To be clear, getting your first 50 backlinks is going to take more than just this simple blog post. It's not going to be as hard as you think, but you're going to pick one approach and run with it.
Take note on being precise with the articles you plan, maximize your outreach opportunities, and make something engaging and shareable when possible.
If you're wondering why should you bother, well, backlinks are the nº1 element of strong off-page SEO, so keep reading!
If getting 50 backlinks for you site is the main goal, then start with the end in mind.
Keep In Mind: This tactic is a mixture of a few different strategies people already know and use. You'll see bits and parts of Brian Dean, Authority Hackers, and Robert Cialdini's 'Influence' within this post, but it's all been put together here for you in something clear and precise. Shout out to those guys and the others that have influenced this post.
The tactic I’m going to show you is the white hat way of link building and at the backend consists of outreach - however, that’s just the last parts. You need to plan your outreach from the beginning and this is going to show you how to do that.
Keep in mind, we've got a few other backlink strategies covered here but they won't go as tactical as this one will.
What You'll Learn Today
- Reverse engineering popular content
- Organizing outreach by authority
- The rule of reciprication
- Taking your outreach to another level
1) Organize Important Topics In Your Niche
By important topics, this means the most shared PLUS the most linked to. To do this you can use a tool like BuzzSumo or Ahref’s Content Explorer to organize content by the most shared.
Then search for your main keyword. If your site is on the best lawnmowers - then search for things such as ‘lawn care’, ‘grass problems’, etc.
You can use a tool suggested by Gary Evan’s called LSI Graph to find ‘Latent Semantic’ phrases that are related to your niche. These are the exact ways Google uses to index and reference related subjects in it’s search engine.
PS. See how Gary made $1,080 from his niche site in 4 months.
Next, enter your keywords into Buzzsumo or Ahrefs and organize the data in two ways:
- By ensuring the keyword is in the title of the article.
- By referring domains, with the content pieces having the highest referring domains at the top and being the most important.
The difference between a referring domain and a backlink is this:
A referring domain is the actual website, the backlink is the anchor text. One site could have multiple backlinks from one referring domain.
Organizing the data by these two filters helps us make sure the actual keyword is in the title (for topical relevance and keyword optimization) and to maximize the number of potential sites we can reach out to.
Open up a Google spreadsheet and start organizing the topics into groups.
You’ll start seeing patterns and articles that are very similar, but not quite the same. For example with ‘lawn mowers’ - you might find subjects like “saving time gardening” or “lawn care for beginners”
2) Find All The Sites Linking To Your Topic Groups
Again you can use BuzzSumo, Ahref’s or even Majestic SEO to locate all the site pointing to these articles.
If you are in a niche where there are thousands of referring domains for a particular subject. Filter the RD’s by ‘do-follow’ links and also WordPress.
This is because the do-follow’s count as a vote of confidence in Google’s eyes and filtering by WordPress gives a higher chance of finding smaller bloggers to reach out to.
Some of the big websites in your niche are probably not going to link to as easily, however smaller bloggers will. This is why niche research is so important and it’s something we take into consideration with every site we build.
3) Organize The Backlinks By Domain Authority or Domain Rating
Alright, now you’ve got a collection of websites that are referencing a particular topic. Next, you’ll want to organize these sites by Domain Authority. You can use the newly updated Mozbar for this.
When organizing the sites by Domain Authority, make sure to still keep them separated by topic. Don’t organize them all together in order. They should be organized by topic.
Domain authority and domain ratings are very similar. They both try to represent how authoritative a domain is but are created by two different companies. Moz created domain authority and Ahrefs created domain rating.
On a side note, if you're interested in getting backlinks from .edu, .gov, and wikipedia - we explained how to get backlinks from high authority sites here.
4) Find The Most Shared Content of The Referring Domains
Only complete this section for the sites that aren’t your competitors. Because you don’t want to link to your competitors. For example, if you owned toplawnmowers.com and one of the sites in your list is bestlawnmowers.com - you probably don’t want to reach out to them because they aren’t going to want to link to you. And in the next step, you’ll see why we won’t be linking to them either.
