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9 Ways to Make the Best of Link Building with SEMrush

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9 Ways to Make the Best of Link Building with SEMrush

This post is in English
Yulia Shevy
This post is in English
9 Ways to Make the Best of Link Building with SEMrush

I have been chatting with many of our users that have different SEO specializations and what I like about the pros who take care of link building is that they never ask why or what to do. Instead, they suggest many new awesome ideas on what is important in link building nowadays and how to deal with Google’s new rules effectively. I have decided to put together a list of best “moves” and ways of using SEMrush features that I gathered from our conversations and that proved to work for our users.

In this list you will find suggestions on how to:

  • Find ideas for link building and maintain the results of your efforts
  • Quickly get rid of harmful backlinks.

  • Choose the best ideas for content creation, where best means the content which brings you relevant traffic from many sources, just the way Google recommends.

  • Speed up the process of getting new links.

Let’s take a look at how we can make it all using the SEMrush toolkit.

Move №1. Check Exactly What Is New in Your Backlink Profile

The first one might look like a control freak’s habit, but most of the experts recommend scheduling this check every 2 weeks since that is typically how long it takes for Google to index new links. Time spent on monitoring will pay off for several reasons.

Let’s start with a nice one, which is tracking the results of your success. Type your domain into our Backlinks report. Choose the quick filter “New” backlinks, and as an option pick only the “Follow” type to check the most valuable ones first. This way you can see whether your previous outreach activities, viral PR campaign, affiliate program or any other kind of marketing cooperation came to naught. Combine this data with the amount of referral traffic from your Google Analytics and send it to your client or boss to prove that you are doing great work.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

At the same time, monitoring new backlinks can help you to quickly detect, and more importantly eliminate, the harm from toxic links that you didn't expect to get. This could happen due to a rival spam attack, incompetent work of your contractor or a variety of other reasons.

Stay in the Backlinks report, use “All Links”, and choose ascending sorting by Trust Score, which is a good detector of an undesirable referring domain.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

Once you find a suspicious link, add it to the Disavow list in one click. If you haven’t set up the Backlink Audit Tool for the analyzed domain yet, we will prompt you to do so or export your findings in a txt file. If you do have one, then in the Disavow list you will be able to add it to the Disavow tab in your current project, so that you can send it to the Google Disavow Tool afterward.

Move №2. Get Everything You Have Lost Back

Getting new backlinks each time is a big deal. So, what you might want to do is to make sure that you keep the valuable links as long as possible. Choose the “Lost” backlink from your profile and add the “Follow” filter and descending sorting by the Trust Score. This way you will find the biggest losses of all - backlinks from the trusted domains. Try to reach out to the owners again and get your backlink back.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

Move №3. Steal Only the Best Link Building Ideas From the Right Rivals

Stealing ideas is not a bad thing in a world where everything has already been invented. Let’s see how we can take advantage of this rule in link building. Our recent Ranking Factors study proved the fact that the number of referring domains has a high impact on the way Google evaluates your site. But how do you choose the right people to steal ideas from?

From the recommendation of brainiacs amongst our users we recently launched our new Competitors report, where you can find your rivals based on the number of your common backlinks correlated with the size of the websites’ backlink profiles (to avoid detecting Wikipedia-type giants, which you don’t want to analyze). These would be companies who are receiving referral traffic from the relevant resources where your target audience are most likely spending time.

SEMrush backlinks competitors report

Now we know whose referring domains we want to analyze. Pick up to five domains you like the most and add them to the next Comparison tab. Here, in the table based on the Referring Domains choose ascending sorting in the column with your domain and you can see all the websites where your rivals have managed to get a backlink and you haven’t. Go through that list to put together your future “outreach” list, but don’t forget to pay attention to the columns with Trust Score and Domain Score to only choose worthwhile domains.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

Move №4. Find the Ideas for content that are worth your investment

If you have ever struggled with the issue of what content to create, you know how hard it is to make such decisions. This is a very time and money consuming process. At the end of the day, you want your readers to convert into customers. But first, you need to get traffic. Earning visibility on Google might take time, but there is always an option to get referral traffic. In our Indexed Pages report you can find ideas for such “backlink attractive” content. Type in your rival’s domain and see what pages attract the biggest number of links from different domains.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

Usually, you will see the home page in the first position. Further results might surprise you or prove some logical industry trends, such as the growing popularity of comprehensive educational guides or studies. In some cases, you can find out the highest trending topics in your niche, or popular products of your rivals and what bloggers are more likely to recommend. Try this approach when building your content strategy.

