Starting Up a Link Marketing Campaign

17 Dec

Starting up a link marketing campaign is easy. Thorough preparation before starting up a link marketing campaign is often neglected, however.  By thinking everything well through in a structured way, you dramatically improve the chances of your link marketing campaign being successful.

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Make a snapshot of the start

You’ll never know what you’ve achieved if you don’t know where you came from. Capturing your starting situation is very important for an evaluation of how successful (or not) specific strategies or actions have been in a later stage.

Think about your goals

Try to think as ambitiously as you can. Don’t limit yourself to anything just yet, but try to picture where you want to be in an X amount of time. I usually refer to these goals as the ‘wish-goals’. The real goals will be determined later on, but it’s important to think about this early as well. It not only gets you thinking about what you want, but will make sure that the research you’ll perform is more targeted.

Investigate the competition

Look at the keywords you want to rank for and determine who your online competitors are. Don’t limit this to organic competition only, but look at the paid results as well. Check out what the overall quality of the competing sites is, what the most important features of these sites are, what kind of content they carry, where they’re listed, and so on.

Evaluate what you have

Now that you know where you’re at right now, where you want to be in the future, and who you’ll have to compete with, you can start evaluating what you have. Is your current situation enough to reach your goals?

If not, try to determine what you’ll have to adjust. Your internal link structure, the amount (and quality) of your content and your website’s design are easier to adjust than your external links. After all, you’re in control.

Of course, it could also turn out that the goals you’ve set can’t be reached with what you have right now and a few additions or adjustments. In that case, adjust your goals to something more acceptable and try to aim for those higher goals at a later stage.

If it turns out that you can easily reach your goals with what you have right now, adjust your goals and start being a little bit ambitious, dammit! You won’t get anywhere if you don’t push yourself.

Determine your goals & strategy

Now it’s time to rethink the goals you’ve thought about earlier, but keep them SMART. You know what you want to reach, you know which companies you’ll have to compete with and you know what you’re current situation is like. Try to calculate where these three lines meet, put the bar just a little higher and there: you’ve determined your goals.

Because you’ve done your homework, it’s also a lot easier to create the perfect strategy for your campaign. Whether it’s building links to specific pages, creating link targeted content or any other strategy; write it down before you start. This makes sure that you don’t forget certain tactics and that the overall campaign will be a well-structured one.

Find the influencers

Although there are tons of link building strategies that you can use during a campaign, there is a specific group of influencers for any campaign that you just have to target. These influencers not only reach your target audience spot on, but may be able to boost your website to top rankings with just a few links. Connect with them, but don’t harass them with link requests or whatsoever. People are much more willing to link to you if they’ve known you for a (short) while. Networking is a process, not an action.

Plan moments of evaluation

This is a very important step in the process of starting up a link marketing campaign. Compare your achievements with your snapshot of the start and the goals you’ve set regularly. Plan these moments in advance, in order to being able to adjust your strategy in time, if things don’t seem to work out like you’ve planned.

Start your campaign

Finally, it’s time to start the campaign. First, there are several link marketing tactics that you can use that don’t envolve hunting, cold calling, or any other mind numbing activities. After picking the low hanging fruit, you can move on to the next part of your strategy. Contact the influencers you’ve been chatting with for the past few weeks or months, leverage your existing network, go after those .edu’s, or whatever you have to do to reach your goals.

Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy during a campaign, by the way. Things change, and so do your competitors, your online environment, search engines and their algorithms. Follow your results, link building news and your overall campaign very closely, and you’ll probably be safe.

6 Responses to “Starting Up a Link Marketing Campaign”

  1. Franklin Bishop December 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm #

    I think the important thing is your link building strategy. It will determine your success.

  2. Tertius December 17, 2008 at 7:55 pm #

    Some good points about a gradual link building strategy. A lot of people, myself included, think that links and results come very quickly. If you want quality backlinks and results that’s maintainable you need to put the time in.

    Thanks for the article. I’ll be going for this asap.

  3. Angela Moore December 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Nice post as always. It’s so important to get a good start on any link building campaign rather than just jumping in and trying to get links. Without a full understanding of where you are trying to go the links may not be as beneficial as they could.

  4. Wiep December 18, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    @Franklin: You’re absolutely right, but in order to determine the right strategy, you’ll have to do some research first.

    @Tertius: You definitely need to put the time in, good links don’t come easy.

    @Angela: I think we’re pretty much at the same level here :)

  5. John Lessnau December 18, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    Blogs have the trackback advantage.

    Try to mention other blogs in your posts and link to them with nofollow links to get trackbacks. 2 out of 10 trackbacks will be dofollow but they are easy links to get and the nofollows are fine also because they bring in traffic if your trackbacks are on decent blogs. Of course, this is just one of many strategies to use.

  6. Edie December 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    You have very good timimg. I am launching new site about stores in Czech. Thanks for organize my ideas.

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