces that resides on their website) per month, which over the course of a year and a half has produced 75 off-site content placements (articles published on external sites) and 90 on-site content placements.

As you can see from this Ahrefs screenshot, the company saw a positive impact in their backlink profile. They also saw an increase in referring domains, and their referring pages rose considerably since the beginning of their content marketing system.


However, beyond just backlinks, Air Sea Containers’ content marketing system also increased their usability metrics, such as coverage views and social shares. From just getting 31 content placements (31 sample links from the group of 75) on external websites, the company received an estimated 90,400 coverage views per month from the content, 226 social media shares, 43 backlinks, with an average domain authority of those websites of 33. As you can see, the off-site content placements helped not only drive high-quality backlinks but also helped to build their business and brand awareness.

Site Statistics
The backlinks also helped to create higher search engine rankings. According to SEMRush, total keywords increased 604% and specifically, the keywords in the top three positions rose 1,200%.

Air Sea Containers Organic Search Info

These keyword rankings helped traffic and sales as well. Comparing January 2018 – March 2018 to January 2016 – March 2016, traffic increased 117% from organic search engines and revenue from organic search engines increased 87%.

Overall, it was a widely successful campaign for Air Sea Containers and the investment in SEO resulted in a significant return. In the following sections we will showcase why backlinks are important and how to build a content marketing system to acquire high quality backlinks.

Why are Backlinks Important

If you do not know what backlinks are please see this beginner’s guide from Moz.

As we discussed earlier, backlinks are one of the three most important factors in Google according to a Google Engineer, Greg Corrado, and Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google.

Google uses backlinks as a way to determine quality and authority on subject matters. As you most likely know, just having backlinks is not enough. You need high-quality backlinks which should have a number of factors such as:

  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • Does the backlink pass authority (there isn’t a rel=nofollow tag)?
  • Is the backlink high up on the page?
  • Does the page and domain outbound link to many other sources? (This can dilute your backlink authority).
  • Is the backlink keyword relevant? (i.e. if you sell corrugated boxes, does the article discuss corrugated boxes?)

There are also factors I like to measure on how high quality a backlink is, such as:

  • How many times was it shared on social media?
  • Is it relevant to your target market?
  • Does it solve issues/provide users value?
  • Was it earned organically?

Even though social media does not directly influence organic rankings it can be a great way to  judge how popular a piece of content is. In addition to providing correlations to high Google rankings, backlinks can also help drive other positive factors, such as:

  • Brand awareness
  • Referral traffic and sales (consumers clicking on the backlinks)
  • Brand searches (consumers searching for your brand)

To understand the quality of your backlink profile, we suggest using the Ahrefs URL rating distribution tool. This can help you analyze your backlinks and then score them on a scale of 1-100, as you can see in the below screenshot.

Ahref Url Rating System

Some things to keep in mind with the URL rating distribution score from Ahrefs:

  1. Backlinks with a score over 30 are very hard to achieve.
  2. The vast majority of your backlinks (usually ~90%) will be between a 0-10.
  3. Another large portion of your backlinks (usually ~9%) will be between a 10-20 score.
  4. The rest of your backlinks (usually ~1%) will be above a 30 score.
  5. Getting backlinks above a 30 score correlates to higher organic search engine rankings.
  6. Backlinks above a 30 drive the most authority (~1% of your backlinks can account for 95% of your profile’s authority).
  7. As you gain higher search engine rankings, it will become easier to gain other backlinks from various websites as websites will backlink to you from finding you in the search engines.

Overall, backlinks are important for online merchants to take note of and optimize for as they correlate highly to organic search engine rankingsand they can help build our businesses/grow them exponentially.

Backlink Myths

While discussing the importance of backlinks, it’s also worth mentioning some of the popular backlinks myths which hold back a large number of online retailers from investing in content marketing. These backlink myths make online retailers shy away from these tactics, which can end up hurting their online sales due to a lack of trust and understanding of content marketing.

Backlink Myth #1 – All Backlinks Count the Same

Google uses a system in their ranking algorithm to score backlinks. As with the rest of their algorithm, this is something that Google doesn’t publish to the public. The closest thing that we have to an accurate score system is Ahrefs, which we discussed earlier. Another tool that you can use is from Majestic SEO. In Ahrefs, as we discussed, you can see your URL rating distribution.

