We’ve Built 109 Backlinks Through Help a Reporter Out (Haro) And Link Baits

u/bandana

We've built 109 backlinks but no change in traffic?

Since March, we've built 109 backlinks through Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and link baits. No purchased links.

I'm surprised to see that our Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) has only gone from DR 37 to 40 and so far (3 months since we started), no change in organic traffic. We now have a total of 500 referring domains and were at around 300 in march. We are in the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) niche and I'd estimate the links to be 2/3 from newspapers, 1/3 from ymyl related blogs more or less close to our niche.

The links we've built are distributed roughly like this on our site:

About page: 1/3
Start page: 1/3
Various link baits: 1/3

60% of the links are from syndicated newspaper articles. 6 links out of 109 are nofollow. 40 of the backlinks are DR 50-80 and 22 are DR 80-92.

Is this normal or are we approaching backlinks the wrong way?
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Jackisugly
If you're in the YMYL space, do you have author pages and Links on each article to those authors? And are those authors authorities in the space?

bandana ✍️
Thanks for checking in! Right, so we do have authors on all articles linked to author pages and I would say that they're authorities – we've gotten a bunch of mentions with relevant author's names in big newpapers and links to their about page. We've previously experimented with adding "fact checked by" and a relevant psychologist to articles, but we haven't seen a change in rankings.

Jackisugly
Sounds like you're in the medical niche. What I've mostly seen is Google roll back to known brands. So that makes it even harder.

AdorableFlight
I've experienced the same problem but then I look at my competitors and they've been actively building links for years.

bandana ✍️
Yeah you're right, our competitors generally have many more backlinks. I did think that we were going to see some type of improvement, though. But what you're saying might be the simple reason as for why. Did you find a way to improve your rankings despite this?

Shubhsrd
Let me help clear some air here. The whole point of backlinks is telling the search engine that your content is trusted by many and is worth ranking at the top.

Here's where most of the webmaster are getting it all wrong. They've changed the order of the whole process.

You first create content, then promote it by repurposing, get some natural feedbacks (if any) and then think of getting links.

I'm not sure if you've spent any time promoting your content. If you've directly jumped to generate backlinks, you're getting it all wrong.

Backlinks are digital form of word of mouth, you can't tell people to talk about you with their friends and family. It doesn't work that way.

Word of mouth should be natural, and the results it produces only works when it's completely natural.

So I'd suggest you to focus on creating content and not getting backlinks, let it be natural, as natural as word of mouth.

Create awesome content that it becomes talk of a town and then people naturally link to your content.

Speaking of naturally linking, here are the type of content that get links naturally. I'm unaware of what your niche means, but I'm sure it will definitely have the type of content listed below:
👉 Stats & figures
👉 Case studies
👉 Surveys & polls
👉 Interviews
👉 Practical guides

And there are many more like this.

I hope this has helped you get some clarity.

Edit: Upon Googling it seems this niche is directly related to money. The type of content I've mentioned above are applicable to your niche.

Please consider focusing on creating one of the most epic piece of content on the face of this planet. Slowly but surely people will start noticing it and you will get lot more links naturally than you'd get hunting for it.

Links gained this way acutely helps ranks faster and remain at the top, which is actually the whole point of link building.

boycottInstagram
This is the best response I've seen on Reddit for why out of the blue link building doesn't work.

Bravo. If I had gold, you would get it

Shubhsrd
The concept of backlinks doesn't change with every niche. I also have mentioned that I have Googled about Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites and it's related to money, and everything I've mentioned is relevant.

No hard feelings, but I'm not sure about others, but the guy who asked the question is satisfied with my answer, & that's all that matters to me.

peace <3

RiverOfNexus
Okay, totally agree here. So how do you gain surveys? How does one procure stats and figures that are not genetic, especially as a new website?

Shubhsrd
I get it, as a new website, you wouldn't have enough people to run surveys or produce stats & figures.

I can suggest two things
👉 Cite existing surveys, stats & figures.
👉 Run your own experiments on large scale. Create a survey page and run ads of that page to reach more people.

I'll tell you my example. I'm a digital marketing consultant and I ran a an experiment on my social media. It was on a very small scale. Another thing I did was analyze the data available on Ubersuggest, which is a freemium tool containing huge database of relevant data of my industry.

I didn't pay a single dime to use the data that's available for free.

It took a lot of efforts to pull out the data because I didn't have the backend access, everything I did was on the front end.

I have the results and I'm preparing a blog post right now.

