How to Use SEO Tools to Qualify Sites Before the Pitch (for Non-Link Builders)

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The writer’s views are solely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not all the time replicate the views of Moz.

As a self-taught SEO, I struggled (and failed) for years to perceive how to construct hyperlinks to my website and the websites of my purchasers. I’ve constructed my company on writing high quality content material that ranks in engines like google and drives gross sales, however the one piece of the puzzle I used to be lacking was how to construct highly effective hyperlinks to that content material.

Like most SEO consultants who don’t deal with hyperlink constructing as a central enterprise providing, for a very long time, the whole strategy of hyperlink constructing at scale appeared overwhelming, and each hyperlink constructing marketing campaign I launched failed to generate the outcomes I wanted.

I might spend hours writing content material, testing quite a few instruments to uncover hyperlink alternatives, validating every website, and at last reaching out to website homeowners in a determined try to safe high-quality backlinks. But nothing appeared to work, and as my success charges dropped, so did my confidence in myself as an SEO. 

It wasn’t till I began to look by means of my whole hyperlink constructing course of that I noticed I wanted to spend extra time qualifying websites to guarantee I didn’t waste time on low-quality websites or irrelevant content material.

Over the course of some years, I slowly began to develop a system to assist me uncover, prospect, and safe highly effective hyperlinks for myself and my purchasers. This course of was made round me being the solely particular person doing the work, so I had to discover methods to reduce wasted time or assets alongside the means.

A fast be aware for readers

I’m not an expert hyperlink builder, and I’ve discovered that this course of to qualify potential websites works for me and my wants. Since hyperlink constructing is a strong SEO tactic, you need to be positive to do thorough analysis to decide the finest strategy in your particular wants. What works for me won’t give you the results you want, so, I extremely suggest you take a look at assets like Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to Link Building, or decide up The Ultimate Guide To Link Building by Garrett French and Eric Ward.

So once more, earlier than we undergo my qualifying course of in the pre-pitch part of hyperlink constructing, I simply need to reiterate that this course of just isn’t excellent, it received’t work for every type of hyperlink constructing campaigns, and it’ll proceed to be improved upon. I created this course of primarily based on my wants and targets, and it really works on just a few assumptions:

  • You are a solo or small crew, and wish to maximize your time all through the course of.

  • You are on the lookout for damaged hyperlink constructing and visitor submit alternatives. This is not going to work for native hyperlink constructing or different associated methods.

  • You have entry to numerous instruments like Moz, Ahrefs, and Majestic, and you understand how to pull information from these assets.

  • You are extra involved with maximizing your time than you’re about discovering each website out there.

With that stated, I hope it helps different SEOs shave a while off their hyperlink constructing course of and mix it with different approaches for the finest outcomes potential!

Qualification & audit in the pre-itch part

No one will deny that hyperlink constructing is one in every of the most necessary items of any SEO technique. While you might have an impeccable technical setup and the finest content material on the web, the reality is that Google is not going to reward your efforts in the event you don’t have the kinds of hyperlinks to your website that sign authority.

Since all hyperlink constructing boils down to outreach, I wanted to have wonderful content material to supply the proper individuals to land hyperlinks from the proper websites. Whether I used to be performing damaged hyperlink constructing, useful resource web page hyperlink constructing, or reaching out to highly effective websites for visitor posting, I wanted to be sure that I restricted the period of time and assets wasted on irrelevant websites.

The first step of any profitable hyperlink constructing marketing campaign is to just remember to have the proper content material for the desired viewers. At this level, let’s assume that you’ve got a terrific piece of content material that’s related for an extended record of potential websites. For me, the most necessary side to take into account is my time, so that is the place pre-qualifying websites is essential. I’ve to reduce out as many websites as potential as rapidly as potential, and deal with the websites on the market with the finest match.

Step 1: Bulk disqualifications

Once you recognize that your content material will resolve an issue, you’ll be able to run numerous footprints by means of a software like Scrapebox, NinjaOutreach, or Pitchbox to develop a big group of potential websites to attain out to.

Depending on the business and footprints utilized in the discovery part, you would possibly find yourself with a listing of some thousand potential websites. While it’s thrilling to see that many, it’s also possible to lose plenty of time by reaching out to websites which are irrelevant or low-quality.

Disqualify numerous URL parameters

Before I take a look at metrics or different facets of a website, I am going to prune my preliminary record of websites primarily based on particular phrases of their URL that I feel will yield poor outcomes for my outreach efforts. I do that with easy instructions in Excel or a Google Sheets doc to seek for and take away every row with a URL that features footprints like “wiki”, “forum”, and “news”.

While this course of isn’t excellent, I’ve discovered that these kinds of websites often supply a low-quality hyperlink on a generic web page buried deep of their content material archive.

Remove blatant visitor posting websites

Now that we eliminated websites with particular parameters in the URL, I like to take away websites which are clearly made for visitor bloggers. While visitor running a blog has been a great technique for me, websites that seem to be constructed round visitor posts are often unscrupulous websites that I don’t desire a hyperlink from. While not all the time the case, I’ve discovered that these websites are possible a part of a Private Blog Network (PBN) and will yield low influence for my hyperlink constructing efforts.

