To find our foothold in the digital market, we need to understand the strategies of our competitors and assess them with ours. This does not mean that we will conduct a comparison of our website with that of our competitors.
To run an analysis of your competitors, you need to find the right ones. Whether they are your direct competitors or indirect ones, you need to be sure that they are the ones that you should be looking at.
Link prospecting is the competitive analysis technique used by websites to find new web pages where they can find a link. These link sources are then linked back to their web pages to increase their rankings. To find the relevant links, you can use different tools or strategies that would help you find high-quality backlinks.
The most common way to find the right backlinks for your website is through keyword searches in Google. Here you can find many relevant links that would ensure that your website finds itself at the top of the link rank. But this is not an easy feat at all.
There are many different steps to reach the top of the game, and that is what we will cover in this module. Link building is a major part of link prospecting. Here we will learn the ins and outs of links building and the steps that you could take to build the right links.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process through which you can acquire links from other websites to yours. Google crawls through the web using links, and they will crawl links between different websites and also between the web pages of your website.
The links will be assessed by the search engine to check their popularity. The more searches or votes a link has, the higher they will be ranked. When the rank of the link is high, the parameter for link building will be the domain quality and domain relevancy from where the link is derived.
For the good ranking of your website, link building is a necessary step that you should take. If your website is ranked well, then you will appear on top of the search results. When people search for a relevant keyword related to your website, the search results will display your website, and this will generate more traffic.
Links are currently one of the topmost ranking factors used by Google. The search engine continuously crawls the different kinks, determining the quality of the content that is present in those links, and ranking them accordingly. Not that just, the number of quality external links that are associated with your website will also be taken into consideration while ranking.
Authority – Link Quality
Authority is one of the major factors that affect the SEO performance of your website. There are three different levels of authority – page authority, domain authority, and links authority. These three levels together showcase the trustworthiness of a website and the attention that it needs.
Domain authority is the indicator using which the ability of a domain to rank is measured. The sum of the authority of all the web pages in the website is calculated to understand the ranking capability. There are two factors on which domain authority is based – age & trust and popularity.
Page authority is the same as domain authority, with the ranking of the page considered here. The basis of page authority is mainly three factors – age & trust, link value, and latest update freshness. For domain authority and page authority, you need to have a higher number to get a higher website ranking.
Link authority is the indicator that is used to calculate the ranking power that a link has. In short, the three types of authority need to be high for you to get a high ranking. When you seek links from other websites, you need to measure if they have high authority. To measure the authority of websites, you can use tools such as Moz and Majestic SEO plug-ins.
Relevancy of Links
Google would be able to determine the kind of business you wish to establish by the links associated with your website. Link relevancy is, therefore, a very important part, just like link authority. Link relevancy is the relevancy that the links associated with your site have to your business niche.
For example, if you are a home service website that specializes in providing home cleaning and security solutions, then the links associated to your website would be from the same industry and dealing with similar products or services. If you have linked to a website that provides banking services, then that would be irrelevant.
Through this, Google would understand that your website provides home solutions and would rank your website similarly. When people search for home cleaning solutions or other related keywords, then they would be able to view your website in the top results. Irrelevant linking can have an adverse effect on the quality of your website, and Google can term them as spam.
Find websites with a similar audience base and look at their authority. One thing you need to remember is the link authority, and link relevancy goes hand in hand. One cannot survive without the other, and both these factors are important for a successful link building.
Quality of Links
Since links are an important part of the ranking signal, companies have started to hack the link acquiring process. The links that are hacked are brought from low quality and irrelevant websites. Websites who acquire low quality or hacked links are often penalized by Google.
Just acquiring links is not the end of the SEO process. You need to ensure that the links are of high-quality. The relevancy and authority of a link, along with other factors, determine the quality of that link.
In a rush to increase your ranking, you cannot invest in links that are of low-quality. This would harm the website, and you would not get the desirable results. Opting for the low-quality link would spoil the reputation of your website and do more harm than good.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is the technique through which SEO marketers try to increase the ranking of a website by violating the terms of service of the search engine. The term today is used to specify the unethical actions that are taken by hackers or companies to quickly make their way in the top of the ranking list.
