How to Get Backlinks By “Stealing” From Low-Quality Pages
I’m sure you’ve been there before. You search for something on Google, you click through to a page and you think to yourself: What in the world? How is this ranking on the first page of Google? Rather than getting frustrated, think differently. Because this is the perfect opportunity for you to get backlinks from pages that probably don’t deserve them today. And in this video, I’m going to show you how to find a ton of these pages, find thousands of link prospects, and get more backlinks asap. Stay tuned. What’s up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. So this video is all about finding low-quality content that has high-quality links. Which is the perfect opportunity for you to pitch your superior resource and earn some backlinks. So let’s get started with this link building tutorial and find tons of relevant link prospects.
Shall we? Alright, so the first step is to find a page that has a lot of quality links, and ideally, their content should be subpar at best. This will increase your chances of gaining a link. The best way to find these pages is to go to Ahrefs Content Explorer and type in a seed keyword that’s related to your niche. So I’ll use “protein powder” for our example. Next, I’ll set the minimum number of referring domains to something high like 50. And since we’re looking for pages that are of “low quality,” a good place to start are articles that were published a while ago. So, I’ll set the publish date to something like from somewhere in 2012 up until 2016. And we’re down to a list of around 270 results. Finally, I’m going to set the word count filter to pages with less than 1,000 words.
Now, I’m not saying that articles with less than 1,000 words are low quality. But in general, content length is often the byproduct of a very thorough article. So it’s more of an “eyeball” metric for me. Alright, we now have 76 pages at this point, which is a very manageable list to filter through. To make things even easier, I’m going to sort these results by “search traffic” in descending order. More often than not, you’ll find that pages with good-quality link profiles get the most search traffic. And if these link profiles happen to be low-quality today, it might reveal a low-competition topic that generates search traffic.
Scrolling through the results, this one immediately stands out to me. This page has 242 referring domains, gets over 11,000 monthly search visitors, and is less than 200 words. Clicking through to the page, you’ll see that it’s just a curated list of images with links to separate recipe pages. From here, you can click on the caret, and then open up the Backlink report to scan and vet the quality of the backlinks. And it looks like there are some decent sites linking to this page. Now, something that catches my eye on this report is that this page has links that go to an old URL, which was redirected a couple of times. And this is actually quite common for old content, because websites tend to consolidate pages as their site grows in size. So let’s investigate this redirected URL. I’ll just click on the caret beside the old URL, and open the page on archive.org. And there is one huge difference on this page compared to the current version. The old version actually had the recipes on the page. In fact, they even had a way you can download them as a PDF.
Not the prettiest, but an A for effort. But the current post forces you to click through to a page just to see the recipe. Not a great user experience in my opinion. Now if I were to create a post on this topic, there are two things that I’ve learned about stealing links from this page. So first, I would create some nice visuals and add printable PDFs for each recipe for a better user experience. Second, I’ve found a point of leverage. The content that these pages are linking to got worse.
So I could integrate this somehow into my pitch. Now, you don’t need to limit yourself to very thin posts like our example. You can actually extract ideas from all of these pages that have clearly attracted a lot of links. But the key point is that you should be able to create something that’s better, which will make it easier to formulate a good pitch. So at this point, it’s time to create your content. And the goal here is two-fold. #1. You want to create something that’s better than the page you’ve found, but still on the same topic. So in this case, that would be “protein shake recipes.” And #2. If the page is getting organic search traffic, then you want to know which keywords they rank for so you can optimize your page for maximum search traffic potential. So from inside Site explorer, you can go to the Organic keywords report, which will show you all of the keywords that this page ranks for.
And you’ll see that it’s sorted in descending order by search traffic. From here, you can try and extract some keywords that can act as subtopics for your post. I won’t go any further into the actual content creation process, because we’re talking about link building here. Instead, I’ll show you a couple more ways to find relevant link prospects. The first way is to analyze the backlink profiles for the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword. So I’ll go to Ahrefs Keywords Explorer tool and enter in “protein shake recipes.” And from here, I’ll scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the SEO metrics for the top 10 ranking pages. From here, I’ll look for posts that are similar to mine and see if there are any other backlink profiles I can hijack. These two look promising to me, which even follow the same list post format as the original article we found. And it’s worth checking these articles to make sure that the pages will be inferior to the content you create.
For example, this page has no images or instructions on a post that you think should have them. So from here, I would go to each individual link profile of the low-quality pages, qualify link prospects, and add them to my outreach list. Now, you don’t need to stop at just your target keyword. The original article we were looking at was called “50 Best Protein Shake AND Smoothie Recipes.” So I’ll scroll back up, and type in “smoothie recipes” as our target keyword. And again, we’ll go down to the SERP overview. As you can see, there are a few more potential opportunities that would be worth investigating.
Another way to find link prospects would be to search for variants of the title in Content Explorer. So I’ll search for something like (“protein shake” or “smoothie”) in brackets and then I’ll add, “and recipe.” Finally, I’ll set the search type to a title search. Now, 11,000 results is way too many to go through, so we’ll set a minimum number of referring domains to 30, which will give us about 118 pages with at least 30 referring domains pointing at it. The thing with referring domains is that it can be misleading. Sometimes these linking sites won’t be of great quality. But we can actually export these results and throw them into Batch analysis tool to get the URL rating for each page. And URL rating represents the overall strength of a page’s backlink profile. So I’ve already exported the results, ran my batch analysis with the Target mode set to URL, and sorted the table by URL rating. So based on these results, I’d probably want to reach out to people who are linking to these two pages since they seem to have decent link profiles and just by looking at the URL, they seem to be relevant to what I’m creating.
Now, I want to put this into perspective. Here are the number of referring domains for each page I said I’d steal links from. If we add these up, that’s potentially 1048 link prospects that we found in around seven minutes. But let’s be realistic here. I would probably reach out to maybe 50% of these websites after deduplicating and qualifying the linking pages. So that’s a total of 524 outreach emails. And let’s say you convert at a 5% link acquisition rate. That’s 26 links from unique referring domains, which in my opinion, would most likely be enough to get a top 10 ranking for both “protein shake recipes,” “smoothie recipes,” and a whole bunch of long tail variations.
So to scale this process, it’s literally just a matter of going through all of the pages that you’ve found in your initial search in Content Explorer, picking pages that have good link profiles and low-quality content, expanding your list of link prospects, doing outreach, and then repeating the process for other keywords. Pretty straightforward, right? Now if you enjoyed this video, make sure to like, share and subscribe, and actually, I highly recommend watching our video on creating a link building system if you want to take this strategy a step further.
So keep grinding away, go steal some links without feeling bad, and I’ll see you in the next tutorial. .
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