Advanced Link Building: Clone Your Most Successful Link Profiles


clone your most successful link profilesLink builders often talk about competitive link analysis and exploring your competitors' link profiles to find link opportunities. The logic here is a link profile that works for one site may work for a similar site. And executed properly, this can be an effective link strategy.

But I'd like to share a link building tactic you've probably never read about. It's very effective and based on the same approach and logic as competitive link analysis. Besides analyzing links on competitor sites, you should also be examining your own link profiles for link opportunities, specifically the profiles of your best performing pages. The objective here is to replicate the success of your strongest ranking page on your weaker ranking pages.

Why is this link building tactic successful?

  • If it's working for one page on your site, it may work for another
  • It’s exponentially easier to replicate your own link strategy than a competitors
  • You have proprietary access to replicate your own site internal link structure that competitors will never be able to clone

So let’s take a look at how you can analyze the link profiles for your site’s best ranking pages and clone those profiles for other pages.

Methods for Link Analysis

The method I use to analyze the link profiles of the top performing pages on my own websites involves three steps.

Step One: Identify Top Performing Pages

First, if you're not already doing so, find the top performing pages on your website. Rather than running individual search queries for your target keywords in Google, you can use one of these rank tracking tools.

Step Two: Create External Link Analysis Report

Once you have your top performing keywords/pages, it's time to do some link analysis and create an external link profile report.

Yahoo Link Domain - I conduct most my link reporting and link analysis using Yahoo Link Domain. This is some of the most extensive, comprehensive and up-to-date link data available and it's and free. I'd recommend accessing it through the SEO Toolbar from SEO Book, so you can perform page level analysis.

Link analysis using the SEO Toolbar

How to Create Your Link Analysis Report:

Site links in SERPs send a signal to link builders that this site is trusted

  1. Run Yahoo Link Domain on your strongest ranking pages (individually, of course) and export the link data to Excel. Your link report data points should include Toolbar PageRank (TBPR), "domain links," "page links," ".edu links," ".gov" links, all of which you can access with the SEO for Firefox Toolbar.

    Link analysis using Yahoo Link Domain

  2. To further qualify links, check the linking site's domain in the SERPs to see if Google has awarded site links to that site (demonstrating trust and authority), and add that field to your report.
  3. Sort by TBPR to get an idea of "relative value" of the inbound links pointing to that page.
  4. Scrub the list and purge low value links (scraper sites, syndicated article submission links, social links, forum signatures, blog comments, nofollow), as it's unlikely they're passing enough juice if any to impact rank. Even if they are, they're easy enough to replicate. And if you’re doing it for one page, you’re likely doing it for others. So don't dwell on these links.
  5. Leave only high and/or medium value links on the sheet from trusted sites with strong, authoritative link signals. Point is, you’re looking for links that are unique and passing enough link equity to float it in the results.

So now you should have a solid external links report, which will look something like this:

Link analysis report for advanced link building

Step Three: Create Internal Link Analysis Report

It's not just external links that pass link equity to your Web pages. Internal link building also flows juice throughout a site. That's why I preach an aggressive internal linking system, so you can funnel link equity from those "link rich" pages to your "link poor pages." Creating an internal link report will help identify the where the top performing pages are getting their internal link juice.

Webmaster Tools - Gives you a list of all pages on your site that link to your top performing pages, which you can export into Excel.

Internal link analysis using Webmaster Tools

Yahoo Link Domain - Use the link command "" to get the entire list of internal links pointing to your top performing pages.

Internal link analysis using Yahoo link commands

With this data, you will create a spreadsheet like the one you created for the external link analysis report above, again organizing the list by TBPR and purging the list of any low value internal links. This will give you a crystal clear picture of internal link profiles for your top performing pages, which you can then act on.

Now, Clone Your Link Profile

External Links Prospects

With your handy link analysis report in hand, your goal now is to try and acquire more inbound links from the same sources that pass link equity to your top performing pages. Easier said than done, right? Sure, some links may be difficult to duplicate, but many aren't. Point is, if they linked to you before, odds are in your favor that they'll link to you again. This is especially true when replicating links from, say, a trusted directory. With editorial links, you'll need to reach out those sources and inquire about additional link opportunties to other pages on your site.

What's also great about this process is the link intelligence you gain. The practice of analyzing and determining which links are passing equity and trust will give you tremendous insight into what it takes to replicate top SERP performance.

