It pays to spend a little time planning your linking campaign before you begin.
First, determine your best keywords. If I wrote your site, then I’ll have put your main keywords in the meta language at your website (and possibly sent them to you asking you to post them over your desk and get used to using them). If I didn’t write your site, you can read “Choosing Keywords” and figure it out.
You may also want to do a linking campaign for a particular keyword or set of phrases for a particular seasonal or other timely opportunity, in which case you can read “Another Way to Look at Keywords.” Either way, you should end up with five or ten phrases you want to work with for a single campaign.
Find out how you rank for those terms and make a note of it. This allows you to see whether your strategy is working, as you go along, and whether perhaps you need to alter it.
Now, use the search engine you want to target to search for those keywords. Add your geographical area if you’re just beginning to work with those keywords, or if they’re highly competitive. See who turns up.
This is one point at which you might discover that you’ve made a bad choice of keywords. I remember once thinking that “Copernicus rack” would make a dandy keyword for a client. I was wrong. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t tried it out. You can read about more examples and detail in “Your Competitors Affect Your SEO Strategy.” Adjust your list if need be.
You can now get ideas for some quick links. Use SoloSEO’s Link Search Tool to speed up this part of the search. This tool will automate searches for things like “[your keyword] +suggest site” and “[your keyword] +add URL.” This ferrets out the directories and links pages that welcome new links.
Remember, you only want sites that are relevant to your site, have value for visitors, and don’t put you in a bad neighborhood. All links are not created equal.
Also make sure that, while you do this, you pay attention to the kinds of options you have with your key words, and the amount and kind of competition you have online.
Armed with a nice list of competitors for the keywords, you can now use Marketleap or Searchbliss to get an inside look at your competitors links. You can also do this directly at Yahoo or Google or bing, but these tools give you a quick way to get an overview. You’ll be able to see what kinds of strategies your successful competitors are using.
Having chosen your keywords, checked who’s looking for links on the subject, and seen what the competition is doing, you’ll have a good idea of the level of difficulty of your keyword and of how other people are approaching it. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to put together the best plan for your linkbuilding campaign.
If not, or if going through this process takes you an excessive length of time (you certainly shouldn’t spend more than an hour on it), or if you’ve done these things and now need something more creative to take it to the next level, you can always contact me and I’ll help you.