Finding Potential Link Building Targets
Link building is arguably one of the hardest aspects of SEO and the level of success that is achieved from this can vary from website to website. As an SEO company, we have many different techniques that we can apply to increase this level of success for each of our clients. We are going to share a couple of these little techniques that can help you out with finding potential link building targets.
Link building itself is essentially the act of gaining backlinks to your website. There are, however, many different factors that come in to play that determine the quality of these links and how they will ultimately have an effect on your webpages within the search engine results pages.
Determining the Quality of a Linking Website
What you want to be doing when searching for a website that you could potentially gain a backlink from, is ask a few simple questions:
Question 1: Is the linking website relevant to my website?
Question 2: Does the linking website have enough credibility to positively affect my website?
Question 3: Could the linking website potentially have a detrimental effect on my website’s SEO?
Is the linking website relevant to my website?
You may be thinking that it doesn’t necessarily matter what relevance the linking domain has to your website, as long as it links back to you then that’s good, right? Not quite. When looking for more general link building targets such as online directories, finding a general business directory to submit your website’s link can be useful across many different types of websites. On the other hand, if you are looking to target specific areas of a website that is related in terms of content to your website, and more importantly to the anchor text of your link, then that link is going to be more powerful.
Let’s say, for example, that you own an online sports footwear store. You are looking to get your link building campaign underway by gaining links back to your homepage with the anchor text ‘sports footwear’. By gaining links from say, a reputable sports blog, it is likely that the content will be semantically similar to your anchor text and as a result of this, Google will see that the link holds much more relevance. This will then be a much more powerful link that if you received a link from a blog about the mating calls of tropical birds… as interesting as they are.
So how do I find these relevant websites, you may ask? Well, here is a few little searches that you can perform on our friend Google’s search engine:
youranchortext + intitle:blog
youranchortext + inurl:/blog
youranchortext + intitle:”add url”
youranchortext + intitle:”free directory”
By replacing youranchortext with the keyword that you are using for your anchor text on links going back to your website, this will tell Google to search for any websites that have this term within their webpage content. The next part of the search query will look in the webpage titles and URLs to specifically find blogs or directories that can give you a quick way of gaining a relevant link.
Another search that you could do is to maybe see what types of directories and blogs that your competitors have links coming back to their website from. A way to do this would be to do the following search:
competitorname + intitle:directory
competitorname + inurl:/blog
Does the linking website have enough credibility to positively affect my website?
So now that you have found a few different potential link building targets, how do you determine which are worthwhile gaining a backlink from? There is a couple of way to do this, the quickest of which is to use a couple of metrics.
When we look at initially judging how good a link from any website would be, we look at the webpage’s page authority and their number of outbound links. Page authority is a metric that is generated by SEOmoz, the world’s leading provider of SEO software. The page authority of a webpage is scored out of 100 (100 being the best) and gives an indication of the quality of the link that will be passed over to your website.
A quick way to find out the page authority of any page it to download SEOmoz’s mozbar for your web browser. This will then show the page authority of any results within the search engine results page, along with some other useful statistics.
The next metric that we look at is the number of outbound links on the potential link page. This will give us an idea of how diluted the link quality from that page will be when transferred over to your website. The higher the number of outbound links, the less powerful each of the links coming from that website is, therefore, the lower the amount of outbound links, the better. An easy (and free!) way to find this out is by checking the URL of the potential link target on WebToolHub’s link extractor tool. All you need to do is type in the page URL and it will give you a total number.
Could the linking website potentially have a detrimental effect on my website’s SEO?
This is the final question that you need to ask. Whenever you have targeted a specific website to get a link from them, whether it be through using the discussed techniques or through other means, you need to make sure that it won’t have a negative effect on your SEO. This may seem obvious but a lot of blogs and online directories have recently been punished by Google during their recent algorithm update for ‘over-optimising’ their websites and using unethical tactics to gain higher search rankings.
The first step that we always take is to search for the main part of their domain on Google, for example, with www.wowintenet.net, we would search for wowinternet. Now, if our website has not been black-hatted and banned from Google then we should be in the top couple of rankings for this word. If you find that the website isn’t there, then it is likely that the website has been removed by Google and a link from this type of website could have a negative effect on your website as a result.
The last thing that we do is just use our common sense. Yes, it seems like a really obvious thing but you would be surprised how many people and companies have a distinct lack of it. Go on to the website, have a little look around on it and see if anything looks dodgey. If you see a load of dubious looking advertisements that link to a host of websites selling ‘low cost body supplements’ from Estonia then its not a good start! On top of this, it can always be good to do a quick WHOIS check to see that the people who own the domain are who they say they are. If all of the above seem OK then you could be on to a winner.
Remember, link building is about delivering quality links back to your website and not just a high volume of them. Many different SEO companies on the web will promise 1000s of directory submissions every week as well as hundreds of backlinks to your website. In reality, anyone could do this, and sadly, many SEO companies do. More often than not, these links are of extremely poor quality and can be quite damaging to both the reputation of your website, your brand and to your SEO efforts, especially if these linking websites are not playing by the rules. What you should be focusing on though, is higher quality targets for link building, which, in turn, should bring a higher quality of visitor to your website as well.
We hope this has given you some good advice and ideas that can benefit your own link building campaign. Feel free to leave us a comment with any questions that you may have or alternatively, you can post onto our Facebook page.