Content Marketing

with Neil Patel

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Link Building

Ranking #1 in search results

Neil Patel

Entrepreneur, Influencer, Investor & Advisor

Lessons Learned

Google looks at the quality, quantity, and relevance of the links that point to your site.

Win quality links by guest posting on blogs.

Need more backlinks? Try ‘link begging’ by using a broken link checker or competitor searches.


Lesson: Content Marketing with Neil Patel

Step #8 Link Building: Ranking #1 in search results

Link building is like the voting system for the Internet. The thing about presidential election, Obama won because he got the most votes. Now I understand the presidential election is on a state by state basis, winner takes each state, etc. But hypothetically, look at the Internet and more specifically Google as a presidential election. Now each keyword has its own election. Typically the site with the most links wins the race in which sites who have more links tend to rank better for a keyword to have less links.

Now there's a few other factors because at first that was just how their algorithm was. But links can be manipulated. You can get more quantity, you can buy them, etc. Some links can only be earned such as a link from Forbes or Huffington Post. They’re much more difficult to actually buy or Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

So now Google also looks at the quality of the link. For example, if a Huffington Post or New York Times links to you, that can be more relevant than if Joe the Plumber links to you. In addition to that, if your website is on books and Goodreads links to you, that's more relevant than if Joe the Plumber or any random site also links to you. They're looking at relevancy, the quantity of links, and the authority of the site linking to you.

So if you do those things your rankings will go up. It's just like when Obama was running for presidency, Clinton supported him. If Clinton didn't support him, it would be harder for him to win. I'm not saying he wouldn't, it would just be harder. Now a vote from Clinton, even though he's one individual is more powerful than if a random person off the street said, "Obama is great, you should vote for him." Because Clinton had a large following so people who are loyal to Clinton will go like, "Well, Clinton likes him and he's voting for him, maybe I should too."

The Internet works the same way. If Forbes is linking to this website and Huffington Post is in New York Times, then it must be authoritative site. More people should link to it and it should rank higher. The way you get these links there's a few ways. One, you can guest post. You can try to write content for Huffington Post, Forbes, New York Times, etc. The way to get on there is you can either submit an article through the contact form or network with some other guest contributors who already write on those sites. Give them maybe some free advice and ask for an introduction to the editor.

The next thing you can do is actually go and beg for links and it may not sound sexy and it actually isn't but it is effective. So through Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer or anyone of these link tools, you can put in your competitors' URL and see who's linking to them. Now you got a list of who's linking to your competitors and what pages are linking to your competitors, then you can then email each one of those website owners and ask if they would also link out to your website.

Now most of them are going to say no but what you'll find is if you write a genuine customized email that's targeted just to them, roughly 5% of those people will link back to you. So those are two ways. The third way is broken links. So a lot of people link to websites because the Internet is old now. And a lot of those websites disappear. They don't renew their domain name, their hosting goes down, so those links are broken on the Internet. Most people don't know, "Hey, this site doesn't exist anymore. I need to go back to my post that I wrote five years ago and remove that link." So if you can actually, there's broken link checker tools, you just Google broken link check and you'll find them. You can search for keyword and phrases and it will pull up lists of all the websites with broken links.

If any of them are relevant to the space you are in, then you can actually say, "Hey, I noticed you're linking to X, Y, and Z site. I don't know if you knew but that site doesn't exist. The article you are linking to is about resources about dog sitting and we actually have a similar article on our website that's much more thorough. If you want you can just replace that link with mine so that way your visitors aren't being abandoned and going into this virtual space or wormhole where there's nothing.”

When you're building links, any links won't do. Links within your ecosystem from relevant sites always will end up doing better. So if you're an entrepreneur informational site, getting links from like TechCrunch, Mashable, GigaOm, YEC, any entrepreneurial site, even is going to be much more effective and powerful than if you just got a link from a random site like Joe the Plumber.

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