Move №5. Smartly Use Redirects for Previously Successful Pages

It is pretty common to do a great job earning backlinks to, let's say, a particular product page, but after that, you get lost in new marketing campaigns and just miss the moment when that page stops working. Let’s take a look at Sephora’s case.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

Almost 1000 domains linked to their awesome hair kit, but the product is gone, most likely along with potential customers.

Sephora-product-page

What would be good to do here is to redirect to a page with a similar product, or at least a category of the product: https://www.sephora.com/hair-care-sets.

It is important to pay attention to your top performing pages from a backlink perspective, not only because you don’t want to lose clients, but you also don’t want to ruin relations with people linking to you for future cooperation.

Move №6. Make Your Backlink Profile as Natural as Google Wants

Anchor text has never been a silver bullet in regards to links indexing, especially after a number of Penguin algorithm updates. But still, SEOs prefer to keep the right balance and build a diverse anchor profile. Since Google compares it to your on-site keyword optimization, it is good to reduce the number of money anchors (as we call them in SEMrush, which are simply the anchors that coincide with your target keywords in organic search) and maybe work on increasing the number of branded or compound (mix of your brand name and additional text) anchors. To find all the domains that link to your site with particular text go to our Anchors report and type in the words you want to check. In the drop-down menu, you will see the suggestions which are taken from all the anchor texts that you actually have.

SEMrush-backlink-analytics

Put together a nice template asking to change the text of your anchors and speed up the outreaching process. This will help you to avoid a situation where Google considers your strategy spammy or manipulative or even penalizes your pages in SERP.

Move №7. Get Rid of All Toxic Backlinks, Like Really All of Them

Speaking of being penalized, luckily, waking up in a cold sweat and seeing all your ranking in a steep decline is a thing of the past. But all of the pros I have been speaking with allow time to check the “health” of their backlink profile every week.

That got us thinking; what could possibly optimize this process? And the solution was to give you the opportunity to check all the backlinks you have in one place, which we called the Backlink Audit tool. Once you set it up you have backlinks from the SEMrush database, your Google Search Console, and any other third party data providers in one table.

All of the backlinks will be automatically merged and analyzed for 45 toxic markers. You can choose to reach out to website owners asking them to remove the link or add it to a Disavow list, if the link seems toxic, or keep the link as it is if it imposes no threat to your rankings.But we decided not to stop there and added the option to send emails directly from the SEMrush interface. Add all suspicious links or domains to the Remove list and start outreaching; Backlink Audit will automatically track the progress for you.

SEMrush-backlink-audit-tool

I personally like this template as a polite way of contacting website owners, but you can always customize it just the way you want :)

Detox Your Backlinks

Protect your site from Google penalties with SEMrush

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

Move №8. Set Up An “Alarm” For the Force Majeure

Even if you regularly check and get rid of unwanted links, there could be cases where you get an unexpected spike in the toxic level of your backlink profile. Our automated email notifications from the Backlink Audit Tool help many users to quickly put a spammer’s attack out of action. Try not to miss them in your inbox.

SEMrush-email-notification

Move №9. Automate Link Building Ideas Search

This one is not actually a ‘move’, but I want to tell you about our recently launched instrument that was designed to accumulate several sure-fire ideas for link building which we gathered from our users. We simply called it the Link Building Tool. What we offer here is the opportunity to have the best ideas for getting new links and a whole outreaching workflow inside.

As sources of ideas we consider:

  1. Backlinks that rivals from your target search queries managed to get.

  2. Backlinks that you have lost.

  3. Mentions of your brand without any link (which is a great way of earning branded-type anchors).

  4. Automatic searches of good sources using advanced search operators.

  5. *You can manually upload any of your own ideas to validate their quality.

After all ideas are gathered, we automatically estimate the quality of your future link including potentially dangerous signs of the target website, the amount of traffic this domain gets per month from our Traffic Analytics report, the number of backlinks and referring domains leading to this website, and whether your competitors earned link there or not, just like on the screenshot below.

SEMrush-link-buildig-tool

But that is not all! Choose any template from our list of the most common link earning scenarios:

SEMrush-outreach-templates

The last step is to send your email again directly from the interface and track on the spot. The cherry on top is the fact that we automatically pull out the contact details of the website for you. Give it a try!

Let Us Know What You Think

Each and every software user creates their own “perfect workflow”. We are always eager to know yours! Reach out to us at backlinks-analytics@semrush.com and share your best findings and experience.

Yulia is passionate about user listening. She builds bridges between SEMrush development team and online marketing community.
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Alexander Zagoumenov
Thanks, Yulia! Great post with loads of quick tips I can test and implement right away. I'll look forward to the way you develop this tool. I would love to see a better outreach functionality with scheduled / multiple-attempts outreach tools. Thanks again to you at the team at SEMrush!
Yulia Shevy
Alexander Zagoumenov
Hi Alex, super happy you like the article 👍 Yeah, outreach is a third and very important step inside our new Link Building Tool and we're working right now on improving it. So if you have any suggestions, please send them over.
Catherine Reinehr
This is all amazing, and I'm really mad at myself for not using SEMRush sooner. Thanks for the post!
Yulia Shevy
Catherine Reinehr
Thank you, Catherine! It's always better now than never :) Feel free to reach out to our team at mail@semrush.com if you need our help to get the most out of different tools and features.
Andrew Su
@Yulia Shevy. Thank you for the post. A brilliant read!
Yulia Shevy
Andrew Su
Thanks Andrew! Glad you liked it 🙌
Matt Tutt
Great to hear about all of the new features that are being regularly added, especially based around backlink monitoring and ideas! It sounds like something like this already exists, but I'd love it if there was a "blacklist" whereby if you received a backlink from a particular domain you received an instant alert (eg domains which other SEMrush users have previously marked as being spam). Does that exist at present? I know there's a toxic link alert but I wasn't sure if that was just based on an unnatural action (large spike in backlinks for example).
Yulia Shevy
Matt Tutt
Hi Matt!

Thanks a lot for your feedback! We do currently send email alerts in case the overall toxic score of your backlink profile has an unexpected spike (with all the toxic markers considered). So if I got you right, you want to create your own list of “toxic” referring domains and receive alerts once you get new backlinks from them. That’s a great idea! I forwarded it to our Product Owner to consider for implementation in the Backlink Audit tool. Thank you!

And yep, there are several analogs of our Link Building tool on the market, but we’d be happy if you tested our version and shared your thoughts.
brendan botond
Yulia Shevy
it sounds more like he wants a community list. Whenever he receives a link from a site that another semrush user has deemed as toxic he wants to be emailed. I also think this is a great idea as it immediately tells you something could be fishy about the new link since other users are removing them. It would be even better to see the number of users who have marked the domain as toxic.
Matt Tutt
brendan botond
Thanks Yulia & Brendan - yes what I was thinking of was a kind of crowd-sourced list whereby if many people had marked domain xyz dot com as spam then it would be added to some kind of blacklist and any sites with links from that source would receive an email notification of some kind.

Realise it may not be possible, just wondered! Would save quite a lot of manual work looking through at Trust Flow type metrics when doing a toxic link audit.
Yulia Shevy
Matt Tutt
Hi Matt and Brendan,
Thanks for clearing things up! I’m not quite sure if we can alert you once some of our users identify a certain domain as spammy. But we do have a marker of the domain toxicity - it’s called “Community warning”. If you select this marker in the filters panel, you’ll see the list of domains that we consider harmful based on the community’s experience. (It is kind of a collective mind's decision). Hope it reduces the manual work.
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