The newbie's information to hyperlink constructing
Since this is a beginner's guide, it's only fair to start from the basics.
Link building gets other websites to link to pages on your website so that they rank higher in Google search results.
In general, most white hat link building strategies can be reduced to two simple steps:
According to Google's Andrey Lipattsev, links are one of the top three ranking factors on Google. So, if you want your website's pages to rank high in searches, you will almost certainly need links.
Google (and other search engines) consider links from other websites to be "votes". These polls can help them determine which page on a particular topic (out of thousands of similar ones) deserves to be at the top of search results.
Usually, pages with more backlinks rank higher in search results. This has been studied by many on a large scale SEO Business and the correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and ranking on Google has always proven to be positive.
I mean websites tend to link to each other naturally, don't they? You're just a couple of paragraphs in this guide and you've already seen me link to two different pages.
Good, in an ideal world The most valuable page on a topic would always get the most links and first place in Google. Lower quality pages may not get as many links and rank lower.
But we don't live in this ideal world. And there are two main reasons why the pages with the most links are not necessarily the best:
Guess how I picked the two sites I linked to above. Do you think I have studied thousands of similar pages on each topic to choose the best ones? Of course not! I did a quick google search for the item I wanted to refer to, opened up some of the top ranking pages to see if they say what I need from them and linked them to the page that best suits me.
In this way, the two top pages received a new link, which further secured their high ranking in Google.
We call it “The vicious circle of SEO. “And we actually did a research study to prove it was a real thing.
The moment it gets published, your great site is instantly massively disadvantaged compared to those who rank at the top of Google for the same topic. And if you want to break into this vicious cycle, you must proactively acquire backlinks to that cycle.
Let's say your page naturally received a lot of links (no link building required) and is now number 1 on Google for the topic.
Guess what? Another's side used to be number 1 before you came along. And its owner will likely try to regain that top spot by creating some high quality links on its page.
The situation is similar with the owner of the page in position 3, which was previously in position 2. Not happy about this and will likely post links to fix it.
And while your page is actually ten times better than their pages (which is why it contains so many natural links in the first place), if they are able to link you, your competitors can still outperform you.
You can either do nothing and complain that the world is unfair or you can stand up and fight back.
From this introductory chapter it is clear that to get ranked # 1 in Google all you need to do is create more backlinks than the pages that are currently ranked there.
And while this is true to some extent, in reality things are a little more nuanced.
Aside from the fact that not all links are created equal (more on this in Chapter 3), search engines consider many other variables when ranking pages. The mix of these variables may actually depend on the type of search query that you want to rank.
So if you are creating a lot of links to your page and it still ranks poorly, don't accuse this guide of misleading you. Check out other ranking factors that may be preventing you from ranking well.
There are many tactics and strategies you can use to get links to your pages from other websites. In this chapter you will learn what these tactics and strategies are, the logic behind them and how risky it can be to use them.
Conceptually, most link building tactics and strategies fall into one of five areas: Add, Ask, Buy, Earn, and Receive.
If you can go to a website that you don't own and manually place your link there, this is called "adding" a link. The most common tactics that fit into this category are:
Creating links using this tactic is very easy. And for this very reason, these links tend to be of very little value in the eyes of Google (and in some cases can even be marked as SPAM).
Other than that, these types of links hardly give you any competitive advantage. If you can go to a website and manually place your link there, nothing will stop your competitors from doing the same.
However, you shouldn't completely ignore this group of link building tactics. Each of them can be of great benefit to your online business for reasons other than getting links.
You should resist the urge to add your website to every single business directory just to get yourself another link. Instead, focus on those who are known to have traffic and therefore potentially bring actual visitors to your website.
For example, if you're a small business owner and you've learned about a local business directory where co-entrepreneurs get their leads, be sure to list your business there. And that one link would probably bring you a lot more.SEO Worth “than submitting your website to a list of common business directories that you found by chance SEO Forum.