Using the same social sharing tools, locate the most shared content of these sites - regardless of how many referring domains the article has.
Find the top 3 articles if possible. Some sites aren’t going to have a lot of shared content and if that’s the case - then just use the sites with the most traffic. You can use SEMrush or any of the other competitor tools available.
5) Create The Content For These Topics
Choose the one with the largest amount of referring domains first. You can either write the content yourself, hire a writer from one of the many blogger forums, or use our writing services.
Depending on how long your article is, try to add in the top 3 sites you want a link from into your article. If you have lots of other content, add the other sites into those articles too. Spreading around the links to your various content.
When you add the referring domains as a resource into your articles, you can just keep adding more and more to not only beef up your article but also to increase your outreach opportunity.
It doesn't have to a whole paragraph either, it can be just a sentence.
If you are asking whether this is going to spread too much link juice - don't be silly. There's plenty to go around. A great piece of content is not a dead end. It’s a genuine resource that links to other relevant resources.
As you add these referring domains as resources into your content, make sure to keep track of all this. Click the image to zoom into how you can track this outreach campaign.
6) Find The Emails Of The Referring Domains
At this point, you should have a spreadsheet with:
- The URL of the content you’ve created for a popular topic
- The URL to a piece of content you’ve created that references them
Next, you’ll want to start collecting the email addresses of all the referring domains. You can use a few tools but what I’ve found to be the easiest is to just sign up to their email list.
Start a new Google Spreadsheet and find the first name and email of webmaster there.
7) Start Reaching Out
There are two scenario’s that can happen here:
- You’re going to reach out and ask for a link back to the content you reference them in.
- You’re going to reach out and ask for a link to another piece of content, that is different than the one you referenced them in.
You might think you’ll have to send two separate emails, but don’t worry - got you covered.
Send an email telling them you’ve referenced them. When they respond, ask for the link back.
For your Gmass or Mailshake CSV files, I just use the reciprocation tracking sheet but with emails and first names. From there you can use mail merge tags to personalize the emails.
Reaching out to let people know you’ve linked to them, not only gives the impression that you're putting out consistent content, but you're also big enough AND have a system in place that’s proactive for relationship building.
The internet is just a composition of people. The more relationships you build with people in your online neighbourhood, the better.
There are three outcomes you’ll see:
1) No response or just a thank you.
2) A share.
3) A link back to your site.
Depending on your niche, you might even have people asking for you to pay them for a link. But with this reciprocation model we’ve built for you, it’s less likely since you’ve already given people some sort of gift and their natural response is usually to reciprocate.
Most of the time, if people don’t respond - I will actually send them a follow up and it works wonders.
Alright, at this point you can keep looping the process and adding in more resources into your content to keep maximizing outreach opportunities.
BONUS STEP 8) Start a Joint Venture With Your Combined Content
Depending on the stage of your site. You might be getting good enough traffic to warrant creating a product, but you don’t have an email list to sell to.
Create an ebook by combining content from both of your sites. Then launch a giveaway with partners in your niche.
Add a price tag on it (preferably at a price ending in an odd number for psychological reasons.)
And use this ebook to approach manufacturers and producers in your space and ask for a product to giveaway for the ebook launch.
Make a deal where they can have access to the emails as well and if these manufacturers have an online presence, they're going to care about those emails. A lot.
In any case, what I'm trying to say is that getting backlinks to your site is just one part of the equation. Backlinks 'being the end-all' is a misconception we hear everyday.
Consider your email list to be the lifeblood of your business. It's direct access to niche relevant people. Heck, you could even email them other people's content and monetize your list with ad placements.
In the online space, everything that has people's attentions can be monetized. This tactic we’ve gone over today not only attracts more links to your site, but also offers the possibility to create an owned digital product.
I hope you have enjoyed this short but tactical strategy to backlink paradise and a sustainable online property.
If you aren't at the stage of running a giveaway or collecting emails, then circle back to step 4 and run the machine again.
Create popular content with lot's of resources, link to those referring domains, and reach out with a gift in hand. This inspires reciprocation and the start of a cozy relationship with joint venture partners for the future.