Links from top media publishers are extremely valuable, from both an SEO and digital PR perspective. According to Moz’s Domain Authority metric, news sources like CNN and BBC have domains equal to those of Amazon and Facebook.
But not every website with a high domain authority score is attainable for the everyday link builder. Some media outlets are the white whales of online PR, while other authoritative sites publish a surprising amount of content.
To make things simpler, we’ve broken down the most valuable, difficult, and attainable digital publishers for link-seeking content creators.
To begin, we identify the 25 most valuable online content publishers in the world, based on Domain Authority. We’ve also assigned each publication a difficulty rating, based on our experience pitching content and digital PR campaigns to their editors.
Publishers with a difficulty rating of “5” are extremely hard to earn links from because they are so high quality – most businesses have no chance, unless they are the subject of a genuinely newsworthy event. Publishers with a difficulty rating of “1” are known to frequently feature or cite original research from businesses, many doing so on a daily basis.
It’s important to note that in our approach to link building, there are no paid schemes and no special relationships. We earn media strictly on the merit of the research our clients produce.
Next, we analyzed the top 100 publishers by Domain Authority, to determine what media verticals are most powerful for link building. While it’s no surprise that general news occupies most of the top 100, we were very interested to find that tech and product news is the next most prominent.
Consider this: CNET, Gizmodo, The Verge and enGadget all measure equal to or greater in Domain Authority than Newsweek, National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Economist and Fast Company. CNET in particular is equal in authority to USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, and more authoritative than NBC News and CBS News.
Veteran link builders know that certain institutions outside media publishing – particularly those with .gov and .edu domains – deliver significant link equity. While most are extremely difficult to earn links from, we think it’s an important part of the picture as we as an industry seek to understand how and why links are valuable, and as we build link building strategies for various organizations.
Finally, as an extension of our analysis looking at the difficulty rating for top publishers, we established the top five link building targets in each of six media verticals, based on our own experience pitching hundreds of campaigns to these publishers over the last five years. These rankings are based on a combination of Domain Authority and our placement rates (how frequently a pitch results in a link).
Also, we’ve included the three toughest targets in four major verticals, based on our experience. If you have a finite amount of time to spend pitching content, note that your chance of earning links from these publications is very low to begin with, as compared to comparable publishers in these verticals.