Social media is one of those things, like high waisted shorts or people still using the hashtag #nomnoms, that you either love or really hate.
But, if you’re an ecommerce company, it can be kind of cringe-worthy.
Between Facebook, Instagram, and new social networks like Vero and Steemit, where do you start?
As Brent Csutoras, co-owner and adviser of Search Engine Journal, puts it:
“In 2019, businesses need to really take the time to understand their customers and how they interact with the brand on each social media site, and then engage with them in the right tone, with the right medium, and in their communities.”
So to help get your ecommerce website one hell of a social media strategy, I’ve picked out 11 tips to share on four top social networks to drive sales.
Tip 1: Go Live
Stop scheduling your promoted posts, put your content calendars away – Facebook is testing a new ecommerce tool for Facebook Live that allows Pages to display products in their stream.
Then, viewers can purchase through screenshots.
Jeff Higgins saw the first sighting:
Facebook is adding a live video mode for sellers. Viewers can message you during the broadcast with screenshots of the product and you can take payments from your inbox.
Facebook is essentially giving users their own live Home Shopping Network. pic.twitter.com/gQDuuJkqNr
— Jeff Higgins Is All About Some Hot Pretzels (@ItsJeffHiggins) November 29, 2018
Think of this like a QVC or Home Shopping Network.
I know, I know, just another Facebook feature. But it works.
Emily Ley sold 2.28x more planners in May 2018 launch compared to the previous year’s launch with help from Facebook Live video and ads.
Tip 2: Link to Facebook Messenger from Your Website
Facebook Messenger has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users.
However, it’s still a huge sales channel that ecommerce brands are missing.
Once you get your Facebook Messenger set up, you need to link it to your site.
After you link it to your site, Facebook Messenger will show product updates, price changes, and give you the ability to provide customer support.
In one day, this brand generated 254 orders and $23,987.64 in revenue with Facebook Messenger.
And, you better get on this soon. Facebook has a patent that allows users to pay for products through Messenger.
Tip 3: Invest in Facebook Ads
As the old saying goes, “you’ve got to pay to play.” And, that’s true with Facebook.
The good news is that Facebook offers a variety of ads for ecommerce websites.
For example, PupSocks spent $1 million in 30 days to gain $4 million in sales.
How did they do it?
They started with boosted posts then turned the top performing post into an ongoing ad campaign.
Whereas MVMT tested multiple Facebook ad formats like video and carousel to help them grow from zero to $90 million in less than 5 years.
Tip 4: Start Using Shoppable Posts
It may still be the reign of Facebook (pause for a united ughhh!), but I’m detecting the rise of Instagram.
Enter: Shoppable Posts.
This functionality originated in 2018 and unintentionally changed the ecommerce social media landscape.
Spearmint LOVE, an eco-friendly children’s clothing company, saw a 25% increase in traffic and an 8% increase in revenue after using Instagram’s shoppable posts.
Lulus, a womenswear brand, received over 100,000 visits to their website and 1,200 product orders after using shoppable posts.
Shoppable posts give brands the opportunity to showcase their storefront within the social network.
Businesses can use shoppable posts in standard image posts and Stories.
Tip 5: Grow Your Followers
While growing your followers on Instagram may seem like common sense for any business, there are additional perks.
When an Instagram account gets more than 10,000 subscribers, you have the opportunity to add direct links into Stories. This will take a user to your website with one swipe.
Ecommerce brands can also create multiple folders for their Stories.
These folders can be used as categories of your website like “Semi-Annual Sale” or “Best Sellers.”
Tip 6: Start Thinking about IGTV
IGTV hasn’t taken off yet for ecommerce brands like the other Instagram features. However, Instagram’s Collections may be the starting point.
The new IGTV layout resembles Pinterest, especially with their Collections.
If you wanted to showcase an outfit from clothes from your store, brands could add a collection of items you wore. This includes shoppable posts. This will likely take shape further in 2019.
And, IGTV isn’t the only new feature for ecommerce brands that Instagram is rolling out.
Word on the street is that Instagram developers are building native payment options.
