I’m guessing you’re interested in having a nice selection of high-quality links built to your site every month.
Cool, well here I’m laying out my exact methodology for building links to your site if you become a client.
It should cover:
- Exactly what I do when you become a client.
- Exactly how I report what I do.
- Exactly what results you can expect from working with me.
I want this to cover absolutely everything, so if you are left with any questions please let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 0: Work out if link building is the best investment for you.
This should really be done by you, but if you need help with this then I can discuss this with you.
The only service I provide is link building, and while it can certainly provide an incredible ROI, you’re most likely to get the best results if:
- Your website is well designed to turn traffic into conversions and its content addresses the keywords you want to target.
- You are willing to wait at least 2-3 months to see results (this is because link-building has a cumulative “snowball effect”.)
It is fairly easy to see if the first of these is the case, and the second of these is something that you should be committed to.
We can discuss these things before you hire me.
I really don’t want to waste your time or money as my success depends on yours, so making sure that I can actually benefit your business is very important to me.
Step 1: Get to know your business and competition.
This is very important, link building (and SEO more generally) is marketing, and marketing needs to be authentic.
So before I get started, I will ask you:
- What is your ideal customer like? (so we can build links from websites that they are likely to frequent)
- What do you feel your business does well? (So we can build links from sites that have similar values and create angles around these things)
- What keywords do you want to rank for? (So we can create content around these topics)
- Are there any websites that you particularly would like your business to be associated with? (a link is essentially an association with another website/business so I can target these sites and similar sites)
- What topics have resonated with your audience in the past?
- What is the lifetime value of a customer? (This will allow us to manage your budget properly).
I will also analyse your current levels of traffic using Google Search Console and Google Analytics, so we can properly benchmark results of our link building campaign.
If I see any pages in Google Search Console ranking between position 7 and 30 in the Google SERP for high volume keywords I will try to build links to those first as a bump in rankings to those pages could land you a lot of extra traffic.
By analysing your competition, I mean both your competition in the search engine results (pages that are ranking above you for your desired keyword) as well as direct business competition.
Such competitors will likely be producing content similar to you, therefore if they are getting links, there is every chance that you should be getting links from those sites (or similar ones).
Of course the aim is to get a better link profile than your competition, but if your competitors have some nice links that are easy to replicate then we might as well get those too.
Step 2: Content Audit and Budgetting
Links are earned through the creation and sharing of exceptional content.
Therefore, it requires either having high-quality non-commercial content on your site already, or having the willingness to create such content.
I will first run your site through Screaming Frog, and Ahrefs Site Explorer to see what content you already have, and how much it is being shared and linked to. This should give me clues as to whether you already have content on your site that I can build links to.
We will also look at your current content strategy and output to see if any tweaks might help us with link building going forward. Often these tweaks involve consolidating or updating posts, adding multimedia elements such as infographics, or adding original data where possible to support a theory or argument offered in a post.
Finally, we will discuss whether you have any writers who have the required expertise and writing skill to create content for you, or if you have a budget for such writers.
I do not create the content myself, but rather supply the topics, title, and materials to create content. If you need a writer then I can help you source and manage one, however, this needs to be budgeted for separately to my fees.
Step 3: Content Ideation Consultation
Unless you have a large back catalogue of popular, in-depth blog posts, we will need to create some new content on your website with the main purpose of building links to it.
The best way to determine the type of content that attracts links is by looking at what content in your industry has earned links in the past.
This data-driven approach to content ideation involves 4 steps.
- Create a list of the 10 biggest websites in your industry (magazines, influencer’s blogs etc) and a list of your 10 biggest direct competitors.
- Look at what your competitor’s most popular pieces of content are (in terms of traffic, links and social shares) and use this to come up with 5 general topics.
- Plug those 5 general topics into Ahrefs Content Explorer and Buzzsumo to see what the most read, shared and linked to pieces of content are in those topics.
- From these findings, we come up with 10 working titles that are similar to already popular pieces of content, along with an example of that similar piece of content. I will also make a note of how many links this already existing example content has, and who exactly has linked to it.
Step 4: Create a Gsuite account of our business persona.
Once we have agreed on the types of links that we are going after (more on this later) and a budget, the next step is to create a Gsuite account of a persona in the business.
I use this email to contact the site owners who we want to link to your site.
I do this because site owners are much more responsive to business owners and employees, than to freelance link-builders.
Many of the highest quality websites only respond to a company email, so @gmail just won’t cut it. I will require a proper business address.
Ideally the email will correspond to someone listed on your company’s website (and even more ideally it will be the business owner).
However I am male and I sometimes call up the people to close link agreements, so if there are no men listed in the company then I will make up a persona.
So yes, in an ideal world I will be pretending to be you when building links.
