Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: Technical Link Building

This week, Ross talks about the importance of building links for your website.

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Transcript has been changed.

Welcome to a very special episode of the Weekly Wisdom, everyone. My name is Ross Tavendale, and I’m the managing director of Type A Media, an SEO firm. Now, since our cameraman is presently on vacation, we’re going to go a little lo-fi today, but we’re going to speak about something that’s very important to my heart, and that’s the topic of link building.

People often claim things like, “Oh God, link building is so costly, you need heaps of money,” or “You can only do it if you do it via digital PR,” which is just not true. All of the methods from back in the day, all of the technical link-building stuff, still works just well today; it’s just not as trendy for people to be doing it. What I’m going to do is walk you through all of the technical link-building activities that we do for our customers who have no assets at all. As a result, there is no material to produce the link. 

Your Initial Approach

Okay, first and foremost, I’d want for you to consider strategy. I want you to think about connections in three categories while we’re developing link-building strategies: cleanliness, defense, and development.

Hygiene simply entails correcting any issues with the site and ensuring that you get the links that you expect. Defense entails keeping an eye on your opponents to ensure that they aren’t pulling away from you and that they aren’t establishing more high-quality connections than you. As a result, you’re constantly aware of what they’re up to. Then there’s growth; there are things you’ll accomplish that your rivals won’t be able to achieve since you’re different. When it comes to creating these ties, that will be your unique selling point.

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First and foremost, there is hygiene—and then there is brand reclamation (1:49)

Brand reclamation is a great and simple one. If you’re being referenced all over the internet but no one is connecting to you, it’s perfectly OK to contact a writer and say, “Thank you for mentioning my material, mentioning my CEO, and evaluating our product. If you could also credit your sources and link to us, that would be fantastic. That’d be fantastic.”

It doesn’t always work, but we’ve gotten it down to a point where approximately 30 to 40% of people respond, “Yes, that’s OK,” and add the link. This is an excellent technique to develop links into this item if you have a lot of brand mentions but no links. There are a number of easy ways to do this. Let me show you a brief example in SEMrush.

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When you enter the link building module, you’ll find a feature called mentions. You may fill in the blanks with a slew of brand references. I would also suggest that you include the name of your CEO or anybody else who is a public figure in your company so that they may be found.

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You may contact them and get the link if they were mentioned in the news.

Repositioning (2:58)

So, repositioning is the next step. Normally, this is a topic that isn’t discussed much. Assume you already have a large number of links pointing to your website. What are their regular destinations? The homepage is normally the case; 90 percent of all websites’ links go to the main page, but it doesn’t assist me. For obvious reasons, if I offer blue widgets and have a blue widgets landing page, I want links directing to my blue widgets landing page.

What we do is look at all of the links that lead to my home page and assess the content to see if any of it is relevant to our blue widgets. Most likely; I’d contact anybody who has written about my blue widgets. I’d persuade them to say, “Hey, you’ve made a connection to the main page. Thank you a lot. You are an incredible legend, but the user experience is terrible. People are clicking and heading to the site, but they are missing what you just said about my blue widget. Is it possible to get them to point at this one?”

And, for the most part, people are kind enough to update the link and add it to the landing page. Again, if you’re using SEMrush, a very simple method to accomplish this is to go into the backlinks area and just look at all of your index pages, and the tool will chop off all of the connections per index page.

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There are just 46 filings leading to our main page, as you can see. I keep coming back to make sure they’re all current and see if I can have them relocated to a better spot.

Link Intersect — Defensive Link Building (4:25)

So, let’s go on to the next step, which is defensive link construction. The idea of link intersection is crucial in this case. Assume that five of my top rivals all have connections from the same place, but I don’t. That’s rather strange. Why is it that they all have a connection there but not me?

In this case, what I would do is look at all of my rivals’ backlinks and see what I can obtain for myself; possibly a resource page, a links page, or something similar, where I can go out to these folks and say, “Hey, you’ve mentioned every single one of them. We’re also members of this gang. Would you mind adding us to your list?”