It is recommended to claim your brand name on all major social media websites (Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, Instargam) & like) as soon as possible. Otherwise, squatters could snap them up as soon as your brand is on the radar.
For this very reason, our team presents pictures on Instagram as "ahrefscom" instead of "ahrefs". Someone else caught this username and we haven't managed to reclaim it yet.
We never bothered promoting our Instagram profile and yet it somehow got links from over 70 websites. This makes it a pretty "strong" site a link comes from (more on the value of links in Chapter 3):
Leaving a meaningful comment on an article is a great way to get yourself on the radar and build a relationship with it (which can lead to all sorts of good things). However, if you post comments for the sole purpose of creating a link to your website, blog owners will only hate you.
Also, links from blog comments are typically not followed (i.e. they may not count as "votes"). So if you are thinking of leaving someone a comment just to add your link there, don't do so.
Hopefully these three examples will give you a good idea of how to add your links to other websites without sending spam.
As the name suggests, you are reaching out to the owner of the website you wish to receive a link from and giving them a compelling reason to link to you.
The "compelling reason" is imperative for this group of link building tactics. The people you reach don't care about you or your website (unless you are a celebrity) and therefore they have no incentive to help you.
So before you ask them to link to you, ask yourself, "What is it in for? THEY? "
Here are some of the link building tactics and strategies that fall into this category, as well as a brief “compelling reason” on which they are based:
All of these strategies seem pretty exciting, don't they? However, once you send your first email request, you will likely face the harsh reality – your "compelling reason" isn't compelling enough:
You see, in order for these link building tactics to be effective, you need to create them a really extraordinary site that people naturally want to link. Or, you have a lot of authority and credibility in your field, which can help make up for the lack of awareness on your side.
Given the difficulty of convincing random people to link to you, many SEOs were looking for ways to sweeten the deal:
Offering these types of "additional benefits", however, puts us in the gray area of a "link scheme", which, according to Google's guidelines, applies:
And there you have it. The legitimate ways to ask for links have a relatively low success rate. However, once you try to sweeten the deal, you step into Google's minefield.
At this point, it seems like I am preventing you from using the tactics and strategies listed in this group. I'm not. I'm just trying to set the right expectations so that after sending your 10th outreach email and not receiving a response, you don't give up. It takes a lot of effort to get links to these tactics without breaking Google's guidelines.
Let me share a cool "hack" that I learned from Adam Enfroy while searching for this guide. Before reaching out to Pat Flynn, Adam linked his website to at least ten guest articles he wrote for popular blogs (which he mentioned in passing in his contact email).
"Pay it forward is a great way to describe what he's done here. Adam didn't hold out a hand and asked, "Would you interview me? SPI Podcast If I Build Ten Quality Links For You? “He just built ten high quality links for Pat, regardless of the outcome.
In short, Adam ended up doing an interview SPI Podcast. And I'm sure prepayment played a role in this.
Let's get this straight from the start: We don't recommend buying links!
At best, you're probably wasting a lot of money on bad links that don't affect your ranking. In the worst case, your website will be penalized.
However, we would be putting you at a disadvantage if we did not disclose the fact that there are many people in the SEO The industry “buys” links in a variety of ways and manages to get away with them.
However, we are not going to teach you how to buy links safely, but rather we are going to teach you about some of the riskiest methods.
Also known as PBNs, these are groups of websites that are created and maintained with one purpose: as a source of links.
Links from PBNs still work well in some niches. But in the past few years we've seen some of the voices PBN Proponents are gradually moving away from their use. It got so risky that it's no longer worth it.
So when someone offers you to buy links from one PBN (or build a private PBN for you) you should say "no".
There are hundreds of gigs on Fiverr offering you "natural, editorial, contextual, authoritative, white hats" links. They give you all possible guarantees that these links are legitimate and will get your website to the top of Google in no time.
Avoid them. Even if your friend tried it and it worked. The best link building agencies don't sell their services on Fiverr.
