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A Comprehensive Guide to Resource Page Link Building

Updated: 3 days ago

When it comes to ranking on search engines, there are a lot of factors that come into play. A big one is your website actually being an authority on the subject that you would like to rank for. The problem is that search engines don’t understand if the information on your site is good enough all on their own.


They require outside influences to tell them that your information is useful, unique, and trustworthy in the form of external links. When other websites include a link back to your website, it tells search engines that your website has some authority in a specific area, which can go a long way in getting your site to rank higher in searches. 


There was a time when search engines like Google took into account how many external links a website had, and gave them credit for that, but as people do, some took advantage of this and started mass producing low to zero quality links for websites, cheating the system and ranking where they didn’t deserve it.


Practices like this have really influenced the way most people feel about the phrase “link building”, because they associate it with bad intentions, but there is still a place for it in today’s SEO landscape, as long as it’s done in the right way, and with the right intentions. 


There are multiple ways to go about link building. You can write a guest post for another website with a link back to your website, or you can put your website in every directory on the internet, and while both of these methods do work in their own rights, and have their own place, here we are going to talk about Resource Link Building.


What is Resource Link Building? 

If you have a piece of content, a tool, or a how-to guide on your website, you can offer it to other websites to host on their “Resources Page” or their “Links” page as additional help for their audiences. This is the essence of resource link building. It’s important to remember that not just anything can be used as a resource.


The content must be providing something to an audience, like teaching something specific, or a tool to do a specific job. If you have an article on your site that simply talks about a subject, maybe only offering insights or updates and such, this would not be considered to be an effective resource.


Opinions are a dime a dozen, and updates age very poorly. Worse, if the piece isn’t helpful at all, it could be affected by the new Google Spam Update. The more evergreen and helpful the content is, the more effective of a resource it will be.


You need to have a resource from your website selected before anything else. This will make sure you are using the best keywords in your searches to find the most relevant results. Having more than one in mind while searching can make your results too broad, dragging down that all too important relevancy.


If you stumble onto a page that would work for a different resource than you had in mind, that’s great. Make note of it and save it for later, but it’s best to stay focused initially and take the others as they come.


When considering your content as a good fit for another site’s resource page, there are a couple of key points that you have to keep in mind. Relevance, and duplication.


Relevance

Resource link building is an extremely relevance based form of link building that provides pretty strong signals to search engines on authority. The resource that you pitch has to be 100% relevant to the website or the webpage you are offering it to though.


When you stray too far from that relevancy line, it starts sending mixed signals to search engines, which could have adverse effects on your efforts. Google updates like their Penguin Algorithm, which is still being used and updated today, makes irrelevant links count against your rankings.


Another thing to consider is the website you are offering it too in the first place. Considering that ranking isn’t necessarily about having a vast number of links anymore, the websites that you offer your resource to should have some sort of established authority themselves. Getting your link added to 15 low quality, virtually unknown websites might benefit you a little bit if you’re lucky, but one link on a high quality, hyper relevant website will do even more for you. 


Duplication

When you find the resource page for your link, you need to make sure that what you’re offering doesn’t already exist in the list. Website owners, webmasters, and website managers are far less likely to consider your resource if they already have something that’s very similar to yours.


If you see something that stands out to you as being similar, visit it, take a look at what it is and what it offers, and if it already covers what you have, then move on. However, if yours stands out against it in some way, you can actually use that as leverage when it comes time to contacting them. 


Don’t get “duplication” confused with “relevancy” though. At certain points, the line between the two can get a little blurry, but the thing you need to remember is that the links that surround your link tell search engines what your resource is about.


This is called a “link neighborhood”, and your resource’s neighbors need to be relevant to your resource in order to boost the influence of your link. 


Using Search Modifiers in Your Site Finding

Sitefinding is using a search engine to find the relevant websites that you want to offer your resource to. In order to get started doing this efficiently, you need to have at least a basic understanding of search modifiers.


These are small elements that you add to your search to help narrow down your results. Here’s a quick list of the ones I frequently use when doing resource link building:


  • inurl:  - “inurl:links” or “inurl:resources” looks for any url that has those specific words in the url.

  • intitle: - Ensures that your results have a specific word inside the title of the webpage.

  • AND - Must be in all caps. Not perfect, but can increase the likelihood of getting results that include multiple keywords instead of Google picking and choosing.

  • -site: - Removes results from a particular website that isn’t useful to you. Things like Pinterest show up a lot, so removing it with this will clean up your results.

  • ~ - Putting this at the front of a word (~help) will allow Google to send you synonyms of that word in your results (help, aid, assist, etc).


From here, it’s just a matter of effectively putting them together. For example, if I was doing site finding for web pages to put our How to Improve Indexation: Making Google Notice Your Content guide, I could use these in a Google search:


intitle:SEO AND inurl:resources

The top three results for a quick Google search only using three search modifiers.

Or:

website AND seo AND ~indexation inurl:resources

The top three results of an advanced Google search using five search modifiers.

Every different combination of keywords and search modifiers will give you a different set of results. Ultimately, you will get repeats, so make sure you are keeping track somehow, to avoid reaching out to the same site multiple times. 


Things to Avoid When Site Finding

You are going to see a lot of things with any given search, and the truth is that a vast majority of them will be of little to no use to you, so it’s important to know what to look for. 


