Reverse Engineering Linking Patterns to Create Link Equity

In your quest for finding new trusted links, it can be distressful when you run into the mental roadblock of where to search next. We all face the question, Where do I go next to secure high-quality links?

In this week's column, we will explore different ways to find links in a round about manner, while maintaining the focus on quality trusted links.

Finding Trusted Sites Through Google

Those of you who are acquainted with some of my specific tactics know that I'm a huge advocate of finding sites to get links from using Google search. The reason for this is plain and simple. If a site is turning up high in search results in Google, it is most likely a trusted site. If the site is ranking particularly well, it might be one of those highly trusted sites that can really give a remarkable boost in rankings to the sites it links to.

At the same time, always using Google can be tedious. Especially as the quality of the search results erode the further down you drill into the SERPs. The question remains, How do you find good links from sites that are most likely trusted by Google?

Finding Trusted Sites Through Industry Leaders

There are other ways to find good links and know the site is probably trusted in Google. One way is to explore what sites the trusted Web sites are linking out to. Perhaps Forbes.com will not link to your business. At the same time, getting links from the sites that Forbes links out to will be a more reasonable endeavor for most.

This method of link building will also help to establish your site in trusted linking neighborhoods and associations. When search engines are mining linking data for patterns, it will be apparent your site is associated with other highly trusted sites for your industry.

More Ways to Find Trusted Site Links

Following are a few more suggestions for securing trusted site links, including online publications and journals, old directories, college and government resource pages, industry bloggers, and top ranking sites.

  • Online Publications and Journals. Investigate the sites that industry and national publications covering your industry are linking to. As mentioned, you may not be able to get a link from Forbes, but you can get links from the sites it links out to. Also, check to see if these publications have a business directory or classifieds section with clean links.
  • Old Directories. Find old human-edited directories that have been around since the 90s. Explore the sites they are linking out to and see if it makes sense to get them to link to your site. Remember the important vertical and niche directories. Often, these are well researched by human editors who are experts in their field.
  • College and Government Resource Pages. Find those links pages on college and government sites. (Yes, contrary to some rumors, those links pages were made for people, are well researched, and still have value!) These can be a gold mine for finding high-quality sites to get links from. As with directories, try to find those pages that have been around since the 90s. That will be more of a trust signal than a new page created in the last year.
  • Industry Associations and Non-Profits. These sites tend to have very high-quality backlinks and even links from your competition. Explore the sites they are linking to in articles, press releases, directories, and in the classifieds section.
  • Bloggers. Find the leading bloggers for your industry and then keep track of the sites they are linking out to. Soon it will be apparent there are certain sites they all regularly link to. These are the sites to target first.
  • Top Ranking Sites. Do an analysis to identify the sites that the top-ranking sites for your keywords are linking out to. While your direct competition probably won't give you a link, the sites they are linking to will. Pay close attention to certain linking patterns. Do a number of these top-ranking sites link to the same resource or industry site? If so, then you definitely want to get a link from those sites. In a round about way, your competition will be helping you to rank higher.

One of the great benefits of this approach is it puts your site in a linking neighborhood of highly trusted sites. This will boost your trust profile and provide additional credibility in the eyes of the search engines. Remember, at its essence, Google is a data mining company; it is looking for patterns. This is just a way to reverse-engineer certain linking patterns.