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Develop a Link Building Strategy in 5 Steps

Link Building StrategyA link building strategy is a plan to develop links that grow search engine results without attracting search engine penalties.

Google in particular is getting aggressive with penalties and in some cases outright bans of Web sites. A penality is painful, and a ban is a disaster.

Link building takes a great deal of time and effort to achieve meaningful results.

In addition, search engines often don’t recognize those results right away because of trust factors.

Not surprisingly, the results are quicker if the link comes from an already-established, high-quality page on another highly ranked site.

The results are much slower if it comes from a new page, such as the ones produced from article marketing.

They also are slower if they come from a forum posting or an article comment.

Therein lies the first few clues about a link building strategy.

Step 1: Identify High Value Sources

I
have already suggested that a link from an existing highly ranked page has greater value and speedier results.

High value pages are rare and the links are hard to get if those pages are controlled by someone else.

That site will provide the link on its own (best case scenario) or will do it in exchange for a return link or some other favor.

This is the quality over quantity approach.

Creating a high value page on another site where you have access to it is an option. It shows up in several forms:

  1. Write a guest column on another blog.
  2. Build an outside blog on Blogspot, WordPress or Tumblr. Link from it sparingly.

Step 2: Identify Lower Value Opportunities

A
s mentioned above, these opportunities include forum postings, article comments, answer sites such as Answers.Yahoo.com and article marketing with the likes of EzineArticles.

The impact and turnaround time for these pages will be much lower. It will take a large quantity of such postings to build results.

The benefit of the postings will vary as well. A page with one posting may eventually be highly ranked while another with rank poorly. Some of them will simply vanish in time.

Step 3:  Identify Internal Link Priorities

I
t’s time to start thinking about the keywords, and what better source for identifying those keywords is your own site analytics.

Two kinds of keywords from your own site matter in SEO — the keywords that are ranking well whether you want them there or not, and the keywords that you want highly ranked because you desire that traffic the most.

“The best place to implement a link building strategy is your own site simply because you control your own site, you can test the results and you can make changes to improve those results.”

The best place to implement a link building strategy is your own site simply because you control your own site, you can test the results and you can make changes to improve those results.

Start with a fairly small list. Ten is a good number.

Too few keywords will potentially end up generating a site penalty because the search engines may think the link building is unnatural.

Too many keywords will bog down the process and delay the results.

Take that list of 10 and identify multiple variations for each one. Use multiple variations throughout your site and spread out the implementation over a period of weeks or even months.

Step 4: Diversify the External Link Building

D

ribbling is makes sense in basketball and link building. Adding even one or two external links a day can result in many hundreds within a year.

A year? Really? Why wait that long? Because that’s how long it takes — and longer.

A site with 100 backlinks won’t get much attention in search enginers. A site that suddenly gets 1,000 backlinks in a month will get their attention, and not in a good way.

A site with thousands of backlinks that look natural, have developed slowly over years and that come from reputable sites will get their attention.

Link building is a long-term investment. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Step 5:  Track Results, Make Changes, Try Again

W

hen I have the time, I update a spreadsheet with the rankings of my most important keywords.

If a keyword makes a significant move up or down, I drill into my Google Analytics and Webmaster Central to find out why.

Webmaster Central is one of the best ways to track link building because it shows the links going to each page on a site, both the links that were created via the link building strategy and the links the other sites put up on their own.

If a page with an important keyword has few links to it, the plan focuses on building links for that page.

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