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Link building basics: Site audit

Welcome to another edition of link building basics. This is the second installment in a series of posts I am writing here on Biznology that cover link building basics and fundamentals.

For marketers and business owners alike, SEO – and especially link building – can seem like a foreign concept that is exceedingly technical and confusing. Link building can be intimidating at first, but links remain an integral part of search and link building is an essential part of online marketing.

There certainly are some very technical aspects to portions of link building, simply learning the basics can provide a foundation for success.

In this segment of my link building basics series, I will cover performing a site audit at the start of a link building project to set yourself up to be effective.

Scan for Potential Linkable Assets

The first step during the site audit process involves searching for potential linkable assets.

A linkable asset can come in many forms. Some examples include:

  • Blogs/Blog Posts
  • Infographics
  • Case Studies
  • Curated Resource Guides
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • Etc.

Basically, a linkable asset is anything that provides value or is useful in some way. We call them linkable assets because they are worth linking to and can garner links from other sites. While linkable assets may come in various formats, one thing they have in common is worthwhile content.

This step is very important because without any legitimate linkable assets, link building becomes very difficult. It is possible to build links without any content, but having a linkable asset can sure make things easier.

Now that you have an idea of what a linkable asset can look like, let’s look at a couple of ways you can spot them.

One way to spot potential linkable assets is by using some of the information you’ve learned from your earlier niche analysis. As I mentioned in that post, you can use the insights gained from a competitive analysis to identify what types of assets/resources have garnered your competition a lot of links. If you have a similar (and hopefully higher quality) resource on your site – you have a linkable asset that’s already proven to be effective.

The second option goes along with the next step in the site audit process – backlink analysis.

Perform Backlink Analysis

Next, you will need to analyze your backlinks.

In order to analyze your backlinks, you must compile a backlink report (just like you did for the competitive analysis) for your site. Backlink analysis is a crucial portion of a site audit as there is a wealth of information to be gleaned.

As mentioned before, you can use the information from a backlink analysis to identify linkable assets. While examining your backlinks, look for older pages that have attracted a lot of links in the past. Simply updating and/or improving these old pages will provide you with a fresh linkable asset that has already demonstrated the ability to be effective within your niche.

Along with identifying potential assets, you can also see the total number of unique domains linking to you. Compare this with information acquired through your competitive analysis to see how you stack up against the competition.

Also, take this time to identify any potentially toxic links that could be ticking time bombs and possibly lead to a search engine penalty. If you do find some links you are concerned about, you can try contacting the linking webmaster and ask they remove the links, or use the Google disavow tool.

Likewise, you should look at the diversity of your anchor text, as over optimizing a particular word or phrase can get you into trouble as well.

Finally, you can use the information from a backlink analysis to locate sites where good links already exist. These are sites where a positive relationship already exists. This presents an opportunity to further that relationship and potentially leverage it for more links.

In order to build links effectively, you must first have a solid understanding of the links already pointing to your site. Also, you need to be able to recognize potential assets you already have that could aid your link building efforts. Learning the basics of performing a site audit for link building purposes will help get your project started in the right direction.

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