In this week’s Surge Session, we talk about acquiring buying backlinks. We discuss how to buy and acquire backlinks from link building and guest posting services without being penalized or ripped off, as well as how to assess the quality of a backlink before spending money on it. Our CEO, Duran inci, is joined by our Director of Marketing, Joseph Hassun.
What Makes a High Quality Backlink?
This link building strategy has been going on for years. When I say years, probably since 2002 and 2003.
Many clients, prospects, and friends say, “I don’t know what backlinks are.”
We explained to them about backlinks. They are links to your website that appear on blogs, stores, or other electronic storefronts.
“Okay. How do we buy backlinks? Or how do we acquire them?”
Most people default to the shortcut. You go to somebody and say, “Give me a hundred backlinks.” You get the backlinks and implement them. Even so, there’s more to the process.
As a disclaimer, Optimum7 does not buy backlinks. We’re not a fan of buying backlinks. However, we pay for promoted posts, which is very, very important and different.
If you want to be visible online and get significant organic traffic, you need authority. To have authority you need backlinks. And there are only a few ways you can get backlinks.
Many marketers will say, “It needs to be organically built and it needs to be targeted. Don’t rush. There are these metrics. If you get too fast, you die.”
These statements are not all accurate. If you get too many backlinks, you will not be penalized. Nobody knows that that can happen because you don’t know the Google Algorithm. Those are all assumptions.
Auditing Your Website’s Link Profile
Let’s say we acquire a client. If their backlink profile sucks, and if we need to increase their authority, what is the first thing that we study?
We look at their current backlink profile. First, how many backlinks do they currently have? Second, how many keywords are they ranking for? How many linking domains are available? We then compare that to the competitors. What does their competitor’s backlink profile look like?
For those same keywords that we’re trying to rank for, we have to outperform. If not that, we least get to the same amount of backlinks and quality of links as our competitors.
Remember, we’re just talking about backlinks. Last week we talked about the content structure. You can’t separate one from the other due to integration. We never ignore structured content or hierarchy.
What Is Link Velocity?
At Optimum7 we actually did a tool called Link Velocity. If your competitor has one, let’s just simplify. it’s not one metric, it’s a formula. but I’m simplifying it for the purpose of this conversation.
Let’s just say your competitor has 1000 backlinks, and you have 100 backlinks. They acquire a hundred backlinks per month, while you’re requiring 10 backlinks at the same rate. Next month you’re going to be 110 and your competitor’s going to be 1,100.
How are you ever going to catch up to him? You need to know the details first about catching up for what page, domain, section, content, or keyword. But all that aside, if we’re simplifying, your link velocity needs to be higher than your competitors.
So if he’s acquiring 10 backlinks, all else equal, you need to acquire 11 backlinks to be able to beat him. Not always, but in most situations, this strategy helps.
We Know That Not All Backlinks Are Equal, Right?
Right. You need to have a higher link velocity than your competitors do. There are going to be situations where you’re getting higher quality backlinks than your competitors, and that makes all the difference.
Assessing the Quality of Backlinks You’ve Acquired
Let’s review some metrics here when it comes to the backlinks. Where should I get a backlink? Naturally-occurring backlinks are always good. That’s why online Public Relations works like a charm.
You can give me $3,000 and I can get you featured on Forbes Inc. or the Huffington Post. Give me $6,000 I can get you featured on Yale or Harvard blogs. That sounds flawless, right?
Wrong. Not everybody has those kinds of budgets. What is Plan B? Connect with people organically to build those links.
Anything that you do with online PR counts as backlinks. These include relationships, blogs that allow for guest posts, podcasts, or organizations wanting speakers. Because you have that author profile, these are all backlinks to our site. That’s number one.
Tackle other metrics. Where are you getting the backlinks? Is the source targeted? What’s their domain and page authority? What’s their trust flow?
Also, set a standard for comparison. I could have a domain authority 60 or 65 sites out of a hundred, consider Google as a hundred, CNN is 99, Optimum7 is 51. I could have a 65 domain authority backlink, which looks great on paper, but that website might not be getting any traffic.
That ranking could mean trust flow is weak. Or it could be a spam website that just got domain authority 65. Another less desirable possibility: the site was legitimate but somebody else purchased and turned into spam. Look at these links one by one.
Consider anchor text as your final metric. Many SEOs will say anchor texts are bad and inexact. Don’t listen to them. You should have exact anchor text backlinks.