To prune out these kinds of websites, I’ll pre-qualify websites like I did in the earlier step by taking out websites with “submit”, “write for us”, or “guest post” in the URL and transfer them to my “junk” spreadsheet that I hold and look at in a while.

Step 2: Use instruments to determine highly effective websites

At this stage, I’ve eliminated fairly just a few websites from the preliminary record primarily based on their URL. Now I can assume that the websites I’ve in my record aren’t attempting to generate visitor posts, and my efforts received’t end in a hyperlink buried deep inside a wiki web page.

It’s necessary to be aware that the precise metrics I take into account acceptable will differ primarily based on business, shopper targets, and if I’m performing native hyperlink constructing campaigns vs. nationwide outreach efforts. But to simplify issues, I’ll use the basic baseline with the metrics beneath when evaluating a typical shopper for authoritative outreach campaigns.

Obviously, not all websites are disqualified, but when a website has excessive metrics however upon additional examination I discover the website is low high quality, then I do know that website was solely constructed for rankings and I’ll disqualify that website from my goal record.

Majestic web site metrics

The most necessary issue to take into account in any outreach marketing campaign is the topical relevance and authority of a website primarily based on the business that you just’re working in. It’s necessary to make sure that all backlinks are related to the goal web page from a topical and contextual perspective.

Since topical authority and relevance are so necessary for outreach efforts, I run my record of websites by means of Majestic SEO so my spreadsheet of potential websites are all associated by matter and context to the piece of content material I need to level hyperlinks to.

Once I’ve a listing of topically related websites, I’ll run that record by means of Majestic and solely hold these websites that return CF/TF of 12 or above. I could regulate this baseline relying on the variety of outcomes, however I’ve discovered that websites with CF/TF beneath 12 have a tendency to be weaker websites that will not transfer the needle.

It also needs to be famous that I solely hold websites the place the CF and TF scores are at the least 50% of one another. For instance, I can’t take into account a website with CF 50, however a TF 10 rating.

This step will whittle down my preliminary record and often depart me with about 20-30% of it. I take all websites that aren’t related to the vacation spot website and place them in a separate spreadsheet to assessment later.

Ahrefs web site metrics

Now that I’ve a listing of topically related websites that additionally meet a minimal threshold in Majestic SEO, I’ll transfer on to Ahrefs. I copy/paste the remaining websites into the Build Analyze software to discover websites with at the least 500 month-to-month site visitors and a DR of 15 or above.

This step helps me determine “real” websites that generate site visitors earlier than I manually assessment the website.

Moz web site metrics

Finally, I take the record of websites which are topically related and have sturdy baseline metrics by means of the Moz Pro software. Since I can’t justify the value of Moz API for my small crew and restricted use case, I want to do URL checks manually at this stage, so it’s necessary to do every thing I can in earlier steps to guarantee I solely work with websites that present good potential.

I examine my record of websites in Moz by means of their Link Research software to perceive the power of a root area and rapidly determine any spam websites which may have survived earlier steps. I additionally take a look at the Moz Spam Score to decide whether or not a website requires extra handbook assessment.

Depending on the scope of my hyperlink constructing marketing campaign, the business I am focusing on, and geographic area (amongst different components), I often solely attain out to websites with a DA of 10 or above. I’ve discovered the Moz DA software is fairly correct when evaluating the “realness” issue of a website, and something beneath a 10 DA is probably going a PBN website.

My ultimate step to consider a website by means of SEO instruments is to take a look at the Spam Score to catch any leftover low-quality websites which will have handed the different checks:

Like with most instruments, you may get false positives because it’s fairly simple to stand a website up simply to generate “good” SEO metrics. For this purpose, I like to take the ultimate step of a handbook assessment earlier than I attain out to web site homeowners.

Step three: Manual assessment

Now that I’ve a small record (often 10-20% of the unique record that I began with) of websites that meet benchmarks set in every software, I am going to start the handbook strategy of reviewing the remaining websites.

I feel it’s necessary to manually examine websites earlier than reaching out to them, as a result of I can often discover websites which are a part of a PBN, or these websites that had been constructed simply to promote hyperlinks, primarily based on their design and performance.

As I assessment these websites, I hold an eye fixed out for apparent indicators of a poor website. I virtually all the time disqualify a website at this stage that has extreme promoting on it, as a result of I can assume it was solely constructed to improve their gross sales commissions and never the high quality of content material for actual individuals.

Use SEO instruments to save time throughout the hyperlink prospecting part

No matter the scope of your outreach or the business you’re employed in, all outreach campaigns take plenty of time and assets. Most SEOs know that dangerous hyperlink constructing can lead to a complete host of issues, and as the solely particular person in our company who performs outreach, I want to defend my time.

The steadiness between scalability, high quality, and effectivity is made or damaged throughout the prospecting part of any hyperlink constructing marketing campaign. I exploit numerous SEO instruments to assist me save time and decide the finest websites for my outreach efforts. Not solely does this stack of SEO instruments assist me determine these websites, it additionally implies that I am extra possible to efficiently talk with an actual particular person at an actual website to construct hyperlinks with.

Feel free to take a look at out this course of for your self, and I’d love your ideas on how to enhance it in the feedback beneath!



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