If you own a website and have your contact details listed there, sooner or later you will receive emails with offers to buy links. Like this one:
If you care the slightest about the wellbeing of your website, you are not buying links from these people. Simply mark these emails as "SPAM"and continue.
All in all, buying links is widespread among SEOs, although its size largely depends on the industry you are in. But even if your competitors are paying for links, you don't necessarily have to follow suit. You don't have to break Google's guidelines to get ranked and get searches.
You "earn" links when other people link to your website pages without your asking them to do so. Obviously, this only happens when you have something really out of the ordinary that other website owners really want to mention on their websites.
However, humans cannot link to things they do not know exist. No matter how great your page is, you need to invest in promoting it. And the more people see your page, the more likely some of them will link to it.
I would much rather spend my time and money creating valuable pages that generate word of mouth and naturally pick up links than work on a series of daunting link prospecting and email outreach workflows in hope To create links to a mediocre site.
Take this particular blog as an example. Three out of five of our most linked articles (excluding the homepage) are data research studies (i.e. linkbait):
You could argue that it is easy for Ahrefs to advocate earning links naturally with linkbait, provided we have:
While these things help us tremendously, none of them are a requirement in order to earn links. Anyone can create remarkable content and earn links if they have passion for the subject and a bit of determination.
In 2015, I spent dozens of hours telling 500 bloggers about the "ROI of guest blogging. “I then published this 'research' on my personal blog and generated links from over a hundred websites. That was twice as many links as my most linked article at the time.
That number of links might not sound impressive to you, but it was a huge hit for me then – a solo blogger with no big brand, big audience, or deep pockets.
But what if you struggle to come up with ideas for linkable assets that will grab people's interest in your industry and bring you natural connections? Or what if you copied someone else's linkbait idea and it didn't fly?
If so, it pays to invest time in building your industry knowledge and getting a better understanding of what might be upsetting them. Don't waste your time looking for magic link building strategies to create links to boring content – it won't work.
5. Get links
As the name suggests, this final group of tactics focuses on getting all of your hard-earned links. It could be argued that reviving your lost links cannot be classified as "link building". But as they say, "A dollar saved is a dollar earned."
There are only two ways to get links:
Let's briefly discuss both of them.
Links don't last forever. The page associated with you may be updated, de-indexed, or deleted. As a result, your link from this page may no longer exist.
Because of this, you may want to keep an eye on your link profile and receive notifications if one of your links disappears. That way, you can reach out to the website owner and try to restore your link.
Fix 404 pages with links
The pages on your own website are just as likely to disappear. Whether intentionally or accidentally, some of your pages may be deleted. And since links that refer to a 404 page do not bring any SEO Value to your website, you may want to resolve the matter.
To find your 404 pages with links, open the "Best by Links" report in Site Explorer and apply the "404 not found" filter:
All you have to do from here is either restore the pages or redirect them to the most relevant pages on your website.
In fact, there is evidence that Google may pass a certain amount of the value of a link to a page even if that link no longer exists. This phenomenon is known as "link echoes" or "link ghosts" and it is essentially what keeps people from monitoring their lost links.
Here is our stance on the matter. If you've lost an important link that sent visitors to your website or acted as "social evidence" then make sure to try to restore it. However, in most other cases, it is better if you spend your time acquiring new links than keeping the old ones.
You have just learned about myriad ways in which to link to your website. What you need to keep in mind, however, is that backlinks are a means to an end. They create them because links act as "votes" and help Google identify the most valuable pages that rank high in search results.
However, not all “voices” are created equal.
Nobody really knows I agree how google measures the value of each link. However, there are some general concepts for evaluating links that the SEO Community believes to be true.
- Anchor text
- Nofollow vs. follow
Imagine if your friend just started a blog and linked to your website from one of his last articles. It's not a big deal, is it?
But what if the New York Times publishes an article that links to your website? You can certainly be proud of that.
The point is, we perceive these two websites as being differently authoritative. The New York Times is a world famous publication trusted by millions of people around the world. While your friend's new blog is hardly attracting any visitors.
