Custom Link Building – True White Hat Link Building
Custom SEO campaigns contain many elements all designed to bring your client’s success in the organic search results. One of the main elements that separates a custom SEO campaign from more of a cookie cutter style SEO campaign is the time and focus spent on link building.
What is link building?
In order to define link building we must first start with a link. What is a link? A link is when one website places a clickable piece of code on their website that allows a person to visit a different page and/or website altogether. Link building is the process of getting one website to recommend another website via a “link”.
How does link building help?
Link building helps a website become more trusted with the search engines. A great analogy for link building is to view it as a popularity content – consider each link a vote of confidence for the search engines to consider. Unfortunately, every link is not equal quality. If you can obtain a link from a website that already has a lot of trust from the search engines it is going to get more emphasis or “link juice” as we call it since it is coming from a website with good authority and trust than from a website who hasn’t built up a high level of trust from the search engines.
In 2011 Google really shook up the SEO world by launching two massive algorithm changes one was called Panda and the other Penguin. Penguin focused on shady link building practices and severely penalized websites who were caught trying to game the system. Since the penguin penalty link building has changed and it’s for the better – in today’s world of link building not only do you need links coming from trusted and powerful websites but the links also need to be coming from websites that are relevant to the website you are trying to acquire a link from.
Why do you need link building?
The reason you need to build links is very simple. Google has consistently shown time after time that they favor websites that have high quality, relevant links pointing to their websites. Link building isn’t everything because you still need high quality informational content that engages with the readership on that page but link building will always give you the bump in search traffic if all of the websites have similarly graded content.
Different Types of link building
- Lost link recovery
- Broken link building
- Competitive link building
- Event/Sponsor link building
- Citation building
- Content link building
- Press Release link building
How To Acquire High Quality Links
Phase One: Link Research and Prospecting
Acquiring High Quality White Hat Links is no easy measure in fact even the top SEO agencies in the world Blue Fusion Digital included are unable to guarantee you a specific amount of high quality white hat links. Instead you are paying the link building agency to create you a custom link building strategy where we do link building research to determine what sort of links we can acquire for you. During the link building research phase we are utilizing tools such as AHREFs, SEMrush, MOZ, Majestic and other proprietary methods and tools to see what sort of links your competitors (both locally and nationally) are getting. We then compile a list of opportunities we think make sense for your website which means we think they are extremely relevant to your industry and business and look through the various metrics (read more below) and prioritize them based on short, medium and long term goals. Our work in phase one is still not complete quite yet though because we still need to find a way to contact the owner of the website or the webmaster of the website. If we are unable to locate a valid email and/or phone number we unfortunately must scrub the domain off of our list as it does us no good.
Pro Tip: Check the author’s bio for their contact information if it is not posted on the contact information. You can also research through tools like LinkedIn to try and connect with the webmaster or person. For example at the footer of a website it might say something like “website built by Blue Fusion Digital” they could also be the webmaster.
For a step by step outline on exactly how we perform our link research and prospecting please contact us for a link building consultation.
Phase Two: Pitch Creation
Once we have developed a solid list of potential domains that we would like to acquire a link from we must develop a customized pitch to send to the webmaster of the domain to try and entice them to link to us.
Here is an example of an email pitch we’ve used successfully in the past to acquire broken competitor links.
I was researching different ways to clean your carpet after your puppy has an accident and found your article on “5 Steps To Immediately Take After Your Pup Has An Accident”. The article is great and it worked so thank you for the helpful information.
I noticed though on the fourth point you made you had linked to “Puppy Spray Company” and it looks like the product is no longer available and I got a 404 error. I have a client who also sells organic puppy spray and I believe your readership would enjoy the products. Would you mind linking to our client instead? The URL is www.puppysprayco.com/organic
If you think another product might work better please let me know.
Notice a few things in the email template above – we told them specifically what we were searching for to find them and we linked to their article. This shows a level of personalization and they will be able to tell it is not a canned email and more likely to respond. Also, notice how we gave them a reason to link to us by pointing out which link was broken and why our product might be a better fit (organic). We also provide them the URL as to where we would like the link pointing.
You can imagine how time consuming this task can be when you need to reach out to hundreds of domains a month just to try and get a few high quality links per month.
What constitutes a high quality link?
When you are talking about high quality link building we must first determine the placement and context of the links. For example we want to try our best to acquire links that are contained in the body of content itself rather than in a comment, sidebar or footer of the website. We also want to make sure that all of the links we acquire have proper context and come from what we call a good neighborhood – a bad neighborhood would be a website or place on a website that has an unnatural amount of links on the page and/or a page that also contains links to shady industries that Google clearly tells us to avoid websites such as pornography, casinos and drug related websites to name a few. A good neighborhood would be a page on a website that has content related to the link we are trying to acquire and doesn’t look like it’s trying to out game the search engines.
In today’s world of link building you can get access to some very powerful seo tool sets and softwares that can help you in your link building journey. These are all tools we use on a daily basis and can serve multiple purposes – one of the main purposes we use them for is to determine the link metrics of each link.
In general here are a few of the most important link metrics:
- Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating
- Page Authority (PA) or URL Rating
- Referring Domains
- Total Backlinks
Link Building Tool Sets and Softwares
Nofollow vs Follow
One common strategy that we would consider gray hat would be building links on websites with high Page Rank or with good domain authority. The idea behind this strategy is to obtain links from an extremely trusted domain an example would be building a link on a website like Facebook which has a page rank of 9 and a very high domain authority. The issue is all links coming from Facebook are something called “Nofollow”. Each link has to be either a “nofollow” or a “follow” link and what the entails is either the link is passing off it’s “link juice” to the website it is linking to or it’s not. Links that pass off link juice or link equity are the links you really want to have but are often times the most difficult to obtain especially when you throw in the fact that they really must be relevant to your website.
Another very crucial and integral part of link building is determining the anchor text. An anchor text is essentially the preview text of where the link is going. For example we might want an anchor texted link of “link building company” if we are trying to appear for the keyword “link building company”. Unfortunately, getting these anchor texts full of “money” keywords are difficult to obtain because often times you are leaving it up to a webmaster of a website to link to your website so they might have a link with the anchor text of “click here” or “visit them here”
An important note: you do not want your back link profile to consist of only “money keyword anchor texts” that looks super unnatural and you should have a mixture of natural anchor texts (click here, view website, etc.) as well as money keyword anchor texts.
Use Google Search Console and third party tools such as AHREFS, SEMrush, Opensite Explorer and Majestic to view your anchor texts.