No BullSh*t SEO Guide To Relationship Building For Content Marketers

Filed in Content, SEO by on November 13, 2014

We Build Relationships Concept

The Google algorithm updates have taken its toll on marketers.

Their sites are dropping off search rankings because of the links they’ve built over the years that seemed harmless back then.

The real problem with sites punished by the updates are the inorganic, low-quality link building techniques that have proliferated throughout the years (content farms, link buying, and guest posting early this year).

Due to the constant updates, marketers are looking for better ways to acquire sustainable inbound links without having the wrath of Google cast upon them.

Enter relationship building.

This method is not necessarily an SEO strategy, but it has the mindset that Google wants marketers to have.

Instead of dropping links from one site to another, marketers must make an effort to forge a profound connection with other online users.

By building and cultivating relationships with people online as a content marketer, you can turn them into myriads of ways to benefit your site in the long run and keep you safe from any foreseeable penalties!


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)



Relationship building process:
  • Basic keyword research
  • Content research
  • Reach out!
    - For pages you can comment on
    - For pages that doesn't allow you to make comments but has a contact page
    - For pages with no comments feature and contact page but can be reached using social media
    - If you haven't touched base with them yet or haven't replied to you
    - If you were able to touch base with them


Basic keyword research

Determine the page from your website you want to build links to and come up with one (1) head keyword and at least three (3) long-tail keywords as potential anchor texts.

To help you determine the appropriate keywords for the page you’re optimizing for, log in to Google Keyword Planner and search for keyword ideas using the topic covered by the page to see a list of keywords to choose from.

As much as possible, select keywords that are relevant based on the content of your web page and has the most monthly average search volume.



If the list did not produce keywords to your satisfaction, get more keyword ideas from Ubersuggest and run the keywords chosen from this tool on Google Keyword Planner to find out their monthly average search.




Once you’ve determine your target keywords, include your name as part of your list of keywords for possible use when blog commenting (more on how to do this later).


Content research

Find online content that you can use as medium to reach out to content creators and industry leaders within your niche.


Where to find content?

Below are sites you should use to find high-quality content:





Create an account and look for content using your keywords on the search bar.

You can also save the RSS feeds of sites that produce high-quality content so you can receive instant updates from their site on your news feed.



Searching here will show you a wide array of tweets from different about the keyword you searched for.




This site returns the most shared content on social media. You can filter the types of content that you search will return as well as their age.



Google+ Communities

Search for communities to join to using your keywords.

Once accepted, look for good content posted by people in the community.



LinkedIn Groups

Similar to Google+ Community, join a group and browse through the posts made by it members.




How to organize discovered content

From the content you’ve collected using the tools above, determine which among them a) allows you to make comments, b) does not allow you to make comments but has a contact page and, c) no comments feature and contact page but can be reached using social media.

From pages where you can make comments, determine whether the links from the comments section are nofollow or dofollow.

Organize the content using the classifications listed above on a spreadsheet.


Reach out!

For pages you can comment on

For blogs, use your real name as anchor text and link back to your home page.


If you can place a link back to your site using an anchor text or just its URL on the comment section, then do so.

About your comment, make sure that you contribute something meaningful to the discussion and also gives you a chance to tastefully place your link in the comment to increase the chances of your comment getting approved by the site owner.

Here’s an example of a great comment by Pam Nelly that was approved on the post “32 Ways for Affiliate Marketers to Recover from Panda:”




What makes this an effective comment?

  • Insightful - Pam shared her own thoughts based on her experience about the topic and supports her opinions and arguments using reliable resources.
  • Includes link - If you have a page on your site that contributes something valuable to the discussion, use it as a resource to your comment.
  • Ends with a question - Asking a question at the end of your comment increases your chances of getting replied to by site owners and continue your engagement with them.


After doing this, go through his archive of posts and make more relevant comments following the same procedure as indicated above.

Visit the pages over time if the comments have been approved and have been replied to by the site owner.



For pages that doesn't allow you to make comments but has a contact page

Follow the steps above with regard to commenting but send it through their contact page usually found on the menu of the page, just below the header.

Since your message will be sent straight to the site owner’s e-mail, you need to come up with a compelling and attention-grabbing subject line to encourage them to click to your mail.

