In this August blog post, let’s dig into link-building, a topic always causing hot debates in the SEO community.
It’s no secret that many in the SEO scene talk a big game about link-building. And, to be honest, a lot of it is nonsense, from the folks who swear by building links to those who claim they’re pointless.
With Google becoming more complex by the day, your link-building strategy can shift a lot. This holds even within the same business niche but in different sectors.
In our experience, link-building has always been a winner. But our most recent project? That’s proven to be a tough nut to crack.
I’ll get into the details in this post.
Type of links I am building
I started by hiring a top-notch agency to oversee our link-building operations. Despite their capabilities, they struggled to grasp the specifics of our industry and my expectations.
Here are a few simple rules I had set for this campaign:
- The website must be highly relevant to our industry. No angles here. I want directly related websites.
- They must be getting at least 10,000 visits per month.
- I’m not interested in any run-of-the-mill content. I’m looking for content that matches ours: detailed, informative, and written by experts.
- I could care less about DA or UR. Not important.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t get anyone to bite (even though we were willing to pay a substantial amount), so I had to take matters into my own hands.
I personally reached out to the media teams of the top websites on my radar. My email was straightforward: a quick introduction of myself, examples of our quality content, and our keen interest in teaming up with them.
Here’s a taste of some of the links I was able to get:
I have more examples, but they’re not on Ahrefs yet.
In my book, there’s no room for excuses. We’re only aiming for high-quality links on this website. We aim to become a heavyweight in the industry and won’t settle for anything less.
The cost of our campaign so far
Where do I start? It wasn’t cheap.
In the image above, you’ll see a website with an estimated traffic number of 275k+. They wanted us to pay $2000 for five posts. Not a bad deal, to be honest, considering the relevancy they brought to our domain.
Other websites ranged from $150-$800 for a backlink.
Did I spend a lot? Sure. I think close to $7000 so far. Without the cash or industry klout, getting the links would be very hard.
I can say that we’re blessed to be able to spend this much on link-building and a PR campaign. We’re even luckier to have a staff of engineers, videographers, editors, and designers to ensure our content is the best on the web.
Someone told me I am looking for link-sniping, which costs anywhere from $2000+ per link.
F%$# that! We’ll do it ourselves.
I have an admission to make.
LINK BUILDING AGENCIES PRODUCE GARBAGE CONTENT!
This is a fact. Take it to the bank.
Some agencies are an exception, but they’ll charge you so much money you might as well have millions in the bank.
Your best bet?
- Hire expert freelancers in your industry.
- Pay them well.
- Have them write for your own blog (ten articles should do).
- Reach out to the biggest websites in your niche.
- Show them the content you’ve produced so far and offer money for the work they must do to publish your article(s).
- Link back to the article you just published on their blog.
We ensure every post is written by an expert (on and off our website). We’ve produced so many videos that getting B-roll or short clips is easy on most articles. We also use our graphic designer if we need custom graphics.
For those of you starting out with a small budget, hire a link building agency and build some links, but don’t rely on them when you get bigger. Your reputation depends on it.
This is where it hurts a bit.
Most of our competitors don’t have a good backlink profile except two.
These guys have more links than us. However, it’s all link insertions and PBNs.
These guys are larger and have many product categories. They seem to be just hitting the publish button on press release websites.
Our backlink profile is strong, with very relevant websites citing us.
The age-old belief that a handful of high-profile, relevant backlinks can outshine hundreds of low-quality ones doesn’t seem to be reflecting in our results just yet. Perhaps, it’s still too soon to tell.
We could devote hours examining DA, UR, traffic, DoFollow, NoFollow, etc. I can assure you that the majority, if not all, of the backlinks our competitors have, aren’t nearly as valuable as the ones we’ve secured in the past three months.
I would dig deeper if our competitors were getting killer links, but they’re not.
Unless we’re completely fu****g up, we should own the market very soon.
Let’s move on to what matters next.
I track my rankings in an organized manner. At least, I would like to believe so.
Here’s how I categorize and track rankings:
- My main primary keywords – These keywords are your high-traffic-competition keywords. Typically it’s for category pages and the homepage. I have 53 keywords I am tracking in this category.
- Listed parts – I don’t track every listed part as it would be too many. At the moment, I am tracking 193.
- Branded phrases – In each category, you’ll have branded products. I am tracking a lof these keywords separately. It’s about 100 keywords.
- Product specs – In our industry, a few products with certain specifications get searched a lot. It’s 17 keywords. More keywords are in this category, but I don’t need to track them. Not right now.
We will look at the last 3 months for my top keywords in each category. Let’s focus on the top dogs.
All that work. All of our improvements and this is the result. F’ing brutal.
Not bad, but not good enough. All of these should be within positions 1-3.
These keywords are ultra-competitive and not something I don’t want to spend too much of our resources on. Regardless, they are on my radar.
These are important, and the numbers are trash.
What are my rankings telling us?
After working on hundreds of websites, dozens of internal projects, affiliate projects, and now niche websites, this website is officially driving me mad.
It’s why I’ve hired outside counsel to help. I am missing something here, and maybe a third party will see what I haven’t.
Although not much, we had a record month in July, generating $15k.
As of August 10th, we’ve generated $9,256, which is good, and we should beat July.
We’re ambitious. Our goal is to reach $100,000 per day. We’ll set a new goal when we reach this number.
This month we’ve generated 24 calls in 10 days. I am definitely seeing movement, but it’s not enough to make us happy, considering the success we’re used to when we build web assets.
If you’ve got questions, let me know. I probably missed key elements in this article, but I didn’t want to write a long blog post with too much information.
Until next time, catch you all on my next post.