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- How to Use SEO Tools to Qualify Sites -

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As a self-taught SEO, I struggled (and failed) for years to understand how to build links to my site and the sites of my clients. I've built my agency on writing quality content that ranks in search engines and drives sales, but the one piece of the puzzle I was missing was how to build powerful links to that content.

Qualification & audit in the pre-pitch phase

No one will deny that link building is one of the most important pieces of any SEO strategy. While you may have an impeccable technical setup and the best content on the internet, the truth is that Google will not reward your efforts if you don’t have the types of links to your site that signal authority.

Step 1: Bulk disqualifications

Depending on the industry and footprints used in the discovery phase, you might end up with a list of a few thousand potential sites. While it’s exciting to see that many, you can also lose a lot of time by reaching out to sites that are irrelevant or low-quality.

  • Disqualify various URL parameters
  • Remove blatant guest posting sites

Step 2: Use tools to identify powerful sites

At this stage, I’ve removed quite a few sites from the initial list based on their URL. Now I can assume that the sites I have in my list aren’t trying to generate guest posts, and my efforts won’t result in a link buried deep within a wiki page.

  • Majestic website metrics
  • Ahrefs website metrics
  • Moz website metrics

Step 3: Manual review

I think it’s important to manually check sites before reaching out to them, because I can usually find sites that are part of a PBN, or those sites that were built just to sell links, based on their design and functionality.

  • Use SEO tools to save time during the link prospecting phase
  • Ahrefs website metrics
  • Moz website metrics

The balance between scalability, quality, and efficiency is made or broken during the prospecting phase of any link building campaign. I use various SEO tools to help me save time and determine the best sites for my outreach efforts. Not only does this stack of SEO tools help me identify those sites, it also means that I'm more likely to successfully communicate with a real person at a real site to build links with.