A simple suggestion for this is by typing “RE: [title of web page that you are commenting about]” on the subject line so that they site owner will immediately know what the comment will be about.

For more ideas and approaches to make strong subject lines for your e-mail, read up “How To Create Compelling Email Subject Lines” by John Morgan.

Upon sending out your message, wait for their reply.

For pages with no comments feature and contact page but can be reached using social media

The easiest way to do this is by sharing or retweeting their content to your followers on Twitter and tag the site owner in the hopes of getting a reaction from him or her.




I shared a post that I wrote on Niche Hacks and tagged Stuart (the site owner) on my tweet, in which he replied to and favorited the tweet!

If the user thanks you for sharing your post, use this as leverage to create dialogue and with him or her.

If you haven't touched base with them yet or haven't replied to you

Write a post or create a page about their content to increase your chances of getting them to reply to you.

Back then, I raised a question on the Moz LinkedIn Group about explaining to clients without knowledge of SEO its benefit which raised great suggestions from its users.

However, the comment that stood out for me is from Donna Duncan, who shared a blog post she wrote about the question I just asked and even linked back to the Moz discussion on her article!




By writing a post, Donna made a more profound connection with me as opposed to the others who just commented on the discussion!


If you were able to touch base with them

Interview them and create a post about it and ask them to share to their audience after posting.

At my current work, I reached out to RISD instructor Clara Lieu to answer questions for my client about art school.

However, by following the steps I narrated above, I was able to turn our relationship into an exclusive interview that I conducted with my client about what aspiring art students should do in order to get into college.



Better yet, Clara was kind enough to link the video and the accompanying article we wrote about here on her site!

If you are managing the same relationship similar to what I have with Clara, you can take it to another level by writing a blog post together, if not co-start a brand new project with them!



Here’s a summary of what you ought to do to build online relationships:

  • Find keywords you wish to optimize for
  • Look for high-quality content that’s relevant to your niche
  • Using the newfound content as leverage, reach out to them by commenting on their blogs, getting noticed on social media by sharing their content, and writing a reaction post about it
  • Once you have their attention, cultivate the relationship by interviewing them or collaborating with them to write a blog post or content series

How are relationship building beneficial to SEO?

  • You get to build links to your target page using your anchor text on their site through the comments section
  • By getting the site owners to engage with you on social media, you tap into a new audience to increase your traffic
  • Create high-quality, link-bait content (interviews, content series) about people within your niche


I now turn the tables to you: have you built relationships with other people within your niche? What did you do to develop your relationships and use it to benefit your content marketing strategy? Share your thoughts by commenting below!


Author bio: Christopher Jan Benitez is a content marketer during the day, heavy sleeper at night, writer for hire, pro wrestling fan by choice (It's still real to me, damnit!), and family man all the time. Add me up on Google+.


Christopher Jan Benitez
Content marketer during the day. Heavy sleeper at night. Dreams of non-existent brass rings. Writer by trade. Pro wrestling fan by choice (It's still real to me, damnit!). Family man all the time.

Comments (3)

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  1. Ending comments with questions keeps the engagement train going. Neat note Christopher. I like commenting. A lot. I may drop 3 or 4 paragraphs on relevant, authority blogs to build friendships with pro blogger and to brand me, too.

    One secret makes relationship-building easy: help people. Don't try to take before giving. Each comment I post here adds to Stuart's content base because comments are content. Each comment lends your post and his blog more social proof. I love giving props. I love helping folks. I love paying it forward.

    After you build bonds feel free to ask for something. Or, if you do ask for something from someone, tell 'em no sweat if they can't help, and also, ask if you can do anything for them, whether they can or can't help you.

    Detach from outcomes.

    Become a relationship-building dynamo who does SEO the right way. Smartness dude, fab post.


    • NicheHacks says:

      Relationship building is definitely one of the best thing any blogger or online marketer can do. Your competition isn't your enemy online they are someone you should forge relationships with and mutually benefit each other.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Ryan! You pretty much nailed everything in the head. At the heart of relationship building is all about giving people something that will encourage them to reach back to you. It's part of a bigger scheme to turn them into a customer, advocate of your brand, or part of your community - depending on what you want to achieve. Thanks for your comment!