How To Run A Successful Link Building Campaign
Links are votes of trust, but do you trust yourself to get you the right ones?
Doing link building in-house can be costly and time-consuming, but the benefits of promoting your brand are huge. Links help make your content and domain more trustworthy and authoritative, and they also put you in touch with a whole new customer base.
It’s a good idea to know the basics of link building and link management. That way, you can keep your SEO providers on their toes, or run small-scale link building campaigns yourself. Here are the essential steps you’ll need to take in order to run a good link building campaign.
Link building needs to be planned out in advance. Without proper planning, campaigns can quickly become expensive and hard to manage. Don’t get caught out — plan and scope everything in advance.
A piecemeal or ‘throw everything at it’ approach will see you wasting budget unnecessarily.
- How many links do you need to build in order to move the needle? Look at competitor backlinks to give you an idea of the competitiveness of the niche
- Link velocity — how many links are needed, and over what period of time? Remember, it’s best to be cautious when it comes to building links
- Budget — this is key! Know exactly how much you are willing to spend in terms of resources and budget in advance, as this will have a big impact on how you run your campaigns
- Contacts & relationships — how can you make the most of your brand’s contact and customer database? How many influencers are you planning to reach out to?
- Content production & ideation — do you have the resources to effectively pitch and write briefs? Modern link building is all about sharing quality content and knowledge
- Campaign management — how will all the emails, conversations, and variables be managed and tracked? How do you ensure that the team and campaigns stay on target?
Hone in on promotional channels
Where in the web do you want to be published?
There are a ton of different avenues you’ll want to explore. Spend plenty of time doing some research to figure out where your efforts are best spent, and whether you’ll also need to invest in some social outreach.
Whether you work with website editors, influencers, bloggers, micro-influencers, or journalists — the key is to ensure that your website and content is relevant to them.
HARO is a free resource that’s worth registering for, as it allows you to easily connect with journos and PRs writing content in your niche.
What pages do you want to promote? Is there a specific angle or story to your website that might help ‘sell’ it to editors?
Remember that commercial pages may not merit a link, unless the brand or value proposition is very strong. It’s all about what makes sense for the user and the content — this is not your place to ‘hard sell’.
There may be different rules if you are working on a sponsored post, but even then, you’ll want to keep the link placement and target page natural and helpful.
You may find that you’ll need to invest in content creation first — creating some content around unique data like surveys is a great way to encourage links to a unique piece of information.
Who is going to be interested in your content or domain?
There are a few steps to identifying potential prospects:
- Niche crossover — where does your niche productively interact with another? Is there a landscape or facet of your product or service that would be interesting to explore? Think about industries, themes, demographics etc.
- List building — create relevant lists of sites to allow you to segment your outreach. Contacting absolutely everyone on your list with a cold email is a no-no and will probably flag your mail up as spam.
- Relevant bloggers are great brand endorsers, so get to know the blogging community and the people who are already writing relevant content.
- Prospecting & finding contact details can be tough. Many websites have a specific way they like to be contacted, and many bloggers publish helpful media packs. Nevertheless, a tool like Hunter can help you quickly find relevant email addresses. Don’t forget the power of reaching out to people on social media — it’s often a good way to get the attention of busy people.
Ideation & content
This is the backbone of your outreach campaign – whether it’s PR, bloggers, or guest posts — quality content wins the day. It’s a good idea to spend a lot of time in the brainstorming ideas, as great content ideas and hooks can take a while to materialise. Be ready to reject a lot of rubbish ideas.
You absolutely need experienced, quality writers to make this work — don’t think that you can palm people off with second rate content.
Here are some content creation tools that might help:
When you go out there and promote your brand and try to score some links, it’s essential that you focus on what other people are going to find important or valuable, rather than what you’re looking to get out of the exchange. You aren’t going to interest anyone or build relationships with that attitude.
If you are contacting people at scale, or building lists, then sending out emails makes sense. Here it’s very important to manage the email technology correctly, and ensure that your messages are concise. If you are going out as a brand or business, then this could impact your reputation and standing — so tread carefully.
You may also want to reach out to people on social — social media is a great relationship building tool.
Always follow up, but don’t pressure people into getting back to you. They might just be busy or not interested. It can be helpful to send out emails or follow ups during a specific time when you know people are going to be engaged, or looking out for new content.
It’s very important to keep evaluating your link building efforts to ensure that you are building links that are going to have a powerful impact. The best links are the kind that pass relevant traffic, and serve a purpose for the digital community.
Keep refining and expanding your campaigns — outreach gets easier the more you do it.
Building links can be hard, but the important thing to remember is to start somewhere. If you never start — you’ll never know!