Posted by randfish
Most conversations about links today involve terms like “better links,” or “high-quality links.” Those are the kinds we all hope to earn, but what exactly defines a “better link?” How do we know whether a link qualifies, or is only so-so?
In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand clears up the confusion and offers a few clear attributes of better links, walking us through three great ways to find them.
Whiteboard Friday – 3 Data + Tools-Fueled Methods to Earn More & Better Links
PRO Tip: Learn more about reclaiming links at Moz Academy.
For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!
Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about some data and tools-fueled methodologies to acquire more and better links and, in fact, some links that you may not have been able to find in other ways. So I’ll start by saying what does it mean to have a better link? Well, I mean really three things.
(A) Editorially given. By that I mean not a link that you go buy. Not a link that you go, sort of, acquire or leave on someone’s site unbeknownst to them or get listed in a directory. I mean an editorially given link in that the person who is giving the link runs the website or at least the page where it’s being given from, and they intended to link to you and want to link to you and it’s out of no other desire other than to share your site or the content that you have, the work that you are doing. They have a relationship with you, they like you, they want to recommend you. Editorially given.
(B) From a high-quality, trusted, and trafficked, well-trafficked website, something that actually might get you clicks in addition to providing link value from a search ranking perspective.
And (C) you’ve actually got a half-decent shot of getting that link. If I’m just showing you link methodologies that are going to show you, “Oh, yeah, it’d be real nice to get a link on that Whitehouse.gov page,” it’s not going to happen, man. Bad news, that’s going to be a tough one.
But these three, if we aim for these three, in particular aim for a decent shot at getting it, I think we get some good ones out of this.
So method number one, follower outreach, essentially, the practice of outreach for links, reaching out to someone and saying, “Hey, we have this piece of content you might like” or “We have this potential relationship we could build” or “Hey, I notice that you do some things that are interesting and maybe we could have some overlap here. Perhaps I could contribute in some way to something that you’re doing.”
Cool, works a lot of the time. But it’s very hit or miss. Except that the odds go way higher, way in your favor if you actually have a relationship, a pre-existing knowledge of one another and a mutual “like-and-respect” situation. That’s why outreach to followers, to people who actually already know you and like you is way more effective.
So this is Followerwonk. You could use a tool of your choice. You might find people on Plus or some of the other social metrics tools.
But Followerwonk, I can go right in here, and on the Sort Followers tab, once I’ve logged in, I can sort my followers and say, “Show me a list of them.” Then I can export to CSV. The only trick, once I export to CSV, I’m looking for people with high social authority who have websites that I might want to do outreach to, and this is such a simple thing. If you want, you can get a little fancier. You can do things like put data in here, add a column and use Richard Baxter’s Mozscape plug-in, so that you can filter by domain authority of the website that’s in their bio and only outreach to people who haven’t already linked to you.
But, generally speaking, I’ve found that even if somebody’s linking to you from one page, doing outreach to them, getting that second link, reaching out to folks, especially when you’ve targeted some of these people, this is huge value. I’ve seen outreach of this kind work tremendously well, especially because since they already know you, this guy and some dude in marketing are like, “They’re all following me. They’re following my account. That means they care about what I have to say.”
So if I outreach them and they say “Oh, yeah I checked out, I know something about them too. I’ve got their bio. I know what site they represent. I know who they are. I can interact with them on Twitter.” This works wonderfully. This is one of my favorite, favorite outreach methodologies. It starts with social.
Method two: Just-discovered competition. So many of you are probably already aware, but in Open Site Explorer, there’s this new tab called Just Discovered Links, way over on the right. It’s technically in beta, but it gets a lot of great links. It surfaces a lot of great links that are pointing to your website or to a competitor’s website.
This is the key. What I want you to do is go plug in a competitor. Start with just one, one of your competitor’s websites. Go over to the Just Discovered tab, and take a look at what people are writing about them and linking to them right now. I try and go for direct competitors, the kind of competitors where it seems like a surprise if an editorial, like a news publication or a blogger or someone in the field, an industry thought leader writes about them, but doesn’t write about you. That’s always like, “Oh, if you’re going to mention one, you should mention several.”
This is where the key comes in, because you go here and you look at stuff that was literally just published in the last few hours or couple of days, and then you do the outreach right then. You could do it through commenting and just saying something about yourself like, “Hey, I’m not going to link drop because I don’t want to be spammy, but if you haven’t already checked out Moz, we’re a competitor to site XYZ, and we’d love to connect and follow up. Maybe you’d be interested in writing a story about some of the stuff that we’re doing. I’d happy to fill you in. Reach out to me at Rand@Moz.” Something like that.
Or you could go find their e-mail contact information if you don’t want to make it public in the comments and reach out in that way. The trick is because these things have just been written, just been published, your outreach attempts go way higher. And you can look at domain authority. You can sort in order of domain authority. So you can sort of look at and say, “Oh, yeah, I don’t want to reach out to that guy, but yes, yes, yes.” Ideal.
Methodology number three: “Why you no link? Why?” I’ll show you what I’m talking about.
So this is Fresh Web Explorer. You could use another service. You could use Mention.net. By the way, I don’t mean to say that Open Site Explorer is the only way to do this. You could use Majestic or something like that for this same thing, if you’re not a Moz subscriber. But assuming you are, all three of these are part of your subscription.
So Fresh Web Explorer, I can go in and search for, this is key. I know the Fresh Web Explorer search query, it’s sort of like the Yahoo! of old, where’d you do like very sophisticated links types of searches. So make sure you’re familiar with all the modifiers. But this one, in particular, I love. It’s Moz, my brand name, minus RD:moz.com. There’s a space in between here, but no space otherwise.
The reason this works so well is because I’m essentially saying, “Show me people who have mentioned my brand name, Moz, but are not linking to any page on my site, and show me the ones that have just done that.” Because this is Fresh Web Explorer, so it’s going to show me recent stuff. Then, if I want, I can click on a specific day or those kinds of things. I can export the CSV over here.
But, basically, I look at these and I go, “Huh. Interesting. So this is four days old. They mentioned Moz, but they didn’t link to us. Man, that’s a good, reasonable feed authority.” You can get domain authority as well in the CSV. “Man, I should reach out to them. That reporter, that blogger, that writer, that person who owns that website, why did they talk about me and not link to my site?”
It tends to be the case that this is just oversight. And if you just reach out and are like, “Hey, I loved that you covered us, really appreciated it. By the way, noticed you didn’t link. Was that intentional? Could we get a link back?” Boom. It’s just super easy, high-quality link building right off the bat.
These three methodologies will all help you with those. And for those of you who are doing link-building on a regular basis, I love this format. Whether you use our tools or someone else’s, it’s a great way to go.
All right, everyone. Take care.
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