Blogger LinkUp is of great use to any SEO utilising guest posting as part of a link building strategy. I’m a firm believer that saving time is the key to scaling up link building efforts, and the more tasks you can get done faster, the more spare time you have to be productive. A message delivered to my inbox 3 times a week with a whole list of prospects offering a link rather than running around looking for them? Why would I not want to receive that?!
However, BLU doesn’t come without some challenges. Being a mailing list it can be tough to sort the good from the bad and the relevant from the non-relevant. The edition I received on Monday 11th February contained a whopping 9137 words set among 60,001 characters. Times that by 3 editions per week and 156 editions per year; that’s the equivalent of reading Moby Dick over six and a half times! If you tell me you have the free time to read for leisure in your working day, then I can tell you that the rest of the world most certainly envy you.
Oh, and that’s only 2/3 of one email!
Another problem for me personally, being in a GMT time zone, is by the time BLU arrives in my inbox (mid-afternoon) I’m already swamped with things to do for the day and in full working flow. There have been more than a few editions I’ve completely forgotten about since I signed up, and with it countless link opportunities have been lost.
Because of this, I decided to come up with a system to A) sort through the list whilst saving a lot of time and B) make sure no potential opportunity via BLU slips under my radar. Better still, all the tools I have used for the following method are available for free.
A subscription to the Blogger LinkUp newsletter
Just put your name and email in the sign up box. Simple.
A Gmail account
Needs no explanation really.
An Evernote account
This is a great tool for bookmarking notes and resources. In this case we’ll be using the email bookmarking feature.
Excel with SEOTools for Excel Plugin
I’m probably beginner/intermediate on Excel but we won’t be using it for anything too taxing. SEO Tools for Excel is fantastic for getting big chunks of data about websites at the touch of a button.
Linkclump extension for Chrome
This tool opens or copies a selection of links by drag highlighting them.
(NOTE: This might look like a long list of tools to organise an email, but it’s all quite quick to set up and runs on full-auto once it is, therefore saving a lot of time. Also, if you do feel generous send some donation love over to the developers of these tools; they’ve earned it!)
1. Sign up to Blogger Linkup with your Gmail address to receive the newsletter every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
2. Go into Evernote and copy your unique email forwarding address (under the settings).
3. Go into your Gmail settings and add your Evernote email to your forwarders under the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab (You’ll need to go into your Evernote for the verification link to complete set up).
Once the forwarder email has been approved, you need to set up a filter (under the ‘Filters’ tab in settings) to make sure BLU goes into your Evernote. Luckily, Cathy labels all her mail outs with the subject “[Blogger Linkup]”. Set this term up in the subject filter in the forwarder settings and click Continue.
On the next step make sure the ‘Forward it to’ box is ticked and your Evernote email is set up as the forwarding address. Also make sure the’Skip the Inbox (Archive it)’ and ‘Apply the label’ options are selected too (I’ll explain why later).
If you’re not clued up with tweaking Gmail, this guide on About.com is easy to follow and will walk you through the process.
(NOTE: I no doubt expect at this point you’re thinking; why the heck did you not just use IFTTT for this? Trust me, I tried every method under the sun to get IFTTT to do this properly. For some reason it clips the email, possibly because it thinks the contents are below a signature line, so you end up with a note containing just the foreword of each newsletter).
Now you have every BLU being saved into your Evernote. The next step is extracting the value from them! I tend to go into Evernote and sort this periodically every week, but you can sort it as little or often as you need to.
4. Make sure you have Linkclump set up to “copy to clipboard” in the extension options with “@” added as an exclude filter and ‘URLs Only’ as the copy format.
5. Open up Evernote in your browser. Whack “[Blogger Linkup]” in the search bar to bring up all the saved newsletters.
6. Open up one of the newsletters, find the numbers of the prospects you’re interested in (in this case all categories of “Guest Posts Needed”) drag select that area of the list with Linkclump and dump into an Excel sheet. Repeat for each note, pasting each one to the bottom of same column.
You now have a massive Excel list filled with prospects, but not much more use than going through them individually in email format. This is where some basic Excel knowledge and SEO Tools for Excel comes in handy.
7. First, you want to get down to a list of root domains. Go to Data > Text To Columns > Delimited > Other (enter “/” as your delimiter and check all looks in working order) > Finish. You’ll now have a third column over containing the root domains.
8. Ditch the duplicate sites by going to Data > Remove Duplicates > (Select Column containing Root Domains) OK and copy the remaining URLS in said column into a new sheet.
9. Now to figure out a “priority order” as I like to call it. I know people deny chasing it in the present day of online marketing, but come on, Page Rank is still handy! Chances are a domain with high PR is doing something right and has readership, so there’s a good chance you’d like a link from them. Using SEO tools select the cell next to the top domain. SEO Tools > Offpage > CheckGooglePageRank > (select the cell on the left containing the Root Domain) OK). Now drag this all the way down the right column to get all the page rank metrics for all the URLs.
(NOTE: Of course there are tonnes of metrics you can get from SEO Tools. Just because I prefer to gauge by Page Rank, you may prefer to use another metric, so feel free to do so!)
10. Select both columns and Ctrl+T your data into a table, sort the Page Rank (or other metric) column by largest to smallest.
11. Now to go off and find out which of these sites we want to target! Going down the list, Copy each URL one at a time, go back to your Evernote and paste it into the search bar. This will bring up the BLU edition the site appeared in. You can then use a CTRL+G Browser search to find the entry, see what they are looking for in terms of content, have a peak around the site to make sure all checks out and get a contact address. You can then get these added into your preferred method of logging prospects or go straight in with an outreach email!
12. Delete all [Blogger Linkup] notes in Evernote each time you finish this process to prevent going over the same edition twice and make life easier. If you need to access any particular edition in the future you have no need to worry; all are backed up in your Gmail archive and labelled for convenience because of the filters you set up in step 3!
Although you do get some less quality site options in BLU, I usually find a minimum of 2-4 decent options per edition. So that’s 6-12 potential links per week for the sake of 30 minutes work or less.
And with the advantage of A) knowing they are looking for content and B) knowing what they want the content to be about, you have a great upper hand when it comes to outreach too.
Daniel touched on Excel being a really useful tool for link building, I would just like to add that Niel’s SEO Tools for Excel plugin is like putting Excel on steroids, it’s a must have in any link builders tool box.
Making sure that you are spending your time targeting the best prospects from Blogger LinkUp isn’t always quick and thanks to Penguin we as SEO’s need to ensure that links we build for our clients are the best darn’ links we can build.
For this reason, we built in Excel, a simple spreadsheet (which requires the SEO Tools for Excel plugin) that allows you to paste all those URL’s you just scraped from Evernote using Linkclump and get back some useful metrics about the guest post opportunities, this can really help to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Note: I’ve limited this data to 100 results, this is because when you make all of these API calls Excel tends to lock-up, and Google might just decide that you have had enough Page Rank data and deny your request. I’d probably pop the kettle on, or come back to this task in a couple of minutes once the API results have been populated.
To filter the data by any of the metrics select ‘link metrics filter’ from the sheet’s menu. This sheet is basically a carbon copy of the first, but has a filter you can play with – if you filter data with API lookups in Excel it tends to fetch these metrics again, which is truly tedious!
The latest version of SEO Tools for Excel can access via API link metrics like citation flow and AC rank. If you have a paid subscription to MajesticSEO you could easily add these into the spreadsheet for additional link equity filter options, best of all, this API is lightning fast!