Link building is a bit of a specialized industry, but it remains important in online marketing campaigns. Search engines can drive highly relevant, qualified traffic. These are people who are actively seeking out information, products and services your website can provide. Links remain integral to any SEO initiative, as they are a strong ranking signal to search engines.
Link building is something that a lot of business/website owners have heard of, but might not know a whole lot about. Although link building can be a tad technical at times, there are some rudimentary techniques and practices that can get you headed in the right direction.
This article will be the first in a series of posts focused around link building basics and fundamentals. My hope is that this series will give you a solid foundation of basic tools and strategies to help you be successful with your link building.
One of the first things you will want to do at the beginning of a link building project is conduct an analysis of your niche – so we will start there.
Locate Target Audience within Niche
First you will want to locate where your target audience is interacting within your niche. Find the types of sites that attract members of your target audience or are of interest to them.
Consider your buyer persona and the types of sites they would visit. These are the sites you should be targeting for your link building initiative. It’s always good to get your brand/business out in front of your target audience and one of the best ways to do that online is by getting a link on the sites they engage on. Not only are these kinds of links great for building your brand, but they can also drive highly targeted/qualified traffic.
Identify Influential Sites/People
After you have located where your target audience hangs out, you’ll want to identify the influential sites and people within your niche.
Finding industry leading sites is important because links from these sites will drive the most traffic. Along with the SEO value they offer, links on industry-leading sites also provide great exposure and credibility for your brand.
It is also important to identify influential people within your niche. Like industry leading sites, influential people can also give your website credibility and drive traffic. Building relationships with these people increases the chances that they will link to your content and/or share it themselves; this has potential to lead to more links.
Next you will want to take a look at your competitors.
One of the best ways to analyze your competition is by analyzing their backlinks. In order to analyze your competitors’ backlinks, you must first compile backlink reports for each of them. Some tools you can use to compile these reports include:
Analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles can provide you with information that will assist you in your link building project. This includes:
- Potential link opportunities (sites linking to competitors)
- Strategies/types of content that are popular within your niche
- Types of pages that attract links
- Linking environment within your niche – lots of links vs. few links, types of sites linking, who commonly links to who
- Average number of links per competitor
Analyzing how your competition has acquired links can give you the insight necessary to identify content gaps on your own site. For example, you can take an idea that a competitor used in the past to build links and update/improve it to create something that will bring links to your site. Best of all, you already have a list of sites that would likely be interested in linking, if they knew the content existed.
It is always a good idea to keep a close eye on your competition and understand what they are doing to build links – it will help you be more efficient with your own efforts.
Understanding your online niche and environment is always important if you’re working to build links. Although niche analysis is a rather basic link building technique, it can provide you with a wealth of information to help you be more successful, particularly when launching a fresh campaign. Link building is never easy and it can become quite technical at times, but mastering the basics will give you a foundation to work from.