Obtaining great rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo is no small endeavour. It requires many skills and resources to rank ahead of your competition. In addition to having a great looking site and compelling content you need to get people to link to you.
There are many ways you can get great links to your site. Some of the common ways are: creating a social media presence, developing link bait, directory links, creating an infographic, commenting on blogs and forums, link exchanges and guest posting.
Link Building to a site with poor design, unoriginal content and limited functionality is not worth your time. You need to be “link worthy” if you want other people to link to you, never forget that. If you can develop compelling content on your site with valuable tips and tools for your visitors, you will find it easier to acquire links. Here are some tools and techniques useful for managing your link building campaign.
1. SEO Tools
Although few agree on the best method for analysing metrics, most agree that Yahoo Site Explorer is a useful and reliable tool. The site allows you to measure the total back links and view only the external links coming from outside sites. You can view which sites are linking in so you can see if they all come from the same site, which indicates a lack of diversity in your overall incoming links. What you want to see is a natural variety of different types of links coming in from many different root domains.
Another great SEO tool available is Webrank, a site that presents metrics from many providers including Google Page Rank and back links, Alexa rank and back links, Yahoo back links and more. The site offers a Firefox add-on that makes site mining very easy. When you navigate to a site, the metrics are displayed automatically. A tool like this helps you find sites to work with that have established the kind of authority you seek for your own site.
2. Know Your Industry
Before you can effectively approach other sites in your industry you need to have a deep understanding of the subject matter you are promoting. Even if you think you know your business, it helps to get the perspectives of others by frequenting forums and blogs in your niche.
For example if you have a site about life insurance it is important to know the difference between term and whole life insurance. To get an understanding of the industry you would want to check out the Insurance Information Institute, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or a site about Term Life Insurance.
Participate in social media conversations; use Twitter to follow thought leaders and Linked In and Facebook to add friends in your vertical. Nurture these relationships as valuable connections in the blogosphere by frequently visiting and sharing your perspective. These connections will help you ensure that the guest posts you create are always relevant and of interest to readers in the niche. That makes your content more valuable and attractive to blog hosts.
3. The Right Approach
Understand that there is a very different mindset among blogs that started in the last five years or so and those that started 10 years ago. That first generation of bloggers nurtured their sites with no expectation of reward. These bloggers never pursued a link building campaign. They often view new introductions suspiciously, thinking that you are only looking to get something for free.
First generation bloggers have a strong sense of pride about their sites and therefore require a gentle, metered approach. Establish a mutually enjoyable relationship and only then see if there is a chance for an exchange. Even if you are unable to acquire an agreement, such a friendship can be valuable as a source of information within the niche you target.
Newer blogs need less relationship building because almost all of them started as economic enterprises. They understand what link building is because they do it themselves. A simple contact email complimenting the site and offering content in exchange for a back link or two in the post’s body or byline should suffice.
4. Google Apps and Documents
While the right understanding and approach get you started, the right tools keep you going. Google is an excellent source of free tools to help you manage your campaign. Use Google Docs to keep a spreadsheet of the sites you contact and the relationships you build. The great thing about a Google spreadsheet is that you can grant access to all your team members and they can share the same document. Gmail is a free way to reach out to other blogs who might be interested in receiving guest posts from you.
If you are just getting started, MyBlogGuest.com is a great place to find blogs interested in hosting your content. For a monthly fee, you can post up to four of your articles in a gallery that bloggers peruse when they need content. You may find yourself working with the same user repeatedly and begin building a valuable professional relationship that benefits you both.
Since being mentioned by Problogger, the site has experienced explosive growth. It has grown from approximately 1,000 participating sites to nearly 10,000 in just a few days. Chances are you can find many sites willing to host your blog within its pages.
To build a long term link building program, don’t try to go it alone. An enormous amount of work goes into a campaign and each function requires a different skill. The most time-consuming part of link building is finding the right sites and making contact with them. A virtual assistant can be an excellent resource for a job like this.
ODesk is one site where many assistants are available for a reasonable rate. If you don’t have writing skills you may look to oDesk for writers to help you create the content. You need to have the SEO skills to recognise a good site when you see it as well. If you don’t have someone to show you how to identify the sites you want to approach, hire someone.
7. Measure Success
Back link campaigns are a lot of work, so it’s important to have tangible proof of your success to keep you going. You can do this by analysing your back links with the same tools you use to analyse the sites you might want to work with. Consider using one of the following tools to analyse your progress: Yahoo Site Explorer, Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO. As long as you have a starting point that you can check later to see your new status, you will be able to see measurable success.
Through these tools and techniques, you will be able to build back links more quickly and efficiently that you could on your own. You’ll find your site’s authority rising as you build additional valuable relationships in the blogosphere.