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Mastering the Art of Link Building w/ Adam Steele

adam steele

Ryan Stewart

I build, grow and sell digital agencies. Most recently, WEBRIS, a 7 figure SEO agency.

25th November 2020

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Timestamps

  • 00:00 Tell us about yourself and what you do?
  • 02:50 Was it a big decision to show people the inventory ahead of time and how does that work?
  • 05:55 Tell us about the process you build a list and your inventory. Are you going niche specific?
  • 10:36 What is your advice on link building for sites related to CBD and Vape?
  • 14:00 How do you handle clients with a sensitive niche like gambling or pill-related companies?
  • 16:40 How do people understand how much they should pay for a link?
  • 18:25 What is it that you look for in terms of a good link for you personally?
  • 22:05 What are the primary drivers on how you price links?
  • 25:10 Do you only count do-follow links or do you count no-follow as well?
  • 27: 15 What do you think about building links for foreign languages?
  • 30:00 What does your stack look like?
  • 32:30 Do you have a preferred strategy when trying to determine link requirements?
  • 35:40 Do you get any feedback from your customers that get lengths about the results they receive from the links?
  • 39:30 Do directories still work?
  • 44:17 How to find the right number of links per each month?
  • 45:45 Have you experienced building links to sites that are partially manually penalized by Google?

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00:00 Tell us about yourself and what you do?

I founded Loganix about 10 years ago. Part of my focus at Loganix is on the product. I was inspired to join The Blueprint by all the SOPs and the processes you’ve built, so I decided to dig into the product.

I’ve started building the keyword research, gap analysis, and all the SOPs around that subject. This is one of the new products at Loganix and basically, we are an SEO fulfillment company mainly for agencies but we have in-house clients as well.

02:50 Was it a big decision to show people the inventory ahead of time and how does that work?

I literally think about it every single day and wonder if I’m making the right call doing that because we still get pushback from people asking why we’re showing our list. We put some things in place, like an NDA and there’s a manual approval process that nobody gets to see our list before we put eyes on them, so to speak.

We’ve included customer surveys and while talking with our customers, all of them want to see the list before anything else.

Our user base tends to be on the advanced side and they want to see the metrics. I appreciate that because we always say to our clients that we do things the way they would do them if they had the time to do them.

05:55 Tell us about the process you build a list and your inventory. Are you going niche specific?

In the past, it was all about brokers. We didn’t work one-to-one with sites or if we did, it was rare. It was all about leveraging others that had done all the outreach for us at a scale that we just hadn’t figured out at that time.

Somewhere in the middle, we started doing it ourselves, in addition to still having those valuable relationships with these very hard working and scaled brokers.

We started doing a little bit of our own and eventually, we realized that if we’re going to do outreach, then we need to do it for the sites that have DR of 70 or greater.

10:36 What is your advice on link building for sites related to CBD and Vape?

I try not to worry too much about that as far as SEO is concerned. And as far as link building for CBD is concerned, it’s okay.

People are offering money upfront. I will give you 300 bucks for that link straight up. I’m generalizing, but they’ve got it in their head that they can expect money.

There are a number of sites that are going to expect a premium for that CBD insertion because they feel that either CBD has got a lot of money or they are taking a risk. I think that’s starting to change the sensitivity around this subject. I’m seeing bigger sites happy to link to CBD.

14:00 How do you handle clients with a sensitive niche like gambling or pill-related companies?

There’s plenty of legitimate pill-related companies as well as fine poker or gambling-related companies. And there are plenty of sites that are happy to link to them.

So who am I to cast any judgment or anything like that?

It’s not that I will charge more, but the brokers will want more. We have a formula that attaches our little margin on top of whatever they’re charging and that dictates the price.

There are lists within our database that are more friendly than others. We created, for example, a CBD friendly list because of the incredible demand for CBD, and we’re doing the same thing for gaming and gambling. And there are lists within our system that are just an absolute no-go.

16:40 How do people understand how much they should pay for a link?

It’s their site. They can charge whatever they want. They have a media kit in the footer and you open that PDF up and it’s got a price in it.

One of the reasons that we shared our list was so that our customers could do their own due diligence because some of this stuff is super subjective.

18:25 What is it that you look for in terms of a good link for you personally?

I would start with the metrics. I’m not going to look at anything unless it meets a certain point. I can filter out a ton of sites and then I can start looking at the qualitative stuff. At a bare minimum, I’m probably gonna look at 15 CF, 15 TF, probably 20 DR, 20 DA.

Then I look into things like indexed pages. At that point, I would open up the site, and pull up 10 of their most recent posts that were updated or created.

I’m looking at the design, I’m looking at who they’re linking out to how they’re linking out to them. Is it natural? Is it not?

22:05 What are the primary drivers on how you price links?

We have two tracks for link building:

  1. One is, the clients tell us what’s important to them and we provide them a list of suggested sites and they pick the ones they like.
  2. The other, we call it the shop. This model allows clients to dig through our list and apply their own metrics.

In the first case, I always ask myself, what would I pay for this link? And if I pay, I suspect others will too.

In the second case, the site charges us a fee and we just apply a multiplier so that we make enough money to cover.

25:10 Do you only count do-follow links or do you count no-follow as well?

Those links tend to be part of our shop method. And so it’s priced based on whatever the broker or the site or the webmaster or the contributor, charges us.

27: 15 What do you think about building links for foreign languages?

It would be hard for me to do any Q&A on the content and make sure that it was well-written content because I can’t read it, so that would be challenging.

Also, if I’m trying to apply weight to language or relevancy, I’ll probably be leaning towards what my user base is likely to be.

30:00 What does your stack look like?

Previously, we did check out Pitchbox. This was at a time where we were just into that transition period between, do we really want to be doing outreach at that kind of scale?

We determined that no, we want to do things smaller scale, higher quality. And it was determined at that time that we’re actually going to do this manually.

We literally use a Google account and some good old spreadsheets.

32:30 Do you have a preferred strategy when trying to determine link requirements?

Lately, I’ve been focusing on less relevant websites, but more authoritative websites. I find that DR is a little bit more specific versus DA. No metric is great, but DA is just a little bit broader. It includes a few more things than DR does.

I have been having plenty of success going super high authority, really good metrics, real site, real engagement, and real traffic.

If I was to build a link building strategy for a client, without analyzing the SERP and without analyzing what is propelling other people to top spots.

I would tend to lean towards a little bit more niche relevancy, but mixing in plenty of high authority links where possible that aren’t at all niche relevant but have incredible metrics.

35:40 Do you get any feedback from your customers that get lengths about the results they receive from the links?

Five years ago, I had customers that were on me right away, but not anymore.

I don’t get those questions or those comments from clients anymore, which is strange, but I think it’s just sort of an education piece that this is something you invest in over time, and you look at it as a three and a six-month timeline.

39:30 Do directories still work?

Local directories don’t work the way they used to. I build them if I’m a local business, but I will also explore the landscape to see what my competitors have.

Citations tend to be such an inexpensive line item that I think a lot of us just build them, get them done, get them out of the way, and move on to more important things.

On the other hand, I do believe there are plenty of what we call web directories or sort of membership-based directories where you do pay for something and perhaps it is niche relevant. That could be totally worth it.

44:17 How to find the right number of links per month?

I just look at the keywords that we’re competing for. How many clicks, how many links are the competitors getting, looking at that philosophy to just kind of understand.

If you are strategically building links, then you always want to be conscious of that.

45:45 Have you experienced building links to sites that are partially manually penalized by Google?

I haven’t dealt with a penalized site in years. If you are in a position where you’re having Google review your link profile, they’re seeing the new links you are acquiring too.

I would still build links, but I would be very careful about it as long as there is a reason, a good argument for Google re-including you or releasing you from their grasp.

You don’t want to invest in a website that’s gone, that you’ve been spamming for years and it’s just going to take you forever to remove those bad links.

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