Soon, Instagram users will be able to book movie tickets, restaurants, or potentially buy without being redirected to the website.
Tip 7: Add Shop the Look to Your Pins
With new updates from Facebook and Instagram hitting the scene on what feels like a daily basis, it can be easy to forget about social networks like Pinterest.
But, with the announcement of Pinterest’s IPO, this changes the game for ecommerce brands.
Pinterest will now compete with Google as it looks to increase ad revenue through direct response, on-platform purchases, and better contextual discovery with its ‘Shop the Look’ Pins.
You can see brands like Timberland already using the new tool with the help of Pinterest partner Olapic.
Want more good news? Kunlong Gu, Engineer for Pinterest, announced it would be automating this ‘Shop the Look’ process.
Tip 8: Dedicate a Budget to Promoted Carousel Ads
Before you use up your ad budget with Facebook and Instagram, set aside a small portion to test Pinterest’s Promoted Carousel ads.
Brands like Toyota, REI, Everlane, Away, etc. can already be seen using these.
Check out Cheerios.
This campaign saw an 11.4 point lift in ad awareness and an 8.6 point lift in message association.
Tip 9: Activate Product Pins
In October 2018, Pinterest announced that Product Pins would be replacing Buyable Pins.
These Product Pins display pricing, stock information, and the ability to go to the product to buy in just a few clicks.
In the past quarter, Pinterest saw a 40% increase in clicks on products to retail sites.
Once you have Product Pins in place, it will also direct users to a shoppable feed like this:
Others to Keep Your Eye On
Tip 10: Test Collection Ads on Snapchat
Snapchat partnered with Amazon in 2018 to test visual search shopping which led to the launch of Collection Ads.
According to a company blog post, eBay saw a 5x higher engagement rate with Collection Ads compared to standard Snap Ads.
The company is working with 40 new partners to grow their ecommerce offerings so I’d recommend stalking Snapchat if you’re looking to explore new channels.
Tip 11: Create a Video Strategy for YouTube
Nearly two-thirds of social media users report they use YouTube (63%) and Instagram (61%) more in 2018 than 2017, compared to 52% who say they use Facebook more this year.
That’s why we’re seeing ecommerce brands start to take to YouTube to sell.
Luxyhair.com grew to a 7-figure business with YouTube.
And, Zagg utilized YouTube ads to increase conversions by 75%.
Social Media Is More Than a Sales Channel
Success doesn’t happen by accident on social media, no matter what you’re selling.
You have to start, and fail, then succeed. You have to realize the value of building a brand, then adapt to your community.
Many ecommerce companies make the mistake of assuming that just because you’re on social media means you’re giving your consumers what you want.
But, the reality is, there are millions of options for consumers now. How can your ecommerce product be different?
A study by Sprout Social found that a whopping 84.9% of customers won’t purchase an item until they’ve seen it multiple times.
You have to find the channel your customers are listening to and talk to them there to develop a connection. It’s a continuous circle of testing.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by author
How to structure a local SEO strategy for your business
- Take advantage of Google’s search market domination with two spots on the first page of Google – Local pack and localized organic search results.
- Optimize for high converting local keywords, establish a local content schedule, and more.
- Founder of Digital Ducats Inc. shares a thorough guide on everything you need for a successful local SEO strategy.
For many companies, an effective SEO strategy for local business is the key factor for increasing revenue from high converting traffic. Local SEO can mean the difference in outranking authority websites for vital keywords within your city.
Along with the overall benefits of SEO, optimizing to compete locally improves your search visibility for keyword searches made from your location.
Many aspects of local SEO have remained the same over the last few years however, the weight of local ranking factors has shifted creating new priorities for local businesses.
One aspect that remains the prime focus for every local business is the significance of Google My Business.
1. Gain instant visibility with GMB
Google My Business has been instrumental in driving customers to a local business. Considering the search engine market share that Google holds, you’re literally losing money by not having a GMB listing.
As of June 2020, Google tops the charts for search engine market share boasting 86% of desktop and 95% of total mobile searches.
It should be clear that failing to prioritize your presence in GMB can cost your company thousands of dollars.
