AI backlinks - how it really works

Using AI for backlinking: how does it really work?

The Generative AI Team came up with an impressive list of 100 new AI tools that recently got released. The long-awaited revolution could be finally here: everything + AI. Sure, you fiddled with ChatGPT, found it gave some amusing answers and provided some use. But playtime is over. AI is here to change jobs, tasks, and the way we do business. So also backlinking. Here’s a deep dive into using AI for backlinks with the 5 best practices.

Just to clarify: we will focus on the creating of backlinks to score higher in the engine results, not the other pillars Content and Website Tech which are actively being covered.

And sorry if it breaks your bubble, but AI linkbuilding tools won’t just be a matter of dropping your URL into a wonder machine that will sprout all the quality backlinks that you need in all the right places. Yet. And be happy about that: you’d need to polish your other capabilities to find a real job. Your human ingenuity is what keeps you ahead, for now.

Consider AI as a capability enhancing approach, for yourself and the AI tools you are using.

The promise of AI for backlinking

The Dutch Van Moof bike is electric. But you still need to steer and ride it.

Creating backlinks for your website or clients typically involves a lot of manual work that can be automated. By breaking up your tasks into smaller bits, you can automate the heck out of it. So what can you actually do with AI? In all fairness, much that SEO tools like SEMRUSH and MOZ are already provided:

  • Outreach
  • Analyse your link profile and competitor’s backlinks
  • Internal linkbuilding
  • Track your linkbuilding results
  • Offer specific suggestions for your link building strategies

Most link builders learned their craft and methods out in the field of practice. Some may naturally have been drawn to outreach, others to analyzing opportunities, and from that natural inclination, got accustomed to a certain approach. The beauty of using SEO tools is that they can help you shape the way you build your backlinks. AI is only making that easier, by automating and optimising.

The bad news: there is not one perfect AI tool for making backlinks out there. Most tools will try and convince you that you only need their tool, but that’s the full suite approach, not the best-of-breed approach. If you want the best tooling, you need multiple tools. Even with AI in the mix. Or perhaps, especially with AI in the mix, since most tools with AI in their name are aiming for a specific product-market fit to quickly build ROI so as a startup, they can scale.

You see, most AI tools are basically SaaS tools built on either AWS, Google’s Cloud or Microsoft. Processing power is only getting cheaper. Add in some smart algorithms and data tools for collecting and analyzing big amounts of data, and presto! AI tool. In fact, there are now AI tools that allow you to easily make your own AI tools – code free.

AI for Outreach

Everyone with a website has received them: Hi, great website you have! I especially liked this article. The link in the article…. and other e-mails that prey on human kindness to squeeze out a link or two. The big problem with those bulk emails is the lack of personalisation. AI offers personalisation on scale. Here’s a few things AI can improve in the traditional outreach tools:

  • Find possible websites in your niche and country
  • Analyse opportunities for guest posting and outreach in terms of SEO metrics and traffic
  • Find contact information of site owners: email addresses or links to forms
  • Find broken links on websites
  • Find brand mentions without links
  • Contact website owners with dynamic templates
  • Track the stage and progress per website owner
  • Per stage, sent a specific template

AI tools for outreach to consider are: Hunter IO (best for finding emails), Buzzstream (for automated email outreach), LinkHunter (start and manage outreach campaigns), Can I Rank (complete tool, helps you to focus on high-quality link opportunities), Ninja Outreach (find influencers and outreach).

AI for backlink analysis

Yes, this is a no-brainer. But bear with me. The issue with automation is that things happen without giving it much thought. And if you ever tried that promising Fiverr gig for SEO boosting backlinks for only $5 that resulted in you updating your disavow file, you know it pays to first think. Than act.

  • Track and monitor your backlinks and their performance
  • Easily disavow spammy or bad backlinks from your website
  • Point out weaknesses in your backlink and give suggestions for content, internal links and outreach
  • Analyse your internal backlinks and give suggestions and automate internal link placement
  • Track your competitor’s backlinks and notify you of any changes
  • Find the most interesting backlinks that your competitors have
  • Notify you when a backlink to your website disappears
  • Filter out the spam in your linkbuilding opportunities

Note that these suggestions typically not only cover the analysis part but also give you agency to act on your insights; typically, most SEO tools take a good chunk out of each SEO element like the analysis. AI tools for backlink analysis to consider are: Link Whisper (internal link building tool), Link Juicer (internal link building tool, excellent freemium!), Monitor Backlinks (automate back link campaigns, gain valuable insights), Dibz (interesting site quality indicators to filter spam), Rankster (find and analyze competitor backlinks), Diib (monitor keywords and backlinks, track competitors).

An essential subpart of analyzing backlinks is identifying those backlinks you wouldn’t want:

Identifying spammy backlinks

You know a spammy website when you see one: no https, piss-poor design, bad UX, non-matching images, text or links. But when all these things are fixed, a website can still very much be spammy. The following metrics can be easily found and analyzed by AI-enhanced SEO tools:

  • High spam score (MOZ)
  • More than 100+ outgoing backlinks on a single page
  • Unindexed page in Google
  • Low domain authority (MOZ), low trustflow (Majestic), low domain rating (Ahrefs)
  • Has backlinks from penalized pages or domains
  • Has backlinks from spammy domains such as link farms and spam link directories
  • Has unrelated backlinks from non-matching websites, in either a different category or from a different language

Identifying quality backlinks? Go for traffic and audience

So quality backlinks are basically the opposite of spammy backlinks, duh, but there is a key point to look for: The site actually has real organic traffic. This means a few good things: Google thinks the site is good enough for its users, and the users likely do find the website useful because they are not showing the negative behaviour Google would be sure to pick up. This site is doing something good, and a backlink to your website would share that. The quickest tool for a quick (single-site) traffic lookup is Ahrefs:

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