Link builders are constantly looking for quality, authoritative sites to partner with. Whether that be through guest posting or directory submissions, link builders are always trying to expand and improve their prospect lists to better diversify their client’s link building profile. With that comes an incredible amount of research, outreach, and link evaluation. The most successful link building campaigns have the potential to increase a site’s traffic, search engine rankings, conversion rates, reputation, and brand awareness. The better the site linking to you, the better results you’ll see.
Determining the value of a link should become second nature for link builders, and deciding which webmaster to contact or where to post your article or blog is often an educated guessing game. It helps to think of a link as your child and link building like good parenting. You want your link to grow up nicely, find a good home, and bring you and your family’s name future success. In short, you want a link you can be proud of.
To achieve all this, let’s start at the beginning.
What do you name your link?
A child’s name shapes what he thinks of himself and what others think of him. Blaze Falcon may seem like a good name for your child, but ol’ Blaze may grow up to be over-confident and delusional—someone who wears a leather jacket with Camel cigarettes tucked in his front pocket, nudging up to girls saying, “‘Sup (head nod). Blaze wants to buy you a drink.”
We don’t want this. Blaze is lame.
Instead, think very carefully about what you want to name your link. This will function as your anchor text, and it’s important to label it as something dignified, something that will profit your business and positively affect the search engine results page. In a lot of cases, this means a keyword you’re trying to rank for. Choose anchor text that’s befitting of the content on the page and clearly denotes your business’s services, purpose, or involvement in your specific industry. With the right link on the right site, search engines will begin to associate your business with the keywords you use.
Who are you going to let your link hang out with?
Now, that you’ve named your link and he’s grown up a bit, he needs to make friends. Like all good parents, you don’t want your child to spend time with, as my mother calls them, ragamuffins and ruffians. Your child’s friends have an impact on how the public perceives them just as every site linking to your business impacts what search engines think of you. Their reputation affects your reputation, so it’s best to filter what domains you associate yourself with.
For instance, would you rather your link hang out with Porno McGhee who surfs Craigslist Personals in his basement or All-American Joe who helps out his grandma on the weekend? The choice is obvious.
This is where TrustRank and Domain Authority come into play. You want sites that build your link up, not tear them down. Set up play dates (AKA contact webmasters) of sites with high domain authority, and keep spammy or pornographic sites as many jumps away as possible.
What extracurricular activities do you want your link to participate in?
If your child raves about Broadway shows and is eagerly anticipating the release of Les Misérables this Christmas, would you make him join the rugby team instead of musical theater? No, you would encourage him to participate in activities that are relevant to him. The same thing goes for links. Getting links from sites and industries that are relevant to your own makes you an active participant and contributor in that community. This helps build your authority and popularity within your designated industry. Contacting webmasters from a completely unrelated industry is not beneficial for your business or their business, so it’s best to spend your link building efforts in places relevant to you.
Where do you want your link to sit in the classroom?
Like every parent, you worry about your child on the first day of school. In the classroom, you want him to be in the front row eagerly waving his hand for the teacher to see, not in the dark recesses of the classroom next to the trashcan.
This correlates to your link’s page placement. Google places more value on links placed higher up on the page and in the main content than links placed in the footer or sidebar. Like your child sitting in a classroom, the teacher will notice and call on your child more if they are sitting prominently in their sightline. Google knows that links are more likely to get clicked if they’re in the main content of the page, so a link there carries slightly more link juice than those in a blogroll or footer.
How can you help your link succeed?
At some point in his lifetime, your child is likely to enter into some sort of contest whether that is a talent competition, a Science Fair, or, later in life, the job market. He will have a higher chance of getting noticed and hired for a position if there are 10 other applicants instead of 100. This is true as well for link building. When evaluating a site, check and see how many linking root domains it has compared to the number of external links. The more outbound links on a page, the more diluted the value of your link becomes. Like your child, you want to give your link the highest possibility to succeed, so place it in a site that has a balanced proportion of linking root domains to external links.
Purchasing paid links or spamming comment sections of sites will only hurt you. Like your mom always said, keep making that face, and it’ll get stuck like that. Well, keep building your links like that, and your site’ll get de-indexed, possibly crashing the internet and ending the world. To prevent such a catastrophe, invest your time and money to these link building best practices. Treating your link like your child is a failsafe way to guarantee you’ll create the most successful link building strategy for your clients. Be choosy. Be patient. And, most importantly, be diligent in your link building efforts.