Planning Long Term Link Building Strategies

For today's post I wanted to talk about how to come up with a long term link building strategy.  As we all know, link building is important and I believe it is important to have a plan when you do your link building.  It is far too easy to just dive in and start getting links from anywhere you can, but are these the type of links that are going to help you?

Before embarking on any kind of link building campaign, you need to have several things in mind -

  • What do I want these links to achieve?
  • What resources do I have to use?
  • How much time do I have?

I want to briefly cover these questions in a bit more detail.

What do I want these links to achieve?

Not many people actually think about this.  To most people, a link is a link.  But the truth is that there are different types of links that you can get and they will have different effects.  Broadly speaking, these are the types of links -

  • Anchor text links which allow you to target keywords
  • Trusted links that pass PageRank and Trust to your domain
  • Quantity links that can be created quickly to increase the raw number of links to your domain

You can only work out what type of links you need after doing analysis of your website, competitors and your industry.  This needs to be done before you start link building!  Once you have decided what type of links you need to beat your competitors, its time to see what resources you have to get those links.

What resources do I have?

I have written quite a lot on this subject over on the SEOmoz blog, take a look at the section on USPs.  Essentially though, you are looking to see what resources you have to help secure links.  But to briefly recap, here are a few examples of what resources may help you get links -

  • Staff time (such as developers)
  • Money
  • Stock and products
  • Web properties
  • Discount vouchers

So at this point, you should know what type of links you need as well as what resources you have to go and get those links.  Next, you need to think about how much time you have to get those links.  This will have a big effect on what techniques you can choose and how your long term link building strategy will look.

How much time do I have?

This is another important part of the whole process and will define what techniques you are going to be able to use.  Below is a diagram which I've used before to explain how this works.  This is just an example and obviously there are loads of techniques that could go in these sections, but hopefully this is enough to give you an idea.

Once you have this type of thing, you can visualize things much easier and choose the techniques that you're likely to be able to do in the time you have.  The definition of little time, more time etc is up for debate and is quite a subjective question.  For example I know that some SEOs have a knack of doing link bait really quickly, whilst others struggle with it.  So its really about your skill set and the skills of your team.

To give an example, if you only have a few hours of time a month, you may find it very hard to create and execute a competition.  Given a few hours a month, it could take several months before any results are visible to the client.  If you are going to do this, then you need to make sure that the client is aware of the timescales involved.

Planning ahead - minimum three months

Assuming you have followed all the steps above (which to be honest, I don't always do!) you should now have a good idea of the techniques you are going to use along with the time you have to do them.  Now you need to actually schedule in the time and plan exactly when you are going to implement these techniques.  I've created an example of how this may look below.

Having a plan like this can really help you stay on track and make sure you deliver what you said you would to the client.  As you can see from the example above, I've chosen a link bait technique but it is due to start early on in the project as it can take time to do.  There has also been time scheduled to follow up on outreach which can often yield better results.

Once you have all this - just go and do it!

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