Link building is arguably the most difficult aspect of SEO.
Unlike on-page optimization in which you have full control of the factors that affect your site’s performance on search results, link building as part of your off-page SEO campaign is the opposite. You have no control how other websites will cite back to yours. More importantly, not all links are the same.
Acquiring links from authoritative sites related to your niche is of utmost importance. A single link from a site like CNN, Mashable, and other well-respected publication sites is much more valuable compared to hundreds and thousands of links from mediocre and low-quality sites.
The challenge now is getting links from these sites. You can try different techniques in the hopes of acquiring a link from these sites, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. The process is long-winded and, most of the time, fruitless.
A methodical approach to link building
However, you don’t have to put all your eggs on building links from aforementioned sites. To maximize your link building campaign, to need to acquire links from new sites with the potential to grow as big as the authoritative sites.
Instead of chasing links from sites that are more likely to ignore your request in building relationships and linking back to your content, you can leverage different tools to help you find sites that are equal to value but are much more willing to link out to your content.
This reason is one of many that explains why Serpstat is made. In a nutshell, the tool helps research for link data and other SEO factors much easier. No need for you to manually search Google for information that’ll take hours and days to complete – Serpstat gathers and organizes your SEO in a matter of minutes, if not seconds!
Assuming that you don’t have built a link profile for your site just, Serpstat will be a big boost in that department, on top of other tools that will help you analyze SEO data that can help you find the best sites to acquire links from. In this post, I will detail you how to make the most out of your link building campaign.
Find out how to use Serpstat for link building purposes. Includes determining your target keywords and spying on your competitor's backlinks.Click To Tweet
Identify low-hanging fruit keywords
First, you need to determine the keywords that your site is ranking for. Assuming that you have published content on your site, there’s a chance that they already rank for search queries that you didn’t know.
The easiest way to find this out is by simply typing your site’s URL on Serpstat’s search bar.
From here, you will be taken to a page that shows the organic keywords that the site is ranking for.
In the example above, you will see the thousands of keywords that the site is ranking for. You can expand the list by clicking on “Show all.”
You can expect a site like Quicksprout to be ranking on top of search results for lots of keywords. The same can’t be said about most business sites with a less than established content strategy. However, it doesn’t mean that those sites are lost causes. Even a single page on your site ranking for a target keyword should be good enough to help you determine the kinds of keywords that you should optimize for your site.
If your site isn’t ranking for any keywords, then it’s not too late yet! You need to perform keyword research to help you find the best search queries to optimize your site pages.
Enter your site’s topic on the search bar and click on “Show all” under Organic keywords to see potential keywords to use for your site.
Two factors that you need to consider when choosing keywords from this page are the Keyword difficulty and Volume Google columns. Keyword difficulty is a factor that determines how competitive ranking for a keyword is. The higher the score, the more difficult it is to rank for it. Volume Google tells you the average monthly search volume that a keyword receives.
Ideally, you want to target keywords that are searched the most time to maximize the chances of your site being found by your audience. At the same time, you need to target keywords that are relatively easy to rank for. Therefore, you need to strike the balance between a low keyword difficulty score and high Volume Google.
To expand your keyword research, click on the Related Keywords feature on the sidebar menu to view related keywords to the one you initially typed.
You can view the relationship strength of your initial keywords to the suggested ones under the Connection Strength column. The higher the score, the stronger the correlation between your topic and the keyword, the more reason you should try and optimize for it. Of course, you will still to put a premium on the search volume found in the first column. You’d want to focus on targeting keywords that people actually search on Google.
Another method to find potential target keywords is using Serpstat’s Search Questions feature under the Content Marketing category.
Clicking on this page with show you the different questions that people ask about your site’s topic. You can use the suggestions found on this page to use as talking points in any of your points to help your content cover as much ground as possible about your topic.
Lastly, you can use this nifty keyword suggestion script to help you generate more keyword ideas to jumpstart your SEO.
Identify your competitors
If you don’t have a benchmark on how to gauge your site’s performance on search rankings yet, then you need to research for your competitors who are probably a step ahead of you in the SEO game.
What makes another site your competition from an SEO perspective is when you and your competitors target and optimize for the same keywords.
The easiest way to find competitors in your industry is by clicking on the Competition feature on the sidebar menu after typing out your site’s URL in the search bar.
You can simply refer to the Common Keywords and Missing Keywords columns on the page to see how you measure up against the competition.
For Common keywords, you will see keywords that both of you are ranking for and which position on search results. The Missing Keywords column shows you the keywords that either you and your competitor are ranking for.
Regarding the former, you can see how far ahead or behind your site is against another. You can use the data you will find in this section later when you start searching for the link profile of each site.
Checking your competitor’s link profile
Once you have identified your competitors, you need to check their respective backlinks, which is considered as one of the crucial SEO factors. Backlinks are online recommendations that search engine spiders put a lot of stock on. The goal of websites to dominate SEO is to acquire lots of backlinks from high authority sites.
If a page is ranking higher than you for your target keyword, it probably means that it has a better link profile than yours.