One of the many advantages that Google My Busines allows is instant search visibility for a business operating in a locality. Rather than going through the process of ranking your own domain, your website receives instant search visibility from local searches within close proximity.
The Possum update made proximity a primary ranking factor for achieving a top position in the Local Pack. Your company can appear on the first page of results based on the distance between your location and the location of a user.
In 2020, according to the State Of Local SEO Industry Report, proximity has fallen to the third most influential ranking factor behind on-page optimization and reviews. The general consensus among those surveyed is that optimizing your listing is the top priority for ranking in the Local Pack.
2. Optimize your GMB profile
Optimize your GMB listing just as you would your website in terms of providing as much information to search engines as possible. The more detail you can provide in your profile, the more information search engines have to reference your business for keyword related searches.
Fill in every option available to maximize your opportunities to appear in the Local Pack. Name, address, and phone number (NAP details) are extremely important to have spelled correctly.
Obviously, this is important for users to receive the correct information. Search engines will also verify your business details with third party citations.
Explore all category options
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is failing to include the correct categories. There has been a countless number of clients that have been able to rank in the Local Pack by simply adding the correct category for their business.
Google updates the list of eligible categories your business can fall under. It’s advisable to check periodically for new categories that would enhance the accuracy of your listing.
One way to explore any options you may have missed is to search Google for the local keywords you’re targeting. Check the Local Finder for the categories that your competition is using to rank in the top positions.
It should be noted that on-page optimization is proving to be the strongest ranking factor for ranking in the Local Pack. This can be a source of frustration for those who operate under Google guidelines since Google has allowed keyword stuffing to trump other ranking factors.
If you’re adhering to Google’s guidelines, the name of your business should be the only thing in your GMB listing. What should be happening and what is actually working are two different things that have created somewhat of a loophole and a grey area for SEO.
The fact is that using the keyword in the name of your business will get you results. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re starting a business that operates in a specific city it’s highly effective to incorporate your main keyword in the name of your business. It’s been so effective that it’s led to keyword stuffing-which, in theory, should be penalized-but seems to be left unregulated.
Here is an example of successful keyword manipulation for the phrase “bespoke suits Toronto”. Each of these sites outranks other sites based on the name used in the GMB profile.
It’s hard to say what will prevail in the long run because the evidence points to the fact that this is working to rank sites. After monitoring this listing for over 6 months, it continues to rank and undoubtedly reaps the benefits of local traffic from a prime placement in the local pack.
3. Build your local presence with citations
Structured citations an essential element in local SEO despite the reduced effectiveness they once had as a ranking factor. Their purpose serves two functions; to validate your business information for search engines; to provide additional targeted traffic.
List your business in well-known directories
List your business in the largest and most relevant directories for your city or region to get the most coverage from relevant citations. Some of the most obvious are Bing and Yahoo since they both have local business listings.
Major directories will typically serve as a source of information for much smaller, but relevant websites. Your business information is essentially distributed to dozens of other directories that will help to establish the validity and credibility of your business.
The major directories from each country and region can vary so it’s important to establish which sites will have the most impact with the least effort.
In Canada, posting your business on Yellow Pages results in a wide distribution of sites that are relevant to Canada. Moz provides an excellent visual as an example of the distribution network Yellow Pages provides.
Here’s an example of the U.S. local ecosystem provided by Moz (keep in mind these images are now a few years old). According to this illustration below, there are many major directories that can have a large impact on your search visibility in the U.S.
Search for niche and local directories
Enhance the profile of your citations and improve your sources of traffic by searching for directories that are niche-specific and location-specific.
Getting a few links from directories that are in your niche and location will improve the relevance of your site in both areas. Look for relevant directories by using the following in a search:
[Your niche] + directories
[Your location] + directories
Qualify each directory
Make sure the sites you choose to place your business have a decent amount of traffic and authority. Even if a directory is unique in your city, if it has a high spam score (use Mozbar to filter these sites), or has extremely low domain authority it may do more harm than good.
SEMRush is also a good tool to use for a quick reference on the amount of traffic a website receives. If the organic search traffic is a bust, don’t list your company website on it.
