Whether you are handmaking stuff, coding, or building links – whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis –you’re most likely trying to nail the process to avoid facing the same issues over and over.
When it comes to link building, I try to review our processes at least on a biweekly basis to ensure that my team isn’t wasting their time doing something that is absolutely useless.
Also, with the constant growth of clients and the number of links we need to build, we have to keep the quality of links on the same level.
Anyone who’s involved in link building would say that it’s not as easy as you think when the number of links you’re acquiring is doubling on a monthly basis.
In this post, I want to share with you our biggest “aha” moments uncovered during our link building journey.
Below you’ll find how exactly we’re optimizing our processes to make them smoother and more efficient.
1. Keep a Close Eye on the Quality of Links Built
I always tell my colleagues that links that we’re building to our clients are working as a showroom.
Doing link building and having a bad portfolio of links is just like having an ugly showroom that shows you as a bad designer.
And no reputable link builder should allow that.
That’s why I insist on being proud of the links that we’re building and always ready to show them to our potential clients.
Also, those links should reveal that we’re capable of securing links from the very best sites on the web.
Another thing worth mentioning is that anyone who’s outsourcing link building wants to ensure that the links they’re paying for are worth their investment.
I’m a big believer that everyone should be looking only for links that are coming from sites that are running a white-label business.
While getting links from sites that are purely built for the sake of links and have a decent Domain Rating (DR) might look like a quite good place to secure links – in reality, it’s not like that.
Let me explain why.
Yes, those links might be sending some valuable link authority today, but no one guarantees that it will remain the same tomorrow.
On top of this, the value of such links isn’t increasing over time – sadly, it’s decreasing.
This all means that within a year or so, you will most probably need to invest 2x more money in link building.
So, how can you ensure that your next link comes from the site that won’t turn into a pumpkin sometime later?
Here’s a list of metrics we’re using to evaluate each link building opportunity.
What Kind of Business Does a Potential Link Building Opportunity Represent?
Normally, all types of corporate blogs are good to go, unless they’re using some manipulative or spammy link building techniques.
What really sounds the alarm is when a site is an industry blog. We’ve uncovered that the most suspicious sites are industry blogs you’ve never heard about.
The risk that those sites might be a part of a PBN or just a link farm is quite real.
Once you’ve uncovered such a site, you need to process a few more checks that you can find below.
Growth of Referring Domains
Simply go to the Ahrefs overview dashboard and review the historical growth of referring domains.
Does it grow over time the way you can see in the graph below?
If so, that’s a good signal that a site is working on increasing its visibility.
But if you see that the graph shows no changes, it’s a red light for you to dig deeper and check some additional metrics.
What Are the Top Traffic-Generating Pages & Keywords?
When it comes to generic blogs, it’s not a rare case that posts that are bringing the biggest portion of traffic are not relevant to your business even though the post where you got a link matches your niche 100%.
Personally, I use SEMrush to obtain this data and make sure my links remain relevant.
Below is a good example of the top terms that are bringing traffic to a site from which one of our link building partners suggested acquiring a link back to our post about email outreach:
Obviously, this blog doesn’t really rank for digital marketing terms, as all the pages that are generating organic traffic are about photoshop and photo editing:
This means that even though I might get a link on one of the posts that are relevant to my business or niche, Google might not really see it as a super-quality link as most of the referring domain’s top pages do not really fall within my niche.
Newly Acquired Links Report
Finally, one last magic report that could really help you make an informed final decision is the newly acquired links.
If this report shows only shitty links for a particular site during the previous month, then you definitely don’t need a link from such a site because the chances are high it is a PBN or link farm:
As you can see in the screenshot above, most backlinks come from domains with a lousy DR (<16), which is most probably a sign that you won’t benefit much from getting a link from this website.
2. Track All Acquired Links
If you’ve been in digital marketing for any significant amount of time, you must’ve already learned the importance and value of tracking.
Pretty much everything can be tracked.
It’s the only way to know whether the stuff you’re doing is effective.
We always track all the links that we’re building back to our clients.
This is due to the fact that links have a tendency to disappear after some time or even turn into nofollow so it’s important to keep track of everything that happens around your links.
Our team is using the Pitchbox Link Monitoring feature to ensure that all links we’re securing for our clients are remaining the same.
The only downside of Pitchbox is that it’s a quite expensive tool that has tons of other features.
So if you’re not really into link building and just need a link tracking feature, it probably isn’t worth it.
Among other solutions in the market, I would recommend giving a try to Linkody, as it is solely about link monitoring.
Finally, in case Linkody doesn’t really look like a good fit for you, then please feel free to check its alternatives and competitors here on G2.
3. Always Set up a Position Tracking Campaign to See How Links Are Affecting Your Rankings
Let’s face it – link building takes a lot of time and effort.
That’s why there’s nothing more upsetting than building more than 100 quality links back to a particular page and not really being sure whether it has helped or not.
Someone would say that you could always look in Google Search Console, but I’m not sure whether this data really tells you anything meaningful as it’s lacking some important details.
GSC merely shows the number of clicks and impressions, as well as an average CTR and position, for a particular page, over a certain amount of time, but it doesn’t actually show any real analysis:
The SEMrush Position Tracking tool, however, clearly shows that our page has grown in term of visibility and positions quite a lot:
The main issue with Google Search Console is that it shows changes by all search queries a particular page is ranking for.
Why is this an issue?
Well, those queries always include a good number of keywords that are not really relevant to your target keywords.
On the other hand, SEMrush’s tool lets you easily filter by keyword or tag to track only the most relevant keywords and queries.
Above, I’ve shared some of the key learnings my team and I learned the hard way – through lots of trial and error.
I turned those findings into three essential tips you can use to learn the same stuff I did the easy way.
If you make sure you keep a close eye on the quality of links built, track all the acquired links, and set up a position tracking campaign to see how links are affecting your rankings, you should be able to optimize your link building processes, make them smoother and more efficient, while ensuring you’re building high authority links that are here to stay.
- 12 Examples of How to Earn High-Quality Links the Natural Way
- What Is a Natural Link? (A Good Link)
- Link Building for Beginners: How to Get Started
Featured Image: Created by author, June 2020
All screenshots taken by author, June 2020