Using Algorithms to Find the Right Link Building Strategy

You probably know that having the right link building strategy for your website is crucial. But knowing how to find the sites you need to link to maximize the benefits can be tricky. One of the best ways to do this is to find a way to mimic known search engine algorithms.

Below, you’ll learn SEO strategy to recreate two of the most important search algorithms to boost your business to the top of search result rankings.

Algorithm 1: Topic-Sensitive PageRank

Not only does Topic-Sensitive PageRank use traditional authority and trustworthy scores like the PageRank algorithm, but it also accounts for topical relevance. Essentially, this algorithm clusters seed pages by topic. For example, it categorizes the Business section of the New York Times as being about business, so that any external links from this page would pass topical PageRank to the site that is linked. This results in a topical score that circulates through external links on the web.

Algorithm 2: Hub and Authority Pages

The internet has tons of hub or authority pages, also known as “expert” pages. An expert page is not only about a specific topic, but it also provides a number of links to non-affiliated pages that are related to that topic. An authority page is one that is linked by top experts on the query topic. By including expert and hub page links, a website can become an authority and rank well for a specific topic.

Because hub domains produce hub pages, you’ll be replicating the algorithm at the hub rather than the page level.

Using Relevant Links

Both of these algorithms are similar in that they pass authority based on how relevant the source page is. The next step is to find topically relevant authority sites and link to them so your search rankings will improve. To do so, follow the 10 simple steps below.

Step 1: Identify Topics and Keywords

The first step in finding hub and expert pages to select links from is discovering which pages are true authorities. When you look at Google search results, you’ll quickly find out which sites are considered authorities. Then, you can use links to top sites to improve your rankings for specific keywords.

A simple SERP scraper is a good way to find authority sites for a variety of keywords. It’s best to use the top 20 results for each term when choosing authority sites.

Step 2: Locating Authorities

Now that you’ve generated a URL list, create an Excel document where you remove columns and leave only the URL. Add a Root Domain header in column B and insert this formula in B2:

=IF(ISERROR(FIND(“//www.”,A2)), MID(A2,FIND(“:”,A2,4)+3,FIND(“/”,A2,9)-FIND(“:”,A2,4)-3), MID(A2,FIND(“:”,A2,4)+7,FIND(“/”,A2,9)-FIND(“:”,A2,4)-7))

After expanding your results so each URL includes the domain, add a C column titled Count. In C2, include and drag this formula:


Now you can count the number of times this domain appears for the keywords you grabbed above.

Next, copy column C and paste it as a value so the formula is removed. Use column C and sort the table from large to small.

Finally, remove any duplicate domains by clicking the Data tab at the top of the Excel page and choosing remove duplicates. Remove all duplicates in column B and delete column A so only the root domains and search result statistics remain.

This simple formula allowed you to uncover the domains that Google considers authorities on your topic.

Step 3: Export Authority Site Referring Domains

Majestic is one of the best services to use to access authority sites’ referring domains because of its large link database and metrics. Here’s how to use it:

First, select domains with the highest count from your spreadsheet, enter them into Majestic, and export all of your referring domains. After you’ve exported your first domain, insert a column in A that stays empty. Add a Competitor header, add the root domain to A2, and drag it down.

Continue doing this with each competitor until you have at least 10. After the first one, however, copy and paste the new export (minus the headers) in the first exported sheet so all backlink data now appears in one sheet.

Step 4: Spreadsheet Cleanup

With all of your referring domains in place, you can now remove any unneeded columns from your spreadsheet. Delete all columns except Competitor, Domain, TrustFlow, CitationFlow, Topical Trust Flow Topic 0, and Topical Trust Flow Value 0.

Step 5: Find Repeat Domains and Already Acquired Links

You have all the data you need, so your next step is to use the formula to draw out the expert or hub domains that are linking to multiple domains that are relevant for your topic.

