While you may have all the pieces to run link development campaigns, putting them together is crucial.
Structuring linking campaigns can be tough. There’s so much contrary advice on the internet – Make big content! 301 redirects! Guest post! Make friends! Promote Your Content! And the list goes on.
Most of these tactics will work – up to a point, where you’ll hit the point of diminishing returns. However, how you structure your campaign – and what you do first – can lead to you to a campaign with a tremendous ROI, or a difficult and troubled effort.
In the past, you might’ve used a large number of directory submissions to start your campaign, followed by other mechanical ways. These days, you’ll want to embrace a strategy that’s based on audience development and digital PR, in a larger bid to develop great authority and a good reputation.
There are ways to structure these campaigns where you find yourself running up a wall, instead of starting a fly wheel and carefully picking up all of the low hanging fruit before advancing to high quality .
Nothing Attracts a Crowd Like a Crowd – Nothing Attracts Links like Links
In 2004, Mike Grehan wrote a now-famous essay, “Filthy Linking Rich”, on the tendency of well-linked sites to organically gain more links and make new competition impossible. As Grehan put it:
So, the “filthy linking rich” get richer and currently popular pages continue to hit the top spots. The law of “preferential attachment” as it is also known, wherein new links on the web are more likely to go to sites that already have many links, proves that the scheme is inherently biased against new and unknown pages.
PT Barnum allegedly said ‘Nothing Attracts a Crowd Like a Crowd’ – and nothing draws links like links. (The other thing you can learn from this is essay is people have been complaining about link acquisition and how big sites have an unfair advantage since 2004.)
Start at the Beginning
When I think about link building activities, I put them into five buckets:
- Reclamation – Activities where the link is already there, but you’re not getting credit for it.
- Link Demand Harvesting – These are pages that exist to link to sites like yours, but don’t yet include your site
- Links Utilizing Pre-Existing Relationships - Where you don’t have to make new friends, and get links from folks you already know.
- Links Requiring New Relationships - Links where you must make new friends.
- Links Requiring Both New Relationships and Large Amounts of New Content - Links that require new friends and lots of great content.
You can also think about these criteria through a series of questions: