How To Prioritise Your Link Targets Before You Contact Them.
Before we get around to discuss how and what we use to outreach to our link targets let us discuss the ways you can add more validation to your potential link partners.
There are basically three traditional ways you can do this.
1. How influential are they in your industry
2. What are the domain metrics of their website
3. How likely are they to want to link to you?
Let’s look at each of these three in turn.
How Influential Are They?
One of the top ways to get more eyeballs on your content is to get influential people in your industry to share it.
Usually, these influential people have many followers, particularly on social media and if you can get them to like your content it can lead to a considerable ripple effect.
So even if when you check their website the domain metrics are not great, don’t forget to consider their social profiles, such as Twitter.
If you recall in the last post we discussed followerwonk as a tool to explore social profiles.
When you search for twitter bio’s you can also filter for social authority. ( see below ).
If you sort these by high to low you will probably want to contact these people first.
The other way is to spend of a bit of time learning about your targets. Look through their content on their sites and try to get a feel for what they like to blog about.
Take a look through their social media and also importantly try to get a view on whether they share other peoples content as this is what you will be asking of them.
In other words do a bit of research on them first, make some notes as this will come in handy when you start compiling your email message.
The next line of inquiry we need to make is called domain metrics. I mentioned these are my own post about my own website ( link here )
There are two metrics that you should take account of when assessing the quality of a website.
Page rank is calculated by Google and is usually based on the number of quality links that are pointing to that website.
It uses a 0-10 scale with 10 being the highest rank a website can attain.
So looking at the page rank of a websites home page will give you an idea of how strong that website is.
Using the homepage as your anchor page to assess page rank is a good starting point as most links will point to the home page.
When a website links to your site or you create internal links you are actually creating “link juice” that has a page rank points score attached to it.
The amounts of link juice that is passed normally depends on two things:
1. The number of page rank points of the website that is housing the link.
2. The total number of links on the webpage that are passing page rank.
The formula for achieving a higher page rank is:
quality (not quantity) of your backlinks + efficiency of internal linking.
Linked closely to page rank is page authority and this is something you need to pay attention too.
There may be occasions where you are offered the chance of a link, you need to, however, assess the strength of the page so you know how worthwhile the link will be before you put loads of effort in acquiring it.
Page authority usually applies to a single page on a website, not the entire site.
I use Ahrefs as my go-to tool for website metrics and they term it slightly different – domain rating.
Domain rating shows the strength of a given website overall backlink profile.
As a general rule, my aim is to get backlinks from high DR-websites as they carry more “authority” in the eyes of the search engines.
Once you have your target list of websites and have assessed it is in your target audience you will need to find contact details to start your outreach programme, i.e. trying to secure links from other websites.
Firstly, the obvious is to search the site to see if there is a contact page. You will usually find a link to this either in the header or footer of the website.
If you can’t find a contact page, look for an ‘about us’ page which often also has contact details on it.
You then need to find an email address if possible. There are google chrome extensions that can sniff out an email address on a website if they have one.
How Likely Are They To Link?
The final part of the exercise is to make a judgment on how likely they are likely to link to you.
The sorts of questions you might like to ask are:
1. Have they shared content in the past
2. Are they really relevant to my content
3. Is there blog active ( have they published in the last three months).
You might want to invent a scoring system say 1-5 on each of these.
So you should end up with:
1. Potential link candidates that have a good social following.
2. Potential link candidates that have good website metrics
3. Potential link candidates that are likely to want to link to you.
In the next section of our beginners guide we will get into reaching out to our potential link partners.
We will be looking to produce customized messages for each site we contact, not regurgitating a standard template.
Personalisation is the key to a successful campaign.