Macrumors.com has over 190,000 referring domains and gets around 10 million monthly search visits. And these organic visits are worth an estimated 7.8 million dollars per month. Now, while there are many factors that contribute to their success in organic search, a huge part of this is because of their brilliant link building, or should I say link earnings strategy.
In this blog, logo design experts going to uncover how Macrumors does it and the 3 key principles that can turn content into natural link magnets. Stay tuned. Arnold Kim, a former physician and now founder of Macrumors.com has created one of the most well-known Apple info sites in the world. And whether he knows it or not, he’s built a link-earning empire that’s largely responsible for millions of monthly organic visits.
Ahrefs Site Explorer
In fact, if we look at their Top Subfolders report in Ahrefs Site Explorer, you’ll see that more than half their organic traffic, which equates to over 5 million dollars in traffic value, goes to their roundup subfolder. And this subfolder is mostly made up of pages reviewing Apple products. Now, because we all know that simply writing a detailed review on a product isn’t going to lead to a ton of links, how does Macrumors do it? Well, if we look at the link graph for their iPhone 12 page you’ll see that it paints a pretty clear timeline of events.
As you can see, they started getting their first referring domains in October 2019. And that growth accelerated until November 2020. Now, for you Apple fans out there, you probably know that the iPhone 12 wasn’t released until October 23, 2020, right around the time their link growth began to decelerate. This means, that the whole lead-up to the release date is when they’re building massive authority to their pages. So much so that their now buyer’s guide has more referring domains than Apple’s iPhone 12 product page.
At its core, the strategy is quite simple but brilliant. From a macro view, they create a linkable asset and earn a ton of links. And by the time the product is released, they’ve built a ton of link authority. So they a) update the content to better match searcher intent leading to sustained rankings for fathead queries
- b) optimize the page for revenue so it improves their Bottomline
Macrumors is using their greatest asset to earn backlinks. And that is insider information – or at least what seems to be insider information. Let’s break down their content strategy which is actually quite simple in theory but challenging in practice. Theory first. This is the first version of their iPhone 12 page. And the content is about rumors that are focused primarily on the features, looks, specs, release dates, and basically anything you’d want to know about the product.
All they do to continue earning links is update their content frequently as they hear new rumors from credible sources. For a company like Apple with a cult-like following, every journalist is going to cover these updates, especially considering that Apple is one of the most secretive companies. And because Macrumors has built a reputation for frequently being right on their predictions, they’re going to be the beneficiary of some very sexy links.
Strategy Is Challenging In Practice
The obvious reason why this strategy is challenging in practice is that most of us don’t have insiders in companies. And even if you did have an insider at a popular company who’s willing to leak information, risk their job, get slapped with big fines, and maybe even face jail time, then sure, it’d be easy. But here’s the thing. To the best of my knowledge, Arnold and co aren’t paying off Apple employees.
Instead, they’re just really good at researching and fast at executing. If you actually read their December version of their iPhone 12 page, you’ll see that they’re basically just collecting rumors from various sources. They frequently reference Ming-Chi Kuo, who’s an analyst for a financial services group in the APAC region. And he specializes in Apple’s Asian supply chain, which is where most Apple products are assembled. Now, Kuo’s research is probably the most thorough in all of the Apple rumor land.
Analyzes Apple’s Patents
He analyzes Apple’s patents which are usually released before the product. Then he pairs this information with his expertise to make speculations about specific features like Face ID and on-display fingerprint sensors. Now, because very few people are willing to go through this effort nor do many people have the expertise to do this, Macrumors is continuing to bank off of curation. It’s beautiful.
If you want to create pages that can passively earn links for you, consider implementing the 3 core principles of Macrumor’s link earning strategy. And these core principles are scarcity, which is information on a topic that’s scarce, audience amplification, meaning a pool of people interested in the topic and how you’ll get it in front of them, and speed of delivery.
How Fast Can You Publish And Amplify That Content
Let’s go through a few examples of how other people are using these principles and how you can use them to passively earn high-quality links to your site. The first example is to create a change log of industry updates. When there’s a big update to an industry, journalists are usually among the first to move. They monitor company news, social media, and basically, anywhere that’ll give them a competitive edge.
