The EarnedLinks Methodology: a proven process for growing authority backlink profiles with link earning.

If your backlinks are high in authority but you don’t know how to increase your link profile any further, you’ll find this useful. It’s an overview of the Earned Links link earning strategy, which we use on all of our clients. link-building-services-majestic-keyword-cloud-reportThe Earned Links Methodology – a systematic process.

Beyond best practices

Someone suggested we write an article about best practices for link earning. You know the kind of thing: write killer content, “authority” promotion, link out- reach, etc. Unfortunately, those cliché catch phrases don’t take you very far. In fact, the often times lead to frustration.

The real best practice isn’t a particular link building tactic or strategy at all. It’s a well-defined, systematic process—a series of tested and measureable steps you need to take.

The Earned Links system is significantly different from what most link building companies are doing. We’ve spoke on this many time at conference talks, but this is the first time we’ve published an overview of the process. Shoot-from-the-hip guesswork, is not involved and it doesn’t have the buzz and excitement that growth hacking or re-branded ancient tactics. In fact, in most respects it looks a lot like hard work. It requires dillegence, discipline, intelligence, experience, artistic flare, and expertise in a wide range of digital marketing avenues. But experience has shown us and our clients that it works, time and time again. It’s what we do every day for our clients and you.

And we are proud that some of the web’s most sophisticated companies have adopted it; we’ve spent the past few years working with clients like NASCAR, Digital Fax Giants, Winnebago and Sony—plus some sophisticated, forward-looking small businesses. Improvements of over 300% in relevant traffic are commonplace.

In summary, link earning works.

Here it is.

Step 1: The Rules of the Game (and how to win at it): Coming up with your strategy, defining your long-term goals, and deciding how you’ll measure success

Many link builders start out by outsourcing link building to other agencies. We advise you to resist the urge to do this and keep your link building strategies in house or under a microscope. Here are a few reasons why:

You need to find out (not guess) which pieces of linkable content are underperforming and why

Most organizations come to us with a preconceived idea of what “link building” should look like. Ironically, the best backlink opportunities usually lie elsewhere—in their blind spots. First, we insist on discussing the client’s current linking strategies and visions for the business. You need to define the (KPIs) key performance indicators that will ensure you gain vertical-relevant authoritative backlinks.

You don’t yet know why people aren’t linking to your website.

At this point, you also don’t know why your links are not bringing value in measureable rankings and the respective traffic.   This means any suggestions you make would be theoretical rather than based on evidence. From our link earning experience, evidence-based strategies are much more likely to give breakthrough results than ho-hum “link building best practice” ones.

You need to experience your link building with a “fresh pair of eyes”

It is important to have blogger empathy and to understand the thought processes your linking prospects go through. If you look at your website from a SEO only perspective, you’ll act like a marketer. This comes off as very off putting when requesting consideration for a great backlink. So, if you aren’t already, you need to become potential back linker to your site’s pages. (You’d be amazed how many folks do not do this.)

Step 2: Understanding (and tuning) existing linking sources

It’s impossible to critique a website without knowing from where its visitors and backlinks are coming, on which pages they arrive, and how they navigate around the site(knows as user experience).

link-building-strategy-tactical-blueprint-vin-diagramTake a bird’s-eye view of your brand’s web properties, identifying the areas that appear to hold the greatest opportunity that will entice your visitors to link to you, or at least come back and enjoy your content.

Seek to understand your entire backlink profile, starting with the internal links where your webpages link to each other within your content.

Seek to understand your entire backlink profile, starting with the internal links where your webpages link to each other within your content and finishing with the external backlinks with solid metrics on DA(domain authority), PA ( page Authority) CF ( Citation Flow, and Majestic Trust Flow(MTF).

To understand your backlink authority profile, harvest data from any and all SEO tools at your disposal. Some great ones are Ahrefs, MOZ open site explorer, Majestic SEO and Keyword Studio…to name a few. It is also a great idea to source your direct and indirect competitors link building strategies that can be gleamed from their backlink profile as well.

Set goals to work on the biggest win areas of your business instead of targeting keyword that may be lucrative or easy to rank for. Your time is utilized seeking in-vertical backlink partners and authors that will bolster your Authority in what returns the most ROI.keywords . Also prioritize your link earning strategies on parts of your business that are easiest to make changes to.

The best way to visualize this link building company process is by thinking about an evergreen tree with branches and leaves as backlinks the funnel the life into your “trunk” or pillar areas of content that attract the type of links you want.

Missing links are parts of your backlink authority profile that have not been created yet, such as these: