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Eric Ward

Eric Ward

Link Building Secrets Revealed by Eric Ward and 10 of Today’s Best Link Builders.

Link Building Secrets 2012 - Eric Ward

Contrarian Backlink Analysis

When studying backlinks for a number of sites, most people take the top ten Google results, plug them into their tool of choice, and then let the tool aggregate as many links as possible. Then, the real work begins: trying to decipher and score and triage the target sites to go after for links. While I won’t say this is a useless strategy, there are some inherent biases and flaws to this strategy that I use to help make my own backlink analysis more useful for developing a link-building strategy.

Here are my secret tips:

  • First, make sure you are logged out of Google so you aren’t getting personalized search results. Now, when you see the top ten search results on page one, stop for a moment and consider the following.
  • A site that is ranked at position 11, 12 or 13 is very close to cracking the top ten. Ask yourself, if you were in charge of the site ranked at position 11, wouldn’t you be heavily invested right now in a link-building campaign, given that all you have to do is move up one or two spots to make it to page one, or even higher up page one? Yes, you would. And when I study the link profiles of sites ranked at positions 11, 12 and 13 over time, I can see plain as day exactly what links they are chasing and if it’s going to work.
  • Further, when analyzing links, very often the most active link builders among the top 20 sites are the sites at positions 11, 12, 13, 21, 22 and 23. And it makes sense. They are close to making a huge gain. The lesson here is include a few sites on the cusp of page one in your linking analytics.
  • A site that ranks on page two of the results and is paying for position 1, 2 or 3 in the Pay Per Click (PPC) results is a very unhappy site. Why? Because they are spending a fortune on PPC all the while being ever so close to attaining page-one organic ranking. The higher they can rank organically, the less they may potentially spend on PPC. It makes sense. If you rank #2 organically, why pay money to rank third in PPC?While I am aware some studies have shown that some (but not all) sites that appear in both organic and paid results do perform better, I can share with you that I had a client that was spending $16,000 per month in PPC while their site ranked organically at position 14.After a six-month linking campaign, we were up organically to position three and reduced their PPC spend to $4,000 per month. He had spent $48,000 in PPC over those three months, and now he is spending about $12,000 every three months, saving him $100,000 per year in PPC spend. While nothing is forever, he is happy now.  He spent about $10,000 with me and will save $100,000 as a result.

The takeaway? Sometimes the sites that are just outside the Promised Land are the sites that can tell you the most about the linking strategies that will help you even more.

Eric Ward