Truelogic Episode 31 Recap: Effective Link-Building Campaign
Did you know that 65% of digital marketers state that link-building is the hardest part of SEO?
In today’s episode, we decided to change things up and make things easier for you as we share some of the effective ways to find new link opportunities that can help improve your website’s ranking.
Bernard San Juan: Welcome to another episode where we talk about link building. In this episode, we’re going to talk about three things we’re going to talk about. Do you need it? What are some of the assets you guys can be using to acquire links? And then how do you figure out whether a link is bad?
I know that link building is usually the more technical side of SEO, and it is the one that is very time-consuming and it can be a bit expensive, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. And that’s why I think it’s pretty important that we talk about it, at least from a big-picture perspective. Hi. My name is Bernard. I’m your host for this episode of the Truelogic DX podcast.
So let’s get started. When you’re trying to buy for relevance on search, Google looks at several metrics, right? Like, are you truly real-world relevant? How old has your brand been around? Are you a household name? They look at the technical issue of your website, like, meaning, can they scan and remember the content of your site and are they value-adding? But the other metric that gets forgotten is the popularity metric of a website, and it’s pretty important.
What is link building in SEO?
The way I like to describe link building is that it is the last-mile strategy. It cannot be the foundation of your ranking strategy. It cannot be the foundation of your SEO strategy for a lot of reasons. Links are links, but links are nowhere near as powerful as they once were.
So let’s talk about the first strategy. And the first strategy deals with knowing when to link and knowing when not to link, right? When you’re trying to become relevant organically, you need a couple of things. Your formulas are usually technical, SEO, on-page content, and links. Like, it’s usually those four things.
First things first, knowing when to link and when not to link. As an SEO, I’ve driven a quarter of a million visitors to a brand in about eight months. There are brands that I’ve worked on where we got them from 1.5 to 3 million visitors in three months.
There are brands that we’ve worked on where we drove an additional 2,500 visitors to the website without a single link being built. So how do you know when you need to link build and when you don’t need to link build? And here’s where a couple of technical skills are going to matter. There are a lot of tools out there, and some of the tools I’ll mention have premium. So you can test this out yourself.
Best Link Building Tools
My favorite tool is Semrush. But you can as quickly do a premium on Moz. You can as easily do a premium on Ahrefs. They have seven and 14-day trials. So the Semrush and what I look for there, first things first, is the authority score.
If a website I’m working on has an authority score of 35 or better, and so that would be a domain authority of 35 or better, that usually eliminates link building as part of my strategy. That means the website is fairly known, the website is fairly authoritative. Google probably spends a good chunk of its crawl budget on the website.
The next thing I look for is the backlinks. And when it comes to backlinks, there are two metrics that you look at. One is how many times you’re talked about and how many people talk about you. So let’s talk about that because a lot of people tend to confuse the number of backlinks versus the number of C classes. Imagine backlinks are the mentions of a rumor. And then let’s say a taxi driver mentioned a rumor to seven different passengers, and let’s say it’s the same rumor, the taxi driver would have generated seven backlinks because he mentioned the rumor seven times.
But as a C Class, that one taxi driver is one link, he’s one source. The other favorite example I’ve got of this is I’ve got friends who are good-looking guys. And for a guy to know that they’re good-looking, it just can’t be your mom, right? Your mom cannot be the one C Class that tells you you’re a good-looking son.
Like, my mom probably tells me that solicited. Nonetheless, my mom mentions it maybe about 300 times a year. There are 65 days in the year when she’s not in the mood. But even with that kind of reinforcement, my mom is one C Class. If I was going to believe that I’m a good-looking guy, I would need to hear it from another person and another person and another person.
And that’s sort of what the referring domain is, or the C Classes. C Classes referring domain is roughly the same thing. So I look at the backlinks and I look at the C Classes but I look at the C Classes first. If the number of other websites that talk about a brand is greater than 200, I will usually eliminate link building from the strategy before I completely decide on whether link building is part and parcel of the strategy. One more thing I take a look at is when was the last organic backlink earned.
Link Building Strategies
- Know whether you need link building or whether you do not need link building.
Some brands will earn backlinks naturally. So if I take a look at the last backlink, and the last backlink was generated 15 days ago, 30 days ago, then to me that’s fine because the backlink generates freshness, and I don’t need to make a bigger deal out of that. I’ll give you guys a case in point. As an example, one of the big brands that launched in the Philippines recently is Ikea. Now, if I were working on Ikea, why would I link build?
The fact that they are launching in the Philippines means there will probably be 100, 200, or 300 bloggers that will talk about them, right? So I don’t need to link build because the links will happen naturally. The links will happen organically. So this is just an example. So rule number one and strategy number one, know whether you need link building or whether you do not need link building.
