February 18, 2009
The link building constellation maps the ideal link profile of a website for a link building SEO campaign. Covering the main sources of links which make up a typical campaign, the graph shows where each fits in the ‘link constellation’ and the sort of proportional quantity each should be sourced in.
The diagram is based on the makeup of some of the most successful SEO link building campaigns I have run and although its far fom an exact science following this visualisation as a guide will, I believe, result in the most successful possible link campaign for improving PageRank and keyword ranking.
The diagram breaks the link profile of the website down into 6 main categories, 5 of which are built up in the link campaign, the 6th ‘Organic links’ are those links gained naturally through the increased preveliance of the website and the creation of quality content.
1. Internal satellites- 10% of total links
These are internal links and particularly links on sub domains. The suggested examples are subdommains of the main domain which stray from the main content of the site and therefore justify their own domain but are very much part of the main website such as blog.mainwebsite.com, affiliate.mainwebsite.com, jobs.mainwebsite.com- each of these has the same or similar top level navigation as the mainsite and links back to the mainwebsite.com homepage.
2. External satellites- 10% of total links
External ’satellite’ links are links which come from content created on external domains but operated with full editorial control by the mainwebsite (or the link builders). This mostly refers to external blogs, microsites and community portals setup by the optimisers usually for the sole purpose of creating new quality links to the main website.
3. Quality links- 25% of total links
These are the links built usually entirely by the link building campaign on quality, relevant websites. Gaining these links will involve approaching the relevant websites and getting a link put somewhere on their site either by asking, adding to their content (i.e. comments on blogs) or most commonly link baiting with article distribution.
4. Free links- 15% of total links
This is the old school of link building but is still a very important part of creating total link volume. The link profiles of some of the most successful SEO link building campaigns are based massively on free link building alone but this is increasingly becoming a difficult area of utilise to maximum effect. Free directory submission is the most common type of free link building but social media distribution of site content through RSS and tagging is a more modern spin on free link generation.
5. Paid links- 10% of total links
I debated wither this should be included but ultimately accepted that somewhere in any large scale link building campaign paid links would be used to increase total link volume, target some quality relevant sites and also build up link numbers from some high PR (PageRank) sites.
6. Organic links- 25% of total links
I strongly believe that no successful link building program is complete without a substaintial contibution from sites which are not sourced for links as part of the SEO campaign but whom choose to link of their own accord based on the quality of content on the main website or the internal satellites. Adding a blog to the top level domain/ a subdomain of it is a great example of a way to instigate this natural linking process as people are far more likely to link to a corporate blog than a corporate site.
This part of the link profile is the icing on the cake and the realisation that the quality content production as part of the SEO campaign has been successful and the brand has achieved the neccesary exposure to attract attention from the online community. often this goal will only be reached with big brands and the support of offline marketing campaigns.