5 steps to creating a more efficient link-building campaign
Contributor Jeremy Knauff shares the steps his agency takes, and the tools they use, to create a structured and efficient link-building process.
Link building plays a critical role in SEO today, but despite its importance, many people still approach this component haphazardly. They enthusiastically jump in with both feet, but without a structured process, they fail to achieve the results they could.
In the past, I’ve taken both approaches: I’ve run some link-building campaigns with little to no structure, and I’ve run others with enough structure to make German engineers weep with joy.
I can tell you from firsthand experience that the latter results in a more efficient campaign every single time. Meanwhile, that efficiency leads to better results for your clients and higher profit margins for you. So today, I’m going to share five steps you can use to make your link-building campaigns more efficient.
Start with a plan
I once had a client who, despite having the best of intentions, reminded me of a squirrel who had just guzzled a double espresso. Each time we would develop a detailed marketing plan working toward his goals, he would tell us how much he loved everything, sign off on it, and then within a few weeks, decide that he wanted to focus on some new shiny goal. As you might imagine, this absolutely killed his progress.
Fortunately, he recently stepped down, and the new CEO bases his marketing programs on a plan rather than a whim.
Planning is not a luxury. It’s a necessity that keeps you on track, improves performance and helps you reach your goals more quickly and efficiently because it reduces wasted time and energy.
Think of it in the context of travel. How efficient do you think you would be if you just hopped in your car and started driving with no route in mind, no GPS or map, and only a destination with no plan on how to get there? It’s pretty safe to assume that it would not be an efficient trip, and that’s if you even made it to your destination at all!
You need to develop a detailed link-building plan to maximize your results. It’s not just a numbers game, so by determining exactly what you want to accomplish and outlining the steps necessary to do so, you’ll achieve far greater results, and you’ll do so more quickly.
Focus on a tighter niche
Most SEO professionals today understand the importance of relevance in their link-building campaigns, and I would take this approach a step further. Rather than going after any and every link that is relevant to your content, you should further refine your strategy to go after links from a smaller niche within that pool of relevant websites. That may sound limiting, but hear me out.
Let’s say you’re building links for an architectural firm. Obviously, links from home builders, commercial contractors and engineers would all be relevant, but they would each link to an architectural firm for their own particular reasons — so the content you would need to create to earn those links would be different in each case. Having to create all of these distinct types of content is relatively inefficient.
On the other hand, if you create some amazing content that appeals to home builders, and then systematically conduct outreach targeting that type of site, your workflow will be both more efficient and more productive. You’ll also likely develop contacts who know each other, which come into play later.
Speaking of workflow…
Follow a process
Jumping from activity to activity is a recipe for disaster because it reduces efficiency and makes it more difficult to measure and reproduce results. That’s why an assembly line is so much more efficient than one person building something from start to finish.
When my team builds links, we follow a well-documented process that starts with thorough planning. We will first identify a strategic goal, and then determine what topics we need to rank for to achieve that goal.