Link building is no easy feat.
In an ideal world, backlinks come to you naturally. Visitors find your blog post and love it so much, they share it on their social networks and even link to you on their website.
And a backlink is built– a hyperlink from someone else’s site to your own.
But in reality, that just doesn’t happen. Or it doesn’t happen as often as you’d like.
You need to deliberately get your content seen by putting it in front of people and get that visibility. In other words, to get other people to link to our website, we have to deliberately reach out to them and ask for a link back.
This manual outreach is the good old way of link building. But imagine finding one website at a time for a backlink and reaching out to each one manually.
That takes a LOT of time and not entirely sustainable in the long-run. So today, I’m going to walk you through a comprehensive tutorial to build backlinks effectively.
We will use a content scraping method using powerful SEO tools that will take your link building efforts to the next level. Automate the process and bring it to scale. Ready? Let’s dive in.
Why are backlinks important?
Link-based metrics are the #1 most important factor in SEO. The more backlinks you have (aka the more websites are linking to you) the more authoritative Google thinks your site is and will rank it higher on its search results.
A backlink is a vote of confidence on the Internet.
When an external website links to your blog post or page, that signals to Google that your site is trustworthy which is why other people are linking to it.
This concept is known as the PageRank algorithm. Developed by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, which was also named after him.
PageRank formed the building block of Google’s ranking system and it was how Google search ranked web pages by measuring their importance based on how many backlinks a website has.
But it’s not just the quantity of backlinks that’s important, the quality of those backlinks are crucial too.
To sum up, to rank on Google we need backlinks. The no. of backlinks and the domain authority of those backlinks matter.
This tutorial will look into exactly how to find backlinks we can build to improve our domain authority. Before we get started, note that you need these tools:
- Scrapebox ($97, one-time purchase)
- ScreamingFrog spider tool (Free)
- Moz account (Free)
- Buzzstream (Free trial, then $24/month)
Oh if you’re new here, I also have the following resources to help crush your SEO strategy:
- SEO Case Study: How to Rank in the First 2 Results on Google
- SEO Blueprint: How to get your first 10k visits from Google
- How to Squeeze Maximum SEO Traffic From a Blog Article
- 7 Elements of a Perfectly SEO Optimized Blog Post (+Checklist)
- Creating a Remarkable SEO Strategy from Scratch
- 13 Actionable Tips to Create A Killer Content Strategy
And of course, you should register for my free 4-Day SEO Bootcamp where I’ll share my top strategies to getting higher rankings and traffic from Google!
- Introducing Scrapebox: A Powerful Link Prospecting Tool
- Step 1: Find potential link prospects relevant in your niche
- Step 2: Trim the Fat and Remove Duplicates
- Step 3: Checking Page Authority on Scrapebox
- Step 4: Sifting through link prospects using ScreamingFrog
- Step 5: Gathering Contact Details For Link Building
Introducing Scrapebox: A Powerful Link Prospecting Tool
In my course, SEO Demystified, I dive deep into link building as part of a 90-day plan to nail your first keyword ranking. Link building is a must to get your site ranked on Google.
Content no matter how great, will never be found on search engines without backlinks.
But here’s the caveat: building backlinks takes A LOT of time and effort:
- Finding potential link prospects in niche relevant blogs
- Hunting for email addresses to reach out to
- Creating outreach emails and pitches
And before you know it, link building becomes a chore. But it doesn’t have to be!!
Scrapebox was originally a “blackhat” SEO tool designed for large-scale blog commenting or spam. What’s often missed out is the incredible scrapping features Scrapebox has that can be used for link prospecting, without needing to spam a site.
It’s considered the ‘Swiss Army Knife of SEO’ and should be in every marketer’s arsenal. If you don’t have a copy of Scrapebox yet, it’s only $97 for lifetime access.
Now the rest of this blog post is going to be a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Scrapebox. So you might want to stop reading this and get the tool before continuing.
Start by finding potential link prospects relevant in your niche
Link prospects are potential websites that would link back to your site.
Our strategy here is to prospect or explore other websites on the Internet who would give us a backlink.
Examples of link prospects:
- Guest Posting: Publish an article on someone else’s website as a guest author, and in return get a backlink (hyperlink to your own site)
- Broken Link Building: Find web pages with broken external links and reach out to them to link to your site instead, if you have similar content to replace those dead links.
- Roundup Posts: You write a roundup of expert advice / opinions by other bloggers and reach out to them to give you a backlink for featuring their content on your site.
- And so on.
There are many ways to build backlinks. The above 3 are the most common ones and for our tutorial today, we will focus on the first – Guest Posting.
Step 1: Use Scrapebox to find websites accepting guest posts
When you first open Scrapebox, you might be a little confused on how to start. Don’t worry, you only need to learn a few essential steps to make the most out of it.
The first is the ‘custom footprint’.
Click on the ‘custom footprint’ radio button on the top left box. This tells Scrapebox to search through all the websites possible on the net. #Scraping.
Next, enter some search modifiers into the box. For this example, we are going to look for all the yoga blogs that accept guest authors. To do that, I’ve entered the following queries:
- “yoga” inurl:tag/guest
- “yoga” intitle:”write for us”
- “guest post” intitle:”yoga”
Finally, click on ‘start harvesting’ and within 20 seconds you’ll have a ton of possible link prospect opportunities. (I gathered 999 URLs from my queries!).
ScrapeBox can scrape search engine result pages (SERPs) at an incredibly fast rate.
Our example above was scrapping 119 URLs per second! This makes the manual process of gathering link prospects one by one a hell of a lot quicker.
Note that if you choose to do some heavy-scrapping, you’d need to get private proxies to make the most out of this tool.
Step 2: Remove duplicates and weed out bad link prospects
Next we want to refine our huge list of results and remove unsuitable prospects. Scrapebox will return a lot of duplicate results and the first thing we want to do is ‘remove duplicate urls’.
Then, ‘remove duplicate domains’. This step is much more brutal and will probably trim down your scrape by 40% or more.
Finally, we want to weed out useless sites such as free blogging platforms. You can do this via excel or use the function within Scrapebox, under ‘Remove/Filter’, choose ‘remove URLs containing’:
Step 3: Checking Page Authority on Scrapebox
This is very important because we don’t want backlinks from low page authority sites. We want strong and authoritative websites to link to our site.
When an authoritative site (e.g, Forbes, Huffington Post) links to your site, it is a HUGE boost to your link juice. It tells Google and search engines that your site is authoritative for Forbes / Huff Post to link to you.
That juicy backlink will jumpstart your SEO.
Therefore, the more backlinks and the higher the authority of those backlinks you have, the higher your own domain authority. And that is the #1 factor to improve your ranking on Google.
Now, we have to bulk check the link equity metrics of our harvested URLs using Scrapebox’s ‘Page Authority’ addon.
Link equity is the authority of a web page. Also known as page authority or domain authority, which is the authority of the entire website. The higher the page authority, the stronger the backlink.
We need the MozRank add-on, and for that you have to sign up for a free or paid Mozscape API key. Sign up for a free account and retrieve the API key.
MozRank is a score from 1–10 which measures a URL’s link popularity.
Now the free version of Mozscape has a 10 second delay so the full crawl might take 30–50 minutes depending on how many URLs you’ve harvested.
Let Scrapebox do its thing and after its completed, you’ll have the page authority metrics of all your URLs — WHEEE!
Also, you can export the data in .csv format using the ‘export results as’ button.
After exporting the .csv file, you want to sort your data.
- Filter out URLs with 0 MozRank, these are likely low quality blogs
The URLs remaining would meet our minimum quality criteria — we have a total of 562 potential link prospects.
Now we just need to sift through them to find the good ones for outreach.
Step 4: Find relevant guest post websites using ScreamingFrog
After scraping hundreds of links, it’s unlikely that all of them will be relevant, legitimate link prospects. This is when ScreamingFrog SEO Spider tool comes in.
We want to look through the HTML pages we have scrapped earlier and search for these specific phrases:
- write for us
- contribute to our blog
To do that, we’ll set up some custom filters on ScreamingFrog.
Next, set up ScreamingFrog to ‘List’ mode. Navigate to ‘Mode’ -> ‘List’.
Final step: upload the qualified URLs from our excel sheet earlier. Now sit back and let ScreamingFrog work its magic.
After ScreamingFrog finishes processing the URLs, click on the ‘Custom’ tab to the right and you will get a list of custom filtered URLs.
The below screenshot shows 162 URLs that contain the custom filter, “write for us”. From my initial 900+URLs, I’ve filtered it down to over 162 relevant link targets — all within a few minutes.
Step 5: Gathering Contact Details For Link Building
So now we have a nice list of 162 links we can start reaching out to. First, we need their contact details. Our next tool for this — Buzzstream.
Buzzstream is a fantastic link building tool for streamlined outreach. There’s really no better tool out there that can build links as efficiently.
The features we’ll be using:
- Contact details gathering
- Outreach through Buzzstream’s email interface
Btw, you’ll need an account to do this, but you can sign up for a free account (14-day trial) which gives you full access.
In Buzzstream, create a new project and click on ‘add websites’ button and select ‘import from csv’ option.
Now upload the 162 URLs scrapped and filtered from ScreamingFrog into Buzzstream. Within 10–15mins, Buzzstream will have gathered a list of contact info from your website links.
This saves you days of work combing through websites for emails. (Been there, done that. Not fun).
OH MAI GOSH! We are done!!
So that process will take you less than an hour. Now, we’ve gathered 160 niche-relevant link targets with all their contact info, including social media profiles and emails. #YAY!
Now we just have to use Buzzstream’s email interface for outreach and build some quality links!
Or, you can copy those emails into your own email account and reach out to those prospects manually one by one. Either way, you’ve got a rich list of guest posting sites that are relevant to your niche and willing to accept guest posts.
Reach out to those sites, request for a guest post and start building your backlinks!