GUEST BLOGGING is the WORST LINK-BUILDING STRATEGY: In most cases, at least, and this SEJ article explains why.

To boil down the author’s reasons:

1️⃣ It’s costly to do it well (time and/or money).
2️⃣ Publications won’t link to your strategic (i.e. landing) pages.
3️⃣ It’s not reliable at scale; weaker referrers can hurt rankings.
4️⃣ Google doesn’t like link building—guest posting, to be specific.

As the author says herself: “The more I wrote guest content, the more I realized that guest blogging has nothing to do with link building—even though it was the reason why I started writing guest posts.”

Still, guest blogging can work for building brand awareness and authority! 🙂


FIVE CRITERIA for CHOOSING CLIENTS: The 80/20 Rule is everywhere, but its first two pointers for business are (A) most of your revenue probably comes from a minority of customers and (B) most of your headaches probably come from a similarly small group of customers (with some overlap in between).

As this post written by SEO Monitor points out, lead qualification is one of the best opportunities to maximize your A clients and minimize your B clients, and they discuss five criteria to help you distinguish in advance:

1️⃣ Client Budget and Resources — Can they comfortably afford you AND can their team support their side of the partnership (with specialists, content writers, etc.)?

2️⃣ Verticals — Does this client fall into any area of specialty for us (or is any such specialty emerging because of this or any other client)?

3️⃣ SEO Opportunity — This is just the author’s specialty, so the broader question is really can we serve this client well with what we do?

4️⃣ Agency Culture — Does this client “jive” well with our staff and what we’re all about as a team? Will this agency be fulfilled by this work?

5️⃣ Agency Growth Objectives — Does this client fit into the medium- and long-term visions for this agency? Can we imagine “growing together”?
Vote Results for “Behind The Paywall”
and How We Interpret Them
In yesterday’s SHOPTALK we discussed the Paywall Problem:

TL;DR Many publishers can’t sustain free (ad-supported) content online, but consumers can’t imagine paying for content that’s always been free.

Then we pitched one possible solution, a new segment idea called Behind The Paywall, and we let y’all “vote” your interest or lack thereof.

Idea TL;DR We tell you what it’s like “Behind The Paywall” of a specific online publication (like HBR) to help you assess whether it’s worth subscribing.

We’ll share the vote results in a second, but we’ll also mention a few pieces of our thought process here so you can adapt for yourself:

1️⃣ You don’t need anything fancy to incorporate simple voting into an email campaign. All you need is (A) a clear prompt for readers, (B) a button/link for each voting option—any unique destination URL will do—and (C) a way of tracking link clicks, which is built into many CRMs like ActiveCampaign.

2️⃣ After about 22 hours open, the votes are about ⅔ in favor and ⅓ against the Behind The Paywall segment idea. Having said that…

3️⃣ The votes are not weighted equally because, while we can take Yes votes (more or less) at face value, the same isn’t true for No votes.

In a situation like yesterday’s, the options are imbalanced. There’s no friction between Thinking Yes and Voting Yes; if you like the idea enough, you give it a happy 👍 and move along. But there —is— friction between Thinking No and Voting No because a lot of people would feel dickish to proactively dislike and shoot down an idea which has been proposed in earnest.

(To confirm any discomforts: we could easily blacklist every person who clicked No if we wanted to. But we don’t want to. This is a joke. Relax.)

We take the Yes votes at face value (1x)—but given the above friction, we multiply the No votes by 2-3x on the assumption that every No vote is either (A) someone who’s tepid about the idea, and there’s at least one other non-voter like that, or (B) it’s someone whose opinions are strong enough to give us a doubly clear signal in opposition.

4️⃣ Having said all of THAT: we can infer that Behind The Paywall has some merit, but didn’t strike the right nerves quite deeply enough. We’ll continue to workshop it and, in the meantime, focus on the value in front of you. 🤓

If you still have an opinion here, you can (A) hit Reply and let us know what you’re thinking or (B) go back to yesterday’s mail and vote. Publishers usually notice (these kinds of) reader initiative — so, in both cases, we go back and check more than once. 😉

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