Five Pro Tips For Successful Outreach

Posted on by in Guest Posts, Linkbuilding

Successful Outreach is something that can be of tremendous value to your site or blog and be so for a great length of time. But it’s not something that comes easy. After all, everyone is Outreaching. And in the end, success comes down to who can Outreach more effectively and more efficiently.

Outreach can be hard work and often it can appear that you’re not making much ground. But the reality is, so long as you’re implementing effective Outreach, the results and rewards will come. And the good news is, each successful Outreach campaign builds upon the next. The more sites and blogs you reach, the further your reach becomes.

But what is effective Outreach?

In this article I will deliver Five tips to keep in mind when engaging in Outreach that will help make your efforts that much more effective and efficient.

Be Patient – Possibly the number one thing to remember. Yes, you would like to contact a site or blog and ask for a link or mention and have them give it to you immediately. But the fact is, it’s not going to happen. Remember, you’re wanting to build a relationship, one that will benefit both you and the target of your Outreach, not just today but for years to come. Building a genuine relationship takes time but the rewards are worth it. So don’t become frustrated and don’t become pushy. Let the relationship develop and let it reward you as it grows.

Be Sincere – Don’t just spam accounts with form emails or make glib mentions of articles on Twitter or forums. Read their work and offer genuine comments. Make a contribution and offer them an insight or present a question that will encourage them to open in a dialogue with you. You don’t just want to be noticed. You want them to notice you as the person behind your site or blog, someone they will want to build a relationship with. In other words, be genuine and be yourself.

Be Generous – Don’t be stingy. Promote the work of the blogs or sites you want to reach out to. It’s an easy, genuine and effective way of getting their attention. You’d be surprised how many will respond to you and it’s an great way of starting a dialogue. It’s a public display of approval of their work. And who doesn’t like a compliment? Also don’t be afraid to promote the work of rival blogs. Have faith in the quality of your work. The blog might be a rival, but if you feel your work is superior to theirs, then any link or mention exchange is going to be of greater value to you than them in the long run.

Be Consistent – Invest a set amount of time every day to do Outreach. Even if it’s only an hour Don’t just pile a lot of work into a week or few days and then leave it for a week or so. That’s not an efficient Outreach strategy. You need to be consistent and engage with those you are reaching out to regularly. That doesn’t mean interacting with them every day, but you do need to do Outreach every day, building on existing relationships or seeking out new ones. Not only is it the most effective way of maintaining and developing these burgeoning relationships, but by applying yourself to the task each day, you’ll find you learn more about what works for you and what doesn’t. In effect, you become better at Outreach.

Be Realistic – Yes, you would love to get a mention or a link from a high powered Twitter account or blog. And if you have quality content, it’s something that you should definitely aspire to. But no matter how good your work is, a high power account isn’t going to take any notice of you until you’ve built up your profile. So aim for those Twitter accounts or blogs with a similar reach as yourself. If you have 300 followers on Twitter, engage with accounts with between 200 and 1,000 followers and as you engage with these accounts, you’ll soon see your followers rising. Surf the crowd and soon enough you’ll have enough followers to get yourself noticed by the bigger accounts.

This is a guest post by Andrew Brocker, blogger at

Harness Affiliate Links for SEO

Posted on by in Linkbuilding

The topics in this post may be considered black hat by the more sensitive amongst the SEO community.

Its probably regarded as at least grey hat by most of you.

I’m not condoning the use of it as a strategy, Im just saying that you “could” do it for entertainment/experimenting purposes only ofcourse.

Harness the Power of Your Affiliate Links for SEO

harness the power of affiliate linksIts reasonable to expect that most eCommerce sites have an affiliate tracking system already – if not, then start one right now… Dont even read the rest of this post just GO DO IT.

