How Alan Silvestri Uses Link Building to 2x+ the Organic Traffic To Content Websites
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Want the step-by-step strategy a link-building expert uses to grow site traffic exponentially?
Alan Silvestri of Growth Gorilla joins the Niche Pursuits podcast to share some of his awesome growth tips.
He got into SEO and affiliate marketing in 2013 after searching for ways to make money online. He started with affiliate websites and was eventually hired to help boost traffic for the same course creator Alan followed to learn SEO…
From there, he found his passion for link-building and started Growth Gorilla. He now works with 10-15 clients in the B2B, SaaS space and has ranking content down to a science.
In his interview, he breaks down his holistic approach.
Alan describes the 3 main reasons pages may end up in the "content graveyard" (bottom of page 1, page 2, etc.):
- Not having backlinks
- Targeting the wrong keywords
- Not matching search intent or content type with the top 10 ranking results.
And he stresses that content quality is important and should be optimized before building backlinks.
To fix all these issues, he describes his content promotion roadmap. It's a quarterly process that helps prioritize target pages to build links to over the next 3 months.
First, there's the backlink analysis of competitors. He recommends analyzing two competitors, one realistically beatable and the other a North Star competitor that can represent an authority in the niche.
This backlink data will help show the difference in percentages of backlinks pointing to the homepage versus internal pages. If competitors are more proactive with content promotion, they'll likely have more links to their internal pages. But if a website is not ranking, it could also be the site has a lower domain rating (DR), which can be improved by building more backlinks to the homepage.
He describes assembling a link analysis report from all this data. And uses a three-step process, including identifying the link gap, the type of backlinks, and the topical relevance of those backlinks.
One tip is to prioritize both page relevancy and domain relevancy for backlinks. Although he mentions that if you can't get both, prioritize page-level relevancy.
Plus, he shares that while no follow links may not have a direct impact on rankings, they can bring in a trust signal that is important for a website to have. Building nofollow links can help dilute the backlink profile and build trust for the site. Good places to get nofollow links include directories, social media links, forums, and Q&A sites like Quora.
He also shares how to spot and avoid bad links from link farms by looking at content quality, links that the content has, and the main business model of the site.
And he also has some great tips on anchor text which can be classified into four main buckets: exact match, partial match, URL, and generic. To improve anchor text, export the backlinks of the top 10 ranking pages for target keywords and classify them into the four buckets to determine the ideal distribution.
Throughout the episode, Alan has a lot of great tips and tactics to share and isn't afraid to get into the nitty-gritty details.
So be sure to check out the full episode below!
Topics Alan Silvestri Covers
- How he got into SEO and link building
- Content graveyard
- Backlinks to homepage vs internal pages
- The fastest way to improve DR
- Three key factors to rank
- How to improve content quality
- Content promotion roadmap in quarterly sprints
- Keyword difficulty baseline
- Prioritizing pages with business potential
- Deep dive analysis
- The most common problems sites face
- Their link analysis report
- Anchor text tips
- No-follow links for trust signals
- Tips for building no-follow links
- How to spot and avoid bad links
- Relevant links from pages and sites
- And a whole lot more!
Links & Resources
- Double Your Traffic in 90 Days
- Growth Gorilla | No B.S. Content Promotion for SaaS Companies
- Alan Silvestri (@AlanGGorilla) / Twitter
- Promote, Or Die! The Content Promotion Podcast by Growth Gorilla: EP#10 Daniel Kupka on Harnessing Data-Driven Content for Effective Promotion on Apple Podcasts (or get it here on Spotify)
- And as always, this podcast episode is hosted by Jared Bauman, co-owner of 201 Creative SEO Agency
Watch The Interview
Jared: All right, and welcome back to the Niche Pursuits Podcast. My name is Jared Bauman, and today I am joined by a Alan Silvestri with Growth Gorilla. Alan, welcome on board.
Alan: Hey, Jared. Thanks for having me. I've been a long, long time listener to the podcast since like 2013, since I first started, like my journey in SEO and affiliate website.
So I'm really stoked to be here.
Jared: Yeah, it's great to have you. And like I, I always say if I, it's so great when we have a, a longtime listener that comes on the podcast. I was the I was the same. I started listening probably around the same time as, as you and serendipitously ended up hosting the podcast many, many years later, but grew up on the back of learning SEO from, from this podcast as well.
So it's good to have a success story. I suppose. We can, we'll claim a little bit of a success story out of it. Definitely, for sure. So you've been doing you just said SEOs or at least learning and, and doing it since about 2013. Tell us and fill us in on, I mean, that's a decade now. Fill us in on kind of how you got started and, and kind of bring us up to speed on your background.
Alan: So Australia outta school, I've been working nine years in an office job doing something that's like totally different from seo. I was playing in a band at the time with a couple friends. And so the main problems we had was that every time we needed, like days off to go play with the band, we needed to ask permission for the office job to like get the days off.
Right. So essentially I started looking for something online to be able to make some extra cash initially and to have the freedom to be able to play with the band. So I did the classic search, how to make money online, right? And so I guess, so I guess that's how I came across affiliate websites. That was my first adventure into the, the online kind of making money world.
And so affiliate website is how I've discovered seo, such engine optimization. I started I started a couple of a few website on the side while still working the office job. So part-time, essentially every night. And then I got hired by this guy that was running the first online course that I officially bought.
The guy noticed me on a couple of Facebook groups. He saw that I was taking action and I was getting results from my, from my website. And so he decided to hire me, kind of like an apprentice. So that's been really helpful and really formative for me to really nail down the basics of seo. And that's also how I stumbled upon a link building, which is, it's basically a hundred percent of what we do now.
