Getting Detail-Oriented When It Comes to Link Building

The creation of inbound links to your website is absolutely critical to a search engine optimization strategy and the improvement of search engine rankings. While there is a tremendous amount of link building strategies and ideas out there for webmasters and marketers to learn and practice, I find that the management and documentation of your link building initiatives is just as important when crafting a complete SEO strategy.

The Process of Link Building
At a high level, individuals and companies focusing on link building strategies really need to consider:

  • Creating valuable content that can be deemed “link worthy“
  • Identifying the parties and individuals that are likely to give your website a link
  • Understanding effective ways to ask for links from those parties and individuals

It’s great to create content that is so innovative that other webmasters flock to your doors, spreading the word of your website like there is no tomorrow, linking all the way. Unfortunately, for most of us this just is not the case. It’s not to say that many websites do not have valuable content, but rather, your content needs to be promoted, distributed and evaluated by peers, publishers and webmasters in order to gain inbound links. At least at the start, website owners need to identify, contact and communicate to other website owners and managers, in order to obtain inbound links.

Why Link Building is Detail Sensitive
You’ll create so many articles, email so many prospective opportunities and submit so many forms that not being organized likely means you’ll waste time searching (ironically) for where your lost password went or what that last resource was that you wanted to contact. Often times, there will be opportunities to submit multiple pieces of content (articles, white papers, press releases) or require a heavy investment in communication and relationship building, outside of a simple link request. Most importantly, as the online experience moves to a more collaborative environment, consider how many usernames and passwords you’ll create, in order to contribute, research and build your online presence.

For standard link building opportunities, here’s what you should know:

  • Website Name and Home Page Address
  • Contact Name and Contact Information (Email, Contact Form, etc)
  • Type of Website
  • Username and Password (assuming that you have to register to submit material)
  • Administrative Detail (date researched, contacted, obtained link etc)
  • Notes and Considerations (opinions, requirements, considerations etc)

“Type of Website” can be highly subjective, but the key is to create an organizational pattern that makes sense for yourself. I personally organize websites by major functionality (publication, directory, forum, etc) and industry (Internet, SEO, Finance, etc). Because I consult for a variety of clients, organizing by industry is important to me, but if your only link building for a pet shopping site, this may be less relevant. I add notes and considerations because not all website opportunities are the same, or are one-time submissions. For example, there are many industry publications that offer regular submission opportunities for white papers and articles, or online communities that should be regularly visited for messaging and communication.

The Blog Community
Being able to obtain links from bloggers (especially influential ones) is very advantageous for website owners, however most of the time it’s not very effective to blindly ask a blog author to simply give you a link (for no reason other than good will). You should really be reading the blogs you want to obtain links from and providing quality comments, communication and potentially outbound links of your own – to the appropriate blogger.

For recording Blogger relationships, I recommend documenting:

  • Blog Name and Home Page
  • Blogger Name and Contact Information
  • Type of Blog (Industry, Theme etc)
  • RSS Feed Information

Even More Detail
If you really want to get even more detail and number sensitive, consider adding the following factors to your link building records:

You should note that the above factors for attempting to “quantify the value” of a link opportunity may or may not be appropriate. Sometimes the best links will be from low ranking pages of a relatively unknown domain, simply because the information your website provides is of high value to the audience on that particular website.

The Link Building Template
Here is a variation of my template for organizing link opportunities, using Google Spreadsheets. It’s not meant to be the end-all-be-all for your link building initiatives, but it can be used as a foundation for your own organizational structure. In conclusion, link building is about establishing and building relationships, which requires constant and consistent communication. Every website and website owner, blogger or forum contributor that you come in contact with could become a strategic partner, trusted reference or personal friend; you just don’t know until you look back sometime in the future. If you’re not organized in your link building strategy, opportunities can be missed or forgotten and time can be wasted in trying to reacquire or rebuild information that has been lost.


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