Not all backlinks are equal. According to an assessment from Backlinko, Google may use at least 46 different factors to weigh the value of a single backlink or to assess a site’s overall backlink profile. A few notable link quality signals include:
Though no one knows for sure how Google qualifies referral links, SEO experts agree that acquiring links from high-quality editorial content will do more to boost your site’s authority than scoring multiple links from less trustworthy sources. Google’s ranking signals aside, it logically follows that better content passes more link equity to your website.
For this reason, you should focus your link-building efforts on sites with large followings and expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Ideally, link building outreach to E-A-T-level experts will result in mutually beneficial relationships. Two high-authority sites who link to one another or who produce or accept each other’s guest posts can create a sustainable partnership that boosts both domains’ ranks.
To build this type of relationship, you should start by identifying the experts in your industry or niche. Keep in mind that different topics have different forms of authoritative figures:
In general, you want to look for link opportunities from any site within your niche or an adjacent niche that isn’t a competitor, produces E-A-T-level content, and has the social proof and performance metrics to indicate authority.
Especially in crowded and competitive niches, finding the highest level experts (or experts just a little further up on the ladder who can help pull you up to their level) can be tedious and time-consuming. Fortunately, numerous online tools can streamline this process:
Competitor Analysis Tools– You can also find E-A-T-level authors by researching your competition and seeing where their backlinks come from. Ahrefs, Mozz, SEMRush, BuzzSumo, and other similar platforms typically have this capability.
Earning links from experts in your industry, no matter how you go about it, requires you to produce content that meets E-A-T standards. For a refresher on how to accomplish this, refer back to chapter four. With that being said, consider these three tactics for earning links from authoritative sites:
1. Create Complementary Content
Now that you’ve identified the official or everyday experts in your niche, you should deep dive into their content. As you read through articles, look for opportunities to complement their articles with additional information or media. Then, create an internal page on your website that would add value to anyone reading the expert’s article.
Once you publish the content, reach out to the expert, and recommend they link to your article. Be sure to include a clear value proposition in your outreach email.
2. Pitch Guest Posts
While you read through an expert’s articles, you should also take note of what’s missing. Is there any pertinent information that they don’t touch on? Has anyone left a comment with an important question the article doesn’t answer? If you find any content gaps, reach out to the blogger or site and editor and ask if they’d accept a guest post that provides the missing information.
If they reject the opportunity, reach out to the next relevant expert on your list. To generate more content ideas, you can ask the person what type of content they would accept.
3. Use the Skyscraper Strategy
The Skyscraper Technique is a well-known approach for generating content ideas. At the core, this strategy requires finding content with a high volume of backlinks, identifying how to improve that content, and publishing your own superior version. Once you create the upgraded article, you can reach out to the original article’s referring domains and pitch your own article.
In link building, success tends to be reciprocal—and that’s how Google designs its algorithm and quality guidelines. The system of gaining authority through earning backlinks from other sites with authority is the technical equivalent to “game recognizes game.”
If an expert or authoritative domain links to your site, it serves as a vote of confidence in your information, products, or services. By design, websites can only thrive if they have support from other sites. By building close relationships with experts, you’ll not only improve your rank; in time, you’ll become the expert who can return the favor.
Satya is skilled in SEO, traditional link building, and has sharp knack when it comes to email marketing techniques and deploying email campaigns.
Fun fact: Satya loves shopping and believes in staying stronger together.
Mike Woellert is PureLinq’s digital marketing manager and has several years of digital marketing experience.
Fun fact: Mike is a huge Disney, Star Wars and Marvel movie fanatic.
Richard Cummings has been practicing SEO and online marketing for years. He has set up, analyzed, and optimized countless websites and always looks forward to new, creative challenges to improve website traffic for clients.
Kristie performs business admin and HR tasks for PureLinq.
Fun fact: Kristie loves shopping!
Angela began link building in 2007 and quickly became known as the go-to expert in all things offsite marketing. By combining content marketing, traditional link building, and social media, she was able to set clients up with outstanding programs that delivered results in the form of organic rankings and traffic. Angela joined PureLinq as the Director of Operations in October 2020. Fun fact: Angela is an NFL team owner, as she owns stock in the Green Bay Packers.
Kevin Rowe is one of the top innovators in the search marketing industry, developing industry-leading programs for SEO and link building. He has built world-class programs for a range of companies from fortune 100 to Silicon Valley startups. He is a thought leader with his thoughts being published in Search Engine Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Huffington Post, and Search Engine Land.
Read Kevin’s latest articles on Search Engine Journal.
Kevin’s personal podcast: the Future of SEO
Kaitlin helps manage freelance writer content, putting her BA in Journalism from Mississippi State University to good use. She also has a minor in French, but don’t ask her to speak it.
Fun fact: Kaitlin was a barista for many years and is on a mission to sip the best coffee in every state.
Jon Lightfoot was founder and CEO of a successful chemical and fragrance company. Upon exiting that role he spent more than a decade agency side and several years brand side wherein he honed robust marketing, strategy and data intelligence acumen. Jon’s strategic marketing initiatives have stewarded healthcare providers, agencies, learning and education based companies, eComm and Fortune 500 companies alike in meeting or exceeding their SEO, branding, performance and audience expansion goals.
Lindsey manages the day-to-day management of freelancer writers and editors as well as content production. In addition to holding two BAs in History and English from Binghamton University, she has a Masters in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Fun fact: Lindsey has traveled to 11 countries and it’s on her bucket list to visit every continent.
James is the PureLinq Developer. He is responsible for building and maintaining the client portal.
Fun fact: James lived in Japan for five years.
April’s position at PureLinq has her overseeing all content production, managing a team of freelance writers and editors, and building out our content guidelines. She has an MA in print and digital journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and a BA in Communication Studies and Marketing from Cazenovia College.
Fun fact: April basically runs a zoo with a pet rabbit named Lily and two Australian Shepards named June and Hank; chickens coming soon. She also likes to refurbish furniture in her spare time.
If it needs to get done, Marcus can figure it out. He has worked on e-commerce and lead generation programs for a variety of digital marketing projects. These experiences include SEO, PPC, web analytics, minor development, and email marketing.
Fun fact: Marcus, otherwise known as Larabee Live, is a one-man-band that plays all around Central New York.
Joseph helps to scale up the PureLinq database through blogger research and outreach. He builds white-hat links for high-value content and pages with niche audiences.
Steve has over a decade of SEO and link building experience. He focuses on building white-hat links for high-value content and pages with niche audiences.
Colin performs link mining and outreach for PureLinq’s clients and brings a high level of organization to manage a large number of link placements each month.
Fun fact: Colin loves techno music and playing video games.