The reason for that is because the site that I started working with for this guy had a ton of content that was already published on the site. The main problem with the content quality was great. The main problem is that some of it wasn't ranking just because there was so much of it, and so it was really difficult at a certain point.
To get the content to rank. So what we needed was essentially more and higher quality back links. The guy put me in charge of the whole link building operation. And so this is how I ended up defining what is still currently kind of like my u unique process and approach for doing link building outreach and to rank pages for specific keywords.
So then, Around 20 17, 20 18. This is when I started Growth Gorilla. Initially it was just me and Ava and I was still doing most of the work. And then over time I was able to delegate some of the more repetitive parts of the process. And now we are 10 people. We have a link prospecting team, and then outreach management team.
And we work with anywhere between like 10, 15 clients, mostly in the B2B SaaS space.
Jared: So that's that's definitely saying something when you take an SEO course and the person who puts on the course hires you to work on his website or websites, mm-hmm. What were the, like, what were the types of things that you were building at, at that time?
You know, you mentioned that he took notice of, of the results you were getting. Mm-hmm. Like, and that was a time period where affiliate marketing was very different than it is now. What were you like, where, what are some of the things you're working on?
Alan: Yeah, so mainly I guess the thing that he noticed about me was that I was following the steps that he laid out in the course and I was actually making progress.
So anything I was doing, I was posting on the Facebook group to show. That I was taking action. You know, cause some people they just buy a course and then they maybe complete like 20% of it and then they just stop doing it. And they say that it doesn't work. But in reality it's just that they didn't take the action that was necessary.
So with me, I've always been. A doer. So if I say that I do something, that I actually do my best to always take action and complete that thing. And so I guess this is the main thing, just the fact that I was taking massive action and I was actually getting results because my side started making money.
The main thing that I did well with that side is I was able to pick a good niche that wasn't very competitive. I think the site was, if I remember correctly, in the hair removal space. So manipulators. Like all that stuff. And so I did a good job at picking the right niche with not a, a lot of competition.
And also, I think I did a good job in the link building stuff because that's what I kind of started liking and becoming more passionate about straight from the very beginning.
Jared: Yeah, I have to say I have a little course that I launched last year for, to help people with, with taking better pictures of their website.
And you get the stats. You know, I don't look very often, but I have been in the backend. You can see everyone who's signed up and how far they've completed it. And I have to admit, you are right, not many people as a percentage go through it. Mm-hmm. The ones who tend to go skip through 20, 30% tend to get through the whole thing.
It seems, you know, by and large, but mm-hmm. But you're right, not as many people end up getting through the course. So that is that's an interesting find. Well, let's talk about about, you know, maybe I wanna transition us to talking about content and how you and your team work on content amplification.
I mean, I, I'll say that from a high level. Obviously we talk about content quite a bit here on this podcast. Maybe let's start by setting the stage for outline this, this process as you see it, for, for getting content mm-hmm. To rank. And then we can start to kind of deep dive into the details of it.
How, how does that sound?
Alan: Yeah. Sounds great. So the main concept where we can get started from is what I call the content graveyard. This is something that I came up with to identify all of that content that's essentially sitting from page two and lower and it's not really doing anything for the businesses, right?
So something that I really like to to use to explain this is if you look at your content production efforts, they typically look like a linear staircase, right? So you publish two articles one month, two articles the next month. So it keeps going the same way basically until you keep this publishing schedule.
The difference between this and content promotion, which for us is mainly done through link building, is that content promotion and link building looks more like an exponential scale. So it starts off super, super slow and then over time, if you do things right, then it typically compounds. So what a lot of people don't understand is that it.
Like it requires patience. So, so what they do is maybe they get to a certain point in the beginning where it's going super slow, they're not getting much results, so they get discouraged. And so what they do is they simply quit and they say, links don't work. This is not working for me. And so what they typically will do is just keep publishing and pumping out content in the hope they will magically rank.
So what happened then is all of this content. Sits essentially page two, page three, page five, page 10, and does nothing for the business. So this is, is basically what we call the content griever. Basically a bunch of content that's just sitting there that's not being proactively promoted with link building or with whatever it is that you wanna do to promote it.
And it's, yeah, basically not doing much for the business. So it's very important I think for companies to take a proactive approach. And be willing to say we've invested this amount in the content production, so we need to also invest this amount into actually promoting this content to get it to rank.
Cuz that's the whole purpose of a content strategy.
Jared: Let me ask you a question on that. I'd love to get your opinion on it. A lot of people in SEO kind of say, you know, live by the mantra, like, Hey, I know that. Only 20 percent-ish, 25%, whatever number it is. I know a small amount of the content that I publish will actually end up getting on page one normally, but that's okay cuz that drives the majority of my traffic.
Are you saying that actually the goal of a website should be to get the majority of your content to rank on page one and not let anything end up in the graveyard
Alan: so it. It really depends on how, how much content you're actually publishing. In some situations it might not be possible to get all the content right, because you don't have enough resources, you don't have enough time to actually build back links or promote all the content that you're doing.
But in most situations, what we see is we get started with the client, for example, where they have 50% of their traffic producing pages that are just sitting page two and lower, and then. Typically after like between six to 12 months, we are able to increase that percentage for the pages that are ranking higher than that to be able to get to a distribution that looks more like 20% of the content is sitting in page two and lower, and the rest is basically higher than that.
So, so anything that you can do to be able to decrease the content grave percentage, essentially that's, Still gonna be good for your business, and it's gonna be best better than just leaving the content seat there, essentially.
Jared: Well, I have a lot of other questions on that front for you, but I I, I'll save them for as we kind of drill into the details.
