Link building is both incredibly important for search engine optimization (SEO) and incredibly difficult to do. Gone are the days when webmasters freely hand out links; now, you’ve got to work for every link you get. In order to do that properly, you need to manage your SEO campaign to succeed. Otherwise, you’re just stumbling around in the dark.
No digital marketing campaign can be successful without effective processes. There are dozens of link building strategies, including:
- Competitive Analysis (Piggybacking) – using a program such as Ahrefs
- Moving Man
- Link Reclamation
- Article Submission
- Press Releases (PR)
- NAP Listings (Citations)
- Broken Link Building
- Guest Posting Opportunities
- Mention Monitoring (Mentions)
- Resource Link Building
- Infographic Submission
- Image Link Building (Image Mention)
- Link Bait (Link Earning)
- Local Link Building
- Testimonial Link Building
- Partnership Link Building
- Association Link Building
- Sponsorship Link Building
That’s a fairly long list of strategies and it doesn’t include all of them. Backlinko actually has a list of 175 link building strategies. With so many options, you need a way to keep track of which strategy you do, when, and your findings. That’s where a simple Excel sheet can come in handy.
Create an Excel sheet with tabs for each of the above strategies. The tabs can be very simple, with columns for the Date the process was done, Notes about that day, as well as Lessons Learned that can help with the overall link building strategy of the campaign. By tracking what was done one what day, you’ll make sure you don’t overlook any strategies and don’t overdue any. Notes can be something such as “focused on top 10 results for prospecting.” Lessons Learned can be an observation such as “Top competitors have significant amounts of guest post links.” This lesson teaches you that guest posting may be a good option for that campaign.
One of the most difficult elements of link building is keeping track of your progress. Without some sort of program to do this, your team may double-up on links from the same site, reach out to the same contact more than once, or overlook significant opportunities.
One of the oldest and most trusted programs for link tracking is Buzzstream, which has a Chrome extension called Buzzmarker (below).
When you click the Buzzmarker tag, a dashboard will appear at the right-hand side of Chrome. This dashboard allows you to record information about the site you’re visiting, such as:
- Website Type
- Contact Emails and Information
- Social Profiles
- Assigned Team Member
- Relationship Stage
These options allow you to fully track your campaign, and you can upload and save your findings to BuzzStream, the cloud dashboard that you can log in to and see all your marked websites in one location.
There are two settings in the Buzzstream dashboard: Discovery and Outreach. You’ll first want to run Discovery to identify potential link opportunities. The program automatically identifies opportunities based on keyword phrases. This is a good place to start, but eventually you’ll need to manually identify opportunities. Buzzstream is also a great way to find topical hubs.
The Outreach setting helps you track your link building efforts, providing the site name, domain name, contact info, etc., basically all the information you provided when uploading the information from the Buzzmarker.
Now that you’ve got the tools, you’ll need to start outreach.
Ultimately, link building comes down to successful outreach. Whether you’re doing webmaster outreach or link building with your content, you need to be able to effectively build relationships with other people. You can have perfect, well-managed processes, but you won’t have success without effective outreach.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you do outreach:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an outreach email with a grammatical error in the first five words. At that point, I stop reading and delete the email, and I’m not the only person to do this. If you’re not a good writer, use a program such as Grammarly to edit your emails, or write the email in Word (with spellcheck) first before you copy and paste it into an email.
Keep It Simple
If you’re like me, you can’t stand receiving long, unsolicited emails. Your outreach emails don’t have to be long, and you’ll likely get higher rates of success if you keep emails short and to the point. Your writing doesn’t have to be High Valyrian, either. The easier to read, the better. If you write like a college professor, try an app such as Hemingway to pare things down a bit.
Quality link building is about relationship building. In order to build a connection with someone, you need to pay them special attention; otherwise, they just feel like another number. Take time to customize your emails for your recipient. Look through their website, read articles, identify things you like or issues that could be resolved. Use their name in the address and give them a reason to want to connect with you or post your link.
Successful SEO is all about the processes you have in place. With the right processes, and quality execution, you’ll have an effective link building campaign.
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