So working under the assumption that you already have an affiliate program in place lets look at examples of the links:

1) Traditional AffNetwork Redirects
these are the worst of them all, and look something like this:

<a href=”″>The Carphone Warehouse</a>  

Whats happening here is the traffic is going to the affilate network first (in this case its a link) where its picking up an identifier cookie before redirecting you to the merchants site using Javascript.  The only winner here as far as SEO is concerned is the affiliate network, not that they would be in a position to use it in this specific example.

2) Landing script query string URL’s
this type of link is much more uncommon with the affiliate networks, as its harder for them to “ensure” that the cookie gets placed – but if your affiliate network has asked you to place a script on your website then this is the type of link that’s being used:

<a href=””>Link to your website</a>

In this example, a piece of JS that you embed in the header or footer of your website is detecting the presence of the parameters in the query string (ie. affid=243513), creating the relevant cookie, then on the confirmation or sale success page its passing the details based on the cookie to the affiliate network.  This approach is better for the SEO of the target site, because you can use rel=canonical to recoup some of the lost strength, but its still, well, messy isn’t it?


A Solution: Pagerank Transfer Protocol

SEO Affiliate LinksThis is a handy piece of Javascript that we came up with to try and harness the strength of these types of links:

a) include code like this in the header:

<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> <!--
if (window.location.hash.length > 0 && window.location.hash.indexOf

("#rxtp:") == 0) {
var ux = unescape(window.location.hash.replace("#rxtp:", "http:"));
var q1 = ux.indexOf("?");
var q2 = ux.lastIndexOf("?");
if (q1 != q2)
ux = ux.substring(0, q2) + escape(ux.substring(q2));
window.location = ux;
//--> </script>

b) format your links like this: /#rxtp://

in the above example, the link strength (lets call it pagerank for simplicity sake) is going to the homepage of, whereas the user actually gets delivered the page /member.php?u=1 (which just happens to be my profile page in the forum section.

Therefore, to utilise this strategy, you would structure all the URL’s in your affiliate feeds as so:
[clean link address]#rxtp[url with tracking parameters]

Bingo, in a couple of minutes you have managed to get the link strength out of hundreds to millions of links through your existing affiliates, and as those guys are more likely than not targetting the same terms as you are with their linkbuilding and on site optimization, those links are about as relevant as you are going to get.

This strategy is actually used in the members badge plugin I’ve built for, where members can embed images like this one onto any other webpage.  When one of their users clicks on the badge, it takes them through to the members page, but the pagerank (again, hate the use of that term but you know what I’m meaning) stays at the homepage of

Just hover over the image to see the link, then click on it to see where you end up.


Its not all rosey though.

Before you all start shouting (or copying and pasting that code above), let me point out that his system is far from perfect on a few fronts.

Firstly, in its very makeup it has a footprint of redirecting the browser using javascript.  Thats not something that is normally advised, furthermore the code itself is a dead giveaway that you are using this technique – its in the header of your website after all.

Finally, it does slow down pageload times fractionally as it checks on every server request whether the string #rxtp is containted in the URL.

If you are considering using this code, I would strongly advise that you spend some time and mix the code up a bit, rename the value’s, call it from an external JS file – whatever really, just make the code your own.


A better solution, BE the network.

Be the NetworkLeaving footprints when you are doing “dodgy” stuff is a big mistake.

You should strive to leave zero footprint that is recognisable whenever you do things that change the link landscape at scale.

A much better solution is to detect the traffic source based on the http referer, then embedding cookies into the browser specific to that affiliate.  This requires both some server side database work, and is pretty much impossible to control if you are using an affiliate network.

The easiest way to incorporate those kind of links, lets call them “transparent affiliate links” is to use your own affiliate software.  This is a script that you run on your own servers and your affiliates log directly in to it to see their stats etc but as you control the network, you can use clean linking to your hearts content and every single link to your website is PERFECT – with no query strings or redirects to worry about.

There are a few software packages that do exactly this, but the only one that I have used is Post Affiliate Pro by Quality Unit – its a class piece of software that takes a week or two to really get used to, and the full version is around a thousand dollars, BUT for that $1,000 I’ve managed to build millions of links.

