Facing a new link building campaign can be stressful, especially when you don’t know where to start. In this blog, we have discussed several points on how to begin a link building campaign. However, having a campaign can leave you with a hodgepodge of ideas. How can we manage that?
1. Define you brand’s goals and objectives.
As we have previously mentioned, the first step in creating a rock-solid plan for your link building campaign is to align your goals first. Find out the main reason behind your link building efforts and make sure that everyone is on the same page when creating your objectives.
2. Make a website assessment.
When you’re through, do an onsite audit. Aside from your in-house team, try to get others to have a look at your website. In our experience, most on-site faults (slow loading, bad site performance, etc.) can easily be missed by the creators of your website.
If you’re working with an aged site, check its backlink profile to see which sites have directly linked to it. Make a spreadsheet of these sites, noting if they are still online, active and relevant to your niche. Also note their Page Ranks, Domain Authorities and other indices important for you.
If, however, you’re working with a brand new site, you can start fresh and do the next step.
3. Know your targets.
Cleaning up your backlink profile will help you create a clearer path of which websites you want to target for your campaign. You can choose specific sites with high PR and targeted audience if you feel that you need more traffic, or you may target small sites to pad out your foundation first.
4. Find out your linkable assets.
We mentioned before that finding a linkable asset is the ace in your link development campaign . Offer your market valuable content that they can keep coming back to, either for reference or for updates.
Plan of Action #1: The Strategy
1. Target Keywords
Research, research, research—that’s your main objective in this step. Differentiate between your main and secondary keywords, your long tails and short tails. Remember that this will be the foundation of your online marketing campaign, not just for your link development.
2. Competitive Analysis
Creating your competition profile may prove to be one of the confusing areas in your campaign. Say you have a brand new online fashion store, devoted to selling cute little dresses, trinkets and accessories mainly for women in Canada. We ask you, then, to list down your competitors from the top of your head. What is number one on the list? eBay? Amazon? Alibaba?
Let’s get real: those are not your competitors. Why, you ask? You’re waaay below their status. Sure, there’s no harm in targeting to be the next big online seller, but keep it realistic. Target websites which are similar to your size and scope.
3. Choosing Link Building Strategies
After you’ve gathered all the important information for your campaign, you may now pick which strategy works well for it. We don’t recommend doing a “trial-and-error” run (unless it’s your own—which, by all means, you can just test away!). Instead, set your sights on the data you have collected and make your decision through that.
Plan of Action #2: The Metrics
When you’ve laid down your basic plans, it’s time to set your metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). Putting up metrics helps you see the strengths and weaknesses of your campaign. The data you gather here will also support your ideas on forecasting events and creating countermeasures for them.
1. Number of Link Building Opportunities
Find out where you can get easy link building opportunities first, then build from there. We’ve written before on where to get basic and advanced link opportunities. Don’t forget to tap your network—you never know if you have a hidden gem in your list of contacts.
2. Average Link Quality
Make a baseline for the types of links that you will reach out to. Keep note of a link’s authority (Domain Authority or PageRank), placement (number of links and their prominence in the content), relevance of the linking page to the site itself, and future potential. Aim for the sites that can give you great link juice.
3. Email Outreach
The very term “outreach” encompasses the importance of this metric: working on your email outreach is your first step in initiating a conversation with people in and around your industry. By tracking your email outreach attempts, you can check what kind of tone works better for your niche. Should you sound sombre and business-like or fun and perky? Would a lengthy email generate the same number of responses as a short one?
Compare the positive responses with the negative responses in order for you to see what type of approach you should do to land certain types of links. Also count in the people who have not responded at all. This will show you the methods that are not working. Be consistent with the number of emails you send out. This way, you can create a baseline to compare yourself with.
Plan of Action #3: Link Prospecting
When we speak about building your link opportunities, we are talking about link prospecting. It is a very tedious process once you’ve scraped off your basic list, which can be acquired through a simple Google search.
If you wish to create a more in-depth list of leads to help you through the campaign, you should think laterally: what are the other sites (high quality, given) that are relevant to my niche which could be found in different sectors?
Plan of Action #4: Content Development / Marketing
1. Editorial Calendar
Before you start writing, map out your content through an editorial calendar. Simple editorial calendars may help you track your whole content development campaign, from planning to execution, up until monitoring. A more detailed calendar can help you map out themes and progressions in your article topics.
2. Creating Evergreen Content
Likened to the evergreen trees, which stay green all year round, evergreen content will always be relevant to users no matter when they check out your post. Creating content such as these will give you an advantage when you’re looking into driving more traffic to your website, since these materials will stay significant for a long time. Content like these are also sustainable, since they need little or no updating at all depending on the topic you choose.
Some tips you should keep in mind when creating evergreen content:
- Make sure that the titles you use are direct to the point. Witty or cute are nice, but the title must be able to immediately convey what the text or media has. Use power words to capture the attention of your readers.
- Your content must revolve only in one or two main ideas. Avoid writing about a broad range of topics in one go.
- Be authoritative while conveying your ideas. Show your expertise in the topic you’ve written about, especially if the subject has many contending views. It will show your readers how well-versed you are about it and will boost your credibility in the process.
- Ensure that your reference/source links are still alive. Check your post every now and then to see if the pages linked out are not 404’ed yet.
- Many evergreen content writers opt to not include the date on their posts. This eliminates the chance of the readers being turned-off by articles written years and years ago (which is the case for evergreen content).
- Go out and research other evergreen content out there as well to see how they’ve written it. They may be in forms of How To articles, historical posts, or reference style or encyclopaedic materials.
3. Optimize for Shareability
Utilize your social media networks to promote your content. Your social share buttons should be highly visible in your page so that people could easily access them.
Plan of Action #5: Tracking Development
Link building is largely dependent on a lot of intangible data (relationships built over time, contacts, good will towards other link builders, etc.). To balance the equation, you should record the tangible proof of your success. After all, your link building campaign would be for naught if you don’t track your efforts.
Tools for Managing Your Campaign
You may want to use the following tools in order for you to track your campaign:
Buzzstream – Many link builders swear by this tool. It can track contacts, links, bookmarks, etc. It can also do automated report generation and many more.
Link Prospector – This is an effective tool in finding potential link partners. There is some tedium to the task (you need to sift through your list to find high quality ones), but it is worth the effort.
Boomerang for Gmail – This can help in your relationship building. While emailing your prospect, you can see other accounts connected to their address (for instance, Pinterest). You can get that as the take-off point of your conversation.
Open Site Explorer – Also another link builder favourite, this tool is great for identifying possible partner domains.
Trello – Trello is a user-friendly project management site, which can easily help you track tasks and events for the campaign. Teams would have an easier time seeing who is handling what to prevent confusion and miscommunication.