To column G, add the header titled Times Linked to Competitors. Add this formula in G2:


This provides you with crucial information and lets you know how many competitors the column B site is linking to.

Next, make sure to check off any domains that are already linking to your site to prevent the repeated adding of links on the same domain. First, add an Already Linking to Site heading to column H. Then add a new sheet titled My Site Links. Export all referring domains from Majestic for your site’s domain and paste the export into your new sheet.

In H2 in the first sheet, type this formula:

=IFERROR(IF(MATCH(B2,’My Site Links’!B:B,0),”Yes”,),”No”)

This will ensure that the B2 URL under My Site Links will properly return yes or no. Next, copy the G and H columns and paste them as values.

Step 6: Estimate Organic Traffic

Although you don’t need to do this step, if you want to discover how well a website ranks for target keywords and get rid of low-quality, penalized, or de-indexed sites, use URL Profiler to get this information from SEMrush.

First, save your spreadsheet as a CSV. Next, right click in the URL list area in URL Profiler, import CSV, and merge the data. Then, tick ‘SEMrush Rank’ in the domain level data. Input your API key and run the profiler.

To collect SEMrush metrics more quickly, remove domains with a Trust Flow score of 0 – 5 in Excel before you import them. This will eliminate most low-quality domains that you should avoid building links from.

Step 7: Network Graphing

To make your data easier to read and filter than a spreadsheet, you can create network graphs using Google Fusion Tables. Save the spreadsheet as a CSV file and then select “create a new file” in Google Drive. Then choose “connect more apps,” search for “fusion tables,” and connect the app to the Google Drive. Next, make a new Google Drive file and select Google Fusion Tables, upload your CSV file, and choose “next” from the bottom right corner.

Once you’ve loaded the CSV, click “next” to import the table. Finally, name the table and choose “finish.”

Step 8: Make a Hub Graph

Now that you’ve imported the rows, click the red “+” icon and then click “add chart” to begin making a network graph.

Select the network graph at the bottom of the page and configure it using by selecting “URL” then “Competitor” under Show Link Between. Under Appearance, choose “Link is Directional” and “Color by Columns.” Under Weight by, select “Times Linked to Competitor.”

You may need to add to the number of nodes the graph shows so you can see more sites, but remember that as you add nodes, your computer will be under more duress. Finally, select “done” in the upper right hand corner of the chart to complete the configuration.

The yellow circles that appear in your graph represent competitors while the blue circles are sites linking to competitors. As competitors’ circles grow, so do referring domains. Hub domains have bigger linking site circles since they’re weighted by how many times they’ve linked to competitors.

You’ll notice that many sites in the graph link to only one authority site. To fix this, filter using TrustFlow and SEMrush Organic Traffic so that only sites that link to more than one competitor will show hub domains.

In addition, you can add an additional filter so you’ll only see sites that are not currently linking to your website. This will make your results much easier to manage. It’s easy to see that the top hub domains you should build relationships appear in the middle of the graph.

Step 9: Filtering for High Topical PageRank

Because Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow works similarly to Topic-sensitive PageRank, it’s easy to substitute it. Create a new network graph just as you did the previous one but weight it by Topical Trust Flow value. Make a filter for Topical Trust Flow Topic and select topics that are relevant to your website. You can also use a similar filter from the previous graph to eliminate low-quality results. Not as many results will appear for this chart, but the sites that will pass more authority are those that show up.

Step 10: Recreating Filters

Import the spreadsheet you created previously into Google Sheets, duplicate the sheet, and use the same filters you used for the network graphs. Adding an “Outreached” header will also help you know if your website already has a relationship with that site.


Now that you’ve had some practice recreating algorithms, it should be clearer to you how to drive more link equity and benefit your site. Although the process may seem time consuming, it’s actually relatively simple and will be well worth the work you put in.

If you would like to understand exactly what you can do to maximize your ranking, get a free SEO analysis by clicking below!