Now, let’s operate under the assumption you don’t fall under an authority score of 35, or you’re not a page rank four or better, but you’re not an authority score of 35. You have less than 200 C Classes, and the last backlink mentioned you have is older than 30 days. Then you probably will need some link-building. And there is good link building and there is bad link building. But before we talk about bad link building, let me talk about the link building that you can do as a brand.
Because I think brands usually forget, yes, you can do link building, right? You’re not always bound to. It’s not some secret that is only known to SEOs. But when you build links, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Links come from online assets.
- Online assets
- Owned assets
A lot of people don’t know that Truelogic is part of a group of companies called Axadra. There are a bunch of businesses that comprise the Axadra group of businesses. And Truelogic as well as Truelogic Hong Kong are only two of them.
But because these are our sister brands and we build the websites for them and we do the marketing for them anyway, so, hey, I want to mention, you can treat these as owned assets, and you can negotiate the acquisition of a link coming from your sister brand. So one of the things that we usually ask is when we talk to a business, we ask them, is there a parent business? Are there sister businesses, are there sister websites? Are there sister brands which we could acquire links from, where we could inherit some power from?
This is frequently overlooked, but there is some controversy around whether these are ethical links or are they not ethical links. But I would just say case in point. I think the brand that utilizes this the most is the Time Warner Group of companies, right? In the Time Warner group of companies. You’ve got the Cartoon Network, HBO, DC, HGTV, Warner Brothers Studios, Time Warner, Time Magazine, CW, and HBO Max, now, the Discovery Channel is part of that group.
If you take a look at their linking structure, they all link to each other, right? And none of these brands have gotten penalized by Google. So in my opinion, owned asset interlinking is a perfectly legit strategy, okay? Now the only time it’s not legit is when a brand deliberately puts up.
So let’s say Truelogic, right? And I’ve got True Logic Mag One. True Logic Magazine Two. True Logic Magazine Three. Like, I’m making up websites so that I can earn a link from those websites.
Those are not owned assets. That’s what you call a PBN, right? And that’s not good. Those are not good. So don’t overlook your assets. You might have other websites that you own. You might have sister brands that you work with. You might have a parent brand that you can draw authority from. Use it. Use it to your advantage.
- Leased assets
Now let’s talk about leased assets and let’s differentiate between the two because I think a lot of people think, that’s my Facebook page, that’s my Twitter page, that’s my Instagram, that’s my YouTube channel. I’ll correct that notion. No, it’s not. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other channel that you can create a profile on are not owned assets. An owned asset is when you control the domain, the technology, and the content of that asset.
So I repeat that an asset is owned if you control the domain, the technology, and the content on that asset. When you create a profile on Google business profiles, you only control the content. When you create a Facebook page, you only control the content. When you build a Twitter page for your brand, you only control the content. When you build a LinkedIn page for your brand, you only control the content.
You don’t control the technology. You don’t control the domain, right? And so these are why they’re called leased assets. Now, if you don’t control them, then what’s the point? Well, because on LinkedIn, you can find a link on LinkedIn going to your website, and that’s a perfectly legit link.
On YouTube, you can find a link from your channel to your website on your video, in the description, in the video, and in the card that inserts at the top, right? So there are multiple places where you can earn a link from inside your leased assets on Facebook, your website is one of the essential pieces of information that you can point back to your website, leased assets. In the Philippines, you can build anywhere between two to four dozen of these. Like you’ve got brown books, Zomato, Yellow Pages, and Google Business profiles. You’ve got all of these places where you could earn a link from.
And it doesn’t take an SEO specially trained for two years to earn you that link, right? And there’s another reason why you ought to build your least assets. It’s for reputation management, but that’s another Truelogic DX episode, which will, you know, and I’ll make sure to line it up for you guys. So we’ve talked about to link or not to link, and then we talked about owned and leased assets. Let’s talk about the other asset that you might be overlooking.
- Earned assets
These are the best type of assets you could have, like where you can earn the links from the best. I’ll give you guys an example, I think I think six or seven years ago in SEO, there is an activity called link dating. I’m not going to get into the details, but suffice it to say, I wrote a great article. When I say I wrote, I mean our writers.
But I look like I was the author, but it was my idea, to be fair. But kudos to our writers. We wrote a great article that was about 1500 to 2000 words. And we talked about who the movers and the shakers were in the Philippine blogging industry. Because eight years ago, blogging in the Philippines was like, amazing, right?
I’m not going to say it’s not amazing anymore. But, you know, eight, nine years ago, there were no influencers. There were only bloggers, right? So they were the stars of the Internet. I think people are genuinely good and reciprocity comes naturally to us. And I think the moment they saw that we wrote an article that featured them, that talked about what they were doing, right, in terms of their brand, their content, and whatnot, some of them wrote an article that pointed a link back to us, right? Like, think of it as a thirst trap. Only an SEO thirst trap. That’s what it’s like.