Once you determine the domains that outrank you for your target keywords, go to SEO REsearch > Domain vs Domain to get a better understand on how you stack up against your competitors (maximum of two).
From the graph above, you will see how more visible a site is in organic search by the size of its circle. The bigger the site’s circle, the more keywords it ranks for. You will also see the number of keywords that the sites are competing for by how much the circles overlaps each other.
Scrolling down the page, you will see the keywords that all sites are ranking for and their respective positions on SERP.
The actual pages that the sites rank for the keyword isn’t shown here. You need to export the data to reveal those pages.
Once you have the pages, you need to analyze the backlinks it has by going to the Backlink Analysis > Backlink Dashboard page. Since we want to check the backlink profile of a URL, you need to change the “Domain + subdomain” setting to “URL.”
The result will show you the referring domains, pages, and the domain zones. Regarding the latter, Domains such as .edu and .gov bear more weight compared to common domains such as .com, .net, and others. When building links, you need to find a way to acquire links from these valuable domains to supercharge your link building campaign.
If you see .edu and .gov backlinks pointing to your competitors, then I highly suggest that you find a way to acquire them as well.
The backlink analysis also shows the Flow Metrics (Serpstat Page Rank and Serpstat Trust Rank), which indicate how authoritative and trustworthy the page is based on different SEO factors. Your goal is to increase your score for both and surpass those of your competitors. Aside from observing the best on-page SEO factors, you need to boost your link building efforts, which is what we’re doing at the moment.
On the page, click on the Referring Domains to see which sites that your competitors have links from.
(It is important to note that you only need a link from a domain. Even if you have links from different pages in a domain, search spiders only count that as one link. Therefore, it is best that you focus on increasing your referring domains instead of referring pages.)
On this page, you will see the domains that your competitor page has a link from as well as its referring pages. The page also shows the Alexa Ranking and Flow Metrics to help you assess which sites to prioritize first in acquiring backlinks. The higher the figures, the more important it is for you to get a backlink from that site.
To learn how you can get a backlink from the domain, click on its referring pages.
The page will show you the new backlinks that you competitor has acquired from the domain. IT will reveal the other pages that receive a backlink from the site. You can check the competitor page by looking for the URL under the Acceptor URL column.
The New Backlinks page provides you with two factors to help you determine if the site is worth linking to or not.
The Donor Flow Metrics shows the authority of the page where the link is placed. Ideally, you want to acquire links from sites with high Flow Metrics. To determine this, you need to look at other domains from your competitor’s backlink profile and compare their respective Flow Metrics.
Results may vary for different competitor pages – some will have a higher Flow Metrics average than others. It’s just a matter of manually checking the metrics yourself and make a decision based on your research.
What’s more important, however, is the Link Type. Ideally, you want to acquire “follow” links from domains to pass “link juice” to your page. Follow links help funnel some of the site’s authority and trustworthiness to your page. However, if the link is nofollow, then there’s little use for acquiring links from sites that don’t pass link juice. While there is value in dofollow links (referral traffic), it adds little value to your link building campaign.
In short, if the domain doesn’t provide follow links, then it’s best that you don’t include them in your SEO campaign for now.Simply put, Serpstat helps you build better backlinks for your site by conducting effective keyword and competitive research.Click To Tweet
Acquiring links from sites
This is the most painstaking and difficult process of every SEO strategy. Even if you found out the sites where your competitors have links from Serpstat, the problem of how to build from those sites remains. Also, there are many ways that your competitors got a link from a site. Therefore, you have to manually figure out or guess the exact process on how they acquired the link.
To proceed with this, click on the link where the site published the link to your competitor’s page from the New Backlinks page.
From the example above, the link is found within the content of the page. We can make a calculated guess that the link is acquired through guest posting.
In this case, you have to pitch a guest post to the site owner with a link to your site in the content. However, it depends on how you place your link – you should link back to your page only if it adds value to the content. Also, some site owners are strict when it comes to linking back to your site pages within the content. There are many uncontrolled variables that come into play when building links, so you need to be wary of them.
Aside from guest posting, there are other ways that competitors acquire links from sites such as leaving their links in the comment section and others. There are other cases when a third-party author links to your page in their his or her content because of how authoritative and actionable it is. This case is ideal but rare since you may need to promote your content to these author through blogger outreach, for instance.
Again, there is no tried and true approach for building links. It really is a case-to-case basis as the tactics that your competitor will use depends on your niche. If anything, Serpstat paves the way for you to spy on your competitor’s backlinks and develop your link building strategy.
Wrapping it up
Link building is a chore – there’s no way around it. It’s also the reason link building is one of the most coveted services in the SEO industry. The ability to effectively develop and implement an effective strategy for link building is crucial in your goal to reach the top of Google organic search.
If you want to achieve this with your site and blog, then you need a tool that will provide you with the most relevant data to help you connect the dots for your SEO campaign. Serpstat is one such tool that will help you identify your target keywords and find your competitor’s backlinks.
The free subscription only provides limited data but should be enough to help you understand how it could help with your SEO needs once you subscribe to any of its paid plans.