How many times have you read a link building article that goes along the lines of this?

SEO can be tough and the hardest part/most painstaking part/most time intensive part (delete as necessary) is link building. Well here at we have the all the answers for you:

1. Work out what links you need

2. Find some great places to get the links

3. Go out and build those links

4. Sit back as you go flying up the SERPs for the most competitive keywords

If you are new to link building these kind of articles can be incredibly frustrating, not only do they assume that you have intimate knowledge on how to find places for links but assume that you will be able to just pop right out and build them. On the other hand if you are more experienced in the art of link building you are likely to bounce just based on the sheer fist shaking frustration of it all.

So today we are going to walk through a process that you can apply to pretty much any site to get some good quality links that will go towards improve your positions in the SERPs. I don't claim that this is the best way, I don't claim this is the only way. What I will say is that this is a tried and tested method that can be applied by the smallest of businesses with the smallest of budgets. It can be easily undertaken by anyone in your company and requires little technical know-how.

So here we go...

The chosen page:

Yes, I know Amazon doesn't need any more links but it is a site we are all familiar with and the product pages have good content on them and I need a real world example that we could relate to. It's a book about frugality by Joy Adams and I am sure it is wonderful. You may want to build links to your home page, service pages, category pages or any other page on your site - it doesn't matter we just need an example to latch on to.

Building links for a frugal page

What kind of link are we going to go for:

Within the scope of this post it would be a bad idea to run through several types of links and how to get them (at worst the post would then be a mirror of the kind of useless posts that I mentioned earlier) so we need to choose one kind of link. At this moment in time guest blogging is a great way to get quality links for small businesses with limited resources and budget- if you are a larger business in a competitive niche there are scalability issues with this tactic, but we will leave that for another day.

Why guest blogging?

  • When you approach the right people the success rate is high
  • You can pick and choose the best blogs according to metrics that you set
  • The links that you obtain will be easy to track without fancy software
  • Generally you can choose the text that is used in the blog (if you need keywords, use keywords and if you need brand links you can easily pop brand links in there)
  • You can use regular guest blogging to become seen as an expert in your niche
  • It gets your brand out and about in the right places
  • These are links that send traffic as well as link juice
  • The content will be on sites that are relevant to your business

So lets say we are after getting some guest blogging opportunities for this frugal book on Amazon, here is a quick guide to gathering the data and making informed decisions on which sites you are going to target.

1. Searching for prospects

What we need to do here to make the process as painless is possible is find the blogs that are actively looking for guest authors or content .You will find that these guys are quicker to respond and will generally be more reliable about posting your content and emailing you when it is live. The easier the process and the less you have to mess around the more links you can get.

What you need here are some advanced queries, for this posts we will keep it simple but there are plenty of places you can more ideas of advanced search queries for guest blogging as well as finding other kinds of link prospects. There are also some tools that you can use to make the job a bit easier:

Link Suggest

Link Search

Link Building Query Generator

For finding guest opportunities for this particular frugal book we might use something like:

frugal + intitle: "write for us" or frugal + intitle: "submit guest post" or frugal + intitle: "become a contributor" or frugal + intitle: "write for me"

Use your imagination and it is amazing what you can come up with. Don't restrict yourself on keywords either - get creative:

saving money + intitle: "write for us" or cheap gift ideas + intitle: "submit guest post" or tips that save money + intitle: "become a contributor" or on a budget + intitle: "write for me"

The sky is the limit and you can easily find hundreds of opportunities that you can drop into a spreadsheet, potentially keeping you busy for months and months.

2. Prioritising the data

There have been a couple of posts recently that have talked about a similar technique that I use for prioritising the data so that you can make more informed decisions quickly. Rather than rehash those posts I will let you read them for yourself and we can have a look at a few sites and work out which ones we might approach for the guest blogging/link opportunity.

Using SEOmoz Tools for Link Prospecting

Extreme Link Prospecting With SEOQuake

I would probably add to the list the SEO Tools For Excel by Niels Bosma and the Business Hut Excel'SEOMoz Mashup to give your sheets more actionable data.

Prioritize the sheet based on the metrics that interest you the most. For this (basic) example I have merely sorted by Google Page Rank:

excel spreadsheet for link building

3. Investigate the opportunities

Under normal circumstances you would want to go through these opportunities in order (assuming you have prioritised). For the sake of this post I am going to take a few at random to give you an idea of the kind of things that you need to keep an eye out for when obtaining links through guest blogging.

Example 1: Page Rank 1 and mozRank 4.00

Guest blgging link building

What I would put in my notes? Low Page Rank but okay mozRank, slow to load, posts are of poor quality but has some social media following (potential there), lots of ads, look again in the future

Would I go after a guest posting opportunity? No

avoid panda when link building

Quick tip: Remember guest blogging is not just about the links - there may be other reasons for you to keep a particular site on your radar:

social activity over link building

Example 2: Page Rank 4 and mozRank 5.15

Guest blogging for links and traffic

What I would put in my notes? Good Page Rank, better mozRank, site feels nice, has a few too may ads but every ones gotta make a buck somewhere, active on social media so it always going to be worth more than the link,nearly 5000 followers on Twitter, nearly 15000 facebook likes

Would I go after a guest posting opportunity? Yes, yes and yes.

Quick Tip: A good link is always about more than the link love that gets passed down to you, this is the kind of site that could send traffic to your page. More importantly this would be good quality traffic that would be interested in the frugal book that we built the link for.

Example 3: Page Rank 2 and mozRank 4.40

Be brutal when link building

What I would put in my notes? Don't forget that you will always be pruning, it turns out that this site is only about iPhones - go figure. Strike it out of your spreadsheet so you don't leave it cluttered with garbage. If you are an SEO with multiple clients have somewhere to store this kind of information.

Example 4: Page Rank 6 and mozRank 6.43

get rich slowly blog

What I would put in my notes? Great site, great following, good traffic, want quality posts, worth investing time for both the link and the potential traffic.

Would I go after a guest posting opportunity? A no brainer - yes, yes and yes.

Quick Tip: Learn to look for the clues that show that this is going to be a great link and good marketing for your company.

Link building tips

1. Social validation - voted by Time as a great blog. This suggests good traffic numbers and maybe a truly great website is linking to this one.

2. Social activity - although you cant see the numbers here you know that the blog is socially active. Google+ is still in its infancy but you can see over 200+1's. It would only take two seconds to find out the other numbers

3. Nearly 100,000 readers via Feedburner - I'd happily put my content in from of that many people - wouldn't you?

4. More details of the mentions that this blog has received. again these high quality sites could potentially be linking to this site...quality bu associations for the link to your site.

5. You can see that people are actively commenting on posts. More traffic? A well ranking page? All these make the link to your site stronger

6. Posts are being shared socially, more traffic and opportunities for more links to your actual guest post. This gives your page more authority and the link more weight.

7. To top it all off - the links are followed