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February 10, 2011

Tips for Developing a Link Building Strategy – A SPN Exclusive Article

Link building should be considered phase two of any SEO campaign (on-site optimization being phase one) and is a critical component of maintaining site ranking and establishing a trust factor with the search engines.

Link building is an ongoing campaign necessary for improving a website’s inbound link stream which can help promote your brand and overall visibility in the search engines. Link building can also help boost unique visitors to your site which in turn can lead to an increase in conversions. Link building efforts come in many forms including: local profiles, blogging and blog commenting, social networking, directory submission and online publicity, among others.

The overall goal of a link building strategy is to grow links from many different, but relevant, sources over time. Most link building strategies range from 3 months to a year and should incorporate 10-20 different scheduled tasks a month. It is important to create a very specific link building schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Growing links too fast raises a red flag with the search engines and can result in negative consequences. Growing links slowly helps establish a trust with the search engines, leading to better positioning in their results.

The first step in developing a link building strategy is to conduct a link audit for your website and its top three competitors. Google Webmaster Tools can analyze your site while Link Diagnosis (both free services) can be used to analyze the competition. Conducting a link audit helps establish a baseline strategy by determining how many one-way links are already pointing towards your site. Depending on the age and size of your website, an audit could return with 100, 1,000, or even 100,000 one-way links directing traffic to various pages on your site. It isn’t necessary to visit all 100,000 links, but you should take a good sample (roughly 1000) of the listed links and visit each one to determine what kind of link it is. This is called creating a link portfolio.

The person conducting the link audit should keep an eye out for “bad” links coming from places like adult or gambling sites. Search engines keep track of how many “bad” links a website has and the greater the percentage of links coming from these sites the more poorly it reflects on the website. Again, trust is the most important thing to establish between a site and the search engines. The number of “bad” links has a negative effect on a website’s trust factor.

Analyzing a competitor’s website helps you determine if there are any good places you should be focusing your link building activities, but aren’t. It also lets you know what kind of competition there is online. If competitor X has 7,500 links, competitor Y has 12,000 and competitor Z has 23,000 one-way links, then a company with only 2,000 links knows it has a lot of work do to before it can effectively compete in the same space.

When developing a link building strategy, you need to create a schedule of diverse activities. Search engines want to see a blended approach because it demonstrates a commitment to site branding. It also lets the search engines know that your site is legitimate and employing white hat SEO techniques. These efforts can include creating social networking profiles, article marketing, and online video marketing.

The easiest place to start with link building is directory submission. You should submit your site to reputable online directories like Yahoo! Directory, Dmoz and, as well as industry specific online directories. Just double check that your website isn’t already listed in a directory before submitting a new profile. Duplicate submissions look bad to search engines as well as consumers because it shows a lack of attention to detail and can appear spammy. If a website is already listed in a directory, make sure the profile is up-to-date.

Along with online directories, you could consider becoming a member of industry associations. While it often costs to join these associations, it helps lend credibility to your site and can help position you as an industry expert. You should try to promote your website as an “authority” in your industry by placing links in online arenas that correlate to your industry/products and that will drive appropriately targeted traffic to your site. Industry associations are also a good place to develop relationships with other members.

You can help promote yourself as an industry leader by creating, and commenting on, industry blogs. Producing your own content as opposed to just re-posting work by outside sources lends credibility to your site and encourages consumer trust in the expertise of your company and you as a writer. It can also help create a conversation with customers as opposed to the one-way communication of a website. Blogs that allow for comments encourage consumer participation.

Leaving appropriate comments on other blogs (comments that actually contribute to the conversation, not just things like “Thanks for the post!” or “Great ideas!”) helps grow relevant links back to your website and promotes your company’s authority as a leader in your industry.

As you promote your website and build its authority as an industry leader, natural inbound links will develop overtime. As your company blog or white paper is discussed or cited, as your product/service is reviewed and promoted by word-of-mouth over social networking sites or as your online press releases get picked up by various news sources, your campaign will grow to include links not directly created by your website’s link building efforts.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to link building (just like most SEO efforts) is that it must happen over an extended period of time. It’s easy for website owners to get anxious and want to see immediate results and over-aggressively push link building efforts. Doing so can result in negative consequences. Link building isn’t just about boosting the number of one-way links pointing to your website; it is also about building and managing an online brand that resonates with consumers.

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.

16 Responses to “Tips for Developing a Link Building Strategy – A SPN Exclusive Article

    i same it Tips for Developing a Link Building generalship – A SPN Exclusive item | SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources after this im your rss reader

    Nick has pointed out some great advice here. I usually use SEOMoz’s “Open Site Explorer” to assess competitors backlink portfolio. It’s a bit slower than Yahoo, but offers some great insight.

    avatar Joseph Chambers says:

    I liked this last line you wrote here: “link building isn’t just about boosting the number of one-way links pointing to your website; it is also about building and managing an online brand that resonates with consumers.”

    Another good way to get links through the top sites with keyword intitle + inurl + inbody and sites found in the competitions google local results pages.

    avatar Cocaine Side Effects says:

    Nick, a great bit of information, I like the “bad links” information, because anyone who accepts comments must watch out for the spam that goes with it. It can really slip up and hurt you if you don’t watch out for “bad links”. Great post.

    Nice post … thanks for your this sharing.I am seeking for this information from a long time and now it helps me a lot.

    avatar Alec Nelson says:

    I really think this was a timely article for me. I was literally this morning looking at the dodgy build a million links in one day type of add you see everywhere. It is good to remember it does take time and that 1 quality link is worth much more than irrelevant auto generated stuff.

    avatar SEO Bedford says:

    When it comes down to link building there are two rules that apply to every website.
    1. Build links naturally
    2. Quality is better than quantity

    avatar David Stocks says:

    (Sorry for a very late comment)

    Thanks for the valuable information. As an amateur, my day job is as a Hypnotherapist, such advice is always useful.

    I notice the restatement of “one-way links”. This raises a couple of questions:-
    (1) Does this mean that reciprocal links should be avoided? It’s not clear how to persuade people to insert a link for you, without some mutual benefit.
    (2) I have a link to my professional body on my web page, does this mean that the link to my site in this body’s “List Of Approved Therapists” is actually harming my ranking?

    avatar Richard Petersen says:

    This is great help. So much of the information on this topic is just adverts its nice to come across a valuable resource like this.

    @david I too often wonder if reciprocal links are a waste of time or a miss oportunity.

    Anybody have any views on the subject?

    avatar Vision Without Glasses says:

    I read your post completely But still have questions in mind. Yes you talk about making a proper plan before starting you link building campaign and then you talk about the easiest way to get back links to the site by doing directory submission. My first question is that how can I find that my link is already submitted in the directory and the second question is that how many back links should I create per week so it appear as part of natural SEO campaign not as spamming. Kindly I will be very thankful if you provide me your valuable advice.

    avatar Vectra Soft says:

    Nobody can describe you the quantity of links which you need to build , the only thing which matter is “do it right” and to find out the links read this :

    avatar Ravindra says:

    Ravindra RCC Products

    avatar frezzartime says:

    Very nice tips, great concepts i hope its most helpful for everyone. thank your for explain.

    Amazing post,great concept and help us to improve web development.

    avatar Cado Magenge says:

    The information you have shared is impressive and I would like to read more about it. thanks for posting it.

    avatar Johny says:

    Excellent post. I’ve not seen like this article before and it inspired me. I just created the first stage of my own website design to gain this website knowledge.

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