What is Link Building?
At its essence, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours.
Traditionally, link building has been an "active" process, meaning that you go to other websites, directories, etc, and request, purchase or exchange a link from that site. Recently, however, the practice of creating engaging and "link-worthy" content (such as you are reading right now) has become a "passive" form of link building, where your website gains links on its own merit.
Whichever method you prefer or your market requires, in the end, any strategy or tactic that is executed with the intent of gaining links to your website qualifies as link building.
Link Building Campaign Strategies, Tips & Techniques
At Ontolo, we believe that marketing disciplines aren't as complicated and complex as many marketers would have you believe. Link building is no different.
We believe the link building process can be broken down into three fundamental steps, followed by an additional step for reporting.
1. Research for Discovering New Link Prospects
This stage, also known as "link prospecting," is the research and data collection stage of link building. Here, you may perform link building queries, review competitor backlinks, or find directories or other partnerships for which to build links.
If you are building links via building linkable content, in this stage you may be researching content in your industry that has already achieved links, brainstorming ideas for what kind of content you may produce, or performing research that your market might find valuable.
2. Reviewing/Qualifying Your Research to Find the Most Relevant and Valuable Link Prospects
Also known as "link qualification," in this stage you are reviewing your research to identify the most relevant and valuable link opportunities. Where, in the first stage of link prospecting, you may have thousands of link prospects to sift through, here, you're identifying only the top ones to invest your effort.
A "good link" is typically assessed against two measures: relevance and value. Relevance is commonly a subjective assessment of how on-topic the page or site is that you're aiming to acquire a link. Value, however, may be assessed against any number of hard metrics from PageRank, backlinks, SEOmoz scores, Majestic SEO scores, Alexa or Compete traffic rankings, etc.
3. Acquiring New Links
In the final (non-reporting) stage of link building, also known as "link acquisition," you are completing the purpose of your research to go out and actually get the links. If you are purchasing content or directory links, this is the purchasing stage. If you have found content that the owner's readers might benefit from having a link to you on there, you are sending out that link request. If you are writing content, you might be doing outreach or investing in social media efforts to build interest and links to that content.
4. Link Building Reporting and Campaign Management
As with any marketing effort, and link building is certainly a function of marketing, reporting and management become critical to a successful campaign. Here are the most commonly-used metrics for link building reporting:
- Google PageRank to the domain home page, subdomain home page and individual URLs
- Total backlinks to your site and top content.
- SEOmoz scores, including mozRank, mozTrust, Domain and Page Authority.
- Majestic SEO's ACRank
Link Building Guides from Top Experts, Organized by Process
- Link Prospecting Posts on the Ontolo Blog
- Quick Link Prospecting with Scraper Extension
- 9 Actionable Tips for Link Prospecting
- Finding Link Opportunities with Advanced Search Queries
- Link Qualification Posts on the Ontolo Blog
- How You Can Assess Great Links
- Link Value Factors
- 17 Ways Search Engines Judge the Value of a Link
- Link Acquisition Posts on the Ontolo Blog
- Link Request Emails, Preciprocation & More! Link Outreach and Acquisition How-To.
- What Your Link Request Should Contain and Why
Ontolo Link Building Tools, Organized by Process
Discover New Link Prospects
- Link Building Campaign Settings
Setup your link building campaign settings for the Ontolo Toolset.
- Link Building Query Generator V2
Discover link prospects by generating link building queries to use on major search engines. This is the most recent version of this tool.
- Link Building Query Generator V1
Discover link prospects by generating link building queries to use on major search engines. This is the original version of this tool.
Link Qualification Tools
- Search Your Ontolo Link Prospect Database
Quickly discover relevant and valuable link prospects
- Export Your Ideal Link Targets
Link Targets are link prospects that meet specific requirements taht you define. Quickly export those prospects with this tool.
- Find Prospects Linking to Competitors
Discover link prospects based on if they link to one of your competitors or not. Use the "Minimum Competitor LInks" and text search to perform multiple-citation analysis with relevance factored in.
- Filter Your Link Prospect Lists
Quickly filter your new link prospect lists against lists of links you've already acquired, approached, are competitors, etc.
Link Acquisition Tools
- Link Prospect URL Reviewer
Quickly review your link prospects by opening multiple prospect URLs in new tabs in your web browser. This is the first URL reviewer ever made publicly available and one of Ontolo's most popular link building tools.
Link Building Management & Reporting
- Manage Your Reviewed Link Prospects
Manage the Qualification & Acquisition Statuses, Custom Tags, and Notes for the link prospects in your Ontolo database.
- Bulk-Edit Your Link Prospects
In just a few clicks, edit the Qualification & Acquisition Statuses and Tags for lists of URLs you enter. You can apply Statuses and Tags to Domains, Subdomains and URLs for quick editing of lots of prospects.
- Competitive Backlink Monitor
Keep an eye on your competition by monitoring key backlink statistics of up to 25 competitors. This is a free tool that only requires registration.
- Monitor Your Top Backlinks
Once you've acquired a link, stay on top of it by making sure it stays live, followed and unchanged. This is a free tool that only requires registration.
Other, Outside Link Building Tools, Organized by Process
Discover New Link Prospects
Link Qualification Tools
Link Acquisition Tools
Link Building Experts & Their Blogs
Link Builders and SEOs work hard to contribute to you and the community. Week in and week out, they're breaking new ground, forming new strategies and tactics, then sharing them with others. In that sense, it's one of the most generous industries in the world.
We've put together more than 300 SEOs and link builders that we think you might benefit by learning from.
What to do from here:
- View the Table of SEO & Link Building Experts
- Search the Sites of SEO & Link Building Experts
- Follow the SEO & Link Building Experts List on Twitter
Table of SEO & Link Building Experts
Notes on this data:
- Priority for site URLs is: Personal site then either a LinkedIn or Google+ Profile. Links to company blogs, company profile pages, etc, have been removed.
- Company sites, in general, have only been associated with experts in cases where they are either the owner, CEO, or part-owner. This gets tricky in some instances, so let me know if you have corrections.
- If you have corrections to your information or wish to make a suggestion (for yourself or someone else), comment here with the information. After it has been reviewed (which, for obvious quality reasons, doesn't guarantee inclusion), we'll remove the comment.