Link Building and Digital PR

Two activities for those who want to grow in competitive scenarios without setting limits

As part of the SEO Strategy, the link strategy is one of the most important moments and determines the ability of a website to grow in authority. The peak of the link strategy is the link building activity: a set of actions and skills ranging from the preparation of optimized quality content to the planning of their publication.

Building the quantity and quality of the backlink profile means building its success. ByTek, as a link building agency, has been following hundreds of big brands for years in achieving their goals.

Link building is fundamental for anyone who wants to raise the level of SEO competition and be able to play with big players. Here there are some examples of possible results:

  • E-commerce that wants to compete with the big players can work on their verticalization and authority thanks to link building activities for eCommerce. The activities, in this case, involve product reviews by industry bloggers for example;
  • Lead generation websites, such as comparators and websites made to acquire contacts, often work in highly competitive areas in which it is hard to move without massive link building activities;
  • Brands, who want to be top-of-mind for their industry and manage all related research effectively;
  • Publishers and bloggers that through an editorial link building activity can increase the traffic of their websites in a lasting way, without having to buy ads.

Before going on with the description of how a link building strategy is structured, it is important to understand what makes a link a quality link.

Among the first factors that Google algorithms use to evaluate a page, there is Page Rank. It is a quantitative evaluation that, on a scale from 0 to 10, establishes the popularity of a website based on the quality and relevance of inbound links. This algorithm today is just one of the many evaluation elements used by Google.

Other independent companies have created popularity and authority index. Among the best-known examples, we should mention Moz, a US company that has built two evaluation parameters that are now widely used in the SEO environment and are:

  • Domain Authority, evaluating the domain;
  • Page Authority, that evaluates the page, the URL.

Another example is Majestic which, as evaluation parameters, considers the Trust Flow (which measures the quality of the referring domains) and the Citation Flow (which measures the number of links and citations).

A good link profile is not only characterized by the popularity of the websites that include it, but also by other fundamental elements, such as:

  • link naturalness - the link must be inserted in an absolutely natural way within the content, helping to make it exhaustive. Links that have the only intent of manipulating search results, without adding any value for the user, are absolutely not recommended;
  • link position - a link placed in the first part of the text is more relevant because it has more chances of being clicked than one inserted at the end. An interesting patent in this sense is Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model;
  • anchor text - the clickable text of the link is of fundamental importance because it provides a lot of information to the search engine. Having a keyword as anchor text helps search engines understand the importance of the signal;
  • additional attributes (nofollow, UGC, sponsored) - it is possible to add HTML attribute to links you have no control over (for example blog’s comments) and not to give them weight for positioning or other purposes.

The Nofollow attribute was introduced by Google to fight spam on the web. Up until a decade ago, some black hat SEO practices involved building links with bots that placed links in forums, blog comments, and other platforms with user-generated content. Subsequently, the websites, to prevent this form of spamming, began to use “rel = nofollow”, rigorously limiting the manipulation of search results.

Today, the Nofollow attribute is used for links such as comments or pages that are useless for Google Bot. This attribute is also used to avoid penalties in case of purely commercial links.

Links can be acquired through planned link building and link earning activities.

Link building is the set of techniques and strategies that tend to influence positioning not thanks to memorable content or marketing actions, but obtaining links and improving the ranking on search engines. These activities virtually allow a website to be mentioned and linked regardless of the content it hosts.

Link building has a number of features:

  • it is programmable;
  • it can be standardized;
  • it is risky if poorly studied;
  • the cost is directly proportional to the result.

Among the most popular link building activities:

  • guest posting - editorials hosted by thematic newspapers, in exchange for the possibility of inserting a link to your site in the article;
  • broken link building - the activity that involves contacting the owners of sites that send links to resources that no longer exist and propose to change the pointing of the link to their site;
  • links purchase.

Link earning is the set of strategies and techniques that allow you to obtain links through quality content or marketing actions.