You don’t need a lot of these sites to complete an effective citation profile. Google won’t give a whole lot of credit for acquiring easy links. The goal of this endeavor is to create significant ties to your city and industry and position your company on sites that get relevant traffic.
4. Establish your content strategy
Your website is only as good as the content you publish. Create content to serve as a resource for clients. Educational content produces three times as many leads as paid ads. Keep in mind you will need to publish both educational content as well as local SEO content for more localized search result appearances.
The initial stages of your content strategy should be to create the most important pages with local service areas in mind. Is your business focused on one location only, or will you service multiple areas? This determines whether you will be publishing location pages for multiple cities or have a central location.
Single location businesses
If your business is focused on one location, you can incorporate geo-modifiers in your URLs and titles. Optimize your service/product pages to appear in city-specific searches using your location as part of your keywords.
Businesses with multiple service areas
For multiple service areas, you will need to publish location pages to target the areas you want your business to appear for in city-specific searches. Location pages should have unique content for each city and include the NAP details of each location.
Publish content for each level of the marketing funnel
The most important pages of your site are the bottom of the funnel pages that urge visitors to make a purchase. Focus your initial content strategy on publishing mid-funnel content that targets long-tail keywords.
The sweet spot for identifying target keywords is low competition, high volume keywords. What determines “high volume” can vary depending on the industry. Aim to beat your competition with long-tail keywords that convert at a higher rate.
Publish local content
Your local SEO content strategy can include a variety of options to increase the relevance to your location. Your content can include city-specific events that you’re company is involved in, or events that are related to your industry.
Your local content strategy should include regular posts on Google My Business. Approximately 17% of businesses post to GMB on a weekly basis. Create a competitive advantage by sticking to a bi-weekly posting schedule.
The posts don’t need to be extensive, persuasive essays to get the job done. They can even be excerpts from blog posts to lead users to the actual article on your site. Posting to GMB creates more entry poPosting images can attract a lot of search views and get people to your site as well. Images of products or finished projects will grab the attention of users to help drive more traffic to your site.ints to your website and promotes more user engagement through your business’s knowledge card.
GMB has a category to post special offers, updates, and important information about your company. Capitalize on the areas that other companies are not doing well by including GMB posts in your local content strategy.
Posting images can attract a lot of search views and get people to your site as well. Images of products or finished projects will grab the attention of users to help drive more traffic to your site.
5. Local link building
The majority of local businesses have a backlink profile that is primarily made up of directory links and profile links. An effective link building strategy for a local business is one that appears natural and above all, demonstrates evidence of relevance to your industry and city.
Build domain authority with linkable assets
The blog of every local business can be used to build authority in your industry. Publish linkable assets and insightful resources for both clients and amplifiers.
Amplifiers, as explained by Rand Fishkin, have a significant impact on the backlinks you acquire since they are the people most likely to link to your site. Creating content for amplifiers gives your site more reasons to acquire links and increase the domain authority of your site.
Linkable, shareable content makes link building much easier. You can publish guest posts, submit press releases, and reach out to authority sites in your niche to link to the inner pages of your website to increase domain authority.
Increase local ranking power with local links
Local links are considered the most powerful when it comes to localized search results as well as appearing in the Local Pack. Local links are also considered unstructured citations. Local links can come from local businesses, local newspapers, local chambers of commerce, and local event sites.
Form a local business alliance
Finding businesses within your industry is ideal for creating a local alliance and boosting your ranking ability. For example, if you’re a hot tub retailer some of your best links would come from local businesses that sell swimming pools.
As long as you don’t compete for the same products, a local business in your industry or a close vertical is the most ideal source of links.
Resource link building targeting vendors and client sites
You can improve the likelihood of obtaining local links by using your own network of resources. Companies you already do business with make for ideal link prospects.
For example, a restaurant can ask the baker who supplies their bread rolls to link from their site.
A plumber can ask his equipment suppliers and vice versa.
Ideally, you want to target business owners with whom you already have an existing relationship.
6. Review management
The reviews your business receives have the power to influence a user’s decision on whether or not to choose your company. Review management remains a top priority for local businesses to improve search visibility and maintain a good reputation.
A review strategy should include a way to get more Google reviews as well as reviews on review sites that get search visibility for related keywords. If customers are reviewing your business on sites that are niche-specific it will impact search visibility as well as promote positive ranking signals.
Identify the most important review sites in your industry
There is a major review site for every industry. It’s important to identify what review sites get a lot of traffic and reviews to position your site to receive quality prospective clients.
For example, people use Yelp or Trip Advisor to find a good restaurant in a city they’re no familiar with. People read the reviews and experiences of previous customers before making a final decision.
If you’re in the home goods business Homestars would be important sites to ask a few clients to write you a review. Here’s a 10/10 review left for Canadian Home Leisure, a hot tub retailer in Whitby, ON.
Look at the domain metrics for a site like Homestars. Not only can you get a quality backlink, but there is a ton of traffic that goes through their site.
If you’re not sure which review sites play an impact on search visibility, search for:
best + [your keyword] + [your city]
The intent of most searches that use best at the start indicates that users are looking for options, which trigger the major reviews and directory sites in your niche. Here’s a search for best suits in Toronto:
Each of these sites could be an additional way for customers to find you. Yelp looks like it’s the only review site that you can manage for free.
In fact, Yelp ranks #3 and #4. If you’re in the business of selling suits in Toronto, Yelp is definitely a site to put effort into building a detailed profile and customer reviews.
In many cases, keywords that you’re targeting will display a few directory and review sites in the search result. These are indications that those sites are not only relevant to enhance your optimization, but they will drive traffic to your site as well.
Establish your review acquisition strategy
This doesn’t need to be a major operation but you should have a plan in place that consistently gets you reviews. Avoid mass emails or anything that would look spammy such as a review station at your location. Too many reviews from the same IP could cause red flags and result in your reviews being ignored and discounted.
You can influence five-star reviews on the major review sites for your business by asking customers that you’re sure has had a good experience with your company. You can do this in a few ways:
- Train employees to ask for a review after the completion of a sale.
- Email satisfied customers thanking them for their business with links to a few different review sites.
- Hand out instructions on how to review your business along with a receipt.
Respond to as many reviews as possible
Make it a point to respond to both negative and positive reviews. Approach each response as a form of advertising for your company and a chance to showcase your customer service.
Customers will appreciate a thank you when they’ve taken the time to give you a good review.
Negative reviews demand immediate responses in order to neutralize the damage that is being done to your reputation. Show every reader how you deal with a disgruntled customer by offering to fix the problem.
People will understand when mistakes are made and offering a free service, free product or free meal can be the best form of advertising for your company.
A local SEO strategy is worth the investment
Small businesses can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities that a local SEO strategy has to offer. Following these guidelines and best practices, you can outrank authority sites (who aren’t local) and capitalize on high converting traffic.
As competition intensifies so does the need to specialize in your area of expertise. Use your location to leverage more opportunities and promote long-term growth in your industry.
Christian Carere is an SEO consultant in Toronto and the founder of Digital Ducats Inc. specializing in traffic and lead generation. He can be found on Twitter @digitalducats.
What are Backlinks? And How to Build Them in 2020
Backlinks are created when one website links to another website. Google (and other search engines) consider backlinks to be “votes” for a page. In fact, Google’s original PageRank algorithm used backlinks as a signal of content quality. Many studies have found a correlation between backlinks and organic search engine rankings.
In this guide, I’m going to show you data that proves the importance of backlinks, and then I’ll show you how to build backlinks (the right way).
Here’s everything you’ll learn:
- PROOF That Backlinks Matter for SEO
- When to Build Backlinks
- What Do Quality Backlinks Look Like?
- 4 Proven Link Building Methods (For Getting Powerful Backlinks)
Why Are Backlinks Important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
There have been many search engine studies conducted on the importance of backlinks. But, these studies support what’s already available to the public. If you want your head to explode, read about Google’s PageRank algorithm.
