The fundamentals of SEO are not that complex. You need to create good content that aligns with a relevant keyword and then build backlinks to the content.
We cannot stress enough the importance of backlinking. There is, after all, a link between the number of referring domains and the Google rank of a website (of course there is other factors that affect Google rankings, but you get my point). This graphic of Backlinko best illustrates this link.
Source: Return link
Because of this proven bond, backlinking should always be a carefully thought out process. This is the main reason SEO is so difficult. In this article, however, I’ll share a strategy you can use to step up your link building efforts.
Let’s get started.
How to assess the quality of backlinks
Most of the common metrics used by SEO experts to rank a site are based on the principles of PageRank. PageRank was what Google’s algorithm used (note the past) to rank content in search results.
There are basically two things you need to know about PageRank.
First, it uses a 0-10 rating system to rank websites.
Second, how PageRank applies this rating system. As part of the system, backlinks were given a value. If one piece of content had more high-value backlinks than another, the more likely it would rank higher in search results for the relevant keywords.
Now that you know that, let’s take a look at some of these common metrics to rank a site right now. Look at the similarities in the principles used by PageRank then:
- Domain Authority / Domain Rating: Websites are linked on a scale of 0 to 100. Moz and Ahrefs developed the ranking systems, respectively
- Trust Flow: A website’s trust flow is the ratio of many good backlinks it has to “spam” links. Based on this, a website receives a score from 0 to 100. Majestic promotes Trust Flow as a ranking metric.
- Relevance: If a website has too many links outside of your niche, Google may raise a red flag
- Website Traffic: The more traffic a website has, the more likely it is that a person will see its content and click on a link.
Here are the parameters of what constitutes a good backlink for me:
- Relevant niche
- With a DR / DA 50+
- Trust flow of 18+
- More than 5,000 website traffic per month
You can use these same parameters for your backlinking campaign, or create your own. Your settings will depend on what you prioritize the most.
How to Select Appropriate Websites for Outreach
The next step in backlinking is to create a list of websites to contact. It is best to base this list on your competition’s own list.
To do this, first make a list of relevant sites in your niche. Then start reviewing the backlinks of each site using a premium SEO tool.
After typing in Business Insider, a competitor of Business2Community that I’m writing for, for example, you see that the site has 410,000 referring domains.
From the list of referring domains I exported, I automatically delete all sites with DR below 40. Since mass mailing to sites with DR 80+ is not as efficient, I also isolates these sites on a different list.
You can filter the resulting list of referring domains based on relevance using the Majestic SEO tool and review the list manually for niche relevance to come up with a final list of sites you can contact for your outreach.
How to find the contact details of a publisher
For sites on your final list with a DA / DR of 40-79, I usually reach out to editors or website managers through mass outreach.
I suggest using an email finder, which is quite easy to use.
Just enter the site name and the email search engine will search for email addresses associated with the domain. I suggest doing this for at least 100 sites.
For websites with a high DR / DA, my colleagues like to contact website editors through LinkedIn. Correct enter the LinkedIn details of a site and search for the corresponding job title. In this case, I suggest looking for the title of editor or writer.
Congratulations! You now have your final email list for your outreach.
How to manage an awareness campaign
Writing the email for an awareness campaign is crucial for your backlinking campaign. I prefer to use an email template because all you have to do is fill in the blanks and then hit send. Including your content ideas in the initial email can be pointless, especially since you don’t even know if the publisher will respond.
So here is an example of a template that I like to use:
I hope you have a nice day. I am interested in writing a guest post for [WEBSITE NAME]. I have a few ideas that I think would be great for your site. What would be the best way to present these ideas to you?
All my wishes,
PS I wrote for sites like [BIG NAME 1] and [BIG NAME 2] therefore I am confident that I can meet your editorial standards.
It’s simple, straightforward and engaging.
Target sending 30 to 60 emails on the first day. This way, even if some sites do not respond to you, you will have other alternatives.
Once you get that response, the next step is to pitch your guest post ideas.
How to find guest post ideas
It can be tempting to simply write down the first ideas that come to mind on paper and then present them to the website editor. This, however, does not work very well.
In my experience, generating guest post ideas using a scientific method is always the most effective. Here is the step-by-step process I follow to come up with great guest post ideas:
- I offer a shortlist of 10 sites in my niche that always have good content
- I determine the best performing articles on each site based on social shares. I do it via Buzzsumo
- I’m organizing the data I found (top performing post titles and URL) in a Google Sheet.
- I repeat the process for each of the 10 sites on my list
I use the final list of articles I generate to inspire me to come up with ideas. Once something strikes my mind, I go to Google to see if the topic has already been covered:
I simply type: Site: website.com your keyword
Here is a screenshot to illustrate what I mean:
If my idea doesn’t appear in the search results, I include it in my list of ideas for guest posts to feature. I’m including two more in this list by following the same process so that I can pitch at least three guest post ideas.
You can use this process or even modify it to come up with guest post ideas to present to the website publisher.
Tips for writing a great guest post
Suppose at least one of your guest post ideas is approved by the website publisher. When that happens, then it’s time to write.
One thing I have learned in my many years of writing for an online audience is that writing a guest post doesn’t mean typing words aimlessly using a computer while hours. If you do this, you will only end up with content that might not make sense and might even be rejected by the website publisher.
Here are some tips I found for writing good content based on my experience:
- Outlines are the key to good writing. Make an outline first before writing.
- Write to express, not to impress. This means using as few words as possible and as simple as possible to convey an idea accurately. Complicated words should be avoided.
- Make your content as believable as possible. To know how to cite a website when including links to an authority page
- Incorporate images into the content. The idea is to make your content as engaging as possible.
- Use an engaging tempo. Vary the use of long and short sentences in the content.
Of course you can find out more about how to create online content and find other tips on your own.
Whatever you do, however, remember that the goal is to deliver content that will appeal to an online audience. You also wouldn’t want to disappoint your website publisher.
It’s true that getting your content noticed online can be difficult, but it is not impossible.
In this article, I explained the importance of backlinks and the ways to assess their quality. I have also shared with you the means to find suitable websites for your reach and have given you some tips on reaching the publishers of the sites you have chosen.
Finally, I showed you how to run an awareness campaign, how to write to website publishers using an email template, for example. I also discussed how you can generate guest post ideas to present to website editors.
Just put in a little effort and create a plan. Soon you will reap these benefits and see your website at the top of Google rankings.