Let me, let me keep, let me not interrupt you, let let you keep going. Obviously this is a problem that a lot of websites are gonna have, and probably anybody listening right now who has a website can probably pull up their analytics and see a lot of their pages. They've published content for that.
Mm-hmm. You know, they're either not getting traffic or they're getting such a minimal amount of traffic, so I'll let you keep going in terms of, you know, how you approach handling that issue. But I'm glad we're talking about it because it's a, it's an issue that probably almost every site owner has.
Alan: Yeah. So the first thing that I would recommend people do with a website is you could take two competitors and let's say that the first one is a realistically beatable competitor, and the second one is more of a North Star competitor. Right. What you can do then, Is we can have a look at the backlink data.
To really see the difference in percentages of the back links that are pointing to the homepage compared to the back links that are pointing to internal pages. So when you see these charts across the three websites, so your site and the two competitors, then you can really. Kind of understand whether the other two guys are being more aggressive and more proactive with their content promotion.
Because if they have more of their backlink profile that's pointing to internal pages, that typically means that they're being more proactive and they're just going after backlinks to internal pages, which for us internal pages is anything that's not the homepage. So this could be blog articles, it could be feature pages for a software company, it could be some.
Some other kind of lending pages that you have on the site, right? So that's the first step. Checking to make sure whether the main problem why you're not ranking. Is it because the other guys are being more proactive, or is it because maybe your domain rating is just lower, so you, so you need to increase the strength of your website in terms of backlinks.
So. If the reason why you're not ranking is instead because your domain rating is lower than the other guy this is the strength of your back links the strength of your site in terms of a backlink profile, right? So this could be domain rating, domain authority. If you use Engage Revs or mos if that's the reason why you figure out that you're not ranking, then the best thing that you can do is to build more back links to the homepage.
So it's kind of like the opposite. So it's one or the other. You can do both if you have enough resources. So build back links to internal pages while at the same time also build links to the homepage to increase the domain rating. But yeah, these are typically the two things that we like to get started with this assessment to know whether we need to be more proactive with internal pages or with the whole authority of the site.
Jared: So I've heard the argument said that when you build links to internal pages, It raises your domain's authority about the same as if you build 'em to your homepage, but you obviously get more focused power from that link when you build it to an internal page. Now, I know the devil's advocate. I know the opposite argument, but talk through in maybe a little bit more detail how someone picks between building links to their homepage versus to a specific inner page, because I think that's probably an often confused decision, inflection point for people.
Alan: Yeah. Well, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what, to what you see ranking in the serves, right? So if you want to rank your target page, which might be a blog article for a target keyword, and then you you have a look at the top 10 ranking results for that keyword. Let's say that you see all sites that have a higher domain rating than in that case.
The first step for me would be to build back links to the homepage, just because that's, For me, the fastest way to increase the overall domain rating of the site. Sure, you can increase domain rating by building links to internal pages, but it's gonna take longer and that, that also depends on how you're doing internal linking, right?
Cuz that's very important to be able to distribute the link juice. So if I see that all of the size ranking have a higher domain rating than me, then I will probably focus straight away on building more back links to the homepage. Vice versa. If I see that, that there are some weaker sides that are ranking, then I might just focus on the specific specific url.
The other thing that's very important to mention is it all depends on your goals. So if you have business goals, you want to rank specific pages because they can bring in revenue, signups, sales, whatever, then that's probably a. A good like a good enough reason to focus on internal pages because you will get faster ROI just by ranking those specific
That's a good point. That's a good point. Yeah. It's obviously page specific too. Alright, so any other things that keep content in the graveyard, as it were? I mean, I, you talked about links and DR as a overall domain metric. Mm-hmm. But any other things before we kind of move on from that?
Alan: Yeah. So we.
So I, so I always like to reference a study that was done by hfs. They essentially analyze all of the. Like a lot of ranking pages and they figured out how 91% of the content they get published doesn't get traffic from Google. The number one reason that they found that was like a correlation with that is because the content didn't have back links.
And so this is kind of like what we just discussed. The other two reasons why they figured out that the content wasn't getting traffic is the second one is because the content wasn't targeting keywords with search traffic potential. So this could be. Classic example that we see a lot with software companies where all they publish in their blog is maybe product or updates.
Like, they're like we just we just added this feature, or Come join us on our next conference. You know? So all these things that don't really like, need to rank for anything. There's a lot of people that think that this is having a content strategy. But yeah, that's really not what we believe.
So targeting keywords with search traffic potential that also have business potential for you. That's the second mistake that people typically do. And the third thing is that the content wasn't matching the search intent or the content type with the top 10 ranking results. So search intent is essentially, you need to make sure that your page is matching what the users wants to find in Google.
The, the easiest way to figure that out is to look at the top 10 pages that are already ranking. Because chances are Google is already showing you what it wants to rank. Sometimes you might get away with creating something that's different and completing, polarizing, maybe Compared to what's ranking.
But for the most part, we've seen good results if you try to stick with what's already out there in terms of search intent, but also in terms of content type. So if you want to rank for this keyword and you see that the top 10 ranking results are basically are blog articles, then chances are you might wanna do a blog article as well for that keyword instead of say a lending page.
So these three things are the main factors that I think keep the country in the graveyard. So, The fact of not having a back link or not having the right back link the same. The second thing is to target the wrong keywords or keywords that don't have search traffic potential. And the third thing is to target the wrong search intent or the wrong content type for the specific keyword that you want to rank.
Jared: Perfect. Okay. I know that there's gonna be people out there thinking this right now. As a matter of fact, they're probably commenting on the YouTube page, so, What about content quality, keeping articles in the graveyard? Is there obviously links play a role. Quality of content at some point has to play a role, right?
