At this point, it’s pretty much common knowledge that link building is one of the most critical factors affecting your overall SEO performance. If you can manage to acquire backlinks from high authority websites, it will signal to Google and the other search engines that your site is a quality resource, one that is worthy of citation.
However, most digital marketers would agree that link building is one of the hardest tasks they face – and for a good reason. Scouring the internet for high-quality backlinks can be extremely time-consuming, and it’s not always guaranteed to deliver results. On top of this, link building is expensive, which usually prices out most small and even medium-sized businesses from attaining premium backlinks.
According to Siege Media, it often costs brands upwards of $1,000 to gain just one quality link. With these sorts of figures being quoted, it’s important that you do your research to be sure you are finding the best links for your website, the ones that are relevant, trustworthy, and from high domain authority sources.
How third-party analytics can help your link-building strategy
Companies have more tools and data at their disposal than ever before. This means they can take a far more systematic approach to their digital marketing strategy, which can help increase ROI and get better results.
With the ability to analyze any website and fully break down its web traffic statistics, you can gain valuable insights into your competitor’s strategies. You can also more accurately assess the potential value of any links you are thinking about purchasing.
On that note, let’s take a look at a few ways you can use third-party website analytics to inform your link-building strategy.
Inspect and analyze the sites you are considering acquiring links from
Just as you would research a product or service before you hand over your hard-earned cash, you should take the time to inspect and analyze the websites that you wish to acquire backlinks from. Using web traffic stats, you can peer into the core data of a website, looking at things such as domain authority, global and country rankings, category rankings, as well as the total amount of engagement it gets.
In general, you want to acquire links from websites relevant to your own and have topic correspondence. For example, if you sell sports equipment, you should avoid posting on high fashion websites and instead focus on those that share a similar audience to your own.
Make sure you check out the primary countries where the website acquires its traffic from. Usually, you should only aim for websites that share the same audience as your own (or at least similar), which extends to national and regional demographics.
Keep an eye on your competitors and explore their links
Using the same web traffic analysis tools, we can spy on our rivals and explore their link-building strategies. Understanding where they get their backlinks from and who their top referrers are will give you a better idea of the areas where you need to focus on next.
If it is working for your rivals, that means that it will likely work for you too.
If you can, get a comprehensive breakdown of competitor referral traffic, including the percentage of referral traffic won categories for referrals. This should give you some domains to target for your strategy and highlight opportunities for acquiring backlinks of your own.
Look at your top referral sources
Now that you’ve researched your competitors, it’s time to turn your attention inwards by taking a look at your web traffic data. One of the easiest ways to get new links is by checking out the websites that already link to your content.
If you find that one or more websites with high domain authority have already linked to your website, it means that they likely find your content valuable, relevant, and worthy of sharing. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.
If possible, try to create similar content and then pitch it directly to the same publications. Mention that you notice they have already linked to your content and that you would be interested in establishing a link-building partnership that is beneficial to both parties. This warm introduction has a much better chance of bearing fruit than any random outreach campaign ever would.
Check your outbound links
Finally, why not reach out to the websites you are actively linking to already? Check the websites that are in your top external referrals (destination sites), and consider reaching out to them with a link-building proposition.
In many ways, this should be angled as a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” scenario, but the success of this proposition will all depend on how successful and authoritative your site already is.
Nevertheless, it’s well worth reaching out to these websites as it gives you a warm lead when contacting the editors, and there is also a strong chance that the website will be relevant and have topic correspondence.
Quality over quantity
The overarching goal here is to find high-quality links that will help boost the credibility and authoritativeness of your website. The days of going out and securing any old link you can get your hands on are gone. In fact, the latter approach will often do more harm than good to your SEO performance.
While high-quality backlinks will take a long time to build, the results will be far worth the effort. And with the vast array of web analytics tools and the vast troves of data at your disposal, you should be able to highlight a few golden opportunities that will help build your brand and naturally increase your website’s visibility on search engines.