You’ve set up your website, you’ve done some SEO research, and you now understand the importance of backlinks.
However, before you go out and build a bunch of backlinks, you should take a moment to realize that there are high and low authority backlinks.
A high authority backlink can often produce major changes in your rankings, while a low authority link may barely move the needle.
Following this, it’s vital that you understand what high authority links are before you do anything else.
If you ignore this concept, you may not see a huge change in rankings, even if you go out and built lots of links.
This post will explain what high authority links are and how you can build these links.
Once you’ve finished this post, you’ll know how you can use these links to take your campaigns to the next level.
What Are High Authority Backlinks?
As the name suggests, a high authority backlink is simply a backlink that comes from a website that has ‘high authority.’
Okay, but… What is a high authority website?
Well, in simple terms, a high authority website is a website that is trustworthy and reliable.
So, this might include websites that are associated with well-known media/news websites. However, it could also include websites that have a lot of credibility within their own niche.
For the most part, the authority of a website is determined by how many high-quality backlinks it has, and the age of the website can also be a factor.
Now, Google doesn’t really provide you with a tool that lets you measure domain authority.
However, SEO tools such as Ahrefs and SemRush can help you with this task.
Note: Each SEO tool will tend to use a different phrase when referring to website authority.
However, a lot of these tools are essentially referring to the same thing, whenever they mention a metric that is associated with the rating/authority of a domain or a website.
Because Google doesn’t provide any clear insight into what determines the authority of a website, most tools will tend to include different things when it comes to calculating website authority.
For example, if you look at the image below, you can see what Ahrefs uses when it’s trying to determine the authority of a website.
And if you look at this next image, you can see some of the metrics SemRush uses to calculate domain authority:
So, as you can see, there are some minor differences here and there, plus the algorithms of these tools might also be weighted in different ways.
However, in most cases, the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a website will be the main things these tools consider when calculating authority.
Why Do You Need Them?
High authority links tend to produce a better ROI when compared to ‘other kinds’ of links.
This is because if you can get a lot of backlinks from high authority websites, search engines will then consider you to be more trustworthy.
This will then improve your rankings, and it may also reduce the amount of time it takes to achieve good rankings whenever you publish a new piece of content or a webpage on your website.
Plus, if you build a lot of authoritative links to your website, you will eventually become an authority yourself. This will then lead to more people naturally linking to your website over time.
What Counts as a High Authority Backlink?
Okay, so now that we’ve covered what high authority backlinks are, you might be wondering what actually counts as high authority.
The key thing to mention here is that there isn’t really a right answer as it all depends on your niche.
For example, if the highest DR in your niche is 10, then a 20 DR could arguably be considered high authority.
This is an important thing to keep in mind when trying to determine the authority of a website within your niche.
Does Niche Matter?
If your niche isn’t hugely popular, you might not have a lot of high DR websites within your niche.
Following this, you might think that it is better to just build links that come from authoritative websites outside of your niche.
However, relevance is a big factor in regards to backlink quality, and so you shouldn’t shun the websites within your niche, even if they all have a relatively low DR.
After all, if you do this, you might end up hurting your ability to rank.
Thus, you should focus on identifying the relatively high authority websites in your niche, so that you can then build relevant ‘high authority’ links.
In any case, we’ve now explored what high authority backlinks are and how you can identify high authority backlinks in and outside of your niche.
Now let’s focus on how you can actually build some high authority backlinks!
Method #1 – Creating High-Quality Content AKA Skyscraper
One of the best ways to generate high authority links to your website is by creating high-quality content.
Creating high-quality content works well because high authority websites want to link to high-quality content.
After all, if they link to high-quality content, their own content will seem more trustworthy and reliable.
Now, when it comes to creating high-quality content that’ll help you generate backlinks, you should focus on something known as the ‘Skyscraper technique.’
On the face of it, this technique is very simple as you just need to create content, and get people to link to it.
However, there are actually four individual steps you need to get right here, and if you ignore these steps, you may experience limited success.
Here are the four steps you need to follow if you want success with the Skyscraper technique:
- Competitor Analysis/Content Ideation
- Creating your content
- Cold Email Outreach
Let’s go through how you should approach each of these steps…
1. Competitor analysis
At the start of this process, you need to do some competitor analysis.
Competitor analysis will help you identify who is getting a lot of backlinks and ‘what’ these links are pointing to.
In doing so, you can then identify the kind of content within your niche that attracts a lot of links. You can then use this knowledge to create something that people will want to link to.
The easiest way to perform competitor research is by using some of the features found within the Ahrefs SEO suite. Ahrefs is a paid tool, but it does come with a $7 trial that lasts for seven days.
If you plan ahead of time, you can most likely figure everything out within this time frame.
Yet, if that’s not enough time, it might be worth saving up for this tool, as it makes link building much easier.
In any case, when it comes to competitor research, the first Ahrefs feature you need to use the ‘Content explorer.’
This is a tool that helps you identify the content within your niche that has a lot of links.
To use this tool, you just need to type in something relevant to your niche, and you then want to select the ‘In title’ option from the dropdown menu. For the sake of this post, let’s go with ‘gardening.’
After doing this, Ahrefs will then list some of the popular content associated with this niche. As you can see, Ahrefs provides a lot of metrics in relation to each piece of content.
The main metric we want to focus on here is ‘Ref. domains,’ as that will help us identify the content that has the highest number of unique websites linking to it.
If you look at the example above, you’ll notice that this particular piece of content has roughly 1,100 referring domains pointing to it.
Following this, we can safely say that people don’t mind linking to this kind of content. Thus, if we also create something like this, we should be able to attract some links when we’re promoting it.
Another way you can approach this task is by analyzing the content of individual competitor websites.
To do this, we first need to find a competitor, and we then need to analyze the URL of the competitor within Ahrefs.
So, if we Google something like ‘gardening website’ we can just copy and paste one of the URLs we get.
In this case, we’ll go with ‘www.treehugger.com.’
Once we have a competitor domain, we need to go to the ‘Site explorer’ section within Ahrefs, and we then need to paste the domain.
After we do this, we can see some metrics associated with this domain. What we need to do now is click on the ‘Best by links’ option.
Once we do this, we can see the pages/content on this site that have the most backlinks.
As you can see, there are several blog posts here that have a lot of links.
Following this, it’s fair to assume that people like to link to these kinds of topics. So, again, if we just focus on making a better version of one of these posts, we should be able to attract links.
Another way you can come up with content ideas for the Skyscraper technique is by using the ‘Questions’ feature within Ahrefs.
If you visit this section, you’ll notice some of the common questions within a given niche.
Ideally, you want to identify the questions that have a ‘Keyword difficulty (KD)’ of at least 30. This will help you identify some of the competitive content within this niche.
Identifying competitive content is helpful, because this is the kind of content that people are probably already interested in and linking too.
Thus, if you focus on these topics, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find webmasters that’ll be interested in your content.
2. Creating Content
Once you’ve done the above, you then need to create the content. As mentioned, the goal here is to make a better version of what already exists for the topic in question.
So, how can you make something better?
The most obvious approach here is to just make something that is more in-depth. So, if the current content you’re competing against is 2000 words, you might write something that is 4000 words.
You can also make something better by providing people with a better user experience.
For example, you might give your webpage a nice design that makes your content look appealing.
You could even include an interactive tool that makes it easy for people to learn more about the topic in question.
You may even want to think about using custom unique images/graphics on your website too.
Providing people with a better user experience also comes down to restraining commercial content.
So, if you use affiliate links, you may want to avoid using them on this post.
Also, if you sell things on your website, you may also want to avoid pushing products/services on this page too.
This is because people don’t really like linking to commercial content, especially if they’re not being paid to link.
Furthermore, if you normally request email addresses, you may want to consider disabling email pop-ups on this page.
Again, this is because some webmasters might not want to link to a page that seems as though it’s just going to harvest information.
Keep in mind that if you’re creating something comprehensive, the webpage in question will likely involve a lot of ‘digital assets.’
These assets can sometimes slow down the loading time of a webpage, and this is something you need to be wary of too.
You can quickly determine the loading speed of a website by using the PageSpeed Insights tool by Google.
If you find that your website loads too slowly, this tool will provide you with some tips on how you can make things better.
If your website is on WordPress, you should consider installing a plugin that is designed to speed up website loading times.
You also need to make sure this webpage works well on a mobile device.
Once you’ve created your content, you need to do some prospecting so that you can identify people that will be interested in linking to you.
To do this, you simply need to provide Ahrefs with a competitor URL, and you then need to use the export feature.
The export feature will create an Excel sheet that documents the websites linking to a a particular site, as well as the DR of these websites.
You will then need to sift through this document to find websites that look as though they’d be a good fit for your campaign.
Once you’ve identified some promising websites you can then use the Hunter.io tool to help you find email addresses.
You can just copy and paste your list of websites into this tool, and then Hunter will return a list of emails.
Note: Make sure you have ‘valid’ email addresses here.
If you just send out a bunch of emails that you haven’t verified, you may experience high bounce rates.
If this happens, your email address/domain may be flagged, and future emails may then end up spam.
Luckily, you can verify email addresses by using something known as Never Bounce.
With the help of Never Bounce, you can quickly verify the emails you have on your list, thereby ensuring you don’t ruin the reputability of your email address/domain.
4. Sending Cold Emails
Next, you need to send your cold emails so that people can learn about your content and actually link to it.
You don’t want to overcomplicate things here, and you should make sure your emails are short and engaging.
You might also want to mention some benefits the webmaster might receive if they link to you. So, you could say that you’ll post their website on social media if they link to the article.
Below, you’ll see an example of an email that’s designed to promote content:
As you can see, it’s quite engaging, and it has some humor. Creating emails this way will help you stand out amongst the many emails these webmasters receive.
Note: Remember to follow up!
People receive lots of emails every day, and your message likely isn’t going to be considered urgent. Following this, some people may just forget to reply to you.
Your follow up emails don’t need to be complicated, and something like the email template below is often good enough.
Here’s an example of a third email you might want to send, if your earlier follow up doesn’t generate a response:
When you send out these emails, you will likely get a lot of no’s and maybe even some harsh responses.
Sadly, there’s little you can do about this, and promoting Skyscraper content is often a bit of a numbers game.
That said, the more you do this, the better you will get, and you will eventually get so many positive responses, that the no’s become a lot easier to deal with.
Method #2 – Guest Posting
Guest posting is another way you can generate high authority backlinks to your website.
The idea here is that you find high authority websites and you then write content for them.
When you post content on a particular website, you’re often allowed to include a link to your website at the end of the article in the ‘authors bio’ section.
There are three steps you need to follow here if you want to be successful with guest posting:
- Finding guest post opportunities
- Writing the content
Let’s go through each of these steps…
1. Finding Guest Post Opportunities
To get the ball rolling, you first need to find websites that accept guest posts.
Relevance is vital here, and so when searching for guest post opportunities, you should try to find sites that belong to your niche.
The easiest way to do this is by going to Google and typing in a search string that has the following format – “inurl:your niche name here”.
So, if you’re in the gardening niche, you’d type in something like – inurl:”gardening”.
The ‘inurl’ part of this search string ensures that Google will only return websites that have a particular keyword within the URL.
This keyword will be whatever you decide to type in after the colon. Thus, you should make sure this keyword is related to your niche.
That said, the ‘gardening’ keyword from above is a little too broad. After all, if we search for something like this, we just end up seeing local businesses and online stores.
Therefore, a better keyword might be something like ‘gardening tips for beginners.’
If we search for something like this we will find sites that are actively posting content. Because these sites post content, they will likely be open to guest post requests.
Below you can see what this kind of search string produced:
If we contact some of these sites, we may be able to secure a guest post.
Another way you can find guest posting opportunities with this technique, is by including certain phrases that are unique to guest posting.
A good example here is the phrase ‘guest post by.’
If you include this phrase in quotation marks alongside the name of your niche, you can find websites that already accept guest posts.
Here’s a good ‘search listing’ example that’s based on this search string:
As you can see, this search is showing websites that already have guest post authors. Because these websites are already accepting guest posts, there’s a good chance they’ll be happy to hear from you.
Plus, some of these websites don’t openly promote guest post opportunities.
Thus, if you approach them, it might not be that hard to land a guest post opportunity as they’re not dealing with tons of guest post requests each and every day.
In any case, once you spot some promising websites, you then need to think about creating an excel sheet so that you can record these opportunities.
Here’s a good example of how you might do this:
Note that identifying sites like this can take a lot of time, as you’ll need to go through lots of search search strings and listings.
Fortunately, there is a tool out there called ‘Scrapebox,’ that’ll help you with this process.
Using it, you can use a search string like the one mentioned above, and you can then easily gather a large list of guest post prospects within your niche.
In any case, once you have a list of websites, you then need to determine the authority of each site.
