After I wrote a comprehensive Link Building Tutorial, I got few emails from my readers and I noticed a common trend in their questions. Majority of them wanted to know How to Build authority Links without buying them?
So I thought rather than replying to each of them individually, I’d just put it up a short answer here in my blog so that everyone else gets value out of the information that I’m about to share.
If you have been in this industry for some time, some of these techniques may not be anything new for you but then again I welcome you to go along with me as I talk about Authoritative Link building.
What are Authority Links?
As the name implies it basically refers to links that have high authority. Some time back a link coming from a High Page Rank site was considered Authoritative. Now that is still not 100% discounted as PageRank still is a good indication of how search engines like Google look and value a website. But obviously when I’m saying PageRank I’m not saying the small green bar that you see in your Google Toolbar. Toolbar PR is very different than what your actual PR is. Toolbar PR is just a small representation of your actual PageRank value.
Years passed and search became more complex. The demands of the users increased substantially and so did the spamming in the search results. So Google came up with another ranking system called TrustRank (Actually the research paper was released by Yahoo first I’m not sure how Google got hold of the patent). Anyway so TrustRank is basically built upon the concept of PageRank but it takes the concept further by taking a set of Absolute Quality Sites and then following their link patterns to find out other quality sites. [Read the Initial Research Paper (PDF) of TrustRank].
So basically educational institution & universities, government sites, military websites, News sites are of high authority. So if Google looks at their Outbound links then they are likely to find another set of quality websites and then can go another step down and look at the outbound links of the second set of quality sites and that will reveal a 3rd set of quality sites and this will continue on until the search engine dies. So the assumption with this concept is – Good sites will always link to good sites. And when there is an exception and a Manual reviewer at Google finds out – they penalizes that “Good site”.
Anyway back to the original topic, Authority Links are those links that helped create the 2nd, 3rd level of quality sites. So if you can get such links, your website will supposedly be treated well by the engines (Its like the President telling his Chief of Staff to give you a Job).
How Do I Find Authority Links?
Ok for those who just jumped to this section without reading the first section – I totally understand. You want to jump right to the nuggets without grasping anything unnecessary. Well I’ll just go right to the point –
- Spy On your Competitors: Yes, that obvious! If your competitor is doing really good in the search engine, its possible that he has a powerful link profile. So you can easily spy on him by diving into his incoming links and as you do so, give particular attention to the links that you think are authoritative. Tools that I recommend you to use – Yahoo Site Explorer, BackLinkWatch.Once you find some quality sites that are linking to them, go to those respective pages and try to figure out why they are linking to them. If that seems like a natural link you might imitate the strategy that your competitor used to get the link. In most of the times quality sites links to other sites just as a citation or as “related resources”. So if you have any resource that you think can fit that article/research well, you can send an email and ask the webmaster to consider adding your resource in the list. If your resource is top notch its very likely that they will add it to make their resource page more rich.
- Find out which .edu/.gov/.mil are linking to your competitor: I am often surprised to see how many people doesn’t know about this simple Yahoo Site Search command –
If you go to Yahoo Search and type the following, you will get all the EDU sites that are linking to google.com. So simply put your competitors URL in place of Google and you can change edu to gov, mil and other extensions that you like. Example: See how many EDU backlinks twitter has.
Find out why those sites are linking to your competitor and then you will automatically know how to get links from them. E.g. Imagine that a university professor is doing research about semantic web and he referenced my blog post where I wrote about some advanced semantic web algorithm. Now if you are my competitor you can probably try to produce a 3 times better piece on semantic web and pitch that processor to include your work in his article. In many cases he will, if your writing is good and relevant to his area of research.
- Get Links from .Edu/.Gov/.Mil blogs on your Niche: There is another simple search command in Google, that can help you to find .edu, .gov, .mil blogs on your niche. Go to google and type the following:
Just replace “keyword” with your own keyword. So for example If I’m looking for edu blogs that talk about SEO, i can search for SEO+inurl:blog site:.edu. And it gives me a nice list of blogs that has talked about SEO and has linked to many SEO resources. So If I have something that is absolute quality, I may be able to pitch the author of the blogs to link to my resources as they are relevant to what they are writing about. But you need to be creative with the “keyword” when using that query in Google, because sometimes it may return irrelevant junk results.
Obviously there are plenty of other ways to find authoritative sites, but I guess the ones i mentioned here are probably the most easiest ways.
Read Some Other Resources Related to Authoritative Link building
The 4 Different Types of Authority Links – Wiep.net
The Wisdom & Folly of Directory Link Building – SEOmoz.org
TrustRank Algorithm – SEObook.com
Getting Links From Known, Quality Linkers – Search Engine Land
The Quest for Authority Links – Search Engine Guide
Beyond Link Building Tools – Search Engine Land
How to Get Links – Wikipedia – David Naylor
Some Link Spying Tools You May Like
Hub Finder: Simply Enter Two domains and you will find out which website (hub) Is linking to both of them.
SEOBook Link Tools – a variety of different types of Link tools
SEOMoz LinkScape – Gets you access to link information on more than 30+ billion web pages across 200+ million domains. [Its not Free]