Outreach Success! 3000+ Visits, 3 x High DA Natural Links, 14 New Connections & Social Signals To Boot
7 votes, 4.43 avg. tacos (86% full)

We’ve all seen expert round-up articles in the SEO/IM space. An Expert Roundup Article (ERA) is where you reach out to experts in your niche and have those experts answer a question, you then compile all the responses into a super-article and promote the pants off it. There’s some bits in between, but that’s the crux of an ERA;

  1. Ask experts a question
  2. Compile
  3. Promote

Why do an ERA campaign?

  • They’re a fantastic way to introduce yourself to experts in your niche and build relationships
  • They’re brilliant for creating a high-quality and information-rich piece of content
  • You’ll likely drive traffic to your site from the article being promoted
  • You’ll probably get some social signals and sharing going on the article
  • Hopefully, from and SEO perspective, you’ll generate natural links
  • If you like, as Brian Dean outlines, you can take it a step further and prospect for links in addition

ERAs work INCREDIBLY WELL in the SEO/IM space.

Just Google something like “Experts Reveal SEO Tips” and you’ll come across a ton of examples. Here is a nice one. Here’s another and another. All brilliantly put together and some kick-arse tips in them. Seriously, do yourself a favor and bookmark those.

Why ERAs work fantastic in the SEO/IM niche

  • The experts you outreach to understand that being featured in an ERA is great for SEO and is a simple-to-get link
  • They understand that being featured in an ERA will likely drive traffic to their blog
  • The SEO/IM audience is very aware of, and accepting of these types of articles
  • There’s a high likelihood that a half-decent article will attract natural social shares because the SEO/IM space is generally an obliging world > we share content or link to it almost as a virtual high five to the creator. It’s second nature.
  • The SEM/IM crowd “get it”, which is why they’re so effective.

So they’re an effective way to get eyeballs on your SEO/IM blog.

But what about using them as a way to drive traffic to money sites?

By this I mean, can ERAs work for non-SEO blogs. Like, could they work for an Amazon Affiliate Site?

Well yes indeedie they can! Let’s dig into our latest experiment.


Expert Roundup Articles For Money Sites

In starting this ERA experiment, I wanted to test the following:

  1. How successful would ERAs be in niches where the bloggers you are reaching out to may not fully understand the value? In particular;
    1. What response rate would we get?
    2. What answer quality would we get?
    3. After producing the article, how active would the experts be in sharing the article etc?
  2. Could expert round-ups be a viable way to launch money sites and minimize the impact of the Sandbox?
  3. SEO/IM industry aside, can ERAs be used to drive;
    1. Traffic (short-term from round-up being promoted by those people included in it)
    2. Social signals > short-term from the initial traffic
    3. Social signals > on-going from featuring a high-quality article on the site
    4. Links (not expecting these instantly, but would they come about over time?)
    5. Relationships with other bloggers
  4. And the big question was, how much of the above could be achieved, even if a site is just an Amazon affiliate site?

In the December intake, we ran 3 ERA experiments.

  • One was a great success (documented below)
  • One has just launched and looks to be a great success also (900% traffic spike on day 1 of promotion)!
  • One is yet to be finalized (have all the responses, just compiling and getting it ready to send out)

Here’s how the experiment was run:

  1. We had 12 Interns assist with the experiment
  2. Each Intern found 15 blogs/websites related to the three sites we were doing the ERAs on
  3. Each intern emailed webmasters of the target sites using a template they were given, based on the one featured in Brian Dean’s case study
  4. Interns answered return questions from respondents and compiled responses into an article draft
  5. We have partners managing the sites and those partners tidied up the articles using Thrive Content Builder and then promoted to the featured experts with an email and via Twitter and FB (more on that below)

We learned a ton through the process and have developed a complete training module for our Internship participants moving forward. In fact we’re doing 12 ERAs right now in the current Internship intake.

Our ERA Results:

Below are the results for the ERA that has been completed.

First, some particulars about the site:

  • Site Type: Amazon Affiliate Site
  • Age: 12 months
  • Indexed Pages: 25 (3 main articles targeting “best” and “review” type KWs, then some product review pages + About, Privacy etc)
  • Content Quality: Slightly better than average for Amazon affiliate sites
  • Domain: Branded domain (e.g. not “bestproductreviewshq.com), it’s a nice domain that fits the niche perfectly (a bit like aPennyShaved.com)
  • Site Look: Nice clean looking site. Not fancy, but nice looking
  • Niche: Health & Beauty
  • ^ Would love to give you the domain, but the site is currently for sale so risking that would put the eventual buyer at risk of competition. So the domain stays under wraps.

