Today, more companies are leveraging SEO to improve their web presence and attract customers. One of the most effective activities of SEO is link building, the process of acquiring backlinks (links pointing to your website from others). Link building can improve the search engine visibility of practically any website when combined with good content. In this article, I’m going to discuss six important areas that can help your organization succeed with link building.
Let’s get right to them.
1. Assess Your Resources
Do you have enough resources to run a link-building campaign? Link building requires money and/or time to be successful due to software, research, content and outreach needs. Will you have an adequate budget allocated to link building? In my personal experience, a typical link-building investment ranges between $3,000 and $5,000. Sometimes it can be much more, depending on the business need. I’d recommend setting aside no less than $4,000.
Backlinks can be tough to get because a lot of strategic thinking and manual labor is required. You’ll typically need lots of content and have to do plenty of research to uncover link prospects or candidates. So make sure you know how much time and money your organization is willing to spend. The amount of success obtained from link building will be proportionate to how many resources you throw at it.
2. Assess Current Link Opportunities
Applicable link opportunities will vary by industry. However, your link targets must always consist of people or organizations that can link to you. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting links. For example, married couples with no site of their own can’t link to a wedding planner website, but wedding blogs can.
The number of content publishers in your industry or market will determine how many link opportunities are available. To properly assess your link opportunities, I recommend doing the following:
• First, identify categories of link candidates based on their ability to link to you. This could be bloggers, trade organizations, niche-focused web directories and so on.
• Second, figure out which link candidates make sense for your business. For instance, you may want to avoid reaching out to competing company blogs.
• Third, formulate plans to acquire links. This may involve directly reaching out to candidates or registering your website in the case of trade organizations, business directories, etc.
3. Do You Have Any Link Assets?
You may already have assets that can earn your business more backlinks if marketed properly. Link assets can be content, your product, staff member profiles and more. For instance, let’s assume someone in your organization is very personable and good with social media. In this case, placing them in front of the organization as a brand advocate or evangelist may lead to more people linking to you.
Here’s another example. Coca-Cola shared its supplier guiding principles online so anyone can access them. Over time, that content has naturally accumulated several backlinks. The content helps Coca-Cola with more than links. The information also improves how Coca-Cola is perceived by consumers and its critics.
The possibilities are many when it comes to linkable assets such as free online tools, brand educational videos, original research, etc. However, for something to qualify as a link asset, it needs to differentiate your brand in some way. For example, sharing your social media policy isn’t the best linkable asset if competitors are already doing it.
4. What’s Working Now?
Think about what’s working well now. How do you currently generate subscribers, leads and customers? For instance, if you already have a list of customer email addresses, maybe start there. Some of them might be content publishers.
Figure out the things that are already working for you, and design your link-building campaign with those in mind. You can leverage things like coupons, prizes, free memberships, etc. This approach is also more economical because you’ll be leaning on existing strengths.
5. Align Business Goals With Link Building
For link building to be truly effective, I recommend aligning other business or marketing objectives with it. That means making sure that link building also helps you reach other business goals. This should be considered from the get-go.
For example, let’s assume one of your goals is to be known for having the best pizza place in LA. Your team decides to reach out to food critics/bloggers for reviews of your pizza. This accomplishes two things: You’ll obtain a backlink for each review and become closer to achieving the other business objective.
6. Consider And Address Potential Bottlenecks
Like with many activities within organizations, some things can slow down the progress of link building. Some activities may require higher-up approval to implement but are necessary for link building to move forward. Therefore, assess every activity concerning your link-building campaign. Determine which ones may need approval before launching the campaign. Then decide how to best handle them so link building isn’t affected.
Do that regardless of whether you’re working with an agency or doing link building in-house. I’d recommend providing your link-building team with the same creative freedom as the department in your organization with the most influence. This way, the link-building team can move more quickly toward positively impacting the business.
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