Link Building for Beginners

Speaker 1: Link building is arguably the most challenging part of you, it’s a part that requires technical prowess, a creative approach, and just straight up grit and grind. Now, if you’re a beginner to link building or you’ve tried building links without much success, then today’s link building tutorial is going to help you get back on sufficiently so you can rank your pages higher on Google stated. Link building has built all sorts of reputations, but there are generally two dominant views. There’s one party of CEOs that live and die by it, and then there’s the opposition that considers it to be a spammy tactic. Now, in order to come to a conclusion, we need to define what building is. By definition, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to a page on your website. And these hyperlinks are called back links. Now, while the end result might make sense conceptually and seems simple, the part that people don’t understand and can’t seem to get right is this part, the process. And this ultimately boils down to execution. Now, the reason why execution is tough is because people just focus on the end result, getting back links to their pages. But the process is actually very relational and relationships are built by humans, not borrowed templates from videos and blog posts.

So let’s redefine link building and set the tone for the rest of this tutorial. Link building is the process of building relationships with other relevant site owners who want and will link to your content because it enhances theirs. So this definition isn’t just about you getting something. It includes relationships, relevance and value exchange. All things we’ll touch on later. Now, since effective link building is tough, you need to understand why it’s worth the effort. In short, backlands are used by search engines like Google to help rank Web pages. And it’s been this way since nineteen ninety eight when Google created page rank. Page Rank is a mathematical formula that judges the value of a page by looking at the quantity and quality of other pages that link to it. And Google confirms the importance of backlands on their how search works page under their ranking useful pages heading they state. If other prominent websites on the subject link to the page, that’s a good sign that the information is of high quality. We also found a clear correlation between organic traffic and backlands from unique websites in our study of over one billion Web pages. So while getting backlands may be harder than, let’s say, creating a blog post, they’re absolutely critical if you want to rank for competitive phrases. Now, you might be thinking, well, so-and-so said not to focus on building because high quality content always attracts links. Well, how do you get that content in front of people in the first place? Unfortunately, the concept of if you build it and they will come is just pure fantasy. Or you might have heard other people say I get tons of traffic without building back links. So no need to go through the struggle. Yes, it’s possible to rank pages with without links. But let me say this one more time. Back links are absolutely critical if you want to rank for competitive phrases and competitive phrases are usually the ones that will drive the most traffic and revenue for your business. For example, queries related to SEO are extremely competitive, but they’re also very lucrative. And if you take a look at our blogs, Bakshian growth in Explorer, you’ll see that the growth curve almost mirrors that of our organic traffic. They’re rising together. So how do you get back links? Well, there are three ways to get them. You can create them, buy them or earn them. Let’s go through each method. Creating back links means to manually add links to your site. This can be done by adding your website to directories, leaving comments on blogs or adding a website to your social media profile. Anyone can do this with minimal effort so they’re not that effective. From an SEO and ranking perspective, buying back links is exactly as it sounds. You pay webmasters or authors a fee and in return they’ll link back to a page on your site. Now, this is against Google’s webmaster guidelines and can potentially result in a penalty that could be anything from losing ranking positions or even worse, getting your pages removed from Google Search Index. Also find links isn’t exactly cheap. We contacted two hundred and fifty websites to ask if they sell links and we found that the average cost of buying one was nearly three hundred and fifty three dollars. And no, we didn’t buy any. The final way to get back links is to earn them. And this is usually done by emailing other website owners and editors and asking them to link to you.

This is the hardest method of the three. But generally speaking, the harder it is to obtain a link, the more valuable it will be. And for that reason, we’ll be focusing on earning back links through email outreach and I’ll touch on a few tactics later. Now, not all links are created equal. Some will help propel your pages to the top of Google, while others can actually hurt your site. So what makes a link? Actually good to simplify it as much as possible. There are two main categories you should look at. First is relevance. Ideally, you want to get back links from relevant websites and pages. For example, let’s say you have a page on the best USB microphone’s getting a link from a page on the topic of video conferencing will be much more relevant than a link on a page about gardening tips. And this also plays out at the website level. Getting a link from a text site like PSINet would likely carry more weight than one from a recipe site like all recipes. The second category is authoritativeness. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with authority in the context of link building, it basically represents the so-called link power a Web page has, and this relates to help page rank works, as we discussed before, both the quantity and quality of links met. So the more quality links the page gets, the more page rank it earns. Now, page rank doesn’t appear out of thin air. It comes from other pages. This means that pages with authority can pass it to other pages through hyperlinks. So the more page rank a linking page has, the more I can pass to those outbound links. For example, let’s say page C has two links, one from page and one from page by page is stronger than page B and also has fewer outgoing links. Feed this information into the page rank algorithm and you get the page rank of page C. Now, this is obviously a simplified version of how page rank works, but the key point here is that you want to get links from high authority pages because they’ll likely have the greatest impact on your rankings. Now, while Google doesn’t provide page rank or website authority scores, we have two metrics at HFS that tried to quantify it. Domain rating is our website authority metric, and it represents the overall strength of a website’s background profile. And overall rating is our page level authority metric, which represents the overall strength of a page is Backlund profile. We have a full video on assessing high quality back links, so I’ll link that up for you in the description. All right. So at this point, we’ve covered what building is, why it’s important, three methods to get them and some attributes of good quality links. What we haven’t talked about yet is the actual link itself. So let’s break down the anatomy of a hyperlink and the impact each part has on. So here’s what a link looks like to your website. Visitors. And if we look at the HTML code, then it would look like this. Now there are three basic parts to a link that matter and the destination URL anchor text and the attribute or lack of one. The destination you URL is simply that you URL the person will visit when the link is clicked. The second part of a link is the anchor text. The anchor text is the clickable word, phrase or image attached to the link. So in our example site, Explorer is the anchor text, which is the name of our competitor analysis tool. Google uses anchor text to better understand what a page is about and what terms it should rank for. But building lots of links with keyword rich anchors is classified as a link and may result in a Google penalty as it looks unnatural. For example, if you had a post on the best wireless headphones and had one hundred links pointing to it where the anchor text were all best wireless headphones, then it would look quite unnatural. People often use anchors such as the company’s branding, the title of the page, the URL or phrases like Click here and here’s some proof. If we look at the anchors of Backlog’s pointing to our data study on features snippets, you’ll see varying anchor text like oil studies, HFS research and even specific stats like ninety nine point five percent, eight point six percent of all clicks and so on. In fact, there are only 14 websites that have linked to us using the anchor text snippet. With most earned links, you have very little or no control over the anchor text, so over optimization isn’t something you really need to worry about. In the last part is the attribute. Some links contain a attribute which is intended to tell crullers the relationship between the linking page and the linked page and the three Réal values that you should know about when it comes to link building are no follow UGC and sponsored. Historically, no follow links told Google that the linking page would rather not associate themselves with the linked page, and for that reason, Google didn’t transfer authority through those links. But then Google added a couple other REL values UGC, which stands for user generated content and sponsored, which signifies a paid link. They also announced that going forward, they would look at these link attributes as Hintze, meaning they may pass value through them at their discretion. Now, if a link doesn’t have any of these real values, then will be called a followed link, meaning the link and past page rank and help boost your rankings.

Seeing as this is still relatively new, I’d recommend focusing on building followed links, although that’s only partially within your control. One other thing I want to touch on is link placement. Prominent links are more likely to be clicked, and it’s believed that Google takes this into account when determining how much authority a link transfers, for instance, and editorial link is more likely to be clicked than a link in the footer. So all else being equal, the former will be better than the latter. All right, so by now, you should have a general overview of the more technical things that are involved in link building, but as I mentioned, there’s also a creative part that’s required by creative. I’m talking about the content creative as well as getting creative with your email pitch. Now, with enough willpower and determination, it’s possible to build links to any kind of page. But life is a lot easier when you have something that people actually want to link to. So let’s talk about the content side of things. First, there are a couple of key attributes that linkable content has. First, it’s usually noncommercial commercial content like product pages from an e commerce store or sales pages are tougher to get links to. Why? Because no one wants to contribute to your bank account without some kind of compensation or at the very least having first hand experience with your products or services. So by creating noncommercial content with high utility, you’re creating something that’s more deserving of a link that leads us into the second attribute. Linkable content is helpful. People want to link to helpful content because it directs their audience to resources that complement their own, and helpful content can be in all different forms. For instance, well written blog posts with factual information can get lots of links. Healthline is a great example of this. Their blog posts are usually concise and as far as I understand, many of their articles are vetted by medical professionals. As a result, all of their top link to pages are informational blog posts, which individually have thousands of referring domains pointing at them. Calculators and tools can also act as link payments. In fact, our Free Backland checker has gotten over two thousand links from unique websites. Nerd Wallets Retirement Calculator has gotten over eight hundred links from unique websites. And Pankratz Mortgage Calculator has over thirty five hundred links from unique websites. Data studies and case studies are also a great type of content that attracts links. For example, our study on Features Snippets has earned over twelve hundred referring domains and it doesn’t even need to be your own data. This page has gotten five hundred and seventy referring domains and it’s just a curated list of stats on coffee. Bottom line, if your content is a helpful resource for their audience or it supports arguments they’re making like a stat or fact, then your chances of earning back links increases. Now the second part to link building where creativity is required is the pitch. Building links means you need to reach out to authors and editors and ask them to link to you, just like in sales. These people are called prospects now. It’s called a pitch for a reason. You can’t just ask people to link to you without a good reason. Let me put this into perspective. Imagine someone showed up at your door and they asked you for a month. That’s it. You’d probably be speechless and just shut the door. Now, if they told you that they were raising money for a good cause in your community, you might consider listening to them. And that brings us to the first part of the pitch. You need to have a good reason to contact people. Generally speaking, the better the reason, the higher your chance of achieving your goal. So in that doorknocker scenario, they might say something like, Hi, Bobby, my name is Samantha and I’m a part of the Tiger soccer team. The reason I’m here is because our team recently lost funding. So I’m trying to raise money to help our team get new uniforms. Since your daughter Felicity played on our team a few years ago, I thought you might like to help. I’m wondering if you’d like to donate ten dollars, which will pay for half of one of the Tigers uniforms. Now, if you are Bobby, would you give Samantha ten dollars? Maybe. But another key point to note is that the pitch is personalized, which can also help improve your conversion rates. Now, how do we take this pitch from a maybe to a probably let’s add on Samantha’s pitch. Since we’re registered as a charitable organization, we’d be happy to provide a tax receipt for any donations above ten dollars. Now, the pitch has just gotten stronger and could even lead to higher value donations, and this brings us to the final part of the pitch, and that’s the value exchange. Yes, some people will likely link to you if you have a good reason for contact and your content matches the criteria we went through before. But if they’re getting something of value in exchange for a link, whether that be a resource that adds value to their blog or free content from a guest post, then your chances of getting a link increases. But remember, things like exchanging links for money or doing excessive link exchanges is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. The same goes for sending products to a person in exchange for a background. So you need to get creative here to stay in line with the rules. And I want to expand on this because it’s just so highly situational based on the page you’re trying to build links to. But we have a full video on using negotiation and persuasion for link building, so I’ll link that video up in the description. Now, as you can see, link building is both an art and a science.

