VIDEO: Link Building Fundamentals

When starting to learn more about SEO and the best strategies to help your website rank, link building is likely mentioned. However, many beginners’ guides fail to go deeper into the techniques that help you carry out building links, and the steps that go alongside it. In this video, John goes into detail how to get started on link building, how to use Moz’s Link Explorer tool, and notable things to pay attention to:

  • 00:00:00: Introduction to SEO and the importance of off-site ranking factors.
  • 00:00:33: Using Moz’s Link Explorer tool for SEO link building.
  • 00:01:10: How to assess a website’s backlink portfolio using Link Explorer.
  • 00:02:00: Explanation of Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) in Moz.
  • 00:03:00: Importance of DA as a measure of a website’s value to search engines.
  • 00:03:17: How to analyze ‘follow’ links and their significance in link building.
  • 00:04:22: Assessing the influence of domains that link to you and their authority.
  • 00:05:06: How to compare your website’s backlinks with competitors.
  • 00:06:45: Summary of link building and the importance of quality links.
  • 00:07:24: Final thoughts on link building.

Full Video Transcript

Hey everybody, it’s John. I wanted to jump into something that can be confusing for people who are learning about SEO or just getting into SEO, or just in general evaluating and assessing how valuable their off-site ranking factors are to Google. When we talk about search engines, Google owns the majority of the market share, so when I start explaining this, people get a little bit confused, and so I think this is a good place to start.

When we do link building and try to figure out what a site’s off-site value is, we use a tool called Link Explorer from It is a paid tool, although if you sign up for an account, you will get a certain number of searches for free, but I highly recommend a paid account. It runs about $100 bucks a month, but it’s well worth it as you get access to all of their tools. I personally feel like Moz set the precedent for understanding a baseline value and quantifying that through this tool, and I’ll show you how we use it.

When you’re at Link Explorer, we’re going to pick a site that we want to assess the backlink portfolio of and off-site factors. I’m just going to grab a site called Shop Athens Ohio. It’s a wonderful boutique website that sells choice clothing and other things from Athens, Ohio, and Ohio University, a place that’s very near and dear to my heart. So, I’m going to pop the URL into Link Explorer. I’m seeing some things happen right off the bat as Moz is spitting some things back to me. There’s a lot of data that you get out of this. I’m just going to go through things that we look at that provide really the most helpful information.

As I populate this website, what I’m going to do is click within this link research and click over to linking domains, and I’ll see a couple of numbers here, something called domain authority and page authority, and you can get the kind of definition between each of the two scores. Each of these scores, domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA), are essentially out of 100, and so we see scores kind of all across the board on a scale like I said, the scale is 0 to 100. This one’s a 22, not bad, not great, but a little bit better than what I’ve seen websites start with before doing SEO or even doing a little bit of SEO.

One thing that we look at right away is the domain authority and how high it is on a scale of zero to 100. Then what we do, and certainly take into account page authority, but domain authority is I would just treat it as like a line in the water and how you’re doing right now and how Google values your website because you can look at that compared to like your other competitors to kind of see how you stack up against them and of course what links they have coming to the website.

That’s the next thing. One of the things you want to do is scroll down a little bit here. I want you to change the link type from all links to follow. It’s a little bit complicated, but the links that Google values to your website are ones that don’t have any parameters attached to them. Companies or businesses or other websites, and that’s what we’re looking for here, is that there’s your site and other websites are linking to it. That’s essentially what we’re assessing here, probably should have mentioned that in the beginning, but that’s essentially what this is, and that’s something that Google values, right, and it’s tough to cheat. People have tried to do it in the past, but Google kind of always catches up with them, so you want to try and do it as naturally as you can.

Again, I’m all over the place here, let me stick with follow. Follow is kind of just natural when somebody places a link on the site without any stipulations, you know, that’s what you’re going to see here. So, these are more true links coming to your website. Again, all links are the default. I’m going to select follow, and then what you can do is you’ll get a list of websites here, its root domain, and you can see what their domain authority is. Now that we have a score and a measurable system to see how influential these sites are, I’ve got a link from coming to this website. For those of you who aren’t familiar, that’s another content management system for ecommerce websites, there’s BigCommerce or Shopify. Then you scroll down, and there’s one from, so Ohio University, that’s good, a couple of other random ones here. So, just you can start to assess links coming from other websites and compare them to one of the competitors.

I just put in Athens Ohio T-shirts. One of the competitors of Shop Athens is going to be another great company called Ohio is Home. So, if I go to their website, what I’m going to do is kind of compare, and this is one of the things that you can do, to see how far away or how close you are to some of your website competitors or sorry, your either search competitors or just business competitors. If I go and put Ohio is Home, I’ll put in and analyze that, and it’s got a little bit higher domain authority than me, 23. I’m going to change this to follow, so I’m not that far off, right? If this is my site, if I scroll down here, here are all the domains that are coming to this website. So, 10 TV is a TV station out of Columbus. You’ll see this with ecommerce, especially for specific products. Ecommerce for retail relies on pretty consistent T-shirt releases, so my guess is that this is a link referencing a T-shirt that they had come out. Oprah Daily, okay, this is interesting, they probably released a T-shirt around the Coronavirus back when it came out. So, so on and so forth, you can start to look and see what domains are pointing to your competitor websites and possibly configure a strategy as to what you can do to get links coming to your website and acquire the link that they have to kind of even things out.

Again, just to kind of recap here, conceptually, it is when you’re talking about link building, it is other websites linking to your website, and this domain authority score essentially addresses the credibility of other links coming to your website and puts it forth in place a scoring system to kind of help you see which websites are more valuable than others. So, take a look at it. There’s another website you can look at,, which does a similar thing in getting an idea and understanding of what links are coming to your website. It also gives you more of like a real-time update on when links have come into your website, so you can trace it to each month to see who’s linking to you.

So, just a high-level understanding of link building. If you have any questions, reach out to me again. My name is John, email address is Happy to answer any questions that you have about link building. Alright, thanks.

John Sammon

About the Author

John Sammon

John Sammon is the CEO and founder of Sixth City Marketing and has been doing online marketing for over 15 years and has vast experience helping manufacturers and universities. During this time, he has been mentioned in many notable publications such as Forbes, Yahoo, and Entrepreneur.

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