So, what is the secret sauce of backlinks? They are perhaps the most critical pieces needed to build the SEO tower, and you’ll flounder to grow rankings without them. Most companies know that the key to building rankings is to find competitor backlinks.
If you’re feeling lost in the SEO backlink chase, you’re not alone. Even though most companies know that the key is links pointing back to your site, they struggle to figure this out. There are a lot of methods to getting it right, and we’re going to share some of the secrets to that sauce right here.
Identifying Your Competitors
The first piece of this complicated puzzle is finding and identifying your competitors. It may seem like a simple task, but it depends on a few things. It depends on your niche, the number of website visitors, and the method you’re using for a “related to” search.
Websites in Your Niche
The most straightforward way to find these is to do a simple search on your niche keyword. For example, if your niche is travel, you would search on travel blogs. The chances are high that you’ll find:
- Blogs in this niche
- Lists of Blogs in this niche
If, however, the results aren’t helpful, you can use more advanced methods by using the search operator. This method is easy and quite handy. You can use it to find your competitor backlinks quite nicely. Rather than searching on travel blogs, you put in “related:yoursite.com.”
When the search results load, you’ll find all websites related to the site used in your query. In this way, you’ll find the competitor backlinks easily. You should note that this method will only work on sites that have a high volume of visitors.
Pages in Your Niche
Aside from domains or websites that are in your niche, single pages can be in your niche too. A blog post is an excellent example of a page that can be in your niche. If you are a Vegan food blogger with a recipe for Vegan Mayonaise, you may find another food blogger (not necessarily Vegan) has a post with the same recipe, and that would be a page in your niche.
Tools to Find Competitor Backlinks
The key to find competitor backlinks is to assess your competitors linking profile. Most authoritative sites have hundreds of backlinks. So, go through your competitors and pick only two to examine. Then try one of these tools:
Now, you may wonder which tool is better, and most agree that it’s Ahrefs. You don’t have to believe me. They have a 7-day trial that you can use to try it out.
What to Focus on When Assessing Backlinks
Once you have the data in front of you, there are a few key points to look at closely. Not every backlink is a good one. A simple analysis will tell you a lot, and fortunately, Google has a great tool that helps. It’s Google’s PageRank or PR for short. PageRank is a way that Google uses to check the quality and authority of a site. Sites are assigned a PR rank from 1-10, with 10 being the best PR.
While some people believe that PR should be the most vital factor when assessing backlinks, it’s one of many.
How to Do a Backlink Profile
Aside from the analysis, another good step is doing a backlink profile, and the steps are straightforward to follow. There are are few easy tools that can help, and if your site is a WordPress site, there are many plugins that monitor links used on your website.
- Learn about all the links on your site
- Analyze the backlink profile list
- Discover any unnatural links on your site
- Assess penalty risks of links on your website
- Delete bad links and report to Google
- Start a strategy for building valuable links
Here are a few things other things to consider:
Check Google for Indexing
Why is this important? If the site is not being indexed, there could be a negative reason, and that could impact your website if you use it. One way to check this is to do a “site:” operator search.
In the Google search box, enter “site:yoursite.com and hit enter. When you see results in SERP, that means the site is being indexed and has no penalties from Google. In that case, you know the link is good and ready to be used on your website.
The Strength of the Link
There is a metric that measures how strong the backlink is from a specific website, and it’s called Link Strength. It determines this based on the authority of the website; in essence, the more authoritative the linking site, the more trust your site will gain.
Using tools on SEO sites can help you to measure link strength and website authority.
The Relevance of the Link
Finding the links is great, but if they aren’t relative to your content, or niche, it could affect your domain authority and a lot more. Always check the linking page to make sure they are relevant. If the backlink has no added value to the reader, it’s a waste of time.
How to Replicate the Backlinks
Replicating the backlinks is where you get value from them. Once you have relevant, robust, and well-placed backlinks from your competitors, you need to replicate them!
How do you accomplish this? One old-school method is called email outreach.
Contact the website owners or the authors of the posts and ask them to:
- Link to your website instead of the website of your competitor (sometimes called The Skyscraper Technique)
- Add your site or article as an additional resource by placing it next to the link of your competitor
The email outreach link building method is considered overused, and many people do it wrong. It is because of this that it is a great opportunity where you can shine easily. Here are some tips:
Don’t use email templates
The people you’re contacting shouldn’t feel that they’re one of the 500 other contacts on your list. If you don’t bother to personalize your request, why should they bother to link to you? Quality always wins over quantity.
