It’s hard to ignore the pivotal role of link building in SEO.
No one is speculating on this one – it’s official, backlinks are among the top 3 signals that Google uses to rank websites.
The other two signals? RankBrain and Content.
When asked to list the three signals in order of importance, Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, was quick to point out the three signals come in no particular order. In other words, they’re equally important.
Google uses backlinks to establish your website’s authority and level of trustworthiness. It views links as your online network. You’re only something in the digital space when you brush shoulders with the industry big wigs.
It’s not about quantity, but the quality of the websites you link to. That’s what will get you in the good books of Google.
Here is a schedule of what to do in the beginning of your link building journey:
Day #1: Start by Learning the Basics
Any person who can send mail and search the internet can develop links.
What Is Link Building and Why Do We Perform It?
We develop links because the algorithm used by search engines like Google, Bing, and Dogpile to rank website is grounded on their significance. Links are what enable humans and spiders for search engines to move through the web. Good links can assist your site to rank, but they are just a part of a broad, comprehensive strategy.
It is always advisable that new link builders conduct a routine search as they would if they were searching for the service or product they want to market. For example, if your website sells sneakers, pretend to be shopping for a new sneaker, and you want to get a good idea about the one to purchase when you come across a website that fits your budget, that is the one that you need for the project.
Link builders lack links because they don’t contact the sites that will offer them links. As a link builder, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the website seem legit?
- Do they have contact information?
- For blogs, check if they get content updates frequently and if you would trust them
- Would you click on their links?
Introduction to Metrics
Metrics are crucial in various ways, but the most significant is because customers like them. Analyse your chosen website using whatever tool you wish to check its parameters. If they sustain your needs, go to the website analysis section below.
Quick Website Analysis
This step involves checking your website of choice for various aspects which include:
Getting Contact Information
If it is hard to find the contact information of the website owners in Singapore, they most likely don’t want to get contacted. That is not a good sign for me.
Site owners place their contact information on different areas on the website. Some put them in the Contact Us, or About Us pages, others list them at the bottom or top of their pages, while others don’t add their contacts.
The more you practice this process, the easier it gets. Anybody can begin with a template and adjust as needed.
Dealing with responses can be challenging for new link builders because they are unsure of what to do and they get responses that can confuse them.
Some individuals can react with a simple ‘Thank You’ after asking them a question. Others will ask you to elaborate further on what you need. Some will reply rudely and tell you to never communicate to them again. And others will offer to provide something else apart from what you needed.
If someone responds but declines your request, it is good to ask them the reason behind – although it might be uncomfortable. You may also get some people responding to criticise your strategy. Rather than dismissing that, ensure that you take time to determine whether their response makes sense or if it can assist you.
Always remain polite since there is a lot of outreach embarrassment that happens publicly nowadays.
Day #2: Prospection and Watchfulness
Prospecting is another term for website discovery, which we discussed earlier, and it is crucial that you get it right. If you choose the wrong website, you will not be able to get any useful links. If you don’t know how to focus on websites that can link to your site, you are wasting your time.
It depends on the company you are working for. You are trying to build links for an SEO company, don’t get links from a political activism company. It is common sense.
Tools for Prospecting
While you can search manually on the web, various tools simplify the work for you, especially if you are new to link building. They undertake the hard part of choosing a list of websites to comb through, but you still require to check-out all of them without assuming they are worth an outreach. Two of the most popular tools include Pitchbox and Buzzstream.
Operators for Advanced Searches
Link builders need to understand how to utilise some of the search operators. Some of them can pin down the results and provide you with minimal fluff, but sometimes they can pin down stuff too much.
Social Media Prospecting
Searching on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter sometimes can provide you with helpful content and can assist you to connect with webmasters. Social media can be excellent in various other ways that will be discussed later in the article.
With alerts, you get emailed results in your inbox whenever you want. Some good options that you can utilise in Singapore include Talkwalker Alerts and Google alerts. It might be hard to go through all the information you receive in your emails, but you can get some excellent material that you may have missed.
The primary benefit of alerts in link building is to assist you to note the unlinked mentions so that you can convert them into links. Creating alerts for particular topics is highly beneficial.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a useful method to acquire links. Journalists list the topics they write about, and if you afford their fee, you contact them.
Simple Checks for Due Diligence
If you get the website on Google, it is obvious that Google has indexed it. If it is not from google, you can search it using a site:site.com. If no results are found, check for contact information and if it is not available don’t bother going further.