Response Rate:

14 respondents of approximately 100 emails sent. BUT, the emails were sent right before Christmas and with 12 people from different parts of the world each contributing, as opposed to a single webmaster and some of the 100 didn’t get a follow-up either.

We could have stalked them on social media for a response, or sent a follow-up email to everyone but at that time of year, with that many Interns contributing it’s no easy task to coordinate.

So I believe 14% response rate is pretty good. We got 2-3x the response rate for the other two ERAs that are not yet complete (better timing being after Christmas).

Short-Term Traffic Generated:

1997 visits in 3 days prior to article going live vs 3833 visits in the 3 days after post going live, mostly from social and direct visits. Very happy with this result!

FIQ after

Traffic to site 3 days PRIOR to round-up article being posted


FIQ b4

Traffic to site 3 days AFTER round-up article was posted

Love the non-Google traffic! And the thing is, we really didn’t push the promotion of it too hard. We Tweeted a handful of the bloggers that were included in the round-up and also emailed them to say thanks. That was pretty much it. We had only 3 or 4 of the bloggers actually share the article via social media and we certainly could have gone harder here.

An aside… Check out how the second (not yet fully completed) ERA is going with traffic!

traffic blow up

lol, the day just finished and we had an approx 900% traffic spike after the first day of promotion.

Back to the results for the completed article…

Prolonged Traffic Increase:

We had about 8 hours of downtime with hosting on 28th Jan, but even with that time/traffic loss, traffic is up just over 10% comparing the 14 days prior to the ERA going out (3rd to 16th Jan) to the 14 days after the traffic spike following the ERA (20th Jan to 2nd Feb). So I’ve excluded the 3 day initial spike, kept the day where we lost a chunk with downtime and traffic is still up over 10% through a 14 day period. Adding 10% traffic to an established site like this is significant from one single tactic.

Natural Links Gained:

You Betcha! 3 of these babies have popped up in Ahrefs (there’s probably more that Ahrefs hasn’t crawled yet)

  • DA30 link from one of the contributors on her “features” page
  • DA42 link from another contributor on her “featured in” page
  • DA41 link placed in a beauty forum by a forum user

^ That all NEVER happens for Amazon Affiliate sites. Nice!!!

Ongoing Non-Google Traffic:

There was an obvious spike when the article was posted and shared on 17th Jan, but a week later, 3 days of further FB traffic popped up (250-300 visits per day). Have no idea where from, nice problem to have! Here’s the social traffic from just prior the post went live to just after that second spike. Check out the traffic from social media sources.

ongoing traffic expert roundups

^ Again, love that this is non-Google traffic.

Social Signals:

We fiddled with the floating social share bar so lost some Pinterest pins on the totals shows, but combined between FB, Twitter and Pinterest, the article has +170 social shares to date.

Not an astounding number of shares compared to Authority Sites etc, but how many Amazon Affiliate sites have you seen with that many social shares on articles???


ZERO! 170+ is a huge number of social shares in the context of the site being an Amazon Affiliate site. We didn’t have a social media following or list to promote to either, so it’s organic social activity.

Rankings Have Increased?:

I put a question mark there because I can’t conclusively say that the ERA, in isolation, has contributed to a ranking boost (could be natural movement or another site or two dropping down the serps).

We have placed a handful of comment links (about 5) during January so these may have helped, we also optimized the site just a touch by shooting internal links from the ERA to internal pages to pass link juice and authority.

Fundamentally though, The rankings have increased right after relevant, natural links have been gained and social buzz have taken place.

rankings up

^ left column is starting rankings when tracking was setup, 2nd from left is current Google ranking, 3rd from left is daily movement, far right is weekly movement. Green arrows indicate upward movement, red indicate downward movement.

I’m confident the ERA has been a contributor and it’s not like the movement has been position 35 up to position 33…. This site has been low-mid page 1 for months. All the movement is page 1 movement, so significant.

