Semrush SEO Reality Show is back for episode two with our new client: the artisanal Edelweiss Bakery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the US. In the previous episode, the expert agency identified the brand’s core competitors, flagging six competing sites that they considered to be the most important based on factors including steady growth.
The next task was to find the reason for the positive dynamics these sites had; which pages and which keywords helped the sites collect the most traffic. The agency wanted to dive deep into this to assess which sites they would place backlinks on.
In this episode, we’re going to look at one of the main components of SEO success, which is building a strong link profile by getting more links to our site pages from other domains to rank higher in the search results.
Step 1 — Finding Prospects
To work with the link profile of the bakery's website, the agency used the Link Building Tool from Semrush. This is a service that helps to select sites automatically by simply setting a list of competitors and keywords.
To access the tool the agency created a new project on the Semrush platform.
The project creation process includes two stages:
1. Entering the keywords to rank for
The agency leaves the list of keywords suggested by the tool.
2. Entering competitors to monitor
In many cases, the list of your competitors will depend on the keywords that you enter, but the agency, in this case study, added in the additional competitors they’d compiled from their previous research. This expanded the list of potential sites and publications that Semush will recommend for backlink opportunities.
After processing all of this data (it took less than a minute), Semrush compiles a list of sites that could be a good fit for the bakery to work with, flagging the donors whose links would provide the strongest results. They do this by showing you two metrics:
- The Authority Score, which tells you about the authority of the domain. The higher the site authority, the more valuable the backlink to your site will be.
- Rating, which Semrush defines as a compilation of over 50 different factors based on quality and accessibility; the higher the rating, the more value a backlink from these sites would become.
To select the best donors, the agency sorts them by their Rating in descending order, chooses donors that have an Authority Score of 50 or higher, and a Rating score of 4 or higher. Then they select the needed domains and click the “In progress” button.
The agency is particularly interested in sites that already have links to our competitors. To see them, they go to the Competitors tab in the Link Building Tool, do the same prioritization as above for AS and Rating indicators, get a list of the most important donors and add them to the “In Progress” tab. For these guys, they would prepare personalized letters with the most interesting offers for them.
When using this process to find backlink opportunities for our artisanal bakery, the expert agency ended up with a list of 83 potential link donors and publications added to In Progress tab.
Step 2 — Prioritizing Prospects
The next step is assessing whether or not the site would be a fit for the client, the agency looked at the thematic nature of the resource and its own quality of published content. The sites needed to have a similar theme, a local callback, or a local news resource. No sites with a Rating under a 4 worked for the agency, but in some cases it may work.
After our list of 83 donors list is ready, the agency checked the selected links for the overall adequacy and relevance of the site's theme to the promoted site. All this can be done directly in the tool by selecting the unnecessary site and clicking on the Delete button.
As the agency is going through this process, they remember to connect Google Search Console in order to see the backlinks that Google sees for the cleint's website. This can help to automatically mark already acquired backlinks, and rest assured that your most important backlinks have been indexed by Google.
Step 3 — Reaching Out to Prospects Directly From the Tool
The next step for the agency is to set up the process of email distribution to potential donors without leaving the Semrush platform. To do this, they firstly connected their mailbox to the tool.
Then, the agency went to the “In Progress” tab and clicked Contact to send the message. Semrush has already taken care to find the contacts to which they need to send a newsletter.
The agency also chose the email template and customized it.
After performing the above integrations and configuring templates for mailing, the agency started sending out pitches to relevant publications while tracking open rates, responses, and acceptances. You can see the current number of referring domains of the bakery's competitors below.
In an ideal world, they could send pitches to every website on the list and get acceptances from each, dramatically improving our own Domain Authority Score to quickly overtake the competitors by the total number of referring domains. However, in real life, it's not that easy. We'll keep you updated on the actual progress of new links acquisition.
Step 4 — Locating Additional Opportunities
Remember: the link building process is continuous.
To speed up the process of analyzing competitors and adding new sites the agency used the Backlink Gap tool. They entered the domain name of the bakery's site and the site of its competitor and voila! Semrush showed them those links that they may be lacking to get to the top positions of SERP.
By default, Semrush sorts the domains using the Best filter, which is perfect for the agency's task. The hint that is displayed when hovering over the filter is: “Domains that point to all competitors, but not to You-domain.”
The agency sorted the list of domains by the Authority Score metric, then selected sites with an Authority Score score of at least 50, and clicked Start Outreach. Please note that the service allows you to reach out to more than 100 sites at a time. If you have more than this, work in several rounds.
The expert agency used Semrush and the steps laid out above. They prepared a list of 52 domains that would be a great fit for placing backlinks using Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool and Link Building tool. This list can be viewed and managed directly in the Link Building tool. You can check the exported list of our domains here, in the “Backlinks Priority List” tab, where the bakery’s competitors’ are highlighted in blue.
These strategies are easy for our readers to replicate as they look for new potential backlink donors and publications to increase their link-building portfolio.
We’ve reached the end of this episode, but make sure that you stay tuned! In the coming weeks, we’re going to analyze the semantics of the bakery’s competitors, build the structure of their site, determine the primary groups of keywords to target, and create mockups for new landing pages. Stay tuned!