Surprisingly successful. This is a fantastic one to undertake if you work in the travel industry. You may do this again by looking at SEMrush’s rivals report. There are certainly other tools that have this built in, so there is a specific connect intersect section. I’d do a little Google searching to discover anything similar, but as you can see here, Type A Media’s rivals are listed here, along with all of the common domains we share.

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If I continue to enter all of my rivals’ information into Excel, I’ll be able to see where all of this overlaps and if they are receiving links while I am not.

Creating a Broken Link (5:45)

So, let’s go down. Let’s take a look at broken link construction; it’s by far the most time-consuming and difficult task you’ll ever do. It’s the idea of identifying broken links concerning the topic matter you write about all across the internet and then contacting the webmasters to say, “Hey, this is broken, and I have a comparable resource.” How do we go about doing that?

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What you want to do is look at all of your competitor’s backlinks, extract them, and check if any of them are truly 404s. Once you have a list of all of your competitor’s backlinks with 404s, you can figure out which sites they are 404ing on. You may really go to such sites and say, “Mr. Webmaster, please accept my apologies. “I’m not sure whether you’re aware, but you’re connecting to a broken resource,” and they’d say, “Oh hey, thanks a lot.” That will be updated.”

Do not request the link right immediately. After they say thank you or interact with you, you may ask for it and remark, “Oh, we have some things that looks a lot like that. Would you mind replacing it with our link while you’re at it?” Surprisingly successful, although as I said, you’ll be sifting through tens of thousands of hyperlinks. The other day, I presented an excellent illustration of how long it takes for this things to function. We spend two days a week doing this for one of our customers, and they receive roughly 12 links every week. So you can see what kind of talent you’ll need – 16 hours of production equals 12 links. It takes a lot of effort. I’m not going to lie, but if you don’t have any assets, this is a smart route to go.

The Marty McFly Method is a technique popularized by Marty McFly (7:19)

As a result, I basically made this notion up. The Marty McFly strategy is traveling back in time and looking at items that have done well in the past, whether it was in 2017, 2015, or any other year. After that, creating an updated version and pitching it to the same individuals that linked to the previous version.

This is something we see all the time in the SEO sector. We can create brand new fresh content with up to date relevant data and then contact the exact same people who linked to it because they are very likely to link to the updated version that we have just created because there are SEO ranking factors or there was an SEO agency salary infographics from five years ago; we can make brand new fresh content with up to date relevant data and then contact the exact same people who linked to it because they are very likely to link to the updated version that we have just created.

Pages of Information (8:02)

So now we’ll move on to resource pages. This may seem to be a little out of date, but you can really get a lot of jams this way. So, what I’m going to do is demonstrate how this would normally be done. You do an inurl and seek for something like resources, and then you just fill in some keywords here. Don’t use a wide keyword in your search. If we were going on a trip, I would never choose a large place. I’d think about stuff like how to go to Dubai or anything, and what would happen. One of the outcomes is the miracle:

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That is an ideal outcome for us because I can go in there and say, “Hey, if you’re searching for information on how to go to Dubai…” and since they are teachers, we can offer them discounts and other benefits. Look what happens if we make it incredibly wide (8:54). Oh, thank you very much. There are a plethora of reference sites regarding Dubai.

Keep it as exact as possible so you can have a very tight list when you’re conducting your outreach since, to be honest, a hundred or so contacts to go through each term isn’t really helpful to me.

Growth

The next topic is development. Now, when I say “guest posting,” I don’t mean this particular guest posting. Isn’t that something we’ve all seen? “Write for us” is at the end of the URL, followed by certain keywords. So, as you can see, we’re doing travel, so let’s just look at travel. (9:16)

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This is something that every SEO and his dog is doing, and it’s a bad idea to do it on a large scale. What makes you think that’s a bad idea? Because it’s congested, and those links are almost certainly being discounted because, if you look at all of the open link profiles, it’s clear that SEO manipulation is taking place.

Now, how can we continue to utilize guest writing to provide some content and build links?

Let’s just keep this trip motif going, shall we? Let’s take a look at a game named Away. Away is a bag brand that has lately had a lot of success on Instagram, and they mostly offer luggage and travel accessories. The truth is, they are really active on social media and have a highly busy blog. If I’m a travel company, I’d want to come up with a very engaging proposition. I’d want to propose them a story for their website. A guest blog is a good example of this. They’re not a rival; they’re a competitor. Within my industry, they are a complementary firm.