Pitches are also highly situational and will vary from person to person. But there are quite a few link building strategies that are streamlined and have been proven to work time and time again. So let’s go through some of these strategies and I’ll explain what it is, why it works and how you can do them. The first link building strategy is guest blogging. Guest blogging is when you create content for another website. And the reason why this strategy works is because there’s a clear value exchange. They get great content for free. And almost always you should be able to get a link back to your site whether that be within the content or in the author file. So the way guest blogging works is to find other blogs in your industry pitch and agree on a relevant topic and then you would write a post for them. One way to find other industry blogs is with Content Explorer to search for a topic related to your niche. Next, set the one page for domain filter. Since you don’t need to pitch the same site multiple times, you can then set a domain rating filter to something like 40 to 60 to find websites that have decent website authority, export the results and start pitching. The next building tactic is called Resource Page Link Building. This is where you get backlands from web pages that curate and link to useful industry resources. Now this strategy works because the sole purpose of the pages existence is to link out to helpful and useful resources. So if your content is great and you bring it to their attention, you’re actually helping them fulfill the pages purpose. The basic process is simple. First, you find industry resource pages, then you reach out to them and suggest a resource for inclusion. The easiest way to find relevant pages is the search and Google with a query like Entitled In Resources in Your Outpoll and Resources that HTML and then a phrase related to your topic. Visit the pages and see if they’re actually resource pages that links to other external pages. Then it’s just a matter of reaching out to the ones you want to be mentioned on. You can also use your toolbar, which will show you important SEO metrics like domain rating, Eurorail rating, as well as both page and domain level search traffic estimations right within the search. The next thing building strategy is broken link building, broken link building is a tactic where you find a dead link on a page, create your own page on that topic, then ask everyone linking to the dead resource to link to your page instead. The reason why it works is because webmasters who care about their site don’t want to leave their visitors to broken pages, so oftentimes they’ll replace the dead link with yours. Now there are quite a few ways to find dead pages with back links. The quickest way is to search for a topic and address content. Explore then filter for broken pages. Finally, said a referring domains filter with a minimum value of ten, which will show pages with back links from at least ten unique websites. Now, after you’ve found a page, just click the current and then view it on Archive Dog. This should show you the content that used to be on the dead page, which can help you define your pages content angle. Finally, click the carrot and go to the back end support where you can see all of the linking pages to reach out to. The next link building strategy is to use Herot Heroes’, a website that connects journalists with sources and sources with journalists. Basically, you’ll get emails from journalists where media outlets are requesting information on a specific topic. Just filter through the topics. And if you find something where you can add value, respond to the journalist with your expert opinion. And if they use you as a source, they’ll usually link back to your site. The value exchange here is simple. You’re exchanging your knowledge for a mention and usually a link from an authoritative site. And there’s no shortage of requests from mega publications like the Huffington Post, Forbes Inc, Entrepreneur, Reader’s Digest and the list goes on. Now, I’m only giving you an overview of these tactics, so I recommend watching some of the tutorials in our Link Building playlist, which will walk you through these tactics step by step.

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