These are its characteristics:

  • it is uncertain;
  • has a fixed cost;
  • gives excellent links at “low” prices;
  • it tends to be safe;
  • it requires creative effort.

Among the best-known link earning activities:

  • infographics;
  • research and surveys;
  • interviews.

Content is King, but simply posting content won’t increase your ranking. There are contents that “work” better than others such as:

  • Visual assets: diagrams, infographics, charts, and other visual-oriented content work really well. It has been established that a chart or an infographic are shared more easily than text content;
  • List Post: BuzzSumo, a tool that analyzes, monitors and searches for the most shared content on social networks, analyzing over a million articles, found that list posts generated more backlinks than other content formats, even surpassing videos and infographics;
  • Research and analysis of original data: content with particular data and studies, or original surveys and research, easily obtain links naturally;
  • Insights: guides that include complete and exhaustive information on a given topic are great resources for all those interested in the area.

How to plan a link building activity? The starting point is the analysis of your link profile. Increasing inbound links helps the website to better positioning, but the important thing is the balance between quality and quantity.

The quality of a backlink is given by the authoritativeness of the page and the relevance of the link itself: the greater the relevance and affinity to the topic, the higher the quality is.

The backlink analysis could reveal the presence of toxic links or spam links that would expose the website to penalties. You will have to remove them immediately or ask Google, through the disavow tool, not to consider them.

To analyze the link profile we can use various tools such as aHrefs and Majestic. These tools help to check for each link:

  • Source URL;
  • Destination URL;
  • anchor text;
  • anchor type (branded, navigational or transactional);
  • type (nofollow or dofollow);
  • status code (500, 404, etc.).

The tools help us to structure the backlink audit, identifying low-quality, suspicious, unnatural and irrelevant links.

Among the link building activities there are:

  • identification of broken links (i.e. links that no longer work) to build updated content or to enrich them or even to buy expired domains. Once the contents have been updated, a link request can be sent, while purchasing a domain you can go directly to create the website and content by inserting links;
  • writing interviews or paid editorial, as long as it is always quality content that can generate traffic;
  • writing guest posts: this activity involves contacting themed blogs offering valuable content, with the possibility of quoting the author’s site, or yours, with a link. In this sense it is very important to think about what real contribution it is possible to give with one’s own experience to the readers of the blog that will host your content;
  • create a Private Blog Network (PBN), or groups of websites not connected to each other and with original editorial content that can be used to obtain links to sites subject to link building activities. This type of activity only makes sense when the number of sites for which we need to link building in a given sector is actually high;
  • mentions monitoring: often a brand can be mentioned in many newspapers and blogs following press office activities or particular events. In these cases, an activity that can be done at no cost is to contact the blogs and newspapers directly asking to replace the quote with a link.

There is a fourth and final step: report and analysis. This phase is essential for any self-respecting link building agency. The report helps to evaluate the campaign’s results, not only in terms of activities carried out but also in terms of results (improving visibility and conversions thanks to link building activity). At ByTek we deliver to the customer exhaustive reports on what has been done according to well-defined parameters.

The reports also analyze the impact of the activity on the website visibility, both for average positioning and traffic generated, as well as conversions.

We typically present these reports in Data Studio dashboards, constantly updated to evaluate the overall campaign progress and always available to get a complete overview.

Link building is not cheap and suitable for everyone but is perfect for those who want to make a qualitative leap for their SEO activities and are not afraid of competition.

The cost of a link building campaign typically starts at €800/month for the simplest activities in the less competitive industries and can even reach €10,000/month or more to compete with the huge players in the most competitive sectors.

ByTek case studies

ByTek has created a campaign management platform that connects over 2,500 publishers: ReleVanty. Through this platform, we plan the publication of content always having clear and updated progress and goals status.

We have studied link building campaigns for different clients, from banking groups including investment, insurance and credit services to big brands in the beauty industry up to professionals network. We study a specific link building activity for each client and each project, with a clear view of goals and other strategies.

Ask us for a consultation, we will be able to recommend the link building service that best suits your needs.

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