You can do this by using the ‘batch analysis’ tool provided by Ahrefs.
If you want to use this tool, you just need to copy and paste the domains, and it will analyze each domain.
Once you have the DR of each website, you will then know where you need to focus your attention.
The next step of this process is to pitch webmasters so that you can actually land guest posting opportunities.
Now, in the ‘high-quality content’ section, we’ve already explored how you can source email addresses, and so you can use that section to help you here.
Once you’ve collected email addresses, you may want to consider using an email template when contacting all of these webmasters.
It’s often better to do things this way, as you will likely end up with a huge list of potential guest posting opportunities, and approaching everyone individually will take a long time.
Luckily, if you use a platform like Lemlist or Mailshake, it’s not that hard to create a mail merge system that will send out tailored messages to your prospects.
Now, when you’re sending out emails, you want to make sure they’re brief and to the point.
Here’s a good template that you may want to emulate:
If you go through this email, you’ll notice a few critical features that make this an effective pitch.
For one, the subject line includes the name of the person that is receiving the email. This makes it more likely that the webmaster will notice and actually open the email.
Additionally, the email asks whether the person in question is the right person to approach about guest posts.
This lets the receiver know what the email is about, and if they aren’t the right individual, they will at least know who they need to forward this message to.
This email also mentions a recent piece of content on the site, and this shows it isn’t just a spam email and that some thought has gone into it.
The email also includes some content ideas that might be suitable for the guest post.
This is important, because, without content ideas, you don’t really give the other person anything to work with, and thus they might not have a huge incentive to get back to you.
Note: Once more – if you want to develop topic ideas, you can just follow the steps we went over in the high-quality content section of this post.
In the P.S. section, there’s a reference to an existing piece of content that has been written by the sender.
This lets the receiver know that the sender can write good content and also gives some insight into their expertise.
If you don’t have an existing piece of published content, you might just want to publish something yourself, and you could then link to this when sending pitches.
Of course, if you do this, make sure the content is excellent, as this will then help your case when you’re sending out these emails.
Note: Don’t forget to follow up!
As mentioned earlier, following up is vital, and if you look below, you’ll see some examples of follow up emails that you can emulate:
As with the Skyscraper technique, you should try to follow up twice.
Here’s a good example of a guest posting opportunity that came about as a result of following up:
Following up takes a little bit more effort, but it’s worth it, as this extra step will help you squeeze the most out of a guest post campaign.
3. Writing the Content
The next thing you’ll need to do is write the content.
If you don’t have much writing experience, you can work with a freelancer, and you can find someone on a site like Upwork.
Note: Many websites will tend to have editorial guidelines that detail how they want their content to be formatted.
You should do your best to stick to these guidelines, as this will then ensure you don’t run into any issues when you send off your content.
Plus, if you make it so that you’re easy to work with, the website in question may be willing to let you publish additional guest posts at a later date.
Method #3 – Digital PR
Another way you can generate high authority backlinks is by using a method known as ‘digital PR.’
Essentially, this method revolves around creating something newsworthy, that will then be picked up by established media brands.
This approach may not generate a ton of relevant links, but the links you do attract will come from websites that have a very high DR.
There are multiple ways to tackle this strategy, but the most common approach is to create an interesting piece of research.
So, if we take the gardening example from earlier, you might create some research on the most common plants people buy and the time and money it takes to care for each plant.
You would then create a detailed page on your website that covers this topic, and you’d also explain your research.
Once you’ve done this, you’d then need to approach journalists so that you can inform them of your research.
Ideally, you need to find journalists that write about topics that are relevant to your study. So, in this case, you may want to approach people that write in the ‘home and garden’ niche.
Here’s a good example of a website that executed a digital PR campaign.
As you can see, they created a study that explored the most popular food during the Super Bowl.
If you look at the backlink profile of this website, you’ll see that they managed to get some high DR links with this campaign.
If you want to execute a campaign like this, you will need to be creative otherwise your PR campaign won’t get the attention of journalists.
If you manage to create something really interesting, there’s no doubt this approach will generate some high DR links for you.
Now that you’ve finished this post, you should understand what high authority backlinks are and how you can build them.
Lots of people are trying to build high authority links, and so you might face a lot of competition when trying to build these links.
However, if you pick one method and focus on it, you will rise above the noise and you will eventually begin to get results.
Once you get to that point, you will find that you’re able to generate a steady number of high authority links month after month.