How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Link Building
If you're a long-timer reader, you know I hate link building.
In fact, I wrote an entire post about how I've grown an affiliate site to five figures a month without doing ANY link building.
I'm here today to say that I'm joining the dark side- I'm going to start building backlinks in earnest.
I'm also going to document what I'm doing so that you can follow along and learn with me.
Why Am I Giving In?
For a long time I've purely focused on on-page SEO and keyword research. This combination alone has produced massive results for me. What it looks like is finding low-competition buyer keywords (i.e. "best computer monitor") and producing 1,500+ word writeups.
(Check out my 'how to start an affiliate site' process if you want to copy my process.)
So there are a couple reasons why I want to learn how to build links.
- I want to10x my affiliate sites by increasing their rankings, traffic and earnings.
- I want to buy sites from Flippa, build links to them, and extract maximum value from content sites that just need a couple links to achieve powerful rankings.
The frustrating thing with (1) is that there are some of my posts that 'should' be on page 1 for their primary keyword, but they're sitting in the middle of page 2. A lot of the page 1 content is thin e-commerce pages- so I just need some stronger domain authority to push my content above my competitors.
Regarding (2), as I've matured as an 'online marketer', I've built up some strong cash reserves. I don't know much about investing, so instead of pouring money into a stock investment that I don't really understand or have a passion for, why not reinvest in my skill and passion- online businesses!
There are a lot of sites on Flippa that have decent content, modest earnings, and mediocre rankings. This means that they can be purchased pretty cheap- for example, a site earning $50 a month, a 2x yearly income valuation would make it a $1,200 purchase.
If I'm able to define an outreach process that my Virtual Assistants can help scale, I can purchase these 'value' sites and focus on strengthening them where they're weakest: their backlink profile.
Starting off, I've decided to use the following tools:
- GMass- a popular outreach tool that works within Gmail and utilizes Google Sheets to craft personalized, auto-followup outreach campaigns.
- I'm currently deciding between 2 email discovery services: Hunter.io and Snov.io.
- For email prospecting, i.e. finding the websites I want to get links from, I'm starting off by using LinkClump to copy links from the Google SERP- and using a Google Search Operator to filter the sites I'm targeting.
Setting Up GMass
I recommend that you watch this video from AuthorityHacker on how to set up GMass:
One thing you should do, and it's mentioned in the video, is to set up a DNS record that will function as a dedicated tracking domain for your email campaigns to prevent them getting blocked as spam. You can read the full explanation here.
I contacted my hosting provider, sent them a link to the above GMass page, and they helped me configure a custom tracking domain. Then you just need to ping GMass and they'll automatically set you up- and you're good to go. (Read more here.)
Getting Started With Niche SitesUse the strategies on this page in conjunction with my niche site process. Here it is in a nutshell:
- Pick a niche: here’s my step-by-step guide and all of my niche reports
- A reliable and fast hosting solution like SiteGround (it's what I use)
- A brandable domain name from GoDaddy
- A premium theme- I use GeneratePress but there are some cool niche themes on ThemeForest
- Image & graphics from DepositPhotos (all legal and licensed)
- Content from iWriter (my review)
- An automated social media drip campaign from MissingLettr (my review)
- An auto-responder to build your email list– ConvertKit is what I'm using
12/24/17: I decided to try outreaching to affiliate sites in the 'kitchen' niche, with the goal of getting them to link to a review post I did on a popular kitchen product.
I used a snippet from the Amazon affiliate disclaimer: "participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program" and the keyword "kitchen" and found a slew of sites that looked like affiliate sites in the "kitchen" niche.
I then used the LinkClumper tool to grab all of the links.
Pro tip: change your settings to show 100 results per page- it's much easier to grab all the results that way.