Yeah. I mean, maybe can you touch on that to, to talk to people about the quality of the content playing
Alan: a role as well? Yeah. Content quality for me. So yeah, also like search intent and content type. They kind of like make. Part of what we define as content quality as well. So to have a good quality article that you want to rank for this keyword, you really need to make sure that it's matching the searching temp.
With the content type as well. So that's the main thing. Second thing is we've seen something happening with a lot of clients where we noticed that the content quality wasn't enough to be able to rank the content higher, and so they really needed more back links at that point. We call this the content quality threshold.
Essentially when you've done. Essentially everything that you could to optimize this page for its target keyword. So you can use software like clear scope or server SEO to optimize the page. You can optimize your internal linking structure and all that, kind of like the OnPage stuff. Essentially. Once you know that the OnPage stuff has been done, like 90%, a hundred percent of what you could do then typically if you don't see any more movement, the reason is because you need extra back links.
So yeah, contact quality. Really plays a part in this, but at some point, especially for the more competitive keywords, you will probably hit this content quality threshold where the only thing that you need is more or higher quality back links. So what we do is for every client when we get started, we do this content promotion roadmap.
We pick the target pages that we wanna work on every single month. But before we we actually go ahead and start building back links. We wanna make sure that the content has been fully optimized and the content quality is the best that the client possibly can have, right? So, yeah, it's definitely important to make sure that content quality is top notch before you even you even start building back links to the page.
Jared: Yeah, it is really it's a good, it's a good point that you're making, and I kinda wanna double down on it for one listening, right. That you know, this is a spectrum and ranking for keywords is a spectrum, and there's keywords that are very low in competition and that don't take as much power from your domain.
They don't take as many links to rank for, they might not take any links to rank for. And then there's queries that are really competitive and that mm-hmm. A lot of other websites have published. Content on. And these queries need to have better content usually to rank. They need to have optimized content to rank.
And then also, very oftentimes, they either need a strong domain or a lot of links or both. And so I think that the spectrum to make sure everyone kind of grasps like. There's a, there's, there's targeting low competition keywords. And, and these are based in many ways on the idea that you don't need a strong domain and, or a lot of back links.
Mm-hmm. And then there's targeting keywords that have a lot of authority behind them. And, and that's a little bit of a different process. And really, I think that's where you are doubling down. And what we're really getting into today is how to win with, we'll say maybe competitive keywords.
Alan: Yeah. Yeah. The reason for that is because for the most part, we want to work with clients that have a content strategy where the main goal is for that content to bring in signups and revenue.
So typically, the majority of this content is going to be targeting competitive keywords because chances are. Sales oriented keywords, so the middle or the bottom of the funnel, those will typically be more competitive as well. So yeah, this is, it is usually what we have to face for the majority of our clients.
Jared: Ah, okay, good. So you, you tease this content promotion roadmap. Can you go into like more detail on what that includes and, and what, you know, what you guys map out?
Alan: Yeah. So the content promotion roadmap is a process that we do every quarter, essentially for our clients. The reason for that is because yes, we plan for the long term, right?
So if you remember the content graveyard kind of explanation that I gave before, we really want to plan for the long term. That said, we like to focus on quarterly sprints because ch things change so fast, especially in in seo, especially right now with all the updates that Google is doing that it doesn't really make sense for us to plan out the pages that we're gonna be working on for the next 12 months.
So what we typically do is we just plan the pages that we're gonna be focusing on for the next three months, and then every quarter we redo this roadmap. To be able to plan the next sprint essentially. This also gives us a good indication of whether we're making progress or not. At the end of the quarter, we can assess the results.
We can see whether some pages have moved up into the rankings. And so this allow us to to be able to. Give more direction to the client as well. So the roadmap is a three step framework. Let's say we start off by identifying what we call the keyword difficulty baseline. What the keyword difficulty baseline is essentially is a customized cure, difficulty range that we identify for the specific client website.
For the situation as it is right now. So most people simply use the Q difficulty that's provided by some SEO tools, but that is just a standardized keyword difficulty that identifies the difficulty in ranking for each keyword, right? So instead, what we want to do with this is to assign keyword difficulty buckets that are specific to the client's site.
So we have the sole process that can tell us. Which keywords we can realistically expect that the client side is currently capable of ranking higher four in the short term. So to be able to do this, we can have a look at the. Basically all the keywords that the client is already ranking for in positions one to three.
And so this gives us a chart that can tell us, okay, for example, the client can rank super well for keywords that have a difficulty of between five and 15, for example. Or they can rank quite well for keywords that have a difficulty between 20 and 40, and the rest is very difficult. So we do this every quarter as well as part of the roadmap, so that.
So this helped us This is really helpful to to prioritize the target pages that we're gonna be scheduling in for the quarter. So once we've done this, step two is to get what we call the quick win keywords. These are all the keywords and pages that are ranking, as we said before, between position four and position 10 or 15.
So the bottom of page one and the top of page two, we know that these keywords and pages are like already ranking quite well. So chances are with maybe a couple of extra back links, some extra kind of optimization, they might be able to shoot up into the top five or the top three. So once we got this quick win keywords, then we pair the map with the keyword difficulty buckets that we identified before.
So we know maybe we have 50 keywords basically on the list. 10, 15, 20 of those might be within the easy Q difficulty bucket that we identified. So we're gonna prioritize those first then. Once we have all of these keywords and we have signed the Q difficulty bucket as well. The next step, and this is very important, is we ask some input from the client to be able to know which pages actually have some business potential.
