When I develop SEO strategies for people, I often suggest a linkbuilding component. Actually, I probably always suggest a linkbuilding component. One of my first clients when I left in-house SEO had a couple million links, and a new linkbuilding campaign was a good move for him, so why wouldn’t it be for you?
That doesn’t mean that everyone should conduct precisely the same linkbuilding campaign. I was reminded of that while getting a campaign started for BrassMusicOnline.com. The talented people over there will arrange your favorite song to suit your tuba quintet or your one hundred piece orchestra or — in my case — a sax, a singer, and a couple of flutes. As anyone who has ever burnt up a few hours seeking out an arrangement that will suit the particular instruments you have on hand knows, this is a useful service.
So I went straightaway to musicians’ forums and trombone associations’ link pages and so forth and started writing persuasive letters to the humans who take care of those pages. They wrote back to me in gratitude for putting them on to this great thing.
It would be wonderful if basic linkbuilding were always like that. Unfortunately, it’s not. If you’re a jeweler, for example, you’re going to find that the typical response to your forays into early linkbuilding is an automatic notice telling you that you’ll have to pay a fee for the directory to go to the trouble of looking at your website and deciding whether or not to link to you. Your industry, your product, your particular website, your competition and even your own social skills play a part in determining what kind of linkbuilding will work best for you.
How can you determine the best strategy for your website?
Use your special knowledge
I knew where to start for BrassMusicOnline.com because I’m a musician who downloads sheet music, I’m in contact with plenty of others, and I know where we go for such things and how we search for them. I’m also an SEO professional, so I know what to do with that information.
Start with your own insights.
- Where do your customers hang out online? What social media platforms do they use?
- What do they type into the Google search box when they look for someone like you?
- What do they find when they do so? In other words, who’s your online competition?
It’s worth taking some time to find out.
Check your competitors’ links
This is a slightly technical thing to do, but not that hard. You can find good software that will speed the process up for you, or you can do it at Moz Link Explorer and RankSignals. Once you’ve got a list of that competitor’s backlinks to examine, you can get an idea of their overall strategy, and see whether you could benefit from it or not.
Sometimes I see that a client’s competitor is paying for most links (honestly, through advertising, I mean) or swapping links, so I just make a note of that so I know what we’re up against. Sometimes, though, I find great sites I wasn’t already aware of this way. You might even see a clever strategy that’s new to you. When you find yourself thinking, “Wow! How did they get that link?” you know it’s worth further exploration.
A good linkbuilder has an analytical turn of mind, creativity, good communication skills, a persuasive writing style, speed at the keyboard, and a sincere belief in the value of your website. That might describe the receptionist in your front office who has time on his or her hands in the afternoon, or your student intern, or you. But linkbuilding is time-consuming even if you do it well, and it’s really time-consuming if you do it badly.
What’s more, if you make the wrong choices, it can do you harm. If you make the right choices, it can be the mainstay of your marketing. It’s worth hiring an expert for a campaign now and then if you don’t have the skills in-house.
Contact us when you need expert SEO strategy or implementation.