How does Google measure the "authority" of a website (or webpage) that links to you? If links are votes, it would be fair if one side with more votes cast a stronger vote for other sites, right?
And that's actually one of the main principles of the PageRank algorithm that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed in 1996.
There used to be a browser plug-in that displayed the PageRank score of a website on a scale from 0 to 10. However, sometime around 2014, Google hired him and left him SEO Community wonders how much "authority" they assign to each website.
Fortunately many SEO Tool vendors have developed their own link-based permission metrics based on some of the same principles used in the original PageRank algorithm.
The authority metrics we have here at Ahrefs are Domain Rating (DR) and Url Rating (UR). Both are measured on a scale from 0 to 100.
The Url The rating of our homepage is 87, which means it is a high authority site. And the domain rating of the ahrefs.com domain is 90 which is considered very high (nytimes.com is DR 94).
Something SEO Professionals also review a website's search traffic to assess a website's "authority". The logic here is simple: if Google places a website at the top of the search results and sends traffic, the website is likely to be rated as highly authorized.
As a general rule, SEO Professionals strive to get links from websites and pages with high authority as these links are more likely to help their own pages rank higher in Google.
But does this mean you should avoid getting links from websites and pages of little authority? Not at all. These links are in no way "bad". They only have less “weight” in the eyes of Google and therefore have less influence on your rankings.
The right way to use Link Authority metrics when creating links is to measure how much effort you should put in to get a link from a given website.
If your friend asks you to write a well-researched 10,000 word article for his new blog (DR10) the link you get at the end isn't really worth the effort. But you should get the chance to write the same article for yourself NY Times (DR94), you should definitely do it.
One last thing. Some people are a little too obsessed with their own connection authority metrics. To ask our support team questions like these:
As you create links, you increase them UR"You are pursuing the wrong goal. You should create links with the aim of ranking higher on Google. Better still, create links to help visitors to other sites discover your site.
Say you own a blog about coffee and post a review of your favorite coffee grinder. Later, two of your friends decide to link to it. One from the article “10 best coffee recipes” and the other from the article “10 tips for saving money”.
Which of the two sides would have a stronger vote in Google's eyes (assuming both sides have the same authority)?
The more relevant!
Would you rather get coffee advice from another gourmet than from a personal financial expert, right?
SEO Experts believe that relevance also applies at the website level. And there's actually some evidence of this on Google's How Search Works page:
If other well-known websites link to the page on the same topic, it is a good sign that the information is of high quality.
This means that you should strive to get links from websites that are somehow relevant to yours rather than taking every single link opportunity that comes up.
3. Anchor text
Just in case you are new to the term, "anchor text" is a clickable snippet of text that takes you to another page.
In many cases, the anchor text describes what the linked page is about. Just look at the anchor text for my link a few paragraphs before:
No wonder, then, that Google uses the words in the anchor text to better understand which keywords the referenced page deserves to rank for. In fact, Google's original patent speaks about it quite explicitly:
(…) Google uses a number of techniques to improve search quality, including page rank, anchor text, and proximity information.
How can you use anchor text when creating links?
Well you don't. The more you try to control how different pages are linking to you and include all the “right words” in the anchor texts of your backlinks, the higher the chance that Google will penalize you for it.
Plus, most white hat link building tactics give you little to no control over the anchor text, which will only prevent you from shooting yourself in the foot.
4. Nofollow vs follow
""Nofollow" is a link attribute that tells Google that the link page would rather do this Not Vote for the linked page.
This is how this link attribute looks in the HTML Code:
In the past, Google hasn't counted votes from "unfollowed links" (or so they said). Then, in 2019, they switched to a hint model, which means that some unfollowed links can now affect your search rankings.
With this announcement, they also introduced two new link attributes:
- rel = "UGC” – should be applied to "user-generated" links, e.g. B. Blog comments and forum posts.
- rel = "sponsored" – Should be used when the link is part of an advertisement, sponsorship or other compensation agreement.
Typically, you'll want to create "followed" links (i.e. links that don't have any of the above attributes) because they're meant to cast votes.
However, if you do see the chance of getting an unfollowed link from a relevant high authority page, it is definitely worth doing.
A good example is Wikipedia, where all outbound links are ignored. Getting a link from Wikipedia is incredibly difficult, which is why many SEOs believe that these links are very valuable in the eyes of Google.
Google's Sane Surfer Patent talks about how the likelihood of a link being clicked can affect how much authority it conveys. And the placement of a link on a page is one of the few things that can affect its page CTR.
Suppose there is a web page that consists of three blocks: content, sidebar, and footer. Typically, links in the content get more clicks because the content block gets the most attention from visitors.
Another thing that can affect that CTR a link is how high up on the page it appears. Readers are more likely to follow links at the beginning of the article than the links at the end.
And the more links you have on the page, the more they compete with each other for clicks, diluting the authority that is transferred to other pages.
Just like with anchor text, most white hat link building strategies give you little or no control over the placement of the link.
However, if you are writing a guest article for someone else's blog, you should definitely try to get readers to click your links. Not just to increase the SEO Worth these links, but because it will send some nice referral traffic your way too.
When creating links to your website there are three goals to refer to:
- Your homepage;
- Your linkable assets;
- The Pages You Actually Need to Rank High on Google.
And often the pages you need to rank well are also the most difficult to get to. This is because users prefer to link to informational sites where their target audience can get free value than to commercial sites where their target audience is likely to part ways with their money.
Thus, one of the most common questions in SEO is:
"How do I organize boring pages? "
While there is no single right answer to this question, everyone agrees that you should use internal linking to rank your "boring pages" better.
In other words, create as many links as possible to your linkable assets and route all of the "link juice" to the pages that you actually want to rate via internal links.
And remember, things like placement, relevance, and anchor text also affect the value of your internal links.
In Chapter Two, you learned about a few different link building strategies. Now let's look at some actionable link building tactics.
- Keeping track of links from competitors
- Create linkable assets
- Content promotion
- Guest blogging
1. Follow up links from competitors
Competitor link research is one of the most basic link building activities. Think about it, the top page for your desired search query has all the correct links that convinced Google of its superiority. By studying the links, you can figure out what tactic to use so that you can get similar links and leave this page behind.
And here is one SEO Tool like Ahrefs is indispensable.
Just paste the keyword you want to rank for in the Keywords Explorer and scroll down to "SERP Overview ". It shows you how many backlinks (and links to websites) each of the top ranking pages has.
Click on one of these numbers and you will see a report with all the links:
From here you have two options:
- Try to get links from the pages that point to your competitors.
- Study how these links were acquired and use what you learn to find other similar sites that you can get links from.
Let me explain with a brief example.
A search query for which we would like to create a ranking is "SEO. "Currently, the first search result for this query is Moz's Beginner's Guide, which has nearly 300,000 backlinks from over 11,000 websites:
After sorting the list of backlinks by search traffic on the links page, I found this article, titled How to Learn Digital Marketing Skills (A Beginner's Guide): ".
Based on the context of the link in the Anchor and Backlink column, I could reach out to the author of this article and offer to refer to Ahref's own beginner's guide SEOSo your readers have more places to study SEO.
Next, I can find other articles on “Learning Digital Marketing” since I now know that such sites provide a relevant place that we can refer to in our Beginner's Guide SEO.
So I open the Content Explorer and look for pages with the title “Learn Digital Marketing”. Which results in over 1,700 pages that meet my criteria:
I would then open these pages one at a time and look for a place that might make sense to suggest the author that our beginner's guide refers to SEO as a valuable resource for their audience.
This is essentially why you need to study your competitor's backlinks and apply what you have learned to create links to your own pages.
Another popular tactic when reverse engineering your competitor's links is to examine their linkable assets. To do this, simply enter the domain name into Ahrefs' Site Explorer tool and go to the "Best by Links" report. This will show you which of their pages have the most links.