The Numbers:

  1. 14 new connections with influential bloggers made
  2. 3 (probably more) natural links gained
  3. Over 3000 visits to the article generated
  4. +10% uptick in ongoing traffic
  5. 170+ social signals on the article
  6. Rankings are up for keywords targeted on other pages


Notes, Hints & Tips

  1. Twitter produced very little result. We had our post re-Tweeted by a contributor with 45,000 followers and got only just into double figure traffic from it. I wouldn’t write Twitter off as a viable traffic source, but in this instance it was insignificant.
  2. Facebook was huge for traffic, as you can see from the analytics screenshots above. We’re optimizing for Facebook with our current group of 12 ERAs.
  3. We made a rookie mistake by closing comments on the article when we published. We should have had Facebook comments enabled on the article as this would have undoubtedly increased the traffic. Not making that mistake again!
  4. The timing of the outreach was not ideal from a response rate perspective, however we wanted to get it done prior to listing the site for sale to show incoming buyers the potential for non-Google traffic. Worth thinking about holiday periods when planning your ERA outreach campaigns for sure.
  5. Initially, we weren’t too scientific with building our outreach target list. We typed in keywords relevant to our site, clicked through Google results noting the domain name and the contact person (including email where possible) to outreach to. We’ve since developed a thorough niche research process for all our new and existing sites that includes noting social media profiles, approximate following, guest post opportunities and more > I will create a separate post on this process shortly!

Here’s the outreach email we sent:


I’m writing to you because I’d love to feature you in an expert roundup article on my website {domain inserted}, if you’re willing to answer one quick question for me?

I get over 25,000 visitors per month to my website and a huge portion of my audience have {issue addressed in the question}. I’d love to feature your response to the following question:

“If women with {issue} could only buy 3 products to help them manage their {issue}, what would they be?”

Thanks in advance!

Of course I’ll attribute your response to you and link back to your website!


{Fictional Owner’s Name}

Tips on Choosing a Question

Be specific… to a point: When coming up with a question to ask your experts, you want to be specific with it, however being too specific will reduce your response rate. We had a handful of bloggers in the niche respond to say they would love to answer, but don’t have experience with the issue we were asking them to address in their response.

My initial thinking when I decided on the question was that it was a) highly relevant to our site, b) fairly relevant to bloggers in the broader niche and c) something experts could still answer, even if they had not personally dealt with it in the past). I was wrong on point c. So there you go!

Aim for SEO upside: I chose the question based on something that suited our site, but that had decent search volume. I worked two keywords into the question with 11,000 combine monthly search volume. The competition for the keyword is moderate, so for an established site like ours I felt (still do) that with some natural links, social signals and good user metrics (time on page etc) that we could ultimately rank well for it in Google.

I spent probably 15-20 minutes finding the eventual keyword just by using the Google Keyword Planner, typing in a generic keyword relevant to our site and then sorting by search volume (highest to lowest). I then picked a handful of keywords with 2k+ monthly search volume and ran them through the Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool to assess the SEO competition.

So although this is not an SEO play, you may as well put time into finding a keyword that has good appeal to readers, suits your niche and with room for you in the serp to rank for it.

Our Next Moves

All up, I estimate that it took around 20 hours to execute in total and it is DEFINITELY something you could have a VA do the bulk of for you (in fact I’m going to put that theory to the test with one of our VAs this week). So putting a half-decent VA on the task for a week would well and truly cover a campaign like this for you.

I like this as a strategy. Love it in fact. Traffic, social signals and links aside, I believe even just the use of it as a way to introduce yourself to experts in the niche makes it worthwhile.

We had fantastic results across all the outcomes we were hoping for so it’s a massive tick for this tactic. So much so that we’ve rolled out a “Mega Expert Roundup Experiment” in our January Internship where we are running TWELVE simultaneous ERAs, reaching out to over 1200 bloggers across a range of niches.

We’re determined to get this tactic uber-refined now that we have a proven process.

Want to learn our entire process?

Apply for the February Internship and you can do exactly that.

We’ll be applying the learning from 15 separate expert roundups through Dec and Jan and to a new wave of ERAs in February.

In addition, we’ll be doing a large test on brand new sites to trial our strategy as a way to drive traffic to new sites during the Sandbox period.

As usual, the Internship has many more training modules, but now’s the time to jump on-board if you want to look at a way to drive natural links, a flood of traffic and build connections in any niche.

