May 09 2012

Anatomy of a Link Building Campaign

AnnexCore

Link building is an essential part of conducting commerce online and achieving high rankings in search engine results. A link building campaign can be approached from multiple angles to yield impressive results for future business. Entrepreneurs want to obtain the best return on their invested time and effort and that requires a decision as to what type of campaign will be conducted.

There are five distinct ways to obtain links: authoritative domains, volume domains, deep links, local rankings links and anchor text to drive rankings. Site owners can opt to utilize a single link building strategy or choose to use them all for maximum results.

Authoritative domains

Government, media and educational sites are considered authoritative domains and are highly desirable for link building. Sites with links from these types of authoritative domains rank higher in search engine results and receive more traffic. A wealth of sites exists from which links can be obtained, but ascertaining those that will best benefit a specific website will require research. Google PageRank is one available source for the ranking of an authoritative site or owners can utilize third party tools such as SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE).

A good way to find authoritative sites is by subject matter. Those that maintain specific pages or sections devoted to the owner’s field of endeavor are excellent choices. Another means is to take 10 or so potential sites and see which ones have reciprocal links from the other nine. This step in the process is relatively easy, but ascertaining the relevance to the owner’s site is more difficult. The metrics of OSE or Majestic SEO are useful to determine a domain’s authority level, but there’s no foolproof means of knowing if search engines will recognize the site as an authority.

Once the desired authoritative sites have been identified, owners can go about the process of finding out the requirements for getting a link to the site. Specifications vary widely. Some sites base the decision on specific content or special tools, while others value exceptional content, infographics and even syndication. Other authoritative domains respond to direct requests and social media campaigns.

Volume domains

Search engines view links as an endorsement, making it imperative to obtain links from as many different and relevant domains as possible. Search engines interpret each individual link as the effort of a real person making an informed decision to include it, rather than an attempt to manipulate results. As each link is added, it facilitates the addition of more links. Owners can obtain links directly by requesting them or via indirect means such as PR and social media campaigns, though the second method requires considerably more effort, sustained over a longer period.

Deep links

A deep link is one that appears on multiple pages within a website, not just on the homepage. Each page of a website has the potential to rank highly in search engines for different keywords and search terms, which provides numerous opportunities to place anchor text. The sites with the best rankings have pages that address a major topic or theme, expanding the prospect for subpages to rank highly.

Local links

More Internet users are utilizing local searches to locate the products and services they want and geo-location apps for mobile devices provide results based on the searcher’s physical proximity. To capitalize on the trend and technology, it’s imperative to obtain links from local businesses. That can be accomplished through links from the local chamber of commerce, business directories and the Better Business Bureau, along with libraries, social clubs and a wide range of organizations. The same tactic can be used by owners seeking international traffic by obtaining links from sites within the desired country and specific locales.

Anchor Text

Top SEO firms rate anchor text as one of the most efficient and powerful elements in search engine rankings. Search engines register anchor text as the result of effort on the part of a live person rather than manipulation. Anchor text that utilizes specific keywords can be a powerful tool to help websites achieve rankings from related searches.

Some website owners choose to shorten the link building process by purchasing links, which gives the owner more leverage when specifying the anchor text they want. A purchased link is viewed the same as an ad, and while search engines place an emphasis on the anchor text contained within a site, it can be more difficult for a search engine to reliably rank them and the site.

A word of caution

Links are essential, but site owners should take care that they appear as a natural part of the website. All of an owner’s hard work and efforts won’t achieve anything if a search engine perceives the links as being manipulated. Sites that have the same links on multiple pages, those with the same URL or site name, and “click here” type devices will all be perceived as manipulation.

Balance is the key concept when building links and is the primary benefit of conducting multiple link building campaigns at the same time. Links are added at a more natural pace, providing variety and balance without the look of manipulation. The goal of search engines is to improve the quality of their indexing and they employ anti-spam measures to help insure this through policies that address link-buying tactics.

Link building is on an ongoing process that never stops for those who want to get ahead of the competition. Search engines monitor and maintain detailed information about new links, when old links vanish and how quickly links have been added. The smart website owner adds links at a moderate pace from a wide variety of authoritative domains and local sites. Adding volume links, anchor text and deep links insure website owners rank highly in search engine results, thereby obtaining the best return on their investment of time and effort.

Keep mind that we do offer Off-Site SEO aka LinkBuilding services of our own, in case you would like to get this task off your desk.

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