You will have access to the account (we share the password) so get 100% transparency on what I am sending to people.
Step 5: Create a “project tracker”.
The Gmail account will also contain a “project tracker”. This is a Google Sheet (an Excel that we both have constant access to) that contains all the steps that I will follow, along with the progress of each step and the date that each step should be completed by.
The “project tracker” contains a tab for each piece of content (or other “linkable asset”) that I am building links to. Within the tab there is a list of people to reach out to, as well as the stage of outreach that I am at with each person (usually a dialogue is required before a link is placed).
Below is a screenshot of an example project tracker:
The project tracker will be updated daily and you can access it at any time (this gives you 24/7 reporting on my progress).
Step 5: Build a list of people who may want to link to your site.
The next thing that I do is I create a list of websites that may want to link to your site.
My process for doing this generally takes the following steps:
- Identify keywords related to your industry or piece of content that I am building links to. In general, these keywords are slightly broader than what your content or industry is. For example if you have a piece of content on “how to fix a leaky washing machine”, the keyword would probably be “DIY” or “home repair”. I often use Ahrefs and SemRush to help me with finding keywords.
- Generate a large list of advanced search operators to find sites that link out. Advanced search operators create very precise Google searches based on the properties of a webpage. Sites that link out often have particular elements (for example they may have a “resources” page with lists of useful links related to their overall topic) so these advanced search operators help me find them. Using a combination of the right keyword and search operator will reveal sites that are relevant, and will likely link out to our content.
- Assess the quality of each site. By being linked to from a website, your business forms an association with the website. Therefore websites that have low quality, or irrelevant content are to be avoided. Similarly, some websites operate just to sell links, and sell them at an extortionate rate given their value to your business. These sites can only be reliably weeded out by eye, so that is what I do.
- Find the necessary details of site owners and/or editors. For every target I will try to get their email address (and I’ll push for their email address, not the company one) name and phone number. This allows me to personalise outreach emails and call up the target if needs be.
- Add all these details to a tab in the project tracker. All these details go into our project tracker within the relevant tab (remember the tabs were divided up by the piece of content that we will be building links to).
Step 6: Reach out to the people on your list.
Once I have all the desired prospects, along with their contact details, I will contact them to pitch your content.
I’m well aware that many website owners start each day with a large deletion of spammy emails sent en-masse by link builders who use heavily automated methods and a scattergun approach.
To distinguish myself from these messages, the emails that I send are highly personalised (this is achieved through both careful segmentation during prospecting and personalising each email from a template), and sent out in batches of no more than 25 at a time.
I use Gmelius to track opens and link clicks of the emails that I send, and will adjust my subject titles, and email body depending on the results of the previously sent 25 emails.
When a response arrives, I make note of it in the project tracker. With some types of links (such as with guest posts) a positive response will still require additional work to get the link (ie creating the post).
In these instances getting that extra bit of work done becomes my priority, as a hot linking-prospect does not wait around forever.
Step 7: Following up.
For every prospect I will follow up 4 times, or until my pitch gets accepted or rejected (whichever comes quicker).
I have found that the vast majority of my outreach is successful on the second or third contact with a prospect.
I specifically follow up 3, 7, and 14 days from my original contact, and am endlessly testing different follow-up tactics.
If I’ve identified prospects that are too perfect to give up on then I will step away from my keyboard and follow up by phone.
Step 8: Results and reporting
Every month I select and reach out to 200 targets.
From this I hope to get a minimum of 10 links.
If I do not get 10 links in the month, I will not bill you for that month until the 10 links are attained.
Any links that I get over the 10 will not be charged as extra.
Link building has two direct benefits to your business.
- Extra referral traffic from people clicking on the link and going through to your site (this traffic is qualified as anyone who clicks the link will be interested in what you have to say).
- Increased in organic traffic as links to your website make it more authoritative in the eyes of Google. Therefore your website will appear higher for Google searches.
Of course what you really care about are conversions and revenue.
In the interests of fairness I am not going to guarantee such increases, however I urge you to judge the merits of working with me on these metrics (after 3 months).
Every month I will give you a report which contains:
- A list of the links built that month
- The change in impressions and clicks (taken from Google Search Console)
- The change in traffic and conversions (if you have this set up) in Google Analytics
- A written overview on how the campaign is going, which can include suggestions for new angles, new content and amendments to existing content that could make our “linkable assets” more appealing to our prospects.
Along with this you also have real-time reporting in my project tracker and email account.
For 200 targets, and with a minimum guarantee of 10 links, I charge £2000.
Above that, I sell in packages of 50 targets for an extra £500 per package.
I will not lock you into a minimum monthly contract (this is how the substandard SEO companies make their money) but it’s not really worthwhile for either of us to have short term deals (less than 3 months).
