No Fluff Link Building Checklist
In Google, one of the primary ranking factors is link popularity. The number of links pointing to a page, along with quality and anchor text, are the most powerful way to rank a page for targeted search terms. Before anyone begins building links, it is important to know what makes for a good link building campaign. Below is a link building checklist to help guide your efforts and ensure that you receive a positive return on your time and effort.
Evaluate The Targeted Page
Occasionally, another webmaster will discover your site, or a page on it, and decide to link to it. More often than not, it is up to you to build links by reaching out to other webmasters. More importantly, it is important to reach out to the right webmasters. Here are some things to think about:
- Evaluate the page’s link popularity
- The quality of those links
- and the information contained on that page
Anchor text that is closely related to keywords is important, but a shift is happening that appears to be rewarding the relevancy of the page more than the anchor text itself. If a page is relevant to your page, and has valuable links pointing to it – not spam links – then the link is valuable. An irrelevant page, or one that is the target of many spam type links is less likely to pass value, and may even hurt rankings in some cases(the Penguin effect). Links with good and valuable links pointing to them are likely to have high Page Rank and Page Authority, as measured by SEOmoz, which should raise the Page Rank and authority of your page as well.
Some types of links have been devalued over time. A link building checklist should have categories for different types of links, as well as locations. When you start building links, create a long list of sites that are as diverse as possible, such as:
- Niche relevant directories
- Vendor websites
- Content aggregation sites
- and even niche relevant forums should all be included
Attempt to get a link from as many different sites as possible. This helps to ensure IP diversity, and will usually result in better anchor text distribution while insulating your site from future Google algorithmic updates.
The link building mistake most often made, apart from over optimization and spam, is poor link velocity. There are times when a page goes viral and receives a rush of links, but more often than not, the growth is fairly slow, and rarely is it consistent from day to day. While the goal is to get as many links as possible, those links should be spread out as much as possible. This has two advantages:
- First, it allows you to track rankings and pinpoint links that may be helping the most, or hurting.
- Second, it allows you to spend time on other projects, as well as to start getting links to other pages, which helps to raise the overall authority of your site.
Always keep this in mind, “SEO link building is of little use if you cannot track and measure results.”
You also need to link your own pages together. Use the keywords appropriate for the content of the landing page in the anchor text of the sending page. This is a must — use text links within paragraphs when possible, especially when the pages are related. If the topics are not related, then use image links so the search engines do not see the text and get confused. But a keyword in a link (anchor text) is no longer a keyword in the content so the keyword usage will change as links are added.