Here are some simple checks to do:
- Is the writing good? Everyone is not an excellent writer, but their content should not look like it was chipped together.
- How does the traffic look like, and is it likely coming from your target audience? You would like to see expending traffic from Singapore if that is where your target audience comes from.
- Does the website look like it exists to attract guest posts and links? If all their content comes from guest posts, avoid them.
- Will people click on the link? The link must look like a natural fit on your pages. Otherwise, they won’t work.
Day #3: Competitive Assessment
The analysis of your competitors involves more than trying to build similar links to those of your competitors, even though it is also helpful. It entails understanding how a standard outline in your field of business looks and utilising the information to build more excellent links than your competition.
Researching keywords is crucial for both your anchor text and content. Anchor text is very beneficial for consumers with visual problems, but it is an area that people abuse very much. Keyword optimisation in your links is advantageous since it helps to highlight what your content will include.
Check the Backlinks of Your Competitors
By looking at your competitors’ backlinks, you can always get a trend of the type of websites are more likely to link in your industry. That is very helpful when you are working with clients from a different field of business.
There are no two websites that are similar. So, if you find that two of your competitors have about 100 exclusive domains for linking and you have 80, it does not indicate that you have to get 21 more to outrank them.
Competitor analysis can assist you with various ideas on how to continue to become successful in building links. Some tools can help you determine where your competitors get links from, but you don’t, which gives you many opportunities to grow.
Day #4: Significance of Outreach
Outreach is a critical aspect that you need to master as a link builder. Some individuals achieve it through social media, some via emails and some through the phone. Others even conduct it face-to-face. Attracting the attention of your target is the key to a successful link building strategy.
You require to get the right person, which is complicated than it seems. You need to create a message that will attract the attention of the target so that they respond. Various scalability tools can assist you in the outreach step, but it is advisable that you master doing it without the use of these tools.
The subject should only mention what your content is about. Ideas to include in your subject include the name of your recipient, the name of the site, your content format, etc. If someone gets an email from a new sender, the subject either makes or breaks it. If you are sending emails without getting responses, try using a different subject line.
When starting, you may not utilise social media to build links. You need to wait until you gain experience. It is an efficient way of getting content to the right individuals when you know how to do it.
If you have an email template, you are good to start. If you can customise it, personalise it to be able to monitor how it is working.
There are other aspects to consider when crafting your email apart from stating what you need. However, no approach works 100% perfectly.
It is not advisable to start with a phone call if you are starting as a new link builder. It is better to utilise the email unless you can answer all the questions that may come your way.
After contacting your target, it is advisable that you follow up. Do not assume that they still remember about you.
Some clients follow up their links, but most of them don’t, as they only need to see more traffic, better rankings, and extra conversions. However, while links can get tracked and their output determined, there are some instances when this is not possible.
Tracking links is easy. But there are some cases where you might find someone giving you a link later than you estimated without notifying you. There are also some instances when someone gives you a backlink, and you have never contacted them.
You can check if a particular link generates conversions, but do not think that links that don’t result in conversions are don’t have a significance. Also, ensure that you use a tool to give you reports on backlinks so that you can learn what is there.
We all need more traffic to our websites. Ranking on the top of the SERPs is not worth if people are not clicking on your page. Getting users to your site is crucial. There are various tools that you can use to estimate or measure a website’s traffic. It is advisable to stay updated on the industry trends so that you understand what is typical.
Your ranking can determine the amount of traffic to your website. So, every business owner is focused on ranking as much as possible. The most significant problem with rankings is that they can make customers go due to small fluctuations. So, ensure you stay at the top if possible.
This is the primary focus of all the things that we do online for SEO – whether increasing awareness, spreading the word on where to find assistance, selling products and services, etc.
In most cases, you might not get involved in handling this information. However, it is essential to keep in mind that sometimes rankings are not equal to traffic and traffic is not equal to conversions.
Here is what you do when are an advanced SEO:
The problem with link building is that it’s not easy. That’s why many self-proclaimed SEO experts in Singapore choose to skip it. They’ll work on your content and get around technical SEO and all that, but do absolutely nothing about your off-page SEO.
But the point stands: you still need backlinks to rank on Google, and that’s where a link building checklist proves to be really helpful.
Checklist 1: Technical SEO Audit for Your Site
Your link building strategy can only be effective if your website is built to the required technical standards or with SEO in mind.