Here’s an explanation of PageRank in Layman’s terms:
Backlinks can improve or decrease your SEO performance on Google. Backlinks can improve your SEO performance if they come from high-quality sources. And vice versa.
If you’d like to geek out about PageRank and Google’s various algorithms, then Bill Slawski is your man.
It’s easy to conclude that backlinks are essential based on PageRank alone.
But, as of September 24, 2019, PageRank and all associated patents have expired. 
What’s Google scheming up? Don’t know and don’t care.
All that matters in the world of SEO is what works and what doesn’t work in search engines.
So how do you figure that out? You have to test and analyze Google’s search engine results daily.
The good news is that many studies have done that already.
Check it out:
PROOF That Backlinks Matter for SEO
Most SEO companies know that backlinks are critical based on their experience. But it helps to have additional data to support our experience.
That’s the purpose of the following section. I’ve gathered data from several in-depth SEO studies so you can reference whenever you need to.
Let’s dive in:
1. Powerful Sites = Better SEO Performance
Look through any Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and you’ll see one thing in common:
Search engines like Google love authority sites.
“Authority” in this case is defined as having a number of backlinks from trustworthy sites. And there is overwhelming data to support this idea.
Backlinko studied 11.8 million Google search engine results and found that:
“A site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher search engine rankings.” – Backlinko 
SEMRush conducted a 2.0 version of their ranking factors study and found that:
“The more backlinks a domain has, the higher is its position on the SERP.” – SEMRush 
To solidify this point even further, Rankings.io conducted a ranking factor study in the personal injury sector and found similar results. They said:
“While the number of referring domains per page appears not to influence rankings, the overall number of referring domains for the domain was a top indicator of overall domain traffic.” – Rankings.io 
Let’s start by saying that “Domain Rating” is not a metric that search engines use.
It’s a third party metric created by Ahrefs.
It’s not complete, but it’s a useful gauge for anyone doing SEO.
In short, your goal should be to increase your DR (Domain Rating).
Moz also has its metric for measuring the strength of one website.
It’s called DA (Domain Authority).
You can also look at the Majestic SEO Trust Flow metric as a way of gauging site strength.
Your goal should be to grow these metrics. The stronger your website is, the better it will rank in search engines.
You get the point by now. The data supports the idea that you need to work super hard to get more backlinks to your site. That is how you grow your website authority.
But you must also acquire website links to the actual pages you want to rank on search engines like Google.
Here’s the data to support that:
2. Powerful Pages = Better SEO Performance
It’s possible for a page to rank without a number of backlinks hitting it directly. That’s what happens when your site has established authority.
For example, when Forbes publishes a new article, they often rank on the first page (without any direct links).
That said, Forbes is the exception. Most sites will need direct backlinks to SEO-driven pages.
Here are data Ahrefs to support this idea:
“The more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google.” – Ahrefs 
“Only one in every ~20 pages without backlinks has traffic… and the majority of these get 300 organic visits or less each month.” – Ahrefs 
This data point is easy to take out of context. Why?
Because it didn’t specify the quality of links. There are many pages online that have a large number of backlinks, but they have terrible search engine performance.
That’s because their backlinks are garbage.
The key isn’t to get backlinks.
The goal is to get backlinks from QUALITY sites.
Reread that ten times.
There is no nuance more critical.
Have no standards, and you will pay the price.
3. Better SEO Performance = More Backlinks
The rich get richer in SEO. Meaning, the better your SEO performance, the more backlinks you’ll acquire. I call this “The Snowball Effect.”
Backlinko’s study proved this be true:
“The #1 result in Google search has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10.” – Backlinko 
Ahrefs found similar results:
“Top-ranking pages do tend to acquire more backlinks (and at a faster pace) than the pages that rank below them.” – Ahrefs 
And SEMrush’s study agreed as well:
“The higher the domain’s position on the SERP, the more referring domains it has.” – SEMRush 
In short, once you achieve high rankings, you’ll start to get organic links. As a result, your page strengthens and will often solidify your positions.
Keep in mind that the exception to this rule is with competitive keywords.
Here’s the truth:
Having more inbound links isn’t enough to maintain rankings for competitive SERPs.