Furthermore, I've also used data and cite the source. Normally, users would digest the data, maybe go to the source page and consume more.

This way, you're providing double the value.
👉 You are adding value by giving stats
👉 You're extending the User Experience (UX) by citing the source just in case the user is interested in reading more about the stat you have mentioned.

Another benefit of doing this is that you can email the author stating that you've linked to his/her article. You can pitch a shoutout on their social media, and the best, they might even link back.

Hope I've answered your question.
RiverOfNexus
I would love some greater clarification on how one could do this if they are an insurance agent trying to build an audience and organic traffic. Would I cite CDC numbers for possible ways one could die? Or would I make several posts on how to protect one's self from the 10 ways Americans die each year? Obviously I can make a video and a blog post from it. Or should I use case studies of clients with interesting health profiles as a blog or video post showing how even hard cases can get life insurance? I can also show my recommended policies based on each health case study I talk about. Is that about where you're at with what was in your previous posts
rajatedm
I have seen surveys are highly bounced activity because mostly users do not like them.
Shubhsrd
Everyone won't like everything. There's always a bounce rate that bothers the webmasters.

NotJigglyPanda
A ton of great feedback examining many variables affecting the needle.

However, what I'm reading here is that you are doing things "unnaturally" and the incredibly smart folks at Google who have Stanford, Berkeley and some of the top degrees in the world in Comp Sci, statistics, human psychology, math and so many disciplines that you would literally have an academic orgasm ARE doing their best through machine learning and every computational way to prevent anyone from gaming the system in this somewhat sophomoric and simple means to improve your positions organically.

With that said, without any specifics, I hate to say it again and again, but how can we give potentially valuable advice or feedback on an unknown set of conditions. What niche? What keyword(s)? What backlinks? What and how did you get them to point it at the perfect 1/3, 1/3 and 1/3?

Honestly, the plan was so artificially planned out, it feels like something Google could sniff out immediately, but the other specifics that I don't see here is "what's the length of the experiment or the strategy?" One thing EVERY webmaster and anyone who tries to manipulate or enhance their website with whatever SEO means possible should understand is it takes more time than ever for many things to work with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It's not the old days where you make a few artificial changes and then 2 days later you're #1. I know. I used to do it day and night in <year>-<year> before Google applied their algo (with the update that I can't think of right now either called penguin or panda or some damn animal) that literally raped my clients of their organic benefit from the old school methods that were standard and what were taught to me from a Stanford graduate. I went into depression for a year thinking my practice was ruined and I had hurt my clients and life was literally over.

What I learned over time was that things take time. But again, I don't know a single thing about all these vague references to what you did. I hate to be an ass in asking for more details, but I can't evaluate or answer questions precisely without specific conditions when it comes to asking me questions about SEO. To be honest, I normally don't ever even answer because I know my advice is too valuable to just come here on Reddit and offer for free. Why should I? Even with the details, I can tell you it's still very challenging to precisely figure out all the right steps in improving a site's organic positions. I've been doing this for over 15 years and with my 30+ clients I manage daily on top of 5 of my own properties, I can tell you that SEO is still a crapshoot when it comes to moving the needle.

Nothing is ever guaranteed and frankly, you need to do literally 10-20+ perfect tactics to get just 1% benefit. Don't forget there are supposedly 200+ factors that Google uses to judge your web pages.

I can share a specific example of what one client did without my help and who I feel is reaping some rewards, but not the full spectrum of benefits. And what he fails to receive is what anyone who is out there failing to do the many things necessary to get it right: hitting multiple channels and not just doing SEO or what he focuses on, reviews. He has literally 100+ 5 stars ⭐️ reviews and has grown them faster than everyone in his niche – maybe the world. He is literally the fastest medical professional to garner that much in terms of that one specific signal, but STILL old school sites and pros who have much worse situations and frankly aren't doing much are still beating him for his most prized keyword. He doesn't do Google ads. He doesn't do as much social consistently as he can. He doesn't do email. He doesn't do the multiple levers that are possible.

So, my basic arguments are that this is a) too artificial b) you might not be giving it enough time and c) you need to be doing MUCH more than focusing on a specific backlinks strategy using Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

Guess what?? Everyone and their mother now uses HARO. So, you're not differentiating yourself from the others and that's what Google is looking for as well.

