Planning your link building activity
Learn how to use Rows to plan your link bulding activity
Back in the days when Yahoo! and Altavista were the two leading search engines, a website’s ranking was almost entirely based on its content.
This sounds fine at first sight. But then Google came, and with its PageRank it changed the game: instead of simply analyzing the content of a page, Google looked at how many other websites linked to that page.
At the beginning this generated a sort of ‘gold rush’ where business were built by only exploiting link-factories. With the so-called Penguin update in 2012, Google started taking into account also the ‘quality’ of inbound links.
Today, getting inbound links to your website, the so-called 'link-building' activity, is an important component of your SEO strategy. You can obtain them organically, through word of mouth, through outreach, following a specific editorial/PR strategy, or even through win-win partnerships.
However, backlinks can break, or just become less relevant as time passes by. That's why it's a continuous, time-consuming activity that must be run in an organized and structured way.
In this short guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to plan and keep track of your link building activity.
Here’s a sneak peek of what you will get:
Some of the most relevant link-building strategies are:
Outreach. It involves contacting external organizations to request a backlink pointing to your site. Starting from local or governmental institutions is usually highly recommended, because their domains are mostly unique and of high authority. The Skyscraper technique is the most common tactic: it involves finding content that websites are already linking to, and then creating yours on the same niche. You’ll then need to reach out to those sites and convince them to link to it.
Replicate your competitors' scheme. Checking out who's linking to your competitors is a huge win. Your competitors' backlinks will be on sites that are relevant to your niche, so you know they'd be valuable backlinks for your SEO purposes.
Check broken links. It can be seen as complementary to the outreach strategy. It involves the process of finding backlinks that lead to 404 pages, contacting those domains, and suggesting they replace those links with the ones that lead to similar page on your website.
Write guest posts. Guest posting will boost your brand awareness and get your brand in front of a new audience, but if you are able to include a link in the text, it's also a great link-building opportunity.
To use our template, follow the link Link-building tracker, click on Use template and save it in one of your workspace’s folders.
This template offers you an easy UI to plan and keep track of your link-building activity.
Let's reverse-engineer it together.
Use column A and B to input the name and the page URL of the potential referral, i.e. who will potentially host your backlink.
Pick a category in column C, to classify the strategy or the referral. Choose among Business directories and institutions, Media outlets, Partnerships, Clients, Forums/communities, Guest blogging, Broken backlink, PR. All dropdown lists can be personalized with custom inputs in the 'Settings' page, to best fit your internal processes and organization. Just add or edit any content of the cell, and the new item will appear in the respectve dropdown.
Input the backlink and the anchor text in column D and E. The anchor text is the visible link label, clickable text in an HTML hyperlink.
Select the date of you last interaction in column F: column G will display automatically the number of days since then, through our
1 =AUTOFILL("Days since", TODAY()-F2)
AUTOFILL() should always be placed in the column header and has to include the following mandatory arguments: the column title in quotation marks and the formula to be filled in the column itself - in this case,
Column H displays the status of the lead. You can choose among: Planned, Reached out, In discussion, Approved, Rejected, Pending. Again, customize it in the 'Setting' page, if needed.
Finally, tick the box in column I when you obtained the link and J if the link is no-follow. If the link has been enclosed in the referral's page with nofollow property, it will be ingnored by search engines when computing the website rank.
Interested in SEO? Discover other guides:
- Monitoring your website search performance with Search Console
- Tracking keywords' performance with Search Console
- Tracking on-page SEO elements
- Tracking your competitors’ website loading performance with PageSpeed
- Auditing your website loading performance with PageSpeed
Discover our Marketing Playbook.