What budget are you ready to waste on building links to the wrong pages? We’ve seen companies pouring over $ 10,000 into pages that will never show positive ROI. How could it happen? Because it takes dozens of trials and errors to distill the pages worth investing in backlinks.
In this article, you’ll learn 5 red flags to watch out for when choosing the right pages.
Learn from Digital Olympus' real case studies.
Building Links to Poor-Quality Pages is Like Buying a House without Looking at It
Ever looking for a new house or a flat? Remember that experience. You’ve been scouring real estate websites for that perfect place. Then, you stumble across a listing that seems too good to be true. On paper, though, the house is perfect. It’s got the right number of rooms, it’s in a great neighborhood, and the price is just within your budget.
Without thinking twice, you pull the trigger. You arrange a showing.
And here, reality sets in. The «great neighborhood» turns out to be miles away from the nearest grocery store. The home is riddled with structural issues, and the repair costs are going to sink your budget.
This example closely reminds us to link building — pages often look good on the surface and worthy of backlinks, but when you start evaluating their potential, they turn out to be a disappointment.
Though the pages have the right keywords and good-enough content — dig a little deeper, and the cracks start to show. Impressions are up to par, or the keywords aren’t relevant to your target audience.
The flaws might vary, but the end result is the same: you’ve sunk your SEO budget into pages that are unlikely to give you a positive return on investment.
Digital Olympus' Example:
Let’s consider an article from our blog. It’s SEO-optimized for «link building statistics» and meets the «A» grade by Clearscope. Articles reaching this score usually get easily ranked in the top-10.
Clearscope Content Score.
So, we’re in a good position at first glance.
Apart from real numbers in Google Search Console. Impressions and clicks plummeted over time.
The article performance in GSC.
Building links to this page is the biggest waste of time and money despite its traffic and backlinks potential and search volume. Why? If you look at the SERP, you’ll notice dinosaurs in the first positions with thousands of backlinks and much higher DR (domain rating) than ours.
The SERP overview by our targeted keyword «link building statistics.»
Also, the content length and structure vary a lot. So for us to secure the top-3, we must update the piece and build dozens of powerful links to it. In the end, the page doesn’t deserve our attention and link building resources.
The blog is a simple example. But how do you decide which pages to build backlinks to when you’re dealing with an eCommerce site or a highly diverse and complex business?
Let’s discuss indicators of the pages that aren’t worth your effort.
5 Red Flags of a Page That’s Not a Good Fit for Link Building
25% of SEO specialists reported they spend $ 10,000—$ 25,000 on link building monthly to amplify SEO performance. While 18% of pros budget over $ 25,000. Quality link building is not an inexpensive venture. Invest in the wrong strategy, and you’ll be dealing with a huge waste.
Red flag #1: Structure of your page vs. competing pages in the SERPs.
If you want to build links to informational pages, start by comparing your page structure with top-ranking pages in the SERPs.
Say you’re pursuing the keyword «types of marketing.» Your content «18 Types of Marketing» takes the 12th position. So you want to build some fat links to push it closer to the top-5.
First, open up Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer, enter the keyword, and scroll down to the SERP overview report.
The SERP overview for a keyword in Ahrefs.
Second, examine the structure of every competing page on the list. Find similarities and distinctions. Answer why pages with less number of marketing types rank higher than yours. Look for signs of topical authority, quality illustrations, and smart on-page SEO (i.e., optimized imagery and interlinking).
Differentiate your articles through «information gain» — offer significantly better content with demonstrated expertise and first-hand experience. Don’t add just more sections or stuff content with keywords.
Hone and polish your piece, and start building links to the page only once the content has reached a competitive edge.
Red flag #2: Targeting the wrong search term.
You can throw as many backlinks at your page as you like, but if you’re targeting the wrong keyword, your page isn’t going to climb in the SERPs.
Consider an eCommerce store selling hiking boots. Say, they created a page detailing the durability of their boots and decided to target the keyword «hiking boots.» Despite building links, the page didn’t gain SERP traction.
Upon reassessment, they found that while «hiking boots» was relevant and high-volume, the search intent was too broad. The SERP showed mixed intent — from Amazon category pages to the NY Times' comparison article.
Hence, pumping up mixed-intent keywords is a waste of the marketing budget.
«Hiking boots» SERP snapshot.
A more targeted keyword like «durable hiking boots» would have aligned better with both their content and the searchers' intent.
?Tip: Realistically assess how big your competitors are in the SERP by a desired broad keyword. For «hiking boots,» you’re competing with giants like Amazon, Salema, and Columbia. So, we recommend targeting a bunch of specific keywords like «durable hiking boots» that face less competition in the SERP. Consequently, your backlinks will lead to higher rankings for revenue-driven pages.