Personalize the email
Take the time to make every message well-crafted and personal.
Make it easy to link to you
Tell the person where the link could be placed or what anchor text to use. An even better approach can be to write a whole new paragraph to make the backlink fit naturally. All they need to do is to copy and paste your text.
Give your contact a few days to respond, then give it another shot with a polite and straightforward followup email. One is more than enough. Don’t annoy them with multiple followups.
There are a few ways you can use the links on your site. Some work better for SEO than others. One of the better methods is to use anchor text and some others, depending on the link, refer in the content text to the link source page.
Using Anchor Text
When you are using anchor text, you want a short phrase of 3-5 words that is relevant to the link. So, if you are stating “e-commerce sales increased in 2019 by 19.4%,” you would find a link that refers to this from a reputable website, and you could use “increased in 2019” as the anchor text.
Using Referring Text
The other method using referring text is also straightforward. If your link refers to an authoritative site, like the Census Bureau, you will write, “according to US Census data https://www.census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/pdf/ec_current.pdf, e-commerce sales increased in 2019 by 19.4%.”
SEO or SEM?
There are a lot of terms to learn about that can help improve the marketing of your website. Online courses from reputable sites like Legendary Marketer can help a lot. We know when we started understanding the difference between jargon like SEO and SEM were essential to the success of our business.
What is SEO
By definition, SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It refers to optimizing content in a way that is searchable on the internet. Using highly ranked keywords in your post is an example of a method that we employ in SEO. Other methods include:
- Short and descriptive URLs
- Write readable content
- Employ Google authorship best practices
- Social sharing integration in your content
Most SEO is on-page, but it can be off-page, too. A few examples of off-page SEO are:
- Positive reviews from other sites
- Building citations
- Getting backlinks from sites with high authority rankings
- Earning mentions of your brand
What is SEM?
SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. This method is a tactic used by marketers to rank a website high in SERPs through advertising and optimization. It is a form of internet marketing that increases site visibility.
SEO is one of the tactics of SEM. Other tactics can include:
- Buying Ads with specific audience targets
- Ad groups with precise keywords
- Monitoring your site metrics for impressions, clicks, and cost-per-click (CPC) is another SEM tactic.
You may see similarities between SEO and SEM. That’s why some people have difficulty discerning the differences and wrongly believe they are the same thing. So, let’s look more closely at them.
SEO doesn’t target a specific audience for results, while SEM does. Both strive to connect with an audience that would be interested in their website or what their business offers.
Placement in Search Results
You will see an ‘Ad’ designation in search results when SEM is behind the SERP placement. SEO placement is totally organic, and this is why you won’t see this notation in the results when SEO is behind the SERP placement.
We all want to see our marketing efforts show results, and patience is required here, especially when SEO is the method employed. SEM sees results much quicker, and often they are immediate. SEO is different and can take months to rank on the chosen search engines.
One way to improve SEO ranking is to employ YouTube video marketing. With people spending 1 billion hours watching Youtube every day, business owners of B2Bs and B2Cs must utilize this vital marketing tool. Benefits of YouTube video marketing include:
- brand awareness growth
- lead generation growth
- sales increases
- transparency and personalization
If you need help, our founder at Freedom Influencer, Nathan Lucas, gives helpful hints on YouTube marketing.
Using SEM comes with a price since you pay for clicks on the SEM results. SEO doesn’t require any fee to get results.
To be sustainable, you should establish a budget if you’re employing SEM. You need to know what action you want from your audience as an online marketer, and that will help you to understand whether you need SEM or SEO.
There are many approaches to digital marketing, and while SEO doesn’t disappoint, it may take time to see results. When you are looking for sustainable growth, SEO is the better method to employ.
Find a great host like WPX Hosting to register and build your site. Then the next logical step that most B2B and B2C marketers take is to start a blog. Why? Starting a blog allows you to grow gradually, employ lots of backlinks, and take full advantage of SEO.
You can build your audience and sell your brand all at the same time. Besides, people usually come to interact with your brand when they see the value of your content. Once your content clicks with them, they’ll keep coming back, and that’s why that growth is sustainable.
What You Should Consider When Deciding SEM vs. SEO
Now that you understand the differences between the two, it should be simple to decide which is right for you. There are a few things to consider:
- What is your industry
- Who is your competition
- How old is your business
- What is your buying cycle length
- What is your budget
Where to Start
SEO and backlinking work together in the best way. So, the first step in getting started is to find competitor backlinks and use them. If you want more information, we are here to help.