I recently commented on a friends share of an article that discussed social media KPIs (key performance indicators) and I was very happy to see that inbound links were mentioned in the article. She replied and asked if I had any tips or articles to recommend.
After writing the reply, I realized I haven’t written about this before, but it is a very good article to share.
Let me start by saying, I am not an SEO (search engine optimizer). I have some of the skills of an SEO, and I know some of the information, but I do not pretend to know as much as a good SEO, who keeps up to date on all of the algorithm changes, and has had years of practice in the field, should and would know. But I DO know how to help them do their jobs, and I DO know how to utilize social media to help a website’s SEO. With previous agency experience working for and with other digital marketers, I’ve learned some pretty good information and tactics like the one I’m about to share with you (even if just as a good reminder).
Your Social Media and SEO
In an SEO campaign, a good optimizer will tell you that good, quality, relevant backlinks are good for your website’s rank in the search engines. When you hire one, they may decide to use what is called an “outreach campaign” to earn these links for your website. Now, a typical outreach campaign utilizes waves and waves of mostly cold emails out to other website admins and editors looking for different ways to get a link from them. There are quite a few different ways to go about this, from guest posts to broken links, but another way to earn these valuable links to your site would be to use social media to find people that are literally looking for people like you to fill up their websites with content, or fill in for a podcast interview, which could earn you a link back to your website, because most editors will allow you at least one link in your biography.
One of the easiest ways to find these people is to use Twitter.
Earning Links to Your Website Using Twitter
So you might have used Twitter before, in fact, I’m sure you have, if you’re in my target audience. 😉 But you might not really know that the advanced search, saved searches, and other search options available on the social network are actually pretty damned close to Google. If you know anything about Boolean operators, you’re in luck, because they work on Twitter. (For those that don’t understand what Boolean operators are, MIT says they “form the basis of mathematical sets and database logic. They connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of results. The three basic boolean operators are: AND, OR, and NOT.”)
Using Search Operators on Twitter to Find Link Opportunities
Take my example:
“Looking for” OR “interested in” OR “now accepting” AND “Blog”
This is a very quick, simple, and not very narrowed down search looking for people looking for a guest for their blog. That could be an interview or a guest blogger. You’ll notice the use of “OR” and “AND”. You’ll probably also notice the quotes, to really pinpoint the phrases I was interested in; “Looking for”, “interested in”, “now accepting”, and “blog”. I separated the phrases from the word “blog” because I wanted at least one of the phrases I was searching for in my results, as well as the word “blog” because I know people often issue links on their blogs, rather than their “site” or “website” etc. Generally, guest blogging still works to get links back to your site.
Now check out some results for that search:
These are a few perfect examples of what I was talking about. These accounts are looking for people like us that want to write for them. All we have to do is reach out.
So let’s look for some more of these. Also, let’s be sure they are relevant to our purposes, and we aren’t just getting tons of results that we’ll just have to scroll past. So my example above was a very, VERY general search, and it didn’t narrow down industry or topic. So let’s see what we can do.
Narrowing Down Your Search Results
So I started with:
“bloggers wanted” OR “PRrequest” OR “Journorequest” AND “digital marketing”
I used quotes in order to tell the search algorithm that I wanted those words found in tweets in exactly that arrangement. Leaving off the quotes, like you’ll see in my searches later, will simply search for those words anywhere in the tweets, in no particular order. While this search certainly got me some results, it didn’t quite get me what I’m looking for. There are a few here looking to do the same thing I am, offering themselves up as experts. And the results are from weeks ago.
What we need is something that’s more recent, and accounts that have opportunities for us, not accounts looking for the opportunities to come to them. However, their language centers around the same hashtags I focused on, so it would be hard to continue using the hashtags in my search, without also getting some of these results. That’s where we have to weigh the gain versus the pain in the ass of having to scroll through them all. Let’s try another search.
“bloggers wanted” OR “guest wanted” OR “looking for guest” AND “digital marketing”
This one brought back JUST what I was looking for; opportunities on people’s blogs. People literally posting about how they want people like me to submit to write on their blogs.
However, you’ll notice these are each a month apart, but they showed up right on top of one another. This means my search is probably too narrow.
Getting Your Social Media Search Just Right to Find and Earn Links
So now you’ll notice that actually narrowing down and getting the results that you want is a little more difficult than you might have first thought when you read the title of my article. But the good news is, I did the work for you and here are some of the better searches to utilize in order to find your sweet spot:
“looking for guest” OR “write for us” OR “guest bloggers” AND “digital marketing” OR SEO OR “inbound” OR marketing -jobs
“Guest blogging” OR “Guest blog” OR “Guest blogger” OR “guest” AND “if you are” OR “looking for” AND SEO OR Digital OR marketing -RT -Job
SEO “for a story” OR “for an article” OR “writing an article” OR #bloggerrequest OR #prrequest OR #journorequest -beauty -fashion
You see, what we’re looking for are results from multiple sources over the course of one day. The more narrow on the topic or subject we looked for, the better the results. This ultimately helps you find link opportunities for those super relevant or even niche websites, which can be otherwise difficult to reach through the more cold, brunt-attack approach that we’re all used to. Feel free to edit the searches and find something that works for you. Notice the “-” to exclude those words.
Now all you have to do is reach out to these people and watch your relationships work and the links flow in.
Haha. Just kidding, we know it’s a lot more involved than that.
Using Saved Twitter Searches to Help Earn Links
Now that you have found a search that works, you’re going to want to make it a little more automated so that you don’t have to spend all of your time going back to type the search in every time. Even if you were to keep the searches in a list and copy and paste, you would still have to spend time opening the list, copying the text, and pasting it into the search before getting your results.
Eff that. Let’s make it easier.
While in your Twitter window, and searching, if you hover on the three vertical dots just under your avatar, you’ll see “more search actions” show up in the alt tag. Click this and you’ll see your search options; “search settings”, “Save this search”, and “embed this search”.
Click on Save this Search and voila! You have now saved the search to be used later. Nice right? You can access these searches by going to your search bar, and when you click on it, the drop down will show your saved searches.
If you want to remove these searches, you can click the “X” on the right side, or you can click on the search, click those vertical dots for the search menu, and click “Remove from saved searches”.
Just a quick note, though. There is a limit on the ability to save certain query strings. The length of the search query cannot exceed 140 characters. One search I tried was 252 characters long, and although Twitter lets me search for it just fine, it will not allow me to save that as a saved search. So keep that in mind.
And there you have it. In case you didn’t already know how to do it, how to use social media and SEO together for a simple outreach campaign and earn links for your clients or your own website. And if you need someone to help you with these tasks, don’t be afraid to reach out to me. I work with a variety of clients on a variety of projects, and I’m not afraid to do small one time projects like finding some searches for you or your clients.