4 Elements of a Link Building Plan
One of my e-commerce clients has approximately 2500 individual product pages and 100 category pages, each optimized correctly on one primary keyword with additional secondary keywords sprinkled in naturally. Each keyword is highly relevant to the content of the page and has a known number of average monthly searches and competitive level.
To maximize success and profit as an e-commerce company, each of their 2600 pages must find its way to Page 1 of Google’s, Bing’s and Yahoo’s search results.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to the client, DJBennett.com.
You can assume each of the 2,600 pages has used all the best-practices of on-page optimization, discussed in my last post. The site also has excellent site design, little duplicate content, excellent site navigation, well-written, compelling and unique content, fast page-load times and very good customer experience metrics like minimal bounces from SERPs, good time-on-page numbers and high conversions.
The site gets excellent grades in all the tracked on-page metrics with the exception of one: the primary keyword choices used on each page offered very little leeway in finding less competitive keywords that could potentially rank the page higher, albeit with less volume keywords. Lower competitive “long-tail” keywords (yellow ruffled tennis skort, for example) were used whenever possible, but due mostly to the editorial requirements of this luxury brand, most pages are relegated to competitive keywords that describe exactly what the product is — a “women’s rain jacket with hood”, for example, which is highly competitive according to Google’s Keyword Planner.
In this scenario, to successfully compete in the SERPs with longer-standing, higher-authority, higher-visibility competitors on these highly competitive keywords requires confirmable visibility on the web in the form of links, aka inbound marketing, content marketing, link-building game plan. When on-page optimization is equal among top competitors, the count of external links coming from high-authority and relevant sites, bloggers, media, social media, etc. is the most important ranking determinant in the algorithms to move organic rankings higher. (Of course, you can advertise on Google and Bing and if your pay-per-click bids are high enough, you can be listed on Page-one. Google Shopping is another way to do it.)
4 Elements of a Link-Building Plan
There is a best-practice in Link Building of creating a customized link-building plan that can be separated into four areas:
- easily gained links regardless of target market
- higher-value links directed to your target market – These take research, nurturing of relationships and compelling new content.
- creative link-building campaigns using any number of methods that are good enough to attract links automatically ( aka, Link Bait)
- Link opportunities that are gleaned from the competition
Today, I will discuss easily gained links regardless of the target market and provide more detail in future posts on the others.
Easily gained links regardless of target market
These links are readily available to those who take the time to create free profiles at any number of directories, lists, social networking sites, etc. Blanketing this somewhat exhaustive list, while keeping a watchful eye out for approachable link prospects, i.e. authorities who can help direct your brand into your target market, would be a good first step.
A quick search at knowem.com will indicate where your brand is not profiled. My client was not profiled in approximately 95% of the 500+ sites that make up these categories.
A checklist of sites where you should claim your brand profile, at a minimum, is:
Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Crunchbase, Google Profile, Quora, About.me, Scribd, SlideShare, Delicious, Trunk.ly, Stack Exchange, Google Local Business, Yelp, Urbanspoon, Yellow Pages, CitySearch and TripAdvisor.
If applicable, additional profiles can be created on recmnd.me, Kred Story, Foursquare, TrustCloud, Behance, Smarterer and Github.
The lowest hanging fruit many times will be the manufacturers of the products you sell. They should be contacted and sent a prepared package of HTML including your logo, short description and keyword-loaded anchor text to make it easy for them to post your link on their site. (The anchor text should include the primary keyword of the brand page on your site that shows products of that company.)
Company directory submissions like HotFrog and Manta usually provide external links.
Next up: How to Create Higher-Value Links Directed To Your Target Market