Blogs

The problem with blogs is that they realistically only want articles, so unless you intend to write an article for them and include a link to your website inside of it, these will generally do you no good. Sometimes, blogs do “resource roundups” or “resource highlights”, and that can work, but normally they do their own research and have their own partners that they work with for these lists. But if you see that they do them frequently enough, it could be worth a shot.


Unrelated Industry Websites

Let’s say I’m trying to pitch our How to Improve Indexation resource, and I find a list of SEO resources on a website’s Resources Page, but the website is primarily focused on kitchen appliances, I still wouldn’t reach out to this website.


It is likely that this website has a section on their Resources Page for the sole purpose of link exchanging (where one site puts a link on their site so that they can get a link on the other site), and websites who do this often have a higher risk of getting penalized by Google, which would tank the benefit of getting that link in the first place. The relevancy of the target page is important, but the relevancy of the domain as a whole does still matter to a degree. 


Links Pages or Resource Pages with no Focus

Even a dedicated resource or links page won’t provide any benefit if the link neighborhood has little to nothing to do with your link. If the page has categories that range too broadly in scope, then you don’t want to be added to those lists. All they do is send unclear and spammy signals to search engines, and that link will provide you with no benefit.


Links Pages or Resource Pages with Too Many Links

There are diminishing returns with the amount of benefit you can get out of a link. If a page has too many links on it, then search engines will likely consider those links to be spam, and not give those links any authority. 


The issue here doesn’t even have to be related to relevancy. Back before the Penguin Algorithm, people created websites or web pages just to house links to boost ratings. Because of practices like these, search engines started to take into account the number of links on a page, and penalized them for link stuffing. Because we can’t trust algorithm to accurately decipher the difference between link stuffing and extensive resource lists, it’s safer to avoid any webpage that looks like it might have too many already.


Outreaching Best Practices

Now we get to the point of offering your resource to your target websites. There are a ton of resources out there that offer outreaching advice, and they all provide a lot of great and useful advice. This portion is going to be advice that I have based on my personal nine years experience doing this very thing. Feel free to expand on any of it, or even leave anything that you don’t agree with, but this is the process that I went through, and got decent results from.


When reaching out for resource link building, it is best to be brief, direct, and authoritative. These three points will give you the best chance at getting your email read, and taken seriously. People that oversee websites get a ton of emails, much like the one that you are sending them, so it has to stand out, and it has to be clear. They do not have enough time to take every email seriously, so you have to ensure that your email is legit and not created by a robot.


The sweet spot that I found was trying to keep your emails around three paragraphs, total. If your email is too long, they likely wont even read it. You want to keep it as concise as possible, only adding in the key talking points that are necessary, making sure not to add fluff. Taking the time to compliment their website or their list of resources will almost always come across as disingenuous, even if it isn’t meant to. 


Remember that you are reaching out to them to offer them something to directly benefit their users, and the tone that you take should represent that. You are not asking for a favor, you are not asking for help, and despite how it may feel, you are not asking them for something in return for nothing. Your message should be making them feel like they need you, not that you need them. Introduce the resource with authority, knowing that it is useful, and that they need it for their page. Be careful not to come across as arrogant or cocky, but remain confident in your resource.


An example outreach email for resource link building.

Using this mockup email, you can see a couple of things to take note of. First, it is important to include a link to the exact page on their site that you want a link on. Doing so removes any question they might have about what you’re talking about, it saves them time from having to find it themselves, and it shows that you yourself have indeed been to their site, and have made a realistic request of them.


When doing so, you can choose to do what I did in the example and put it in a hyperlink, making your email look clean looking, but could be perceived as spammy, or a risky click, or you can present it in a bare URL. Doing it this way looks a bit messy, but it at least openly presents the path that you’re asking them to take. 


Secondly, you must always include the name of your resource as well as a link to it. By giving them the name, you are allowing them to judge it based on its title first. If the idea of that worries you, then you might consider changing the title to something you are actually confident in.


By not even giving the name, and just saying “we have a resource that you need” sounds like a phishing scheme, and they likely won't trust you. Making sure to give them the link gives them the chance to look it over and see for themselves how well it would fit, as well as removing the necessity of them replying to you just to get the information. The less hard you make them work, the more likely they are to work with you.


Lastly, always include your credentials. That’s what is going to set you apart from your average run-of-the-mill link builder. If it’s your site, your resource, or your company, then you already have the makings of authority. In my example, I say “I am from RankRealm, a tech industry based SEO firm”, because I am, and we are, which should display that the resource I am offering them comes from a place that knows their stuff.


They may not care about who you are, but they should care about what you know. If they know that you’re in their field, they might trust your knowledge more. And when I say “we created a guide”, it’s telling them that I know what I’m talking about, and I’m not just passing on information that I don’t understand.  


Conclusion

The process of resource link building can be tough. The success rate will inevitably be low, because that’s the world of link building. It’s been run into the ground, abused, and has left a bad taste in web manager’s mouths. When I was at my best as a linkbuilder, I was getting anywhere between a 5% to a 7% conversion rate. But I didn’t have the authority to claim resources as mine, nor did I have the pride of being directly associated with what I was offering.


If you have a really good resource that you believe could benefit a lot of people, then there is likely another website out there willing to link to it to help their user base, they just need to know about it. Now you know how to get it to them.

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