What Links Does Google Think Are Relevant? Look at Your SERP Competitors
Pounding your head against the wall, wondering what, oh what, great and mighty Google do you think are relevant authorative links to a site like mine? Well, a partial answer can be had by actually looking at a SERP. Gasp! Duh! If I look at the backlinks of the top ranking sites then I might have a solid start on what links will be needed to compete.
Take down the top ranking domains that are for your actual competitors, I’d generally skip directories like Yelp or Yellowpages that rank above you. Do this for your top 3 keywords you’re fairly sure will lead to the most revenue and add them to a spreadsheet.
Take the Best, Leave The Rest
I’m sorry. You’re quite likely going to be pissed when you do this, because you’re going to find some really crappy links and probably some outright spam and links from hacked sites. This is the seedy underbelly of Google. The truth is that many industries and queries have sites riding high with crappy links.
You’re going to come across some stinky links, remember your goal here is to find the gold not the dross. You can of course use tools and metrics like Domain Authority, but don’t ignore your own instincts. How many links on each page, how well curated it is, etc.
Categorize the worthwhile links you find: Free directories, Paid directories, editorial lists on static pages, blog links, banner ad/sponsorship badges, Charity links, etc. You’ll find the patterns for your niche and industry as you repeat the process.
Now you need to just decide which of those are worth your time or budget for pursuit. Yes, some directories can still be worth it, especially if you’re seeing 2 or more competitors listed there.
What’s Missing From The Mix?
Here’s where you take it to the next level. Now you know what ingredients have been mixed together to create the current rankings you can see what’s missing! I’m guessing that many competitors are actually lacking in one way or another, perhaps they rely heavily on directories or just a few powerful links. It’s time to put your thinking cap on and try some new link strategies, here’s a ton of strategies from Backlinko to keep you busy!