As you can see in the screenshot above, three of the five most frequently linked pages on the Ahrefs blog (excluding the homepage) are data-driven research studies. That gives you a pretty good idea of the type of content that links are attracting in our industry.
In your own niche, the predominant type of linkable asset may be completely different – infographics, online tools, surveys, ego-bait, etc. Your job is to find out what it is and use that knowledge to create linkable content for your create your own website.
One final tip I want to share with you in this section is to study your competitor's homepage links. Often times, if a page links to your competitor's home page, there is a good chance of convincing them to link to you too.
Here is an example of a link opportunity I discovered in less than 60 seconds by searching one of our competitors' homepage links:
Moz received a link from a blog post mentioning places to study SEO. Given the amount of free educational material, it would be pretty natural to reach out to the author of this article and ask them to add Ahrefs to this list SEO we have published so far.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying any of these examples are a surefire way to get a link. They are just a reasonable connection opportunities to pursue.
2. Create linkable assets
It's possible to create links to any page with enough willpower and determination, but life is easier when you have something people actually want to link to.
When it comes to linkable assets, people often think of very specific things like:
- Online tools & Calculator;
- Infographics, GIFographs & "Map-o-Graphics;"
- Awards & Leaderboards;
- Studies & Research;
- "Instructions & Tutorials;
- Definitions & coined terms;
However, I would argue that the concept of “attachable assets” should be made more flexible in terms of what can be qualified as such. I mean, a single idea from your article can motivate people to link to it, as can the very existence of your company or its products.
As an example of the former, here are two links to our guide to long-tail keywords:
Each link points to a different part of the same article, so that both parts are "linkable assets" on their own:
- The idea that long-tail keywords are defined not by their length, but by their popularity;
- A statistic that we derived from our internal study.
And here are two more examples of someone referring to Ahrefs as a company and someone referring to one of our products:
None of these links have been requested in any way. These people made their own editorial choices to link to us that were motivated by the value these references had for their readers:
- To learn more about a (somewhat confusing) concept;
- Investigate the source of an interesting statistic;
- See an example of a product-led company;
- To explore a useful product.
So don't rush to develop calculators, design infographics, or conduct surveys to get backlinks to your website. Take a moment to take a step back and see what you already have and whether you can "repackage" it in a way that makes it more noticeable:
- What distinguishes your company? Is that mentioned on your homepage?
- Are your products unique in any way? Do you have specific pages for each product explaining its uniqueness and usefulness?
- Do you have current ideas about your industry? Are these ideas conveyed correctly in your content? How fluent is your writing overall?
Chances are that there are many ways you can improve your existing pages and make them more linkable before you invest the time and effort into creating linkbait.
But what if you were specifically hired to create a brand new linkable asset for a website? How do you make sure that everything you create is successful?
Well, as I mentioned in the previous section, the first thing you should do is examine your competitors' linkable resources and find out what made them successful. You should also review the tried and tested linkable asset formats and see if any of them fit your situation well.
But the research is the easy part. Once you are satisfied with a promising idea, execution matters. And that would go beyond the scope of this "beginner's guide".
3. Content Promotion
No matter how "linkable" your pages are, users can't link to them without first discovering them. In other words, even the best linkable assets need to be promoted in order to attract links.
In general, there are only three ways to promote content:
Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? You can pay money to Google, Facebook, and Twitter to attract visitors to your page. You can also reach pretty much any website your audience is on and sign an advertising contract with them.
The more people you promote your content, the more likely it is that someone will link to it.
There is one problem, however. It is almost impossible to match the links you have acquired with the advertising dollars you invested (although we tried).
So it's not that if he or she agrees to invest $ 1,000 in Facebook ads, you can promise your boss ten high quality links to a page.
But the page you're trying to link to is probably also having a business purpose, right?
Here are three common reasons companies invest in content creation:
- Get leads & enlarge their audience;
- win customers & Make sales;
- Increase brand awareness & Improve customer loyalty.
