Over the past two weeks I’ve been emailing dozens of SEO experts and avid bloggers to discover which 3 tools people rely on the most for link building.
The aim has been to discover if the best tools for link building will or will not reveal themselves so newbies like me can know plain and simple what they need most and what they can live without.
55 experts have replied and ONE tool has revealed itself to be at the core of most people’s link building campaigns.
Results will go LIVE on clambr at today @10.30am EST!
If I emailed you this post it’s because you are one of the 55 contributors who has kindly replied to my question and will be included in the results. I seriously cannot thank you enough for your contribution and I hope you’ll agree that the results are useful, insightful and worth sharing amongst your followers 🙂
To be honest, I wanted to publish the results post yesterday but my internet suddenly cut out. When I called the service provider today they had no explanation for it but assure me that today won’t be a problem. I’m still a little skeptical and will jump to an internet cafe if needs be!
If you’re still wondering what this is all about check out Part 1 of this case study here. Basically, I’ve been following the teachings of Neil Patel and Brian Dean to create an epic piece of content.
This post is a report on how the email roundup went with stats and lessons learned, so let’s get started!
It began with a list
Before I began my email outreach I needed to build a list of people to be included in the roundup. I already had a small list of high profile experts I know and follow but it wasn’t enough to allow for a low ratio of replies to emails sent out. I needed to find other experts I could reach out to.
I used Neil and Brian’s advice to trawl Technorati and AllTop to find bloggers to pitch to. After I’d exhausted those resources I trawled through a few blogs that feature many guest posts from people in the SEO and internet marketing niche. These sites included kikolani.com, searchengineland.com and Famousbloggers.net.
I made an excel that tracked which guest blog I found contacts from and their own site. This process took a good few days to do and yielded a list with a total of 115 bloggers to reach out to. Because my aim for the roundup was at least 50 replies (to make a really interesting result) I thought 115 contacts should be enough to yield 50 responses based on a modest ratio of 1:3 replies to emails sent out.
In total I contacted 115 people and got 55 replies. The replies consisted of: 45 Emails, 5 Blog Comments, 8 Tweets. These add up to a total of 58 responses but because a couple of the people didn’t really answer the question or their blogs weren’t well written I had to axe a few from the results.
Anyhow, the reply to sent ratio works out at 58:115. That’s a 66.7% conversion rate!
Here’s a few bite sized bullet points to sum up the email outreach:
- If info@ or message forms didn’t get replies within 3 days I guessed the experts email address to get a reply
- I’d know their address was correct if their avatar appeared in my mail client
- I tried to use BuzzStream as much as possible but but because my home internet is so shockingly slow and the Great Firewall of China was blocking me a lot I had to resort to my Sparrow mail client for most of the outreach
- After emailing an expert I really wanted on the post but still not getting a reply I Tweeted @ them instead. You can read about my Twitter outreach further down this page
- People replied quickest when I sent the email out at 9.30am EST
The email template that yielded 45 replies
Subject: [Blogger Name], quick question for you
Hey [Blogger Name],
I’m doing an expert roundup on my site and I think many SEO newbies like me would love to know your answer to this question:
If you could only use 3 SEO tools for your link building campaigns which 3 tools would you choose? e.g. Buzzstream, Alexa & Open Site Explorer.
Thanks in advance!
Of course, I’ll include a link back to your site 🙂
In this initial email template the “expert roundup” hyper text linked to a page I made simply to collect answers to the question http://www.clambr.com/what-are-the-3-seo-tools-you-cannot-live-without/
I thought this would be a good way to get replies from links I posted on Twitter. However, a few days after posting this I thought that if everyone replied on this page it would:
a) Cause duplicate content in the final results post
b) People would be confused as to what was the final results page
In light of this I later I removed the hyper link in my email template so people no longer replied using the comments section on that page, but rather directly by email.
To sum up, the email outreach worked a treat! Most of the contributors included detailed reasons for each of the tools they chose and the results have revealed a few winning tools that tower above the rest.
The reason I used Twitter to get a few of the contributor’s answers is because they weren’t replying to email.
It can be quite a struggle for me to get on Twitter because of my crappy internet connection and China’s Great Firewall but because this roundup is so important I kept trying and eventually got results.
I kicked off my Twitter outreach with Direct Messages (DMs). I DM’d about 25 people and didn’t get a single reply, so decided to abort that strategy and Tweet at the experts directly. In fact I don’t think I’ll ever bother with DMs again because I believe people see them as spammy and will generally ignore them because they’re likely to include an affiliate link and go straight to some hideous landing page.
I don’t know about you but whenever I get a DM notification by email I delete it immediately without even reading it. Perhaps this is a habit others share?
Moving on, in a nutshell tweeting directly @ the experts worked best and I’d usually pounce within minutes after they’d posted their first Tweet of the day so I’d be more likely to catch them.
The good thing is one Tweet was enough to answer my question in its basic form! (For future roundups I will always make sure my questions can be answered in a single Tweet so I can ensure I’ll always get a good conversion rate).
Here’s an example of the template I used and Nick Eubank’s response:
Last minute change of strategy
If you read part 1 of this case study you’ll see that I initially planned to target the keywords “Top Bloggers” and “Google Rank” because they have low competition.
Since collating all the results from my email outreach I’ve now made the decision to abandon that strategy because:
- Those keywords aren’t relevant to the content of the final results
- The title wouldn’t make sense if it used “Top Bloggers” and “Google Rank”
- The primary keywords naturally generated from the results are “SEO tools” and “Link Building”
So instead I’m just going to let the content speak for itself. Furthermore, I don’t think the results post needs to be tweaked or optimised for SEO purposes because I believe it is very share worthy content and should attract natural links on auto pilot with a small push. Well let’s hope so anyway 😉
The only “SEO” tweak I’ve done is use a custom URL structure for the final post (http://www.clambr.com/link-building-tools) which I hope will help the page rank for “Link Building Tools” after the post generates natural links to it. We’ll see and of course I will report back in a week or so with Part 3 of this case study to let you know how things turn out.
Final thoughts before the results go live
The outcome of this case study is very important to me because I will know if or not clambr has a chance at gaining any traction online. In fact, I see today as perhaps the most important day of my life.
So far it has already been a monumental struggle for me to build traction with my blog under my current circumstances (living in China) where the internet is often on drip feed because residential complexes like mine are stuck with crappy service providers whom corrupt building managers profit from and of course the Great Firewall blocks my ability to access Twitter, Facebook and all other sites that have anything to do with social sharing.
The only social site that remains unaffected by the Great Firewall is LinkedIn, so I may try to become more active on their in the future because right now I simply cannot forge relationships or make connections on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
I have so much passion for what I’m doing and will be devastated if the the results post falls flat on its face. Here’s to hoping it makes waves rather than passing through invisible, unloved and unappreciated.