Ahref Url Rating System

Backlink Myth #2 – Paid Links Work Well

For the vast majority of the time, paid backlinks do not work, and if they do, they don’t work as well as organic backlinks. In my professional opinion, if you can buy a paid backlink, so can anyone else. Then your backlink authority gets diluted because the publisher is backlinking out to so many different sources.

Focusing on organically won backlinks pays long-term dividends compared to short-term thinking with paid placements. Also, organically earned backlinks are usually contained within content, which is more likely to be engaged with by users, which means more in Google’s algorithm than a paid placement. Paid placements are usually less likely to be read/interacted with because the publisher most likely is accepting content based on compensation rather than the quality of the content.

Backlink Myth #3 – All Backlink Building Methods Work the Same

This is a trap that a lot of online retailers fall into. They focus on link building efforts such as commenting on blogs, building directory links, broken backlinks building, asking for links in articles, and other various difficult tactics which have a high chance for failure and generally produce low quality backlinks.

Nothing is a substitute for working hard to produce the best content for your audience and promoting it to that audience.

Backlink Myth #4 – Backlinks are Nonsense

The vast majority of online retailers have used an SEO company at some point, which pitched a great game plan and couldn’t deliver, producing low quality backlinks which did nothing to help the retailer. If a retailer hasn’t personally been through this, they’ve heard stories, which makes them want to stay away from backlinking, or SEO in general. Unfortunately, the industry has a very checkered and shady history.

I’m not going to try to argue with every single person who has sworn off SEO, but what I can do is show you that it works. Google’s engineers have confirmed that backlinks are a very important factor within their algorithm, and many online retailers are using content marketing to drive high-quality backlinks to be successful, including Air Sea Containers.

What are good backlinks?

One fact about backlinks — not all backlinks are created equal. We’ve gone over this previously, but I want to show you what metrics that I personally look for when judging whether or not a backlink is high-quality:

  • Great Content: If the content that includes your backlink is not high quality content, meaning that it’s not well written, it doesn’t solve a pain point, or doesn’t help the user, then the backlink probably isn’t high-quality.
  • Usability Signals: Do users stay on the page, are they interacting with the content (click-throughs), etc. if the article has positive engagement, the backlink most likely means more.
  • Organically Earned: In my experience, organic links are always going to be of a higher quality than paid links. Generally paid links are diluted with other articles outbound linking to many sources.
  • Keyword or Subject Relevant: If you sell pet products online, and you get a placement within an article discussing the best websites to get car loans from, then the backlink isn’t keyword or subject relevant. You want to get backlinks from content that is relevant to your product offering and target market.
  • Above the Fold: Generally a backlink counts for less the further it is down the page. Therefore, you want your backlink to be above the fold, or visible on the page before a user has to scroll down.
  • Good Anchor Text: Natural content in your anchor text is a good sign of a good backlink. “Click here” and “see more” is fine too.
  • Do Follow: If it has the rel=nofollow tag on the backlink, it doesn’t mean as much.
  • Good Domain Authority: Today, this is less prevalent than it used to be than when the algorithm was simpler, but domain authority (DA) is still a good metric to look at.
  • Backlinks to the Content: If the content which links to you also has backlinks pointing to it, then it is also a good source of information, which makes your backlink stronger.
  • Social Signals: Do they share content on social media? Even in the B2B space, social shares, such as LinkedIn, are a good indicator. Social media is not a ranking factor but it can correlate to high search engine rankings.

Guest Blog Example

How to Attract or Earn High Quality Backlinks

In my professional opinion, the vast majority of backlinking strategies are difficult, not scalable, and not as effective. These include:

  • Broken Backlink Building: This usually has a low success rate.
  • Unpersonalized Content Promotion: Just blasting out emails fishing for responses from people who don’t understand or don’t think you emailed them 1 on 1 generally isn’t going to work.
  • Asking for Links in Articles: Unless you are giving them value, then they aren’t going to link to you.
  • Mass Guest Posting: No personalization = No results. If you just guest post for the sake of it and don’t try to create effects beyond getting a link, then guest posting can be useless.
  • Sponsorship Posts: Same thing applies here, unless you are fashion. Sponsored posts and websites which accept sponsored posts usually link to many sources diluting their link authority. Plus, sites that rely heavily on sponsored posts don’t usually have strict editorial guidelines, meaning that the content on the site is not as high quality.