If your content helps you with any of these three goals, you shouldn't have trouble justifying an ad budget for it.
And if a particular page doesn't help you with all of these problems, then you have to wonder how you justified spending your time and resources creating it.
In other words, links should be a by-product of promoting your content, not the destination.
Outreach is probably the best way to get your content ahead of the "Linkarati" – people who have websites and can link to you.
Yes, the same people can likely be reached with advertisements, but a well-designed personal email would be much more effective if you wanted to increase your chances of getting a link from them.
There is no shortage of articles teaching you how to properly write outreach emails. I also shared my thoughts on this here on the Ahrefs blog. But if I could give you just one single outreach tip it would be:
Try to impress someone with your content and get them to review it instead of asking them to link to you right away.
What you want to do is elegantly plant a unique idea from your content in their head so that they will want to mention it in an upcoming article – similar to what I did here when I was trying to promote my little research study :
Communities are a great way to get your content out to a relevant audience. Regardless of what industry you're in, there is likely to be a subreddit where like-minded people hang out, or maybe some groups on Facebook, Slack, or Discord. You may also find standalone community sites in certain niches.
However, promoting your content in these communities isn't as easy as it seems. You can't just join a community, drop your link there, and be gone. You will be banned immediately.
You need to become an active member of this community and get some respect from residents before you can promote your content there. And even then, you shouldn't post any new content you produce to this community for fear of annoying its members and wasting your reputation. So reserve this only for your best work.
Another strategy is to build your own community that will be happy to find out about any new content you post. Here at Ahrefs, we offer people three ways to connect with us:
- Follow us on Twitter;
- Take part in our blog's email newsletter.
- Join our private Facebook group.
These three “channels” give our newly published articles some traction. But it took us a few years to build it up.
4. Guest blogging
Every blogger wants to post quality content that adds value to their audience, right? But doing that consistently is a hell of a challenge. This is one of the reasons many blog owners accept guest articles on their blogs.
Guest blogging is in SEO Matt Cutts, former head of Google's web spam team, famously declared that the 2014 death was imminent.
"So stick a fork in: guest blogging is complete. "
And yet, here we are in 2021, and all of the link building practitioners I've spoken to still consider guest blogging to be one of the most effective ways to create links.
All you have to do to stay in the good hands of Google is pick legitimate blogs and offer them content that you would like to post on your own website. If you pay someone $ 10 for a 500 word article and submit it to a third-rate blog with no traffic or followers, it will no longer get trimmed.
But here's the problem: Legitimate blogs don't need your guest articles. They do pretty well on their own, which is exactly what makes them "legitimate".
How can you convince them to publish your content?
Aside from actually having something useful to say, coupled with some copywriting skills and experience, I have two great tips that should help you.
1. Build yourself up
The top blogs in your industry are unlikely to take your pitch seriously unless you have a solid track record of published articles on similar blogs.
So try to get published to # 2 first before posting the # 1 blog in your niche. And before placing # 2, try to get published on # 3.
Do you see where I'm going with this? You need to start from some lesser known blogs in your industry and gradually evolve.
And if you're struggling to find those lesser-known blogs, we've got a powerful tool to help you out: Content Explorer.
Just follow three simple steps:
- Look for a word or phrase that blogs in your industry are likely to mention in their article titles.
- Set the Domain Rating filter to a range from 30 to 40.
- Use the One Page Per Domain setting to display only one article from each blog.
As you can see in the screenshot above, searching for the word "steak" returned 9,227 pages from websites DR scores from 30 to 40.
Now all you have to do is study the blogs they are on and estimate your chances of getting published there. If the blogs seem too weak or too strong, you can always adjust them DR Filter until you find the blog authority sweet spot that you are comfortable with.
To narrow your results further, consider using the Website Traffic filter, which allows you to focus on blogs that are receiving a certain amount of traffic from Google (as estimated by Ahrefs).