Cuz we don't want to just shoot in the dark and promote or build back links to whatever page that we have in the list. We actually want to build back links to pages that have some business potential. So that the client is going to have a higher kind of ROI essentially. So the clients give us their, like, sales conversion data, so we can map that out to the list that we have at this point.
And the last step of the roadmap is once we have this short list with client input, we have all the queue difficulty data. We know that these pages are already ranking quite well. The last step is to do what we call a deep dive analysis. So we really wanna make sure here that those pages are matching what we mentioned before.
So content type, search intent, and content quality. So we do a whole analysis. We have a look at the top 10 ranking results, see what really is the search intent behind the target keyword. Step two is content type, really making sure that it's matching the content type. And the last thing is we run the page through a tool like Clear Scope or software SEOs I mentioned before to make sure that the content is really well optimized.
Cause at the end of the day, the back links that we build later will be more effective if the content is really optimized basically as best as the client can. Right. So this is it. Essentially once we've done with this last analysis, we schedule the pages. In for the quarter and then we're gonna get started with the the rest of the process essentially.
Jared: Whew. That's a lot of work, especially to do every quarter. You gotta rip that up every
Alan: quarter. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's quite a lot of work, but we got quite a, a systemized process, but that's the main thing. Once you can systemize the parts that are repetitive and then everything becomes sort of easier.
Jared: So let me ask you a question before we move on to the next part. Like and, and I, I struggle with this sometimes with like a website I have. How much of a role does the fluctuations that come with, say, Google updates, algorithm updates, how much does that play in something like this? And I guess, you know, obviously there, there, there's, there's a time.
Where a, a Google update comes out on a website can get really, really affected by it. You know, like maybe lose traffic by like 50%. Mm-hmm. I'm not talking about those kind of things. I'm just talking about like, you know, the, the, the, the ups and the downs that come with, with, with ranking changes, but maybe as a result of an actual algorithm update.
Does that play a role in what you guys choose to focus on? Like if something just shot up from a Google update mm-hmm. Will that play a more significant role in choosing it? Do you factor any of these things in, or is it just kind of wherever it's ranking at that time and the competitors it's up against at that time the analysis is done and you just go forward with it?
Alan: Yeah. We really just try to focus on best practices, you know, all the time. So at the end of the day, I think it doesn't really make sense to focus too much on Google updates because otherwise you will always be. Chasing one thing after the other. As long as you focus on the main best practices, try to do a good quality job, that's like a, a holistic approach then I think you'll be fine.
And you don't really need to be worried about the micro focus, more about the macro. That's what I would say. Yeah.
Jared: I was kind of hoping you'd say that because. It sounds complicated enough to mm-hmm. Execute all this, especially at scale and then to try to factor in, you know, some of these things that are really outta your control, but, yeah.
Had to ask, had to ask. So, okay. That was a really detailed process that, that you walked through. What does that look like in terms of you know, in terms of some of the nuts and bolts with analyzing the, a specific keyword? How do you determine mm-hmm. You know, if it needs more links. You talked a bit about how to determine if the content needs more optimization, but you know, any, any more tips from the example you just shared?
Alan: Yeah, so I would say we can get into step two of the process. So actually something that I wanted to, to explain before that I kind of forgot is like that the process that we follow with all the clients is something that we came up with because we noticed that like the majority of all the clients we work with, Typically have three main big problems that they need to solve.
So number one is they don't know which pages to build back links to, to be able to increase their signups, traffic, and revenue faster. So this is what we try to solve with the content promotion roadmap. Really nail down the the direction, knowing which pages we're going to be dealing with. Problem number two that we saw a lot of companies have is they didn't really know.
What kind of backlinks and how many backlinks they needed to acquire to be able to rank those pages higher. Cause a lot of people, they, for example, might know. Okay. Like we need like 10 back links, domain rating, 50 plus, just because maybe someone told them that 50 plus is a good domain rating metric, you know, for quality back links.
So what they will do is they will just go to a link vendor or some kind of database and buy 10 links, domain rating, 50 plus. The problem that we noticed is that, It's basically that it's not as simple, right? So all of, like you mentioned before, this is something that you wanna have a look specifically at the page level if you're trying to rank individual pages.
So you really need to have a look at what's already ranking out there and, and kind of assess the situation specifically for each keyword. So what we came up with is what we call the link analysis report, and this is another three step framework that we always follow and recorded together with the roadmap.
Once we have the target pages that we know we're gonna be working on and the target keywords for each of them, we do this analysis, which is three steps. Number one, we want to identify the link gap, so how many back links and how fast we need to build those back links to be able to rank the page higher.
To to do that put in like simple terms. You can essentially have a look at the average of the referring domains that the top 10 ranking pages have. Calculate the difference between what you have now and those, so that gives you the basic link gap. Then the other important thing that you need to keep in mind is that all of those pages that are ranking in the top 10 they're not static, right?
They will keep acquiring back links every month, so you need to also basically have a look at that. You really want to know how many new back links those pages are acquiring every month. So you need to take those into account as well for the overall calculation. You then divide the total for these back links for how many months you want this campaign to be.
Let's say you wanna work at this for 12 months, so this can give you something like you need to build five or 10 back links every single month for 12 months. To be able to close the gap for these specific keywords. So this number can be different for each keyword that you have based on what you see essentially, right?
Once you know how many back links you need, the second step is to have a look at the type of back links. So by type of back links, we typically mean metric wise. So for us, the main metrics that we take into account is domain level metrics, but also pace level metric. So domain rating, domain authority.