I know the vast majority of online retailers have heard this before, and are probably tired of hearing it, but if you create the best content possible, you will have results. This is an accurate statement and instead of just saying it, we will breakdown the actual process for creating the best content, executing it, and promoting it.

How to Create the Best Content

Research + Write + Promote + Rinse and Repeat + Patience = Success


Research is a vital part of any SEO initiative. Content marketing included. If you are not using research to guide your content creation, then you are just guessing on what content to create. This does not make for an effective way to get results.

However, there are content research tools that can enable you to see what has worked historically, giving you a better outlook on what will work in the present and future. Using these tools, like Ahrefs, you can see see how previous content has performed in terms of social media shares, backlinks, and more.

Content Research


If you use a poor content writer, you’re probably going to get poor results. On the other hand, if you use a content writer who charges $1,000 per article, you could also get poor results. You need to find a writer (or writers) who can write engaging content that your target market will engage and interact with, regardless of price.

Bottom line: Do not just get the highest priced freelance writer. Get the one with the best fit for you and will be passionate to help your target market through creative content.


Brian Dean, a well respected thought leader in the SEO space, once said that you need to be spending half of your time writing the content and the other half promoting it. In my professional experience, I’ve seen this to be true. If you aren’t promoting your content, the likelihood of it being successful diminishes greatly.

Once we started putting more resources into content promotion we saw our results from content marketing skyrocket.

We go over specific tactics and techniques to use for content promotion later.

Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a one stop shop. You need to continue the process over and over. Once you get a system down where you are developing fantastic content that your target marketing engages with, and you promote it to the right people, don’t stop. Continue to rinse and repeat these efforts to continuously build and snowball your results.


This is yet another pitfall that many online retailers fall into. They give up way too early on their content marketing efforts. Sometimes, it can take three months to be successful. Sometimes, it can take six months. Most of the time, it can take up to a year or two to receive real, tangible results in content marketing. The online retailers who are successful at content marketing generally tend to be more patient and look at other metrics such as links, views, and social media shares for progression of their content marketing system.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that content marketing is a snowball effect. In the screenshot below, you can see the referring domains for an online B2B retailer who has been doing content marketing for two plus years. The more you do throughout time, the more high quality backlinks that you will acquire. At the start, the gains were minimal, but then over time, they saw a much higher jump, especially in the past year.

Referring Domains

Also be mindful that you will continue to lose backlinks as well throughout time.

New Domains

On-site Content versus Off-site Content

Now that we have gone over the formula for a solid content marketing system, let’s dive into the two types of content that we will use in the process.

The first one we will discuss is on-site content. This is content that resides on your website, usually on your blog or in a resource section.

The second type of content is off-site, which resides on external websites, such as contributing articles, infographics, or other articles that link back to you.

Let’s dive into each a bit further, go into the pros and cons of each and look at how to maximize the effectiveness of each.

On-site content

On-site content is great because it resides on your website, meaning you have total control over it and it normally is just one click away from your storefront. You don’t have those luxuries with external sites. On-site content is also much easier to produce, which is why so many online retailers use on-site content for their content marketing strategy.

However, there are some cons when it comes to on-site content. One, you need a solid backlink foundation to really make it successful quickly. If you have no domain authority, no brand following, no social media following, etc, you’re in for a long, uphill battle when it comes to content marketing.

Just because you create some amazing content doesn’t mean that it will automatically rank in Google. It could be the absolute best content ever produced on the topic, but if you have nothing else, it doesn’t mean much. How is Google supposed to know about the content if they don’t know your site even exists? This is why external off-site content can be very beneficial – you can use these website to piggyback off of their audience, and in most cases get a really high quality backlink right out the gate.

That all sounds a bit negative, but in reality on-site content does have a lot of advantages, which is why the vast majority of content marketing resources are allocated towards it. Plus, it’s the easiest to do, and the most renowned side of content marketing.

Here are the main types of on-site content marketing and how to execute/maximize them.

1. Studies/Research/Data

This type of on-site content tends to be the hardest to execute, and the most powerful when attracting high-quality backlinks, which is generally how it goes in content marketing.

