Link building is an important facet of optimizing your company’s website for search and trust me, you want your website optimised.
Search engine optimisation can be a tricky minefield to navigate.
With Google looking to penalize a novice for all the wrong tactics.
A lot of our clients have a layman’s idea on the ins and outs of SEO but this can and has lead to problems on their own website when they come to us to fix their dwindling rankings on Google.
If you’re on the fence about purchasing the optimisation of your businesses’ website for search. We’d recommend leaving it to the professionals but if you wanted to do it yourself.
Here’s our in-depth guide to doing it yourself link building.
Okay, so you’ve decided to do your own link building.
Backlinks are super important, they’re like favourite votes for your business and the search engine is the scrutineer.
When building links to your company’s website, there are a lot of technical issues to consider. Anchor text type, anchor text ratio, referring domains of the site linking to you, has that site been hit by penalties, relevancy and the list goes on.
The first step of Maxim Media’s do it yourself link building is to start the outreach process.
Here’s how we do it.
The Gmail account you’ll be using should essentially be the name of the staff member that’s doing the outreach, followed by the company’s name. In our case, we use a simple firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure you set up a signature with a link back to your site for legitimacy.
Log onto Google Sheets or create an outreach folder on your computer specifically for your link building campaign.
Create one sheet for opportunities, this sheet will detail the opportunities you have, Ideally, we’re looking to create a whole year’s worth of link building opportunities using this approach (focused on guest posting or sponsored posts).
At the top of cell A1 title it as Website, in cell B1 title it Contacts Name, in cell C1 title it Emails and finally in cell D1 title its Price.
This is pretty self-explanatory in the first cell, we’ll be entering the website we want our link on, in the following cell, it’ll be the contacts name, in cell C1 it’ll be the contact’s email address and the price of the sponsorship in cell D1.
Sounds easy right?
That’s because it is. Now on to the prospecting.
With this approach, we’re going to collate a list of the top authority sites in the niche we’re looking to target.
Let’s say you’re a plumber in Brisbane. I’d specifically look for the best ‘home improvement’ sites. You get bonus points from Google for local sites (targeting Australian sites), bonus points for relevancy (so try to make sure they’re sites that have plumbing at the forefront) and bonus points if the site has a huge authority in your market.
Do a quick Google search for “the best home improvement blogs in Australia”.
Look for the result which provides your search as a list.
In this case, its Bed Loves list of the top 7 home improvement blogs.
Add each site to your spreadsheet in cell A1.
Next, visit the site and go straight to their contact page.
There are two options in this step, either you can submit a query through their contact page form or you can send them an email directly (usually the email will be either found in the site’s footer or somewhere on the contact page, it’s worth the look).
Either add the email to your ’emails’ cell or go ahead and send them an email and wait for their reply to add it to your spreadsheet.
‘But what email do I send them’, I thought you’d never ask.
Below is my exact email template, that I’ve used with success hundreds of times. Feel free to use it for your campaign.
Subject: Sponsoring A Post On Your Blog
I’m looking for to a sponsor a post on your site, it’d be a high quality relevant, editorial.
Can you please get back to me with costs and guidelines,
Many thanks for your time,
Since we’re focused on high quality, authority sites, we don’t want, nor do we need to spam emails to hundreds of sites per day.
They’ll usually reply within 24 hours, with a spiel about costs, site metrics (in terms of visitors), and post guidelines.
Add their costs, contact name and email address (if you haven’t already) to your spreadsheet.
We’ll repeat this process about 50 times until we have a good list of prospects ready to receive our links. Depending on your budget, that should be more than enough for the entire year.
Don’t worry about the lag between the first contact and sending out your article. Most webmasters will be more than happy to meet your request later down the line.
Before we start creating the content to send out to the webmasters with our link.
We’re going to need to qualify our prospects.
by qualify, I mean making sure that the sites we’ll be obtaining backlinks from are worth our time and money.
Qualifying link Prospects
For this part of the process, we’ll need to spend $7 USD on an AHREFS free trial to gauge the metrics of all of our sites.