Internal Links Prospects

Replicating your internal link profiles is obviously much easier, yet potentially just as effective. You want to use the results of your internal link analysis report to identify potential targets on your site for additional internal linking.

A word of caution though: realize that if you continually siphon the link juice from a feeder page by adding more internal links, you run the risk of:

  • Diluting the existing equity passing to the internal links already living on that page
  • Killing that page's ability to pass meaningful link equity to any future links

BTW, to monitor your internal link equity and how much link juice each internal page is passing, you can use a free SEO tool like Foxyrank.

Monitor internal link equity with Foxyrank

So keep that in mind when you're tapping these internal pages for juice. I recommend taking precautions by noting all other internal links on page, documenting their existing rankings and monitoring their position in the SERPs closely over the subsequent weeks to make sure you haven’t hurt them by diluting the juice they were receiving from those top performing pages on your site.

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mark rushworth
Oct 23, 2009

my link analysis report goes a little deeper, i rate the following on a +1, 0 or -1 score (on topic/related/off topic etc):

Locality, KW in URL, Anchor Text, PR, KW in Title, Sitewide, Strong, Theme, OBL, KW COntent, Updated, Competitors, MozRank, Alexa

this can then be put against other factors like the actual pagerank, mozrank and foxyrank link juice number to tell you if a links high quality and fulfills the 3 cornerstones of link development.

Im thinking of expanding the criteria to neighborhood factors linke relevance of OBL and relevancy of IBL only this is going to massively increase the number of links i can qualify in a day *phew*

Ken Lyons
Oct 26, 2009

Mark, thanks for commenting.
And thanks for sharing your link analysis data points with us. Great stuff!

Linkbuilding – Klone dein eigenes Link Profile
Oct 25, 2009

[...] Webseiten zu analysieren und ihre Backlinks zu klonen. Ken Lyons erklärt in seinem Post Advanced Link Building: Clone Your Most Successful Link Profiles dass man den Ansatz aus dieser Strategie auch gut woanders benutzen kann, auf den eigenen [...]

eCommerce Newbie
Oct 26, 2009

i feel quite sceptical about this link building approach, but i'd rather test it and see if i am wrong.

Ken Lyons
Oct 26, 2009

...or rather to see if i am right. ;)

Richard Gilmore
Oct 26, 2009

That's a nice perspective - percieving your own successes as part of your competitive intelligence strategy. If anyone's interested I recently wrote an article on how to find more backlinks in Yahoo! and other search engines I think it will be interesting for those who are going to implement the strategy described here.

Ken Lyons
Oct 26, 2009

Hi, Richard. Thanks for commenting.
Just read the article and that's a great list of Yahoo site commands for link analysis.

Richard Gilmore
Oct 30, 2009

Thanks Ken, I'm glad you liked it.


Oct 26, 2009

Thanks for this.
On a side note I'd forgotten about SEObook's toolbar which you've reminded me to re-install.


Oct 27, 2009

Through using of SEO tools you can find the top performing pages on your website. Rather than running individual search queries for your target keywords in Google, you can use one of these rank tracking tools. Thank you for sharing and this is a good information on which i can use to our site

Nick @ Brick Marketing
Oct 28, 2009

I think Google webmaster tools is an excellent way to really look at your entire link structure so you can effectively make a decision on where to increase or decrease so you can have a nice balanced link structure.

Ken Lyons
Oct 28, 2009

@Nick, I do love Webmaster Tools, but I feel it's pretty one-dimensional/limited. I do wish I had the ability to segment and filter link data. For example, when I'm analyzing internal link structures, I'd like to be able to filter out sitewide navigational links and see only editorial in-content links. I'd also love the ability to see the anchor text of those internal links.
That said, for a free tool, it's still great.

Oct 28, 2009

... and this is why I hate manual link building.... it takes SOOOOOOOOO much work just to get a couple links

Oct 28, 2009

Great article and very impressed with the detail and effort taken to help people build better links and rank better, thank you.

Oct 29, 2009

Great article! Manual link building is a bit of a pain, and it does take quite a while. This is an approach I had not considered and look forward to testing it out.

Link Building this Month (10.2009) |
Nov 02, 2009

[...] Advanced link building: clone your most successful link profiles – Ken Lyons [...]

Marketing Steve
Nov 09, 2009

I really liked this article. Good stuff. My only reservation is the reliance on the Yahoo tools for analytics purposes. Since Bing is taking over the show for Yahoo in the very near future, I wonder how useful those tools will continue to be.