Do I want to do link building?
As I wait for the collective sigh of everyone reading this to subside, I think this is a question everyone in search asks themselves on a regular basis.
While the answer is overwhelmingly no for the majority of the population, the main reason being the time that needs to be spent on campaigning, everyone knows that link equity is a necessary part of the equation for a successful race. .
So that brings us to the question, “Do I need to build links?”
Should I do Link Building?
The answer to this question depends on your perspective on the industry and where your site stands from an equity standpoint.
For me, sites fall into three categories that determine how much time and effort you put into these types of campaigns:
- Not established.
- Great brand.
If your domain authority (yes, we all know that’s not a real thing, but it’s widely accepted so let’s move on) is low because you haven’t been paying attention to your search presence (out of shame), then you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time here just to get off the ground.
Being an established site means that even if you don’t hold significant brand equity, you’ve built up your authority over time and can compete on terms important to your business and likely have some form of link building in the mix.
If you’re a big brand, you have links flowing to you like water through many channels naturally with little or no effort, so enjoy this little slice of sunshine while the rest of us try to solve this puzzle in the dark.
The above three categories not only serve to characterize sites by their fairness, they also characterize them by the challenges they face from a link building perspective:
- Not established: Having to launch a campaign from scratch, probably has no resources to devote to this effort and even less budget.
- Established: Have research processes and budget established, but they most likely pay a third party so they don’t own the process or the relationships.
- Great brand : Although some links come naturally, most of them point to the homepage, which doesn’t help the site as a whole. On top of that, most big brand sites are ice cold when it comes to changing processes and development.
So now that we understand how sites compare to each other in terms of links, or at least how you can easily place where your site is, what do you do next?
Get started with building lasting relationships
These days, you just can’t “start building links” because there are so many questions that need answers:
- Who spends time on it?
- What is the link identification process?
- How to avoid appearing unnatural?
- Can I be sure that this will not lead to some kind of penalty against my site?
While all of these important questions need answers, they still don’t answer the most important, “How can we build lasting connections?” »
Unfortunately, most people are still doing link building like it was in 2004.
People burn calories in these campaigns, but they don’t burn them the smart way. Thinking a little differently about how you approach this effort will bring much more value in the long run.
Below are practices and ideas you can try to launch a lasting link building campaign that won’t burn out in six months or burn your website down.
1. Look before you reach out…
Let’s use data people!
Link building campaigns tend to have a very myopic reach, because most people think like this:
- Find a relevant site with high domain authority.
- Send a prospecting email asking for a link.
- I hope to get an answer and find a deal, rinse, repeat.
2. Be more specific
Do you focus on the field as a whole?
The problem with this approach is that you are only focusing on overall domain authority, which as I mentioned before is actually not a real thing, even though it is a metric widely accepted.
So why are we basing our efforts on a made-up number?
Be more specific.
It makes more sense to dig in and look at the individual pages that make up a domain you want to link to and what their backlink profiles look like.
If they have strong Page Authority and you have a piece of content (or can create one) that you think would make sense to them, that’s a smarter way to find link opportunities.
If you’re selling baseball tickets to a certain game, wouldn’t it make sense to get a link to that page from someone who writes specific content about that game or the teams playing there?
This analysis is not difficult to do if you look at the right data. You can set up a simple table and match URLs:
|Your URL||# of backlinks||Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow||Subject / Category||Their URL||# of backlinks||
Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow
If you want to go crazy (and really don’t want to do any manual work), you can also pull rankings from big indexes like SEMrush for every URL you discover in your link tools and do some math that says the ranking of URLs for the same keywords, which would indicate that they are about the same thing.
It would look like this:
|Your URL||Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow||# of backlinks||Their URL||Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow||# of backlinks||# Common Keywords||Avg. Rank||
If you’re worried about where you can get the backlink data, there are plenty of tools for large sets of links to perform this type of analysis (eg Majestic, Ahrefs, Link Research Tools).
Most of these tools will have the URLs already ranked, but even if you have to roll up your sleeves and look at the content of the page, it’s better than blindly sending emails with no data behind them.
This approach can also help with your outreach, as you can include the rationalization of why this site should link to you and the shared benefits you could potentially bring to you over time.
3. Form partnerships
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with forming alliances with sites and writers who do things related to your business.
A lot of the negativity is fading around this approach because people are starting to start “guest blogging” and “link networks”, which really isn’t the point of this approach.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with guest blogging if you do it right.
The problem with guest blogging came from a network of sites that were swapping them out unnaturally, not because Google felt like too many relevant people were writing for each other’s sites.
If you find like-minded people running websites in your industry and you think there is mutual benefit in contributing to each other’s sites then you should, just do it in moderation and continue to expand the pool of people you partner with. .
4. Work with influencers
In this world, you cannot say that nothing is certain except death and people will talk about things on the internet.
No matter what product or service you sell, there are people who are considered experts on that product or service – and many other people listen to those experts.
Your job is to find them.
Most influencers – be they writers, vloggers or speakers – are actually not that hard to reach.
Mine YouTube for people reviewing products or services like yours and message them to see if they’re up for sponsorship.
Most of the time, they will partner with you for a free product or a small fee (depending on their popularity).
They will just have to disclose that they received compensation for the review according to Google’s guidelines, which is okay.
Or they won’t, but you didn’t hear me say that.
5. One last thing: don’t buy links
I can’t believe I have to say this again, but link buying shouldn’t even be on your radar.
This is an outdated, time-consuming and overwhelming methodology.
And let’s be serious, you can do better.
While the link [building / earning / whatever you want to call it] is not the most fun activity, it is a necessary evil of our profession and should not be ignored.
Now that you’ve read this, figure out which bucket your site falls into, extract some data, and start making smarter decisions.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita