Managing Advanced Link Building Campaigns

by Jason Acidre on November 25, 2013 · 31 comments · Search


The link graph has always been a core part of Google’s search ranking algorithm. Even though the popularity of its importance led to the growth of web spam, Google still keeps on finding ways to make it more difficult to manipulate search rankings through unnatural linking behaviors.

Penguin updates and the unnatural link manual penalties just prove how important links are (and they’ll probably remain very vital in the future), as it is somehow addressing businesses to finally move on from the old ways of gaming search.

Link development is still a valuable process in marketing a website, and knowing how to manage your link building campaigns effectively is still an essential skillset.

Goal Setting

In starting a new campaign, it’s best to first understand why do you need links or link building. To give you a few reasons why it’s needed on a holistic digital marketing campaign:

  • To mainly improve the site’s domain authority (DA) and the domain’s ranking ability. As higher a domain authority may help the site gain better search visibility for all the keywords (head terms and long-tails) it is targeting.
  • To improve referred visitors to the website – through the links acquired from other authority websites in your industry (for marketing and content discovery).
  • To improve site indexation, as links can serve as signals that will help crawlers find and index new pages and the continuous changes implemented on the site.

Once you know why you’ll be doing link building, it’ll be much easier for you to establish your campaign’s goals. For instance, to successfully get all the 3 areas mentioned above, you’ll need to:

  • Get highly visible links from high DA sites in your industry – to be able to absorb domain authority as well as relevant traffic back to your website.
  • Be consistent with progressive link acquisition, based on your primary metrics (authority and relevance).

Your goals will help you determine the actions you need to take. This stage will give you a lot of insights, particularly with what methods to focus on in order to meet your campaign’s objectives.

Further reading: 10 types of links that really matter and how to get them

Minimum Viable Service

This is very similar to the business concept that has been popularized by Eric Ries (minimum viable product), wherein you provide different sets of tasks in the initial stage of the campaign that will not require extensive knowledge about your clients’ product/service/company for you to be able to deliver substantial output on your campaign’s first month.

It will mostly be comprised by tasks that don’t need a lot of effort, but can still offer enormous results. A few samples of activities that you can easily provide as a minimum viable service are (while you’re preparing for the high-value tactics):

  • Penalty diagnosis
  • Content asset inventory
  • Technical SEO audit and recommendations (you can check out Annie Cushing’s audit checklist)
  • Easy to acquire links (such as profile pages, web/niche directories, social profiles, etc…).

Including this business strategy in your consulting service’s structure can strongly improve how you head start and handle campaigns as whole, given that these actions can also help you and your clients draw actionable ideas and have a better grasp of the campaign’s path.

Strategy Development and Prioritization

You can then build a strategy or list of actions to implement based on your campaign’s goals and the findings from your initial activities (research phase).

Start by asking yourself what methods you can use to reach your goals.

  • What types of links do we need to improve our DA and click-through traffic?
  • How do we get them? Can we get them fast?
  • Can we expect immediate results (link acquisition, traffic, rankings, revenue, etc…)?

There are so many tactics to choose from, and you can start here.

Breakdown your to-do list based on each method’s level of priorities and difficulty. Start with the ones you know are important, high-value, but not that time consuming.

This will help you create a better and very actionable timeline for your campaign, which is very crucial as you proceed.

Process Documentation

Document all the processes that you’ll implement in your link building campaign, for this will help you scale your staff’s training process (and your client can also use this to train their in-house staff).

process doc

In creating your documentation, make it as comprehensive (and comprehensible) as it can, like including all the steps they’ll need to do for each listed tactic, and including screenshots if necessary.

What this documentation will normally include are:

  • Step by step guide for all the tactics your campaign has to execute.
  • Sample email templates for different types of outreach methods.
  • Tips on improving or making each technique more efficient.

Task Delegation and Communication

Use project management tools to track everything that’s happening in your campaign. This can most certainly help in organizing your team members’ tasks, gaining insights with your campaign’s current state, or to determine if it’s on the right track and what areas are lacking.

It’s also a good way to collaborate with your clients, and to notify them as well with what’s going on in real-time. We use Trello internally.

trello

Aside from having a better outlook of your campaign, this stage should also help you track your team’s performance, as well as initiative. And it’s imperative to discuss with your team the tasks that need more urgency and consistency.

Reporting

Reports – the most critical part of a campaign and perhaps one of the main products of any SEO provider. Paddy Moogan shared a really good template for link building reports on his book (The Link Building Book), and I highly suggest checking that one out.

Aspects of a good link building report would usually include:

  • Executive summary – which briefly explains and highlights all the notable areas for the month of the campaign.
  • Improvements – the things that have improved, which could be increase in organic traffic, referred traffic (through the links you’ve acquired), conversions driven by links (via assisted conversions on GA), increase in domain authority, and there could be a lot more.
  • Actions taken – a detailed report of all the tasks you’ve implemented for the entire month, which could also include the list of links successfully acquired, published content, as well as audit findings and recommendations.
  • Action plans for the succeeding month – including your campaign’s next steps is definitely a good way to impress your clients, as the more you get to learn and understand their business/industry, the more you can suggest result-oriented approaches to your link building.

Continuous Opportunity Discovery

Always be on the lookout for things that will not just improve your link building campaign, but also for opportunities that can help your client take their business to the next level.

This may come in the form of coming up with content assets that will allow them get more links, rankings, traffic, leads/conversions, or it could also be realizing partnerships that may able to help their product development, branding or even just their link building.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Grant Merriel November 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Always awesome reading the latest post that you come out with Kais.
Just wanted to throw some added value out there, which is:
When you are documenting any processes within your business from social, content, links, etc – always make sure that most steps have screenshots, especially for people new to the process. This means that they can easily get themselves familiar with interfaces and helps you explain steps which are hard to outline.
The BEST part about process documents is their ability to grow with the strategy. For example, we just found a new approach for Broken Link Building, which changed the outreach template and process steps. It took us 10 minutes to change the document and then an email to the team saying ‘new email template’ and ‘step 4 – 9′ are new steps.
Keep up the good work bud!

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Jeric November 25, 2013 at 8:35 pm

I’ve already seen that Link Building Book by Paddy Moogan and I really learned a lot from his SEO strategies especially about the way of making SEO reports for clients.

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Jan Niemantsverdriet@Link Building Advisor November 26, 2013 at 12:32 am

With Google updates, like Hummingbird, the results of various tactics change. How do you keep track of these effects? Especially when the link building is distributed over a team.
Do you dedicate a section of the reports on changes in results of specific tactics or is this (only) discussed in the task delegation and communication tool?

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Hector November 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Link building times are changing. I like to link to domain not for keywords like other professionals

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Rameez Ramzan November 27, 2013 at 12:43 am

Hello Jason, I really like your link building techniques along with how you can handle your link building with project management tool. Which is so good for us specially for those who are doing SEO projects for their clients. But I saw your document as well in your post so can you share that link building document template?

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Jared November 27, 2013 at 1:24 am

THanks for the article. I agree with a lot of points you’re making, however, the complete dependence on one metric (in this case DA) can be a huge mistake IMO. DA is just one of many metrics (there are many out there) which should be used, however, common sense definitely should be the main factor.

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James Daneiol November 27, 2013 at 1:55 am

This is a very interesting post on advance link building. Thanks for sharing this informative post with us.

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diwaker November 27, 2013 at 4:34 am

hi jason,

Good job and great post . You are using project managemet tool for managing link building task amazing.

Thanks for sharing Jason

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Phil Levitt November 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Jason hit the nail on the head when he said that building links is for boosting DA, not ranking keywords. Project Management tools are a godsend, I need to find some and I’ll be checking Trello out. Thanks!

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Mike Chiong November 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I don’t believe we or anyone should have to buy links. Think that is like cheating and will be punished by Google where overabused. Read about JcPenny doing this and buying out links for all keyword searches related to their products that they were coming up first on almost every search result until somebody picked up on this and reported them. They were punished by Google for a long time before they could ever show up on the first page again. Link earning is the way to go with a little Link Building. Build support and make people want to link back to you.

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Louie Sison December 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks for this great article, as always.
Question please, are all the tactics shared by paddy still up to date?

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Tony Nguyen December 3, 2013 at 1:05 am

Hi Jason,
WOW… I love this post. Love the way you write your posts. The information in this article is really unique and useful for me. After reading this article, I think I have some ideas for myself. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more interesting information from you. Great job!

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Abhijit Gupta December 5, 2013 at 4:08 am

Good post on advance link building. Good information shared how we can get our site on high rank with project management tool. I like your post. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up. Using your link building techniques that we may use to get good results from our website.

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Naveen Kulkarni December 5, 2013 at 7:36 am

Jason,

Thanks for the illustration. You are right. Increasing domain authority helps in improving ranking of the site overall for other keywords as well.

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Sai Krishna December 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Wow really I don’t know that a website is these to help link builders and internet marketers, always i get confused when managing my link building campaign like missing the links, etc. Thanks for your valuable suggestion.

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Shiv Saroya December 6, 2013 at 12:47 am

it’s no wonder SEO and link building takes time. Small businesses are not always that well capitalized. What’s working for my clients is Google Plus right now.

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Aathira December 6, 2013 at 3:05 am

Increase DA rather than PA… that is the best tip I have heard in a long time.

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Apu December 7, 2013 at 7:06 am

Link building definitely not what it was before,, amazing post..Thanks for sharing.. :)

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John Hinds December 9, 2013 at 8:31 am

you are right Jason, link building is still important it is just that more thought and planning needs to be done now.

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Pia D'Alia December 9, 2013 at 9:12 am

Thankyou Jason,
Ever since i have read this post. It has convinced me at every second line, It is helpful.

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kilat aryanto December 10, 2013 at 6:19 am

thank for sharing jason, i have new blog so i need backlink, your backlink management is good

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metz December 11, 2013 at 3:00 am

I have to agree that it’s best to first understand why do you need links or link building in starting a new campaign. The goals keep me nodding since it is good to have such a list of goals to improve site’s domain authority (DA), referred visitors and site indexation.I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social news site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

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johnw December 12, 2013 at 2:17 am

Wow this is the complete techniques and strategies for effecting link building campaigns. Thanks

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Rosalie Smith December 17, 2013 at 3:27 am

I am glad to find this,I am sure it gonna help me in my SEO campaign.

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Mahendra Kumar January 12, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Hi Jason,
Internal links, i.e., links to other pages of your own blog also will help a lot in getting good ranking. What do you say?
Any ways, thanks for the information above.

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Steph Riggs February 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

Where some people are talking about natural ways of linkbuilding, it is very important to know what are categorized in natural ways. After the Matt Cutts post about guest blogging, bloggers are getting worried because back in the day guest posts are very respected from SEO point of view but these are considered spam and too many guest posts cause penalized your website. However, your tips about managing advanced linkbuilding campaign is allowing people to adopt Google’s algorithm updates and get organic ranking.

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