As a business in the online world we live in today, it is always ideal to stay up to date on the ever changing landscape of the key differentiators that make you a true player in the industry. There are so many strategies being implemented and there are several different outlets one could use to up their rankings in search,

Having authoritative quality backlinks pointing to your website is one of the top used tactics in SEO marketing. While the process is relatively simple, it is also important to understand its purpose and why backlinks are beneficial for your business, so here is the Link Building 101 guide that anyone can follow:

Link Building 101

Link building is used to obtain DO-FOLLOW links on external websites to become more present on the major search engines. i.e. GOOGLE, BING & YAHOO

Quality Websites should have the following:

    • High-Quality Content 
    • Active Followers/Regular Engagement 
    • Social Media Profiles 
    • Should be Relevant to Your Industry 
    • Posting new content regularly
    • Site layout should be up to date and user friendly

New backlinks can be accomplished in several different ways, but decisive strategies and a targeted plan of execution are required. While new fresh content placement is the best way to secure a link, there are several other options for linking opportunities. 

Discovery

There are several different ways to discover quality backlinks. Here are a few:  

  • Content Placement – Preferred method of earning authoritative links. Several sites allow guest blogging and require strict editorial guidelines that also allow do follow links. 
  • Competitive Backlink Analysis – Resources: MOZ OSE, Ahrefs, LinkResearchTools, Majestic  
  • Advanced Search Commands (Search Operators)  
  • Unlinked Brand Mentions – Use advanced search commands as well as recent news in Google search. 
  • Partner Sites – Links that are present to partners sites can be leveraged for requesting a link back. (Not to be confused with network sites
  • Broken Links – Some sites may contain either a broken link to your client you might discover other broken links on their site that you can leverage in your outreach.  
  • Leveraging Employee Bios – Several members of the leadership team within your company may have bios present that can be used to secure placement on alumni pages, etc.  
  • Resource Pages – Infographics, Blogs, Videos, Images, etc., can be very useful as they are often times not brand focused and relevant for an authoritative site to link to.  
  • Directories – Thorough vetting of directories is highly recommended with this strategy. Trusted listing sites like Yellow Pages and Citysearch are more preferred. 
  • Influencer Outreach – Finding an advocate for your brand or product is a great way to generate some buzz via the influencers’ site and social following. 
  • Scholarships – Several universities have dedicated scholarship pages that they are willing to link out to for their students to take advantage of. If your company offers Educational funding and your site already has a dedicated page with this information this could help you to secure an easy win! 
  • Promotions – Offering giveaways and contests will help garner links and engagement. 

Link Quality Checklist

Vetting opportunities prior to outreach is the most important part of the process. Securing a link on a site that is violating Google’s best practices can do more harm than good as well as create a potential liability for the agency. Tools such as Moz’s Spam Analysis and LinkResearchTools/ DTOX tools are helpful but a manual review is of the utmost importance. Here are some items to consider when vetting a potential link opportunity: 

  • Relevance – Are the links and content relevant to the topic of the site? 
  • DA (domain authority) – Should be at least 30+. 
  • DO FOLLOW & NO FOLLOW – Site should contain a healthy mix of outbound links with DO FOLLOW & NO FOLLOW tags. 
  • Spammy links – Site should not have any content or links to the following: 
  • Payday Loan – Advanced search command – site:bloggers.com “payday loan” 
  • Online Casino – Advanced search command – site: digitalcurrent.com “online casino” 
  • Porn – Advanced search command – site: digitalcurrent.com “porn” 
  • Pills – Advanced search command – site: digitalcurrent.com “pills” 
  • Indexed in Search Engines – Site should show up in search results. Beware of multiple results with duplicate content. 
  • Duplicate Content – On site or offsite. Test content from different pages in SERPs or try using a tool like www.siteliner.com 
  • Advertisements – The site should have fewer than 3 ads above the fold. 
  • No Infolinks – Can slow down a page’s load time and may result in broken pages. 
  • Network Sites – Need to be relevant and cannot include other sites within a network. Generally, these are sites that are clearly created for link building only. 
  • Authors – Site should have multiple contributors if they accept guest posts. 
  • Design – Steer away from PBN’s The or a site wholly dedicated to Adsense and or a site that exists solely for content placement and link building. 
  • Frequency of Posts – The site should feature a steady pace of posts from the first post to present with at least 1 post per week being the norm. 
  • In Content – Link must be in-content, no author bios or comments. Link may reside in a ‘list’ within the content. 
  • ESL – No spun content or English as a second language sites.  Content to be relevant to the anchor text/landing page. 
  • Disclosure – The site must not disclose that they take payments for placing content. Also cannot say “PR Friendly”. 
  • Traffic – The site should garner monthly traffic.  
  • Root Domain – The content should be placed within 3 levels of the root domain.
  • Social Buttons – Site should include social buttons such as FB, Twitter, G+, and others 

Outreach

Finding the right contact and keeping track of your outreach efforts are important for tracking progress and following up on opportunities. Usually it will require following up with different contacts if you haven’t received any response within 2 weeks. 3 attempts is usually the maximum amount of times you should follow up as you either have the wrong contact or they are intentionally being unresponsive. 

Each email request should be concise and include the following:  

A) Personalized subject line  

Example: (Name of Publication) article inquiry 

B) Clearly identify what you want  

Example: Please add a link to www.(domain).com 

C) Explain how it will benefit them  

Example: How it will benefit their users experience.