Also Read: How to Vet and Validate Link Prospects
For example, news sites like Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land are usually the first to report on Google algorithm updates. And while I’m sure they’ve accumulated a ton of links and shares through these posts, the biggest winner from a link perspective is likely Moz. Moz created a page that lists Google’s algorithm updates all the way back to the year 2000. And to date, this page has earned well over 7,000 referring domains. Now, they didn’t have insider information, in fact, they usually weren’t even the first to report on most of these updates. They created an “industry updates” resource around a topic that’s important to SEO professionals. And as a result, the page has become a go-to reference and earns links like it’s nobody’s business.
Versions Of A Google Algorithm
News sites eventually caught on to this strategy and created their own versions of a Google algorithm history page. And as you can see, they’re getting new referring domains consistently. But when Moz first started this page, the information they published was unique and somewhat scarce. They had an audience to amplify the content to, and they also had the first mover’s advantage. And today, from a links standpoint, it doesn’t look like they’ll be challenged anytime in the near future. So a quick trip to run with a similar strategy would be to pay attention to what’s happening in your industry.
See if there are common topics or themes that create buzz on social media. And rather than creating content around topics with one-off viral tweets, consider creating a changelog or a timeline of events that industry professionals could use as a go-to resource. Alright, the next example is to monitor and report on changes in notable companies. When I say notable companies, I’m referring to those that naturally get a lot of press.
Publicly Traded Companies
A good place to look are publicly traded companies that are relevant to your business. First, we need to talk about what you should be monitoring. And while there’s no set list of things, basically, you want to keep an eye out for changes in a company that is related to or likely the result of recent news. For example, in 2021, Amazon made a change in their terms of service specifically in their “disputes” section. And unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on archive.org, but it was reported that on May 1, there was a rather lengthy process to file a dispute.
No More Arbitrations
But the new terms of service are saying “No more arbitrations, if you have a problem with us, sue us.” And for the average consumer, it’s going to be too expensive to pay legal fees to fight against Amazon. And the Wall Street Journal picked up on this and published this article on June 1, 2021, around a month after the change happened. And that page has gotten links from around 600 websites, many of which are top-tier publications.
Now, obviously, you’ll need to have the industry knowledge and expertise to be able to speak on the topic. But the good news is that you don’t have to go and check 100 companies’ terms of service pages every day, looking for a needle in a haystack. Instead, you can use a tool like Visual Ping to monitor these changes for you. And when the right opportunity arises, you’ll have information that’s scarce because
- a) it’s new
- b) no one, at least in the grand scheme of things, is really doing this.
As for audience amplification, your link prospects will be journalists who’ve talked about this company – or more specifically, the angle you’ll be making reference to. And you can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to find tons of opportunities. For example, if I search for “amazon Alexa recording,” you’ll see tons of high-quality sites that have written about this exact issue which I’m sure would’ve been thrilled to hear about the changes and how it impacts consumers.
As for speed, tools like Visual Ping will give you the advantage to move fast. Now, this isn’t limited to changes within publicly traded companies. It can actually be applied to policy change in a country. For example, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-10.
An act to amend the broadcasting act. And while everything might seem kosher to an average citizen, Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa has been warning Canadians that this bill will absolutely censor content in Canada.
We’re dealing with the bigger topic of privacy, and censorship, and some have even argued dictatorship. And his essay has gotten well over 100 referring domains from big publications in Canada and around the world. That’s a lot for someone who probably isn’t focusing on SEO. All three of these examples follow the same concepts that built Macrumor’s link kingdom. And it goes to show that content and links are inseparable.
By creating well-researched content that’s relevant and has uniqueness or some properties of scarcity, you stand a better chance of getting links. And when you amplify that content to relevant audiences, your outreach emails are more likely to be welcomed, leading to quality links from big sites. So I highly recommend checking out Macrumor’s link earning strategy in your favorite SEO tool because I think there’s a lot more to learn than what I’ve covered. And if you know of another site that’s earning links like gangbusters, let me know in the comments and maybe we’ll review that in a future blog.