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5 Link Building Strategy Essentials

Jun 7, 2012 / by Kristy Ng

5-Link-Building-Strategy-Essentials.jpgTo maintain or begin any link building strategy for your SEO efforts it is essential to keep some things in mind. Outlined below are some things to consider while you developing a link building strategy that will work for your business and help drive success and maximize reach in your efforts.

1. Have a Plan

Before you start, it is key to identify your objectives and define what you would consider a successful SEO campaign. Understanding these objectives will help you determine the types of links that you will acquire.

Know Your Backlink Portfolio

Before beginning an SEO campaign, it is essential to understand what types of links that your site already has. It’s important to maintain a natural balance. Understanding this will help you better understand what needs to be done for the site. Some of the attributes you will want to look at are as follows:

  • Branded vs. non-branded anchor text
  • Diversity of linking domains
  • Anchor text distribution
  • Types of links

All of these things are important to understand and will help you better develop a strategy that will fit in line with your goals and objectives, in addition to ensuring that your backlink portfolio is as natural as possible.

Know Your Industry

One thing to consider as you are figuring out what will work for your business is to look at your industry. The more you understand about your industry online the easier it will be to market your website on blogs, forums, Q&A sites and etc. Depending on the industry you are in some of these types of sites may be more popular and beneficial than others. For example, if you are in the automobile or tech industry it is going to be more important for you to be active on forums than in the fashion industry where it will be more worthwhile to gain visibility on popular blogs.

It is also important to understand who your online competitors are. This can help you to identify their strengths, weaknesses and any opportunities that you may have. As online efforts are transparent it will be easy for you to learn from your competitors and use tactics that may be working well for them. There are various tools that you can use such as Open Site Explorer and MajesticSEO to gain more insights into your competitor’s backlinks.

Know Your Consumer

The other piece to the puzzle is to fully understand your consumer and the way they make purchases. This insight will help you be more strategic and selective as to the types of links that you will acquire. Having this information will help you to find blogs, social networks and other websites where you customers are spending time. You can cater your SEO efforts to these sites as many of them have very specific demographics.

For example, each social site has a different demographic, and it is increasingly important to be active on the networks in which you believe your customers are active on. There are infographics that show the demographic on Pinterest and Google+. Being active on these social sites not only facilitates links across these social networks but also gives your link building efforts more reach. Knowing the user profile on a specific social network will allow you to target a specific demographic and create content that will be spread across these networks.

Develop a Strategy

Below is a process that will help you develop your strategy and better understand the fundamentals of link building. This process will help you better understand how link building can work for your business, as every link building campaign should be diverse and custom for your business needs.

link_building_process.png

2. Put People First

As I stated before, it’s important to understand your consumer and the space you are operating in. This will help you be more strategic in your link building efforts. If you always put people first, your link building efforts will be much more effective, as they will have SEO value but also help you increase your ROI.

Know Your Consumer

Understanding your customer can also help guide the types of content you are producing for link building, this type of content can range from videos and blog posts to infographics. A mix of these content types can help you diversify your efforts in addition to creating the best and most relevant content for any potential site visitors. Content that is catered to your consumers is going to take your search marketing efforts to a different level and keep your brand in front of your customers.

3. Nitty Gritty SEO

As you are building links it is important to understand the nitty gritty, as this will help you get more out of your link building efforts. Not only are links important to the success of your SEO campaign but the types of links and what those links mean both to the search engines and consumers.

Relevance and Authority

Relevance and authority are both very important attributes when you pursue links for your site. Relevance is important because you will want to have links on sites that are relevant to your business, this gives users and search engines the right cues as to what your products and services are about. In the search space you are also credible by association - a link is a vote of confidence to your site. As SEO is evolving its going to increasingly important to be selective about the links you acquire as they essentially represent partnerships and how search engines will view your site.

Follow vs. Nofollow

According to search engines, links can also be follow or nofollow. This can be specified in the HTML of every link as a follow link is passing page rank from one page to another, while a no-follow links does not pass page rank. Here is an example of how page rank is passed for follow and nofollow links.

Follow_vs_No_Follow.png

Although no-follow links do not pass page rank, there is SEO value and benefit from acquiring these types of links, as every link portfolio should contain a healthy mix of follow vs. nofollow.

4. Stay Active

As with all business efforts, it is important to stay active. You cannot stop your link building, as you do not want to give up market share in the search space. Your competitors are doing SEO and algorithms are always changing.

Not only is it important to maintain your efforts but constantly seek new opportunities as your industry and consumers may be changing. In link building its important to remain active, as you want to increase your keyword rankings, increase brand awareness and increase revenue.

4. Don’t Overdo it

As with advertising, it’s important to diversify both in the different types of medium your ads are placed the same principles apply to a link portfolio. A link portfolio should be diverse in terms of anchor text, types of links you acquire and be spread across many domains. Google has rolled out many updates to their algorithm and the more diverse your efforts and strategies are the more resistant you will be to any future updates. Ultimately, if you use one tactic or very targeted and keyword specific anchor text it will look unnatural and raise red flags to search engines. While the Penguin update favored brands and sites that had diverse link portfolios it looked sites with too much targeted anchor text less favorably and in many instances sites dropped out of the search results pages. Prior to the release of the Penguin update Google sent unnatural link warnings to many webmasters warning them that their links were unnatural. Search engines like Google are taking the initiative to constantly improve search results and it is increasingly important to diversify and build links that are not only for search engines but also have people in mind first. Here’s a graph I’ve put together as what I believe looks natural, although this may vary depending on the industry you’re in. I’ve broken down Wal-Mart’s’ backlinks and compared them to a small time running shoe company that I found deep in the search results pages.

Walmart_Anchor_Text.png

Not only is it important to diversify anchor text but also it’s also important that you are increasing your reach. Diversification is key, as most businesses cannot sustain themselves with one tactic and one product. The fundamentals that you would apply to your marketing and business should also be translated to your SEO efforts to gain long-term success.

As link building will be a large portion of most SEO campaigns, it is important to understand that links are not just links; the most effective links have reach and have a dual purpose. If you have your consumers and your industry in mind when you are building links and setting an SEO strategy this will help you maintain a link portfolio that looks natural to search engines and keep users in mind. This strategy will help you to increase your keyword rankings but also help increase your credibility and brand awareness.

View my slide presentation below, and be sure to watch the webinar replay's of Implement These 10 SEO Tips, You Must – Part 1 and 2 by clicking here

Topics: Link Building Blog

Kristy Ng

Written by Kristy Ng

Kristy is a former SEO Manager at SEO.com. She is the current Marketing Manager at Udacity.

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