Once revealed, these practices are penalized by Google and destroy the reputation of your website. Your site can even get banned from Google or any other search engine.
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO, on the other hand, is the technique through which you can increase website ranking by maintaining the terms of service of different search engines. This is an ethical way of gaining backlinks and increasing the ranking of your website in the process.
The practice of White Hat SEO would help in keeping the integrity of our website intact. The process can be lengthy and costly as compared to Black Hat SEO. But the practice of White Hat SEO will in no way harm the reputation of your website.
Determine Link Quality with SEMRush
SEMRush is the primary tool that is used to determine the quality of the link. A high-quality link will be able to provide you with a high rank. To know the link quality, you need to first open the home page of SEMRush. Though it is a paid subscription, this tool will help you in the long run to enhance your website
In the search bar, you will have to paste the website URL and then click ‘Organic Research.’ The first thing that you would look at would be at the number of keywords, the traffic, and the cost of traffic that has been generated by the website. The more traffic that a website has, the better it would be for you.
(Source : Google Images)
The next thing you have to see is the graph displayed in the results. Be aware of any big drops in the graph. This means that the website may have faced certain penalties for unethical practices. If the graph should show an upward slope, then it is good for your website.
The main focus should be on targeting high-quality links. This does not mean that the low-quality links will serve no use for your website.
Determine Link Quality with Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO is a plug-in that is used for checking the quality of backlinks and is a much simpler tool than SEMRush. Using Majestic, you can determine the number of backlinks that are pointed towards your website or any particular webpage on your website. You can also check the quality of these backlinks to know if they would be useful for you.
(Source : Majestic.com)
There are three sections in Majestic, which are URL, Subdomain, and Root Domain. URL shows the specific page or the link that you are currently on. The root domain is the analysis of all the links that are pointed to your website.
Based on these three sections, there are four types of analysis terms that are mentioned in the plug-in. They are Citation Flow, Trust Flow, External Backlinks, and Referring Domains. Citation flow is the overall link power that points to your website. Trust Flow is the total link quality that points to your website.
External Backlinks and Referring Domain are the total backlinks that are pointed towards your webpage or website. In this, Trust Flow and Referring Domains are the main factors that you need to keep an eye on to measure the quality of the different links.
Follow vs. No-Follow Links
There are two main kinds of links that are derived by Google – Follow and No Follow Links. Links that are ‘Followed’ will be crawled by the search engine, whereas links that are ‘No Follow’ will not be crawled by the search engine. A big example of No Follow links are social media sites.
Follow links are those which are counted as points and boost the rank of the page. These links are necessary for a successful SEO of a website. Follow links will be noticed by Google when they crawl your website. A high quality follow link will be able to pass the ranking power of SEO.
No, Follow links are those that have an HTML tag, which states that they should be ignored by the search engines. These links do not fall under the ranking system of search engines and are of no relevance to you.
There is a plug-in that helps you determine if a link is Follow or No Follow. Links that are No Follow should be avoided by you since they cannot help in boosting your website rank. The whole focus is on the Followed links of high-quality.
Using Search Engine Operators
Search engine operators are commands that are used to refine the search results in search engines. For example, if you use the search operator “site:” then you will only be able to see the results from a particular website in the results of the search engine.
You can put the necessary keywords in the search engine to derive the results that you require. This will help you find the related links that you can use for your website. Once this is found, you can use the various tools mentioned above to check the authority, relevancy, and quality of the link that you have found.
Link Building Team
When you are involved in an extensive link building process, you can hire a team of people who will be able to handle different tasks. There are certain roles that you can hire people for. The team will be able to make the work much easier and faster.
The team could consist of the Lead SEO, Link Prospector, Outreach Manager, and Content Creator. Dividing the word among the team members would involve a proper structure which can incur better results. Each of the roles will have a specific job role that needs to be fulfilled within a given deadline.