Research Example

Generally, this type of content is either put into infographics to help illustrate the research, or into long-form content. You’ll notice in this guide I have backlinked to a couple of different studies to illustrate my points. You can do the same with your data that you already possess. However, there are some things that you should keep in mind:

  • Create something that your target market will care about. For example, “What Percentage of Dog Owners Buy Organic Food Compared to Regular Dog Food.”
  • Use your customer data to provide some insightful information, like what percentage of consumers buy certain products, what categories consumers buy the most, average purchase price, etc. There is a lot that you can do with the data that you already possess. You just have to use it in a way that will connect and engage with your audience.
  • Create visually stunning ways to illustrate your data. Written blogs, especially in long-form content like research or data, tends to increase engagement when there isn’t something to break up the information.

2. Search Intent Focused Blogs

One of the most powerful forms of on-site content is in-depth blogs, because they can acquire many high-quality backlinks due to consumers searching online, finding the content, and backlinking to it later. However, the number one thing that you want to keep in mind here is that your blog content needs to solve the searcher intent. If a searcher looks for “What is a gaylord box” then your content needs to answer with information about Gaylord boxes. Also, make sure you keep the information as concise and comprehensive as possible. Consumers want the correct information, but they don’t want to have to search through 5,000 words to find it.

Which brings me to my next point: The average word count ranking in the first two positions is generally around 2,000 words long. But this doesn’t mean that in order to be successful you have to write long-form content. However, this should show you that generally longer content wins with Google. Reason being is that Google’s main objective is to serve their customer with the most accurate information possible. They want all of their answers to be solved the first time they click on a listing in the SERPs.

Intent Focused Blog

The first step in creating this type of content is keyword research. You need to find the keyword phrases that consumers are using when they search for queries relating to your product or service offering. Personally, I like to use SEMRush to see what keyword phrases my website ranks for in pages 2-10 in Google. Generally, if I find myself on those pages, then Google doesn’t think that I have the best content for that search query. This is a good opportunity for me to mine these keyword phrases and create content to match them.

For instance, Air Sea Containers ranked on page 8 in Google for the keyword phrase, “Gaylord Boxes.” A product page ranked for it, which was not a good page to rank for this particular keyword phrase. Then, Air Sea Containers wrote a blog, “What is a Gaylord Box”, which explained in-depth more on the product. This blog then rose to the #2 position for this keyword phrase, and others.

Gaylord Box Example

3. Resource Page

Resource pages (content is a resource center or help center) can be a very valuable tool to help solve searcher intent, but keep in mind that it can also produce fewer backlinks.

Resource Page

When developing this content, keep in mind that the same principles from long-form content applies. You want to develop content that satisfies the searcher intent and delivers comprehensive answers quickly.

4. Blog Content, Not Focused on Searcher Intent

Blog content that is not focused on solving the searcher intent can be very good for acquiring high quality backlinks, but as you might have guessed, it’s not as effective as solving the searcher intent.

But this content, especially if humorous or if connects on an emotional level with your audience, can be a great way to acquire high quality backlinks. However, this strategy requires much more thought, creativity, and content research to be really successful.

In my personal opinion, this is my least favorite type of content for online retailers. Personally, I would rather create content focused on the searcher intent. But It has worked well for a number of companies, and if you are in a heavily competitive B2C space, you have a great social media presence or newsletter list, then it might work for you.

Red Dress

5. Video Content

Video content can be very attractive for online retailers due to the effectiveness of it. However, the resources to create this type of content are very strenuous. You should look into video content if you have a large budget for content marketing, and especially if you find that many of your customers are searching for questions on how to use your products and it’s easier to show with a live demonstration. For example, how to install golf cart parts.

Video Blog

When creating video content, you want to follow the same steps and best practices as in-depth blog content. You can start the same way – research your content, create it while trying to solve the search intent, and then instead of writing it into a blog, turn it into a video. Always make sure you keep video content as concise and comprehensive as possible.

You also want to make sure that you post the video not only on your blog but also on a video hosting site, like YouTube. When doing so, optimize the title for the search query that you are targeting and create an in-depth description for both listings. This way you maximize more of Google’s real estate and have a better likelihood of getting high-quality backlinks pointing to you.

