Link building is an essential component of any SEO strategy, especially new websites looking to get traction in the SERPs. However, Google doesn’t just reward any kinds of links. You need to signal true authority.
Once you have a great piece of content for your audience, it’s critical to prioritize which websites you should reach out to for link building, and not waste time on links that don’t give you SEO juice.
Here’s the basic three-step approach to screen out low-quality sites during link building.
1) Bulk disqualification
Once you have your piece of content, you can run various footprints through tools like Scrapebox, NinjaOutreach, or Pitchbox to get a big list of potential sites to contact.
At this point, you should remove the bulk of low-quality sites by:
- Disqualify various URL parameters: Remove websites with URLs that include footprints like “wiki”, “forum”, and “news”.
- Remove guest posting websites: While these websites can be useful, they usually don’t have a lot of benefit for your link-building strategy. Remove sites with “submit”, “write for us”, or “guest post” pages.
2) Identify powerful sites
After the first step, you know that your list doesn’t contain sites explicitly looking for guest posts or that your link won’t end up on a forum.
Now you can use a few metrics to identify the authoritative sites in your list:
- Topical relevance and authority of a site
- Monthly traffic
- Domain authority
The monthly traffic of a site can only be estimated. And domain authority can be roughly gleaned from popular tools like Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, or an internal metric (as many marketing and SEO agencies) do.
3) Manual review
At this point, you should have cut out 85 percent or more of the websites on your initial list. Now it’s important to manually check these websites before reaching out to them. The list may still contain websites that mostly serve the purpose of selling links.
You should also avoid websites with excessive advertising. Not all websites with aggressive advertising are bad (e.g., Forbes) but they were probably built to make commissions rather than provide quality content.