Building out the perfect backlink profile can be a whole lot easier than you think. As long as you’re producing content and trying to build PR, your website may naturally acquire mentions and links over time.
But, not every site that mentions you will link to your website and not every website that would want to link to you is necessarily aware of your website. That’s where the power of email outreach comes in.
By gathering link building prospects with this tool, it’ll be easy to identify low-hanging fruit and natural opportunities to build meaningful links to your site.
Configuring the Link Building Tool
To start, go to your projects dashboard in SEMrush and click on the setup button in the Link Building widget. First, SEMrush lets you enter up to 10 keywords that you wish to earn a higher ranking for.
We’ll give automatically suggest keywords based on information gathered from our database, but you can remove any of these and write in your own. If you want to change the regional database that we’ll search your target keywords in, you can do so with the country selector at the top of the window.
After entering your 10 target keywords you can also enter up to 10 competitors. This will help SEMrush find websites sending the most links to your competition and suggest them as your opportunities. The automatic list of competitors for your entered domain is pulled from the Organic Competitors Report of SEMrush, but again you can remove any of these and enter your own competitors if you have other websites in mind that you are competing with.
The subsequent outreach targets (your prospects) presented in the tool will be based on backlinks we found that are helping your direct competitors and other websites rank for your target keywords.
After you complete both of these steps, your Link Building campaign will begin. Keep in mind it may take a couple of minutes for SEMrush to pull all the data. You’ll be given 4 tabs to manage a workflow of your campaign - Overview, Prospects, In Progress, and Monitor.
In the Overview report, the tool will break down your campaign’s overall size and progress. From here you’ll be able to see how many prospects are in your campaign, how many you have to reach out to, how many replies you’ve gotten, and how many domains you’re monitoring.
You can also connect your Google Search Console and Gmail accounts to the tool to strengthen the accuracy of SEMrush’s suggestions and allow you to reach out via email without leaving SEMrush.com.
In the Prospects report, the Link Building Tool will break down all of the gathered opportunities by their respective sources. These include prospects based on Organic Search (the keywords you entered), Competitors backlinks (the competitors entered), Mentions, Manually uploaded links, Lost (gathered from the Backlink Audit Tool) and any Rejected backlinks.
You can filter your potential backlinks by URL type, keyword, or TLD so you can see specifically what type of links you are going after. These different URL types include forums, blogs, news, review, wiki and general.
Knowing these different URL types can let you target specific types of sites that are more targeted towards your audience. After applying filters, you can bulk-reject prospects to remove large groups of unwanted prospects.
You can inspect each opportunity by expanding the preview and choose to move forward with it by adding the prospect to your “In Progress” report using the green button. To reject any prospects, you simply need to hit the X under the Actions column.
Each link in the list can be expanded to see further details by clicking on the dropdown arrow in the Rating column. When expanded, you will be able to see the domain quality of this backlink, as well as the domain relevance and domain health.
“Source of prospect” at the bottom of the drop down will explain how SEMrush found the opportunity (based on your keywords, competitors, or other).
Toxic Rank is a metric calculated by SEMrush that estimates the possibility of a link from the suggested prospect being harmful to your website, as the result of appearing spammy or fake.
Each of these bits of information will help you determine if the opportunity would be beneficial to your backlink profile.
To see what each prospect looks like, you can open the link in a new tab using the blue pop out icon next to the URL or click right on the link to open a preview within SEMrush. This makes it easy to judge whether or not the prospect seems like a good fit.
When moving a backlink into the In Progress section you will be asked to select the outreach strategy in which you want to sort your links. This is simply the method in which you plan to acquire said link.
Among these different types are General, Manual Link, Directory/Catalogue, Add Link to Article, Product Review, Link from Mention, Guest Post and Recover Lost Backlinks. If you want, you can customize your task types and add a new category to customize your workflow based on how you plan to build your links.
Adding More Prospects
You can add additional prospects by clicking on the +Add button located below the Organic Search, Competitors, Mentions and Manual Upload sections.
When you choose to add by Organic Search, you’ll be given the choice to add on advanced search operators to your keywords. These operators give you even more flexibility to specify your search and find the exact prospects you need.
To add ideas from Mentions, you can enter up to 5 keywords that represent your brand name being mentioned by another website or blog on the Internet.
Judging the Quality of Prospects
You will notice to the right of each backlink there are four signals that give you insight into the quality of the link:
- URL Type
- Domain Score
- Trust Score
URL Type gives insight into the type of website the opportunity is - whether its a blog, news site, review site, or forum, your outreach strategy may change. Domain Score and Trust Score measure the quality of a domain based on its referring domains.
As for the rating of the backlink, this is based on over 50 factors and is rated based on the link’s quality and accessibility. The more quality a link brings to your overall profile and how easy it is to access will encourage a higher ranking, with 5 being the highest. The higher the rating, the more likely you’ll be able to add the link to your backlink profile.
Once you have decided which links you are going to want to add, you’ll want to head to the next step of your workflow: Reaching Out to Potential Backlink Partners.