Red flag #3: The wrong type of page.
One critical aspect often overlooked is the alignment of the page type with the desired outcome.
When your objective is lead generation, your initial instinct is to pour backlinks on a landing page. Yet, you might notice in Google Analytics that most organic traffic and conversions originate from a handful of blog posts.
In that case, it’s more strategic to build links to those blog posts and develop content clusters surrounding the relevant topics and keywords with high revenue potential.
One of the biggest issues with landing pages that have key external links is that they are somehow not integrated into the site architecture, this means that they don’t have key internal links which Google and other search engines can follow, this significantly reduces the ability of the links to improve rankings of the site as a whole. This is often the case when a link building agency creates an asset that is badly embedded into the website of the client, either as an interactive infographic or as a data piece. — Gerry White, VP of Growth at Mirador Local
Keep in mind that your blog posts must be optimized for generating sign-ups. Otherwise, you’ll be getting high rankings and traffic but little conversions.
Replicate Userpilot’s approach to creating product-led content that drives leads.
- Every piece is optimized for the primary keyword — zero, low, or high search volume.
- Articles are heavily interlinked.
3. The editorial team embeds several banners with call-to-actions into every article to drive more demo requests and trials.
4. Content writers highlight Userpilot’s features whenever relevant, thereby informing and educating potential users about the problems the tool can solve.
5. Almost every article finishes with a designated H2 encompassing best tools for [a keyword], where Userpilot’s features are discussed in detail.
That said, ensure your page content aligns with its purpose before acquiring backlinks.
Red flag #4: No stable visibility in the search.
Another red flag to watch out for is when a page has some impressions going but almost zero clicks. See an example of unstable performance in the screenshot.
Although the page received some impressions, it didn’t last long. Therefore, it’s not suitable for link building. What is likely to happen if you acquire some links is another dip in impressions and clicks afterward.
So, how do you know which page is worth link building efforts? Look for a rather consistent flow of impressions and clicks. The page may not currently rank high, but it should show the potential to do so. Build a handful of quality links and analyze metrics in several weeks. Ideally, you’ll see a subtle improvement in impressions, clicks, and rankings.
?Tip: Don’t build links to new web pages right off the bat. Wait for a couple of weeks and analyze their performance. This way, you’ll acquire links to the pages with an increased likelihood of securing the top-10 and driving conversions.
Red flag #5: The competition for a search term is fierce.
Facing wild competition for your primary transactional keyword in the SERP? The first gut instinct of newly-baked SEO and marketing specialists is to direct as many backlinks as possible to those pages and the keyword in the hope of outcompeting your rivals.
But that’s nothing but a trap.
We’ve got a client developing a video editing tool. Their main source of traffic is organic search. And of course, they strive to push their landing page for the keyword «video editing tool.»
However, a reality check (or, in this case, a SERP check) suggests otherwise.
Ahrefs shows that competing pages by the KW come from highly reputable sources with an average DR of 90. These pages also have gotten thousands of links from authoritative sites.
The link gap is too huge to close.
Thus, a more seasonable approach would be to earn links for relevant content and redirect link juice to the main landing page through internal linking.
?Tip: Resort to digital PR tactics to earn backlinks and product mentions passively at a high volume. Next, reach out to the media outlets that cited you and ask them to put a backlink under the primary KW.
Which Pages Deserve Your Link Building Efforts?
To summarize, let’s go over the qualities of a page that is a good investment for link building.
- Ranking in Google SERPs and getting a handful of stable clicks.
- Pages that have been recently published or rewritten are showing some positive signals.
- The ones that don’t need hundreds of links to outrank the current competition in the SERPs.
Examples of such pages and the results of a consistent link building with Digital Olympus.
- The client is a LinkedIn automation tool targeting a highly competitive keyword.
Upon collaboration with Digital Olympus, the URL has limited visibility in the SERPs but showed a stable graph of clicks and impressions. It didn’t take long for link building results to show up. Within one month, the page improved in impressions, clicks, and rankings alike.
- The client invests heavily in content marketing as the primary lead generation channel. They first published an article optimized for lead capturing. Then, saw positive trends in impressions and clicks. We started building links, and organic traffic surged in just under one month.
Choosing the right pages for link building will help your website secure positions in the top-10 much faster. Pair it with robust link building tactics, and be sure to see a positive ROI.
Need a helping hand with a link building strategy that drives rankings and revenue? Contact our Senior SEO Specialist for a consultancy. We’ll discuss your objectives, assess the current situation, and offer the link building strategy to reach your goals.