Link Building

Part 1 to 5 in this SEO master class series dealt with stages 1 to 6 of successful search engine optimisation (SEO). Part 6 will review stage 7 – Link Building.

To summarise, the best practice approach to SEO is as follows:

Site Performance Audit
Objectives Setting
Project Plan
Keyword Analysis & Selection
Content Development
Site Structure Optimisation
Link Building
Search Engine Submission
Reporting & Analysis
Maintenance & Improvement

Link Building is the acquisition of incoming links to your website from other relevant web sites/directories and is an important strategy to help improve search engine positions as part of a search engine optimisation campaign.

An effective linking strategy establishes your site in the online marketplace that already exists for your industry. The key benefits of link building are:-

Increasing Link Popularity – most search engines place large emphasis on ‘Link Popularity’ when determining a sites ranking. Your sites Link Popularity is determined by the number of incoming links to your site – so the more incoming links, the greater priority your site will be given in the search engine rankings. This logic is based on the principle that if your website is of a high quality, more and more websites would want to link to you.

Driving Relevant Traffic – simply having incoming links will drive relevant traffic to your web site.

Brand Building – increasing the number of incoming links from quality web sites will build brand awareness and trust in your company or brand.

Before starting your link building campaign you will need to spent lots of time researching the online market place related to your product/services or subject area in order to create a list of target sites that are suitable link partners.

Finding link partners is an extremely time consuming process that involves manual research. One good method is to go to www.google.com and type in link:www.YourCompetitorSite.com or link:www.RelevantIndustrySite.com. This gives you a list of all sites linking to the web site you used in this link command. You can then go to each site, determine its suitability based on its relevance and its policies on giving links to other sites like yours.

Once you have built a list of target web sites, you need to contact the web site owners via email or telephone to request a link. Most importantly, you need to give the web site owner a good enough reason to link, so if your site has lots of good resources, articles and ebooks this will certainly help.

In your link building campaign, try to avoid link farms. Sometimes called free-for-all pages, a link farm is a big list of links where you can post your own link, in return for a reciprocal link. Often these lists will contain links on a range of subjects, with little or no actual descriptive content about the site. Search engines also discourage the use of link farms, and may penalise their use, so it is best to keep well away.

Overall, be prepared to invest serious amounts of time to your link building campaigns.

Happy linking!

Our July newsletter will review Step 8 – Search Engine Submission. This SEO Master Class series is based on our 18 page ebook titled ‘How to Implement Successful SEO’. This paper is available to download from www.clickthrough-marketing.com.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.