In this case, I’d want to obtain a guest blog on their site, despite the fact that they don’t expressly give the possibility. I would propose finding the social media manager or content manager on LinkedIn and pitching them via LinkedIn as a method to get into that field.

If you have some high-traffic social media accounts with a large following, send us an email, whatever you want to call it “Hey, if you allow me guest post on your blog, and by the way, it’ll be excellent material, and I don’t mean we’re not going to mail it in, that would be fantastic. We’re not going to a professional writing service to have a $30 piece written for us. We’ll hire a good collaborator to set up and develop some really lovely material, with excellent images and everything.” They’ll accept it, and you’ll get not just visitors from their site, but also a high-quality link.

Image Reclamation and Asset Creation (11:26)

Okay. Moving on, here’s one that’s a touch cheeky. We started by talking about reclamation, but we didn’t go into image reclamation. If you are not a fashion firm, maybe a homewares brand, or anything else with a lot of its own distinctive images, it is quite simple to give that imagery away and post it on third-party picture sharing services in the hopes that it would be picked up.

Let me give you an example of how this may be done effectively. Pexels is the name of the corporation. I’m sure you’ve all seen this picture (12:07) floating around the internet, right? If we go to Google Images, we can run a reverse image search for that specific URL. Allow me to insert this and remove all of the garbage.

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What we’re going to do is look for links to this page from all around the internet. How many do you think will be here if we conduct an image search? 25 million people. Okay. I didn’t expect there to be so many.

That’s a lot of individuals, and the idea is that they’re all utilizing the same picture. Imagine if you were the owner of it. All I’d be doing is reaching out and saying, “Hey, it’s fantastic that you’re utilizing our photos. It’s well-known for its picture collection, but please, please, please credit your sources.” And there’s no reason why I couldn’t contact you and say, “Hey, can you add a little description, a little credit since it’s our image?” because you just did a search for company and this is a pretty excellent business-based website. It’s a good method to accomplish it, and it’s a slow burn where you’re continually feeding yourself with new connections to your site.

Deals with Universities (13:15)

Okay, and the last one is a classic. It’s all about university agreements. This also applies to persons who have served in the military, the police, or the fire department, among other things. If you have a retail company, I would suggest giving discounts to students or members of the military services and aggressively reaching out to colleges or VA centers to make an offer in return for a connection.

People no longer use this to get connections. Obviously, they do it out of the goodness of their hearts in order to assist others who are more vulnerable in society, and that is the mindset you should have going into this, not to manipulate ties. However, if you get a lovely little link at the bottom, that’s great — it’s a win-win situation.

A Cautionary Note

Okay, so here’s a word of warning. I simply want you to have the flop risk notion in mind. I consider flop risk in terms of algorithmic risk vs flop. Flop means that if I come up with a notion and offer it to a writer, they may or may not choose to pursue it further. (13:55)

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The possibility of flops has a lot of promise. However, if I just go to someone’s blog and purchase a link, the chances of it flopping are nil since I am paying them money. They’re sending me the URL in the form of a transaction. The algorithmic risk of doing so, however, is quite significant.

When it comes to creating a suitable link-building scenario, you must be quite cautious not to strike items that are much too high in algorithmic danger just because they are simple. We’ve all seen it…do yourself a favor and search for Penguin Penalty or Penguin Penalty No Recovery or My Traffic Has Disappeared on Google.

It has a direct negative impact on enterprises. We’re all full-fledged SEOs now. We understand that link purchasing occurs, but if you’re working on an agency site, it’s entirely inappropriate since you’re supposed to be guiding your clients’ companies in the right direction. So that’s completely off the table.

It is, however, the way things are done if you are an affiliate or have a challenging niche like gambling or anything like. Simply be cautious and familiarize yourself with the risk profile. If you’re doing it for someone else, make sure you have a serious discussion about how you generate links and what’s best for them.

That’s all I have to say. I hope you had a great time with this one. If you enjoyed it, please leave a comment below with any more technical link-building advice for me, but until next time, we’ll see you later.

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