As a savvy website owner or search marketer, you must have seen or heard about a variety of link building strategies with varying levels of effectiveness. With so many viable tactics available, it is surprising how many methods get pushed on the ‘black hat’ route.
For those who implement white hat tactics, it’s a question of where do we begin? The creative options can be overwhelming.And what follows is a six-month content-driven action plan that can be easily leveraged for any new or existing site.
This plan is for marketers who are willing to get their hands dirty reaching out to people and know that exceptionally well-written content is important to grease the link building wheels.
The altering statistics 2k18
The quickly evolving world of search engine optimization has experienced remarkable developments.The most notable being Penguin 4.0, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), the rise in video content and social sharing.
EarnedLinks provided a list of must-know SEO statistics for 2017 It revealed several different figures under quality content, link building, keywords and Content Management System (CMS). According to the report;
- The Google Search Quality Strategist survey shows that the two most important signals to rank websites during searches are quality content and link building.
- At the end of December 2017, around 47% of all websites used CMS as their development platform.
- In 2017, respectively 62% and 63% of B2B and B2C marketers had optimized their blogs for mobile devices to boost their SEO efforts.
How to build links in 2018 – the six-month plan
According to Shaun Anderson at Hire Me, off-page SEO factors such as link building can be tricky business.For some, it’s a tactic to avoid altogether.
Some tech-marketers would say that is because Google has equated link building with online spam and the industry news is fuelled by Google PR enforcing its quality guidelines.
All link building tactics are not webspam. In fact, planning link building in 2018 has become an incredibly important aspect of search engine optimisation.
The first month: plan it out
During the initial stages of blueprinting, you should know who your target audience is. You can either choose to pick what has been predetermined or use quantitative analysis to identify your segments.
Because there are so many influencers and potential targets, either route will bear fruit.The Noob Guide to Link Building teaches you persona development for link building.
It is important to know your market to create relevant site content. You can then quickly prospect those users via different tools.
Month two: content auditing
Google tends to inform its search rankings. Hence, details are essential in the SEO space. It is easy to get lost and miss important factors for success. At this stage of planning, you would want to ask four very important questions:
- Where does the website stand?
- Is any content unclear or can be repurposed for link building efforts?
- What existing content can be used as click bait?
- Is there any piece of online content that has performed well on social media?
You can also take all popular content to Open Site Explorer to determine the number of naturally attracted links. It will be easy to identify site pages that have performed well on Facebook in most cases, and could be utilized for link building efforts. Marketers can keep track of these people as prospects.
Month three: creating SEO power pages
An SEO power page isa page on your site that has enough relevant content to support a lot of natural links pointing to it. In other words, it is the kind of content that people love to read and feel obligated to leave a comment on or even link to,organically.
According to the editor at thehoth.com, this is also sometimes referred to as ‘pillar content’ or something that is worth linking to, as opposed to a product page.
“This makes the whole white hat link building process 10x easier because other blogs are happy to link to valuable resources.”
It is any website owner’s ‘top tier’ content – ranging from 1000 to 2000 plus words. You must strategically use these pages for two purposes:
- Choose two or more keywords and heavily target those on the page
- Build up SEO power through link building and pass that power to smaller pages via internal links
The reason why expert marketers target keywords on the main/power pages is that Google expects you to do so.
The backlink research done for SEOJet shows that non-homepage power pages typically have 55%-75% of their backlinks with one or two keywords mentioned in the anchor text.
Fortunately, a link map inside of SEOJet lets a user know which anchors to use everytime on her power page.
During the initial months, TheHoth’s main strategy for Guest Port Tracker – a blogger outreach software –was to collect thrice as many links to the 3 – 6 main pages combined.
As the team built links to their website, they were just following what each link map was telling them to do, while the backlink profile for every page matched that of an ace backlink page.Or in other words “it always looked extremely natural to Google” all along the way.
Month four: taking control of social
This may not be possible with big clients as many will have a dedicated agency or a well-established in-house department that looks after social. Link building and social media, however, are slowly becoming one so the need to have access to usable social accounts is important.
In a few situations, website owners can use the main social media account of the client, but when this isn’t possible, they can create an internal sub account – someone they are working closely with – and make them the face of the business campaign.
It is recommended to have some form of social presence as it enables authentic communication with valuable prospects that might need a bit of warming up before email outreach.
It also gives a further boost to the promotion of guest blogs and posts so that as time goes by you have more material to show off to influencers.
Month five: Claim blogging
What does blogging have to do with a 6-month link building plan? Blogging is seen as a central aspect of link building because many opportunities can come from it such as:
- Credibility to help with outreach
- Earning direct links via solid content
- A platform that gets the attention of link prospects
When it comes to the blog-link idea, in particular, it is preferable to coordinate your content calendar with your guest blogging targets a month in advance.It will allow you to include links to websites you might be targeting.
James Agate, the Founder of Skyrocket, has produced a comprehensive and regularly updated guide to blogging for your business, encouraging marketers to have more detailed thoughts on corporate blogging.
Month six: outreach for new content
Based on all your marketing activities over the last six months, you should have developed some relationships with influential bloggers, editors, curators and maybe renowned journalists. The market should now have an idea about you and your client, developing some sense of goodwill towards your company.
Outreaching for content is all about building relations. At the same time, it involves leveraging the write-ups since you will be seeking the help of larger sites you are now acquainted with to help you launch new content assets.
There might not be a template outreach email for this one, but you can subtly interweave some ego bait into the process or simply ask for people’s help.
Take a deep breath and repeat!
By now, you must have developed an unbreakable ‘corporate’ bond with many influencers such as curators and editors.
Keep working on your relationships with them as they will help you entice your potential targets. From here on, put all the activities of guest blogging and website promotion on repeat, until you finally make it to the top.