Where Do You Start Your Link Marketing Campaign?

11 Feb

For websites that have been around for a while, starting a link marketing campaign is much easier than you might think. There’s no need to go out and hunt for new links straight ahead, because it’s usually much easier, faster and more effective to take a look at nearby data.

1. Internal linking structure
Optimizing the internal link structure of a website can be highly effective, but is often underestimated and therefore neglected. Check out Jim Boykin’s post about optimizing internal links and Aaron Wall’s follow up on that post for some great tips.

2. 404 page statistics
Are people linking to non existing pages on your domain? Use Google Webmaster Tools (or your own web stats) to find out which URLs have received links (and /or clicks), but return a 404 page. Contacting the webmasters of the sites that are linking to the non existing pages and letting them know what the correct location should be is a guarantee for success.

3. URL search queries
Contacting websites that mention your URL, but didn’t make it a clickable link, might result in a few easy links as well. If they list your URL, they’re probably willing to make it clickable (and perhaps change the anchor text?) as well.

4. Company name search queries
See #3, but search for web pages that mention your company name (but don’t link to you) in stead. After you contacted about every webmaster that mentioned either your URL or your company name without providing a link to your site, don’t forget to add both queries as a Google Alert or something similar. It’s not only a great tool to monitor your online reputation, but you can use it as a link building support tool as well.

5. Optimizing existing links
Another strategy that can be very effective is optimizing your existing links. There are two ways to do this; either by making the link more attractive for visitors or by making the link more appealing to search engines. Investigate which links send you a reasonable amount of traffic and see if you can improve this by altering the anchor text to something that encourages clicking the link. Investigate which links are the most important ones according to Google and see if you can improve the relevance by altering the anchor text to something that adds even more value. Keep in mind not to overdo this in both cases; “Now with a 6% discount!” isn’t a great anchor text for search engines, and a “keyword keyword keyword” anchor text probably doesn’t attract a bucket load of visitors in most cases, so finding a balance is important.

See? Five easy link building strategies that don’t involve scavenging, hunting, baiting or other work intensive tactics. Using easily accessible data and contacting people that are already familiar with your website in some kind of way is not only efficient, but can be very effective as well.

Do you have more strategies to add?

36 Responses to “Where Do You Start Your Link Marketing Campaign?”

  1. Tom February 12, 2008 at 12:05 am #

    Nice article! I touched on this in my article but you’re right – there’s so much can be done to help your linking for a large established site before you even have to email a single link request!

    Oh – and thanks for the link ;-)

  2. Marty February 12, 2008 at 5:01 am #

    You’re on a tear. This content is so useful to many.

  3. Gab from "SEO ROI" February 12, 2008 at 5:09 am #

    Just sphunn this. Searching your own name is good too, because that’s commonly associated with a site. I found Flickr photos of me and added links in the comments. A nice tool for this purpose is SERPH. (Which I just realized is a combination of SERP and Surf [the web] … wow I’m slow.] Incidentally, I think the link building blog’s 101 ways to build links had the company/site/url name one a while back. A refresher’s always good though :).

    Oh, and ditto Marty’s comment.

  4. Wiep February 12, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    Tom; You’re absolutely right & you’re more than welcome ;)

    Marty; Thanks :D

    Gab; Searching for your own name is a great addition! Like Glen mentioned in his post as well, Serph sure is a great tool for reputation monitoring (and link building)

  5. Alex - Upstream SEO February 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    These are a great start for any linkbuilding campaign… what you say about anchor text is spot on. It’s hard to balance keywords vs. sales and a little research goes a long way

  6. Internet Marketing Joy February 12, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    This is a pretty useful and helpful article wiep..^^…glad you shared it with us..hope you won’t grow tired of sharing..^^

  7. Olivier Duffez February 12, 2008 at 6:07 pm #

    Nice article!

    You should modify the link to Google request [yourdomain.com -link:yourdomain.com] because it doesn’t work with Google (you can’t mix link:URL queries with other commands). Replace it by [yourdomain.com -linkdomain:yourdomain.com] searched at Yahoo.

  8. Wiep February 12, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    Alex; you’re absolutely right. Some tend to focus on anchor text for search engines only, while other only look at click throughs. In most cases, finding a balance between those two might be worth it.

    IMJ; I’m sure I won’t :D

    Olivier; Good point, but I can’t get it to work in Yahoo either. Point is that I use a tool for this and thought that the queries seemed to work in Google. They do, however, return at least some potential candidates ;)

  9. John February 13, 2008 at 5:17 am #

    Its an interesting balance. Its a challenge to manage all of the requests for links…but of course, I’m hoping people are willing to link to my sites! I always try to remember that when I get a request.

  10. Suresh February 13, 2008 at 12:32 pm #

    It’s a good idea to optimize of your site by interlinking based on keywords anchor text, it help to improved ranking also. I am going to describe much because already available this post. At last Creative content with great ideas.

  11. Eric Ward February 13, 2008 at 4:20 pm #

    Wiep – great stuff! One of the most under utilized and overlooked techniques is to use the power of your own site’s homepage to funnel link juice towards internal pages, especially newly created pages.


  12. Paul Burani February 13, 2008 at 8:32 pm #

    This is excellent, particularly the one about querying anchor text that isn’t already linked. If you find enough of them, it’s not too much work to just fire off an email to webmaster@whateverdomain.com, with CC to info@ — most get through and depending on the nature of the site there’s usually a return.

  13. Wil Reynolds February 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    Excellent, and concise Thanks!

  14. Vertical Measures February 28, 2008 at 1:12 am #

    I really like the company name and personal name idea – the epitome of low hanging fruit.

  15. teadog March 28, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    Thanks for the info. Just trying to start a link building and the internal linking is a great suggestion. I would have overlooked that. Appreciate the information.

  16. tina April 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    You list some good strategies for developing backlinks, another good one is to write articles, this helps getting tons of 1 way backlinks.

  17. BJ May 1, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    I love the idea of monitoring using google alerts. Simple but elegant idea. Thanks

  18. Nick Stamoulis August 19, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    This is a great post and excellent information and will be must read for our SEM staff…#5 on your list is the most powerful because not only will help help target important keyword phrases but will also help generate visitors…

  19. Richie December 16, 2008 at 11:35 am #

    Some good ideas there, one thing that I have not really done is optimise the internal links, simple really but something that you will forget about if not reminded I suppose!

    Really great post.



  20. Darlene December 16, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    Wiep.net has become my goto site for link building these days! We are going to aim to find some links relating to Computer Faxing using your techniques!

  21. Edie December 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    These strategies are really useful. I have used several points of this list and it words, really!

  22. John Frusciante January 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Great tips. I think most of us could especially need a course in internal linking structure. It is more important than most of us think. The rest of the list consist of basically the same thing, keeping track of your existing links. And this is important for many reasons, mainly if you have done link exchanging.

  23. Buffett Fan February 4, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    Thanks for the tips – I had no idea that there was so much to be done, my site is only a blog but all the same it would be nice to get a bit higher up the pages ! I guess I need to do some tweaking.

  24. Katherine February 11, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    Thank you for the great read – I’m new at this and appreciate the tips!

  25. Jean February 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    You know, I am always afraid to change my keywords on links – afraid to “scare off the almighty google!” – but so much so that I forget to look at links/keywords for things that aren’t getting traffic on my site. Good reminder!

  26. Shannon February 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    Great Research and content work. I just had to stop and comment and THANK You for your posts on your SEO research and findings. This is helpful for many..and for me too! :)


  27. Dave Perris March 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    Thank you. Some of your posts are a bit too advanced for me at the moment but think I get most of this one! I’m off to check my internal links.

  28. Niche Pro April 4, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Great post! Thanks for the information, I need to work on my internal linking on several of my sites. Thanks again!

  29. Copywriting June 20, 2009 at 4:21 am #

    For WordPress, I recommend trying the numerous “Related Posts” plugin. They display related posts at the end of each post, using the tags as reference. I believe this not only helps visitor get more content (decreasing bounce rate), but also helps internal linking.

  30. Hasse July 16, 2009 at 10:42 am #

    Good post.

    I think a lot of people underestimate the real power in internal linking and therefore basically ignores it. Not only does it give your visitors more chances to become a returning visitor, it also helps the pagerank flow on your site.

    Just to add a point to the last thing you mentioned about: the strengthening of exiting links have shown very powerful on some of my sites. A lot of the links i had was just about worth nothing at all. I decided to try and shoot a few links into the site sites that were linking to me. This made a world of difference and i instantly jumped several places in the search engine rankings for a few of my best keywords. One good link can be worth hundreds of bad links.

  31. John July 16, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    Great post here. Some good tips and tricks that as the author suggests, does not involve any external manipulation. Basically, make the most of what you have to start!

  32. Joel McLaughlin August 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Excellent information, this is a great way to optimize and obtain new links through innovative methods.

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