Link Building

3 Ways to Scale Linkbuilding with Google Docs

September 01, 2011 Posted In: Link Building Comments: 4

This week Distilled released the Ultimate Guide to Linkbait, by none other than 17-year-old Ed Fry. As incredible as this guide is (and you should read it. Twice.), today I'd like to go into a few more ways to scale linkbuilding, using only Google Docs. While I highly recommend link CRM tools like Buzzstream and other tools like WordStream, I also recognize that not everyone can afford such tools. So let's explore some ways to bootstrap your way to scaling linkbuilding.

Google Docs

Are you working on a team to build links for a specific client? First off, I highly recommend this, yet it brings its own challenges. Most of us in SEO are lone rangers, as in we like to work on our own and get things done. If you are working on a team, however, Google Docs is amazing for shared documents.

Here are a few ways to scale link prospecting and outreach email writing in Google Docs:

1) Create a template to organize your efforts

When prospecting and finding many more prospects than you know will link to you (typical response in my experience has been around 10%), you must organize these prospects. Using the Google Doc template linked to below, you can put in the site metrics and create a long list. Off of this, assign link prospects and get to work. When a prospect responds, put a "Y" into the "Responded?" column so that they are tranferred to another worksheet for future contacting.

Here's the Google doc (it is read-only, so make a copy and customize as needed).

Doc

2) Write email templates together

Coworkers and I used to get into a Google Doc together and go to town on some outreach email templates for linkbuilding campaigns we were running. Within 20 minutes, we could have some awesome email templates created and edited. You can leave comments on the document for others to read and resolve later by going to Comments -> Show Comment Stream.

I wish I had a video to show you the beauty of watching the different colored cursors running around the screen, slicing and dicing, editing and sculpting beautiful emails to be sent. I don't.

I do, however, have a list of a few more features of Google Docs that will make your collaborative Google Docs life easier:

  • Group chat. When your document collaborators are also viewing the document, you will see the number of other viewers in the upper right corner of the document. When you click this text, the chat box drops down on the right side. It's instant communication magic.
  • Grant bosses read-only (or full) access. Some bosses will want to be able to view the documents before they are live. This is a great way to allow them to do so.

3) Use the ImportXML functionality

Have you found content creators in your niche who have curated large lists of sites on their blogs? Why not take these sites, which are hopefully related to your own niche, and create relationships with and content for them? By using ImportXML, you can quickly scale the number of prospects you are finding, without needing to click through long blogroll lists or dig through piles of backlinks unnecessarily (though the data geeks like me will want to do this anyways!)

Better yet, teach your team to use ImportXML and see if they would be willing to partake in an incentivized competition to see who can find and qualify the most link prospects in a certain amount of time. Provide parameters for type of link (blogroll, social mention, etc), text of link (exact anchor or branded), and domain authority range. Set up each employee with their own Google Doc and let them go.

Have you found other uses for Google Docs for scaling linkbuilding? We would love to hear your ideas!

About the author: John Doherty is an SEO Consultant at Distilled NYC, where they are running an advanced search marketing conference at the end of October. He loves the technical side of SEO and would live in rel canonicals, meta noindex tags, and Google Analytics all day if possible. In his limited spare time he skis way too fast, climbs cliffs that are too tall, and travels to foreign lands while shooting photography.

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Comments

Thursday September 01, 2011

rob (not verified) Said:

Nice idea on using ImportXML to extract blogroll combine this with Google canned response & your on to a winner, a true SEO only need a Google account! & maybe excel

Thursday September 01, 2011

John (not verified) Said:

Hey Rob - Thanks for the comment and for reading the post! ImportXML has saved me so much time when it comes to link prospecting. Use ImportXML, Google spreadsheets, and Excel and you can bootstrap and hustle your way to a great start in SEO!

Saturday September 10, 2011

kevin (not verified) Said:

Ever since I first stumbled upon Google Docs via Gmail, I fell in love. I just checked out the viral linkbait post for the first time as well and will be putting some of its ideas to use. Thanks so much for this post.

Monday October 31, 2011

3 (not verified) Said:

I am unsure about whether to use Google docs for my linkbuilding campaigns as I have concerns over whether they would look at my data? After all, since SEO is the process of gaming Google et al, Im not sure how they would react? Perhaps Im being a bit paranoid? The alternative is editgrid.com which is at times slower than using Google Docs.

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