You know what's pretty cool in business? When your competitors do the hard work for you and you just come in and reap the rewards.
Lets look at a way to build links that works exactly like that.
A Confession Up-Front
I find linkbuilding hard. Really hard. Which is probably because I suck at linkbuilding – or so Avinash Kaushik told me in his talk at MozCon 2013.
I don't wake up and have an idea for some "Real Company Shit" like this, this, or even one like that. I know that those ideas are building 1000s of links in just a few weeks, but lets be honest here: Those ideas probably account for one in a million links build – they are a far cry from every-day link building.
Why I Still Build Links – And You Should, Too!
There are many reasons why it is important to build links. And it is worth repeating some of the most important reasons:
It's just the way it is
First of all, it is the basic concept of the World Wide Web. Look what Wikipedia tells us about it:
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet.
See? Right there: INTERLINKED. Links are what make the web a web. Period.
Get me some juicy traffic
Secondly, links send traffic to your site. Getting a link on the front page of Hacker News can send tens of thousands of visitors to your website in a matter of hours. That's an extreme example, but getting a link on another site (or "tapping into a different audience" as some like to call it) can send you a constant stream of visitors. And traffic is what we are here for!
Links will bring you to the top of Google
Lastly, Links help you rank better on Google (which in turn will send you more traffic – Win!). Yes, even in 2014 links are important to Google.
Despite all the clamoring about Content Marketing and the Google Panda & Penguin updates one thing hasn't change over the years: The number of links pointing to your page is still a major factor in determining who gets to rank #1.
You can read up all the details over on the Moz blog. But the short version is: The basic metric with the highest correlation to the rankings in the Google search results is "the number of C-level IP blocks linking to a page" – a geeky way of saying "the more sites link to you, the better your chances of ranking well". (Warning: this is not perfect. You want good, high-value links; not a bunch of crappy linkfarms)
What You Should Look For In a Linkbuilding Strategy
The best link building strategies share the following characteristics:
a) transferable – you can use them with every website you work on
b) high-value – The prospective link sources are relevant to your niche and will send traffic through the link (Remember: it's not about being #1 on Google, it's about getting more traffic/revenue!)
c) easy – Finding good link sources should be as easy as possible and not take a whole lot of time
Make Your Competition Work For You
Now lets look at how we can make the last point work first. You'll notice after reading this article that the other points take care of themselves automagically.
We will make link building as easy as possible by just letting our competition do the hard groundwork for us. Let them go out and find good link sources. Let them explain how they create value for their users. Let them spend hours convincing the blog owner or author why it is worth to write about them.
With all the hard and laborious tasks taken care of by your competition, all you have to do is write an email to the blog owner and say something like this:
I am Christoph, the founder of LinksSpy.com.
I just read the articles on your blog featuring Moz.com and MajesticSEO.com. Loved reading that stuff – especially the article about the rebranding from SEOMoz to Moz was very well written.
Since your audience is interested in SEO and linkbuilding, I think they might be interested in learning how to make their competition help them build high-quality links.
LinksSpy.com helps you analyse your competitor's link profile and hands you the best link building prospects on a silver platter.
I'd love to set up a free account for you to test LinksSpy.com and answer any question you might have.
How To Find The Good Links
Now the question is "How do we find high-quality links – and how does our competition help us?"
To answer those questions, lets first look at how a lot of links are build: By reaching out to blogs and websites in your niche (or related niches).
How a Normal Outreach Works
So assume you work the normal link building magic. This might work something like this:
- Search on Google for some niche-related keyword + blog (e.g. "Ice cream blog")
- Look at the first 100 or 200 results
- Among the results find good candidates to reach out to
- Cold email the owner of the blog & hope for a response
- If the owner responds, explain what you are doing and negotiate your way into getting a link from that blog
- Repeat for the other blogs you found
While this might sound relatively straight forward, it is also a lot of work to do. Not neccessarily finding the blogs, but explaining your product and negotiating your way onto the blog.
Why it becomes easier when your competition has softened the target
That part becomes way easier, when the blog's owner has written about your competition. You can just come in and say we are "X but for Y" – simple as that. You don't have to start all over. again.
Negotiations will also be easier, because the author has done this before, so he knows what he is looking for (most often a guest post with some valuable information for his audience). Or maybe the audience is interested in the niche and he'll write about your product just because he likes it.
Why You Want Websites That Link To Lots Of Your Competition
Now, which websites are the most likely to want to link to you? The websites that already link to 3 or more of your competitors.
The reason is simple: If a website links to each and every of your competitors they are SERIOUSLY interested in your niche.
Naturally, they will want to know about you and your offerings. So lets go on a hunt for exactly those websites. (Don't forget your hat!)
Hunting For Those Websites
Finding those websites is pretty easy:
- Go to Open Site Explorer
- Put in the URL to one of your competitors
- Select "Only follow" from the "Show" drop down menu & hit the "Filter" button
- Do the same for at least 2 more competitors
- For every website on the first list, search the other lists for the same website
- If the website is present on more than one list: Bingo!
After you found a bunch of high-quality links, just bring your A game for the outreach. It will be way easier, because the outreach targets are not stone cold – they are interested in your niche enough to link to your competitors.
Learn How To Make This Even Easier
If you want to learn how we can do the competitive link analysis for you, sign up for our launch list: