High quality backlinks, what does that even mean? Well, Google hints that links from prominent websites is a good sign that information is, well, trusted, but that’s kind of vague, too. The thing is that not all backlinks are created equal.
Some help, your pages rank higher and Google, others will seem like they’re doing absolutely nothing and some may actually hurt your rankings. So today we’re going to talk about identifying high quality backlogs that will move the needle for your site. First, you start with keyword research and of course, you’d look at the number of links that are pointing at the top ranking pages and you see something like this and you’re like, hot damn over six hundred links from unique websites. So you click on the backlinks number to see who’s linking to the page. Then you spot check the report and you’re like, wow, a link from Lifehacker. Time to learn Japanese so I can get a link there too. So you export all results, find some email addresses, then mass email, everyone taking whatever you can get. This is the wrong way to approach prospecting and link building.
Without further analyzing your link prospects, you could very well be building bad links or links that won’t actually help you rank. So what you need to do is identify your competitors high quality backlinks so you can know which pages will be worth getting a link from. And the way you’re going to do that is by asking yourself a series of questions.
First, ask yourself, is the site’s content relevant to my niche? Imagine this for a second. US to friends for a recommendation for the best Italian restaurant in the city. One of your friends is a chef at an upscale Italian restaurant, and the other is a basketball coach who’s allergic to tomatoes. Whose opinion would you hold higher? Probably the chef, since you know that they have experience with Italian cuisine in the same way links from a website about Italian food Italy or recipes would hold more weight than links from sites about technology or marketing. For example, you’ll see that this page is linking to the top ranking URL for the very best running shoes. But if you look at the content on the site, it seems more like a personal blog on random topics rather than one on running fitness or any other theme. So in terms of site wide relevance, it’s not quite there.
The New York Times covers various broad topics across their entire site in just because they cover everything, it doesn’t mean that links from there are worthless. In fact, the opposite could be true. Now, if you look at the link profile of the running shoes page, you’ll see that they have a link from Business Insider and based on just the title alone, you can see that the page is entirely about running shoes.
To contrast this example, look at this link from Hoover Dog pointing at the same target. The title of the post is called An Economics Lesson for Bernie Sanders. The Post is about economics and possibly politics. So even though they’re linking to the same page, it doesn’t change the fact that the posts about economics, not fitness or apparel. So in my opinion, I probably wouldn’t reach out to the site for a link since the page and website aren’t topically relevant. Now, everything that I’ve explained up to this point is about topical and contextual relevance but another thing to consider is locational relevance.
For example, if you’re a Toronto based photographer, you’d probably want to rank your pages in Toronto and the surrounding area. After all, that’s where the bulk of your customers will likely be. So in my opinion, I think it also be worth building links from websites about Toronto that might be from non-competing Toronto based wedding vendors or Toronto lifestyle blogs.
The next question to ask yourself is, does the linking site have authority? We try to quantify so-called website authority with a metric called domain rating. DR is a score on a scale from zero to one hundred, which represents the overall strength of a website, speckling, profile, and within the backend support you can see the metrics beside each linking page. For me personally, I don’t really use website authority as a main metric. Instead, I use it to gauge if these people have actually earned back links throughout their site. It’s also a great metric to use as an initial start for link prospecting.
For example, if I export all backlinks from this report, then I can open it and Google sheets and create a filter. So I’ll click on this icon here and click on Filter by condition, then I’ll choose the greater than or equal to option and then add something like 30 for the value and just by doing that, I was able to cut down our initial list by around seventy seven percent, meaning a lot of backlands from weaker sites. Now, it’s important to note that while this might be a good starting point, I wouldn’t recommend only reaching out to sites with a certain DR score. You have to also keep in mind that identifying site today could continually build authority over time, making your link on that page potentially more valuable in the future. All right.
The next thing to ask yourself is, is the website getting consistent traffic from Google? Last year, I owned a natural health blog and after training my team on how to get back links, we were building them efficiently and as I was looking through my little profile, I saw that we had built a link from this site. It was from a relevant website and page had a decent website authority but if you look at the websites organic traffic history, you’ll see a massive dip in traffic where it went from over a hundred thousand monthly search visits to pretty much nothing. And this was likely due to Google’s August twenty eighteen core algorithm update nicknamed Medic. Now, when you see significant drop offs like this or this, it’s better to stay clear, even outside of algorithm updates, you can’t really conclude what happened with certainty. For all you know, you may be building links on sites that have previously been penalized for things like selling links, and you probably wouldn’t want your site to be associated with them. So long story short, it’s best to make sure that the site doesn’t appear to have been penalized or is getting steady organic traffic growth over time. To see whether a website is getting consistent traffic from Google, you can use tools that explore Internet domain. Click on the organic search tab and you’ll see the estimated amount of search traffic the site gets as a whole.
Ask yourself, does the linking page get search traffic within the backend support? You can see whether the pages are getting search traffic and getting links from pages with traffic can be good for a couple of reasons. First, you know that the page is likely still in Google’s good books because if they’re getting search traffic, then they’re ranking. And second, the more traffic a linking page gets, the better your chances of getting more referral traffic. The next question is, are most external links on their site? No, followed, as far as we know, links with the nofollow attribute don’t pass value. So you wouldn’t want to waste time building no follow links. For example, let’s say that you’re running a guest post and campaign where you plan to link back to one of your resources. You can go to a Web page, right? Click on an external link and then use Crone’s Inspect Element feature to see the HTML code of that link. And if you see a REL equals nofollow tag, there’s a decent chance they may know follow a lot of other external links on their site.
If you look at the main things we’ve talked about, it looks like the site checks all the boxes like an authoritative domain, consistent traffic, and I’ll assume the site is relevant to our niche. Now, if we go to the Linked Domains report, we can see which websites bailing out to and if we click on the dropdown here, you’ll see that the vast majority of external links are not followed, meaning your chances of getting a follow link would be slim. So unless you’re trying to get a mention from that site or to hope for referral traffic, I don’t think it will be worth the time and effort to guest post here.
Finally, ask yourself, are they linking to too many pages? For me, this metric plays a big role when it comes to resource page link building. When a page has a ton of external links on their page, less authority is transferred via each external link. So you probably don’t want links from pages that are linking to a thousand other pages. And you can see the number of external links on the page in the background support insight explorer. You can also click on the external links header to sort them or use Google Sheets filters to weed them out of your prospects list.
Now, should you only go for things that match all of the criteria that we’ve talked about? I’d say no, because you’d be limiting your pool of prospects a bit too much. Instead, use these as guidelines to determine the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into gaining links from certain pages and sites and also use them to find which sites you’ll want to avoid building links on.