How We Work

Exactly what we do for link building clients

I founded blinko because I saw a serious gap in the market for white hat link building. Despite all the warnings from Google and the horror stories from buying cheap SEO and cheap backlinks, companies have been buying junk for years. SEO on its own is an all encompassing term, but we focus on link building, because time and time again it’s proven to be the number 1 most important factor when it comes to gaining more traffic from Google.

In just over a year, we’ve grown to over 10 clients – mainly ambitious online businesses who already understand what SEO is and have good foundational SEO for their website, but who want to start seriously driving organic traffic.

Even some of the best digital search agencies charging their clients upwards of $250 per hour have no idea how to seriously scale and implement link building processes for their clients.

With that in mind, I want to show you exactly how my process works and how we do things, because if you’re paying good money then you deserve transparency and our process shows the skilled & intensive methods that go into our white hat link building service.

Analysis

Analytics & Search Console

In this initial phase, I get access to your Google analytics and search console to get a full picture of your website – Your most popular content, how long users are spending on your website, what pages they’re visiting and how they’re finding your website organically from Google.

Keyword analysis

I then use industry-leading SEO tools like Ahrefs, Majestic and SEMrush to figure out some keyword analysis and to decide which keywords we’d like to target;

  • Which of your keywords & pages earn you the most traffic
  • Whether you have any keywords with great potential – these are normally keywords ranked 5th-3oth which have a great potential for low traffic
  • Whether you have any ‘low hanging fruit’ – keywords ranked in the top 30 which have low competition, where we can raise rankings and see a strong impact, and therefore a strong ROI

Link audit & anchor text analysis

Again using powerful tools, we look at your existing links & anchor text to make sure there’s nothing ‘unnatural’ or dangerous about your link profile. This is very important, because we’ve worked with companies in the past who have used low-quality SEO services, and have either been penalised by Google or come dangerously close to being penalised by Google.

We ask a number of important questions;

  • Is your link profile safe and unnatural?
  • Is your anchor text ratio OK?
  • What are your metrics like? Domain Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow etc.
  • Do you have solid links in place already?
  • Can we spot some trends that may help us for our link building campaign?

Below – the anchor text profile for Moz.com, a popular marketing website.

Competitor Analysis

This is an invaluable part of the process that has to come during the analysis phase – We check the link profiles & rankings of your direct competitors and keyword competitors. We do this for the following reasons;

  1. To see whether we can emulate some of their successful link building strategies to greater effect
  2. To see how difficult it is to rank for our keyword ambitions – by analysing their link profile and other metrics, we can judge how much time is required into ‘beating’ your competitors

Content Assets

You’ve probably heard the old adage ‘content is king’ – well that’s especially true when it comes to link building. Great content is the number 1 incentive to encourage links to your website – we can leverage great content for links all day long.

It is however important to differentiate between great content and everything else…I can’t recall the number of times I’ve spoken to website owners who say something along the lines of “We’ve got the blog, we’ve got over 20 articles here about shoe cleaning, I can’t understand why nobody is landing on these articles” – That’s because 500 word generic articles thought up and finished in about an hour are not going to work when it comes to building links. They might be OK to inform and educate your existing customers, but they’re certainly not going to help you rank in Google.

We take a full look at your current content situation:

  • What existing content do you have?
  • Do you have a quality content creator?
  • Do you have distribution channels? Social media pages, mailing list, blog subscribers etc.
  • Are you willing to invest in content?

Typically 1 of 2 things happen…

  1. Your existing content is awesome – Great, we record all of the most linkable pieces of content on your site so that we have easy access to them when it comes to link building
  2. Your existing content sucks – We simply need to come up with a plan to create some awesome, linkable content assets

If you have an in-house content creator or someone that you can rely on then great. If not, then you can either hire somebody or I can hire a content creator on your behalf and fully manage them.

It’s important that we establish a content budget for both on-site content and off-site content (that we can place on other websites).

Content will give us a major tactical advantage, it’s worth the time & investment.

Link Building Strategies

Now that we’ve got a solid foundation, we need to establish which link building strategies to implement. We have over 15 link building strategies that we regularly use depending on the client, niche and a number of other factors. Typically we won’t use more than 5 strategies for any one client.

Here’s a list of our core strategies (we select the right ones depending on client)

  • Guest Posts (Content Placement)

This strategy is often used when you don’t have a lot of content available on your website. It involves reaching out to relevant websites in your niche or a similar niche, and offering them an amazing piece of content.

It’s a win-win scenario – They get great free content, and you get a great contextual link back to your website. We target high quality sites with real visitors and solid metrics.

  • Sponsored Posts

This is essentially as guest posting, except we’re paying the website in order to have our content (and link) placed on their website. This can give us a serious competitive advantage, especially in competitive industries, and it also allows us to win links on sites that our competitors couldn’t dream of.

Sponsored posts can often be extremely beneficial in driving a serious amount of referral traffic too, especially if the post heavily features your brand.

  • Link Roundups

Since the dawn of the internet, bloggers have been rounding up their favourite links and articles.

With this strategy, using our advanced Google search operators, we find people who like to do this and we ask them to include our piece of content in a relevant roundup.

  • Resource Pages

Similar to link roundups – People love linking out to their favourite resources, to such an extent that there’s thousands upon thousands of pages on the internet which are entirely dedicated to compiling various resources on a specific topic, and linking out to the source of those resources.

It’s an awesome way to get links to our content assets.

  • Broken Link Building

Many link builders think this is tedious, but in the right industries it’s insanely fruitful. We find broken links related to your niche, and then ask websites to replace the broken link with our link.

Example: Let’s say you’re a mortgage advice blog, and BBC news ran an article about saving money on your mortgage back in 2003.  We discovered the page is broken and no longer accessible. We export all of the pages who were previously linking to that article, and reach out to show them our brand new up-to-date article on mortgage savings. Most of the time, they’ll thank us for our help and swap the link with no questions asked.

Most people think these are hard to find, but we have some awesome methods for finding these opportunities.

  • Link Reclamation

There’s 2 parts to link reclamation;

  1. Finding unlinked brand mentions of your company on the internet and politely asking that they add a link to accompany that mention
  2. Finding ‘lost links’ – Instances where people were previously linking to your company but for whatever reason have removed the link. Again, we politely ask to re-add the link.
  • SkyScraper Method

We start by finding content that was wildly popular and heavily linked to, perhaps from one of the best known bloggers in your niche.

We then create a piece of content which far surpasses that, and approach everyone who mentioned the original article asking them to mention our new and improved article.

  • Top Lists

This is where we create a list of top blogs or resources, post the list on our website and then approach each website or blogger on the list to show them the accomplishment. We then encourage them to mention the accolade on their website. E.G. For a client in healthcare, we may create a list called ‘The Top 100 Health Blogs’.

 

We use advanced strategies for selecting websites with a high probability of linking back to us.

  • Infographics

This is a truly tried and tested method, but one where we don’t cut any corners. We develop an infographic based on insightful, unique data relevant to your industry. We show it to a targetted audience and ask them to share it on their website, with a link back to the original source.

  • Scholarships

This requires an investment – We usually recommend at least $1000 per year. We set up a scholarship on our website and then reach out to universities, colleges and other educational institutions.

 

This method of link building can allow us to win over 100 links to some of the most highly authoritative education sites in the World.

  • University Discounts

Similar to scholarships, this one works exceptionally well for E-commerce brands and those selling a physical or online product. We give Universities an exclusive student discount code for their students to utilise in exchange for listing us on their website. Links from highly trusted sources and potential new customers too!

  • Social Leverage

If our clients have significant social followings, we love to use that to our advantage. People love their brands & blogs being put in front of large social communities, and we have developed some very effective techniques to win a ton of links by offering the value proposition of social media exposure.

  • Online PR

The global PR industry is worth over $15bn, and I know there’s thousands of startups and ambitious brands who have sank extortionate sums into PR companies with little reward.

If you have a unique selling point or a unique story then we can leverage that for completely free, natural PR. We reach out to journalists and online magazines to let them know about the story. Often times, we’ll be asked to pay a sponsorship sum, but it’s probably a whole lot less than a PR company would charge you for the benefit, with a potentially massive upside for your business.

  • Local Bloggers

Using Facebook groups and services like Meetup.com, you would be amazed and astounded at the number of local bloggers in your area. Just because Google can’t easily find them doesn’t mean they’re not there.

We use this tactic to help win local links from relevant local blogs.

Other Link Tactics

  • Reverse Engineering Competitor Links – Where we look at what your competitors are doing, and reverse engineer those opportunities
  • Forum & Comment Links – These are known as ‘spammy’ links, but when executed with quality and moderation they can drive traffic as well as authority
  • Directory Links – Again, you need to be very careful here using only high quality directories and paid directories, since Google has cracked down on low quality directories
  • Manufacturer Links – Useful for companies selling products
  • Conference & Event Links – Useful if you’re speaking at a conference
  • Professional Organizations & Partner Links – It’s useful to join professional organizations and you might as well

Project Management

Now that we have everything in place, we need to create a plan of action that we can methodically execute over a period of time. This is where I create a project management sheet, complete with a management tab.

It means we can account and plan internally for each project, and it means that our clients have full transparency of the work we’re doing.

Prospecting – 4 Methods

For any link building campaign prospecting is the bread and butter. We need to build a list of highly relevant websites to outreach based on our content, link strategy and niche.

We use a number of effective methods for coming up with target prospects for each campaign…

  • Google Search Operators – These are powerful combinations of words and characters that we use to filter out very specific search results from Google.

  • Ahrefs – This is an insanely powerful tool that let’s us export backlink profiles for just about anything you can imagine. Let’s say you’re new vodka company, and there’s an insanely popular article out there on the coolest vodkas in the World. We can find every site linking to that article, contact them and introduce them to our new vodka company.
  • Pitchbox – This is the tool we use for outreach. It’s expensive (Over $400 per month) but it gives us an insane amount of extra power when it comes to prospecting new websites for our clients. We can find blog posts hot off the press (in the last 24 hours), we can find sites that review products just like ours and we can find highly relevant bloggers in our niche.

 

 

  • Manual Prospecting – Tools are great, and they can sometimes help us come up with fantastic targetted lists. However, nothing beats the human eye, and using creativity to come up with a solid list of link targets is the most effective method in the book.

Outreach

So by this point we know the following:

  • What content we want to promote
  • What link strategies we want to use
  • What sites we want to target

Now, we initiate the outreach process.

  1. We find contact information for each target, using tools to help expedite this process when possible
  2. For each target, we craft and send them a personalized email, using unique information and their name if possible
  3. We communicate with those who respond to us, moving them down our pipeline until we’ve won a link
  4. We follow up with those who don’t respond – This is just as important as the initial outreach, over 60% of links are won from follow ups (it shows you’re a real, eager person with a personalized proposal)

Below is our outreach pipeline – to keep track of leads & opportunities

 

We record all of our live links, opportunities and prospect lists in the project management file for safekeeping, so that we can keep track of all of the work we’ve done, and so that our clients have full transparency and visibility on the work we’ve done.

Results & Link Expectations

If you decide to buy our services, you do so simply because you want more traffic to your website from search engines, and you understand that links are the number 1 contributing factor to making that happen.

These are our goals, and these are how we measure results:

  1. Keyword rankings growth – Rankings for your key terms improve as a direct result of our link building efforts.
  2. Referral traffic growth – You gain traffic from people clicking through on the links we built. We build links from very relevant sites where potential customers may be visiting.
  3. Organic traffic growth – Again, because we’re building links on relevant sites, it’s a signal to Google that your website is “better” and you’ll be rewarded with organic growth traffic growth. Your domain authority will also improve over time, creating a snowball effect, where you’ll find it easier to rank for new keywords and new content than previously.

Link Expectations:

This truly depends on the niche you’re in, the amount of quality content you have at your disposal and the reaction we receive from the targets we’re reaching out to.

As a general rule of thumb, we typically build between 10-20 links per month for our mid-tier clients. The situation varies – we have some clients where we’ve regularly surpassed 50, and some extremely difficult clients where we generate 5 or 6.

The more you’re willing to work with me in creating linkable content assets for our link building strategies, the more links we can generate.

Reporting

The level of reporting depends on the level of service you buy, but I guarantee the same thing for every client;

  • Project Management Reporting – You have full access to a shared project management sheet, where you can see exactly what’s happening on a day to day basis
  • Monthly Call – We’ll have a monthly phone call to discuss your campaign, what worked well and what needs calibrated and improved
  • Results – We’ll send a monthly report to look at ranking improvements as well as organic search improvements

Pricing

Hourly pricing is £70-100 across the board and the minimum is 15 hours per month. The amount I charge depends entirely on how much time you want to commit to link building. The less time you select, the less time we have each month to dedicate to more ambitious link building strategies and the slower results will be.

Most people start on £1500 per month, they soon see the work and communication is great and they want to achieve their ambitions, so they invest more each month into the service.

What do our clients say?

We’ve worked with some extremely successful online brands & digital marketing agencies, and we’ve never had a bad review. Our price is far superior to ‘high end’ agencies and our work is far more efficient and effective. Below are a couple of links where you can read more.

  • Case Studies – This is where you can see some of our successful link building strategies in action.
  • Testimonials – From happy clients around the World