That’s not how this question is usually phrased. Usually, clients want to know if they’re through. And typically, the answer to that question is the same as the answer to any question about when to stop marketing efforts: you should stop marketing as soon as you have as much business as you’ll ever want.
I’ve done linkbuilding for clients with no links at all, and I got one client his two millionth link. (I should say that he had about 1,999,847 when I began, but still, it sounds good, doesn’t it?) Links are votes for your website as a useful source for people searching for your keywords, and you can never have too many good votes, or good links.
But that’s not to say that linkbuilding should be the main focus of your marketing efforts forever. Time and budget constraints mean than most of us have to pick and choose. So how can you tell when it’s time to end a linkbuilding campaign?
- Look at your initial goals. If you’re lucky enough to have the budget for it, you can plan a couple of hours every day for linkbuilding. Not only can you do this, but you should. This is just good maintenance for your website. If that sounds like a luxury, then it makes more sense to plan your linkbuilding in terms of campaigns. You may want some basic foundational linking: directories, social media, links from your vendors or partners or clients. These build that initial base of links that can give your new or underappreciated site a boost in rankings and visibility to search engines. When you’ve run through all the quick and easy placements, you’ve finished that campaign. Or you may want some highly-placed blogs or personal sites to mention your goods and services with a solid link. For this type of campaign, it makes sense to develop a target list and work till you get acceptance or rejection from most of them. Planning your campaigns so that you can tell when you’ve succeeded is sensible.
- Watch your results. It makes sense, when you’ve done a linkbuilding campaign, to use your Analytics to see what kinds of results you’re getting. One of my clients gets regular traffic from professional directories, but not so much from blogs. Now that we know that, it makes sense to put her into more professional directories and not to focus on blogs. Watching your results is particularly important if you’re doing the work yourself and don’t have a track record to rely on. By now, I can usually predict what kinds of links are going to be most beneficial in terms of traffic, but if you are your own link-builder, you may get some big surprises. And I still rely on Analytics to fine-tune all my linkbuilding efforts.
- Give it some time. Some kinds of links will increase naturally once you get the ball rolling. Others need intense work every time. You can’t always tell which category your efforts will fall into until you’ve watched for a while. So you might do a campaign of one type or for one set of keywords and then switch to another type while you wait to see the results.