You also have to keep your page updated and fresh.
For example, a powerful page with stale content likely won’t maintain rankings.
In short, don’t get complacent once you start ranking.
You have to battle to keep those rankings. That means consistent link growth and fresh content.
4. Your Website Needs Vote (Backlink) Diversity
“The number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings.” – Backlinko 
You should aim to get backlinks from many different trustworthy sites in your industry. If we equate backlinks to votes, this makes perfect sense.
Many votes (backlinks) from different sources are more valuable than many votes from one source.
It’s hard to measure, but there are likely diminishing returns from getting backlinks from the same website.
Now would it hurt to get several backlinks from The Washington Post? No way.
Let’s say you had the choice between two links from The Washington Post or one link from fifteen different DR 20 blogs in your industry.
What would you pick?
Here’s a comparison:
The Washington Post has 730,000 referring domains.
And this example, DR 24 blog, Retailbound.com has 80 referring domains.
So let’s assume that most sites around 20 DR have ~100 referring domains. That means that 15 DR 20 sites equate to 1,500 referring domains total.
730,000 vs 1,500.
Let’s assume there is a 50% reduction of strength for the second link from The Washington Post. That’s still the strength of 365,000 domains.
Keep reducing it further, and it will continue to crush 15 backlinks from DR 20 sites.
I barely passed Algebra II, but the math is clear here:
Getting several links from one authoritative website is better than getting a bunch of weak links.
That said, it’s not always that simple, and that’s by design!
Getting backlinks from The Washington Post is difficult, so you don’t need to worry about getting too many.
5. Most Pages Don’t Get (Deserve) Backlinks
“66.31% of pages don’t have even a single backlink.” – Ahrefs 
“94% of all blog posts have zero external links.” – Backlinko 
Most pages aren’t worth linking to, so this makes perfect sense. Also, most sites aren’t engaging in link building campaigns.
The whole “build it, and they will come” mentality doesn’t work well with SEO.
You need to build and then spend 80% of your time link building. It gets easier over time.
That said, every SEO campaign requires a massive link building campaign in the beginning.
The key is to create things that are worth promoting. Now before you dive into link building, you need to first understand what quality backlinks look like.
What is a Quality Backlink? Here are 7 Indicators to Look for:
I’ve mentioned “quality” backlinks throughout this article, but what does that mean?
Here are seven indicators you should use to prioritize your link prospects:
You should spend most of your link building time trying to get links on sites in your industry. I recommend using a model I created called The Relevancy Pyramid.
The Relevancy Pyramid can help you prioritize your link prospects based on relevance.
The model is simple:
There are fewer link building opportunities that are 100% relevant to your website. You should focus on these first.
Then, once you’ve tapped those out, move down the pyramid where there will be more prospects with less relevance.
Now there are two exceptions to this prioritization strategy.
First, it’s ALWAYS okay to get links from super authority sites like the New York Times, Washington Post, or .edu/.gov sites.
Second, The Relevancy Model changes if you’re working in local SERPs.
I recommend focusing on geo-targeted opportunities first. Then move onto topically relevant prospects on the national level.
This will create the most natural and relevant link profile.
Now, of course, it’s not all about relevance. If that were the case, you could create hundreds of relevant websites yourself and link to your site.
That doesn’t work because it would be missing all the other factors that make a backlink powerful.
Bringing me to standard #2:
You need to get links to your site from websites that are relevant and have organic traffic.
Think about it:
If Google is sending organic search traffic to a site, what does that say?
It means that it’s likely a trustworthy website. In general, sites that are popular in organic search are valuable link building opportunities.
You can use SEMRush to see if a website is getting organic search traffic (and to see the “value” of that traffic):
If a website is getting organic traffic, it likely has authority. You can use Ahrefs’ DR to prioritize link building prospects based on their site authority.
The stronger a website is, the harder it will be to get the link.
That makes those links even more valuable, so it’s worth the effort.
4. Link Quality
It is possible to manipulate third party metrics like Ahrefs’ DR or Moz’s DA.
So that’s why you need to analyze the backlink profile of all your opportunities manually.
I like to run the website through Ahrefs and filter their links by “DoFollow.”
I then sort them so that the strongest links with the highest DR are at the top.
In short, you want to see that the site is getting links from high-quality sources.
Use the same criteria from above.
5. Editorial Standards
Why are diamonds valuable?
Because they’re difficult to get. That’s how you need to approach your link building. The harder it is to land a backlink, the more valuable it is.
The opposite is true, as well:
The easier a backlink is to get, the less valuable it is.
Focus on getting links on websites that have high editorial standards.
6. Outbound Link Quality
Websites with strong editorial guidelines will likely only link out to quality resources. You want your link to “live” around other trustworthy outbound links.
Examine every prospective website and ask:
- How are they linking out?
- Are the outbound links relevant?
- Are the outbound links going to respected, trusted sites?
- Do the outbound links look natural, or do they look like paid links?
Nothing is more important than making sure you get links on indexed websites. If the site isn’t indexed in Google, then your links will be worthless.
Go to Google and search “site:example.com”.
If they don’t show up, avoid the website.
8. Bonus: Anchor Text Matters
Anchor text is the words you’ll see in a clickable hyperlink. Most people who are new to SEO don’t realize how impactful anchor text is. That applies to both how you use on your website (through internal links) and how you use it off of your website (backlinks).
In the case of internal links, you should use keyword-rich anchor text. Notice how I used “anchor text” as my anchor to link to my guide about “anchor text”. This is known as exact match anchor text. It’s safe to use with internal links.
However, you need to be super careful when it comes to backlinks. Read the guide above to learn more, but in short: exact match anchor text is a big footprint that you’re building links (which is against Google’s guidelines).
The catch 22 is that keyword-rich anchors work well. That means you need to be careful with how you use your anchor text when you’re link building.
Read this anchor text guide to learn how to use it the right way.
4 Proven Link Building Methods (For Getting Powerful Backlinks)
There are many ways to build backlinks, but not everything is worth pursuing.
Here are 4 link building techniques worth using:
1. Steal Your Competitors Backlinks
The first place you should do your backlink research is from your competitor’s backlink profile. The good news is SEO tools like Ahrefs makes this super easy. Watch this video:
2. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is when you write content for another website in your industry. From a link building perspective, it’s an opportunity to get links on relevant websites.
But guest posts have other benefits such as getting more referral traffic and growing your brand.
The key is to focus on guest posts using the criteria above.
Check out Backlinko’s guide to land more guest posts.
3. Link Reclamation
Link reclamation is the process of reclaiming backlinks that you should likely have in the first place. Some examples include reaching out to websites that used your images, logo, or any assets without linking.
Siege Media has an impressive guide you can follow.
4. Create Link Bait
Link bait is the process of creating a content marketing asset that websites are likely to link to. Some of the best forms of link bait are data-driven content, free tools, and even paid tools. For example, examine the link profiles of SEO tools.
They’ve attracted enormous amounts of links like SEMRush:
I recommend diving into WebFX’s guide to learn this method.
Need a full-scale link building strategy? Watch this video:
TLDR: Backlinks Matter for SEO
Shocking development, I know. Here are the two big takeaways:
- You need to acquire quality backlinks to your website as a whole so you can grow its authority.
- You need to acquire quality links to specific SEO-driven pages you’re trying to rank.
Now go out there and start acquiring more links. If this guide was helpful, please share it. Thanks for reading.
1. “Method for node ranking in a linked database“. Google Patents. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
2, 7, 10. “We Analyzed 11.8 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO“. Backlinko. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
3, 9. “Ranking Factors SEMrush Study 2.0“. SEMRush. 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
4. “SEO Data Science: A Study of 112K Personal Injury Law Firms“. Rankings.io. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
5, 6, 11. “90.63% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9.37% [New Research for 2020]“. Ahrefs. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
8. “How Many New Backlinks Do Top-ranking Pages Get Over Time [New Data by Ahrefs]“. Ahrefs. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
12. “We Analyzed 912 Million Blog Posts. Here’s What We Learned About Content Marketing“. Backlinko. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
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