I've gotten many of my agency's posts focusing on one topic to generate 100ks of clicks over the years \- possibly over a million. How? Just a straight up decent study that I do every year or two focusing on the top keywords in the world. It doesn't have much in terms of artificially built backlinks. The original post did in the days when Fiverr worked, but since then, I've only built the study out of pure curiosity and it's gotten us consistent organic visibility. So, I'd say that Shubh is about 70% correct.

And there were so many other great points here I'm neglecting to comment on, but I hope what I've shared helps at least clarify a few things you "might" be doing wrong.

P.s. with all this said, there are definitely tactics that still work with just a sneeze worth of effort and even by accident, but if it's competitive, I'd say focus on MUCH more than just one backlinking strategy. Use much more and build the best damn content possible first as it's been argued multiple times.
rajatedm
Clients doesn't wait that way. Agencies can't work like that. You have modified or explained something we used to talk " Content is King" in more descriptive way, which is already on the web. Kindly share any case studies where these worked, because as you mentioned process is slow, so I think mentioning TAT will be helpful.

Shubhsrd
Amazon & apple are a trillion dollar company. For a very large part of their existence, both faced a huge loss in the process of becoming a brand that they are right now.

I personally work only with those clients who understand the long term game of building a brand.

Speaking of content, it is a king for sure, but context is god. If you're not contextual, or in other words, relevant, no matter how good your content is, people aren't going to stand the brand for a second.

The users are becoming smarter and they only entertain stuff that's relevant.

If you are an agency, it's your job to make the client understand the long term game. It's your job to educate them about this.

I've seen & rejected a dozen clients who weren't ready to wait. They want that get rich quick scheme, which work for short period of time and once Google or any internet based platform come to know it, they get peanlized and the whole brand geta gulped out of the web.

There's a light year wide difference between agencies who preach the content and the ones who preach context.

Both are equally important, you can't build context without content and vice versa. But the way search engines are evolving, context is becoming more and more popular.

Let me talk about the Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT) update which focuses on the expertise and trust factor of a brand. Eric Schmidt said during his tenure as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Google that, "Brands are the solution".

This was in context with the fake news, the 'irrelevant', incomplete or unverified information that's on web.

In a pool where there are 58% humans are online it takes time to grow.

Sure, if clients want quick results without being ready to spend on ads, you can throw them out of the window. It's better to not have clients than having such frugal minded clients who don't understand the difference between expense & investment.

Period.

turdbullet

Please consider focusing on creating one of the most epic piece of content on the face of this planet. Slowly but surely people will start noticing it and you will get lot more links naturally than you'd get hunting for it.

This is sort of like communism, looks good on paper, just doesn't work in real life. You have to promote that content, and many sites want money to link to it. Especially in Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) and finance niches. I do like your other advice about creating linkable content though.

Shubhsrd
I've ranked a couple of posts on my tech blog. 3 posts rank on Page 1 without a single backlinks. I've not shed a single sweat on creating backlinks.

Remember, tech blogging is one of the most busiest niche. So yeah, I know what I'm talking about.

Backlinks aren't bad, it's crucial but I'm against the idea the way people hype it. People consider backlinks more important the content itself, and that's exactly the problem.

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NakedAndBehindYou
Links pointed at your About and Start page (not sure what that even is) are not going to help your other content pages rank. At least, not very much.

Google ranks pages, not domains. Why would they see a bunch of links pointed at your About page and say "we'd better increase the rankings of their product review pages" as a response?

If your About and Start pages aren't targeting specific keywords that have search demand, then you are basically spending your time building the authority of worthless pages on your site. Your About and Start pages may have value to visitors once they are on your website but they are not going to rank for high search volume keywords in Google that they aren't even targeting. This is why your link building efforts haven't built traffic.
RogerM

I'd estimate the links to be 2/3 from newspapers, 1/3 from ymyl related blogs more or less close to our niche.

Perhaps it will be a good idea to switch over this ratio and that's just for starters.

Also, it's hard to analyze the quality of those links coming from newspaper but I will venture on saying they aren't relevant to your niche.

60% of the links are from syndicated newspaper articles. 6 links out of 109 are nofollow. 40 of the backlinks are Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) 50-80 and 22 are DR 80-92.

Forget about what Domain Authority (DA) from those links and start focusing more on relevancy.

are we approaching backlinks the wrong way?

I heavily believe you are. I believe you're giving too much weight to the authoritativeness of the links and not enough to relevancy.

That's not how Google works nowadays.

I am a firm believer that the best link building strategy it's publishing amazing content that fulfills user's search intent effectively.

This should be your number one priority.

