What is a white hat link?
In search engine optimization (SEO) language, people like to divide techniques into different “hats” – black hat SEO refers to strategies that break search engine rules, while white hat SEO is completely clean and complies with Google’s policies.
But white or black, any other kind of non outreach link building service can be used to manipulate search engines to get a higher ranking. And often, when people talk about white hat SEO, they get it wrong – overcomplicating the language and promising results they can’t back up.
Who should use white hat SEO?
There are some large SEO companies that have have been around a long time, retain big name clients, and keep huge budgets. While white hat SEO may give them all kinds of results, and at very affordable prices, they might not care. They could have year-long timelines, smaller goals and money to spare, but still have to build links naturally under the guise of “white hat” techniques.
But for most, time and money do matter. And they care about seeing results as soon as possible, not years away.
The issue that comes into play with building links through white hat SEO is scalability. Since everything is done on a case-by-case basis, most businesses simply can’t afford it.
However, it produces incredible results. It’s natural, diversified, and clients love it, even the high-budget Fortune 500 companies.
So how do you go about getting white hat links? And at a good price, and in a way that makes it scale?
How to get white hat links?
Like we mentioned before, link building through white hat SEO is notoriously hard to scale. It can be done through lots of hard work, research, training, outreach and a great deal of time.
But out of all the white hat link building techniques out there, one of the best and most easily scalable comes through guest blogging. Also known as guest posting and guest blogging outreach in some marketing and PR circles.
Guest posting refers to the practice of writing and contributing content to someone else’s site. In SEO terms, this means finding blogs that align with your niche, reaching out and asking if you can write a meaningful post that’s consistent with their content. The published post will contain links to your own blog, effectively connecting with new audiences and getting your name out.
When done right, guest posting can provide you with important in-content contextual links, greater viewer diversity, real traffic driven from the link, and ultimately, improved search engine rankings.
While this may sound like a lot of work, you’ll be focusing on only high-quality, authoritative sites. If you get just a few of them, these links can bring about amazing results.
And of course, this method is about as clean as it gets. Just as we mentioned previously, the results arising from this kind of technique are what clients of any level love to see, even those high-budget enterprise companies.
So how is it done?
1. Create a piece of linkable content
Start off by writing a great piece of content. This part is optional, but will make the entire process a whole lot easier.
The content needs to be engaging and worth linking to. This could take the form of a useful resource, how-to guide, new tool, or simply something interesting and valuable. It should not be a sales page or homepage, but something people will actively want to read and engage with. It shouldn’t take too long to write, but it must be good and give readers value.
For all of the above guides, the writers provide valuable information or resources without pushing for sales. They would each be very easy to link to in an article in a natural way, as opposed to sales pages or homepages.
2. Find potential targets
There are many ways to find potential targets for guest posting, and instead of just following one, you’ll want to build a list.
A great place to start out your search is by checking out this post by Optimize Smart. You’ll find a long list of relevant search operators to use when trying to find targets.
You can do this by using scrapebox, a popular and powerful harvesting tool, or by simply doing some manually googling of the following search operators:
keyword + “guest blog”
keyword + “guest blogger”
keyword + “guest Column”
keyword + “guest article”
keyword + “write for us”
keyword + “write for me”
keyword + “become a contributor”
keyword + “contribute to this site”
keyword + “guest blog” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “guest blogger” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “guest Column” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “guest article” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “write for us” + inanchor:contact
keyword + “write for me” + inanchor:contact
After putting those into Google, you’ll find a list of sites that you might want to reach out to as a potential target for your content.
For example, if you’re in the plumbing industry and want to find relative blogs, try googling:
plumbing + “write for us” + inanchor:contact
Then repeat the process with different operators listed above. Armed with your search results, create a spreadsheet of all the possibilities.
3. Check each target’s Domain Authority
Next, you’ll want to run a Domain Authority check on all your prospective targets. The Moz Domain Authority from Open Site Explorer is a tool designed to help research backlinks, discover potentially damaging links, and of course, is a great way to check for sites that will be useful for SEO. The online tool will provide a number corresponding with how valuable a post will be in terms of SEO. This number can also be a useful indicator for how much traffic a certain site may in turn drive back to you.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
DA10+ – Entry level authority
DA20+ – Good Authority
DA30+ – Better Authority
DA40+ – High Authority
Based on this, you’ll want to shoot for the sites that are at least 10+, but 20+ for the best results. Anything less likely won’t be worth your time to follow up on.
4. Check out the sites and contact their editors
Now you’ll want to check out each site to make sure it’s a good fit. Read the about page, familiarize yourself with their content, and make sure it’s a viable opportunity.
Once you find a site you like, shoot a message to the editor or site owner asking if they take on guest posts. Because each site will be different, be sure to ask about posting requirements or a style guide. Then, pitch an idea to see if it’s the right fit and they agree to post.
5. Write an article including links
Read through the site’s posting requirements and write a great post out of it. Make sure to link out to sources other than your own website so it won’t seem too spammy.
If you completed Step 1, this will be a lot easier. Include links in a way that reads as naturally as possible. Don’t force your exact match anchors into the post if they’re not the right fit. Because most editors of reputable, high authority sites will have been around a while, they’ll see SEO coming.
6. Publish your post
Send your post to the editor. They may ask for some revisions, but will usually post it fairly quickly. Once it’s up, you’ll have a powerful in-content, natural link on a good blog. If you’ve gone through the process correctly, the link will not only give SEO value, but also directly drive traffic to your site.
What kinds of links can you get?
Guest posting can take a lot of work, but the results make it worth it. After getting the hang of it, you’ll get great links that will improve your SEO and drive real traffic to your site.
Here are some examples of link bait, anchors or lead magnets: