The following is a precise formula to find the best pages and sites to get links from. These links FYI are called “backlinks” or “inbound links.” It’s a combination of keyword research (i.e. finding the keywords that will send you the most and best highest converting traffic), competitive research, and generally cross-referencing data to find the most powerful links.
1) Do keyword research using keyworddiscovery.com, semrush.com, and Google’s “Keyword Tool”: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal . The goal is to find the keywords that get the most monthly searches on Google at this point. Those tools will help you find more and more keywords by entering the keywords you know your users search for. You’ll most likely be surprised at how many other keywords you find, especially when you find keywords you never thought of that get more monthly searches than your initial seed keywords you started with. SEM Rush will help you find keywords by looking at what keywords send the most traffic to your competitors. You can use all these tools in combination to expand your keyword list, continually expanding your list of keywords, and learning new ones from the previous ones you discovered. Just think about it as a never-ending synonym finding game where one keyword will help you find another and so on.
2) Find the most effective keywords, measured by the ratio of # of monthly searches to the amount of pages indexed for those searches. Google tells you the # of pages that contain your search phrase. You already know the # of searches your keywords get from the tools listed in step #1. So simply build this ratio here by putting the # of searches your keywords get in the denominator. Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker application will automatically do all this for you:
That ratio by the way is called “KEI,” which stands for “Keyword Effectiveness Indicator.” The net result will be you can sort a list of all your keywords with the ones with the highest KEI at the top.
3) Take your keywords, and find your top competitors in Google. You can either eye-ball it by seeing which sites come up the most often across your keywords (specifically your keywords with the highest KEI), or automate it with a script. The script, which I can’t share at this time, should grab the top 20 listings from google for each of your keywords, and record their position in terms of points (i.e. where a position of 1 which is great is equal to 20 points), and then whenever the same site is found again, it would add more points for that site. Then at the end, you can sort your list of sites discovered by those that earned the most points--those are your biggest competitors. You’ll want to remove sites like about.com and wikipedia.com since they’re generic and cover many niches (not just yours), and therefore not true competitors.
4) Find as many backlinks as you can from your top competitors. The list of competitors for which you find backlinks can be as big or small as you want. I usually use no less than 10 competitors and no more than 100. In this step, you’re now finally finding potential pages and sites to link to you. But there is more to it...
5) Then find the “link hubs” that link to the largest number of your competitors. You will find that the same site is linking to multiple of your competitors’ sites. These sites are therefore very likely to link to you too. If you find individual pages that link to your competitors, there is a high chance you can get a link on that page, as it’s usually a list of competing/similar sites. You can eye-ball this by comparing each competitor’s list of backlinks, or run them through a script that finds the backlinks that occur the most.
6) Take all the backlinks that link to at least 2 of your competitors, and collect the following data on them by importing them into Link Assistant’s SEO SpyGlass application (http://www.link-assistant.com/seo-spyglass/ ) :
-domain Page Rank (Google’s formula for the amount of link juice a site has received)
-Webpage Page rank (Google’s formula for the amount of link juice an individual web page has received)
-yahoo link popularity
-their page titles
-the # of inbound and outboud links on each page (if they link out to too many places, they don't have much link juice to pass on to you)
SEO SpyGlass will list all these backlink pages and let you filter by the above columns of data to find the best pages to get links from. You can also export the data into a spreadsheet, and write a formula to combine all these pieces of information into cells in one column that you can then filter by. The idea is that this single column would contain the master score. The pages at the top are the first ones you want to go after to get links from.
Note: if you didn’t find many link hubs web pages, it’s fine to produce the above list in SEO SpyGlass using all your backlinks. You’ll want to do both, starting with link hubs you find.
That program makes it very easy to email out requests to the sites found in the previous steps. Basically you can import all the previous backlinks and linkhubs, and start an email thread with the owners of those sites, and keep the thread associated with the initial backlink so you can track communication with many webmasters. You’ll want to checkout the actual backlink pages and the sites that contain them to get to know the webmaster you will be requesting a link from. The email you write will need to be smart if you plan to get a link. Like, don’t just ask for a link on a given page, but rather try to add value to their site. If you know you’re link may go good in an article that discusses several other complementary sites (that aren’t your competitors), then you may want to write that article and provide a list of those sites and suggest the webmaster add the article to his site.
That all said, LinkAssistant also has several tools itself to find potential link partners and skip the last few steps. It can automatically find sites that link to your competitors, find sites by keyword, and even find sites that have article submission forms and then automate the submission of the content you want to post to it. These tools aren’t as thorough as my above process, but it can make it a lot easier if you want to skip a few steps and just start getting links. The benefit of doing my complete research techniques above is that you’ll basically leave no potential link unturned.
8) The last step is to use LinkAssistant’s Rank Tracker application: http://www.link-assistant.com/rank-tracker/ . That application will produce graphs of your rankings (in Google, Yahoo, etc) for all the keywords you import. Simple as that. You can of course also filter lists of your keywords by their ranking position, KEI, # of searches, competition, etc. Rank Tracker will also generate a mini site you can send to clients summarizing how your keywords are doing. Of all the applications mentioned in this tutorial, you’ll want to use Rank Tracker no matter what, even if you go hire an Indian firm to get you tons of links from user generated social networking sites. There are many applications that help track your ranking, and I’ve always found Rank Tracker to be the most feature-packed over the years.
FINAL NOTES: the above formula can be modified and you can skip steps. The point is that it highlights key roundabout ways to get unique and helpful information, such as the part about finding link hubs; and it also explains how to do all this research thoroughly. If you understand how to do it thoroughly, you can start with bite-size chunks of whatever parts you find easiest. Inevitably you’ll end up with huge lists of backlinks, and you’ll need to find various ways to filter the lists down to just those that will give you the most link juice and are most likely to link to you. Sites that let you submit to them are highly likely to link to you because you can do it yourself. Pages that list tons of sites are likely to squeeze you in there, and often direct you to contact them if you’d like to be added. Small blogs with personal webmasters are also likely to link to you, but only if you can give them a worth wild reason to do so. Coming up with that reason will be up to you to try and figure out until you determine what aspect of your business these guys are likely to write about. This will also be very effective from a PR standpoint.