The 5-Step Link Building Strategy


The 5-Step Link Building Strategy

Update: Links are still very much a part of the Web. As such, many of our customers need to stay current on how to go about performing the time-consuming task of link building. We’ve updated this frequently visited post so that new visitors can gain insight on the best way to manage, monitor and report on their efforts. Read on to learn how Raven customers and trial subscribers can now build beautiful link status reports too. ~ @RavenNickiB, Editor

What does building solid relationships have to do with marketing?

Everything, really. How do we bring attention to our websites and businesses? By acquiring links from other websites to boost our online visibility. Raven’s link management tools can help keep your organized doing that.

Through building links in an organized way, we’re doing something far more important: we’re building relationships that will pay off for years to come.

Link building has been around forever. Once it might’ve been known as a black-hat tactic to game the Google of yore into ranking higher for your keywords of choice.

But in the new animal-based search engine reality we live in today, link building is a fantastic way to acquire mentions of your website and brand on highly authoritative, relevant websites. Some of you may know this as PR. I just know it as some of the best marketing you can do.

How do you go about building great links to your website? Just follow these 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Research

What kind of websites do you want to discover?

To make sure they’re high quality, look for sites that are:

  • Highly authoritative: These people know their stuff and are worthy of building a relationship with.
  • Seen as trustworthy: Would you want to have a link on a website that was full of link and other spam?
  • Sites you want to be associated with: Much along the lines of authoritative and trustworthy, one of the biggest things to keep in mind when you are researching websites to build relationships with.
  • Popular with competitors: Who’s linking to your competitors? You probably want them linking to you too.

Tools in Raven that can help:


Step 2: Outreach

Use your research to cultivate a list of high quality websites with whom to start building relationships.

  • Connect with website owners via social media: An easy way to begin a conversation and start cultivating a relationship.
  • Organize your outreach: Use the CRM to not only keep track of all your messaging and other outreach, but also to organize your target prospect’s contact information and any other notes you want to save about the person.
  • Manage the outreach: Remember the end game — you want a link from a great website and a relationship with the site owner. Be sure to connect the dots between the person and the website he owns.
  • Share the load: If you have a team, assign tasks to distribute your outreach workload.

Tools in Raven that can help:

Raven Tools CRM

Step 3: Organize

What do I need to know about the potential link and relationship I’m working on?

  • Date of first outreach
  • Date of follow up: You never want to be too forward or needy.
  • Type of link requested or acquired: Are you offering original content? Did you participate in a forum? Did the link happen organically?
  • Website domain: Yeah, you might need that one.
  • Website owner’s contact info: Can’t build a relationship if you can’t get in touch with them.
  • Conversation notes: If you’re talking to a ton of people, keeping detailed notes on the conversations you’re having will save you from a world of embarrassment later. Trust me.

Tools in Raven that can help: All Link Manager, all the time.


Step 4: Follow up

Once you’ve done your research, performed your outreach, organized all the data, hopefully you will have heard back from some site owners and will be well on your way to building great relationships with them.

If so, make sure you are constantly maintaining your information. Every conversation you have, every step of the link-building process (requesting links, to active links to even inactive links). The more information you have, the more you need to organize and maintain it.

Tools in Raven that can help: Make sure to make liberal use of the custom link types and statuses within the Link Manager to really customize the data you need to organize for each campaign.

Select Link Type

Step 5: Report

One of the biggest struggles marketers have is proving their value to clients.

While the end game of traffic and conversions is self-explanatory, how your client’s website attained those results often takes a circuitous route. Acquiring mentions and the relationships that come with them take time and may be hard to quantify.

Tools in Raven that can help: Raven’s Report Builder makes wrapping up all this into a professional branded report as simple as drag-and-drop.

You can keep track of all your data and organize it within Link Manager and create a beautiful HTML version of your work-to-date. Here’s a visual representation:

Link Status Pie Chart

Or report a more detailed table view:

Link Status Table

Create anything from a simple chart to provide a snapshot of your work, down to a more detailed report covering specifics, such as Status, Type, Destination URL, Link Description, Owner, Last Update, even a screenshot of that link right on the page (not shown).

There are over 25 elements you can display and report on in the new Report Builder for link building alone, giving you complete customization capabilities to answer every question your client may have.

While it can be time consuming, link building is a necessary step to increasing visibility of your website and to enhancing your online presence. Follow these few simple steps to build solid relationships, and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.

Photo Credit: Matti Mattila via Compfight cc

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Alison was the former User Evangelist at Raven. Currently, she's the Customer Champion at Zapier.

| @alisongroves

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