Link building has always been vital to ranking in search engines, and it will continue to be vital for the foreseeable future.
Even as Google adds high-tech functionality to its algorithm — with AI and machine learning tools like RankBrainand BERT — links remain among the most important qualifications for a webpage, so developing your list of links should be a top priority for your business.
Unfortunately, link building isn’t easy. If you are managing your business’s SEO on your own, you need to be willing to put substantial time and effort into your links.
It is wise to partner with a knowledgeable SEO service like Digital Current — but even so, you need to know what’s going on with your links to ensure you maintain an effective digital marketing strategy.
To help keep you organized, here is a checklist of link-building tasks mandatory for a successful linking strategy.
The day-to-day and weekly activities, like those listed below, are best outsourced to a qualified SEO agency, which will give you more time and energy to devote to big-picture business issues.
Still, here’s what link-building activities should be going on every week:
1. Internal and Competitor Audit
You should spend some time every week looking into the backlinks you currently host on your website as well as what backlinks your competitors utilize.
These resources should give you more insight into different verticals to pursue in your link-building strategy.
2. Content Brainstorming
Perhaps the most difficult step in generating link-worthy content is the beginning: thinking of a topic.
You should devote at least a week to brainstorming a variety of content ideas before narrowing your focus to the best concepts.
If the content will be developed as a guest post, you should send viable topics to the publisher for feedback.
3. Link Prospecting
You won’t get backlinks if you don’t communicate with other websites.
You should spend some time every week prospecting authoritative websites, which might mean researching websites, discussing opportunities for guest posting or citation, developing email outreach templates and more.
4. Content Development
Finally, you should be producing new content on a weekly basis.
Some of this content should become linkable assets posted on your website or social pages, but some might be sent as guest post content on other websites.
All content should include some kind of link back to your website (at least) or your product pages (at best).
1. Email Outreach
Though you might identify 50 new website prospects per week, it takes time to reach out and develop a relationship that results in a backlink.
You should try to maintain connections with about 10 sites per month over email.
2. Mention Monitoring
You should set up Google Alerts to track mentions of your brand and products as well as that of your competitors.
Once per month, you should check in on these to gain a better understanding of your online reputation and how you compare with your competition.
3. Content Syndication
If you gain attention for particularly good content, you might consider syndicating that content for publication on other websites and even other media channels.
This is an easy way to take advantage of the content you have already created to build even better backlinks.
4. Testimonial Offers
You should offer testimonials and reviews to business services your company has used in the past.
Often, testimonials will be published on that business’s website with a link back to your own.
5. Affiliate Marketing
You can pay affiliate websites to regularly post reviews and updates on their experience with your brand or product.
This allows you to continuously contact the same audience, building a relationship as well as backlinks.
Building links takes time, which means you probably don’t need to check on your backlink progress every day or even every month.
Four times per year, you should check in with your digital marketing department (or better yet, your third-party SEO agency) to ensure they are performing the following tasks:
1. Backlink audit
You can use a tool like the Google Search Console to export a full list of all webpages linking to your website.
You should manually review the entire list, paying close attention to websites that are irrelevant to your brand or otherwise low in authority.
2. Disavow List
You can tell Google if you don’t want certain backlinks to count in your website’s ranking.
You should review your disavow list quarterly, adding any websites you dislike from your most recent backlink audit and removing websites as necessary.
3. Competitor Analysis
Finally, you should consider performing a backlink audit of a few close competitors, as well.
This might help you identify linking prospects for the future and even develop content that suits your niche.
Links remain as vital to successful digital marketing now as ever, but link building isn’t a set-and-forget practice.
You need to devote ample time and resources to SEO overall and link building specifically if you want to see positive results.