DIY Golf Cart Search Result

You can also work on creating viral content. This method can be very hit-or-miss, so use it at your discretion. An example of a successful video campaign is the “Will It Blend” video series which went viral back in 2008-2010. A blender company created videos where they used their blenders to see if random objects would blend, put the videos up on their website and YouTube and then enjoyed a large amount of high quality-backlinks pointing to their site.

Viral Video Content

6. Podcasts

The last type of content I’m going to talk about here are podcasts, which are all the rage at the moment. Podcasts are just short online audio episodes, where you have interviews or discussions. This can be effective if you are in a highly competitive space, such as home improvement. But in my opinion, this is the least effective method of acquiring high quality backlinks and takes the largest amount of resources outside of video content. I would only recommend this method if you have exhausted all other methods and have the time to commit to this content marketing system.

When it comes to SEO, make sure you keep all podcast episodes on your blog to allow external websites to backlink to them.

Onsite Content Promotion

Content promotion is critical for a successful onsite content marketing strategy to acquire high quality backlinks. Here are my main ways that I use to promote content:

Email Newsletter: Emailing out to your audience and letting them know about your content can be a great way of getting it in front of more eyes. You don’t have to have a gimmick or strategy to “force links.” Consumers will link to content naturally, and, just as important, share it on social media.

Social Media: You can also promote your content through your different social media channels. Make sure take advantages of the advertising tools provided to you as well, through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more.

What Not to Eat

Display Advertising: Using the Google Display Network, you can promote your content on a per click basis to different audiences, whether that be targeted based on their interests or websites visited, or you use your retargeting list to promote it to previous website visitors.

Email Outreach: Another strategy is to find editors who have written similar content and reach out to them and promote the content. Promoting the content to the right audience at the right time is key. However, when I say right audience, I mean those with large amount of social followers, who can provide a big impact by sharing your content.

Eventually, Search Engines (Organic Rankings): As long as your content is amazing, and you are promoting it to the right people, then you should have no problem having it take off.

Off-site Content

Off-site content compared to on-site content is much more straightforward and easy to understand. It is content that resides on external websites which hopefully, your target market visits and mentions your brand and may contain a backlink to your website’s page(s).

The advantages of off-site content are numerous – this is the best way to guarantee high quality backlinks because the content can have internal backlinks linking back to you key pages, such as your category or product pages. You also get to piggyback off the audience of the site you are publishing on, and their domain authority, which makes it great for online retailers just starting out.

There are also disadvantages to off-site content – it is much harder to obtain and you don’t have control over them. The publisher can delete the content, strip out the backlink – really whatever they want.

Although acquiring off-site content placement is much more difficult to execute, it is used by many leading online retailers because it works. It can be a very powerful strategy when executed correctly.

Guest Posting versus Off-site Content

In my professional opinion, guest posting is one of the oldest, the most overused, and the most irrelevant off-site content tactics today. Back in the day, the vast majority of online retailers would find websites by Googling “keyword phrase + accept guest posts,” post some general, irrelevant content on that site, and then the post would link back to their site. Much like sponsored posts, if these sites will just accept any guest post, then that means that they accept a lot of content which is going to dilute your backlink.

With off-site content you are not finding websites which accept guest posts and asking to get a post. Instead, you want to find websites which don’t ask for content and then try to get your content featured through solo writing or collaboration, which we will discuss.

Using Effective Off-site Content

In my experience, the best way to use off-site content is to find websites that don’t accept guest posts or sponsored posts, work on building a relationship with them, and then try to development content for their website either through collaboration or solo.

Here is a breakdown of the process and then different types of off-site content that I have found to be successful:


First thing first – you have to find websites that you can build relationships with and get off-site content created for. The simplest way to do so is to find a list of websites that your target market reads and interacts with. This shows you have a natural connection with the publication. For instance, with Air Sea Containers, their target market consists of warehouse managers who ships products daily and needs help understanding the landscape. Therefore, if you were trying to find publications that these consumers read, you could google “Shipping Tips,” “Shipping Websites,” “Supply Chain Blog,” “Supply Chain Websites,” and other related keyword phrases to help you find these websites.

Once you have found around 15 to 100 different websites, you have a good starting point for prospecting. You can now start building relationships with these websites and try to get featured.