If you’re getting a hundred backlinks, don’t make all of them the same. It needs to look natural and optimized.
What Does “Natural” Really Mean In SEO And Website Terms?
“Natural” means that you don’t manufacture a source or the terms in both websites have a clear association. A backlink’s source is more relevant to me.
If I have a car site and I’m getting a backlink from a flower shop, the two terms are not relevant. Therefore that doesn’t look natural. But if I have a car blog and then all of a sudden I’m getting backlinks from a mechanic shop, that looks natural, because that’s relevant content, getting passed through.
Let’s Consider A Test Case Study
What if I have a flower shop with 20 locations? During the off-season, I build a section on my site that says, “Here are the trucking providers that I use”. Then that page links back to my site about trucks or cars. Is that relevant?
The content needs to be relevant, as does URL. In this case, trucking is relevant to delivering fresh flowers. That association could look natural, thanks to that section.
When you get backlinks you increase authority, optimize content, write decent copy, and combine all of this with the anchor text. Going by every metric that I just mentioned, you’re going to rank higher, and website traffic will increase. There’s no question about it.
Should You Hire Help For Generating Backlinks?
Yes. To 99% of the people out there, this should sound like gibberish. This is not your industry. The Internet is a new, wild frontier with Google as the main regulator.
Marketers will know this. SEO People will know this. You don’t just go out there and pay for backlinks and buy backlinks. You have to work with an expert that knows.
Integrate your site, as we discussed last week. What’s the anchor text? Where do you place it?
Sources also matter. How many backlinks do you get per post? Are they coming from a blog post, footer, or header?
Consider content as well. Who writes the relevant material? Freelancers, an in-house writer, or the marketer? How much will you pay for good advertising copy or blog entries?
Many companies put these links and credits in the header or footer. You’re getting 5,000 backlinks from the same domain. That’s definitely not natural, but people still do it.
You don’t want to do that kind of stuff. There are too many details. People will also see the manufactured irrelevance.
We have checklists that we implement for clients. The workflow 167 items that we need to check before a backlink project.
I’m not saying this to scare you. This is complex and detailed. Incorporating backlinks without a process will lead to Google penalties.
Backlink Outreach and Monitoring
At Optimum7, Do We Pay For Backlinks?
No. Whenever you buy backlinks, you’re getting a hundred backlinks from one site. They probably originate from a footer, whatever the case may be.
But Acquire Is Different, Right?
Yes. “Buy” has a negative connotation, because of Google. The admins say if you buy backlinks you’ll be penalized. “Make it natural,” they say, without giving a precise definition of the term.
Let’s say you run a website that sells hydraulics pumps. How are you going to create shareable worthy content for the site? It’s just not going to happen because the area is a niche. Trying to build and generate natural backlinks through content that you’re creating is nearly impossible for some brands.
So How Do We Get Backlinks Without Purchasing Them?
You’re going to need to put in the work and reach out to as many bloggers as possible. You need to identify who has access and permissions to create or contribute. Narrow them down, find the ones that are relevant to your industry, and then negotiate.
Prepare to barter and negotiate. Different bloggers have varying levels of influence. Some will want flat fees, and others merely want the word of mouth. Find a mutually beneficial deal.
You might get one of these bloggers that say, “I’ll do it for 200 bucks”, right? But then sometimes you’ll get a blogger that says, “Yeah, sure, I’ll go ahead and do that for you. In exchange, refer me to another one of your clients later on down the road.”
Build relationships. Bloggers are people craving connection. They also want to build a career. You can help them and receive valuable links in return.
An author might have only one website for their printed book. Or one copywriter might be writing for 10 different blogs. They want to be treated like people, in any case. Remote work means you can reach these authors more easily.
Next is ongoing outreach. We have drip campaigns, email campaigns, that run on a daily basis where we try to identify people. Then we make sure the posts stay online.
Marketers have to charge for a promoted post. You get backlinks from that and a mention. My team has to check the post every single day automatically. Imagine doing this for thousands of backlinks and posts.
The Optimum7 Solution: Backlink Patrol
If you go to BacklinkPatrol.com, the tool automates the backlink checking process. We integrated Backlink Patrol with different systems, like Majestic’s API. It pulls the backlink profiles.