Ahrefs is an SEO tool that allows you to see an overview of site metrics that impact SEO amongst other things.
What we’re first going to do is update our spreadsheet to input all the relevant site metrics we’ll need from AHREFS.
Create 3 more cells in the topmost cells of your spreadsheet. Title them domain rating, URL rating and traffic.
Keep in mind that these are AHREFS’s site metrics, not Google’s but there is generally a big correlation between a site that has great metrics on AHREFS and rankings in Google.
Once you’ve logged onto AHREFS go to ‘Domain Overview’ input a domain that you’ve prospected and click the orange magnifying glass.
AHREFS will then show you the relevant site metrics, go ahead and add these metrics in the relevant cells in your spreadsheet. You’ll need to do this for all your domains.
Once that’s completed (this might take a good hour and a half).
Go to your spreadsheet, select all cells, click data, ‘sort range’ you want to sort by the cell titled ‘organic traffic’ and sort from highest to lowest, which is defined as ‘z to a’.
Voila, you now have a high-quality list of qualified link prospects, ready for your article.
Just a quick note before we proceed to content creation.
When qualifying prospects traffic and domain rating should be taken into consideration, normally there’s a positive correlation between traffic and domain rating but be cautious of sites with a high domain rating and low traffic.
Generally, we should be looking to sites with greater than 1000 organic visitors per month according to AHREFS.
Always do your due diligence and actually visit the site to make sure it’s not just a link farm (a site that exists to sell guest posts).
Content Creation & Anchor Texts
The final part of the link building process is curating custom content (which includes a link back to your site’s home page, blog, about us page, or services page).
In my opinion, this is the most difficult part of the process.
You’ll need to find a competent writer, who can write engaging articles on your subject.
After analysing the links of the competitors of our clients, I can see that a lot of agencies just use spun content (computer-generated content) for their link building campaigns but I’m sure this is extremely risky and can lead to your site being penalized.
That’s why we go out of our way to find the best writers to write both on-site content for our clients and articles for guest and sponsored posting.
I recommend using freelancing sites like Upwork or Craigslist to find qualified writers.
You need to quantify their rate (usually this is per word) and then factor that cost into your link building campaign.
Get them to send you samples, once you’re happy with their work you’re good to go ahead and hire them (like most payments in the SEO world, it’s either best to pay per milestone with PayPal or after the work is completed, if you pay up-front, you’re leaving yourself open to being ripped off).
I always give our writers the topic to write about and the anchor text we want them to use.
Anchor text is simply the hyperlinked text that is connected to your site, it is the backlink. This is an anchor text pointing towards Maxim Media’s home page.
Generally, it’s best to avoid using exact match anchor text, this can come across as spammy and shows Google that you’re trying to game the system.
An example of an exact match anchor text for our company would be Digital Marketing Agency Sydney
Use branded or random anchor texts, they appear to be more natural and Google loves brands.
A branded Anchor text is an anchor text that is a variation of your business name, in our case, it’s Maxim Media or MaximMedia or even Maxim Media Sydney Naked URL anchor texts (www.maximmedia.com.au) are also great for anchor text diversity but now we’re getting a bit technical.
To find engaging, shareable topics for your writers to write about and that your link prospects will froth over, go to Google.
Search for a company in the same niche as you but in a huge market like New York.
Next go to the company ranking first for the most competitive keyword, in this case, it would be ‘plumbers New York’, then go to their blog and amend the post titles for your team of writers.
To keep costs down, we highly recommend not spending more than $25 AUD per article. To do this, don’t ask your writers to write blog articles of more than 800 words.
Once you’ve received the article proofread it yourself, make sure your link is added in the body of the text (this is more valuable, than say the bottom) and send it over to your link prospect.
In 24-48 hours you should have a high-quality backlink pointing towards your site.
DO NOT under any circumstance pay for anything until your link is live.
If you do this over a long period of time, you’ll reap the rewards or great brand awareness and more traffic. although it can be extensive, it’s been shown that organic traffic converts at a higher rate when compared with paid traffic.
If this is too complicated for you, we provide link building as apart of our search engine optimisation service.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quotation and see how we can increase your web presence online.