A URL rating, but also traffic to the domain and traffic to the page. Something that we've seen a lot recently is there's a lot of link farms or sites that have been built with just the purpose of selling back links that have been able to really falsify their domain rating just by publishing a ton of content on like topics that are super easy to rank as to eventually acquire back links just to.
This informational content. What this does is it kind of inflates the domain rating. So you can see sites that have a domain rating of 70, 70 80, but then you look into the site and it's essentially a giant collection of all sorts of topics under the sun. Maybe they have a, a menu bar with like beauty, business, fashion, you know, so it's not really relevant to anything, it's just targeting everything.
So that's what That's what kind of helping them to rank higher and to get a higher domain rating. So you really wanna be careful with those. And so the, the easiest way to filter those sites out is to use page level metrics. So so if you try to get back links from actual pages that have a high Euro rating, but also some traffic.
That typically means that that specific page is ranking for keywords, which makes it a good resource. It means that it's liked by Google, and that is also the potential to bring in referral traffic, which is also great, right? So if you get people coming straight to your site from a link, that's the best possible thing that you could want from a back link.
Yeah, have a question.
Jared: I have a number of questions, but I don't wanna interrupt you. Finish, finish your thought. I do have some questions, but they can wait. Okay. Okay.
Alan: So as I said, you wanna have a look at the type of back links in terms of metrics domain, as well as page level. Then the next step is to determine the topical relevance.
So topical relevance for us is two main things. You want to really have backings from pages that are about topics. That are relevant to your topic, and you can gauge these from looking at the backlink profile of the other pages. So you can use a tool like Majestic SEO for this. They have topical trust flow.
So you can put in the top 10 ranking results see what is like the. The topical trust flow that is the most dominant between so across their backlink profile. So you can kind of mimic that and find pages that are covering sim, similar topics, essentially. The second kind of aspect for topical relevance is the anchor text.
So anchor text is quite a of a difficult thing because in most situation you won't have control over it. So, so I. This is, unless you are doing guest post where you are actually creating the article. So in that case you can control the yako text, but if you're doing something different, like you're just doing maybe pitches to journalists or to websites, so in that case, you typically won't have control of the yako text.
But it's still good for us to have kind of like a distribution like an ideal distribution that is good for us to shoot for, right? So for example, we would see. That to be able to rank for this keyword, we need 1% kind of exact match. Maybe we need 10% phrase match, and then we need 5% URL and things like that, right?
So once we know this distribution, this is good for us to have something that we can shoot for. And the other part of this is also no follow versus two follow distribution. This is something else that's kind of like debated in the industry. I truly think that no follow links even though they don't have impact on like direct rankings so I think they can still bring in a trust signal that are very important for a website to have.
So if you see that your competitors have a higher percentage of no follow back links, maybe you could try to build some of those as well. So this could be for our software companies where we typically see could be like directory links. You know, so yeah, it's definitely helpful to try and build up the trust of the site with some of these no follow back links in there.
And that helps, that also helps to kind of dilute the backlink profile, especially if you're being a little bit aggressive with like building a lot of back links fast. It's also good to kind of compliment with some no follow stuff. So yeah, this is it essentially. Step number two to recap the Lincoln isis.
Basically number one, to identify the Link app, so how many links and how fast you need these back links. Number two, to identify the type of back links, page level metrics and domain level metrics. And number three, to identify the topical relevance for those back links. Once you know all of these things, you know the target pages that you have in the roadmap, then it's just a matter for actually getting out and do the work essentially.
Jared: Yeah. Yeah, it could be a lot of work too, depending on what you come up with. Yeah, let me get into some of the details here. I wanna ask you some, some in some more detailed questions about some of this. So I'll just, I'll start at the top. You talked about step one in this link analysis as identifying link gap.
So let's take a scenario that, let's say we, we log in and we're sitting at spot four, spot five we log in. I'm just gonna give you a hypothetical. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And we see that competitors ahead of us have more links. But it's, it's in varying degrees, right? You look at maybe the number one competitor, and maybe they have 10 back links but they're only from three domains, right?
So I have, I, I look at 'em, I'm like, oh my goodness. They have links from three domains, but on one of those, they got like seven or eight back links, right? So it shows up as 10 back links, but three domain level links, and then the next person saying number two. They have like links from one domain, but they have 25 back links from that one domain.
And it, it can be a little hard to understand what type of links I need to build and which one of those metrics is important to pay attention to. Mm-hmm. Do you look at like, do follow back links and, and the gap as a domain level back link, like they have links from five domains, I have links from three domains.
I need to make up that gap of a couple, or is it more like exactly a sheer number of back links.
Alan: No, no, we only look at the unique referring domains that I do follow, typically. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We don't look at the back links cause Okay. As I'm sure you know, like links from unique websites are more powerful than just the same website that keeps linking to you.
So we try to keep it simple, at least in this kind of step and just look at the number of unique. Referring to follow domains, basically. Yeah. Perfect.
Jared: Okay, good. That's some great clarity. You talked about what a link farm is and and you did a great job describing it. And I, I really, I loved how you talked about kind of some of the ways to deep dive, whether it's a link farm, they, they, they, you know, they rank for a lot of random topics.
Mm-hmm. The menu is really scattered and either tips on how to identify bad links or bad neighborhoods or other types of links to try to avoid.
Alan: Yeah. So number one, I will say content quality, that tells you a lot. Most of the times if you see the content is really not very well written. It is not adding maybe anything unique to the topic.
It's just like, it looks very generic, you know, that's typically very easy to spot from someone. The second thing is, I would say, looking at the links that the content has. So if the content is already linking out to maybe 30 different websites, And using exact match keywords, that's a, a very good indication that they are selling back links from that page.