Otherwise, regardless of how many links you build your traffic, it's only going to be good while you build those links. That won't be an "organic" growth of your traffic but rather an "artificial" one.

Invest in content that will resonate with your target audience, stuff already mentions by u/Shubh_srd will work amazing.

Personally, I rather spend $100 on a top-quality 1,000-1,500 word article rather on buying links.

My second advice to you is to spend more time promoting your content instead of getting people to link to you. This is a process that will come naturally if you're content is good and matches the intent of what people are searching for on search engines.

One of the content promotional methods I like the most and I think it will work great given your niche is by building an online community and, social media is perfect for this.

Yeah, it will take time but once you build it, the potential gain from it will be worth it.

I hope this helps,

Cheers!!

Shubhsrd
Can't agree more. Awesome breakdown.
MrRedditKing

I rather spend $100 on a top-quality 1,000-1,500 word article

I must admit this sounds like a good deal.

I'm having a tough time finding affordable top-quality writers. I guess it's described somewhere how to find for such writers.

RogerM
Determining the quality of an article is, at some extent, a very subjective manner.

A great writer might deliver amazing results for certain niches but not for others.

It's all about how your target audience will react about it.

The best way you can do is test. Run as many A/B test as possible with many writers on the same niche and even on the same topic.

I know this sounds tedious but trust me, once you find that one great writer everything will be worth it.
MrRedditKing
Thanks. It makes sense. Tedious yes, but probably it's the only way.

FStudio
First, you have to give up the notion that Ahrefs DR or Moz DA make no sense for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Second, you need to understand what is linkbuilding for SEO exactly. We won't to describe our theory that based on our experience, Google guidelines and computer scence here.

Third, linkbuilding isn't a rocket science.If you have no money, use a content relevancy approach.If you have money, use platforms with 10k+ per day traffic ($1.000-1,500 link+mention).
theeastcoastwest
So the quickest way to start a shit show on an SEO forum is ask whether or not backlinks are important.

You're going to have a large percentage of people say that's all you need to be doing.

You going to have another large percentage say don't even worry about backlinks just focus on content.

In my experience, the most successful approaches focus on both backlinks and content. Create content without thinking about backlinks. Don't even think about SEO while you're creating it. Create content that is as good as you're able to create. If you're serious, and you have a budget, hire an expert to create it if you have to.

Now you focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

You want those backlinks. The backlinks that you have created are good. Those backlinks will help you rank. But if you don't have good content for those backlinks to support, you're still not going to be able to rank well. Sure, some backlinks will help rank in super low competition, non-YMYL niches, but for higher competition keywords in super scrutinized niches like finance, you need the content and you need the authority.

There is no magic number IMO for how much quality content you need on your website before your backlinks start paying off. In my experience, 6 months of creating quality content every day won't really move the needle until Google starts loving on your website. Then, again in my experience, it's like Google starts reconsidering all those backlinks within the context of it's new appreciation and respect for your website.

My best advice is to focus only on content for a while. 500 referring domains, assuming a lot of those are from legit sources that are contextually relevant, is more than enough to rank well. Congratulations, you checked that box off.

I'd recommend creating three to five pieces of content that are targeting super lucrative keywords. Things like best credit card, best small business checking account, etc. These type of super commercial pieces should be your long-term SEO goals. That's to say, every piece of content you put out on the website should be relevant to one of those, even if only tangentially.

That's your foundation.

Then you just start creating content that's interesting and people want to read. Long tail shit. Medium tail shit. Everything in between. And every new piece of content you put out Should link to one of those foundational pieces. That's how you build SEO power over the long term.

In my experience, there really is not much more magic than that. A closing thought would be to be vigilant about capturing emails throughout the entire process. Have a free e-book or require an email to read the results of your latest survey for free, etc. Google can snap their fingers and take away your traffic at any time. They can't touch your email list.
turdbullet
Most of the time, HARO links end up being unrelated crap which Google seems to no longer count for rankings. Why would Google rank a site about credit cards higher because it's homepage linked to from an article about the best voip services for small business owners?

The syndicated links from newspapers… those often have rel canonical tags back to the original piece. Again, assuming they are relevant, why would Google count all those duplicate links?

These high DR sites.. they publish hundreds if not thousands of new articles each month. That article with a link to your site is now buried 50 pages deep in the land of pagination. Might as well not exist.

Sounds like you added maybe 10-20 relevant links and it has only been a month or 2, maybe it needs more time or maybe your niche is so competitive that 20 links won't move the needle.

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