How to Streamline and Scale White Hat Link Building

By James Dalton / 24 May 2019

Businesses can achieve a steady flow of white hat links by producing high-quality content, creating linkable assets, and developing a repeatable process.

Producing quality content and building white hat links are two of the most important things businesses need to do to improve their search engine rankings. 

Building to white hat links is the safest way to stay immune to any updates Google makes to its algorithm, but building a lot of these links can be difficult. 

However, there are strategies that your business can implement that will help you streamline the link building process and scale the process so that you have a steady flow of quality links and can rank on Google or non-Google search engines

What Is “White Hat”? 

White hat SEO means using techniques that abide by Google’s quality guidelines around content and SEO practices

Google’s ultimate aim is to provide users with the best experience and most relevant search results possible. The easiest way to ensure everything you do is white hat is to make sure it is geared toward user satisfaction.

Businesses can no longer manipulate search results through clever tricks and keyword optimization. The loading speed of your site, the quality of your hosting, and the level of trust Google has for your site all play a part in how your site ranks. 

Google’s AI-powered algorithm has evolved so that optimizing for Google means optimizing for the best user experience. 

Don’t Just Create Content - Create Linkable Assets

In order to attract high-quality links, you need to produce high-quality content, which is the cornerstone of any white hat strategy. 

To attract links at scale, businesses should focus on not only creating content, but creating linkable assets. 

Linkable assets are pieces of content that will attract links quickly and easily because they deliver obvious value. 

The type of linkable asset you create will depend entirely on your own research and knowledge of your particular niche or market. You should know your target customer and what type of content and topics will appeal to them.

Consider How Scope and Time Can Help You Attract Links

For content to attract links on a genuinely large scale, there are two conditions your content should meet:

1. It Should Have Mass Appeal

The more people your content appeals to, the more links it is capable of attracting. 

If you operate within a fairly obscure or specialized niche, think of creative ways to create content pieces that are related but will appeal to a wider audience. For example, instead of “Red Raincoats for Black Labrador Puppies” think “Clothing for Dogs.” 

IFLScience creates content on scientific subjects that are intended for a wider audience, not just scientists. They explore topics such as artificial intelligence algorithms and give it mass appeal by relating it to “Game of Thrones.”

By giving your products or services mass appeal, you will be able to relate to more consumers and broaden your target audience. 

2. It Should Be Evergreen

The longer your asset remains relevant, the more time it has to attract link opportunities. 

Evergreen content can provide a sustainable link flow versus content that has an expiration date. 

Streamline the Link Building Process Through an Organized, Deliberate Strategy

Your processes should become standardized, refined, and made repeatable if you want to scale link building efforts.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be created, documented and simplified in a way that any employee or virtual assistant is able to follow.

For example, Dan Ray is known for his ability to streamline standardized link building procedures. He runs a one-man “agency” where he is able to service clients while only having to dedicate around four hours a week to run his campaigns.

He has been able to do this by refining, breaking down, and documenting each part of his process, which he is then able to leave in the hands of VAs to execute.

His documentation includes a project tracker spreadsheet that acts as the heart of each project.  

Ray's spreadsheet tracks each link's owner, type, task, and status. This helps him map out the links he's building to his website.

This spreadsheet consists of the: 

  • Project plan
  • Types of links to be targeted
  • Target sites
  • Replies from outreach
  • Whether a link is scheduled or published
  • Information about content used as linkable assets
  • Content ideas for future assets
  • All relevant login information for accounts

When searching for link opportunities, he uses a master, advanced, Google search, operators document that contains hundreds of search operators used to find opportunities for all different link types, and a master outreach template document.

In this tracking sheet, he documents the link type, operator, and query.

For every type of link opportunity, he has a master training document that explains what each link type is (e.g., link roundups, broken link building, competitor links, resource pages, and directory links), how to prospect for it, how outreach should be conducted, and specific outreach template examples for each link type. 

Whether within a business, agency, or used by an individual, having a streamlined set of standard link building procedures builds efficiency through repetition. Having a step by step process cuts out wasted time and allows you to grow your efforts. 

Scale Your Link Building Efforts

The key to link building is outreach. Although it is your content that will lead you to win a link, it’s outreach that makes this content visible.

To truly build links at scale is a numbers game, which means perfection is less important than being consistent and ongoing. 

Perrin Carrell of Authority Hacker advocates for applying the Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 rule, to your outreach link building efforts. This means that since 80% of results come from 20% of your effort, businesses should focus on the actions that produce the biggest impact.

To truly achieve scale, he recommends focusing on 3 metrics, with the aim of optimizing each one: Links Per Hour, Cost Per Link, and Emails Sent.

The way to increase links per hour and reduce cost per link is to maximize emails sent. This means not using high levels of personalization. 

The number of links required to build an authoritative and high earning site is only achieved through thousands of sent emails - and the time and cost involved in personalizing every one are just too prohibitive. 

Apply the 80-20 philosophy to specific parts of your prospecting and outreach to boost efficiency. Each step of the process should be tested and refined. 

For example, when using advanced search operators to find link prospects, a lot of them will yield inappropriate or unusable results. As you discover which ones produce the best results, add these to a list and use only these in the future.

Identify which types of link outreach work best and yield the best results for your content and site overall. Depending on your niche and the type of content you produce, you may find that guest posts get you the most links, followed by link roundups and resource links. Concentrate most of your efforts on the types of outreach that receive the most links.

But what about the other side of the 80-20 effort coin that yields only 20% of results? 

There are times when aiming for scale isn’t always going to cut it, and that’s the case when trying to build links to your most high-quality content from high authority sites. A mass, non-personalized approach will not work for building these types of links.

The approach is still simple: build your list of target high authority sites, find the contact details for the right person, craft a personalized, relationship-building outreach email (never send a generic template), and follow up. 

No matter what scale you build links on, even if you’re sending hundreds of emails a day and targeting thousands of sites a week, careful, personalized outreach is still a must in order to build links from truly high authority sites. 

These are the links that take the most effort and yield the least number of results, but the power of these links make the time and effort worth it.

Building Your White Hat Strategy Takes Time

According to top SEO companies and experts, the key to streamlining and scaling your link building efforts is making it an ongoing and long-term effort.

Maximizing the number of links to your content through large-scale link building efforts requires you and your team to become a well-oiled machine with a process that works and that you can trust. 

The number and quality of links you can get through streamlining and scaling make the trial and error involved in perfecting that process worth it many times over.


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