Blog Post Example

Relationship Building

Now it’s time to start building relationships with the editor of the publication or whoever is in charge of the content production schedule. You can find editors and other employees when you visit the “Contact Us Page” or the “Staff Directory” page. Start small and try to thank them for their content, share their content on your social channels or in your newsletter, or try to give them value outside of just asking them to take your content right out of the gate.

Once you have built some type of relationship with the publication and you feel comfortable pitching them content, I recommend developing a strong pitch to create solo or collaboration content for their website. In this pitch, I would include content that you have written in the past on external websites or on your website to build social proof. Once you write for one publication it is easier to climb the food chain to write content for more website. You can use your original publication for leverage – i.e. “I write for this website, so you should let me write for your website.”

The main thing that you want to remember is that publications are looking for value. They want to give their readers the best information possible. If you can provide value to their content, and give them quality content for their readers, then you should be successful with off-site content.

Content Writing/Placement

Once you’ve build a relationship with a publication and have pitched them for a piece (and they’ve accepted/or responded positively), it’s time to start the actual writing. There are many different types of content for off-site placement. Here, I’m going to discuss the best and most effective types for acquiring high quality backlinks.

Solo Writing — Blog/Article Content

This should be fairly straightforward. Solo writing is where you are going to contribute an article to their website, their blog, their resource center, etc. This is the easiest tactic to execute and can provide many great results. You might also be able to contribute to the publication on a schedule and provide regular content for their website.

Don’t be discouraged if they add “rel=nofollow” tags to the backlinks or strip them. This is going to happen sometimes in content marketing; it’s not the end of the world. If the content is truly great, it will provide value outside of just SEO and acquiring high quality backlinks.

Blog Author Example

Also, the main importance here is creating amazing content. If your content is mediocre your results will be mediocre. Create amazing content your target market will love.


When creating studies or research for external sites, follow the same process that we outlined in the on-site section, but instead of publishing it on your site, pitch itto external websites to house the content.

Keep in mind – You want to have unique content for off-site placement. You should never post a blog on your website and then try to get it placed on another site as well. The same concept applies to studies/data/research. You want to keep it unique for their website. The only time this doesn’t apply is if you are using an infographic. Since that is an image, it can be used across multiple websites without creating a duplicate content issue.

Research Example

Collaboration Writing — Comarketing Content

Collaboration writing, or comarketing content, is content that is created in a joint venture between the publication and your company. Many highly valuable websites are not going to just take your content and publish it on their site. Sometimes, you need to go further and create a comarketing piece. This is a great way to get high quality content placed on a very valuable website, which normally are next to impossible to get content placed on.

To do this, you can use the same method as the solo off-site content strategy that we discussed previously, but instead of pitching content that you write yourself, pitch the idea of creating content together in a collaboration effort. This is usually much more powerful than solo writing. It is also a great way to get in the door with companies which you might not otherwise have been able to. For example, say you sell dog food online. You could find companies that sell complementary products, such as dog toys and try to create a collaboration piece.

The advantages are you can attract high quality backlinks from very hard to acquire websites but the disadvantages are it requires a ton of resources to coordinate these content projects.


In some instances, joining a podcast can be a good way to get high quality backlinks. The good thing about doing this with off-site content is that you aren’t having to put the resources in to create the podcast – you’re just joining the podcast that someone else has created. However, I’ve found that these are usually lower value backlinks, as the podcast backlinks out to many sites and usually are on low domain authority websites. However, they can work in some situations and can really help to build your reputation as a thought leader in your space.

The best way to do it is to prospect for them like we discussed above, pitch them to be a guest on the show, and do a great job being a guest on their podcast.

Rinse, Repeat, and Measure

Off-site content placement requires a set system with patience and perseverance. You need to continuously do this every month to be successful. Make sure you are constantly rinse and repeating your strategy to attract high quality backlinks and grow your search engine rankings.

Once you do get placements on external websites, I recommend measuring your results with these KPIs.

  • Domain Authority
  • Social Media Shares
  • Estimated Monthly Views
  • Backlinks to Your Website
  • Backlinks to a Specific Webpage
  • Referral Traffic from the Backlink


Having high quality backlinks is one of the most important factors in Google for online retailers. You must first develop the best content you can on subject matters that are relevant to your products/services, promote the content, and then analyze the results to be successful.


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