9 Vital Tasks of the Inhouse Link Builder
We recently asked 7 inhouse link builders to share advice, tips and ideas with the industry. This post is the first of our attempts at meaningful compilations of their answers - in particular, their "most important tasks." While not a list of ALL the tasks an inhouse SEO must perform, this list provides a great starting point for inhouse link builders who'd like a sense of how they compare to their peers.
To arrive at the order of our list we categorized and then counted answers to our question: "As an inhouse SEO, what are your top 5 most important link building tasks and responsibilities?" Links to respondents' complete answers to our Inhouse Link Building Roundtable at the end of the article (thanks guys!).
Prospecting for New Link Opportunities: 6
- Aaron Bradley: You're going to be most successful - and most efficient - pursuing links that are actually useful, so developing a list of solid link targets is essential. When you know what sites, or what types of sites, you're targeting you can adjust your strategy to maximize your chances of success at generating links from that target cluster.
- Don Rhoades: Always look for new opportunities (paid ad campaigns, content bait, press releases a-text)
- Al Scilitani: Get good high quality link prospects
- Nadeem Anjum: Source high quality links with a focus on localised link building
- Dan London: Analysis of prospective links
- Ross Hudgens: Skate around the edges. Lots of link building opportunities come from simply sitting on the edges of the internet, reading SEO posts, and listening to your network. Hey, this post happens to be one of them! These kinds of links are often easy to acquire – they just mean you have to have your ear on the floor, listening.
Executing Link Acquisition Efforts: 4
- Ross Hudgens: Hustle. Sometimes I get my hands dirty and use my skillset as a burgeoning writer, which generally means guest posting or writing some kind of content somewhere. This is pretty time consuming but sometimes interns aren’t capable of getting a guest post approved at a top-100 blog, so it takes a few extra hours to claw out a PR6 link.
- Phil Buckley: Because the Sinclair Institute’s flagship site is perceived as right on the edge of adult content, links were hard to come by. Since getting a link from whitehouse.gov was out of the question we had to aim differently. We tried to build relationships with top bloggers in our niche, and that usually worked well. We also tried to get links from our suppliers, which was hit and miss. Leaving comments on widely read industry blogs that linked back to us was time consuming, but often worked well. Also commenting at our top competition’s site.
- Al Scilitani: (Get good high quality link prospects...) Get them to link to us.
- Nadeem Anjum: Potential guest blogging and building relationships
Project Managing Linkable Content Creation: 3
- Aaron Bradley: SEOs are fond of saying "content is king." In link building this might be phrased as "linkable stuff is king." It's a subtle distinction, but something can be linkable (or link-generating) without being great content. But one way or another you're never going to have a stellar inbound link profile unless there's some stellar stuff on your site. Pushing different content projects, securing budgets, liaising with those involved are all crucial to success. It's all fine and well to offer a free ebook on your site, but somebody has to, you know, create an ebook for you. In my experience if you're not constantly pushing for those resources and following up on progress, the linkable stuff you need won't get produced. The more competitive the industry the more stuff you need to keep up with the joneses, such as supporting cross-channel media campaigns, or heaps of video.
- Ross Hudgens: Internally, the most important “link building” task is building out content to use as a resource. Leveraging our talented writers and developers to create content we can disseminate to link acquisition sources is the most important thing – because without that, we’re incapable of anything but shady link acquisition.
- Dan London: content creation
Measuring Results: 3
- Don Rhodes: Measuring success/retention rates monthly + reporting of quantity, quality, effectiveness. Determining what competitors in my space have that works.
- Nadeem Anjum: Measuring and tracking link building progress and competitors efforts
- Dan London: evaluation of rank + organic ROI evaluation
Internal + External Relations: 3
- Aaron Bradley: One of the advantages of link building inhouse is that your SEO or SEO team will be communicating with different units in the company. Or they should be if they want to ensure link building opportunities won't be lost because they didn't know about them. Like when the CEO booked an appearance on The View and nobody thought to tell you.
- Don Rhodes: Developing relations throughout organization and their outreach for opps
- Ross Hudgens: Develop a business network to utilize. The best links I’ve received so far are those from people I have developed business relationships with, either through direct e-mail contact, through other friends, or by meetings at networking events. These continue to be the richest links because there is strong mutual interest, and generally, the people you meet at these event have a strong website or their own strong network to help you link build.
Campaign Design: 2
- Aaron Bradley: Once you've mucked through or dismissed the link building 1.0 options - paid links, directory listings, article submissions and so forth - you're forced to get more creative. And even some of the (relatively) more recent techniques like using infographic link bait or leveraging the social media halo are very difficult to get right. You've got to be innovating all the time and, if you have a link-building team, ensure you provide an environment that fosters innovation.
- Don Rhodes: Figuring what keyphrases to target for anchors
Link Maintenance and Preservation: 2
- Aaron Bradley: Preserving your links can be as important as acquiring new ones. As difficult as it is, you need to try to reclaim links. But mostly what I mean by link maintenance is internal housekeeping, tasks like ensuring URLs are migrated with single, proper redirects, and that link target URLs are canonical. Link maintenance also means making sure nobody in your shop mucks about with URLs without telling you - more than one SEO has seen long standing link targets suddenly 404.
- Dan London: Analysis of current links
Bad Press Monitoring: 1
- Nadeem Anjum: Monitoring to ensure there are no bad signs or bad coverage
- Nadeem Anjum: R&D into new techniques to improve the quality of the overall link profile
Special Thanks to Our Inhouse Link Building Contributors
The Inhouse Link Building Group Interview Project: 14 Answers (Aaron Bradley)
In-House Link Building Survey (Phil Buckley)
Gonzo (Inhouse) Linkbuilding Survey (Don Rhoades)
In House Link Building Interview (Al Scilitani)
Inhouse SEO Link Building Interview (Nadeem Anjum)
Inhouse Link Building Interview: Dan London (Dan London)
Inhouse Link Building Interview: Ross Hudgens (Ross Hudgens)