Of course, I’m going to upsell my relationships with you. It’s a service I’m providing. If I’m paying $50 to a blog, you’re going to pay me more than $50. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m providing value, I’m putting together a strategy for you.
We also factor in the time it took for us to create that relationship, and nurture a practical bond. All that comes into play when the pricing gets structured. You pay for more than a link. The marketer finds the right blogger and finds an organic connection.
You cannot do marketing as a task anymore. You can’t say, “Hey, I put a billboard up. If I built it, the customers will come.” Customers have become more jaded.
How Much Should You Pay for Link Building Services
Don’t go out there and buy backlinks for a few dozen dollars. You’ll get nothing. Then your domain authority will suffer. It needs to be through a relationship, a business relationship.
You should not pay less than one hundred dollars for any promoted posts. And the maximum you might end up paying is $5000, $6000 if you want to be mentioned at Harvard or Yale. And they are going to go through an editorial process, and you will need to write a really, really, really good article that provides value, And it’s that range, really.
If you want to kind of gauge that range of the pricing, just look at the domain authority.
The Higher The Domain Authority, The More Expensive It’s Going To Be, Right? And Vice-versa For Lower Domain Authority?
Domain Authority is one metric obviously, but remember you have to look at everything else. But yeah, we go by domain authority. That’s the first thing we observe.
I’m never going to pay $500 for a promoted post from a DA 20 sites. That’s like my first rule. But anyway, going back to this, this is not the one-off, this is a strategy. Where do you send it to, which anchor text?
Decide if you are going to buy, acquire, or build backlinks naturally. You have to build relationships and establish connections. Most importantly, build a strategy first. Find one expert that’s going to guide you throughout the process, prove that he is an expert in this industry, and he knows what he’s doing.
Please be very careful. We don’t like Google scaring us, but we’ve heard terrible stories. We’ve had clients who didn’t follow instructions, and who did this the wrong way. Then their sites ranked terribly.
Backlinking, if done right, works like a charm. Worked 15 years ago, still works in 2019. A genuine connection never dies.
Do you currently have a link-building strategy? Do you need help building backlinks and acquiring high-quality backlinks?
Contact us. We’re here to help.
Actionable Steps to Building a Content Hierarchy for SEO
Create your content hierarchy draft outline. Send it to an expert to edit and approve. Build the layout first before you start doing these content hierarchy sections. Once you have your first layout and sample, identify the most important things.
For example, on that custom programming page, we have 650 functionalities. When I first made it live, it only had 20. We went from 20 to 650, and we had the content hierarchy already and we’re even adding more, as we speak, on a weekly basis.
Every single term ranks. You can search and filter for BigCommerce, Volusion, 3dcart, Magento, or Shopify. The sections show up because I built the authority for it and I built a content hierarchy before I started doing that section.
Keep adding important features. Incorporate calls to action. Implement a contact form. Track stats on Google Analytics.
Soon, a content hierarchy will allow you to rank for thousands of keywords under one section. Once that happens, your entire site will benefit.
Does Content Hierarchy Apply To Any Industry?
Yes. Let’s take the case of law, which involves attorneys. If you have a website and you are a lawyer and you’re an attorney, you want to talk about what type of industries you serve, right? “Legal services for dentists.” “Legal advice for restaurants.”
People search for these terms constantly. They type, “Lawyers for restaurants” or “Restaurant lawyer.” People writing appropriate structured content can rank for these. Throw me another one.
Or consider CPAs and accounting firms. CPA has different keyword associations. You have to rank accordingly.
Know your specialty. Are you a CPA, accounting manager, services company owner, outsourced CFO, or chief financial officer? Do you do more consultation and forecasting? Or do you do focus on bookkeeping?
If you look at bookkeeping, that’s the top search results. People are not really looking for a literal CPA in their search terms, but they seek the gist. As a CPA, you can use the industries angle again.
But another thing you should have, and it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, you should have a content hierarchy and a structured content section for frequently asked questions. These rank well and aid in site navigation.
FAQs should include the following: “Hey, when should I file my taxes?” “If I’m a business can I delay my taxes?” Google these questions, and you’ll see people writing about this stuff.
No matter the industry, you have an important content hierarchy. You have structured content possibilities. And you have frequently asked questions.
Don’t be lazy. Write this content. Publish this content. You will get more leads and more business.
Do you currently have a content hierarchy? Do you need help creating SEO friendly content and planning your services and blogs strategically?
Contact us. We’re here to help.