Choosing which link prospects will provide the best return on investment is an overlooked element in the link building industry. Too often, the single factor when weighing profitability of a link prospect is domain authority. In fact, SEO agencies have been known to pay freelancers to link build — with compensation solely based on DA… however, if you are building links for REVENUE, and not solely based on rankings, you really need to take other elements into thought.
Writing high-quality content takes up time, brainpower, and can really be a daunting task. While the hard work will be incredibly rewarding, you can lighten the heavy lifting by targeting blogs relevant to your subject and are also likely to accept a guest post. This will always be the first step while you’re evaluating your link prospects, and here are some techniques to test if you have landed on the right spot:
- Relevancy is essential, but it doesn’t always have to directly target your niche. For example, if your team just pumped out fifteen articles about video games, give them a break and target Zombie blogs. It gives your writers a chance to write on a fresh subject, and you’ll be given the opportunity to target the Zombie market – which most likely is similar to the video game market.
- Advanced search – site:prospect.com + guest
- Shows if someone has guest authored here before.
- If not, in the email include something such as I did not see any existing guest posts on your website, and am wondering if you folks would be open to the idea?
- Finding contact information – Don’t waste too much time looking for contact information from blogspots, typepad, wordpress, etc. And in general… forms. If it is hard to find their contact information, it’s unlikely they’re agreeable to a guest post anyway.
If you have a long list of prospects, use the Ontolo URL reviewer to speed up the process. The tool is free, and it rocks.
2. Domain Authority
Domain authority is highly dependent on a couple of moving variables. This is the part of the process where the experienced link builders begin cutting the less-profitable prospects. You need to consider how often your team can produce guest posts, how relevant the blog is to your target market, and evaluate the entire landscape of your niche.
In general, with the Penguin and Panda Google Algorithm updates, and the fact that guest blogging takes additional resources, I aim for opportunities with at least 40 plus domain authority. The less often the client, or our internal team, is capable of producing a quality article, then the higher minimum domain authority. In addition, it is critical to judge the value of the potential referral traffic. Getting your video game brand in front of a bunch of gamers, let a lower domain authority slide, but if it is in front of a bunch of general computer nerds, raise the domain authority back up.
To speed up this process, I use SEOMoz’s OSE Chrome extension. You can quickly click link data right in your toolbar and get some valuable metric data.
While the first two elements (resources and relevancy) will weigh in on what domain authority website you’re targeting, the most important to consider is the competitive landscape. Some niches are so specific and narrow that it is highly unlikely for them to be featured in high domain authority websites, and that ultimately means a lower overall amount of link juice for the entire industry. For example, we have worked with a client in the Liverpool Football Club niche, and we wanted US-based websites to link to us (for US rankings). The link targets had an overall domain authority much lower than we were used to, but we included other valuable metrics to build a prioritized list of prospects.
3. Social Media
Domain authority is incredibly important in terms of increasing your website’s organic rankings. But, you should really be including social media metrics when evaluating the value of a link prospect. Depending on the niche, taking a look at their Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest will usually cover all angles. Here is why you should be checking social media –
Three out of the top six traffic sources are coming from a Social Media channel.
Remember, the point of guest posting is more than a link, it is about building a profitable relationship. After guest posting on a website with a popular social media following, make sure you follow-up and continue nurturing that relationship – it can result in a simple tweet like this –
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) September 20, 2012
Seems simple… but the Tweet led to over 1,750 visits!
Begin evaluating all of the valuable metrics to choose the most profitable link prospects. The combination of relevancy, domain authority, and social media make a perfect mix for the quickest and most profitable wins. In the comments below, tell us what else you folks like to look at when evaluating a link prospect!