Developing a plan for building links
The rest of this chapter will focus on four stages of linking building and promotion:
Phase 1: Inventorying Your Assets
Phase 2: Getting Listed in Directories and Verticals
Phase 3: Developing Link Targets
Phase 4: Promoting your Site
Phase 1: Inventorying Your Assets
Assessing your current situation and that of your competitors is the first step in developing an effective link building program even if you have a new site. Even if you do not yet have any links pointing to your site, there are some important steps you should take to identify your strengths and weaknesses before mapping out your initial link building strategy.
Determining Incoming Links
The first thing you will want to do is assess the incoming links to your site. There are several online tools to use to perform this task to include:
There are some other online tools you can use as well including Backlink Analyzer, Optilink, SEO Elite and Tattler. Many are free while others are paid tools.
Aside from determining the inbound links to your site, this process allows you to know who links to you and in some instances you can offer them content to their site in exchange for other links, you can offer suggestions for possible anchor text. You can also often find other sites from theirs that might be interested in linking to your own website.
Identifying Link Targets
Of course you want others to link to your website using relevant anchor text. A part of creating this situation is having a reason for others to link to you. When looking at pages that you determine “need a little love” from other websites in the form of links, you need to consider why someone would want to link to that page.
Does the page have rich content? Resources that others might find useful? If not then you might consider working on the page to make it more appealing to other websites.
For example what if you have a site offering vacation rentals in Buenos Aires such as www.bastay.com ? What if instead of just listing apartments on the site you include valuable information like articles on the different neighborhoods of Buenos Aires? What if you offered detailed studies on the history of Argentina? What if you offered shopping guides? Don’t you think this would have a positive impact on their link building strategy? Go ahead. Check out their website and ask them, because this is exactly what they have done.
Not only does this strategy create appeal for links coming from other sites, but it also helped them create a site with rich search terms as well as internal links.
If you can develop an effective way of creating web pages of interest for incoming links, you will also find that these kinds of pages encourage visitors to the website and give them a reason to stick around and explore the site a bit more.
Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses
Take a few moments to look at your website and consider its strengths and weaknesses.
Is your website unique? Is it special? Does it have something other sites do not have or is it just more of the “same old thing”?
Whatever you determine is unique and special about your website are your strengths. Whatever areas are just a repeat of what has already been overdone on the internet are your weaknesses. The more strengths you have the easier it will be to build links because you can leverage those unique and special qualities about your site.
If you have weaknesses consider ways you can improve the site to make it more interesting, special and unique. It can be as simple as adding more original content to your site or adding some useful resources or information for others.
And the great thing is this process goes beyond link building, for it also assists you in creating a more interesting site that is rich with search terms.
Take a few moments and determine whether you have more time or money, or both. This can dramatically effect the way you choose to develop your link building strategy.
Evaluate the Competition
It is important to know what your competition is doing to determine what is working for them and what isn’t. This gives you the ability to learn from their strengths while at the same time avoiding some of their apparent weaknesses.
You will want to run a detailed link analysis on your major competitors to see who is linking to them, why you think they are getting those links, and to help determine what their strengths and weaknesses might be.
In the long run, you will want to have as many of the sites linking to them to link to you. Identifying competitors and the sites that link to them is a great place to begin looking for other websites to link to your own.