2. Make an irresistible offer
As mentioned earlier, every blogger wants to post quality content that is useful to their audience. The better your content, the higher your chances of getting it published.
And yet, most of the popular bloggers get dozens of similar guest posts every week offering them "high quality, unique, and valuable content" (which in reality is not good at all). How do you stand out in all the noise and attract the attention of popular bloggers with your guest post?
One of the best ways to do this is to find a "content gap" – a popular topic that gets a lot of search traffic for one of its competitors but isn't covered on its own blog.
Here at Ahrefs we have a handy tool to help you find content gaps between websites that has a very simple name: content gap.
Let's say you've decided to feature a guest article with Brian Dean. This tool can help you figure out which topics are sending a lot of search traffic to the Ahrefs blog that Brian didn't cover.
- Enter Brian's Site in the Site Explorer.
- Switch to the Content Gap tool.
- Enter the Ahrefs blog as a competitor.
- Click on "Show Keywords".
- Look for keywords that pique your interest.
- Click the caret on the page to check organic traffic
And there you have it. Within seconds you found a great topic that has 11,000 monthly visits to the Ahrefs blog but has not yet been covered on the Backlinko blog.
Introducing this particular topic to Brian and explaining how your article would stand out from the crowd will dramatically improve your chances of getting it published compared to a generic guest post called "I can write a quality article for you."
Another interesting way to stand out from your guest post is to rewrite one of your old and underperforming articles.
… instead of making an offer to write a guest post for someone …
..You would find their old and outdated post immersed in the search traffic and offer them to rewrite it?
– Tim Soulo (@timsoulo) August 13, 2019
While it is technically possible to create links with a little brainpower and an email account, there are a number of link building tools that make the process of acquiring links much easier.
Let's look at four types of tools that can help you create links:
- Backlink research tools;
- Content research tools;
- Web monitoring tools;
- Email outreach tools.
1. Backlink research tools
As you already know, studying your competitors' links is extremely helpful in developing an actionable link building strategy for your own website.
Ahrefs' Site Explorer is widely recognized as the most popular backlink research tool in the industry.
Plug in a website or Url It also gives you an extensive list of all of the referring backlinks with lots of useful metrics and filters to help you find actionable link building opportunities.
Some others SEO Tool companies that run their own link index are Moz, Majestic, and Semrush.
2. Tools for content research
Content research tools make it easy to create shareable, link-worthy content. You can use them to find content nooks and crannies that have generated many links and shares, and use those results to create your own content.
Ahrefs' Content Explorer runs on a huge index of over five billion pages and helps you easily discover remarkable content in any industry.
Just find a topic to write about in the titles of the pages and sort the results by references to domains (linking websites). Studying these pages and their links should give you plenty of ideas on how to improve your own content.
Another tool with somewhat similar functionality is Buzzsumo. However, it prioritizes over social aspects SEO Metrics.
3. Web monitoring tools
Web monitoring tools let you know about newly published pages that mention your keyword or new backlinks that your competitors have earned. Both of these warnings can serve as a great source of link building opportunities.
Ahrefs Alerts does a pretty good job with both types of alerts: backlinks and keyword mentions.
Some other web monitoring tools you might want to try out are Google Alerts, Mention, and Brand24.
4. Email outreach tools
You can use email outreach tools to manage and track link building campaigns. They also make it easy to find prospects, create contact templates, send follow-ups, and more.
There are many options to choose from, but the right tool for you will depend on your tactics and processes, the size of the operations, and the budget.
We asked our Facebook community for their favorites and we got the following:
Some interesting email outreach tools that weren't mentioned by our community are Neverbounce and Clearout.io.
Let's sum that up
This guide was over 8,000 words in length, and yet we only scratched the surface of the link building.
However, we hope this guide has cleared up many things for you and answered most of the burning questions about link building. It should serve as a solid foundation for learning more about link building.
In closing, I would like to thank (and provide a link) a number of hardcore link building practitioners who have kindly agreed to share their firsthand experiences with me as they research this guide:
Thank you! 🙂