Regardless of how many or how few search engine optimization blogs you spend your time reading, one of the main topics that just about every SEO blog focuses on is building links. Although anyone with a basic understanding of SEO realizes that they need more links in order to rank higher in the search engines, there is a big difference between understanding this concept and actually understanding how to build links that have a significant impact on your rankings.
For today’s post, I want to take a look at how you can actually formulate a link building strategy that gets results for your website. While this is a topic that I will most likely address on multiple occasions, hopefully this introduction will get you pointed in the right direction.
When it comes to creating a link building strategy, I think that the best place to start is by doing some competitive analysis. In a perfect world, we could use Google to do this, but for the foreseeable future, we are all going to have to rely on the backlink data provided by Yahoo.
While anyone with an Internet connection can use Yahoo to get a list of the backlinks that one or more of their competitors have, the real trick is knowing what to do with these links. From my experience, the best thing for you to do is break the list of links down into the following four categories (which will allow you to actual focus and take action on pursuing those links):
The Low Hanging Fruit: As the name implies, these are the easy links to get. As you are going through the backlink list, links that can go into this category are ones from places like quality niche directories. These are the links that do carry value, but as long as you have a good site, you will have no problem obtaining in a short amount of time.
The Spam: Even if the competitor you are looking at is ranking well and has obtained links listed in the fourth category, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have at least a small amount of spammy links pointing towards their website. Whether it’s guest book spam or blatantly paid links (like a link from a directory that says “Pay $10 for a PR4 Link” on the homepage), just because these links appear in the backlink data does not mean that they carry any value. If you try to obtain, you are most likely just going to waste your time (or even worse, hurt your existing rankings).
The Mission Impossibles: These are the links that are even more of a waste of time than The Spam. Although there are other examples that fall into this category, the most common one is links from other websites which are owned by the same person. Even if these are quality links and you are tempted to pursue them, you are simply not going to get a competitor to help you boost your rankings.
The Gems: Once you get all of the low hanging fruit, the links in this category are the ones that you are going to spend your time pursuing. These are the kind of links that are given by bloggers or authority sites because of quality content. It’s going to take some time to create and market good content that’s going to attract these links, but these are the links that will really impact your rankings, so it’s worth the investment of time to go after them.
I’m sure that you have at least one great piece of information to add to what I talked about today, so please take a minute and share it with all of us in the comments area!