Just a few years ago, link building was a pure numbers game. Now, it’s all about achieving links that are as high quality as possible, as quality is far more important than quantity. This is where blogging enters the mix. Websites that have a consistent blog get 434% more indexed pages, 97% more inbound links, and over 50% more traffic than sites that don’t blog at all.
As you can see, attaining links from authority sites is the most highly rated strategy used by the vast majority of SEO experts.
Only links from high ranking, authoritative websites will do – to achieve this, you’ll need to get your outreach game on. If you’re in charge of nailing outreach, then you’re going to need to know how to separate the good sites from the bad. In this post, we’re outlining the most important things to look out for when you’re trying to identify the best websites that are worth your time.
Let’s get started! Here’s what you should be looking for:
How often do they accept contributions?
Just like when you’re selling something, the very first thing you want to qualify is whether or not the person you’re speaking to is even remotely interested in what you’re proposing. If they are, great! If not, you have to move on pretty quickly. Outreach is the same. There’s no point sending a series of outreach emails to prospects if there’s next to no chance that they’ll even reply.
The best way to tell if an authority site accepts links is by checking out their most recent posts. Has anyone else contributed recently? If they have, who are they? If any of their recent contributors are in a similar situation to you, then that’s a pretty rock solid sign that they’ll be open to a good proposal. If all of their contributors are exclusively major influencers that are way out of your league, it might be better to move on to prospects that are far less selective. Of course, there is no harm in trying if that is the case but don’t have high hopes that you’ll get a response.
Here’s an example from Bloguettes, who have made it pretty clear that they accept contributors.
How relevant is the site to your niche?
If a website is not relevant to your market, it’s not going to be any use, no matter how much traffic it gets. Your aim has to be to attract targeted traffic, not just empty numbers. The first thing you’ll need to do is read through some of the site’s content. As you look through the topics they cover, these are the questions you should be asking:
🙌🏼 Is this website linking to other high ranking sites in your market? If yes, then it’ll likely be a site that’s highly trusted for information relevant to your niche.
🗣️ Do other influencers guest post on their blog? If so, it means other influencers see this site as an authoritative space which is a great sign.
💯 Are their posts receiving loads of comments and shares? Popularity is key, so the more engagement their content gets, the better!
🆕 How often do they post new content? The more frequently they post, the more committed they are to ranking with updated content.
Want to take things up a notch? One of the best ways to determine whether a site is relevant enough or not is by looking at Topical Trust Flow by Majestic. Basically, this framework gives a site a value for Trust Flow (TF). The higher the TF, the greater the gains you’re likely to see if you get a link from them. This can be useful in bringing order to your huge prospects list by placing them in terms of potential value.
Seeing what the site is ranking for is also a huge indicator of relevance. You can do this with Moz’s Keyword Explorer. You’re looking for the top 3 or 4 highest ranking positions the site is achieving. This will give you a clear idea of what subjects they’re best known for. The more in-line their top keywords are with yours, the more relevant they are to your brand.
If you don’t look for relevance or ask any of the questions outlined above, you’re flying blind. Creating links on sites that have nothing to do with your own objectives can actually have a negative impact on your link building progress.
A website is only going to maintain it’s high rank if it’s backlink profile is super strong. The best way to assess a sites backlink profile is to use tools like Majestic, SEMrush or Ahrefs. Chuck a prospects website address into any of these tools and you’ll be thrown a comprehensive breakdown of their backlink makeup.
What exactly should you be looking for? These are the top factors to judge each prospect by:
👍🏼 Firstly, the majority of their links need to be coming from sites that seem relevant to your niche.
🎩 How much of their profile is made up of sites that could be spam? Some are expected, but what you don’t want is the majority of their links to be coming from sites that seem to be dealing in black-hat strategies. Check out the sites that are linking to them most. If these sites provide low quality or undesirable content, or they spam links like mad, you’re looking at a house of cards that is bound to crumble.
🌎 What language is everyone speaking? A site that has a strong rank for English keywords but has the majority of its links coming from sites in alternative languages doesn’t look too strong in the eyes of search engines. You want their links to be coming from sites that literally speak your language.
Are they a good addition to your backlink ratio?
It’s a very good idea to chase links from hugely influential sites, but it’s just as important to have a balanced profile that features a range of sites with different levels of authority. Don’t focus all of your efforts on chasing huge fish. Build a natural profile by targeting a good number of medium authority sites too.
So, these are some of the most important methods you should take when qualifying your prospects within your outreach campaigns. We hope this quick list has helped! Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know by leaving a comment below!