In this guide, learn how to start a link-building campaign to increase your SEO ranking and raise awareness of your brand and your website.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of acquiring links, whether organically or not, of your website on another site. These links can be anything from your homepage, to specific articles of products and services. Simply put, link building is getting your page linked on other people’s websites.
Why Is Link Building Important?
Raise awareness to your company and brand
Boost your rankings for SEO
Increase legitimacy in the eyes of your customers and competitors
Getting high-quality links to your webpage will increase your legitimacy in the eyes of Google, and therefore boost your place in the rankings. Having a higher rank will make your company more visible to potential customers.
What Is a Link Building Campaign?
A link-building campaign is focus on link-building as a long-term goal, and the actual process and strategy used to achieve it. This type of campaign is the process of trying to acquire links on websites as an organizational objective.
The Two Types of Links
As mentioned earlier, there are two kinds of links that can be attained: organic or “natural” links, and manual links, achieved through outreach.
Organic Links: These are difficult to achieve but require no effort on your end! Natural links are those which other people have added on their website of their own accord.
TIP: If you have any naturally occurring links, it’s worth a look to see what people are linking to-this is indicative of the content that others might be interested in linking to when you begin your outreach.
Manual Links: These links are the ones that will be achieved through your outreach to companies and website owners. This post will discuss the outreach process in more detail later on.
Structuring Your SEO Link Building Campaign
Step One: Setting a Goal
What are you hoping to achieve from this link-building campaign? There are many positive outcomes that can arise from a successful link building campaign, but it is important that those outcomes reflect your company goals and objectives.
A few common goals that can be achieved with link building are:
- Improving SEO and search rankings
- Raising awareness to your company and brand
- Building relationships with similar non-competitive companies
Choosing a goal to aspire to will help you to properly structure your campaign in the assets you choose to promote, the links you target, and the messaging for your outreach.
Step Two: Choosing Your Assets
Just as important as how many people link to your site, is what they are actually linking to. You’ll want to entice your link targets to add your backlink on their website, so ensure that the content you’re presenting them with is both relevant and of good quality.
Here’s a checklist for finding the best content to link to:
Check analytics: which posts are doing well?
Check backlinks: are there any pages or posts that have already achieved organic links?
Refer to your link target’s content: which pieces of content do you have tat is relevant for the links you’re looking to target?
Easily boosted content: do you have any infographics or unique content that can add value to another person’s site?
The content you choose to link also determines the type of link that you are putting forward. These types are categorized as:
Deep pages (products or category)
Links about your brand or company
Step Three: Choosing Link Targets
Arguably the most important step for the link building strategy process is choosing which links to target, and how to target them effectively. Before you jump right into picking websites to contact, consider first:
- Who is your target audience?
- What content do you and your target audience have in common?
- Where does your target audience live? Are they bloggers, social media accounts, or company websites?
Now that you have chosen your target audience, establish the kind of content you can target them with, and where, it’s time to do a backlink audit.
Using SEO tools like SemRush, check potential link targets generated for your content. Software like SemRush makes this easy by creating a list of websites that you can sort through and pick from to add to your link building campaign. Follow these steps to find your curated list:
- Log in to SemRush
- Choose your project, under “management”
- Click on “Link Building”
- Go to “Prospects”
SemRush generates many websites to choose from, often in the 1000s+. To shave down the search, add filters such as “blog” if you are targeting bloggers, or enter keywords.
Once you’ve chosen your first set of potential link targets, it’s time to apply domain metrics. While SemRush is excellent at generating links, they are not always useful or relevant to the goal you are trying to achieve. Domain metrics are tools that measure the value of a link, such as domain authority.
There are a few tools that can be used to evaluate a link, and choose the best possible websites for your outreach:
- MozBar: This plug-in measures the domain score of a website
- SemRush: You can use SemRush to also check the domain authority. It’s useful to cross-check domain authority for the most accurate read
- Link Analyzer: When doing outreach, it’s important to know if the website usually backlinks in the first place. This analyzer will check if your link target backlinks to external websites
Choosing link targets from the prospect list, or through search, and then prioritizing them based on domain metrics will give you a pretty concise and targeted list of links! Now it’s time to start the outreach
Step Four: Outreach
Email outreach is the most common form of contact for link building, but don’t feel limited to your inbox! If you’re targeting social media accounts, don’t be afraid to drop them a direct or private message as well. It all depends on catering to your audience.
First: Create an email template: having a template to refer back to is always helpful especially when dealing with a large number of emails
Next: Personalize. Sending an email that was clearly mass-generated is the quickest way for your link targets to disregard you. Include something specifically relevant, such as a comment on a page of theirs.
Some things to include in your email:
- Why your content is relevant
- A call to action: don’t forget to tell them why you’re reaching out in the first place!
- Show you are genuine. This comes back to calling out specifics about your link target’s own site in relevance to your own. Don’t be afraid to use their name, either!
Step Five: Follow Up
After sending all those emails, it can be hard to keep track of who has done what. An efficient way to keep on top of things is manually on a spreadsheet, with a tool like SemRush.
With a spreadsheet, you can manually enter who you have contacted and if they have replied. In SemRush, all these actions are automatically updated. You can log in and see at any point who has opened or replied to your email, and decide what to do next.
It is important to send a follow-up email. Often, emails get lost to crowded inboxes, so it’s good practice to send a little reminder. Determine a timeline for your follow-up email. It’s recommended that the follow up email be sent one to two weeks after your original outreach. The follow-up can be tracked on SemRush, as well.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
A good backlink originates from a reputable website and aligns closely with the content of your own site. Below are several key attributes that contribute to the value of a backlink::
- Relevance: The backlink should directly relate to the content on your website. For instance, if your business specializes in pet grooming, a backlink from a site selling pet grooming supplies or offering pet care advice would be pertinent.
- Website Authority: The originating website should possess strong authority, which can be assessed through metrics like domain authority, page authority, and trust flow. A backlink from such a high-authority site can elevate your own website’s credibility and search engine ranking.
- Creditability: The source website should be reliable and have a solid reputation. A backlink from a disreputable or spam-ridden website can negatively impact your site’s search engine performance.
- Natural placement: The backlink should be integrated naturally within the content, avoiding any appearance of manipulation or spam-like tactics, as this can adversely affect your site’s search engine standing.
- Anchor text: The text used to hyperlink should be descriptive and contextually relevant. For example, if the backlink directs to a page on pet grooming, the anchor text should incorporate relevant keywords such as “pet grooming” or “dog grooming.”
So What’s Next?
You’ve set your goals, identified key content, strategically chosen your link targets, and contacted them accordingly. Now all there is to do is wait and watch the magic happen!
Need help with your link-building campaign? Ask about my 1-on-1 SEO Coaching
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