But the most important thing that I would say is just to look at this in more of a holistic way. So the question that I like to ask myself is the site that I'm looking at what is their main business model? Like, do they have a product? Do they have a service? Are they making money with something that seems legit?
Because if the answer to this is not, then it typically just means that they're making money through selling back links. Right? So if they don't have affiliate links, if they don't have a product to sell, or if they don't have a service that they do, then chances are they're just making money selling links.
So that's typically the main thing for us, is making sure that the site is, is essentially operated by like real people. If there's a company behind it, that's even better. If you can find LinkedIn profiles, see people on social media, that's always a, a very good sign. But you'll see that most of these link farms, they typically won't really have a, a clear person behind it.
It just says, we are this and this blog, and we were born with the passion of explaining this niche, whatever it is, you know? So it will be very generic. There won't be of, of photos of real people. Maybe they will have stock photos, which are pretty easy to spot as well. So yeah, I definitely think this is the.
A key factor here, making sure that it, the site is legitimate.
Jared: So you're saying people actually have to leave their software tool of choice and go look at the website?
Alan: Yeah. Well, yeah.
Jared: In most situations I'm being, I'm being sarcastic. I, I, it's, it's funny how you have to say that, but you're exactly right.
Like so many times we just look at data and we don't go to the actual website, and it's pretty easy sometimes to go, oh, well this is really a website that's, you know, trying to to do something with purpose here.
Alan: Yeah, we definitely try to automate this, but unfortunately it's, it is definitely very, it's very difficult and you always need to take the manual approach for a lot of these things.
Jared: Okay. I got more questions for you. Hope you don't mind. I'm just gonna keep going down my list. Yeah, sure. I've got a, I've got page of questions. Lot is made about how or discussed, a lot is discussed about how relevant does that. URL you're getting a link from Need to be, and then we get into like, and, and I, I, I get asked this question personally a lot, so I can only imagine mm-hmm.
How much you have to noodle over it, like Obviously the best link would be from a very strong, authoritative domain in my industry. But if I, if I'm working with links and how, how relevant do they need to be? If I can't get the perfect link there, is it, maybe it's a website that's a little more broad, but they're talking on that page about something that has to do with my niche.
Mm-hmm. Or is it that the entire URL needs to be about something that has to do with my niche? Like how I, how relevant do I need to make these back links as it relates to what I do in my website's strength?
Alan: Yeah, so that's a very good point. It all comes down from step two. So from the analysis that we do, we can kind of get a feel for the topical relevance that we need to kind of shoot for.
So at that point, we will be able to know we need. 10 super relevant back links from pages that are talking about the topics from websites that are talking about the topics. Or maybe chances are we just need links from pages that are, that are talking about the topic, but maybe the, the whole domain is more generic.
So really we need to base the decision on the data that we have. This is something that I really kind of try to emphasize every time. Like, like everything in SEO is kind of like a guessing game. We're like, at the end of the day, we're trying to game the algorithm in one way. Like or the other. So the only thing that we have is the data as and what we see ranking out there.
So I really believe in making decision based on this data and but yeah, like you said, generally speaking, if I were to give advice, typically the best back links is from a relevant page that's on a relevant website domain. So you want both page relevancy, but also domain relevancy. If you can get both page relevancy, I think it's more important than domain relevancy because you're getting the back links from that page and from the context of the article.
So that's important for Google to understand what the link is about. So yeah, we'll say try to prioritize both as the main thing. If you can't get both, prioritize the page level relevancy.
Jared: You mentioned the importance of no follow links. How does somebody analyze, how do you recommend somebody analyzes how many no follow links they need?
Typically we talk about it in terms of a percentage, right? So like mm-hmm. A percentage of your backlink profile should be no follow. Like how do you analyze that? And then also what are some, you mentioned directories, but like what are some good places for people who go, oh man, I'm not, I don't have enough, no follow links.
Like what are some good ways we're gonna go out and get no follow links and build those?
Alan: Yeah, so for us, no follow links. This is something that we don't necessarily do for our clients ourselves, but we, my main recommendations for them to go after these types of links. So this could be, as I said, directories, social media links this could be forums or things like Reddit, for example, or like Quora, you know, so all things the main.
Key point is that even if you go after no follow link, try to make them as relevant as possible. So if you want to no follow links, maybe find a good relevant questions on Quora or a good relevant post on Reddit and try to place your link in there to kind of open up the discussion and actually get people to click on that link.
The more the no follow link. Gets interacted with, and the more natural it looks within that conversation, the more like effective it's going to be to build that trust that I was talking about before. So it's just a matter, as I said of the way that I like to see this is try to build bridges between pages across the web.
That's the whole kind of view that I have about the link building process, but especially no follow links if you're not going after the seo Jews try to at least make them useful and relevant for people to actually use. You know, you,
Jared: you mentioned anchor text and I think that for most people they understand that anchor text is important in link building and they know that you can get it wrong and make mistakes there, but you really talked in your example, like 1% exact, you know, 10% partial and phrase match and these kind of words like, How do people maybe do a better job with their anchor text and understanding maybe how to improve their anchor text and their analysis of it?
Alan: Yeah, so I would say the easiest approach that you can do, and unfortunately this will involve some manual things that you have to do again is you can. So as we can essentially export the back links that the top 10 rank results have for your target keywords, if you're doing this at the page level.
So then what you can do is simply classify this anchor text in the four main buckets for us. The main anchor text buckets are so exact match, which is the actual keyword that you want to rank for. And then we have partial, which is a keyword that's containing some of the words. From the exact match.
Then we use url. This is a simple naked url, and then we use generic for everything else. So anything like, click here, see this link or the brand name for example. These are, we classify them in in the generic anchor text. So once you have all the back links for the top 10 ranking pages, you can manually go in and classify these links for each of the four buckets.
