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What does it take to launch a link building campaign?

A great deal of work goes into launching a link building campaign.

Before you start pursuing links, there are a number of different processes and steps you must go through to ensure success. Links don’t come overnight, and you need to prepare your campaign properly to ensure you hit the ground running once you begin actively seeking links.

Let’s walk through some of the primary steps necessary to launch an effective link acquisition project.

Determine Scope of Project

Before you start pursuing links, you need to determine the size and scope of your campaign.

Your goals will be the driving force behind what determines the size of your link building project. You need to set specific and realistic goals for your campaign. When you’re setting goals, some considerations should include:

  • Improved rankings
  • Increased traffic/conversions
  • Brand building

You also need to set expectations along with goals. Every link campaign is different because every business, niche, and audience is different. You must set reasonable expectations that align with your unique website and goals.

Link acquisition is a long-term investment that never really ends. But with solid goals and proper expectations, you can set timelines that will help you determine realistic size and scope for your current project.

Niche Analysis

To acquire links effectively, you must thoroughly understand your niche from a search perspective.

Prior to seeking links, you must first familiarize yourself with the linking environment within your vertical. Three aspects you should focus on are:

  • Finding influencers
  • Analyzing competition
  • Identifying content gaps.

Influencers

Finding the influencers within your niche is critical to link acquisition. Because influencers have large, loyal followings, they can provide the exposure necessary to build worthwhile links.

Social media often provides the best platform for finding influential people within your niche. However, while it’s possible to find influencers through built in tools like Twitter Lists, third party tools such as BuzzSumo and Followerwonk can make the process much easier.

Once you identify an influencer, look through their social accounts to see where they commonly engage and interact. Along with searching for influential people, you can also find industry leading websites through their social accounts.

Competitive Landscape

Evaluating your competition is another important piece of niche analysis. You may already have a decent idea of who your major competitors are, but if you want to understand who your competitors are in terms of search, you’ll need to run a backlink analysis on the competition.

Not only will a backlink analysis show who your biggest competition is in terms of links, but you can also learn about:

  • The linking environment/habits within your niche
  • Potential prospects for your project
  • Popular strategies/content
  • Competitive keywords.

Understanding your competitive landscape is a big part of niche analysis.

Content Gaps

Finally, as you scrutinize these various aspects of your vertical, you should also be on the lookout for content gaps.

One way to find these gaps is through the competitive backlink analysis mentioned above, as any popular content you come across that is outdated presents an opportunity. You can fill these gaps by creating updated and improved content.

Some effective methods for determining content gaps include:

  • Audience research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Utilizing social tools
  • Leveraging relationships
  • Community engagement

By identifying content gaps, you can provide some early direction for your link strategy.

Site Assessment

Finally, before any link building begins, you need to assess your website to ensure it is ready for link acquisition.

If you want to build links, you need to first make sure your site actually deserves links. A big part of being link-worthy is providing value in some way through your site – quality content, unique images, valued product/service, etc. People link to sites that they find valuable, or believe will be valuable to their audience, and if you don’t offer value on your site it’s going to be difficult to obtain links.

In the link building industry we refer to this value as a “linkable asset.” Before you start seeking links, you should identify potential linkable assets that already exist on your site. You can certainly create more assets once your link campaign is underway, but it’s a good idea to leverage the assets you already have to start.

Along with identifying linkable assets, you need to also make sure all your on-site SEO factors are in check. These factors include:

  • Robots.txt files
  • URL structures
  • Title tags
  • Meta tags
  • Internal linking structure
  • 301 redirects
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Site speed
  • Etc.

If these on-site factors are out of whack, you won’t be maximizing the equity coming from your links. For more information on these on-site SEO aspects, check out this great resource from Bruce Clay.

Recap

Launching a link building campaign is no small task, and it involves multiple steps and processes. To review the steps necessary to launch a campaign, you must:

  • Determine project scope and size
  • Analyze the competitive landscape within your niche
  • Conduct a thorough assessment of your site

Launching a link project requires time and effort, but if you follow the processes outlined here you will set yourself up for greater success once you start pursuing links.

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