Oh, I should mention that all Internship participants get access to our database of approximately 1800 blogs and websites across a number of niches on our outreach list. All screened for DA, ability to host guest posts and contact details provided.

And of course, ERAs is just one part of what we go through during the Internship.

Come join in!



Outreach Success! 3000+ Visits, 3 x High DA Natural Links, 14 New Connections & Social Signals To Boot
7 votes, 4.43 avg. tacos (86% full)
  1. The gold nugget in here for me is to target keywords in the question to authority figures. It makes complete sense and it has never occurred to me before, not even close. Thanks for this one, I’ll definitely do some research the next time I do an ERA. I have had mixed experience with them in the past, not generating the shares and traffic I had hoped to see. Sometimes, they have worked wonderfully.

  2. A great read definitely worth implementing, cant wait to get onto the PTC soon looks like theres going to be some juicy stuff in there.

    Also noticed a slight typo think you were supposed to write of the target sites
    “3. Each intern emailed webmasters f the target sites using a template they were given,”

  3. Got to hand it to you, this is, without a doubt, one of the best techniques ever revealed here on Nohatdigital and on IM blogs in general. Thanks for sharing it with us. Gonna try to apply it in my niches of course.

  4. Awesome post!

    This post really got my gears turning and you have sparked some ideas that I can implement on my own niche sites. I can’t wait to put this to the test.

    This is also an awesome strategy for new sites that have not ranked for keywords yet. Love it!! Great post like always Greg


  5. Great post Greg!

    This is a technique I’ve used a few times myself, did not get the results you had but then again I didn’t send out as much emails either.

    I did get one of the biggest people in that niche tho (non MMO niche) to answer a few questions I had for them and posted it onto the site though which people liked.

    Another technique that can get you some nice links that I’ve just started using that requires outreach emails like this is to spot issues such as broken links and misspelled words etc and letting the site owner know about them.

    Example Email:


    Hey (there name)

    I’ve found broken links here and here, you’ve also misspelled this word here and these words here.

    Just letting you know because I’m sure you want your visitors to get the best experience possible from your website.

    Other than that you’ve a great site. I especially like how you’ve done this (say something that you like about there site)

    I myself have a site in this space called (site name). If you could include me in your resource page (or any other page they link out to other people from) I would massively appreciate it, if not that’s cool.

    Hope to hear back from you soon.


    (Your name)


    Using this technique you’re helping a fellow web owner and hopefully in return they help you. And even if you don’t get a link from it there is now dialogue between you and them which could lead to a link in the future or even something better.

    Thanks Greg.



  6. Just in time Greg!
    Great article and test study!
    I just published round up post on my website including Hayden, Scott and Matt.
    It took more than 20 hours for me, just to find all bloggers contact information took a lot of time. Unfortunately I started contacting people right after new year holidays and I got total about 40 responses and 16 responses were with answers!
    Most of them didn’t have experience with this question and couldn’t answer, but anyway I started building relationship with other bloggers too!
    Will see how this will work out, but I am feeling it’s great way to start outreach withing your niche and make connections.

  7. Greg,
    Awesome article with real numbers backing it up! Thank you again for your efforts and transparancy!

    Now – the one item that wasn’t mentioned that in my mind is fundamentally key – what was the % increase in affiliate commissions from Amazon after the traffic spikes?

    Not that traffic and increased social shares and rankings are bad – but, ultimately if the key is to drive them to Amazon and the ERA is not targeted to that goal, have you seen it be effective in increasing earnings?

    Would love to hear your feedback!


    • We haven’t been trying to monetize from the ERAs. The main goal has been building relationships + social signals + natural links. Big ticks for achieving those goals. We’re also having great success since writing this article with guest post outreach to respondents, so each ERA is generating a handful of guest post opportunities as well. Next step is to find a way to monetize the immediate traffic (or list build from it), and it’s then a fairly lethal tactic.

  8. I know this is a fairly newb question but I’ll ask it anyway. How do you send a ton of emails without getting warned by the email provider or blocked from sending?

    I remember coming back from vacation a few months ago and just replying to like 10 messages in like a 30 minute span got me some “suspicious” activity from my yahoo mail.

    I’m curious how this is done.

    • We’ve just finished up our next batch of 12 ERAs. Had a couple issues where we think the emails went to spam. Usually because of the email subject heading used e.g. “A quick question…”. But haven’t struck too many issues. We did it all via gmail.

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