And then you will come up with distribution for each of the top 10 ranking pages. So you simply calculate the average for each of the four buckets. So that gives you the distribution that you should ideally shoot for. Right? So as I said, this is not exact science and it's very difficult most of the times to control the anchor text of the back links they acquire.
So unless you're doing guest posting so this for us is useful to be able, for example like in those situations where we've built maybe. 10 back links to a page, and we know that it needed 10 back links, but for some reason the page is still stuck there. Then in that situation, we know that we might want to have a look at the Ancos text situation because maybe we haven't been aggressive enough, or maybe we've been too aggressive.
You know? So in that situation, that helps as like a further kind of qualification that we can do to the backlink profile to be more strategic essentially to move the needle. Perfect.
Jared: Yeah. Perfect. Okay, good. That, that helps. That helps. Kind of final question as we start to move towards, wrap it up, at least final question for me on this, on this topic, speed, velocity, the velocity at which you build links and does it have importance to have a certain velocity?
Can you go too fast? Are there certain speeds that you should be cautious of if you're a newer website versus a more age website? Like, let's talk about the velocity that, that you build links at.
Alan: Yeah, so I think yes, speed, speed matters. That said, it really depends on the website that you have.
As you said, if it's like an older website, then you can probably take on a higher speed of links. So I would say for more competitive keywords and terms, that's typically when you really want to have a look at the velocity, because chances are you already have a ton of links. For those pages that you want to rank for the competition will already have a lot of links, so in those situation speed is probably more important than the sheer quantity.
Quantity and quality as well. Quality will be more important probably if you're a newer site that needs to establish relevance and kind of authority there in the space. So in the beginning, if you're a newer site, I would recommend to focus more on link quality, then on quantity and speed, right, to establish that initial kind, OFCY.
But then over time, as you start to build authority and you start to compete against more difficult websites and pages, you will probably have to mo. Move more towards a higher speed together with quality and quantity as well. Got
Jared: it. Good. Yeah, I, that's, that's a tough one, right? Like build building links is hard enough as it is when you then have to factor in mm-hmm.
How fast you need to go. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's a whole nother level
Alan: of complexity to it. Something as you mentioned is also like, is there such thing as too fast or too many links? I think not. So if the links are good quality, because if you think about some of those digital PR examples, right?
There's a page maybe that goes viral. That page starts acquiring hundreds of thousands of links in one day maybe, and that like doesn't seem to harm the page. That's because the link are super high quality, super relevant. So I think speed doesn't harm. But you really need to make sure that it's good quality links.
Like if you start bombarding a page with like PBN links, that's of course not gonna be a good thing.
Jared: That's where the velocity has a different, plays a different role, right? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. You know, we didn't talk much about how to build links today and you know, so I I not, because you don't have a ton of value to share there.
I just think that your analysis and your strategic insights of how to build. A plan. We're just so valuable that I really wanted to deep dive those. So but I just wanted to highlight like, even though we didn't talk about mm-hmm. The process of how to build links I know that was that was something that you can add a lot of value to.
Talk a little about, a little bit about your agency and specifically like what you guys do for clients because this level of depth in terms of strategic link building I'll say is probably. Pretty in depth for most people that are listening or maybe have worked with another link billing agency in the past.
Alan: Mm-hmm. So yeah, we specialized in working with B2B SaaS companies for the most part. The reason for this is because, By focusing on this specific niche, we were able to identify those patterns, those key pages that we know assess companies typically have. And so we also know how to go about doing the link prospecting, for example, to be able to get back links to a specific type of pages like feature pages or alternative to pages.
We know by now how to go about doing the prospecting for those pages, things like. Finding links to listicles. So list articles that things like the best 10 software for cold email, for example. We have all of those kind of campaign types nailed down by now. That said, we also work with different types of client.
As long as I said that the content is good quality, the content is, is targeting keywords with search traffic potential, typically across all the three stages of the funnel. So we've been working with affiliate website as long as the content is really good information and good quality. We've been working with some e-commerce website, even though those are, would say the minority.
And so yeah, that's the thing. We can work essentially with anyone that's building a lot of content, that's publishing a lot of content, but doesn't have the time or the resources to go about promoting the content and making it rank higher. Essentially, people that are stuck in the content grave basically.
Jared: I do like your names for these things does feel like it. That's where content goes to die. And then how can people follow along with what you're doing or connect with you? Can you give us some whether it's a link or Twitter or wherever's best?
Alan: Yeah. So people can get in touch with me directly on Twitter.
I'm quite active in there at. My is Alan Gig Gorilla, or you can find us on a website, which is my growth gorilla.com. And we recently launched our, like our own podcast, which is called promote or Die, which makes sense for the content graduate as well. And it's all about content promotion, digital pr, link building, all these things.
And then we also launched our online course. So if you go. On our website you can find the page for the course. It's called W Traffic in 90 Days. And this goes over the entire process that we just talked about here, so you can find the three steps. So the roadmap process, the link analysis process, and the campaign process with spreadsheets and kind of everything that we sort of use for our clients essentially.
Jared: it's been grab me reference, like that whole third step we didn't really even get into today on the podcast because we spent so much time on first and second steps. So that's a good reason for people to go check that out. At the very least. I'll include links to this in the show notes too as well.
Alan, this was fantastic. Thank you for coming on. I appreciate all your insights and we'll have to circle back and catch up with you again soon.
Alan: Yeah, thank you Jared. It's been great and I'm definitely happy to come back for part two.
Jared: Sounds good. All right. Talk to you soon.
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