I also offer a 1st month money back guarantee. Quite simply, if you are not happy with my services then I will give you your money back (you can keep the links).
There will be additional costs for all the content created.
This includes content for your own site, in the case of resource and broken link building, as well as content placed on other sites, as is the case with guest blogs.
Additionally, some websites ask for fees in exchange to have your content on their site. I try to avoid these where possible, but in instances where I feel the fee is justified (let’s say the site is very popular with the same demographic as your business is trying to target) then those costs need to be added as extra.
All additional costs will be discussed in advance.
Sound good to you? Then fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
If you would like more information about the types of links that I build then read on:
The types of links that I build
Below is a list of the types of links that I build, as well as a brief description of the circumstances that I build them in.
Guest posts involve producing content for a site related to your industry.
The content contains a link back to your site.
Guest posts are most effective when the link back to your site goes to a page that acts “additional resource” to whatever the guest post is about (known as a ‘contextual link’).
This is because such links are more likely to bring in referral traffic as people who are interested in the guest post will naturally want to read whatever additional information you have on the topic).
Therefore I prefer to conduct guest post outreach based on my analysis of your site’s original content.
However if your site has no original content, I can still create guest posts that link back to your homepage in the author byline.
Ideally, someone in your team will write the guest posts.
Alternatively, I can hire a relevant writer to create them. The cost to have these written is not included in my basic cost
Resource and broken link building
I use certain Google search operators (such as “[keyword] inurl: resources”) to produce lists of websites that have pages that contain links to other webpages that their audience will find useful.
If your site has content that is worthy of those pages (I judge this based on the other pages that the site links out to) then I will contact the site owner and ask for the link.
Often these resource pages are not updated that regularly and therefore contain broken links. Website owners don’t want broken links on their site, so as long as your content is up to scratch and serves the function of the original link, they should be happy to replace them.
Collaborating with local and related businesses
If there are any local and related businesses who actively create content, then we approach them with a content idea that has relevance to both of our businesses.
This content goes on their site, with a link back to ours.
An example of this can be a dentist and a cardiologist who collaborate on a piece about the links between gum disease and heart disease. This piece can go on the cardiologist’s site, with a link back to the dentist’s site (or vice versa).
Local businesses can work together on content that relates to their local area, as well as their businesses.
An example of this can be a London based gym and bicycle shop collaborating on a piece about the best areas in London to go running and cycling in.
I have two methods for building links through PR.
The first of these involves finding for journalists who are looking for experts in your industry to contribute to articles that they are writing.
This method can be particularly fruitful if you are in a “trendy” industry (such as one with a strong social mission) or if a big news story comes up which has some relevance to your industry (such as dentistry and the sugar tax).
The downside of this is that you are relying heavily on journalists to create these opportunities.
This is where my second PR strategy comes in: namely creating newsworthy stories around your business and then reaching out to journalists and bloggers who might be interested in it.
To do this we need a newsworthy story. This is where our initial meetings (explained in Step 2) become important. If your business has done anything worthy of journalist’s attention, I can reach out and get the story in front of them.
These links are not the easiest to get, but they are highly valuable for two reasons:
- They are hard to replicate by your competition.
- If we have produced a well-received piece of work with a journalist, we are more likely to be successful with outreach to them in the future.
Again, this is only relevant to certain types of businesses; its best for those that sell products or “experience” based services.
Many bloggers do reviews of products or services that are relevant to what they write about (for example a fashion blogger reviewing t-shirts).
Get in touch with them, show them what you’ve got (they get to keep the stuff) and they’ll do a review from you.
This can involve paying the blogger, but it does not necessarily have to, it really depends on the size and relevance of audience that the blogger has.
Local and Industry Directories
All industries and areas have directories of businesses.
It is well worth being listed in these directories, particularly if you are a local, brick and mortar business.
These are very easy to get, and therefore easy to replicate by your competition, therefore it will never be my only link type.
Reverse engineering competitor links
Through using tools like MOZ Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs, I can see a good number of the links that a competitor page has coming in.
In most cases, with a bit of detective work, I can find out what your competitor did to get that link.
If their link is worth getting, and is within our grasp (if their content is similar to ours than why shouldn’t it be) I can reverse engineer their tactics to get the same, or similar link to our site.
Again, we want to be better than our competition, not just simply match them.
Therefore, this will also not ever be my only strategy.
If you have content and people use or cite this content on their website without linking to you then we can ask them for a link in return for the content’s use.
This works particularly well if you have exclusive, hard to replicate content such as videos, photos and original data.
Sponsored posts are similar to guest posts, however you give a website owner some money as well as content in order to be on their site.
Sponsored posts work well for getting quick links if you have no non-commercial content on your website as website owners are more happy to link to sales pages if you give them some money in return.
That being said, in the long run it is best to create linkable content on your own site.