Another example of earned assets is when you turn your real-life relationships into linking relationships.
I’ll give you guys a great example. Adobo magazine. The president and the editors, we have great relationships with them. And whenever we have an event, we invite them. And if our event is content worthy, like if it resonates with their audience, they talk about it for free and we get a link back. And I don’t pay PR mileage for that. It’s a natural mention. So it’s turning that relationship into a linking relationship. Another example is our relationship with When in Manila. And I love these guys, right? This is Vince Golangcos’ baby. I think he built it X years ago, over a decade ago with Francis Simsim. We were all young back there. So when in Manila, they were a mover and shaker, it’s a great idea. It still is a great idea today. And we still foster that relationship today. Right.
And we’ve had different relationships since then. Like, we’ve got relationships with Business Mirror, Philstar, and Digital Marketing Institute. So because we build these relationships, whenever they mention us online, they make sure to mention Truelogic, and we solicit for the link, like we say, hey, since you’re mentioning me, do you mind finding a link back to my brand? These are earned assets. You don’t pay for them.
- Paid assets
Now, the last asset I’m going to talk about is paid assets. Now and then, you will pay for a paid service that will put mention you. But why not get a link, right?
There are so many outlets out there that when you use them for press releases when you use them for media mileage, they’ll mention the brand, they’ll mention the owner, they’ll mention these guys anyway. But I think a lot of brands forget. Hey, since you’re mentioning the partner, can you find a link to his profile page on our site? Hey, since you’re mentioning the brand, could you point a link to our website? In the most natural of circumstances, in the strictest of circumstances, PRP’s links should be set to not follow.
Which is fine, right? But let’s face it, a lot of media companies are not technical enough to know the value of a link. And they don’t know what a No follow is. In the US. Everybody knows, right?
A great example is BBB. If you are a US business and you submitted your site to the Better Business Bureau, you’d have a link. Today, a link from the BBB is always not followed. A link from Justia is not followed. A link from the Forbes Agency Council is a no follow.
That wasn’t always the case. But the bottom line is if you got paid relationships with other brands that can mention you, the least you can do is try to earn a link from it. Let’s go to the last leg of this conversation. The last leg of this conversation is a section that I call Forget about It. Like bad links.
- Forget about dad links
Let’s talk about the elephants in the room. If you are doing SEO or you have an SEO provider that tells you they build you web 2.0 links, forget about it. These are content. So these are free web pages that people put up so that they can publish content on them to earn a link back from it.
Those pages are not indexed, meaning Google doesn’t bother to remember these pages. If they’re not indexed, they have no page rank, they have no authority, there is nothing, and there’s no value to a link, right? So if you’re paying for somebody to build web 2.0 links for you, you turn 180 degrees and walk away, right? Forget about it.
- Social bookmarks
I’ll be the first to admit there are still about a handful of social bookmarking sites that are still good. Like, they’re still pretty good. But by and large, the several hundred social bookmarking websites out there already offer no value in terms of link building. Forget about it. This is very obsolete link building. I would have not done them eight years ago.
And I always have a heart attack, a small one, a small heart attack, but a heart attack nonetheless. Or maybe it’s just, you know, gas, but I get gas whenever I still see social bookmarks being built in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Unbelievable.
- Free press releases
I’m not saying press releases are not valuable, but it’s just the free, 200, 300, 500 press release websites, quote unquote press release websites out there where you can syndicate your content and all of that is just to build a link.
And what you’ll realize is when you publish your content there, the content is not indexed, there’s no value to the link. Forget about the free press releases.
- Blog comments
These are useful in terms of engagement, in terms of refreshing the content on the page because they’re user-generated content.
Google loves user-generated content, but as a link, they’re not valuable. Like, stick a fork in it. These are very obsolete tactics. Forget about it.
Key takeaway: Do you need link building?
In the 20 minutes I’ve been monologuing, I hope I gave you some very useful information about link building and enough information for you to figure out, do you need it.
Are you doing it right? Do you have a great provider? Do you have a bad provider? And of course, we’ll take this conversation further, right? As I talked about, some topics are full-episode conversations like reputation management and whatnot.
So with that, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Truelogic DX podcast. I did because it’s link-building. You could probably get me drunk and I would still talk about it this way. It’s still incredible that we’re getting as much attention as we are up to date. Kudos to my marketing team. I was a bit skeptical about a podcast audience, but you guys are proving us wrong. But the Truelogic DX podcast team wants to say thank you to you guys for listening.
We’re open. We’re listening. Yes, some people listen to those. And if you haven’t yet, please subscribe to the Truelogic DX podcast. Thank you for listening to another episode of the Truelogic DX podcast. Subscribe to our Spotify, Google, and Apple accounts and set up your alert for new episodes. We’ll see you in the next episode. We also want to say thank you to PodMachine for powering us so far. Thank you very much.