Thats a whole lot cheaper than buying them!


Distilled Linkbuild Conference 2011

Posted on by in Linkbuilding


Friday 18th of March saw the first ever distilled Linkbuilding conference – a whole day dedicated to linkbuilding tips and tricks from some of the best know linkbuilders in the business (and I somehow got invited to speak as well!).

Over the last 6 years, I’ve been do dozens of these type of events – but more recently Ive slowed down my conference attendance calendar as increasingly there has been less to learn (from my perspective anyway) and lots of stuff that hasn’t been totally relevant to me as an in house SEO.

Having said that – this event was without doubt, the single best, most informative and best value conference I’ve been to!

Highlights of the day included a pretty amazing presentation by Wil Reynolds of SEER, the first time I’ve heard him speak – and Russ Jones of Virante, who presented a great deck on the darker side of social manipulation.

My presentation was titled the darker side of linkbuilding, and the deck itself is embedded below:

If you want to embed this presentation please copy and paste this code:

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Some photo’s of my session credit to Foliovision:

Admonishing SEO’s that don’t test: if you dont test things you aren’t an SEO, you’re just going through the motions…

martin macdonald seo

The darker side of linkbuilding – contains explicit content!

Discussing the finer points of page level penalties after the event:

NOTE: Code Snippets…

I will post the code snippets along with a full “how to” on implementation of both the Pagerank Transfer Protocol, AND the live update of remote anchor text in the next few days..  Each one deserves its own post with my findings of using them for the last couple of years that I shouldn’t really go into here.

If you want to see them make sure you either subscribe to my blog, or follow me on twitter (or both ;) )

If you went to see the event, please leave me feedback in the comments section below – it is greatly appreciated!

Blog Comment Spam = Epic Fail

Posted on by in Forum News & Updates, Linkbuilding

Hi Guys,

just some quick stats on my personal blog here…

I have about 50 posts (not many I know, but Ive been busy ok!),  around 70,000 unique visitors per month onto my blog, and the homepage ( is a PR4 with well over a million backlinks.

This is all very nice, but unfortunately it does mean that the comment spammers come out in force.

So – this message is for you if your name just “happens” to be something like Cheap Cialis or Poker Bonus Code - From now on, all author links on this section of the site are turned off.

You will NOT get any link equity for leaving comments, so unless you have something actually reasonable to say, dont bother!



Should I Buy Links?

Posted on by in Linkbuilding

should I buy LinksOne of the (if not THE) most discussed topics in SEO is getting links, and there are literally hundreds of ways of getting ahold of them, from social bookmarking, blog commenting, link exchanges and so on – but the one thing that google and most other reputable professional search engine optimizers advise against is BUYING LINKS.

I take a totally different viewpoint on this – I feel that rational link buying is not only a good thing for your website, but its a totally necessary (for most sites) activity that every SEO should be involved with.  I also believe firmly that most well know SEO’s that publicly say that its a bad practice, secretly actually do buy links.

Why would they advise you against something that should be done?  Well, its just creating more competition, and ultimately driving up the value of links across the web.

You will notice as well that the wording I used was “rational link buying” – what does this mean?  Well, its all about the type of website and link that you are seeking to buy.  To help you out on that I have composed a list of Do’s and Dont’s:


  • buy links from websites that are quality and on topic
  • buy links from high pagerank websites, and low pagerank websites – not just one or the other
  • buy links from sites with realistic numbers of pages indexed
  • buy links on main pages on websites, NOT sitewide’s
  • buy links that are in-content, and NOT blogroll links


  • buy links from sites that have nothing to do with your niche
  • buy links from sites that are autogenerated index spam
  • buy links from sites that already link to high spam industries, ie, porn, gambling, pills etc.
  • buy links from sites that have unnatural link profiles themselves
  • value the link purely on pagerank, take into account all factors, traffic, indexed pages etc.

So, feel free to buy links for your website, as long as you follow the lists above, and keep some common sense!