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April 16, 2022

Link Building Case Study in 2024: How Many Links to Increase Domain Authority?

I started this blog in July 2019. Nearly three years later, I had a domain authority of 15 after doing zero link building (which isn’t great).

And my blog’s traffic results were mixed. On the one had I was getting consistent traffic of around 500-ish daily visitors. On the other hand my traffic had been stuck at 500 daily clicks for more than a year! This is despite me doubling the amount of content on my blog in that time. It felt like Google had capped my blogs traffic.

Google Traffic Cap

Which felt pretty devastating. I was working a demanding full-time job in addition to producing all this content. To watch it have zero growth for an entire year hurt bad .

Clearly something needed to change. And my best idea of what to change going into 2022 was adding some white hat link building to my site.

In the past I’ve avoided white-hat link building for the following reasons.

  • It’s impossible to measure causation / correlation. So you really can’t prove that link building is what worked one way or another.
  • It’s not entirely within your control as you’re not dependent on 3rd party sites.
  • Over the long term it seems like it’s impossible to build as many links as a very large site would obtain naturally.

That said, I stumbled upon this chart by Alexa Rank that has changed my mind. In this chart it maps the number of high quality backlinks a site has to its Alexa Rank. Here’s where my site fell on the chart.

At first I was confused because Alexa says I have maybe 5-ish backlinks while UberSuggest says I have nearly 2,000 backlinks.

Ubersuggest Backlinks

However, if you only count do-follow links from reputable sites with a DA of greater than 50, Alexa’s spot on.

And look at where websites in the 20th percentile rank with only 100 backlinks. This chart basically says if I build 10 to 100 very high quality backlinks I’ll rank in the top 10,000 to 100,000 websites on the global Internet. All of these websites are getting the traffic needed to make six figures.

This is inspirational because it feels possible. I had it in my head I’d need thousands of backlinks and I simply don’t have the time to do the outreach for that, work my full-time job, and create content.

But, building 94 more links to get to 100? That’s fewer than 3 links per month over the next 3 years. Even as a solo blogger I feel like I can either achieve that or put a dent in it. And the chart officially has me curious enough about the results to try it.

The Case Study

In April 2022 I had a DA of 15, 20k-ish clicks a month from Google, and 6 high-quality backlinks (according to Alexa). I want to get to 100 DA50+ links and see how all of that changes.

How am I going to do that? Right now these are my favorite link-building techniques.

  • YouTube Content: Weirdly my best links have come from people who watched my YouTube videos.
  • Affiliate List Posts: Companies will reach out to be included / moved in the list and I will take a link from them.
  • Outreach: I hate begging my friends for stuff… But, I think it’s time.
  • Guest Posting: I hate the idea of guest posting. But, two guest posts a month would get me to 100 links by itself in less than 4 years. It’s practical and may be my only option to get onto some of these sites.
  • Natural Acquisition: In the past year I probably got a 5+ decent links naturally. So at that rate I could hit 100 in 20 years. Much faster if my traffic doubled.
  • Begging Visitors For Links: I once put a PayPal donation button on my site. The conversion rate was low but not 0. I’m wondering if I did the same thing but begged for links what type of results I’d see.

My goal is to build at least a few links a month and to update you with what has happened when I get to 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 links. This post will take months and perhaps years to complete.

That said, when I am done it’ll be the most comprehensive post on the topic that you can find on the open Internet. So be sure to check back every few months.

Or better yet, link out to my blog so that I can achieve these results even faster.

See you at 20 DA50+ backlinks!

Shaun works as a professional software developer while blogging about the creator economy (With a focus on Blogging, YouTube, and Virtual Reality).

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