7 Strategies To Build a Link Building Plan

by Sarah Howell July 29th, 2011 

woman points something out on a map

Several elements are needed to create an effective link building strategy. Using the following seven strategies in tandem, you will be much more likely to build many good backlinks from authoritative sites within your niche as well as related niches.

1. Guest Post

This is a profitable daily habit to get into. Compose guest posts for blogs that are relevant to your market, and be sure to include a link to your own site in those posts. This technique helps primarily in getting your name out there, which, in addition to adding a backlink your site, will also increase your sites' popularity. Before asking a blogger for a guest posting opportunity, there are a few things to do and consider:

  • Read current and archived posts on the blog you wish to guest post at. Get a feel for their audience.
  • Finish the post before you pitch the idea.
  • Be honest when pitching yourself, and don't exaggerate your credentials.
  • Submit the best post you can. You may want to follow Hemingway's advice: "Write drunk; edit sober." Edit your post religiously.
  • Start with smaller blogs and build your way up to guest posting on blogs that have audiences larger than your own.

2. Comment on Related Blogs

As with guest posting, commenting on blogs should also be a daily activity. However, a simple "I totally agree" kind of comment is not enough. Make an observation the author left out, give a personal anecdote, or raise a unique question to encourage dialogue. Don't neglect to provide a link in your comments. Often you will find that commenters ask questions which, if you answer well enough, will cause the person who inquired to at least visit your site or blog. This kind of traffic converts fairly well.

3. Request Backlinks

Natural or organic link building requires a schedule, and you should contact other sites for backlinks at least once a week. If you have more time, do so more often. Contact other blog owners and webmasters whose content is relevant to your niche and ask them to link to your site. The old line that says, "Every 'no' I get is one step closer to a 'yes!'" comes to mind – a person can't say "yes" if you don't ask. When considering a site from which to request a backlink, use a backlink checker to see who else they have given links to. Is your content better than those link recipients? If so, then don't miss out on such a golden opportunity.

4. Be Social

Engaging others via social media should be done multiple times a day. Social bookmarking is a way to tag or bookmark web pages. Others can see what you are tagging and, more importantly, you can keep track of what your audience is tagging. Monitoring the activity on social bookmarking sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon gives you a clear view of what people find interesting – not what search algorithms assume people are interested in. Social bookmarks are valuable signals because every bookmark is a uniquely human-generated event.

Social media offers a wide range of powerful platforms that allow you to place a finger on the pulse of your audience. For example, trending topics on Twitter are easy to search via one's own Twitter homepage. For searching trends on both Twitter and Facebook there is the social search engine Kurrently, which is dedicated to those two platforms.

The information you gather using these tools can be used to generate popular, user-based content and to interact with the social media community. Remember that anytime a user "Diggs" or "Likes" something you create, that is one form of backlinking.

5. Submit to Directories

The frequency with which you upload to directories depends on how often you have new content to share. Do this several times a week, or daily if possible. Thousands of directories exist, so you have to consider which services will bring you the most links. Directories come in five categories: Article, deep link, free, paid and recip. Here are the top five directories in each category, sorted by PageRank:

Article Directories

  1. Articles Base
  2. eZine
  3. Go Articles
  4. Genecast
  5. Article Slash

Deep Link Directories (paid)

  1. Directory Journal
  2. Findelio
  3. UK Directory
  4. Directory Free
  5. Bhanvad

Free Directories

  1. PuppyURL
  2. Sharp Links
  3. PR Directory
  4. Ranking Directory
  5. MasterMOZ

Paid Directories

  1. Web Leach
  2. PuppyURL
  3. Cue Directory
  4. MedRanks
  5. DirBull

Recip Directories

  1. PuppyURL
  2. PR Directory
  3. Suggest URL
  4. Frontier Economy
  5. AbiLogic

6. Create Authoritative Content

Create fresh content at least weekly, but daily if possible. The writing should establish you as an authority in your area – creating excellent content will naturally cause others to link to it. Optimizing content for SEO is very important, but the writing should focus more on the audience than search engine spiders. Unless you plan to do all the writing yourself, hiring an affluent copywriter is a good investment.

7. Upload Videos

Determine which video site(s) your audience prefers and post videos either monthly or weekly (if possible) that cater to their interests. Videos that help viewers accomplish a task are particularly good at generating traffic and links. Don't forget to include a link to your site in the video description and to keep your profile updated. Get to know your audience well, as bad videos go viral just as fast as great ones.

Sarah Howell

Sarah is a professional website usability expert, full-time entrepreneur and writer. She works with different clients on link building as well as content optimization, making it both user and search engine friendly.

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One Response to “7 Strategies To Build a Link Building Plan”

  1. Calin Daniel says:

    Hey Sarah,

    Thanks for including the list of directories (especially the deep linking directories). I'll be adding them to my Excel spread sheet!