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May 8, 2007

The Link Building Constellation

Mapping The Ideal Profile of a Link Building Campaign

The link building constellation maps the ideal link profile of a website for a SEO link building campaign. Covering the main sources of links that make up a typical campaign, the graph shows where each link fits in the constellation and the proportional quantity of each webmasters should look for.

The diagram at the bottom of the page is based on the makeup of some of the most successful SEO link building campaigns I have run and though its far from an exact science, following this visualisation as a guide should result in a successful link campaign designed to PR 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 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, 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.

blog.mainwebsite. com, affiliate.mainwebsi, jobs.mainwebsite. com – each of these has the same or similar top level navigation as the mainsite and links back to the .com homepage of the main website.
2. External satellites – 10% of total links

External ‘satellite’ links are links that come from content created on external domains but operated with full editorial control by the main website (or the link builders). Examples include external blogs, microsites and community portals setup by the optimizers, usually for the sole purpose of creating new quality links to the main website.

3. Quality links – 25% of total links
Quality links are usually built entirely by the link builders on quality, relevant websites. Gaining these links will involve approaching the relevant websites and getting a link put somewhere on their site by asking, adding to their content (i.e. comments on blogs). A common method combines “link baiting” with article distribution.

4. Free links – 15% of total links
The old school of link building 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 on free link building 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. It happens.

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. These sites 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.

Author:  Vanilla Digital the digital marketing blog – http://www.vanillad View the link building diagram here -