You can never rank a website on backlinks alone. Remember, you’re competing with well-built, mobile-friendly websites populated with high-quality content. These are the website you want to beat, and there’s no way you’re doing it with links alone.
You want to start by sorting out the technical issues on your website first before you can even think about how to proceed with link building and content. An alternative would be to work on both of them at the same time.
Make sure your website has a solid structure and clean codes for both the user and search engine bots.
Remember to also work on your website’s load-time by making sure that everything loads in less than two seconds. More importantly, make sure your website loads fine across different devices and web browsers.
Plus, other webmasters will be more willing to link back to your website if it’s technically sound.
Checklist 2: Link Building Activities to Follow
Forget about winging It, and work on coming up with a solid link building strategy. You need a yearly link building calendar for this.
For the Quarterly Calendar
Here’s a list of activities to include in your quarterly link building calendar:
- Backlink Auditing
This should take you about 30 minutes.
You want to start by auditing your site for backlinks. Go through all the backlinks on your website and make sure everything is in good shape before you can proceed with anything.
Fish out for spammy links, broken links, and anything else that could hamper your SEO effort.
All you have to do is run your site on Google Search Console and import your list of backlinks. Manually review all the sites, adding all the irrelevant and low-quality links into your Disavow file.
- Updating Your Disavow List
You should be updating your Disavow list every three months. This is your chance to go through your links and update the list. Remember to remove all the links you suspect aren’t generating any SEO juice.
Competitor Backlink Analysis
Run a list of your key competitors and analyse their backlinks. Find out who your top three competitors are, and proceed to analyse their data.
Which sites link back to them?
This should help you devise the best strategy to beat them as you compete for the top slot in the SERPs.
- For the Monthly Calendar
Here’s a list of link building tasks to include in your monthly calendar.
Revisit the list at the beginning of every month and make necessary adjustments to your calendar and planned list of activities.
- Email Outreach
You need to start pitching to new websites every month. You can start by choosing at least ten new websites to pitch to every month.
Don’t forget to maintain the editorial camaraderie. Email these websites and ask them if they’re okay with the idea of you guest-blogging with them.
- Tracking Brand mentions
You can set Google alert to keep track of all the mention your brand is receiving. Find out if any of your competitors are mentioning your brand or CEO.
Remember also to track the mentions that your top 3 competitors are getting.
You have a better chance of getting high-quality backlinks by reaching out to authority sites within your niche with a guest-blogging offer.
You can even establish an ongoing content relationship with different editors to maintain a regular contribution with them.
- Content Syndication
If your content is really amazing, you can reach out to publishers and ask them to syndicate it.
Just make sure your content is original, neatly written, and well-researched.
- Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and reviews aren’t limited to influencing buyers’ decision. You can use them as part of your link building strategy.
You can start by encouraging your customers or clients to review your offering. After that, you want to leave testimonials for all the brands that you’re in business with.
Directories aren’t as old-school as some people love to assume. You can use them to gain foundational links and propel your position in the SERPs.
Don’t just submit your website and be done with it. Learn to monitor your NAPs and the quality of directories you submitted them to.
- Affiliate Links
You can build backlinks through your affiliate audience. The more your affiliates share their links on social media, forums, and sites, the more backlinks you get. It’s a win-win situation for both of you. You get the SEO juice, and they get to make their money.
- Broken Links
In your link building schedule, remember to including a link-hunting session, where you go around scouring the internet for broken links. Go through your competitor’s links and find out which ones of them are functioning and which ones are broken.
Once you find, make a point to reach out to the website’s owner and offer your link as a replacement.
Your Weekly Link Building Calendar
Here’s a list of link building items to include in your weekly calendar:
- Week 1 and 2
Run an internal link building audit for your site, as well as that of competitors’ websites, to identify the topics you’ll be covering.
- Week 3
Go through the topics you listed and brainstorm them. Write down the titles to each topic and send them to your target webmasters for approval.
- Week 4
Scour around for link building opportunities.
- Identify opportunities for co-citations
- Reach out to at least 50 prospects for guest blogging opportunities
- Build an email template for pitching to other webmasters
- Week 5
This is where you write the content and submit them to your target webmasters for approval.
Here’s a link to a link-building template that you may find useful: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jOgZ7gDrsJSGuWHOO_h3hLJsPutAmqbquSL0Uz1bp08/edit#gid=1077317442.