Most people with SEO experience know that a good selection of strategic links will set a web site apart when it comes to improving search engine ranking. Consequently, developing a search engine optimization strategy will more often than not focus on a link building campaign. Increasingly however, there’s a trend towards jumping on the user generated content bandwagon with site owners happy to set up a blog to update once in a while or to do a little bookmarking. These shortcuts do link building an injustice and in the long run will not lead to the desired positions or traffic flows.
Although demanding of a good portion of any time spent on SEO, a more developed link strategy is one of the most rewarding elements of all optimization activities. Foregoing the easy route of one or two articles, a press release here and there and a little bookmaking in your spare time, a well-rounded link building campaign will not only raise rankings but have greater commercial benefits, namely more traffic, more targeted traffic and a greater overall web presence. For newer sites or sites not themselves ranked on page one for key search terms, a successful link building campaign derived from a well thought out link strategy is an opportunity to secure a presence on sites that do themselves appear well up the SERPS.
In search engine terms, a link can be thought of as a vote of confidence; other websites link back to your site when they believe you have something of interest for at least a portion of their own readership. Their willingness to direct traffic earns big search engine brownie points for the website on the other end of the link.
A good link strategy will see high-traffic sites linking back to your website. The more traffic these sites have going through them, the higher your own traffic spike should be. Ideally, the sites linking back to your site will also have a higher PageRank in order to boost your own average and be relevant to your product, industry and target demographic. So how do you squeeze all these considerations in with the rest of your search engine optimization concerns?
1. Use Your Competition
Your biggest nemesis is actually your greatest source of free help with it comes to SEO link building. There are lots of software packages designed to show the inbound links to a particular site. Try the free trial at www.advancedlinkmanager.com. Use this tool to see who links to your competitors, creating a ready made target list of sites to approach for a link.
When you’ve researched the major competitors and created a list of sites, check those sites for relevance. Any that do not fit the bill need to be removed to avoid endangering your optimization activities.
2. Follow Through
Having visited all of the websites in your target list, you must decide on the best way to approach each site for a link back. How have your competitors approached their links? Do they have articles or adverts? If appropriate send an email to the site and then follow up with a phone call. If you’re approaching blogs, be prepared to provide a meaningful contribution before requesting a link. Monitor the content, comment on topics of interest and contribute to the conversation before making your initial contact.
3. Use The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Using the search engines themselves, type in the search terms related to your website and then save the top ranking sites. Using more than one search engine (Yahoo, Google and MSN) and copying just the top 10 sites will provide a useful list of sites to browse through and select potential link partners.
4. Get Reading
Aside from search engine optimization, a good link building strategy aims to direct as much relevant traffic to the target website as possible. With that in mind, spend some time quizzing your clients and potential clients as to their favorite online destinations. Do they read e-zines or subscribe to the digital version of their favorite offline publications? If so, it’s worth adding those sites to your link request list – not only will you add more relevant inbound referrals to your link count and give the search engine spiders more chance of finding you, you’ll also be putting your brand in front of the right kind of audience, directing lots of valuable traffic your way.